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Doug Martin benched for Week 17

After being a healthy scratch last week, Buccaneers tailback Doug Martin will watch the finale from the sidelines

Things are getting a bit puzzling down at One Buc Place. Last week’s benching of running back Doug Martin definitely raised some eyebrows, but many Buccaneers’ fans didn’t think too much of it. I mean, for a guy who signed a five-year, $35-million dollar contract during the off-season, not many believed that Martin’s job would ever be in jeopardy this season. Welp, think again.

You’re seeing the beginning of the end for Martin, who was second only to the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson in rushing for the 2015 season, and possibly his exit out of Tampa Bay. Yes, Martin has had a couple stellar seasons for the Buccaneers, which came in his rookie season and 2015. Other than those couple of seasons, however, what have the Buccaneers exactly gotten out of the supposed workhorse? A litany of injuries and inconsistencies at the running back position.

Just when you think Martin had finally put a stranglehold on the tailback spot, he relinquishes it to Jacquizz Rodgers, who the Buccaneers picked up off the street through free agency. Rodgers was a reliable back for the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and now as Tampa Bay’s head coach, he’s made the former backup a starter in a offense that has lacked a consistent running game all season long. One can argue that’s one of the many reasons why Tampa Bay’s offense hasn’t completely clicked like it did a year ago is because of the threat in the backfield with quarterback Jameis Winston.

One of of the next biggest questions for the Buccaneers’ front office is where do they go from here with the running back position? Do they release Martin? Trade him for draft picks? Do they re-sign Rodgers to a long term deal? Do they find a running back through the draft? There’s a lot of ways general manager Jason Licht can go, but there’s only so few answers that seem sensible.

What hasn’t made much sense this season is Martin’s lack of production at running back since he’s returned and what can he do to help the team moving forward? Apparently for now, sitting along the sidelines against the Carolina Panthers for Week 17 is what’s best for Martin helping Tampa Bay.

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