Polling the Krewe: Who Would You Like To See Drafted?

The 2013 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and now it’s your turn to sound off about the incoming class of red and pewter.

In the past few weeks we’ve talked about some potential names for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers first round pick. And the NFL Draft experts from around the league have chimed in with their mock drafts, trying to predict which player will be taken at Number 13 this year by the Bucs.

Which leads us to our poll question. Which of these expert picks would you most like to see lining up with the Buccaneers in Week One? Make your choice in the poll and share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Which of the following picks by expert analysts would you most like to see the Buccaneers draft with their first-round pick?

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Remember, if you have a question for an upcoming “Point/Counterpoint” debate or a poll that you would like to discuss? Let us know in the comments below!

Point/Counterpoint: Good and Bad Fits at the Combine

The NFL world has been abuzz with the Scouting Combine for the last week or so as collegiate stars roll into Indianapolis to take their turn through the examination, interview and workout process.

As we count down to the NFL Draft in April, everything is still all up in the air and up for debate. Even on draft day, the experts’ big boards and draft predictions will be shuffling and changing with new information and developments. But at least with the Combine nearly behind us, we are one step closer to knowing the newest Buccaneers in 2013.

From 40 times and 3-cone shuffles, interviews and team needs, let’s go ahead and take a look at few of the incoming rookies who have been making some waves this week in Indy. We’ll take less of a point/counterpoint stance, and instead pose the question “Good Fit/Bad Fit” trying to see which rookies could make the biggest impact on the 2013 Bucs season.

I’ll let you have the floor first. Go ahead and name a prospect and let’s see how you think they’ll mesh (or not mesh) with the 2013 Buccaneers. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Which team will be the Buccaneers’ toughest competition in the NFC South in 2013?

At this time, I’d like to take a moment of silence. The football season is over. Please bow your heads.

Thank you. Now, let the 2013 season begin! And what better way to kick start the offseason than speculating about how the standings will look next January? I certainly can’t think of any. The NFC South is one of the toughest divisions in football, and at least one team from the division is always a contender come January.

Last season, Atlanta made it to the NFC Championship game for the second time since the 2002 realignment of the league. That is the seventh time in those ten years that a team from the NFC South made it to that stage. In fact, the NFC South is the only division in the NFL that has had all four of its teams make it to their conference’s championship game. And, this year, the Atlanta Falcons came just a few yards short of being the final team from the division to actually make a Super Bowl appearance.

On top of this, the South is the only division in the NFC to have crowned more than one team a Super Bowl Champion in that span: the Buccaneers in 2002 and the New Orleans Saints in 2009.  In the AFC, Baltimore just joined Pittsburgh as title-winners in the North since the realignment.

The stats are there. It’s hard to deny the constant competition that the Bucs’ division puts forth every year, so I feel pretty safe in assuming that this trend will continue into 2013. But the real question is: Which teams will make their mark?

The Atlanta Falcons will be the likely favorites, having made the best run in 2012. The New Orleans Saints will be back at full strength after a season marred with, well, everything. The Carolina Panthers got hot at the end of the year, winning five of their last six. And the Buccaneers are turning some heads and fully expect to make a playoff run next fall.

So, in the road to Buccaneer redemption, a playoff berth and, hopefully, an extended chase of a second Lombardi Trophy, which NFC South team will be the Bucs’ toughest competition in 2013? Continue reading

2013 NFL Mock Draft Recon: Expert Takes on Buccaneers 13th Overall Pick

We may still have 93 days left until the 2013 Draft, but its never too early for the experts to share their thoughts on the best athletes in college football. The mock draft experts around the NFL are already at it when it comes to predicting what the Buccaneers will be doing with the 13th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Of course, none of this reflects the thoughts that are taking place inside One Buc Place.

Surely, much will change in the coming months, but here in mid-January, the experts seemed to have reached a bit of a consensus on this idea: cornerback will be receiving the Bucs’ first phone call on draft weekend.

You may recall that this is not the first time such a consensus has been reached, in very recent memory, which goes to show you that no one is really sure what will transpire on April 25, 2013. In our collection of NFL draft analyst predictions last year, just days before the 2012 NFL Draft, 19 of the 20 experts believed that the Buccaneers would be selecting Morris Claiborne with their fifth overall selection.

Now, eight of the ten experts have once again posted that their prediction lies at the cornerback spot. All three cornerbacks who are commonly expected to fall in the first round are on the prediction short list. Here’s what the NFL.com draft profiles have to say about them: Continue reading

Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17 in Final Bucs Game of Season

After forcing the turnover-on-downs, the Buccaneers got possession with just over two minutes left, in great field position at the Falcon 33-yard line.

On first down, the Falcons were called with too many men on the field, giving the Bucs another first down and running the clock to the two-minute warning.

On the next play, fittingly, it was Doug Martin to seal the game for the Buccaneers. Martin took the handoff for 24-yards, battling his way to the five-yard line. The run brought him over 1,900 yards from scrimmage on the season, a phenomenal feat for the rookie running back.

Two runs later, the final whistle of the game blew and the Buccaneers were ready to head back to Tampa with a 22-17 victory.

The Bucs end the season with a 7-9 record, 3-3 in their division. It was the Falcons’ first homefield loss of the season. The Falcons played their starters throughout the game.

Josh Freeman ended the game with 19 completions on 35 passes. He has one touchdown, one interception and 222 yards.

WR Mike Williams led the team in receiving with 65 yards, just four short of 1,000 on the season. He had six catches, one of them for a touchdown. WR Vincent Jackson had three second-half catches for 50 yards. TE Luke Stocker had three for 50 as well.

Doug Martin had 142 yards on the ground on 28 carries. He also ran one in from 40 yards out. With 18 yards receiving, he ended the day with 160 yards from scrimmage.

K Connor Barth hit on three field goals, from 48-, 22-, and 42-yards out.

Defensively, Mason Foster led the team with 12 total tackles. Lavonte David had six and one sack. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim added the other Buccaneer sack. On special teams, Dekoda Watson registered a blocked punt that set up a Connor Barth field goal. It is his second block of the season.

For the Falcons, Matt Ryan ended the day with 238 yards passing and one touchdown. He completed on 28 of 44 passes.

WR Julio Jones led the team with 56 yards receiving, followed by RB Jacquizz Rodgers who had 50 yards on eight catches. WR Harry Douglas caught the touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal attempt.

Rodgers also led the team rushing with five carries of 28 yards. RB Michael Turner had six carries for 18 yards, one of them a 17-yard touchdown.

Matt Bryant connected on a first-quarter field goal from 28-yards out.

Defensively, the team was led by Sean Weatherspoon with eight tackles. The Falcons did not register a sack in the game, but Asante Samuel did come down with an interception that set up the Turner touchdown run.

The Buccaneers end the season on a high note, snapping their losing streak and ending the season with a 7-9 record. Stay tuned for a complete list on all of the records that were also snapped in this game, including passing records from Josh Freeman and totals for the entire Buccaneer offense.

Buccaneers Make Big Defensive Stand

With seven minutes left in the game, with a five-point lead, the Buccaneer took over at their 20-yard line. They converted on one third down, but were forced to punt the ball back to the Falcons with 3:44 remaining in the game.

A big third-down conversion for the Falcons moved the chains, getting the Falcons to their 33-yard line with 2:24 left.

Two incomplete passes later it was another third-down attempt. Matt Ryan took a shot for Harry Douglas that fell incomplete. The Falcons went for it on fouth-down, knowing that just one series earlier they were able to score on a fourth-down play.

Ryan dropped back and let it go to his reliable tight end Tony Gonzalez. S Mark Barron was able to get a body on the tight end and a hand on the ball, forcing the incompletion and giving the Buccaneers the ball back in Falcon territory.

The Bucs have the ball at the Falcon 33-yard line with 2:02 left in the game.

Harry Douglas Fourth Down TD Makes it 22-17

The Falcons set up on their drive from their own 48-yard line after a Michael Koenen punt.

The Buccaneers and Da’quan Bowers got off to a great start on the drive. Bowers dropped Michael Turner for a loss of five on the drive’s first run. On the second play, Bowers got into the backfield and hit Matt Ryan for a seven-yard sack. That play was nullified by a defensive holding call on Ronde Barber, giving the Falcons a first down at the 48.

From there, Ryan completed four straight passes to bring the Falcons to the Buccaneer eight-yard line.

The defense stood call forcing an incompletion before dropping RB Jason Snelling for no gain. On third down, Ryan was pressured and the pass went over the head of intended receiver, Tony Gonzalez in the end zone.

The Falcons opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the eight. Ryan dropped back and hit a wide open Harry Douglas who caught the ball and took it in from the three-yard line.

The Buccaneers will get the ball with just over seven minutes left, still holding on to a five-point lead.

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.

Turnover and Touchdown Make it 16-10, Bucs Lead

On a Buccaneer third-and-seven from their own 28-yard line, Falcon Asante Samuel cut off a Josh Freeman pass, picking it off and returning it 11 yards to the Buccaneer 21-yard line.

Two plays later, RB Michael Turner found the end zone on a 17-yard run up the middle, cutting the Buccaneers’ lead to six points.

After just three carries for two yards to start the game, Turner got 21 yards on two plays and the score.

The Buccaneers will start with the ball at their 20-yard line with just under four minutes left in the quarter.

Josh Freeman First Bucs QB Over 4,000 Yards

On the first pass of the third quarter, Josh Freeman found Mike Williams down the sideline for a 23-yard gain.

That pass brought Freeman over 4,000 yards on the season, making him the only Buccaneer quarterback in team history to do so.

In the game, he has also become the Buccaneers career-leading touchdown passer with his 78th touchdown and the Buccaneers’ single-season touchdown leader with his 27th touchdown pass of the year.