If the Buccaneers have decided what it is they plan to do with running back Doug Martin they aren’t saying. At least not publicly.
Neither general manager Jason Licht nor coach Dirk Koetter would hint at their plans during the NFL Scouting Combine last month and they didn’t hint at them during the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix this week either.
Koetter did, however, reveal one concern he does have regarding Martin and it’s tied more to what’s left of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy than it is his drug dependency issue.
Martin still must serve three games of that four-game suspension and while visiting with reporters at the NFC Coach’s Breakfast at the owner’s meetings on Wednesday, Koetter said that creates a scheduling problem.
“I’m a Doug Martin fan, but when you know you’re not going to have him for three weeks, how do you do the reps?” Koetter asked rhetorically.
It’s a good question but if that is really the greatest concern the Bucs have going forward with Martin then it would seem the two parties are back in a pretty good place.
We don’t know that for sure, of course, but keep in mind that Martin won’t be allowed to be a part of the team for those three weeks so the Bucs will do what all teams do in situations like these and treat it as if Martin is injured.
Now, the bigger question is, how do the Bucs handle the distribution of practice reps in training camp? There, too, this shouldn’t be that much of a concern, particularly if the Bucs project Martin as their lead back.
If that’s the case then they can give Martin his usual workload and give a few more reps to the second and third backs on the depth chart, with those on the back end suffering the loss.
That’s how the reps usually go anyway, and something to keep in mind here is that the Bucs have never made much use of Martin during the preseason anyway, especially during games.
So yes, there is math problem to be worked out here, but it’s hard to imagine the Bucs will let Martin go simply because they’re a little unsure of how to dole out the reps in offseason workouts and training camp.
If that proves to be the case, then you can probably bet that a decision what to do with Martin was made weeks ago and that they never really had any intentions of bringing him back in the first place.