Doug Martin is still going to be Tampa Bay's main running back, but he's going to have more help than in the past.
"I think you have to have a bell cow," coach Lovie Smith said during the NFL owners meeting earlier this week. "[Martin] is ours. At the running back position, there's enough reps to go around. We want three guys we feel comfortable with. Two will play but it's not a rotation that where every series we're going to have a different guy in there. No, we'll have a starter then we'll have a backup that will give him quality backup minutes."
The Bucs already have three guys they're comfortable with. Mike James and Bobby Rainey each got playing time when Martin was hurt last year and they played well. Although Smith already knows he will use a rotation, he isn't sure exactly how playing time and carries will be divided up. That will be decided in the preseason.
"In time, they'll tell us that," Smith said. "As a general rule, your starter will play the majority of the time. and if there's not a big separation between the two, that guy may get reps a little bit early. You look at the game. You look at whether a player has a hot hand that day. You take all that into consideration. But I think as you go into the game, you need to feel good that everybody that you have dressing, if you play them, you feel like you can win with them."