Who deserves credit for the Bucs’ season?

by Gary Shelton on January 7, 2021

in general

David was still the best defender./STEVE MUNCIE

Thursday, 4 a.m.

So what do you call a bunch of Bucs' awards? The Hughies? The Brucies? The Sons of Gruden?

That's the problem with this franchise. If you're looking for a cute little name -- like the ESPYs or the Oscars -- you have to reach into the past and, well, most of it is gooey. Playing in this team's history is like wading through the swamp. Sometime ugly is going to bite you.

So let's just call it the Buccies.

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Here goes:

Team MVP: Tom Brady. Of course it's Brady. This team still doesn't have many other ways to beat anyone besides Brady throwing the ball. They aren't going to line up and run through you, and the defense fades in and out. This has quickly become the Brady bunch. Hey, the guy had 40 touchdown passes. Give him a break.

Rookie of the Year: By the end of the season, Tristan Wirfs might have been the team's best offensive lineman. He rarely gives up a pressure, let alone a sack, and he's one reason the run game is better.

Memory to Make You Wince: Sabby Piscitelli.

Offensive Player of the Year: If Brady is winning the team MVP, let's find another offensive player of the year. I'm going with Mike Evans, who had his seventh consecutive 1,000 yard season. As good as other Bucs' receivers are, you can tell when Evans isn't in the game.

Defensive Player of the Year: Devin White had more tackles, but I still say the most consistent Bucs' tackler is Lavonte David. If he's standing between the goal and defeat, who else would you want?

Memory to Make You Wince: Lars Tate.

Most Improved: There's no doubt it's Ronald Jones II, who was almost a 1,000-yard rusher (and would have been if he hadn't been hurt). I wondered why Jones was on the team as a rookie. Well, this season was why.

Comeback Player of the Year: No one on the team's roster has been maligned more than Donovan Smith. But you should be glad when he plays.

Memory to Make You Wince: Keith McCants.

Unsung Hero of the Year: Ryan Succop took away that knot in your stomach whenever the Bucs kick.

The Rod Jones "Toast" Award: If you think it's for the best Bucs' secondary player, it would go to Carlton Davis III. If you think it's for the worst one, that would be Sean Murphy-Bunting.

Memory to Make You Wince: The Chris Chandler trade.

Biggest win: The Bucs beat Green Bay, the No. 1 seed in the NFL, 38-10.

Worst loss: Chicago? Really?

Memory to Make You Wince: Bo Jackson doesn't sign.

Biggest Ado About Very Little: Most of us thought Leonard Fournette was going to be a big deal. He wasn't.

Most Underrated Factor: The Glazers' money. They spent lots of it for this season.

Memory to Make You Wince: Roberto Aguayo.

Unsung Stat: This year, the Bucs s committed 50 fewer penalties for 336 fewer yards.

Biggest Drop-off: Shaq Barrett had 11 1/2 fewer sacks this year than in 2019.

Worst Injury: Defensive tackle Vita Vea.

Memory to Make You Wince: 0-16.

Pro Bowler of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul.

Assistant Most Likely to Be Hired as Head Coach: Todd Bowles.

Memory to Make You Wince: Greg Schiano's Toes on the Line.

Biggest Gamble: Signing Antonio Brown.

Mr. Congeniality: Rob Gronkowski.

Biggest Misplaced Target: Byron Leftwich, whose offense set a franchise record.

Biggest Memory to Make You Wince: Booker Reese.

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