TAMPA, FLA (WFLA)- In Monday’s exclusive News Channel 8 ‘Koetter’s Korner’ intervew, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Dirk Koetter, stood by his decision to leave running back, Doug Martin, out of the lineup in Saturday’s 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The decision came as a shock to Bucs fans before the game and was explained during a pregame radio interview as a “coach’s decision” by general manager, Jason Licht. After the game, Koetter confirmed the decision, saying running back, Jacquizz Rodgers, gave the Bucs a better chance to win. Rodgers carried the ball 15 times for 63 yards and scored a touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
On Monday, Koetter said he was not out to create confusion. Rather that Martin became a victim of numbers when it came to special teams. Running backs Peyton Barber and Charles Sims both play on punts and kickoffs. Heading into the Saints game, the Bucs had four healthy running backs. Usually, three make the game day depth chart.
If Martin’s performance as a runner comes into play, the entire Bucs running game must be in question. With 32 more attempts than Rodgers, on the season, Martin is averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Rodgers is higher at 4.3 yards per carry. In past weeks, Koetter has pointed out the danger in just looking at that statistic, noting a number of goal line situations where Martin showed the power and form that landed him a new contract during the off-season. But, the Bucs rushing attack only ranks 22nd in the NFL. And the overall average of 3.5 yards per carry paints a picture that involves injuries on the offensive line as well as games where passing was more effective or necessary.