Dirk Koetter still not committing to Doug Martin

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Running back Doug Martin‘s suspension ends on Monday, but there’s no guarantee his career with the Buccaneers will resume. Asked by JoeBucsFan.com whether Martin will be embraced when his PED-related ban concludes after the team’s third game of the year, coach Dirk Koetter was far from effusive.

“Well, to be honest with you, I’m worried about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and when Monday comes, we’ll worry about Monday,” Koetter said. “Because every Monday, or every day after a game, [G.M.] Jason [Licht] and I get together and, you know, Jason’s got his ideas on what roster changes have to go. There is that possibility for next week. And, you know, if we are going to bring Doug back on Monday, then we’re going to have to make room somehow. And that could be dictated by injury this week, so that’s why, you know, we’ll worry about it on Monday.”

In June, Koetter said something similar regarding the conclusion of Martin’s suspension.

“We will cross that bridge when we get to it, because, why worry about it until you have to?” Koetter said. “I don’t have experience with a guy taking three weeks off and then coming back. So you will have practices in there and we would have to see how we are doing as an offense, how we are doing with our running game. We will just have to see.”

The Buccaneers could cut Martin and avoid his entire 2017 salary, given that the suspension wiped out the fact that it was fully guaranteed. And so the team’s first-round pick from 2012, who played out his four-year rookie deal (the team didn’t pick up his option for 2016) and then signed a five-year, $35.75 million deal may soon become a free agent.

Even if the Bucs keep him, the hurricane-related one-week delay in the start of the regular-season has pushed his return up against the only short-week game of the year, making him unlikely to be able to contribute in Week Five against the Patriots on Thursday and essentially extending his four-game suspension to five.

That said, the Bucs through two games have gotten 82 yards rushing from Jacquizz Rodgers (3.4 yards per attempt), 47 from Peyton Barber, seven from Jameis Winston, and six from Charles Sims, who has added three catches for 16 yards. (Rodgers and Barber have none.)

So maybe the Bucs should consider welcoming Martin with open arms instead of making him sweat out the final days of his suspension. Based on what they’ve gotten out of their other tailbacks, Martin may still be the best option they have.

14 responses to “Dirk Koetter still not committing to Doug Martin

  1. This is a case of reading way to into it. In a sport in which at least one person gets hurt in nearly every game, why would he be deciding who gets demoted or cut before the game is played when it may be decided for him. Doug Martin is by far their most talented RB on their roster. The GM knows it and the coach knows it. He will be activated next week, guaranteed.

  2. Much to do about nothing. If they Had any sort of success running the ball so far this would be a thought. But, that’s not the case.

    It’s a production league and Martin is by far the best back on the team.

  3. Much to do about nothing. If they Had any sort of success running the ball so far this would be a thought. But, that’s not the case.

    It’s a production league and Martin is by far the best back on the team.

  4. If they stupidly cut him, there will be quite a few teams lining up for a 3 down back. I know my Eagles for sure would have to be interested, especially with Sproles hurt and general ineffectiveness by the other backs so far.

  5. There’s no way that Doug isn’t playing next Thursday night, our backs are dreadful with the exception of of Barber who can’t sniff the field

  6. If he had looked awful in preseason, then maybe. But he’s head and shoulders better than anyone else on the team (when his head is firmly attached to said shoulders). He’ll be back. The team isn’t on the hook for guaranteed money after this year, so they’ll be able to cut bait if he doesn’t ball out anyway.

  7. The fact that this article suggests that the team could possibly cut him – even though they are 27th in the league in rushing – is pretty ridiculous. Dougie is gonna have some fresh legs and hopefully lights a fire for the offense to take some pressure off jameis.

  8. Way to make an attention grabbing headline. The coach isn’t committing because they haven’t had contact with him since the suspension started and they don’t know if he’s in football shape. Much ado about nothing. You better believe he’s the starting RB when he suits up next weekend. They don’t have the luxury of not having him in the lineup.

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