Dirk Koetter went to Jacquizz Rodgers down the stretch instead of Doug Martin. Should Rodgers see an increased workload, even with Martin back in the lineup?
By: Ed Greene
By: Andy Villamarzo
So Martin isn’t quite going off since he’s returned to the lineup back against the Chicago Bears, but you know what? Teams have absolutely respected the Buccaneers’ run game a lot just with him being in the backfield behind Jameis Winston. I mean we’ve got to think about it. What worked last season to give Tampa Bay a top 10 offense? Martin in the backfield and Jameis Winston being able to take advantage on play-action passes and connecting in the passing game just because defenses had to respect the possibility of the run. Yes, I know Martin’s output per game have not been too impressive at all. 33 yards against the Bears bumped up to 63 versus Kansas City and that went up to 87 yards rushing against a very good Seattle front 7 last week.
The Buccaneers have a dynamic tandem in Martin and Rodgers, but the coaching staff isn’t going to overreact because the latter of the backs had 29 yards off seven carries for a 4.1 average. I think Koetter should keep Rodgers to the amount of carries he’s getting now because he’s a very good complement and 3rd down option for the offense. Let’s face it, at the beginning of the season, that was the role Charles Sims was playing and Rodgers wasn’t even employed. Because of Sims being out due to injury, Rodgers has now become the switch up back to Martin and its created a steady balance in the run game. The workload should remain the same, however, as Martin needs the 20-plus carries to really get going. He’s the bell cow for the Buccaneers and reducing his touches to get Rodgers more just doesn’t make sense to me.
Let’s also not forget, Martin signed a big 5-year, $35.75 million dollar contract extension over the off-season and I’m sure the Glazers wouldn’t be so thrilled to see an investment being used as often as someone they picked up off of free agency during the season. There’s no way anyone in the front office or the coaching staff that could see the upside in regulating Martin’s touches, especially with the kind of money he’s making annually. We are talking about a guy that was second in the NFL in rushing from a year ago and got a big payday. Now since he’s healthy, the Buccaneers must make sure they get every carry they can out of Martin. No reason whatsoever to cut his touches for Rodgers to see more time.
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