Each week, PewterReport.com will rate the top 10 Buccaneers based upon recent play rather than overall talent or importance to the team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started off the much-anticipated 2015 season with a crushing defeat at home at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. There aren’t too many players heading into Week 2 with a solid game under their belt.

These are the Buccaneers with the most momentum heading into the Week 2 road game against the New Orleans Saints:

WHICH BUCCANEERS PLAYERS ARE HOT? – WEEK 3
1. DE Jacquies Smith
Smith has had a hot start to the 2015 season with a team-leading and NFL-leading four sacks in the first two games. After sacking Marcus Mariota once in Week 2, Smith set a career-high with three sacks of QB Drew Brees last week, and forced two fumbles. Smith needs just four sacks over the next 14 games to surpass last year’s career high of 6.5 QB captures.
LAST WEEK: 8

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

2. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
After a five-catch, 110-yard day with a career-high two touchdowns against Tennessee, Seferian-Jenkins hauled in two receptions for 29 yards at New Orleans before a shoulder injury knocked him out of the game in the second half. Seferian-Jenkins leads the Bucs with seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
LAST WEEK: 1

3. WR Vincent Jackson
After a good showing in Week 1 with four catches for 51 yards, Jackson stepped up in New Orleans and had three catches for 54 yards and a key touchdown right before halftime. With seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, Jackson is Tampa Bay’s leading wide receiver.
LAST WEEK: 5

4. RB Doug Martin
After rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries in the season-opening loss to Tennessee, Martin carried the ball 21 times for 78 yards (3.7 avg.) in New Orleans, and had a season-high 20-yard dash in the first half. Martin is off to a very good start this season with 130 yards on 32 carries (4.1 avg.) through two games.
LAST WEEK: 2

5. DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy is getting off to the right kind of start in 2015 with a sack in each game to go along with five tackles. McCoy’s two sacks are second-most in Tampa Bay behind Jacquies Smith’s four sacks. McCoy injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Saints game, but it’s not believed to be serious.
LAST WEEK: 4

6. LB Lavonte David
David is tied for the team lead with 13 tackles, including eight at New Orleans in a big, bounce-back game for Tampa Bay’s weakside linebacker. David is also making some splash plays as he had two pass breakups in coverage against the Saints, and also forced a fumble against the Titans.
LAST WEEK: 6

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

7. QB Jameis Winston
With the big win in the Big Easy, Winston stepped up as a playmaker with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run and didn’t throw an interception, although he lost a fumble. Winston has three touchdown passes and a running score through two games and showed much better decision-making in Week 2 and even better footwork and mobility.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

8. MLB Kwon Alexander
Alexander is tied with David for the team lead with 13 tackles through the first two games. Like David, Alexander also improved from a so-so showing in Week 1 and bounced back with a career-high eight tackles. Alexander certainly didn’t play like a rookie in New Orleans and the game appears to be slowing down for him.
LAST WEEK: 7

9. FS Chris Conte
Conte had a great game against the Saints, recording the Bucs’ first interception of the year, in addition to forcing a fumble and also making a tackle on a 21-yard negative play after Drew Brees recovered his fumble at the Saints’ 2-yard line. Conte was physical and in position against the Saints and has 11 tackles on the year, including six against the Saints.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

10. WR Louis Murphy
A week after recording zero catches and landing on the Which Players Are Not? list, Murphy came through with a big game in New Orleans. Not only did he catch three passes for 82 yards, including a season-long 54-yarder, he also drew a 40-yard penalty on the first drive of the second quarter that set up Jameis Winston’s 1-yard touchdown run.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

DROPPED OUT: Jacob Schum (3), Bobby Rainey (9), George Johnson (10)

WHICH PLAYERS ARE NOT – WEEK 3?
1. WR Mike Evans
Evans is killing fantasy football owners this year. After missing the season opener game due to a sore hamstring, Evans was limited on Sunday to a handful of plays and has yet to catch a pass from Winston in the preseason or the regular season.
LAST WEEK: 2

2. DE George Johnson
While Smith is tearing it up with four sacks and two forced fumbles this year, Johnson, the higher-paid defensive end, hasn’t lived up to his paycheck yet. Johnson is capable of playing better and has to produce more than the three tackles and one fumble recovery through two games.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

Bucs C Evan Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs C Evan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

3. C Evan Smith
Smith has had a modest start in the first two weeks and now he has a sprained ankle, which caused him to miss some playing time in the second half at New Orleans. Veteran Joe Hawley replaced him and did a very good job. Hawley could push him for the starting job this year.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

4. SS D.J. Swearinger
Swearinger had a good preseason, but he has yet to translate a great August into a great September. Through two games, Swearinger has seen plenty of playing time due to Major Wright’s injury and has produced six tackles. Swearinger missed a tackle on Saints running back Mark Ingram, which didn’t help his cause, either.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

5. CB Alterraun Verner
Verner played better at New Orleans than he did in Week against Tennessee, but it will a good game or two to wipe out a disappointing performance against the Titans. Verner has seven tackles on the year, but needs to make some pass breakups and interceptions.
LAST WEEK: 5

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I’m not quite feeling the ranking thing if we are trying to be a team playing group. Am I the only one?

Ronald
Ronald
5 years ago

Your list of not hot is pretty accurate. You could add Banks to that list also.

nitey
nitey
5 years ago

Scott, after dinging you about math in the other Jac Smith article, I find it odd that your math is off again. Smith only needs 3 more sacks in the next 14 games to beat his sack total of last season. 6.5 – 4.0 = 2.5 to tie, 3 to beat it.

Also, shouldn’t Brindza be on the hot list for this week? That could be a choice thing, but I’d put Brindza and his 4 FGs/14 pts over Murphy or Conte, but that’s just me.

76Buc
76Buc
5 years ago

Did anyone else notice how quick the ball got back to Winston in the shot gun when Hawley was in there? OBTW, where is the 325 lb USF center who looked so good?

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Am puzzled about all the love for Joe Hawley. Smith graded out good in his first two outings and you could tell the Bucs ran the ball better when he was in the game.
Hawley also cost us a first down on a 3rd and long conversion when he was caught tripping and yes, that was exactly his intent, he’s a smart player.
Guess this is the old proverbial falling in love with backup guy story.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Well personally I can’t stand EDS. He can’t do a shotgun snap at all and he’s constantly getting beat up the middle. While it may hurt in terms of line calling until he gets used to our system , I’ll take Hawley all day. He also played in Cutter system so it shouldn’t take too long. As for Running the ball better, I think that’s because every person in the entire stadium knew we would be running the ball on 1st and 2nd down during the 4th quarter. Just my opinion, but we’ll need a larger sample size to tell… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
5 years ago

ON a side note, is anyone else having a terrible time getting logged in and how slow this site is running? I have great internet and this site always gives me problems.

Buctebow
Buctebow
5 years ago

I’m hot if we lose and not when we win.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Cgmaster27, you might have a valid point but I will say he has graded out well the last two game and his shotgun snaps had better velocity on them in the second game. I really believe Kotter and Smith will start the player they think is playing better. in response to your side note, I am not having any problems on this site but am on another well known blogging site that uses a lot of gossip and innuendo to drive up interest and comments from the readers. It was the main reason I started posting here (always read) because… Read more »

Buc on the Move
Buc on the Move
5 years ago

I must say nice photo of Jaque Smith getting a hold of Mariotta. However, I have to question ASJ on the momentum list, considering he had a pretty bad game and is now injured for a month or more. Where’s Brindza or Rainey on that list? Special teams definitely has some momentum going the right way after that last game.

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  Buc on the Move
5 years ago

Agreed 100%