Each week, PewterReport.com will rate the top 10 Buccaneers based upon recent play rather than overall talent or importance to the team. Tampa Bay blew a 24-0 lead at Washington in a 31-30 loss to the Redskins, which dropped the Bucs to 2-4 on the season.

These are the Buccaneers with the most momentum heading into Week 8:

WHICH BUCCANEERS PLAYERS ARE HOT? – WEEK 8
1. RB Doug Martin
Martin continues to be the team MVP. He leads the Bucs with 109 carries for 541 (5.0 avg.) and is coming off his third-straight 100-yard game with a season-high 136 yards against the Redskins. Martin has three rushing touchdowns, in addition to catching 14 passes for 129 yards and a TD.
LAST WEEK: 1

2. DE Jacquies Smith
Smith leads the Buccaneers with five sacks and three forced fumbles, including one at Washington that was returned for a touchdown by defensive end Howard Jones. Smith has a fumble recovery of his own for a touchdown, which came against Jacksonville, in addition to 15 tackles on the year.
LAST WEEK: 5

Bucs QB Jameis Winston completed over 70 percent of his passes and had two touchdowns at Washington – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

3. QB Jameis Winston    
Winston hasn’t had an interception over the past two games since throwing four against Carolina, and has completed 70 percent of his throws with three touchdowns against Jacksonville and Washington. Winston has made huge strides and has a very respectable QB rating of 85.7 for a rookie.
LAST WEEK: 10

4. WR Mike Evans
Evans produced his second 100-yard game of the year with a season-high eight catches for 164 yards (20.5 avg.) and a touchdown at Washington. He is now Tampa Bay’s leading receiver this year with 31 catches for 338 yards and one score, and will need to continue to play well with the loss of Louis Murphy to a torn ACL.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

5. DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy is second on the Bucs with 4.5 sacks, but may have had his worst game of the year at Washington where he was a non-factor and held to just two tackles. McCoy, who leads Tampa Bay with seven QB hits, needs to pick up his game and have a dominant performance at Atlanta on Sunday.
LAST WEEK: 2

6. LB Lavonte David
David is Tampa Bay’s leading tackler with 51 stops (26 solo) and has two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. David has had back-to-back games with nine tackles against Jacksonville and Washington, but needs to make more splash plays to earn the money that came with his rich contract extension.
LAST WEEK: 6

7. MLB Kwon Alexander
Alexander continues his solid play for a rookie, notching 38 tackles, which ranks second on the team, one sack and one interception. The LSU product has six pass breakups, which leads Tampa Bay through six games.
LAST WEEK: 4

8. RB Charles Sims
Sims is the second-leading rusher in Tampa Bay with 47 carries for 184 yards (3.9 avg.) with 16 catches for 210 yards (13.1 avg.) with two touchdowns. Sims rushed for 49 yards against the Redskins, but was tackled for a loss near the goal line in the fourth quarter and also fumbled a lateral attempt on the Bucs’ last play.
LAST WEEK: 7

9. SS Chris Conte
Conte had another solid game at Washington and has become Tampa Bay’s best playmaker in the secondary. He is the third-leading tackler with 32 stops, including a team-high 28 solo tackles. Conte is second in Tampa Bay with two forced fumbles, in addition to three tackles for loss, four pass breakups and an interception.
LAST WEEK: 8

Bucs DE Howard Jones - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs DE Howard Jones – Photo by: Getty Images

10. DE Howard Jones
Jones has only played in two games as a situational pass rusher for the Buccaneers, but had two huge sacks in Tampa Bay’s win against Jacksonville, and then recovered a fumble and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown at Washington.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

DROPPED OUT: RB Bobby Rainey (9), WR Vincent Jackson (3)

WHICH PLAYERS ARE NOT? – WEEK 8
1. CB Tim Jennings
Jennings was a healthy scratch on Sunday and was inactive in Washington after a lousy game against Jacksonville. Jennings may not be on the bench for long, though. The Bucs may release him if rookie Jude Adjei-Barimah continues to make strides after getting his first playing time on defense against the Redskins.
LAST WEEK: 1

2. CB Mike Jenkins
While Jennings wasn’t around to target on Sunday, Kirk Cousins routinely found Jenkins, who is nearly as bad in coverage, including four times for 42 yards on Washington’s game-winning touchdown drive.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

3. WR Louis Murphy
Murphy’s season comes to an end after a torn ACL following a 29-yard catch at Washington. He finished an inconsistent 2015 season with 10 catches for 198 yards, but went without a catch in two of Tampa Bay’s six games this year.
LAST WEEK: 3

Bucs FS Bradley McDougald - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs FS Bradley McDougald – Photo by: Getty Images

4. FS Bradley McDougald
McDougald had nine tackles on Sunday and has 35 on the season, but didn’t have a single pass breakup on Sunday at Washington. He also lined up incorrectly against tight end Jordan Reed and gave up an easy slant for the game-winning touchdown.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

5. WR Vincent Jackson
After a 10-catch, 147-yard game at New Orleans, Jackson has been relatively quiet with just two catches for 27 yards over the last two games, and a two-point conversion catch against Jacksonville. Jackson, who has 21 catches for 319 yards and two touchdowns on the year, left the Washington game with a knee injury and his status for Sunday’s game in Atlanta is unknown at this time.
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

DROPPED OUT: WR Mike Evans (2), SS Major Wright (4), DE George Johnson (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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jongruden
jongruden
5 years ago

There are maybe 5-7 players on this team worth mentioning positive comments, the rest of team is mediocre to putrid. When Conte is or best player in the secondary you have serious problems

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

I think that the bucs should paly the players that are creacting players. Lets get the correct players that are doing the job.I hope when Tampa plays at Atlanta. The Game can be winnable-Go Bucs

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Maybe so jongruden but the fact of the matter is that he is.
Had a great legal hit on a ‘Skin receiver to break up a third down conversion.
If the rest of our DB’s were just as good as him, we would at least have an average defense.
Right now, I don’t know why anyone even bothers running against us. They should just come out of the tunnel and start throwing underneath slants which no one on the team or the coaching staff seems to know how to stop.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

I’m not sold on either Smith or Jones as DE’s.
Yes, Smith caused a sack/fumble TD, but for the rest of the game he was pretty nonexistent. The same with the right side of the DL.
Smith needs to learn more than one speed rush move because for the remainder of the game the OT just kept pushing him to the outside negating any pressure.
Not even sure what the right side of the line is doing but I know George Johnson isn’t earning his money.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

NFL’s Ian Rappaport is reporting that Vjax will miss multiple weeks with a knee injury.
Yikes.

grafikdetail
grafikdetail
5 years ago

actually David lined up wrong… McDougal was covering the fade… David was suppose to have inside help…and could’ve been a pick 6 if he was lined up more outside just a yard or two

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  grafikdetail
5 years ago

That’s what blows my mind. Why in the hell is david playing close to the line? There isn’t even a running back in the backfield for pete’s sake. David has made some incredibly bonehead coverage plays this year.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
5 years ago