Healthy again, Bucs' Doug Martin says 'I feel confident in my game'

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin feels rejuvenated this season. He already has 282 yards rushing, only 212 fewer than he totaled in 11 games last year.

"Last year, I was here with the injury bug, and I was never able to reach 100 percent," Martin said Wednesday. "But now that I am [healthy], I feel pretty good. I feel good, and I feel confident in my game."

Martin, 26, certainly has run with confidence early this season. His best moment came against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, when he rushed for a season-high 106 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. It marked just his third game of at least 100 yards rushing since the beginning of the 2013 season.

Martin enjoyed a fast start to his career, rushing for 1,454 yards and playing in the Pro Bowl as a rookie. But in 2013, he was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a torn left labrum in Week 7. Last year, he worked through knee and ankle issues.

In May, the Bucs declined to pick up his fifth-year option. Martin said his future is "just something that has to be dealt with on the business side."

But on the field, it appears the old Martin is back.

"If we talk about our football team, we haven't been consistent. Doug Martin, though, has," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "It's been pretty much the same type of play from him each week. In order for that to happen, you have to say that we've done some good things up on the line to have holes for a running back to be able to run. But his play has been consistent throughout. We will need that."

Martin is willing to provide more. He said he has felt comfortable since training camp.

"Obviously, it's a new season," Martin said. "A new season leads to a new year, and we have a great line. ... I'm going to do the things I've been able to do."

If he's able to follow through with that vision, good things should come for a Bucs offense still forming an identity with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Martin's consistency has become valued.

"He comes to work every day, he works hard, he finishes plays," offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. "He knows his assignments, runs really hard breaking tackles. ... Doug's one of the guys playing winning football for us right now."