Found May 30, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
TAMPA, Fla. They never seem too distant, one running back entering a new career phase and the other beginning his. Doug Martin, after a stellar rookie year, is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers future at the position. But he sees parts of himself in rookie Mike James.That is why Martin is quick to offer praise for the Miami product, taken in the sixth round, 189th overall, when given the chance. These are early days of relationship building between draftees and their teammates, a time when advice is given and impressions are made. Growth happens.Late Wednesday morning, Martin stood near a practice field after an OTA session at One Buc Place and considered his evolution. A year ago, Martin lived James situation, fresh out of Boise State as the 31st overall pick. He became one of the NFLs most prolific rushing talents, earning 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries.He matured into an answer. Now, Martin is eager to help with any questions.Hes a good guy, Martin said of James. Hes a smart guy as well. I know exactly what hes going through, because I was in that position last year. I know hes in that playbook, trying to learn. Im out there helping him out.James selection, as it relates to Martin, stands as a contrast to another Tampa Bay draft choice: quarterback Mike Glennon, a third-round pick (73rd overall). Many outside the region view Glennon as a threat to starter Josh Freeman. Coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik, however, have said this is the incumbents team. There is little reason to think Freeman will lose his job this fall if he stays healthy.Still, perceptions (false or not) take on their own life in a high-speed age. Assumptions involving quarterbacks have a long existence. This development is not exclusive to the Bucs, see: Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre with the Green Bay Packers or Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez with the New York Jets. Post-draft controversy is predictable. It will occur again.Yet for many reasons, James selection is seen as a benefit for Martin. The two players are similar in their demeanors: humble, soft-spoken, committed to improve. It is easy to picture their working relationship growing into a scenario that enhances both.Theres always room to improve, Martin said. Stats are stats. Well see this season, and hopefully, if I step my game up, then Ill increase those stats.There is room for him to do so. Martin hopes to improve as a pass catcher and fine-tune his route-running skills. As part of an offense last year that averaged 24.3 points per game (13th overall), he finished third on the team with 472 yards with one touchdown on 49 catches.His vision as a rusher is there, advanced for a 24-year-old. Now, he can work to become more dynamic.I wouldnt say (it was) exactly a surprise, Martin said, smiling, when asked if his rookie production caught him off-guard. I was very grateful for the opportunity the coaches gave me. I was starting. I just went out there and worked my butt off, and the rest is history.Now he can work for the future. On Wednesday, when asked how he plans to build on his sophomore campaign, Martin said, I had a good season, a great season, last year. And I just want to get better all-around.This is a personal challenge, but part of that responsibility will fall on Schiano and his staff. Martins task ahead is two-fold: (a) Gain a deeper grasp of his role from running backs coach Earnest Byner and (b) preserve his health. Along the way, he can be a giver and mentor James. Along the way, he can become more complete."Oh, man, the talent's amazing," James said, shortly after drafted. "You've seen the games. It's amazing. I'm just glad to be a part of it. I'm just happy to be a part of it."That enthusiasm is similar to what Martin lived last spring. Unlike the strange tension following Glennons selection, James arrival offers positives: A chance for Martin to grow in a different way, as a mentor, as a guiding presence without the chatter that lingers for Freeman when Glennon is discussed.Granted, the quarterback and running back positions in the NFL are different beasts. The spotlight is hotter behind center. Still, the contrast is revealing.Look, we know what he can do, Schiano said of Martin. It isnt like hes a rookie, and were trying to figure it out. So weve got to make sure that we get him ready to play. Dont take it for granted that hes going to be the same guy, because none of us are. But once he has shown that hes ready, then weve got to make sure we get him to game one and all the rest of our games healthy.All part of Martins evolution. All part of growth in the game.You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at

Report: Bucs violated OTA rules

A reporter claims that the Buccaneers may have run afoul of the current collective bargaining agreement that prohibits contact at Organized Team Activities.

Report: Spence will be the Bucs starting nose tackle

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik is on record saying he expects fourth-round draft pick Akeem Spence to start at nose tackle. Others have stated the Illinois product has a shot at cracking the starting lineup. But after some OTA practices, it seems he will in fact be the starter. In Scott Reynolds’ Fab 5 on, he writes that Spence will be the starting nose tackle...

Greg Schiano: ’99.9 percent of plays are permissible’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has responded quickly to an earlier report which claimed that the Bucs were engaging in contact with at their Organized Team Activities this past weekend. Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune told a radio station that ‘Greg Schiano is right on the border of getting investigated and possibly — I don’t know if they would fine him, I don’t...

Bucs safety arrested for public intoxication

Head coach Greg Schiano and the Bucs preach to players the importance of staying out of trouble off the field. With that said, safety Cody Grimm did not do himself any favors. In a report from the Washington Post late Tuesday evening, Grimm was in Leesburg, Va for public intoxication. We’re told that the 26-year-old Fairfax native, once a gridiron standout at Oakton High, was back...

Buccaneers safety Cody Grimm arrested again

Buccaneers safety Cody Grimm was arrested this weekend and charged with public intoxication at a hotel in Leesburg, VA, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. While only a misdemeanor charge, it could spell trouble for Grimm, who was locked up for the same exact charge in Christianburg, VA on March 10th. In that charge, he was given a deferred sentence, which means that the...

Bucs' Schiano disappointed after Cody Grimms arrest

TAMPA, Fla. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano expressed his disappointment for Cody Grimms arrest early Sunday morning, when the reserve safety was charged with public intoxication in Leesburg, Va. Speaking after the Bucs OTA session Wednesday, Schiano was brief in addressing the topic but said he continues to evaluate the situation. Im disappointed, Schiano said. Im still...

WR Steve Smith opts to retire after signing with Bucs in April

TAMPA, Fla. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Steve Smith has decided to retire, the team announced Wednesday. Smith, signed by the Bucs to a one-year deal in April as an unrestricted free agent, was a member of the New York Giants Super Bowl XLII championship team that ended the New England Patriots undefeated season. His best campaign came in 2009, when he earned his only Pro...

Ronde Barber joining FOX Sports

According to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Trubune, former Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber is joining FOX Sports now that he’s retired from the NFL. Ronde Barber joining FOX Sports in hybrid role per agent Mark Lepselter. Will likely do both game and studio analysis — Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) May 31, 2013 I’m sure his brother Tiki is quite jealous of him after his television...

Buccaneers WR Steve Smith retiring from the NFL

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced wide receiver Steve Smith has retired from the NFL following an injury-plagued career. Smith, a former Pro Bowler who helped the New York Giants win a Super Bowl, played six seasons in the league with the Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams. He was signed earlier this offseason by the Bucs as a free agent. A second-round pick in...

Buccaneers reportedly broke no-contact rule in OTAs

The Buccaneers have been intense under head coach Greg Schiano, but they may have taken it too far in OTA practice. According to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune claimed that contact was happening in the Buccaneers' OTA practices. For those of you that may not be familiar with the problem here, hitting in OTA practices is prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement, and...

If's, Shoulda's, and Coulda's may be the best indicator on Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 playoff chances

Die hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans will direct your attention to the 2010 season as the best Bucs season in the last decade. Most in the media have pointed out however that the season was only as good as its weakest link....the 'miracle wins' that Bucs fans didn't consider when trying to predict the 2011 season record. In 2010, the Bucs won 5 games by the slimmest of...

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.