Week one of the NFL season is just about here, finally. The Jets return to action this weekend against the Tampa Bay Bucs from Met Life Stadium. The road to MetLife Stadium begins. Saturday morning, we will have a full game preview from our good buddy JETSerious. Today, I have some early thoughts on the upcoming centering on guy. This player is the Tampa lead running back, and stopping him will be one of the major keys to an opening day win.
That player is Doug Martin.
Martin took the league and his team by storm in 2012, earning the starting RB job from LaGarrette Blount. He made the use of all of his opportunities, rushing the ball 319 times for 1,454 yards, 11 TDs, and 4.6 average yards per carry. Here are some highlights of Martin from last year:
Doug Martin is the type of running back that has given the Jets fits in the past. He has a combination of power and speed that makes life tough for the Jets, as it has done already with the likes of Darren McFadden.
Martin can run around you, or go through you. He has a terrific burst of speed, is adept with the “stiff arm”, and has great balance. Doug makes people miss, and doesn’t slow down after contact, with the ability to rack up yardage after contact. Martin is tough.
The big test will be on the Jets’ defensive front seven. First will be on their ability to tackle. Look at the tape. If you get your hands on this guy, you had better wrap him up and bring him down, or he is going to break out and put up many extra yards on you. His deft balance allows him to rebound from hits as well as anyone in this league. The ability to tackle will be under scrutiny on Sunday. Finish this guy off when you get to him or he is going to burn you.
The secondary key to stopping Martin is one that the Jets’ have had difficulty with over the past couple of years. That is the ability to keep assignments and contain on the outside. Too often have the Jets’ defenders been sucked into the middle of the offense, leaving running lanes on the outside for speed backs. Allow this to happen and Doug Martin will have his way with the Jets’ defense.
This will be a huge test for guys on the outside, such as Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace and Garrett McIntyre. These guys, among others, must keep their assignments on the outside in order to limit Martin’s explosiveness. It could be a long afternoon if they don’t.
What do you think are some of the keys to the game on Sunday?