Leaner Doug Martin thriving for Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. -- If Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin looks a little faster this preseason, it’s because he is.

Martin and Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter revealed Wednesday that Martin has trimmed down. Martin said his weight is between 205 and 208 pounds, even though he’s listed at 223 on the team’s official roster. Martin said he played at 215 pounds in recent years.

“You can’t run as fast when you have more weight," Martin said. “I got a little leaner and I got a little faster."

The weight loss was a conscious choice. Martin has had two disappointing and injury-filled seasons after rushing for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012. The Bucs declined to pick up the fifth-year option (for 2016) on Martin’s rookie contract, and he admitted that was part of the reason for his weight loss.

“I wouldn’t say a wake-up call," Martin said. “I’m not going to lie. That’s something that’s in the back of my mind. I can’t let it creep up to the front because that’s something that’s going to distract me."

Martin said losing the weight wasn’t easy. But the results have been positive. Martin rushed for 59 yards on six carries in Monday night’s preseason victory against Cincinnati.

“I did have to watch my diet," Martin said. “I couldn’t eat the foods I wanted to eat -- Chinese, pizza and all that stuff. I had to change my diet a little bit. I definitely wanted to shed the weight but keep my power as well."

Koetter said Martin’s weight loss has been a positive.

“When we had Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, Maurice could bulk up as high as 235 in the offseason," Koetter said. “But Maurice’s prime playing weight was between 208 and 212. Doug’s a powerful guy to begin with, but he got his quickness back. He has unbelievable confidence right now."

But Koetter said the weight loss isn’t the only thing that’s helping Martin thrive.

“The other thing is, if you watch the guy practice out there, he’s finishing every play like a wild man," Koetter said. “We’re constantly telling our guys, 'Finish, finish, finish.' That’s coach speak. Watch the practice sheet of Doug Martin. We do these comment sheets after every practice and I’m going, 'Nice finish, (No.) 22. Nice finish, 22.' That’s on my sheet about 50 times a day."