Through the first two games, the competition, which made Around the League's Top 10 list of battles to watch this summer, was even. Blount started both games and had 41 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, as well as one reception for three yards. Coming off the bench, Martin had 44 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and one reception for seven yards.
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But then Martin got the start on Thursday night in the Bucs' 30-28 victory over the New England Patriots. Martin ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, caught three passes and is now tied for the team lead with four receptions this preseason. That and his ability to play all three downs have apparently earned him the starting job, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
"And I don't think he did anything (Friday) night that would say, 'Oh, that wasn't a good move.' I thought he ran the ball well and did some things well. So right now, he's got to continue on that course. He's learning every day. And he's a very open-minded guy. He wants to learn," Schiano said.
Martin earning the starting job does not come as a surprise. Schiano had said that he hoped his top three rookies would earn starting jobs this summer. Safety Mark Barron and linebacker Lavonte David already had, and with Martin, Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik have apparently gone three for three.