Doug Martin’s Time to Shine – or Not

Although he hasn’t generated much offense for the Raiders or excitement for Raider Nation in 2018, veteran running back Doug Martin takes over as the featured back for the injured Marshawn Lynch. 

Raiders running back Doug Martin has heard the narrative for several years now: Washed up. No more speed. Lost a step.

Throughout he’s remained positive and, with the unfortunate groin injury to regular starter Marshawn Lynch, Martin is going to get perhaps one last chance to prove he’s got more left in the tank.

Martin will be the featured back this Sunday as the Raiders host the Indianapolis Colts in a home game in Oakland. So far this season, Martin has played just 28 snaps with 27 carries for just 99 yards. He’s averaging 3.7 yards per carry in 2018 and his longest run was 15 yards against the Dolphins in a loss on the road in Week 3.

“I’m glad I get the opportunity,” Martin told the media on Thursday. “I’m 29 pushing 30, I signed here for a year so it’s definitely an opportunity to show the rest of the league and the Raiders and all my doubters I can still play.”

And Martin does have many doubters.

With the Raiders now in full rebuild mode, Martin can extend his career in the NFL and with Oakland should he show he still has some left. It will be difficult considering the current state of the Raiders offensive line and the team’s general malaise.

Austin Gayle, NFL Editor at Pro Football Focus, agrees and told us there’s nothing to suggest Martin can carry the load in Lynch’s absence.

“The numbers suggest that Martin will struggle behind the Raiders’ injury-plagued offensive line,” Gayle said. “Oakland running backs rank among the worst in yards earned before first contact this season, and that’s because of the poor offensive line play up front.”

PFF says Martin ranks 54th in the NFL in forced missed tackles per touch (0.07) so far this season, which doesn’t bode well for Martin as Gayle says he’ll have to force a lot of missed tackles to have any success moving forward.

So would the Raiders be well suited to instead shift the carries to Jelan Richard or DeAndre Washington?

doug martin oakland raiders“Yes, I’d say so,” Gayle said. “Both backs have had a lot more success running through early adversity and contact in their careers. And both backs are better pass-catchers. If I prepared a game plan for Indianapolis, Jalen Richard would have more than double the touches of Martin.”

Can Martin prove the numbers and the majority of folks who doubt him wrong?

When asked if he hears his doubters who think he doesn’t have the ability he did earlier in his career, Martin was coy.

“I’ll keep that to myself,” Martin said. “I still have a lot of miles left on these wheels.”

Jon Gruden must agree. Martin will have the next eight weeks to show his assertion is true.