Doug Martin led the Raiders in rushing in 2018, and is back for this training camp, yet Martin, who has played seven seasons in the NFL and has two 1,000-yard seasons, will have a new role in 2019.
Martin, at age 30, will be fighting for a backup job while also serving as an instructor to rookie first-round pick Josh Jacobs, who is expected to be Oakland’s primary ball carrier in 2019.
Martin proved late in 2018 that he can still be effective, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, rushing for 723 total yards and four touchdowns and catching 18 passes. But with Jacobs and returners Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Chris Warren III all fighting for roster spots, Martin could even wind up as a roster casualty before the start of the regular season.
Still, Martin says he’s eager to help in any way he can.
"It’s not something I’m used to, but it’s something that I want to do," Martin told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. "I’ve been in the league for eight years. I’ve been through the whole spectrum of good to bad in this league, and if I can teach somebody, if I can teach Josh what to do, what not to do, how to stay in on the narrow patch and just keep his eye on the goal, then I’m here for that."
Jacobs, in fact, has been projected by some analysts to be one of the leading candidates for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
As Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group wrote recently, Martin’s experience could be a plus, and his performance last season may have earned him extra points in his fight for a roster spot for Game 1 of the regular season. But he’s not a lock.
His performance during training camp in Napa will be telling.
"Martin’s pretty close to a sure thing," wrote McDonald, "unless he puts the ball on the ground a few times in Napa."