This morning I was watching ESPN’s Sportscenter to come down from the political haze that blanketed the country. Just when I thought the debating was over Adam Schefter said something that immediately made me reach for the old laptop:
“While Doug Martin has been sensational….Offensive Rookie Of The Year has to go to Andrew Luck. He’s been everything we expected from the number one draft pick.”
Ummm, excuse me?
Now I don’t often disagree with Schefter because, obviously, the guy does a remarkable job covering all things NFL; but to stop at Doug Martin just being sensational this year was the understatement of the season.
Let me give you a brief history lesson on why I think Doug Martin deserves the award if he keeps up at even 75% of the pace he’s on right now; for starters, lets consider that while Quarterback is the glamour position in the NFL, the award historically recognizes running backs because of the difficulty of that position and doing these kinds of things year one. At the halfway point in the season Martin is on pace to rush for 1,500 yards, 14 touchdowns, and close to 300 attempts. The last running back to have those numbers as a rookie was Clinton Portis in 2002.
This isn’t to say that Andrew Luck isn’t having a great first year. a 20 touchdown, 4,000 yard pace is nothing to shake a stick at. But the award, as I stated before, generally goes to the runner if they put up a spectacular season. Doug Martin is on pace to have the best statistical season for a running back in ten-years. He’s no Eric Dickerson, but he’s putting himself in some pretty impressive company for year one running backs and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The argument ultimately comes down to team records. While the Colts have overcome issues ranging from personnel being shipped out, Chuck Pagano’s absence while combating cancer, and players learning a system at key spots (including tight end, wide receiver, and defense), they’ve managed to put together a (5-3) first half. Impressive, for sure, but I still see the Buccaneers evenly impressive when you consider they too have a first year coach coming from college, their defense is atrocious (especially in the secondary), and after a (1-3) start they’ve gone (3-1) with Martin (along with Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson) right in the middle of things.
At the end of the day it may very well come down to a combination of numbers and their teams place in the standings. I feel that Indianapolis has the better chance of a record above .500 at the end of the season, but as far as offensive production I don’t see anyone outshining Martin as the season progresses. Keep an eye on him, folks.