Give Martin his due

This game of football sure is a funny thing. <p> It is the only sport in which the storylines, and the public opinions on players, can change so dramatically, from week to week. <p>

If ever there was a case of overreaction, on the part of fans and media, it is in full effect across New York, where the hot topic this week has centered on the supposed downfall of Jets running back Curtis Martin.

The talk of Martin's diminishing skills stem from his performance in Washington (15 rushing attempts for 48 yards, 3.2 average), and because he recently turned 30 years old.

"I have had much worse games than this one (Washington) before in my career," said Martin.

Entering the second game of the season many are questioning what Martin has left.

This does not include people in the NFL.

"Curtis Martin is their man," said Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt. "When he is running well and clicking their offense is awful good.

" I have an awful lot of respect for Curtis. I think he is still one of the best backs in the league. He will be the first guy we look at when we go over the films this morning."

Perhaps Martin's performance in Washington was more a byproduct of the Jets offensive futility, or his lack of reps.

"Most running backs will tell you, that after their 16th or 17th carry of the game that is when they are feeling their best," said Martin.

Martin only ran the ball 15 times in Washington, and if you go by his previous statement, this was not enough carries for him to get into a groove.

His lack of reps in the first game might have deterred him from breaking any big runs, plays that could have possibly changed the course of the game.

"Sometimes the yardage doesn't even reflect the performance," said Martin. "You just have to keep pounding, and pounding and eventually something happens."

The Jets had a bad offensive performance in Washington, and suddenly thier running back is being used as one of the scapegoats for the team's offensive struggles.

But the simple fact remains the Jets just did not run enough plays on offense to have success, and when a team handicaps itself like that, they cannot have an effective running game either.

The Jets only had 47 total offensive plays.

"On offense you have to get between 60-65 plays a game," said Herman Edwards. "To get runs you have to get plays."

If Martin had a chance to run more in Washington his numbers might not look so bad to the naked eye, and maybe this talk of him being "Past His Prime"' would not be such a hot topic of discussion around New York.

To illustrate this another way, if he ran the ball 30 times in Washington at his average of 3.2 yards per carry he would have gained 96 yards on the ground, only four short of 100, the ultimate measuring stick for a successful day by an NFL running back.

Quick to Forget:

Many around New York are very quick to forget exactly what kind of player, and person they have in Curtis Martin.

Thier running back is only the second player in NFL history to record 1,000 yard rushing seasons in each of his first eight years as a professional. He has been a Pro-Bowl selection four times. Martin has rushed for 100 yards 43 times in his career.

As far as the type of person #28 is, he has stood at his locker all week and answered questions like a man, he has not ducked out on his responsibilities to the media like some players might have.

He is also his own worst critic, and understands when the media has negative things to say about him, and what is even more impressive, it does not anger him.

"This is not the first time I have been in a situation like this," said Martin. "When you guys write bad things about me I don't get mad, that is just the nature of the beast, the same way that when I am playing well positive stuff gets written."

You can reach Dan Feit at

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