Doug Martin Compared to Ray Rice and Emmitt Smith, and More NFC South News

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterNovember 21, 2012

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

It's crazy to think about the success rookie running back Doug Martin is enjoying in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The Bucs moved back up into the first round to nab Martin and the move is looking genius as he's ranked third in the NFL in rushing with 1,000 yards and through 10 games is averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

But stat lines only tell part of the story. 

Former Tampa Bay ball carriers Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott and Earnest Graham shared their thoughts on Martin with the Tampa Bay Times.

Warrick Dunn

He's somewhere between an Emmitt Smith and a Ray Rice. I haven't seen a lot of him, but I've seen the highlights. He has really good balance, and a feel for finding the sweet spot at times, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's not the fastest guy, but he has the quickness that makes him dangerous. He has great upside.

Earnest Graham

I think he's dynamic. I've heard a lot of comparisons like Ray Rice. To me, he's a stronger, more physical version of Darren Sproles. I think he exceeds the escapability of Maurice Jones-Drew and Rice. His explosive ability is rivaled by few guys.

Mike Alstott

He's a good running back, he hits the hole with patience and makes his first decision. He doesn't dance. He'll start with 1-yard runs and then it's 3, 4, 5, and then he'll blow the game open. He plays bigger than his size. He's got (almost) 30 catches and 1,000 yards. He's been invaluable.

That's huge praise and respect from three guys who know everything about running the football in Tampa Bay.


Atlanta Falcons

With backup guard Joe Hawley suspended for four games, the Falcons announced the signing of Harland Gunn who will come in and provide offensive line depth.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes that the Tampa Bay offense will test Atlanta's porous run defense Sunday.


Carolina Panthers

The Panthers waivered kicker Justin Medlock on Tuesday and signed Graham Gano, according to the Charlotte Observer.

After some file study, the Charlotte Observer wonders if the Panthers have changed their run philosophy yet again.


New Orleans Saints

According to WWL-TV, getting linebacker Jonathan Vilma back has jump-started the Saints on defense.

The Times-Picayune scouts the San Francisco 49ers.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pewter Report has an article comparing the Greg Schiano era to the Tony Dungy era.

Adding Vincent Jackson via free agency and drafting Doug Martin was an effort to emulate the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s when they had their "Big 3" offense weapons of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. [Tampa Bay Times]