Which players made the most impact Sunday in the Bucs 16-10 win over the Panthers? Who had a sub par game and needs to step things up next week against the Giants? Find out in this regular Pewter Report after game feature.
The Buccaneers played their best overall game in nearly a year Sunday defeating the Carolina Panthers 16-10 at Raymond James Stadium. The entire defense most likely could have made the list. Offensively the first half was solid but the Buccaneers must learn to turn FGs into TDs, and capitalize on turnovers.Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
The Glazers, general manager Mark Dominik, and Bucs’ fans have been waiting on a game like Sunday from McCoy since the former Sooner was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. McCoy was credited with one sack and just two tackles, but it was clear to see McCoy was the most dominant defensive player on the field Sunday. McCoy got his first sack in nearly a year, but could have had perhaps at least two more, and if Cam Newton were a typical pocket passer the total might have actually been three. McCoy has spent less time this offseason talking and tweeting and it appears the focus had paid off. For Bucs fans and the organization it is must. As we saw last season when McCoy was hurt, the drop off is steep and sudden without the presence on No.93. One of the most impressive things took place in the locker room when McCoy was being interviewed and told the media he and the defense can still get so much better and that despite having a good game, McCoy felt he left too many plays out on the field.Safety Mark Barron
Barron was an instant upgrade at the safety position the minute his plane touched down in Tampa the night of the NFL Draft. Barron has been described as “NFL-ready” and did nothing to change that perception Sunday. Barron’s range was impressive Sunday, covering half the secondary on one play to knock a Cam Newton pass to the turf late in the second half. Not only was Barron’s secondary play solid, the former Crimson Tide star packs a punch with his physical style. Barron gave Steve Smith a warning Sunday of what it to come in these Panthers-Bucs games over the next few years with a shot near the sidelines. Barron may be a rookie but apparently isn’t intimidated by anyone – Smith or Brian Price for that matter.
Safety Ronde Barber
You cant write or say enough good things about a guy like Ronde Barber. Barber increased his “Case For Canton” Sunday in his 200th consecutive start, nabbing an interception and also adding a sack. Barber doesn’t really like the focus and spotlight to be on him as much as some professional athletes do, but if the old man continues to defy Father Time, and put up the production he did Sunday, the spotlight will continue to shine. Barber looked like he was having fun on the football team for the first time in quite a while Sunday, something Bucs fans, coaches and the organization had to smile about.Linebacker Lavonte David
Lavonte David gets it. He just gets what playing linebacker in the NFL is all about, something Geno Hayes struggled with throughout his four-year Buccaneers career. David, like Barron was an instant upgrade the day he arrived in Tampa. David, as all players will do from time to time, will make some mistakes, but with a high-revving motor and a love for the game, he makes up for his few mental lapses. David led the team with six tackles and is a good bet to lead the entire team in tackles when the 2012 season ends.Running back Doug Martin
During the course of the game Sunday it looked like Martin was always one step or wiggle away from breaking a long run. But credit the Panthers linebackers who were sure tacklers and allowed very little running room past the first level. Martin ran hard and very physical, carrying the ball 24 times for 95 yards, with not one single one of those yards not earned. Martin also showcased his hands Sunday catching four passes for 23 yards. The comparisons to Ray Rice are inevitable, but Martin is still learning how to run in the NFL, and he may never reach Rice’s production. But that’s ok, as even a “poor man’s” version of Rice would make for a pretty good NFL career.Honorable mention:
CB Aqib Talib, G Carl Nicks, DE Michael Bennett, DT Roy Miller, LB Mason Foster, FB Eric Lorig, TE Dallas ClarkDisappointing
For the first time since last November the most disappointing list was difficult to select. The game wasn't perfect however, and a few players are most likely frustrated with their play on Sunday.Guard Ted Larsen
While it can be financially rewarding to be an NFL offensive linemen it is rarely a showcased position – except when a lineman makes a mistake. In the case of Larsen, his faults overshadowed his accomplishments Sunday as a false start penalty and a crucial holding call had everyone focusing on the negatives. Larsen didn’t have a terrible game but his third quarter holding penalty negated a 33-yard reception from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson. Larsen deserves a pass this week to a degree, as he was thrust into a prominent role trying to replace Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph. Larsen knows he needs to improve and the Bucs are hoping it happens sooner rather than later.Wide receiver Vincent Jackson
Jackson had two drops Sunday and although he finished as the leading receiver for the Buccaneers (4 catches, 47 yards) those two drops shouldn’t happen to a veteran like Jackson. But PewterReport.com saw it in several training camp practices last month and voiced a little concern. Jackson has amazing hands, but for whatever reason struggles at times with the shorter between-the-hash-mark grabs. Jackson had 33-yard reception wiped out because of a holding call, and if he catches the two dropped passes, and the 33-yarder stood, Jackson would have had a 100-yard day and a place on the most impressive list. The game plan was obviously a ball-control style script which the Buccaneers worked pretty well, and no doubt the Buccaneers will be looking to open up the passing game a little more which will help showcase Jackson’s ability in future weeks.Dishonorable Mention:
RT Jeremy Trueblood, CB Eric Wright, RB LeGarrette Blount
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