Jameis Winston defends running back Doug Martin

Jameis Winston hands off to Doug Martin
Gary Rahman, USA Today Sports

For the second consecutive week, Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin will be a healthy inactive as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers close out their season.

It’s an odd turn in a relationship that seemed to be going swimmingly when Martin signed a five-year, $35.8 million contract this past offseason. That came immediately after the running back tallied nearly 1,700 total yards during the 2015 campaign.

There’s no indication one way or another why Martin has fallen out of favor in Tampa Bay. He still has four years remaining on his deal and his cap hit for 2017 is the same as his salary. Short of something going horribly awry behind the scenes, it’s simply stunning Martin is currently in this situation.

One player that doesn’t understand this is Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who took to the media to defend his running back.

“I know we got a great franchise running back in Doug Martin,” Winston said Wednesday, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I’m not worried about his situation. I’m concerned about how can we improve, how can I get better, how can I help put this team in better situations to win football games when it’s time to win a playoff game. That’s what I got to focus on.”

Tampa Bay heads into Week 17 needing a miracle in order to make the playoffs. While that’s unlikely to occur, an otherwise surprising season has been somewhat marred by the Martin situation. If Winston doesn’t have any answers as the captain of the team, we’re unlikely to receive any answers from the organization any time soon.