Patriots look to contain Bucs' Martin

Patriots look to contain Bucs' Martin
September 19, 2013, 3:00 pm

FOXBORO -- Whenever the Patriots point out that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a better football team than their 0-2 record reads, they point to running back Doug Martin.

The second-year back out of Boise State isn't a big body. He's 5-foot-9, 215 pounds. Still, in his rookie season last year, Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

In his first two games this season -- both losses -- Martin has rushed for a combined 209 yards and a touchdown.

Needless to say, the Patriots will be fully aware of his presence on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

"He's a quick guy," said Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich on Thursday. "He can make a lot of plays out there, testing the edge and also inside. So I think as a defensive line, again, you've got to be strong on the edges, set the edge, and not let him be able to bounce the ball outside and make yards that way. It's a good challenge for us to just keep him contained and not let him run all over the place, because he is fast."

Ninkovich compared Martin to Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, who the Patriots held to only 41 rushing yards on 17 carries in Week 1.

"Similar styles, really quick," said Ninkovich. "He's a quick guy in space, so you want to keep him bottled up."

He said they've prepared for him in a similar fashion that they did Spiller.

"Similar, yeah, because you just don't let a guy like that hit the edge and get going," said Ninkovich. "You need to set up for him edge, and not have him just hit it running."

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount played with Martin last year in Tampa Bay, and understands the difficulty his own Patriots defense will be up against on Sunday.

"He did a lot of things last year that a lot of rookies didn't do," said Blount. "He's a really good player. He's a tough runner. Downhill, and he has really good balance. He's definitely one of their best weapons. It's going to be hard to contain him."