Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Players Who Will Shine In Week 1

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Players Who Will Shine In Week 1

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not have asked for a better opponent to start the 2013 season. The New York Jets were terrible last year and have done very little outside of the draft to improve their team. New York lost several veterans to free agency and traded cornerback Darrelle Revis to their week one opponent.

To make things worse, Mark Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury in a preseason game with the New York Giants, and the Jets are being oddly vague about the extent of the injury. Sanchez is listed as day-to-day, but the injury is likely worse than they are letting on as evidenced by the signing of Brady Quinn.

New York seems content to have another failed season as they stood by and watched as other NFL teams fought for quality free-agent additions. One of those teams was the Bucs, who fiercely attacked their biggest weakness. Tampa’s pass defense was ranked dead last in 2012, and will be revitalized by two All-Pro additions in the secondary with Revis and safety Dashon Goldson.

The Bucs’ offense made great leaps forward last year in coach Greg Schiano's first season finishing ninth in total offense, up from 21st the season before. They should continue to improve and get a nice confidence boost from the Jets’ sub-par defense.

Tampa Bay is solid on both sides of the ball and several players should have big games against a much weaker Jets team. Here are five Bucs who will shine in their first regular season game of 2013.

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5. Dashon Goldson

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The former San Francisco 49ers safety was an All-Pro in 2012, and is primed for a big debut with his new team. Not only will he get to cash in on rookie quarterback Geno Smith's mistakes in his first professional game, but he’ll also be covering one of the worst receiving corps in the league.

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4. Doug Martin

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Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Martin exploded onto the scene in his rookie year last season with 1,926 yards from scrimmage and 12 TDs. The Jets’ front seven is one of the only areas where they aren’t terrible, but Martin should still have a big day. Whether it’s in the running game, with his receiving skills or both, the dynamic back is going to make plays on Sunday.

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3. Vincent Jackson

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In Jackson’s first season with the Bucs, he managed career highs with 72 receptions and 1,384 receiving yards. Josh Freeman’s favorite target was great in his first season with Tampa, and will have better chemistry with his quarterback in their second year together. When you add a soft New York secondary to the mix, it will make for a nice start to the season for Jackson.

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2. Josh Freeman

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With Martin and Jackson added to his arsenal in 2012, Freeman topped his career high by 473 passing yards. The 25-year-old also had a career high with 27 TDs, but still has plenty of room to grow as he completed just 54.8 percent of his passes. I expect to see further progress as he becomes more comfortable in his second year under coordinator Mike Sullivan's offense.

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1. Darrelle Revis

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oddly, Revis’ first NFL game outside of a Jets’ uniform will be at MetLife Stadium, and there is no better team to face in his first game back from a torn ACL than the 2013 Jets. Revis hasn’t seen any game action since he suffered his injury last October, but if you have to miss the preseason, taking on New York’s feeble offense is the next best option for easing yourself back into action. Barring any setbacks, the three-time All-Pro selection should have a great return against his former team.

Aaron Charles is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @aaroncharleskc or add him to your network on Google


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