How does Doug Martin compare to other Buc backs?
He has only been in the NFL for 10 games but already the talking heads are comparing the Muscle Hamster (come on Doug, announce the new nickname!) to other Buccaneer backs from the history of the franchise.
Outside of reminding people about short term Buc heroes such as Nathan Wonsley, Thomas Jones and perhaps even LeGarrette Blount, it really is way too early to start making such comparisons. But when it is Thursday night and you have an editorial due the following morning, it is a decent enough subject to broach.
Martin became the 8th Buc back to have a 1,000-yard season last Sunday by hitting the mark exactly, although this raises an interesting point. If he loses a yard on his first carry and then rushes for six, does he reach that magical mark twice?
When it comes to the best Buc of all-time, there is no contest. James Wilder remains the leading rusher in franchise history and has the most receptions, He was also a great blocker and was about 40 pounds bigger than Martin too. If he had not been run totally into the ground by John McKay and Leeman Bennett, more people would be aware of the great No.32.
James is the nearest Buc I can compare Doug to though. In terms of size, Warrick Dunn is very similar but was only a lite-version (no pun intended) of the current No.22. A combination of Wilder and Dunn would therefore be the best comparison I would suggest to anyone looking back through the annals of Buccaneer backs.
Mike Alstott was of course a pure battering ram of a back and it sometimes surprises people to know he only had seven 100-yard games in his illustrious Tampa Bay career. Ricky Bell was a workhorse and a pretty decent receiver out of the backfield with nearly 300 receptions in an era when it was all pitch, dive and toss sweep in the Buccaneer backfield.
In terms of fan favourites, Cadillac Williams' career was of course hampered by the two terrible knee injuries but he remains the fourth leading Buccaneer rusher ever. Michael Pittman and Reggie Cobb follow him but neither would be considered great and any mention of Errict "Doctor" Rhett and his two 1,000-yard seasons are tempered by the ridiculous 1996 holdout that cost him his career.
I am not going to try and rank Doug anywhere compared to other Buc backs but I am concerned about burnout having seen what happened to Wilder during his career. But surely no coach could make a back carry the ball 407 times in a season and throw in 85 passes on top of that again.
But in terms of 10 game production, 1,000 yards is 1,000 yards and no-one can catch 22 right now. Good nickname that - Catch 22 - much better than Muscle Hamster eh Dougie?
You've been great, enjoy Talking Heads.