table of contents
- These Bucs Have Been MIA In Recent Weeks
- Byner’s NFL Experience A Big Benefit To Martin, Blount
- Point-Counterpoint: Is Bucs Rookie Doug Martin A Special RB?
- 4 Players That Could Help The Bucs In 2013
- Pewter Prospect: CB Jordan Poyer
- Pewter Prospect: OL Barrett Jones
- First Quarter Report: 4 Best Buccaneers On Offense
- First Quarter Report: 4 Best Buccaneers On Defense
- Bucs’ First Quarter Progress Report
- Foster Has Become A Monster In The Middle
- Bucs’ First Quarter Defensive Grades
- Bucs’ First Quarter Offensive Grades
- In The Lab: TE Danny Noble
Pewter Predictions for Tampa Bay in September at the start of the 2012 NFL season. Now that the first month of football is over it’s time to take a look at some of those predictions in this first quarter progress report.
BUCS 2012 OFFENSIVE MVP – QB Josh Freeman
Freeman is having a good, but not great start to the 2012 season. A better performance than his dismal effort at Dallas would probably have the Bucs with a 2-2 record right now. Freeman’s completion percentage has dropped eight percentage points from a year ago, which isn’t good, but he has thrown more touchdowns (five) than interceptions (four) through the first four games. As long as there are more TDs than INTs on Freeman’s stats sheet, the Bucs will have a chance to get close to .500 this year.
Wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams and left guard Carl Nicks are the only other potential candidates for the Bucs 2012 Offensive MVP honors at this time. Jackson, the team’s leading receiver, is probably the real front-runner right now over Freeman.
BUCS 2012 DEFENSIVE MVP – MLB Mason Foster
So far, so good with this accurate prediction. Foster leads the team with 36 tackles and also has an interception and half a sack. He has become a much more confident player and a more dependable tackler.
The good news for Tampa Bay is that there are also several Bucs defenders nipping on Foster’s heels. Defensive end Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, weakside linebacker Lavonte David and strong safety Mark Barron are also in contention to come away with the Bucs 2012 Defensive MVP honors.
BUCS 2012 SPECIAL TEAMS MVP – P Michael Koenen
Koenen has done a very good job with his kickoffs and punting this year with a 43.6-yard average. But his net average is only 36.8 percent and he already has three touchbacks on the year in just four weeks, which matches his total from a year ago over 16 games.
Yet kicker Connor Barth is the one that is really off to an MVP start. Barth has made all nine of his field goals, including a career-long 57-yarder, and has now made 25 consecutive field goals dating back to last year.
MOST IMPROVED OFFENSIVE PLAYER – WR Mike Williams
Pewter Report was on target with this prediction. Williams has clearly been the offense’s most improved player. We predicted that Williams wouldn’t have as many catches, but would have a greater yards-per-catch average and more touchdowns.
Through four games he has averaged 19.9 yards per catch, which is an improvement over last year when he averaged 11.9 yards. Williams already has two touchdowns when he had a total of three last year. Outside of right tackle Demar Dotson and center Jeremy Zuttah, there isn’t another challenger to Williams for this honor.
MOST IMPROVED DEFENSIVE PLAYER – CB Anthony Gaitor
This prediction was way off. A terrible preseason hamstring injury that has lingered into the regular season has prevented Gaitor from even playing in one game this year. Gaitor had a great offseason and training camp and had worked himself into the role of the nickel cornerback before getting hurt. Now he has been passed on the depth chart by Brandon McDonald and E.J. Biggers and was placed on injured reserve, but with a return designation.
The real Tampa Bay defender that has improved the most is defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who has already matched his single-season high of three sacks from 2010. A compelling argument could also be made for defensive end Michael Bennett, but McCoy’s strong presence inside is what is fueling the defense.
LEADING SACKER – DE Adrian Clayborn
Clayborn has officially been disqualified from this prediction because he landed on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury. His loss is an unfortunate blow to the defensive line, even though he compiled only two tackles and zero sacks in three games.
The leading sacker thus far is Bennett with four sacks through four games. That already matches Bennett’s career high of a year ago. He is on pace to average 16 sacks this season. McCoy is hot on his trail with three and the sack race between the two will be fun and interesting to watch as the season unfolds.
LEADING INTERCEPTOR – FS Ronde Barber
Barber is tied for the team lead with one interception, so this prediction is holding true. But that pick came in Week 1 and Barber hasn’t made too many big plays yet. Perhaps he’s due. Don’t be surprised if Barber gets an interception against either Kansas City or New Orleans coming off the bye week.
Eric Wright, Aqib Talib, Ahmad Black, McDonald, Foster and Barber all have one interception on the season. We’re sticking to our prediction of Barber leading the pack once again at the end of the day, but Wright and Talib will certainly get their opportunities to takeover, as will rookie strong safety Mark Barron.
BEST ROOKIE – LB Lavonte David
This prediction is also a hit thus far. The easier selection would have been picking Doug Martin as he was the starting running back, but we didn’t see the flashes of his big-play ability in the preseason. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Martin’s production has diminished in each of the first four games of the 2012 season.
David leads Barron in tackles by a handful and is coming off his best game as a pro with 14 tackles and three tackles for loss against Washington. Unless Martin really catches fire over the last 12 games, the distinction of being the Bucs’ best rookie in 2012 will come down to David or Barron.
PEWTER PREDICTION – Bucs Will Improve In 2012, Finish With 7-9 Record
Pewter Report was right on the money in forecasting the team’s 1-3 start heading into the bye week. The only difference was that Pewter Report had Tampa Bay beating Washington for its first win of the season, not Carolina. After starting off with three NFC East opponents, the schedule appears to be slightly easier over the last 12 games of the season. Pewter Report won’t change the prediction at this point and still has the Bucs winning half of those contests to finish 7-9.
However, instead of winning against NFC South front-runner Atlanta and losing at Carolina, look for the opposite to happen in Tampa Bay for both teams. The Bucs also stand a better chance of losing at Minnesota and prevailing in Oakland, too. A 7-9 record with a much more competitive showing over games in 2011 would represent a huge turnaround from last year.