With Marshawn Lynch shelved on IR for at least eight weeks, the Oakland Raiders are turning to Doug Martin to replace Beast Mode on early downs.
On Wednesday, coach Jon Gruden labeled Martin a "feature back," noting the 5-foot-9 back should be the main fill-in for Lynch.
Thursday, the 29-year-old Martin said he believes he can be the same runner that blasted for 1,400 yards four seasons ago in Tampa Bay.
"With injuries and games that I wasn’t able to play in previous years, I’ve still got a lot of miles left on these wheels," Martin said, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Martin had an up-and-down beginning to his career, bursting on the scene as a rookie to go for 1,454 yards. He followed that up with two sub-500-yard seasons in which he missed 15 games total. He got back on track in 2015, going for 1,402 yards.
Since then Martin has not been good even when he’s on the field. The veteran especially struggled to fight through contact. He earned 2.9 yards per carry on 282 carries in 19 games combined in 2016 and 2017.
In six games behind Lynch in Oakland this season, Martin generated 99 yards on 27 carries (3.7 yards per carry).
Despite the struggles in recent seasons, Gruden remains enamored with Martin and will give him the first shot to take the bulk of the carries.
Given the rebuilding job going on in Oakland on both sides of the ball, however, expect pass-catching back Jalen Richard to play a big role moving forward, especially when the Raiders fall behind.
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