Two Pro Bowls, a First-Team All-Pro selection, 5,724 total yards, 28 total touchdowns, and yet, Doug Martin feels like he has something to prove.
The former No. 31 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ready to make an impact in his rookie season. Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns during his first NFL season, helping the team reach a 7-9 record.
Six years removed from his rookie campaign, Martin is approaching his first season with the Oakland Raiders the same way he approached the game as an athletic 23 year old.
“My approach is just basically I’m a rookie again,” he said Tuesday. “I have to prove to the team and the players, coaches that I can be useful on this team. Like I said, I just act like a rookie and go out and play. Play the game that I love.”
In the time he’s spent with the team, Martin has exuded a relatively calm energy, keeping his head down and going about his business. Quiet, and soft-spoken, he’s studied the offense, getting a feel for his new quarterback and offensive line; however, Derek Carr has been taking notes on his new running back as well.
“I feel like with running backs, you’re going to see the most out of them when the pads come on and everything we’ve seen of Doug is awesome,” Carr said. “You see why he’s an All-Pro. You see why he’s a 1,500-yard back. His work ethic is unbelievable. He finished a run to the end zone today and didn’t stop until he got there and then he ran back to make sure he’s getting even more in shape. It’s little things like that that show young guys, ‘Hey man, that’s how you do it.’”
“Doug’s a great player,” fullback Keith Smith added. “He’s a natural running back. You see him out there in OTAs and he moves like a running back. It’s like he was born to do it. It’s fun to have guys who have the experience and know what it feels like to have some success. Working towards that success in the offseason is exciting. We’ve got a nice little stable back there.”
Among his peers, Martin has already proved he’s capable of serving an important role on the team, but staying humble, and hungry, is what he’s focused on for the time being. As Carr mentioned, No. 28 put his work ethic on full display Tuesday during Day Four of the team’s Organized Team Activities [OTAs], he also showed off his skill set on a number of plays during practice.
With bruising running back Marshawn Lynch also in the fold, Martin will provide a dynamic running-style in his own right, with the two serving as a one-two punch. The former Boise State Bronco look forward to not only working with Beast Mode, but the Raiders offensive line as well.
“As a running back, you’d love to run behind them,” Martin said. “They’ve been doing an awesome job and they have been in the previous year. We just got two other big guys on the line, the rookies. They’re learning the play book and they’re going to come along real well.”
The Raiders will look to punish opposing defenses with a bevy of offensive weapons, and seeing how Head Coach Jon Gruden utilizes Martin peaks my curiosity. Regardless of how he’s used, the seven-year veteran is grateful for his opportunity with his hometown team.
“I just want to play for the Raiders and I want the Raiders to be successful,” he said. “Playing for my hometown and playing for my family that’s out here. Just show everybody that I can bounce back.”
Take a look at photos as the Raiders hit the practice field for Tuesday's organized team activity.