The Buccaneers’ history has been low on wins, but high on talent. Who was the best player to wear number 83 in franchise history?
While we wait for the Buccaneers to finally take the field and begin training camp, let’s continue our trip down memory lane. It’s not always fun to go down memory lane, as the team hasn’t done a lot of winning. One Super Bowl isn’t a lot to hang our hats on. Bucs’ fans are people of excellent character, simply because they have stuck around through decades of hard times. It’s not an easy thing.
But one thing is for sure. The Bucs have had talented players all through the years. From the good old days of Lee Roy Selmon to today and Doug Martin, the talent has always been there. In some respects, the talent is more impressive, as it was able to shine through some very bad football teams. If nothing else, it proves that the players that have come through Tampa have been some of the league’s finest.
But who are the best?
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Over the last several weeks, we have been traveling back in time, looking at the best players ever to put on the Bucs’ jersey, backwards by jersey number. As we travel from 80-89, we look at some of the more talented wide receivers to pass through Tampa. Our last look was at number 84, Joey Galloway. We are up to number 83, and have to go back no further than the current roster.
The choice is a simple one, Vincent Jackson.
Jackson was already a prolific NFL receiver, spending seven years in San Diego and posting three 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Prior to the 2012 season he joined the Bucs as a free agent and off he went. Specifically, he went on a run of three straight 1,000 yard seasons. In 2012, he led the league with an average of 19.2 yards per reception.
In a week six game against the Saints, Jackson made his mark with the Bucs and the fan base. That afternoon, he posted seven receptions for a cool 216 yards (Bucs’ record) and a touchdown. His 95 yard reception was also the longest in team history.
Vincent Jackson was here to stay. He finished the year with 72 receptions for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns, earning him his sole Pro Bowl appearance in Tampa.
In 2013, Vincent posted games of 154 and 165 yards along the way to 78 receptions for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns. 2014 was another big year, with 70 catches, 1,002 yards and two touchdowns. He played a big part in opening things up for Mike Evans, who lodged 68 receptions and twelve touchdowns of his own.
2015 was cut short, as “VJax” fell to injury. He did hang around long enough, however, to help Jameis Winston out in a 10 reception, 147 yard performance against the Panthers. For the year he posted 33 receptions for 543 yards and three touchdowns.
He has done his best work against the NFC South, averaging 77.5 yards per game in 26 previous battles within the division.
For his Bucs’ career, Vincent Jackson has posted 253 catches, 4,153 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is far and away the best player in team history to wear number 83.