With the San Diego Chargers coming to town and thus CBS handling the broadcast of Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium, studio analyst and former Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher was also in Tampa Friday to get an up-close look at one of the NFL’s rising teams.
Not to mention one of its rising stars. It’s clear that Cowher sees Bucs rookie RB Doug Martin in that category. In fact, the long-time Steelers coach thinks Martin fits the modern prototype for his position.
“He’s, I think, the new back,” said Cowher of Martin. “They’re small, they’ve got great balance and great vision, patient runners like Ray Rice.”
Two weeks ago, NFL Network color analyst Mike Mayock gushed that Martin reminded him of a mixture of Rice – the back Martin is frequently compared to thanks to their similar sizes – and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Cowher, who faced the great Dallas running back in Super Bowl XXX and on plenty of other occasions, apparently agrees with Mayock.
“When I first saw him I thought Ray Rice just from the standpoint of running low,” said Cowher of Martin. “He does have some Emmitt Smith in him because he kind of just glides. He’s got great vision and he’s got great patience. And just talking to him, he’s got a great smile. He’s a great kid. He’s a special back.”
Cowher interviewed Martin on Friday, along with Head Coach Greg Schiano, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and several others. During his talk with the rookie back, Cowher asked Martin how he learned how to play the game and what player or players he emulates, and says the answer surprised him. Tune in to the CBS pregame show NFL Today on Sunday to find out Martin’s answer.