Buccaneers running back Doug Martin averaged a little more than 22 touches per game as a rookie and that number was even higher in six games last season before Martin was lost for the year with a shoulder injury.
The Bucs sputtered in his absence, which led to the ouster of coach Greg Schiano and the arrival of a new offensive coordinator in Jeff Tedford. Martin will still be the lead back in the offense, but it doesn’t sound like Tedford plans to ride Martin as hard as the previous regime did.
“I think you have to alternate,” Tedford said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “Even when we had two, 1,000-yard rushers [at California], J.J. Arrington was a 2,000-yard rusher and and we had a couple times guys had a thousand yards apiece. But I don’t believe that one back can carry the load. It’s just too physical. I think you probably need to have two to three guys to bring different things to the table. But I think you at least need to have two to be able to spell them here and there and keep them healthy and tat type of thing. That’s the goal to try and create some depth right there where there’s not a dropoff when one guy comes in and another guy goes out. There’s no dropoff. We just keep going.”
Tampa has the depth chart to put Tedford’s plans into motion. Mike James and Bobby Rainey both had good moments after Martin went down and the team added Charles Sims to the mix in the draft. If the offensive line and scoreboard cooperate, the Bucs’ depth should allow them to keep running the ball with relatively fresh legs through all four quarters.