After weeks and weeks of waiting – and hoping – Doug Martin has finally returned to the practice field.
It’s been a struggle for many Buccaneers fans as they’ve watched their beloved Bucs fall victim to injury this season. Arguably, no injury has been more frustrating than that of Doug Martin and his nagging hamstring. However, for the first time since week two, the “Muscle Hamster” hit the field at One Buc Place.
There is no timetable yet on his return to the field on Sundays, but this is a huge step in the right direction if the Bucs have any hopes of salvaging the season. The offense has been inept with only one legitimate playmaker – Mike Evans – lining up each week. No, it doesn’t solve the receiver depth or speed problems, but we all witnessed how productive this offense could be – even without those same features – when Doug Martin was carrying the rock out of the backfield.
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Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted a video of Martin going through drills;
Video: Here's first look at Bucs RB Doug Martin in his first day back at practice since hamstring injury in Week 2. pic.twitter.com/aIu0wrkqoQ
The Chicago Bears rank 14th in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 100.8 yards per game, so a certified lead back like Martin will be a huge boost. Trotting a player like Mike James or Russell Hansbrough out as a feature back wouldn’t fare very well against a stout run defense like the Bears. Martin provides the best opportunity to establish a run game to open up the passing attack for Jameis Winston and Mike Evans.
Now, of course, Martin’s effectiveness could very well be hindered on the fact that he hasn’t seen any kind of action since September 18th against the Arizona Cardinals. He won’t be in full football shape and Dirk Koetter may have him on a pitch count to ease him back into the swing of things.