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Posts Tagged ‘doug martin’

Two More Buccaneer Pro Bowlers

January 21, 2013 at 01:31am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

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We knew either Vincent Jackson or Doug Martin was going to get in the Pro Bowl because of the way the NFC title game lined up. But as luck would have it, Calvin Johnson opted out of the Pro Bowl (because, as you know, Detroit has had too much for too long) which pushed Jackson in. And San Francisco just won the NFC Championship Game, meaning Frank Gore can’t fulfill his undeserved Pro Bowl duties and Martin gets in. So three Buccaneers will be in the Pro Bowl, which sounds about right. Not to take anything away from Gerald McCoy, but seemed weird that a member of the defensive line that generated only 27 sacks for the season made it but the record-setting offense had no representatives. This is good, though. Lavonte David would be better, but this is good.

Speaking of Jackson, he has been talking up the Bucs to anyone who will listen, hoping to lure some more quality free agents to Tampa to help get them over the playoff hump.

“I would tell [free agents] it’s a top-notch organization; it’s a top-notch structure,” Jackson said. “We have a great coaching staff here. They’ve built a system and a feeling of family and continuity, not only with the team itself, but I think they’ve done a great job in the community as well.”

Of course, this is a Florio article, so he has to have some negative bullshit in there as well.

As losses mounted late in the year, there was grumbling about “college coaches,” an understandable reaction when considering that not every player will react well to change — especially when change leads eventually to a prolonged losing streak.

An unnamed player said something negative about the team during a losing streak a month ago, so we better bring it up again to make sure everyone knows we hate the Bucs. Why oh why hasn’t Florio fallen into an abandoned West Virginia coal mine shaft yet?

Anyway, it’s good to see Jackson carrying the Buccaneer flag and being a positive representative for the team. You can argue that it’s because he got paid what he wanted, but the word around the team is that Jackson is a selfless leader who really enjoys coming to work. As we know from recent examples (Albert Haynesworth), just because you get paid a shitload of money doesn’t mean you’re going to represent your team well.

Congratulations to Jackson and Martin. Enjoy Hawaii. I hear it’s pretty cool. And for the love of God, at least LOOK like you’re putting in effort during the game.

One More Buccaneer To The Pro Bowl

January 15, 2013 at 09:51am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Did I mention that the Bucs swept the Panthers?
With both Julio Jones and Frank Gore being in the NFC Championship Game, one of them will necessarily have to drop out of the Pro Bowl when they advance to the Super Bowl. This will put one more Buccaneer in the Pro Bowl — either Doug Martin or Vincent Jackson. And it really should be Martin since Gore shouldn’t have made it in in the first place because Alfred Morris outperformed both of them as a sixth-round rookie. But Martin was still the third-best running back in the NFC and his presence in Hawaii would be a good reward for him and a nice token Buccaneer from an offense that made a lot of progress in 2012.

Not to take anything away from Jackson, who had an awesome season and the highest per-catch average of any receiver who caught more than 11 balls. Jackson should have definitely gotten in over Victor Cruz, who is probably just getting a consolation prize for being underpaid. Jackson should take his newly advanced roster bonus and go to Hawaii on his own and buy out everything Cruz wants to do. It would be fun to listen to a concierge explain it to him. “I’m sorry, Mr. Cruz, you can’t swim here. Mr. Jackson has rented every pool on the island for the day. And every night club. And every zip line. He left a note suggesting you salsa your way to Jason Pierre-Paul‘s room and see if you can hang out there.”

REAR ENTRIES: Ch-ch-changes

December 07, 2012 at 12:29pm by Scott   •  16 Comments »

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NO MORE KICKOFFS?: This isn’t specifically Bucs-related, but it’s important enough that it warrants a little discussion. Roger Goodell discussed the possibility of eliminating kickoffs from the game, replacing them with a fourth-and-15 at its own 30-yard line for the team that just scored. Then any standard play could be run, most times the team choosing to punt. But a team needing another score fast doesn’t have to worry about an onside kick, they just need to convert the fourth down.

The idea is to remove the risk associated with kickoffs and replace them with more risks associated with punts, but the difference between kickoff returns and punt returns is apparently pretty big. All of a sudden, punt returners are at more of a premium (along with, perhaps, dedicated gunners) and kickoff return specialists are eliminated. Greg Schiano gave the idea to Goodell and it already looks like it will be a topic of discussion at the next Competition Committee meeting.

Since the kickoff line moved up five yards, most of them are touchbacks anyway. I haven’t fully thought this one out, but I’m not opposed to it as yet. Your opinions in the comments.

ROOKIE WALL: Doug Martin insists that just because his production has been down for the last two weeks, he has still not hit any rookie wall.

“That stuff about the rookie wall, I don’t feel that at all,” Martin said this week as he prepared for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. “My body feels great and my mind is clear.”

Greg Schiano said he wanted to be a running team, and Martin made spectacular run after spectacular run on national TV and took the football world by surprise. No one expected a rookie to perform like he did. So now teams are concentrating on stopping him. Add that to worse offensive line play over the last couple weeks and you have lower running back production. This isn’t hard to figure out.

SIGN FREEMAN NOW: While I’m not necessarily as emphatic about it as he is, I agree with just about everything Tom Jones says here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to drink some bleach.

REAR ENTRIES: All Martin All The Time

November 09, 2012 at 12:32am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

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MARTIN GETS POTW: I don’t think there was much doubt, but Doug Martin was named the NFC’s Player of the Week last week for his performance against the Raiders. Expect another one of those this season. The award comes with a plaque, a ham, and exclusive use of the peephole into the cheerleaders’ locker room. A step stool will be provided for Martin so he can use it.

MUSCLE HAMSTER: Martin’s “Muscle Hamster” nickname is a really, really bad nickname. And yet, somehow, I still like it better than the standard abbreviation bullshit like “D. Mart” or “D.M.” because it’s at least original and I’m pretty sure he didn’t give it to himself. You have to earn a nickname or at least be given it early in life, which is why this suggestion box for Martin’s new nickname is just as dumb. Gary Shelton did a whole article on Martin’s nickname and gave some suggestions of his own. Go ahead and guess if they all sucked.

Dougie Fresh?

Skid Marks Martin?

The D-Train?

Doug E. Fresh is already a person and is known as the Human Beatbox (a nickname he EARNED, by the way). The D-Train is too much like the A-Train. And if anyone calls Martin “Skid Marks”, Martin should punch them in the fucking teeth. That’s just awful.

Rollin’ Martin.

Swoosh Martin.

The Martin Chronicles.

“Rollin’” is a bad nickname when the rest of your team is being busted for pot. “Swoosh” would be okay if Nike paid him to call himself that. And “The Martin Chronicles” would be brilliant if only he was an English teacher and not a football player. So close.

Deacon, Too Tall, White Shoes, Mean Joe, Sweetness… these are nicknames. But for now, do you know what I call the Buccaneer running back getting 200+ yards per game? Sir. I call him sir.

JOSH FREEMAN IS A GOOD FRIEND: And just because he knows Martin hates the nickname, Josh Freeman makes sure to rub it in.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Freeman said smiling. “I would say that I have a number of close friends and family members who somehow dig up these awesome muscle hamster pictures on the internet and they send them to me and I just so happen to show them to Doug.”

Yes, quite a funny joke. “Hey Josh, did you see how I just whiffed on that blitz pickup? Wasn’t that funny?”

Freeman calls him Dougie Fresh, by the way. Which is why he should stick to throwing the ball.

REAR ENTRIES: Redskins And Running Backs

August 29, 2012 at 11:06am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

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BUCS FACING RAHEEM TONIGHT: This entry was going to be about how Raheem Morris will be facing his old Buccaneers for the first time and how his current Redskins should enjoy that charisma and amped up feeling while it lasts because getting slapped on the back and told inappropriate jokes by your boss gets old fast, but then I read the intro paragraph.

DULLES, Va. — A flat screen television at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant just outside the nation’s capital was tuned into the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where Mitt Romney had just been pushed over the top with enough delegates to earn his party’s nomination for president.

And then the next paragraph does not provide any segue or context to that statement. It just kind of hangs there like a pants leg stuck outside the drawer. Is Rick Stroud a Republican who wanted to work Romney’s name into an article? Is he a Democrat who wanted to associate Romney’s name with something pointless? Or is this article an homage to Raheem and his ADD-style of public speaking? If I thought that was really what it was, I’d send Stroud a congratulatory greeting card because that would make it the most awesome thing ever. Sadly, I think it’s just bad. Hell, even Florio has transitions in his paragraphs, as tortured and meandering as they may be. And given the choice between him or this thing in the Raheem article…

Nah, I’d still rather have this. Florio is unforgivable.

MOST VALUABLE BUCS: Tom Jones took a break from lounge singing and wrote an article about the five Buccaneers that the team can least afford to lose. It’s not a surprising list, but I really don’t have any issue with it except maybe Vincent Jackson, who we haven’t seen play in a regular season game yet and can’t really determine how valuable he is. Instead of Jackson, I might even put Connor Barth on there. No one is predicting the Bucs to blow anyone away this year, so field goals are probably going to be the difference between winning and losing in several games. The Bucs need a reliable kicker to salvage some points out of stalled drives, and as we’ve seen, you can’t just pull someone off the street to do it. Unless the guy you pull of the street is Connor Barth, who no one had heard of until Mark Dominik found him in Kansas City’s scrap heap and signed him just to get people to stop talking about Mike Nugent.

BLOUNT GETS BUMPED: It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Doug Martin finally passed LeGarrette Blount on the depth chart. Greg Schiano practically told us to expect it months ago. But Schiano says the chart isn’t written in stone.

“It doesn’t mean that that’s it,” he said. “As I’ve told them, ‘It could go the other way if you outperform (Martin).’ We don’t hand out jobs and sign them over. It’s always competition around here, continually. I think Doug’s done a great job and that’s why he’s got the No. 1 seat. But he’s got to work to keep it.”

Looking at the preseason games objectively, Martin did better than Blount. And while he may not be the starter, but Blount will get his carries. Blount may have his drawbacks, but he has experience and he can break big runs and it seems like the era of the workhorse back is dead so you need two starting-caliber backs to play these days. Even if he never starts a game this season, there will be a highlight reel play from Blount this season. Count on it.

One more thing, if you live in the Atlanta area, throw a quick comment up on this entry and let me know. Just trying to get a feel for how many of us there are. Thanks.

Bucs Beat AFC Champs!*

August 27, 2012 at 03:47pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

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* may not mean as much now as it would have in February.

NFL Network finally broadcasted the Bucs/Pats game Sunday afternoon after airing a couple other games twice (#BuccaneerConspiracy) so I got around to watching it last night. I came away much more impressed with many aspects of the team, obviously concerned about some others, and disgusted at the amount of cheering Pats fans there were in the stands.

Losing Davin Joseph for the year is huge. Like, super huge. It may be the biggest loss the team could have, and I’m including Josh Freeman. There was so much hinging on the run game this season and Joseph and Carl Nicks were going to be those bookend guards to give Doug Martin the cracks he needed to break his big runs. I assumed Ted Larsen would be the starter in Joseph’s place, and that would have been a big step down. Larsen is good, but he’s not at Joseph’s level. But now Greg Schiano is saying that they’re going to try a few different things out. No one else on the roster is any better than Larsen, so that probably means he’s going to see who gets cut this week and bring in a couple guards to compete with Larsen to start.

You may object to me saying that Joseph is a bigger loss than Freeman would have been, but have you seen anything from Freeman this preseason so far that makes him stand out? Several passes off-target, a seemingly rebellious refusal to run when there are yards and yards of green in front of him, just doesn’t look sharp. He had a couple good passes Friday, but just not sucking isn’t enough. Not for a fourth year franchise quarterback. Dan Orlovsky has been more precise with his throws and more productive. I’m not advocating for Orlovsky to be the starter and I recognize that Freeman is generally playing against better competition than Orlovsky, but Freeman should be clearly better than him at this stage, and he’s not.

Doug Martin has Emmitt Smith-type balance. You see it in just about every run. No defender is going to bring him down with an arm tackle or by throwing themselves at his feet. He can spin and twist and stumble but his knee never touches until he gets hit squarely. He’s a living weeble.

It was good to see Vincent Jackson catch some balls and be a big part of that first drive. He is as advertised and that’s good because he’s going to need that big radius to catch some awkward balls if the offensive line isn’t going to give the quarterback the time he needs to step up.

Speaking of which, is it just me or did Donald Penn look sluggish? Seems like he got pushed around some on Friday. He definitely let Chandler Jones get inside him on the play where Joseph as injured. Not that it’s Penn’s fault or anything, but Penn allowing that kind of pressure is unusual.

Though I wasn’t keeping an exact count, I do remember a lot of bullshit penalties, too. False start, delay of game, illegal formation… all useless penalties. It may be a useless statistics, but it can’t be helping.

I don’t know what happened to Preston Parker during the offseason to make him not be able to hang onto a punt, but he should not be allowed to field punts ever again. If the Bucs keep six receivers and ditch Arrelious Benn, he will probably stick. But guys on the back half of the roster need to be able to do something on special teams and his value is declining quickly if he can’t field punts.

Someone said something during the broadcast about Dallas Clark not being able to block. I saw him block a couple times and he was fine at it. No pancakes or anything, but the guy he was blocking got moved away from the flow of the ball. That’s all they need him to do.

Both Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn got tweaked during the game and left early. Still, the defensive line showed some life with Michael Bennett and Roy Miller. Beyond that, despite the numbers, the depth on the line gets pretty thin. The Bucs will be scouting for this position as well this week, and if they don’t find anyone they like, guys like Wallace Gilberry and E.J. Wilson will be getting roster spots, which seemed incomprehensible last year.

The Patriots ran for 168 yards with an average of 5.4 YPC. That’s a lot — in fact, it’s more than Freeman’s yards per attempt. It didn’t actually seem that way during the game since Adam Hayward and Lavonte David were always around the ball, Hayward especially making some big plays. And Mason Foster, the starting MLB, wasn’t playing. Jeff Demps did his share to boost their average with a 29-yard run and that was against backups, so maybe it isn’t as the stats. But I’ve got a real feeling that teams are going to test the Bucs’ run game early in the season. They’ve got a reputation of giving up a lot of running yards, and until they prove everyone else wrong in a regular season game, that’s going to be the assumption around the league.

One factor other teams will have to consider now is Mark Barron. He can flat-out hit. He’s been equally impressive in run support and pass coverage and has shown so far that he was worthy of the #7 overall pick. If the Bucs can have a true intimidator patrolling the secondary like they did when John Lynch was around, they’ll get part of that nasty edge back that they had all those years ago. Barron might be that guy.

The last preseason game is Wednesday night. My DirecTV schedule says it will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet, channel 642. We’ll see if that actually happens, but hopefully I’ll be able to review the game less than a week after it happens this time.

REAR ENTRIES: Poor Rookies

August 15, 2012 at 03:52pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

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BUCS LOOKING AT DEMPS: Former Gator Jeff Demps is back from the Olympics with his silver medal in hand, ready to get back to the business of football. And the Bucs are interested.

“I’ve spoken to the Bucs,” [agent] Rose said, “but there are a lot of other teams interested. He’s not committed to any team yet. He just got off the plane. But Tampa Bay would be a great fit. We’re going to let it play out and he’ll be somewhere soon.”

According to Pewter Report, the Bucs would like to use Demps as a slot receiver, running back and kick returner. He was used mostly as a running back at Florida and had excellent averages throughout his career. Demps is fast — big time fast — but I honestly don’t see him making a huge impact at the NFL level. And that’s not an anti-Gator bias talking (for that, wait until the college games start). And if the Bucs were to bring him on as a slot receiver, who do you cut to make room for him? Let’s say they keep five receivers. Jackson, Williams, Underwood, Parker, Stroughter, Benn… there’s six right there that are all better receivers than Demps. It’s not all about speed in the NFL.

GAME VS TITANS BLACKED OUT: Even though the percentage of tickets sold to lift the local blackouts has been reduced to 85%, that still wasn’t good enough to get the game against the Titans televised this Friday. Which is fine since most people would have left the game at halftime anyway. Let’s just make an agreement to all watch the NFL Network broadcast of the game and we’ll talk about it then.

ROOKIES ARE FUN TO MESS WITH: The Bucs will celebrate the last day of training camp with a rookie talent show because nothing says “Welcome to the team” like public humiliation.

Rookies will be asked to perform a talent show for the veterans and coaches. Rookie running back Doug Martin said the group has a skit or two prepared for the show.

“And I can dance, but I don’t know if I’ll have to do that or not,” Martin said.

Well, now he will. And if it’s anything like a fraternity hazing, hide the brooms. Trust me on this.

Bucs Win First Game Since Last October

August 13, 2012 at 11:56am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

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I finally got a chance to see the Miami preseason game last night since NFL Network insisted on waiting until yesterday morning at 7:00AM to air it for the first time. Add to that the fact that every single write-up about this game focused on the Dolphins with barely any analysis of Tampa Bay and my theory that there is an anti-Buccaneer conspiracy within the NFL starts to make sense. Someone call Jesse Ventura and tell him to get on this.

* Josh Freeman looked pretty sharp, but Dan Orlovsky was on fire. Every pass was on target and his 100% completion rate showed it. He’s really one of the only guys I have to make fun of this season, so if he keeps doing well this preseason, it’s going to really screw me over.

* Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan were making a point with his play calling. This is a running team and they run when they feel like it. The Bucs ran the ball 34 times and passed it 24. They only got 2.5 yards per carry, but a lot of that had to do with the poor run blocking in the second half. Michael Smith had nowhere to go. But when the starters were in (sans Donald Penn), LeGarrette Blount looked great. One time he was even split out at receiver. Some backups came in and Doug Martin also looked good with a sweet ten yard run showing off his balance.

* Speaking of Michael Smith, his kickoff return for 74 yards was a great display of vision and body control, but I thought he was supposed to be the fastest guy on the field. He got chased down from behind. Here’s a tip: If your greatest asset is your speed, you are not allowed to get chased down from behind.

* Luke Stocker‘s one catch was super sweet and was a great example of the kind of play he can make when they need him to. Between two defenders and behind him, Stocker still snagged it. Go Vols.

* Tiquan Underwood caught all three passes thrown his way, including one that never should have been thrown. The Miami safety should have had that pick, but Underwood kept his eyes on the ball and came down with it when everything shook out. Awesome concentration and hands.

* In the middle of my typing this review, the Bucs defense was called for another offsides penalty. Schiano isn’t going to stand for penalties, especially bullshit ones that are totally avoidable like offsides. Some dudes are going to be running gassers today so they can remember to wait until the ball is snapped.

* Another avoidable penalty: Preston Parker‘s personal foul. It was a scrap with a Dolphins player and might have been overlooked if he hadn’t muffed that punt. Stars can get into fights and get flagged and get away with it. Guys who drop footballs can’t.

* I think the Bucs had more big plays during this game than they did in the last ten games last season.

* Lavonte David is fast. Did you see him make that tackle on punt coverage? He got down there before the ball did.

* Adrian Clayborn is so fast off the ball. He didn’t post any stats in the game, but he’s going to be tough to block this season.

* Myron Lewis started the game but looked hesitant and lost. I’ve heard good things about him in camp, but he was invisible during the game. I’m guessing this is his last chance with the Bucs and he may not survive the cut to 53. But at least he’ll have one more chance with the Redskins when Raheem Morris convinces them to pick him up.

* But Anthony Gaitor looked great. Passes broken up, solid tackling, tight coverage. It’s not even a contest right now if the decision is between Lewis and Gaitor.

* Mason Foster had three tackles and played for less than a quarter. There is a new dedication to stopping the run and it looks like Foster is going to be leading that charge.

I thought it was an impressive showing and a great indication of the direction the Bucs are headed. Your impressions in the comments.

Depth Chart Released

August 07, 2012 at 03:07pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Blount will be fine as long as he has someone to jump over.
The Bucs released their first depth chart today, and it’s pretty much what everyone thought it would be, with a couple exceptions.

LeGarrette Blount is listed ahead of Doug Martin at tailback despite all the reports that Martin is the presumed starter for the season. Blount has reportedly been performing well this camp and has had an excellent work ethic, but Martin is also impressing and has a wider skill set. I’d still expect Martin to take the first snap of the first regular season game, but maybe the reps will be split more evenly than originally thought.

Tiquan Underwood is still listed behind Arrelious Benn even though Underwood has been the surprise of camp so far.

Amobi Okoye is listed as a backup to Gerald McCoy and not at nose tackle, which is incredibly smart. Okoye isn’t a nose. I didn’t Brian Price was a nose, either, and that’s why I was worried the Bucs would try to shove him in there where he doesn’t fit. Kind of like when I was in Bangkok and… you know what? I’ve said too much already.

REAR ENTRIES: Back In Pads

July 30, 2012 at 10:45am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

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MARTIN IN THE LEAD: According to the Times, who had more hedges in their statement than field at Sanford Stadium, Doug Martin is in the lead for the role of starting running back. Martin is taking starting reps in practice and gets more of them than LeGarrette Blount. All of this should surprise absolutely no one. When you trade up into the first round for a new toy, you want to play with it right away.

FUMBLE!: Sunday was the team’s first day practicing in pads, so there was going to be some hitting going on. During one of the team drills, Mossis Madu fumbled the ball. And if it’s one thing Greg Schiano won’t tolerate, it’s fumbling. And everything else he doesn’t like.

“We certainly have a ton of stuff we have to work on. It was sloppy. But I think every time you add a different variable to the equation, you’re going to get a little bit of that. So we add the pads, we add contact, you start thinking about some of those contact related things and you start messing up your assignments or you jump off-sides.

“Penalties, missed assignments. We had one ball come out, which that just can’t happen. A ball carrier can not put the ball on the ground, period.”

Madu’s head has been stuffed and mounted in the team cafeteria as a reminder to the rest of the players to hold on to the football.

JACKSON GETTING HIGH MARKS: The guys at Pewter Report are good at spotting the little details at camp that most of the other publications miss. In one of their camp articles, they gave the most effusive praise to Vincent Jackson that I’ve seen in a long time.

There’s nothing Jackson does not do well. From route running to catching to blocking – Jackson is heads and shoulders above the rest of the receiving corps.

His work ethic is just as impressive as his playing ability.

In blocking drills, Jackson was impeccable;

Not bad. But Jackson is going to have a lot of attention on him this season, so the other receivers really have to figure out how to get separation and take and take advantage of all the coverage flowing to Jackson. PR says Mike Williams isn’t looking so hot yet and, of course, Arrelious Benn is out for a while. But, as everyone has been doing this offseason, they give high marks to Tiquan Underwood. If things continue this way, do not be surprised to see Underwood overtake Williams for the #2 receiver slot. Schaino will not hesitate to reward consistency with playing time. Being from Rutgers doesn’t hurt Underwood’s chances, either.