Ira Kaufman’s Bucs All-Decade Team

December 19th, 2019

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The standings tell the story for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as this decade comes to a close, and it’s not a pretty tale.

Zero playoff appearances, few All-Pro honors, five head coaches and a half-empty stadium. That’s tough to stomach.

As the Bay area representative for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’ll have a voice in selecting the NFL’s All-Decade team.

Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David deserve consideration, but the franchise’s lack of success will be an obstacle.

In choosing the All-Decade team for the Buccaneers, the talent gap with Tampa Bay’s peers becomes both painful and obvious. At several positions, far too many, there were no truly worthy candidates.

Still, the show must go on. Here’s one man’s opinions on the best of the best to don pewter during a decade best forgotten by Buc faithful.

QB – Jameis Winston. There’s no real debate about who belongs under center. Winston’s penchant for turnovers is well documented, but as the end of the decade approaches, the Bucs have emerged as an exciting, high-scoring club.

RB – Doug Martin. He couldn’t sustain his success, but Martin ranks as the No. 4 rusher in team history. The Muscle Hamster posted a pair of 1,400-yard seasons and Tampa Bay’s ground game hasn’t been the same since he departed.

LeGarrette Blount makes Ira Kaufman’s Bucs all-decade team

RB – LeGarrette Blount. He opened the decade by topping the 1,000-yard mark during that glorious 2010 season. Blount ran effectively the next year before being displaced by Martin in 2012.

WR – Mike Evans. The best receiver in franchise history is just approaching his prime years. Evans is on a Hall of Fame trajectory which could make him Tampa Bay’s first offensive player to boast a gold jacket.

WR – Vincent Jackson. Whether he was catching passes from Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon, Josh McCown or Winston, Jackson proved to be a very dependable target with a huge catching radius.

TE – Cameron Brate. This free-agent find from Harvard emerged as a sure-handed weapon, especially in the red zone.

T – Demar Dotson. The longest-tenured Buc has been a mainstay on the right side through all the turmoil and disappointment.

T – Donald Penn. He usually looked out of shape, but Penn was a proud trench warrior who did a nice job protecting the blind side of Buc quarterbacks.

C – Ryan Jensen. The Bucs were looking for a physical presence to anchor the OL and Jensen’s nasty approach has rubbed off on teammates.

G – Ali Marpet. Right guard, center, left guard … you name it and Marpet has been asked to play there. He accepts his responsibilities willingly and always gives full effort.

G – Jeremy Zuttah. One of Tampa Bay’s most versatile linemen shifted regularly between guard and center. Zuttah’s athletic limitations were trumped by his keen football intelligence.

K – Connor Barth. He was a steady performer at a position which has caused thousands of Buc fans to reach for the Maalox.

P–Mike Koenen. This savvy free-agent pickup from Atlanta proved to be a master of placement inside the 20.


DE – Michael Bennett. He didn’t stay long, but Bennett showed enough as a Buccaneer to attract the attention of the Seahawks and earn a Super Bowl ring. His ability to play inside or on the edge was quite rare.

DE – Will Gholston. He does a lot of the dirty work in stopping the run — and he’s been good at it for seven seasons.

DT – Gerald McCoy. The third pick in the 2010 draft was the face of this defense until he joined Carolina in June. A polarizing figure in Tampa, McCoy overcame some early injuries to earn respect from his peers.

DT – Clinton McDonald. There’s a paucity of candidates to pair with McCoy inside, but McDonald was a consummate pro and a worthy free-agent addition.

OLB – Lavonte David. Buc fans have learned to expect quality efforts from this unassuming performer who lets his play do the talking. David has emerged as a more vocal leader this year and he’s the perfect mentor for Devin White.

OLB – Adam Hayward. One of the best special-teams players in franchise history, Hayward did a nice job filling in as an outside linebacker when needed.

MLB – Kwon Alexander. His passion led to some issues with over-pursuit, but Alexander’s energy and enthusiasm couldn’t be questioned.

Ira’s selection of Chris Conte triggered a mandatory test for banned substances at world headquarters.

CB – Brent Grimes. It didn’t end well for Grimes, but he provided the Bucs with competent play at corner for two seasons.

CB – Ronde Barber. Raheem Morris leaned on Barber early in the decade to show the way for young defensive backs like Aqib Talib. Barber responded in style, willing to lead by example in the art of being a pro.

S – Chris Conte. Say what you will about Conte’s weaknesses, but he had a knack for making big plays at key moments.

S – Bradley McDougald. Like Bennett, he served his apprenticeship in Tampa before moving on to Seattle. And like Bennett, the Bucs gave up on him too early.

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

23 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s Bucs All-Decade Team”

  1. J dubb Says:

    While I agree with most, I think Davin Joseph has a case over Jeremy zuttah, and although only here for two years, I take jpp over Gholston. I think Adam Hayward was a great st and depth piece, but how pathetic was our other olb to have him as the best at that position opposite lvd

  2. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Wow this list puts in perspective how god awful we were this decade.

  3. pelbuc Says:

    Chris Conte! Isn’t he still trying to recover from Vance McDonald’s stiff arm.

  4. Dewey Selmon Says:

    If that’s the best we have had I have to wonder how we had all those playoffs appearances…

  5. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    J dubb you’re right. First thing that stuck out was where is Davin Joseph? Zuttah was a solid player but Joseph was a pro bowler and a leader on that line.
    Conte? Really?
    That is all you need to know about the Bucs in the last decade. When your freaking safety of your decade team is Chris freakin Conte.
    What about Tanard Jackson? Shoot I’ll take end of career ronde at safety over Chris freakin Conte. I would even take Whitehead over conte, apparently BA agrees with that. I’d take Keith Tandy and a Ham Sandwich over Chris freakin Conte.
    Adam Hayward? That’s getting a little too cute. How about Mark barron at OLB hahaha. Dakota Watson? Shaq Barrett?
    Good stuff Ira, definitely a great piece for debate.

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    j dubb

    i agree…..d.joseph shouldve made the list….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Will Gholston?! That HAS to be a joke. No way, no way should Gholston be on ANY list. Let alone an all-decade list!
    He has had a nice YEAR. A-NICE-YEAR, not good, not great. Out of SEVEN!

  8. ClodHopper Says:

    I’d put Blount over Martin but that’s just personal preference. Even though he had better numbers Martin left a bad taste in my mouth.

  9. GoBucs! Says:

    I’d take Talib over Grimey! Tanard Jackson’s last 2 years in Tampa still better than Conte.

  10. rrsrq Says:

    Chris conte was about as effective as Tanard Jackson

  11. tnew Says:

    This list highlights just what I’ve been saying for a while. This is an under talented group. Everyone wants to blame 3 for everything, but with this being your All-Decade group, who can really be surprised the Bucs haven’t been winning?

    Hey Ira.. you forgot Coach and Executive of the decade…

  12. StonedBuc Says:

    Warrick dunn over martin…

  13. Buczilla Says:

    Damn good article Ira. I am seriously depressed looking at this list since outside of a handful of players, it’s pretty pathetic.

  14. bojim Says:

    StonedBuc Says:
    December 19th, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Warrick dunn over martin…

    decade=10 years

  15. ‘79Defense Says:

    Thanks a lot Ira. I was feeling pretty good until I read this.

  16. SirClicksAlot Says:

    ^This says it all.

  17. Mort Says:

    Wow that’s got some bad picks there dude.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    What a sad list.

    I guess in the bright side, how bad can the next decade really be?

  19. unbelievable Says:

    Lol bucsfaninchina, you nailed it! Also:

    Davin Joseph > Jeremy Zuttah
    JPP > Gholston
    Matt Bryant > Connor Barth

  20. Joe Says:

    Matt Bryant > Connor Barth

    Matt Bryant never played for the Bucs this decade.

  21. Jimmy Says:

    G – Jeremy Zuttah … Hello, Davin Joseph made a Pro Bowl.

    DE – Will Gholston … C’mon Ira, you really believe Gholston is better than JPP? This guy was the only Bucs’ DE to get double-digit sacks the whole decade. Wake up!

    DT – Clinton McDonald … You really believe this guy was better than Vita Vea?

    OLB – Adam Hayward. … What a bunch of shiite!!!! You pick a guy who rarely started over Shaq who is about to lead the league in sacks???

    S – Chris Conte … so the guy has a pick against your Chiefs and he’s all decade?

    This is embarrassing. No wonder you cannot get John Lynch in the Hall. You probably claim he was almost as good as Sean Jones.

    Did you come up with this list at BWW when you were drinking vodkas?

  22. Sport Says:

    Ugh….that’s some tough sledding their Irv. I do not envy having to pull that into the room. David,Evans and McCoy is about it. JPP I think of more as a Giant for the decade.

    Not sure of the rules, but after those three, it might be good to help support a few fellow voters that might throw a bone back when you need them for Barber and Lynch. Politics Baby!!!

    In BA I Trust!

  23. Razor Ramone Says:

    Yikes… that’s a pretty grim list.