Recent inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, in addition to the emergence of some star players on Tampa Bay’s current team has prompted PewterReport.com to review the careers and rank the 25 best players in Buccaneers history. In this five-part series, PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds and Mark Cook analyze each Buccaneer legend and offer their own commentary on some of the most beloved players in Tampa Bay history.
Some of the rankings – and omissions – are sure to cause some controversy among Bucs fans. PewterReport.com wants to hear from you, and Bucs fans are encouraged to leave their opinions in the article comments section, on the PewterReport.com message boards
and on PewterReport.com’s Twitter page
In Tuesday’s installment, PewterReport.com introduces the all-time greatest Buccaneers ranked 16-20. Wednesday’s installment will feature the Bucs ranked 11-15.PewterReport.com’s All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 16-2020. Buccaneers S Cedric Brown – 1976-1984
By Mark Cook
Cedric Brown saw the bleak days to the early glory days of the Bucs franchise. Selected in the 12th round of the 1976 draft by the Oakland Raiders, the Kent State product witnessed first hand the 0-26 start but also was in the starting lineup when the Rams came to Tampa Stadium and defeated the Buccaneers 9-0 in the 1979 NFC Championship game.
Brown still ranks third in franchise history with 29 career interceptions trailing just Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham. Teaming with a number of safeties over the years, including Mark Cotney, Brown was a solid cover corner with a nose for the football including nabbing nine interceptions with two returned for touchdowns in 1981.Cook’s Take:
“For my 11th birthday my Dad took me to my very first Bucs game. It was against the Denver Broncos and the Bucs lost 24-7 but the highlight of the game came when Cedric Brown picked off a little-known quarterback at the time by the name of Steve Deberg and returned it for a third quarter score. Brown and the Bucs secondary didn’t get the credit they deserved in my opinion for their help in turning around the franchise.”
19. Buccaneers WR Kevin House – 1980-1986
By Mark Cook
In an age of football where the ball rarely was chunked all over the field like it is today, Kevin House was the Bucs main, and at times only, deep threat. Add in head coach John McKay’s ball control, run-oriented offensive style and it is still somewhat surprising that House was able to put up the numbers he did, including a monster 1981 season when in his second season in the NFL House caught 56 passes for 1,176 yards and nine touchdowns. House had his second 1,000-yard receiving season in 1984 where he totaled 1,076 yards on 76 receptions.
House ranks 6th in team history with 286 receptions and totaled 4,928 (17.2 yard avg.) with 31 touchdown catches, and 14, 100-yard receiving games in his career in Tampa Bay.
For much of his time in Tampa Bay, House was the Bucs only legitimate deep threat, yet still used his blazing speed to get past cornerbacks and safeties. He, along with tight end Jimmie Giles, teamed up to be the main passing targets in the early days of the franchise.Cook’s Take:
“House was the Bucs deep threat who’s primary job was to take off and stretch defenses and let Williams throw the ball as far as he could. House was one of the few Bucs who could actually catch up with Doug’s cannon-arm deep throws. His 84-yard TD reception against the Lions in the final game of the 1981 season quieted a noisy Silverdome crowd and was a key play in the 20-17 win that clinched the NFC Central title that season.”18. Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy – 2010 to current
By Mark Cook
While McCoy has been in the league for just four seasons, already there is talk of him being one of the most talented defensive linemen in team history, a position that the franchise has been rich in. His career started with two early injury-plagued seasons, but McCoy has been able to shake off the injury-prone label and managed to start all 16 games over the last two seasons. In those two seasons, McCoy has displayed why he was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft.
So far in his brief Bucs career, McCoy has totaled 18.5 sacks, including leading the team with nine quarterback takedowns in 2013. In addition to his quick burst as a pass rusher, McCoy is well rounded and excels against the run notching 110 tackles, totaling a career-high with 50 tackles in 2013.
Over the last two seasons McCoy has established himself as the team’s leader. With a resume’ that boasts two Pro Bowl’s (2012, 2013) players on both sides of the ball listen to what McCoy talks about and follows his example in meeting rooms and practice. With a new defensive scheme which should allow McCoy more freedom, most expect him to improve on his outstanding previous two seasons.Cook’s Take:
“Over his first two seasons, while sidelined with injuries, McCoy took a lot of heat from some fans and even some in the media. But McCoy bit his tongue for the most part and took it all in and I think some of that criticism helped fuel him in his desire to prove those wrong. Watching Gerald in practice it is easy to see why he is so looked up to. Even during water breaks McCoy usually has a teammate at his side and is seen coaching him up. A fine role model for kids searching for someone to look up to, and a charismatic personality, if this team can get back in the playoffs, McCoy could run for mayor and probably win in a landslide.”17. Buccaneers RB Warrick Dunn – 1997-2001, 2008
By Mark Cook
Warrick Dunn immediately stepped in as a rookie in 1997 and exceeded most expectations rushing for 978 yards and adding another 39 receptions, scoring nine times and being named Rookie of the Year. The first-round draft pick out of Florida State teamed up with Mike Alstott to provide one of the most feared rushing attacks in the NFL. Dunn signed with the Falcons after the 2001 season but finished his career in Tampa Bay after joining the Bucs as a free agent in 2008.
Dunn was an All-American at Florida State for Bobby Bowden but some were concerned if his slight size could withstand the pounding of the NFL. At just 5-foot-9, Dunn was able to hide behind his offensive line then pop out when he saw the first crack of daylight. Dunn answered the durability questions for the most part and played in the NFL for 12 seasons, rushing for 10,967 yards while also hauling in 510 passes for 4,339 yards over his career. Dunn is third on the Bucs all-time rushing and receiving list, trailing just James Wilder and Mike Alstott on the ground and Wilder and Mark Carrier through the air. Dunn earned two Pro Bowl honors in Tampa Bay (1997, 2000) and one with the Falcons (2005).
Besides being a standout on the field, Dunn’s contributions off the field are just as impressive. After losing his mother to a murder during his senior year in high school Dunn was left to care for his siblings and then after turning pro started a program to help single mothers purchase their own homes.Cook’s Take:
“One of the most exciting running backs in team history, Warrick was always a threat to break off a long one. While he didn’t necessarily have the finishing speed of a Barry Sanders, it was always fun to watch No. 28 pop out of a logjam at the line of scrimmage and scoot for a 20-yard or longer gain. He and Alstott complimented each other perfectly and were great change-of-pace runners that frustrated opposing defenses.”16. Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson – 2001-04
By Mark Cook
Playing quarterback for Jon Gruden was never an easy task, as he was known to eat up QBs and spit them out. But veteran Brad Johnson was the perfect even-keeled mature quarterback who could take Gruden’s personality and complex playbook and succeed. As the lone Bucs QB to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, Johnson and Gruden crossing paths worked out great for both parties.
Gruden signed as a free agent with the Buccaneers in Tony Dungy’s last season after spending time in Washington and Minnesota. In his first season with the Buccaneers he broke Tampa Bay team records for passing yards with 3,406 and completions with 340. In 2002, Johnson led the Buccaneers to their first and only Super Bowl win, throwing for 3,049 yards with 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Johnson also earned a Pro Bowl berth following the 2002 season.
Johnson played two more seasons for Gruden and the Bucs and set a franchise record for passing yards in 2003 after throwing for 3,811 yards. The former FSU quarterback ranks fifth on the Bucs all-time passing list with 10,940 yards.Cook’s Take:
“Watching Johnson’s career at FSU I would have never guessed Johnson would end up winning a Super Bowl in the NFL. Johnson was mostly a backup for FSU, behind Casey Weldon. But obviously his smarts and late-blooming talent served him well and he and Gruden were perfect fits for each other. While I am sure Gruden would have liked a more agile quarterback to run his west coast scheme, Johnson made up for this lack of mobility with above-average intelligence and a toughness that Gruden and Bucs fans loved.”Monday: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 21-25
Tuesday: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 16-20
Wednesday: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 11-15
Thursday: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 6-10
Friday: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 1-5
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.