All-Pros? Jackson, McCoy Close in PFF Analysis

Gerald McCoy is in the Pro Bowl and Vincent Jackson, a first alternate, could eventually join him.  There is an even more exclusive honor than the Pro Bowl (though it comes without a trip to Hawaii): The All-Pro team.

The official All-Pro squad is the one recognized by the Associated Press, and it’s a tougher draw because, rather than an entire game-ready squad like the Pro Bowl, it is the selection of just the very best players at every position.  When it’s all said and done, 94 players will take part in the 2013 Pro Bowl.  AP named 37 All-Pros last year.

Will McCoy or Jackson or any other Tampa Bay players warrant All-Pro honors?  That remains to be seen.  But the video-analysis crew over at ProFootballFocus.com obviously feels that those two Buccaneers should at least be in the discussion. Continue reading

Martin’s Strong Finish Another Encouraging Sign

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson fell nine yards short of breaking the NFL’s single-season rushing record on Sunday and might very well have put himself at the top of the league’s MVP list.  Detroit Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for receiving yards and came incredibly close to breaking the 2,000 barrier.  Peterson and Johnson had 2012 seasons that will be remembered for a very, very long time.

Here’s a list of the three top yardage gainers in the entire NFL in 2012:

1. Adrian Peterson: 2,314

2. Calvin Johnson: 1,964

3. Doug Martin: 1,926 Continue reading

Bucs Answer Back on 40-Yard Doug Martin TD Run

Following the Michael Turner touchdown the Buccaneers drove 80 yards on four plays, capped by a 40-yard Doug Martin score. Following a failed two-point conversion attempt, the game is now Buccaneers 22, Falcons 10.

Martin opened the drive with a 10-yard first down run. He took it on the next play for three yards before Freeman found Vincent Jackson on a big gain over the middle, good for 27 yards.

At the Falcon 40-yard line, the handoff again went to Doug Martin, who broke a tackle and spun out to the left sideline where he outran the Falcon defense for a 40-yard touchdown.

The run took Martin over 100 yards rushing on the day, his fifth 100+-yard game of the season. Doug Martin is just nine yards short of a 1,900 yards-from-scrimmage season.

Lynch Impressed by Bucs’ Culture Change

The Buccaneers finished 6-10 in 1996. They will conclude the 2012 season at either that same record or 7-9, depending upon Sunday’s outcome in Atlanta.  John Lynch, who was a fourth-year safety and rising star on that ’96 team, is now a color analyst for FOX who has seen more than his share of 2012 Buccaneer football.  While neither of those teams aspired to a sub-.500 record, obviously, in Lynch’s mind they also share something far more positive, something that bodes well for the future of the current squad.

And a lot of that has to do with first-year Head Coach Greg Schiano’s insistence on establishing a new culture at One Buccaneer Place.

“I think of Tony Dungy in Tampa in 1996,” said Lynch.  “What did we start, 1-8 or 1-9?  One of Tony’s great strengths was that he was stubborn.  It may not have worked right away, but it did work, and eventually it was going to be sustained success.  I see much of that here.  I say that in a positive way.  That stubbornness was a great quality of Tony’s – he believed in certain things and he would never deviate from them.  I see a lot of that with Greg.” Continue reading

David a Second-Round Gem

On the afternoon of April 27, just about eight months ago, the Buccaneers were getting ready for the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft and feeling pretty good about bringing home both Mark Barron and Doug Martin on Day One.  To a man, the Bucs’ personnel pros felt as if they had executed their plan perfectly the previous evening.

Still, one Buccaneer scouted had a minor lament that essentially echoed the one frustrating part of any draft: There’s no way to get all of the players you really want.

Specifically, this scout figured that the Bucs’ trade up into the bottom of the second round to get Martin, while the right move, had cost them the chance to nab Nebraska LB Lavonte David, considered a high second-round pick on most charts.  Ah, but not so fast. Continue reading

2013 Opponents Becoming Clearer

As we discussed a little over a week ago in the Captain’s Blog, the Buccaneers have known most of their 2013 list of opponents for quite some time.  Fourteen of the 16 games are decided well in advance by intra-division play and a rotation of AFC and NFC divisional matchups.  The final two games, however, are determined by the standings.

Things are much clearer now, with only one weekend of play left.  However, there are still a handful of possibilities depending upon h a couple of Week 17 outcomes.  Surprisingly, the Bucs game in Atlanta has little to do with it, however. Continue reading

David a Top Contender for Defensive ROTY

Since 1987, 19 of the 25 NFL Most Valuable Players (or co-MVPs), as awarded by the Associated Press have been quarterbacks.  The other six years?  Running backs.  One year – 1997 – the award was split between a quarterback (Brett Favre) and a running back (Barry Sanders).  The last player who wasn’t a quarterback or a running back to win the league’s MVP award was Giants LB Lawrence Taylor in 1986.

So, yeah, say hello to your 2012 NFL MVP – almost certainly Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster.

The QB-RB MVP bias is what it is.  Fortunately, NFL rookies enjoy a more open playing field when it comes to their big awards, because the AP awards both an Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year award.  That’s good news for Buccaneers LB Lavonte David. Continue reading

Brandt: Bucs Poised for 2013 Breakout

The 2012 Buccaneers matched the win total of the 2011 Tampa Bay squad in the first week of November and could go so far as to double it by season’s end, despite a recent downturn.  That’s a step in the right direction, and at least one experienced NFL analyst believes it will be followed by another big step in 2013.

Noting the sudden playoff runs in 2012 of such sub-.500 2011 teams as Indianapolis and Seattle, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has identified six teams he believes are “poised to engineer a similar turnaround in 2013.”  Brandt then ranks those half-dozen teams in the order of the likelihood of that turnaround, and puts the Buccaneers at the top of the list. Continue reading

Schiano Happy for Fleck’s Opportunity

On Tuesday, Western Michigan University introduced P.J. Fleck as the new head coach of their football team.  Fleck is currently in his first year as the Buccaneers’ wide receivers coach, but he will obviously be leaving the team shortly.  As he said during his introductory press conference, he “can’t wait to get started on this journey.”

Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano addressed Fleck’s imminent departure on Wednesday, once again stressing that part of hiring quality coaches is understanding that they will likely have opportunities for advancement elsewhere at some point. Continue reading

Bucs-Rams Rekindle Unexpected Rivalry

The first rivalries of note for the Buccaneers, who started play in 1976 and joined the old NFC Central in 1977, were probably the Bears and Packers, though that former one was pretty one-sided throughout the ‘80s.  In the ‘90s, the Brett Favre-led Packers became the hurdle the Buccaneers felt they had to clear in order to fulfill their championship dreams, with that mantle transferring to the Eagles in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.  And even though they weren’t yet division mates, the Bucs had their share of heated matchups with the Falcons and Saints during the ‘80s and ‘90s, helped by geographical proximity.

It wasn’t particularly surprising to see any of these rivalries develop.  There was one, however, that seemed to come out of nowhere: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. St. Louis Rams. Continue reading