Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) runs after making catch against the New York Jets during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

3 Up, 3 Down: Naming the Best and Worst Performers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the New York Jets on Sunday, as the team couldn’t get out to a big enough lead early, and couldn’t keep the Jets out of field goal range to end the game.

But that doesn’t mean every single player is to blame. Every week, we’ll bring you “3 Up, 3 Down” featuring three players who stood out, and three players who disappointed.

Let’s start with the bad news:

3 Down: Most Disappointing Players

  • Luke Stocker: Failed blocking assignments were the only standout moments for Stocker, who failed to contribute at all in the passing game. Stocker whiffed on multiple block attempts and didn’t give the Bucs a much needed third option in the passing game. He’s been a disappointment for quite a long time, but Sunday should help the Bucs realize that they need help at the tight end position, and they need it sooner rather than later.
  • Leonard Johnson: Last season, Johnson was one of the hard-working, less-talented defensive backs brought in to patch things together despite injuries and suspensions, and he did a pretty good job. He was one of the best players on the field, but that’s because of how poorly some of his teammates were playing. But on Sunday, when playing with much better talent around him, it became more and more obvious that he just can’t be relied upon to be an every down player in the NFL.
  • Doug Martin: As I discussed earlier on Sunday, Martin had absolutely no room to run with the football. The offensive line just wasn’t good enough. But Martin did fumble the ball (which was luckily recovered by the Buccaneers) and dropped a pass he should have caught. For a player who looked like he was ready to ascend to superstar status, that sort of stuff isn’t good enough.

Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster (59) reacts after making a play against the New York Jets during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

3 Up: Most Impressive Players

  • Mason Foster: The Buccaneers’ middle linebacker was all over the field on Sunday, chipping in on 8 tackles. But it was his contributions in the pass rush that were most meaningful. Foster added two sacks, including one that included a very skilful swat at the football to force a fumble and earn the Bucs a turnover in scoring position. Foster still isn’t perfect in pass coverage, but when he contributes like this, it more than makes up for what he lacks.
  • Darrelle Revis: Revis Island is back, and he’s just as good as advertised. The Bucs’ defense was visibly better with Darrelle on the field, as the corner made the Jets pay for testing him early with a pair of pass breakups, and he was just too short for his first Buccaneer interception on a pass into the end zone. The Jets eventually stopped throwing at Revis, and that’s all the Bucs can ask for from the All-Pro corner.
  • Vincent Jackson: Watching training camp, I grew fond of a few players, but none caught my eye as much as Vincent Jackson. I knew he was a great player, but the Buccaneers were committed to keeping him open and involved in the offense. And while other aspects of the offense should be cause for concern heading into Week 2, Vincent stood out as a nearly undefendable receiver from the slot or from outside the numbers.

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