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November 2, 2011 @ 2:46 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Week 8: Who's Hot, Who's Not?

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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In this FREE sample of what is typically a Pewter Insider story, see which players are ranked in Scott Reynolds' top 10 Buccaneers list, and which five Tampa Bay players must step it up the most after the bye week.

Which Tampa Bay players are playing the best right now? Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds has reviewed the game film and ranks the 10 hottest Buccaneers of the year thus far based on their play and statistics, as well as listing the five Bucs who need to pick it up in next week’s game. Check out this FREE sample of what is traditionally a premium Pewter Insider story.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Buccaneers based on performance this season through Week 7 heading into Week 8 following Tampa Bay’s bye week:

1. P-KOS Michael Koenen
Koenen was voted as Pewter Report’s Bucs Special Teams MVP and has been in the top 5 on the “Who’s Hot” list all season. Koenen has done a great job in neutralizing some of the NFL’s top return men in New Orleans’ Darren Sproles and Chicago’s Devin Hester in the past two games. Koenen has a gross punting average of 46.3 yards. He also has a net punting average of 42.7 yards. Both are career highs. Koenen also has dropped 15 punts inside the 20-yard line and has yet to have a touchback on the season. Koenen has been exceptional on kickoffs with 14 touchbacks out of 30 kickoffs. Of the 13 kickoffs Koenen has had returned, opponents have only averaged 18.8 yards per return. And of the two onside kicks he’s attempted, the Buccaneers have recovered one of those. So far, he’s been one of the best free agent signings league-wide.
Last Week: 1

2. K Connor Barth
Thanks to the signing of Koenen, Barth has been able to concentrate solely on field goal attempts and no longer handles kickoff duties. That has allowed him to drill 13-of-15 field goals (86.7 percent). Barth’s only misses have come from 46 and 55 yards. His best game came against New Orleans where he was 4-of-5 with his only miss coming from 55 yards out. His four made field goals tied his career high from 2009. Barth is a perfect 11-of-11 from inside 45 yards this season. Behind Koenen, Barth has been the second-most consistent Buccaneer this year.

Last Week: 2

3. RG Davin Joseph
Joseph was named by Pewter Report as the Bucs’ Midseason Offensive MVP for the first seven games of the season. He was signed to a seven-year, $53-million contract extension during training camp and the front office and coaching staff believes his play has validated such a lucrative deal. Joseph, who has not allowed a sack all season, has clearly been the best and most consistent offensive performer prior to the bye week, according to the coaches and team scouts.
Last Week: 4

4. CB Ronde Barber
Barber was named Pewter Report’s Midseason Defensive MVP during the bye week due to his consistency and his penchant for making splash plays through the first seven games of the season. Barber is the Bucs’ fourth-leading tackler behind linebacker Geno Hayes (48), safety Sean Jones (43) and linebacker Mason Foster (42) with 31 stops. He has had two phenomenal games this season, the first of which was in the team’s 16-13 win over Atlanta in which he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for picking off QB Matt Ryan and recovering a fumble. Against Chicago in London, Barber recorded the first safety of his career and also had his first sack of the season.
Last Week: Not ranked

5. DE Michael Bennett
Bennett is the Buccaneers’ fifth-leading tackler and the leading tackler among defensive linemen with 28 stops and three tackles for loss. Aside from keeping second-round pick Da’Quan Bowers on the bench with inspired play, Bennett has also recorded two sacks, one forced fumble and a team-leading two fumble recoveries. His nine quarterback pressures are the third-most in Tampa Bay, and two of those pressures have resulted in interceptions (versus New Orleans and Chicago)
Last Week: 4

6. DE Adrian Clayborn
Clayborn had the best game of his NFL career against the Bears, recording four tackles, notching his third sack of the season, which leads the Buccaneers, and aiding Barber in bringing Chicago running back Matt Forte down in the end zone for a safety. The Bucs coaches and front office have been thrilled with the team’s 2011 first-round pick. Clayborn has racked up 16 tackles, a team-high 14 quarterback pressures, three sacks, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble in the first seven games of the 2011 campaign.
Last Week: Not ranked

7. FS Tanard Jackson
Jackson has made an instant impact in his return from a 19-game NFL suspension. In the two contests he has played in during the 2011 season, he has recorded two interceptions off tipped passes, which shows both his play-making ability and his instinctiveness. He has also had seven tackles in both games despite not being able to finish each one. Jackson suffered from cramping against New Orleans in his first game back from the suspension and pulled a hamstring against Chicago in London.
Last Week: Not ranked

8. LG Jeremy Zuttah
Zuttah was playing great at left guard since taking over the position in place of Ted Larsen in Week 2. Zuttah, who is in a contract year, was called on once again to replace Jeff Faine in the second half of the New Orleans game when he injured his biceps and started at center against Chicago. Unfortunately, Zuttah didn’t play well against the Bears and was flagged for a holding penalty, in addition to suffering an ankle injury. Faine is expected to start at New Orleans after the bye week and Zuttah is expected to go back to left guard where he performed better once he recovers from his injury, which doesn't look like it will be this week.
Last Week: 5

9. MLB Mason Foster
Foster sprained his ankle against the 49ers and that slowed him down in both the Saints and Bears game. Despite missing at least the second half of the last three contests, Foster is the third-leading tackler for Tampa Bay with 42 stops, two tackles for loss, two sacks with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season. He and Clayborn have been the two top performers from the Buccaneers’ 2011 rookie class.
Last Week: 9

10. WR Preston Parker
Parker is one of the most productive receivers with 23 catches for 310 yards and is tied for the team lead with two touchdowns. In some cases he has been more productive than Mike Williams despite having 28 less passes thrown his way. Parker has just seven fewer yards on eight less catches than Williams. Parker has the Bucs’ second-longest reception of the season, a 51-yard catch-and-run against Minnesota and has been named as Pewter Report’s Midseason Most Improved Offensive Player.
Last Week: Not ranked

Dropped out: QB Josh Freeman (6), RB LeGarrette Blount (8), WR Arrelious Benn (10),

Here is a look at five Buccaneers who need to improve their performances this year after the bye week:

1. QB Josh Freeman
Freeman is coming off a four-interception effort against Chicago in London – the third multiple-interception performance this season. After throwing just six interceptions last year, Freeman has already thrown 10 in 2011 and has tossed just seven touchdowns. The problems Freeman is facing are the fact that teams are using more zone coverage and spying him with linebackers, that takes away his running lanes and making him beat teams as a pocket passer. Freeman is also forcing the ball into coverage, and throwing off his back foot and not stepping into throws, which is resulting into some of his interceptions.
Last Week: Not ranked

2. WR Mike Williams
Williams remains behind last year’s pace when it comes to yards and touchdowns, and has just 31 receptions for 317 yards and one score on the year. Once possessing clutch hands, Williams has at least five drops on the season, one fumble and has only caught less than half the passes thrown his way as he has been targeted 63 times this year by Freeman. While he had several explosive plays during his rookie season, Williams has just one catch longer than 20 yards – a 23-yarder – which is disturbing.
Last Week: 1

3. CB Aqib Talib
Talib has done a credible job in coverage this season, but has not made nearly as many splash plays as Tampa Bay needs from its top cornerback. After recording 15 interceptions through his first three years, Talib has just one interception this season, which was a pick-six during the season opener against Detroit. Talib has now gone six straight games without an interception, the second-longest stretch of games without a pick during his career behind a seven-game stretch to end the 2009 campaign.
Last Week: 4

4. LB Quincy Black
Black was hampered by a badly sprained ankle during the first few weeks of the season and that limited his playing time and cost him the middle linebacker role in nickel defense, which was taken over by rookie Mason Foster. Through the first seven games of the NFL season, of which Black has played in just five, he has notched only 20 tackles with one forced fumble and an interception. His 20 tackles are tied for seventh on Tampa Bay’s defense. Not exactly what the Bucs had in mind when they signed him to a five-year, $29-million contract extension during training camp.
Last Week: 2

5. LB Geno Hayes
While Hayes is Tampa Bay’s leading tackler with 48 stops, the team has been disappointed in his lack of splash plays. Despite playing the most snaps of any linebacker by a large margin, Hayes has just one forced fumble. By comparison, Black has a forced fumble and an interception on the season, while Foster has two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Hayes must get more involved in creating turnovers. The team is expecting more from a four-year veteran who is in a contract year.
Last Week: 5

Dropped out: FS Larry Asante (3)

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 15:48

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  • avatar

    You keep spouting the party line on Freeman as to why he is throwing interceptions. What you aren't talking about is the fact that he locks on to receivers and looks at them the whole time. Everyone in the stadium knows where he is going with the ball. If the coaches ignore this detail he will continue to throw interceptions.
  • avatar

    You could put Hayward on the hot list, as he has filled in nicely in the middle, and has been a beast on special teams. I think with Hayward's leadership,and,attitude he's earned the right to start. I'd play him at Mike, and let Foster replace Hayes on the weak side.
  • avatar

    Quincy Black seems to have the Chris Johnson I-got-my-millions post contract malaise. Quincy Black is another Michael Clayton-like contract - what the heck! Aquib Talib is way over rated. There has got to be a high draft pick cover corner who has some character in the next draft. One of the strengths of the Bucs in 2002 was the LB corps - not anymore.
  • avatar

    The starters today will build the depth of the team tomorrow since the Bucs will not acquire veteran depth.
  • avatar

    Geno didn't even force that fumble...as he hit the RB from behind, Da'Quan Bowers reaches in and strips the ball. NFL rewind is a must have.Geno and Black have been horrible! the 3 starters IMO should be Foster/Watson/Hayward. Discuss.
  • avatar

    Scott, another great job assessing the Bucs' Players. It is very good to see 10 players on the Hot List! I am disappointed on our Tight Ends not stepping up this year to make the HOT LIST. I would like to see a lot more of Demar Dotson at that position. He has far and away done the best job of blocking from that position this year. If he has the good hands to catch some passes too on slants, he could be a factor on us getting more productivity in the Red Zone. I am very disappointed that the Bucs did not keep Hardy at least on the Practice Squad. He had the speed and the good hands to replace our starting TE when his knees are hurting him or his play is subpar, and especially when he retires.
  • avatar

    Not very impressive when your punter and kicker are top 1 & 2 consistently. I really don't know where this team is right now. I do know that if they don't come out right away and play fast and hard, we are in trouble. So lets hope for the best. Go Bucs!
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