Earlier this offseason, Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said that he hoped the team’s first three draft picks would be starters as rookies.
Safety Mark Barron and linebacker Lavonte David have already gotten Schiano two-thirds of the way there and it looks like officially naming Doug Martin the starting running back is just a formality. Martin started on Friday night against the Patriots, gaining 53 yards on the ground and catching three passes in the latest illustration of the edge in versatility that he owns over LeGarrette Blount.
Schiano stopped short of stamping Martin as a starter after the game, but his comments left very little to the imagination about who will be on the field when the season kicks off two weeks from Sunday.
“That’s why he moved in and started the game; because he has shown me that much,” Schiano said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “And I don’t think he did anything (Friday) night that would say, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a good move.’ I thought he ran the ball well and did some things well. So right now, he’s got to continue on that course.”
Michael Smith, a seventh-round pick, also ran the ball well on Friday. If he continues on that course, Blount may find less playing time heading his way as the season unfolds.