The "bell cow" is the lead cow of a herd. If you want to find the herd, listen for the bell cow.
There's no collar, no bell awaiting Doug Martin at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie mini-camp that starts on Friday over at One Buc Cow Palace. What awaits him are three days that could begin a journey that could take him into the starting lineup in September.
Martin has the skill set to be a total player, a three-down back, a pure runner and pass-catcher in the NFL.
Buccaneer head coach Greg Schiano had a guy like that at Rutgers, that Ray Rice fellow, who's done pretty well for himself with the Ravens.
The Bucs have LeGarrette Blount. He's big, tough and gruff, but there's one major problem. HE FUMBLES!
At one point last season, Blount had nine fumbles, four of them in three games, including two against the Jacksonville Jaguars that helped set up another rout during the infamous 10-game losing streak.
Want to get on the bad side of any football coach? Fumble the football. Fastest route to the bench? Fumble the football.
What you'll see this weekend and when camp begins in July is the debut of "The Messenger." Yes, we'll give that moniker to Martin.
He's already the "Muscle Hamster," but this guy will be the messenger—the messenger to LeGarrette Blount. The Raheem Morris regime tolerated slop. It tolerated "loafs" and disorder.
That's all gone now.
Martin carries the reputation of being the ultimate, unselfish team player. He has ingrained work habits from five years in the Boise State program, and he's a high-character guy.
Sounds like the anti-Blount.
"All-out mentality, sheer competitiveness and perfectionist traits will endear him to coaches," said one scouting report via ProFootballWeekly.com.
That's the difference this weekend.
The seven draft picks and the undrafted free agents brought aboard over the past week will be on the practice field.
They are all "Buccaneer men" by the Greg Schiano definition.
When the veteran players report, they had better pay attention, practice, work and produce the way Schiano wants "Buccaneer men" to perform.
Its pretty simple, because if they don't, they'll be looking for work elsewhere.