Camp Battles: Blount, Martin dueling for first-team RB duties
With the arrival of coach Greg Schiano comes a run-first, ball control offense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During Schiano's final five seasons at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights registered at least 400 carries each season, and the running game accounted for 68.9 percent of the offensive snaps over that span.
One of the Buccaneers' first moves in the Schiano era was to use the team's second first round selection on Boise State running back Doug Martin, who had gained 1,200-plus rushing yards in each of his final two seasons with the Broncos. The pick led many to believe LeGarrette Blount's days in a Buccaneers uniform were numbered, but Schiano has kept the competition for the starting job open, and both backs have fought hard this offseason to win it.
The Buccaneers' seventh-round pick averaged 7.6 yards per carry in his only full season at Utah State. Like Martin, Smith is compact (5-foot-9, 205 pounds), and like Martin he has drawn early praise from the Buccaneers coaching staff. Oh yeah, he was reportedly clocked at a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash during Utah State's Pro Day.
Not because he's the odds-on-favorite, or because he looks more like a feature back than Blount ... nope, fantasy owners should pull for Martin because he probably can offer help in more areas. For his size, one would imagine Blount should have scored more than 11 touchdowns the past two seasons. Consider that Martin's touchdown ratio during his final three seasons at Boise State was one to every 13.9 touches.
Blount will find a role in Schiano's offense, but by the end of camp Martin will own Tampa Bay's starting job, and could own the hearts of fantasy owners.