NEW YORK (AP) â€” Comments on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (13)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 15) â€” Bucs being contenders is another great story of the year.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 12) â€” Greg Schiano has his young team looking like a playoff contender.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 15)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 13) â€” Things rolling now for Schiano and the Bucs. Check out Freeman's numbers over the last five weeks for a big reason why.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 16) â€” Greg Schiano said he wants to be known as more than just the guy who goes after teams in late-game knee-down situations. Another in a series of impressive wins is getting the job done.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 15) â€” Josh Freeman has steered the Bucs to four wins in their last five games to rekindle playoff hopes with a 5-4 record. He has thrown 13 TD passes against just one interception during that stretch.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 14) â€” They've gone from kneeldowns to all-out assaults. For those keeping score, that's five straight weeks with 28 or more points.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 14) â€” Surging in confidence behind resurrected QB Josh Freeman and big-time playmakers.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 12) â€” The Bucs play hard and don't make excuses under Greg Schiano. The pass defense is a big problem, but Josh Freeman is red hot and is covering up some deficiencies.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 13) â€” The Bucs continue to score points in bunches. They lost another starter in LB Quincy Black this week. They have embodied the "next man up" mindset better than anyone, but at what point does the reliance on depth â€” on a team where depth was an issue to start â€” catch up to them?
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 14) â€” Undrafted rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson â€” who still lives at home with his mom â€” is one of the NFL's feel-good stories. Johnson intercepted a pass for the third straight game, returning an errant Philip Rivers throw 83 yards for a touchdown that sparked last Sunday's 34-24 win.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 14) â€” While everyone was talking about Doug Martin, Josh Freeman quietly has gotten on a hot streak.
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