Possible Buccaneer Firsts in 2013

Last year, the Buccaneers finished the season with the NFL’s top-ranked run defense.  That was the first time that had ever happened in franchise history.  In addition, Josh Freeman recorded the first 4,000-yard passing season in team annals and the Bucs won a game in Oakland for the first time ever.

So what first-time accomplishments could be on the horizon for the NFL’s 27th franchise this coming fall?  Here are a few possibilities: Continue reading

Ronde Barber: By The Numbers

At his retirement press conference on Thursday, future Hall of Famer Ronde Barber admitted that he only recently got a better grip on some of the amazing career numbers he posted during 16 years in the NFL.  That is, he knew he had played more games than the vast majority of players, for instance, but he didn’t know the exact number was 243, et cetera.

Most of those numbers have been part of the public discussion for years now.  As he racked up the interceptions and sacks through the years, he frequently became members in new clubs, until the point where he became the only man in the 40-interception/25-sack club.  Listing all of his accomplishments takes a while, but finding a new angle on Ronde’s numbers isn’t easy to do anymore.

That said, the Captain’s Blog has a new one for you, and it speaks to Barber’s incredible durability and career longevity. Continue reading

More on Newcomer Contributions in 2012

This story on Buccaneers.com on Wednesday pointed out that the team had received a whopping 73.3% of their scrimmage yards in 2012 from players who were new to the team.  That’s the highest such percentage for any team in franchise history, by a wide margin.

Well, it turns out that it also a significant figure in terms of the league at large.  Continue reading

Barth Hits the Mark…Again

The only people who could possibly be upset with Connor Barth for his 2012 season are fantasy football players, and that was due to circumstances out of the Buccaneer kicker’s control.

In the midst of another fabulous season as Tampa Bay’s three-point specialist, Barth unexpectedly got zero attempts to kick a field goal in Weeks 14 and 15 against Philadelphia and New Orleans.  Since those happened to be playoff weeks in most fantasy leagues, and the matchups certainly looked good on paper, Barth’s three combined points in those two games didn’t help some fantasy owners who were counting on bigger numbers.

In a more real-life sense, those two weeks also probably cost Barth the team’s single-season scoring record, and that’s only important because such a mark would have served well to highlight what a strong campaign the fifth-year kicker turned in.

Again. Continue reading

A Record-Setting Day

The Buccaneers accomplished their top goal on Sunday in their 2012 season finale at Atlanta, taking down their division rivals, 22-17, to finish Greg Schiano’s first season on a high note.  Perhaps they built momentum for the offseason; perhaps they learned a little about how to win; perhaps they gained confidence that they have the right building blocks on both offense and defense.  At the very least, they got one more victory to enjoy.

Secondary to that, but not unimportant, were a variety of team and individual records and milestones that could have been achieved Sunday…and many of them were.  Since we’ve been alerting you to the various record-book possibilities here in the Captain’s Blog for a few weeks now, it makes sense to run down exactly which records and notable achievements were reached on Sunday in Atlanta.  We’ll even take a look at a few numbers that didn’t quite fall, because they still add to the overall picture of what the Buccaneers were able to accomplish in 2012.

Without further ado: Continue reading

Who’s Hitting the Mark?

With only one game left in the season we no longer have to worry about paces and extrapolations when discussing certain Buccaneers and the milestones they could reach.  Now it’s simply a matter of “will they?” or “won’t they?”  Michael Bennett will be the team’s first 10-sack player since Simeon Rice if he gets at least one Sunday in Atlanta; if he doesn’t, he won’t.  Josh Freeman has one more game to hit 4,000 passing yards, Vincent Jackson one more to break the team’s single-season receiving record.

So…will they or won’t they?

Here’s our list of eight potential team records or significant milestones that Buccaneer players may reach on Sunday in the season finale, ranked in terms of how likely we believe they are to be fulfilled.  Watch the game Sunday and see if we’re right. Continue reading

Quite a Pair

In Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams, Buccaneers WRs Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson caught seven passes each, Williams for 132 yards and Jackson for 108.  The duo had pulled off a similar feat in Week Four against Washington, with Jackson nabbing six passes for 100 yards and Williams adding four catches for 115.

Those performances made Jackson and Williams the first Buccaneer receivers to pull off that dual feat twice in the same season since Mark Carrier and Bruce Hill did so in 1989.  On the face of it, that’s more of a statistical oddity than a hugely meaningful achievement, but it does underscore the idea that Jackson and Williams may very well be the best WR tandem the franchise has ever had. Continue reading

Records on the Horizon

Strong seasons by such players as Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin and Lavonte David helped carry the 2012 Buccaneers into playoff contention entering the season’s final month.  That playoff chase is now over for Tampa Bay, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of the team’s top producers.  In fact, while it is certainly not high on their list of personal priorities for the final two weeks of the season, several Bucs will be chasing significant franchise milestones in the coming days.

Martin, of course, has already surpassed the Buccaneers’ rookie single-season records for rushing  yards (1,250 so far) and rushing touchdowns (11), beating the marks of Cadillac Williams in 2005 (1,178) and Lars Tate in 1988 (eight), respectively.  Martin has several other milestones within sight, as do a handful of his teammates.  Here are the statistical marks they will be chasing down the stretch, as well as a few they’ve already locked down: Continue reading

Bennett Closes In on Double Digits

Michael Bennett is close to joining a very exclusive club in Buccaneers franchise history. Currently, that club has just seven members: Lee Roy Selmon, Broderick Thomas, Santana Dotson, Chidi Ahanotu, Warren Sapp, Marcus Jones and Simeon Rice.

Those are the only Buccaneers who have ever racked up at least 10 sacks in a single season.  With three games to go, Bennett has nine.  He needs just one more to be the first Buc to crack double digits in that category since Simeon Rice had 14.0 in 2005, the last of Rice’s five straight years over 10.

The fourth-year defensive end, who originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and is only this year become a full-time starter, has admitted that a 10-sack season is among his goals.  Whether or not he gets one more sack to get there, he has had a marvelous season in 2012.  In addition to his QB sacks, Bennett has been a force for the league’s top-ranked run defense; by some measures, he has been the best run-stopping left end in the league. Continue reading

Defensive Line Production Rare Sunday, Despite Loss

As Head Coach Greg Schiano pointed out on Monday, if you took a certain cross-section of the statistics from Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium, you would probably think the Buccaneers defeated the visiting Eagles.

In fact, the Eagles rallied for a 23-21 win on the final play of the game, despite several parts of what is usually a winning formula being in place for the Buccaneers.  Tampa Bay didn’t turn the ball over once, for instance, and that feat has a very strong correlation with success.  For instance, from December 23, 2001 to October 12, 2008, the Bucs won 20 straight games in which they did not commit a turnover.

The Bucs also ran for 136 yards and allowed only 29, were even in time of possession and third-down conversion rate and were able to rack up six sacks.  By the “rules of football,” as Schiano put it – sort of a “laws of nature” concept – those are often numbers you see on a winning team’s side of the ledger.  To be clear, however, Schiano was not saying that his team deserved to win simply because it did some things very well. Continue reading