Bucs need to lighten Doug Martin's load

TAMPA, Fla. -- Doug Martin is on a pace that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to halt.

Through four games, Martin has 100 carries. Project that over a 16-game season and that's 400 carries. The NFL record for carries in a season is 416 by Larry Johnson in 2006, and that's not a record the Bucs should want to break.

Yes, the Bucs should be giving Martin a good amount of carries because he's one of the league's best running backs. But when you're talking about a 400-carry season, you're talking about the law of diminishing returns kicking in. You're talking about wearing a guy out.

When they come back from their bye week, the Bucs need to be a little more creative with how they use their other running backs and give them some of Martin's carries. Veteran Brian Leonard is a solid all-around back and rookie Mike James looked good in training camp and the preseason. The Bucs also recently added former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps.

The Bucs need to start giving Leonard, James and Demps a few more touches.