Originally posted on cover32 - Buccaneers  |  Last updated 6/19/14
The defensive-minded Buccaneers carry a chip on their shoulders after finishing with a 4-12 record. New coach Lovie Smith and his smash mouth style of play will certainly elevate the Buccaneers into old territory among the NFC South’s elite. Here are some of the players who will standout this season. Vincent Jackson Jackson has been on a yearlong Pro Bowl hiatus. With a new, talented passer along with young faces on the team, the outlook is promising. While Jackson hasn’t been the most consistent player on the field, he shows up against rivals. Especially the Atlanta Falcons. Doug Martin Martin is coming off a short season due to injuries. Many Buccaneer fans are still holding on to the potential that Martin flashed repeatedly during his rookie campaign of 1,454 yards on 319 carries. Many predict that Martin will become the new and improved Matt Forte under coach Smith. Gerald McCoy The two-time all-pro player is a lock for the pro bowl this season. With a defensive guru at the reigns of the team, we can expect a brilliant performance out of the young cornerstone player. Lavonte David How a player makes first-team all-pro, but isn’t named to the pro bowl roster is beyond me. No matter, David will surely earn the title this year. Last season, David surmised 123 tackles. He accounted for 16 percent of the teams’ total 751 tackles. David also made 21 tackles for loss, 26 percent of the team’s total of 82 tackles for loss. Many are calling David as the next Brian Urlacher. And many of us know just how much the Bears dominated with Urlacher under coach Lovie Smith. Adrian Clayborn Many will see this pick as a surprise. Not the NFL fans who take statistics into account of predictions. Clayborn has steadily improved since his rookie season in 2011 after he finished with 7.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 29 tackles. In 2012 Clayborn played in three games and was subsequently placed on injured reserve after injuring his right knee. 2013 brought reassurance to his career after starting all 16 games, forcing two fumbles, achieving six sacks and finishing with 43 tackles. Head coach Lovie Smith has always utilized a strong end, Alex Brown in 2004-2006, Adewale Ogunleye in 2005-2008, and Julius Peppers from 2011-2012. Clayborn fits the bill as his next dominating force. You may also be interested in:The top five Buccaneers most likely to be named to the ’14 Pro BowlDid any of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the best of Nos. 10-19 in the NFL?Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB Lavonte David named top-3 in the NFL
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