For a year that has had its ups and downs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there were quite a few individuals that played outstanding throughout the entire season. For the Buccaneers there was a handful of players that could have easily been voted into the pro bowl yet only one was voted to be on the team outright, Gerald McCoy.
For McCoy this was well deserved. We all finally saw the potential that made him the third overall pick in the 2010 draft as he wreaked havoc in opponents backfield’s all year. While he could have had a bit more production, anyone that watched a game saw the impact that McCoy was making.
The biggest improvement in not only McCoy’s game but the Buccaneers defense as a whole has been the run defense. He won’t be credited with all the tackles for loss that happened, but he was a big reason that most of them did happen. No player on the Bucs defensive line played more snaps or faced more double teams. Add in that McCoy has stayed healthy this season and the Buccaneers have to be happy about his progress as a player.
Three other Buccaneers were voted as alternates in Vincent Jackson, Ronde Barber and Doug Martin. While you can make cases that all should have in fact been voted into the game in the first place the one that stands out is Jackson.
Jackson came over from the San Diego Chargers this past off season and has transitioned the offense into a top ten unit. His numbers have all topped career highs with one game remaining to play. Leading the league in yards per catch should have been enough to push him into the lineup but fan favorite Victor Cruz was voted in above him for the simple fact of a touchdown dance that made fans familiar with his name.
This should keep Jackson motivated going into the next season to grow even more with Josh Freeman. With another year to work together and build in the off season things can only go up for the two of them.
It’s a little disappointing to not see Barber make it in after the great season he’s had switching positions and still performing at his age. This one makes a bit of sense though as the Buccaneers rank dead last against the pass so that doesn’t do him any favors.
While there is a good chance that all three alternatives will get a chance to go as most of the players in front of them are playoff bound, it’s still disappointing to not see them make it in there to begin with. If the team could have pulled out a couple of more wins I’m sure that all three would be joining McCoy in Hawaii.