Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2012

The Progression of Doug Martin

RSP blog contributor Nick Whalen did this analysis of Martin’s progression as an NFL runner just hours prior to his 251-yard explosion versus the Raiders.

Posted by: Matt Waldman on 05 Nov 2012

18 comments, Last at 09 Nov 2012, 8:55am by Bowl Game Anomaly


by BigCheese :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:19pm

Very interesting read.

But it did remind me of something I've always wondered. What's ISO stand for?

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:29pm

Iso is short for isolation, but I don't know why specifically there is a type of running play called iso.

by Anon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:59pm

I believe that the linebacker is isolated and blocked by the fullback.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 11:24pm

Yes codreect.

ISO short yardage play. Blocking assignments make Mike isolated. Fullback runs through A gap to knock that LB out. Tail back run behind fullback. If execusted properly play can spring for huge hardage

by jebmak :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:19am

I gotta admit, I'm surprised that this made it through the spam filter.

by Nathan :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 10:55am

"spring for huge hardage" should be Cialis' new tagline

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 3:15pm

Raiderjoe is immune to the spam filter, as are a number of other regular commenters, although apparently not me (frowny face).

Huge hardage indeed!

by Michael19531 :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:47pm

If I'm not mistaken,"Iso" plays were a staple of the great Niners offenses of the 80s and 90s. They called such plays "Bob", short for "Back on {line}backer."

Halfback Lenvil Elliot's running plays on the Niners famous drive vs Dallas in the 81 NFC Championship game were good examples of the BOB plays.

by akn :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 10:10pm

It's when the RB faces up against a defender and everyone else runs to the other side of the field to force a 1-on-1. Wait, what sport are we talking about?

by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:15pm

It involves a double team on at least one tackle. The idea being that you root the tackle out of the hole and the FB takes the Mike (middle) backer. Most double teams you see in the NFL are combo blocks where one of the blockers will 'climb' to the second level and take on a linebacker. The double team in iso plays stays on the block, making getting movement important. Effectively the play works by throwing the DT (or DTs) at the outside linebackers so they can't fill in time to make a stop and then when the FB picks up the Mike the RB should be able to pick up yardage. I have seen the play run with both DTs getting a full double team, ie six down blockers (5OL + 1TE) so one tackle and the TE pick up the DEs. As I say the OLBers are not blocked but with it being a quick hitting play and with traffic in front of them they shouldn't be able to get a stop. Best used in short yardage, one of my favourite plays on third and short or goaline plays, use it on Madden, convert your drives.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:36pm

I use it a lot in Madden, but I couldn't figure out how it differed from slams. Of course Madden being Madden means that doesn't really mean much.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:22pm

Remember to tell your o-line to pinch.

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:18pm

This is great. Now do slam, dive, wham, toss and stretch. I'm serious!

by Mike J (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 8:18am

I am a Bucs fan & got on the Martin bandwagon in January. He has said the pro game was somewhat too fast for him early on, but it has slowed down.I also think that at the beginning, Doug was trying too hard to follow his coaching--if the play was designed to run over right guard, that's where he went. In a fairly short time he learned to trust his vision & football instincts, for things like cutbacks and bounces.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:53pm

He's clearly slowed it down a bit and is showing a lot more patience. I also figure he's seen LeGarrette Blount run into the back of his own linemen enough times to where he's said, "You know, I probably shouldn't do that".

by JonFrum :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:29am

It's remarkable how often I've seen NFL backs do just that. Then a new RB gets the ball, and bounces and sidesteps around the first hit and goes for 5-10 yards. I'm thinking of the difference between a Green-Ellis and Ridley with the Patriots. Green-Ellis runs up guys' backs as if he's trying to push the pile. Ridley keeps bouncing and spinning.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:55am

Have you guys watch much Demarco Murray? He's made a style out of running into his own blockers before springing forward for 10 yards.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 8:55am

Fred Taylor once said if you think it's easy for RBs to find the right hole, try watching the play in fast-forward.