PFF: Jackson, McCoy Having Pro Bowl Campaigns

The number-crunchers at Pro Football Focus (and that term is a compliment in our book) have updated their Pro Bowl selections, just days before the actual teams will be announced by the NFL, and the NFC list includes one Buccaneer on each side of the ball.

This can be a touchy subject in the locker room, or even here in the Captain’s Blog.  Coaches are loathe to identify which of their players they believe are Pro Bowl-worthy because they don’t want to single one man out over another.  Players feel the same way about the teammates in their locker room, and even pointing out the impressive numbers of say, a Doug Martin here in the Captain’s Blog, could be seen as unfair to those performers whose good deeds aren’t as strictly tied to the stat tables.

That’s not a problem over at PFF, where each week they evaluate the play of every player in the league using an in-depth grading system that is as objective as they can make it.  Those grades then form the basis for a number of weekly and seasonal rankings, including the site’s frequently-updated analysis of what players should be going to the Pro Bowl in each conference.

If fan votes, NFL coaches and players see it the same was as PFF, the Bucs’ offense will be represented in Honolulu by WR Vincent Jackson and the defense will have Gerald McCoy to carry its torch. Continue reading

Barber Wins Fan Vote

Ronde Barber could be going to the Pro Bowl in his first season as a safety.  NFL fans, at least, think that he should be.

Each year, the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl squads are selected using a three-pronged process that combines the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches.  The fan voting, which primarily takes place on NFL.com, is the lengthiest part of that process, as the online balloting option is open for roughly two months.

That voting ended on Monday, however, and on Thursday the NFL released the final results of the fans’ efforts, at least in terms of the leading vote-getters at each position and the top 10 vote-getters overall.  Receiving the most votes at free safety in the NFC was Barber, the Buccaneers’ ageless 16th-year veteran who only this year converted to the position from cornerback. Continue reading

Last Chance to Cast Pro Bowl Votes

The Buccaneers may not have given their best stump speech of the 2012 campaign on Sunday in New Orleans, but Tampa Bay fans can certainly still appreciate the entire body of work of several of the team’s top performers this year.  And they can still help reward those outstanding Bucs with a trip to this year’s Pro Bowl through online balloting on NFL.com.

But they have to move fast.  The fan-voting portion of the Pro Bowl selection process ends on Monday night, at the same time the Monday Night Football game between the Jets and the Titans comes to a close.  That means it’s essentially now or never: Click here to go to a Pro Bowl ballot right now.

The Bucs had one Pro Bowler last year in guard Davin Joseph, though a return trip isn’t in the cards for Joseph as he has missed the entire season with a knee injury.  Fellow guard Carl Nicks, a Pro Bowler last year while a member of the New Orleans Saints, is also on injured reserve.  There are plenty of Bucs still performing at a high level, however, who could become part of the NFC squad with enough votes.  After the fan voting is finalized, league players and coaches will complete the three-pronged selection process this week and then the teams will be announced on the NFL Network next Wednesday night.

A number of Buccaneers are among league leaders in various categories, from Doug Martin to Vincent Jackson to Lavonte David, and we ran down some of those last week; follow the link to review.  There are other strong performers whose good work on the field doesn’t necessarily have gaudy statistics attached to it, but are also worthy of your votes.  For instance, last week we also took a look at the outstanding season of left tackle Donald Penn, another former Pro Bowler, in the Captain’s Blog.

So cast your votes on Monday night, and maybe the Buccaneers will end up with multiple all-stars for the first time since 2008.

Martin Making Pro Bowl Noise

The NFL’s latest update on the fan balloting for the Pro Bowl on NFL.com had the same encouraging news from the one released two weeks ago: Ronde Barber is still the top vote-getter at free safety in the NFC.  If he does earn his sixth trip to Honolulu, the 37-year-old Barber may have a 23-year-old teammate to show around.

Tampa Bay’s rookie sensation, Doug Martin, isn’t the leading vote-getter at running back in the NFC, but he is making a charge at the established guard.  Martin currently stands fourth in the voting behind a trio of backs who have made a combined nine Pro Bowl trips: Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (four Pro Bowls), Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch (two) and San Francisco’s Frank Gore (three). Continue reading

Barber Takes Pro Bowl Lead

Ronde Barber is a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL.  He may soon be a Pro Bowl safety, as well.

The Buccaneers’ 16th-year veteran defender is in his first season at the back end of the secondary after 15 remarkable years at his natural position.  He converted to safety during the 2012 offseason and, as was somewhat expected given his intelligence and experience, has taken to it with relative ease.  He is even tied for the team lead with three interceptions, which is obviously not new territory for him, even if his starting position is.

Barber has even impressed the NFL viewing public as a whole.  The NFL chooses its Pro Bowl rosters through a three-pronged process, with input coming from fans, players and coaches, and the fan portion of the balloting began on NFL.com in October.  On Wednesday, the league released its first update on the leading vote-getters at each position, and it was good news for Barber and the Buccaneers.

With roughly a month left in the Pro Bowl fan polling, Barber is the leading vote-getter at the free safety position in the NFC.  He has garnered 43,953 votes, and if this early trend proves predictive of the final results, he would form a Pro Bowl safety tandem with Green Bay’s Charles Woodson, another former all-star cornerback.

The leading vote-getters in the NFL overall are, as usual, all offensive players, with five of the top 10 spots going to quarterbacks.  Denver’s Peyton Manning is in the top spot, followed by New England QB Tom Brady, Houston RB Arian Foster, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers and Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson.  The NFL update lists only the top 10 overall and the leader at each position in the two conferences.

As such, it’s not obvious how big of a lead Barber has over the next man at NFC free safety, or who that man is.  But he’s definitely the fan-vote leader, and that’s a good place to be in mid-November.