I keep hearing about this Doug Martin fella. "He's sooooooo dreamy!" they say. "He's the 'Muscle Hampster'!" they say. "He likes cheese!" they say. "He's all that and a piece of cheese!" they say.
Well consider me a hater, because I'm not convinced. It's not that I don't think he's talented. It's not that I haven't been paying attention to his recent success. Simply stated, it's one of those stick-your-head-in-the-sand conundrums. If I pretend he isn't there, then maybe he will go away.
Martin will be the first running back Atlanta has faced this season that's been playing at an elite level for several weeks. The former Boise State standout has 1,019 yards from scrimmage over the last six games, helping him join Eric Dickerson (1983, Los Angeles Rams) and Edgerrin James (1999, Indianapolis) as the only rookies with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a six-game span.
Yikes. And it sounds like the Falcons' staff, Mike Nolan included, are impressed.
Here's the thing: Martin isn't doing this alone. In case you've been missing in action this year, Vincent Jackson is quite the vertical threat. To that effect, Josh Freeman has quite the arm. Combine the two and suddenly it's a really bad idea to load the box.
Martin did need some time to adjust. That is normal, most rookies don't come out of the gate in Pro Bowl form. Notwithstanding the slow start, he's averaging 5.1 yards/carry - not too shabby given that he averaged just 3.5 yards/carry (on 79 carries) in weeks 1-4.
Simply stated, he's a threat. That and our run defense is highly suspect. Could be a nasty combination, but still I'm confident we can pull out the W.