New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick usually doesn’t go out of his way to praise a player on another team, but it’s special and worth noting when he does. Today, he praised a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back in LeGarrette Blount, whose presence on the team was made obsolete by the emergence of Boise State product Doug Martin.
The Buccaneers drafting of Martin was a steal, and Greg Schiano really wanted the Bucs to have a true three-down running back. Although he was too harsh towards Blount, you can’t exactly blame him for wanting to give Martin all the snaps. Martin is a true every-down back in this league with his incredible rushing ability, his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, and the way he is able to pick up blitzes. Pass pro and pass-catching have never been strengths of Blount’s, though I would say he is a bit better in pass protection than some people say.
Bill Belichick certainly knows that Doug Martin is an excellent three-down back, and here’s what he had to say about Martin, via CSNNE, ”He’s a good three-down player. There’s really no reason for him to come off the field skill-wise; it’s just a question of how they want to manage him. He can run, he can catch. He’s a good inside runner, good outside runner, can go the distance. Handles the ball well in the passing game. Good on blitz pickup. He can do it all.”
Martin can certainly do it all, and Belichick mentioned more than just his ability to combine effective rushing with good pass blocking and receiving. An elite running back like Martin has the ability to be explosive and break off big gains while also being able to pick up the yards needed in certain down and distance situations. The second sentence of Belichick’s quote about Martin not needing to leave the field is some good insight on how to view using running backs with Martin’s all-around ability.