This preseason, the combo of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin have seen a grand total of 6 snaps. Martin had four snaps in the preseason opener and Lynch had two. And neither dressed for their second preseason game last week against the Rams.
We knew the moment Marshawn was brought back that he would be the feature back. But when Doug Martin was signed, his status seemed up in the air. Not for Gruden, though. He saw all he needed to see in the offseason to tell him Martin is who he thought he was.
“I’ve seen a lot out of Doug since he’s been here,” Gruden said Monday. . . “we don’t really want to see those guys a whole lot to answer your question. We’ve seen a lot of them.”
In those six snaps to open the preseason, Martin saw one carry for three yards and Marshawn had his one carry — a nearly untouched 60-yard touchdown — called back by a Kolton Miller holding penalty. So, whatever hitting they have had happened in training camp practices.
The third preseason game is when the starters are supposed to play the most extensive snaps. Marshawn and Martin will play, but don’t expect either Marshawn or Martin to see much time.
“We had a good physical practice against Detroit and we’ve had some physical practices early in training camp, but I think we’ll get out here into this third game here, we’ll get those guys a chance to get hit,” said offensive coordinator, Greg Olson.
“I think you go throughout training camp and we do a lot of thudding, we do a lot of ball security drills offensively for the running backs, poking and prodding with different type drills, but until they get out on the field and actually get live contact, I think it’s a different mindset. So, we’ll get those guys some carries, get them a chance to get a couple of thuds and then we’ll get them out.”
It’s quite a vote of confidence for a guy like Doug Martin, who has averaged 2.9 yards per carry the past two seasons, to be treated as a sure thing. He has looked good in camp, but then again most running backs do when the defense isn’t allowed to take them to the ground. Whether Gruden is right to put such faith in him will have to wait until the regular season for proof.