1. Rookies are contributing.
This year's rookie class has been a significant part of the Buccaneers' plans through the first five games of the season. Each of the team's top four picks – Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet and Kwon Alexander – have started all five games. Winston has been nominated for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award twice this season while Kwon Alexander was voted as the winner in Week 3. Smith has shown flashes; in Week 4, he was graded by Pro Football Focus as the NFL's second-best offensive tackle. Marpet has had his moments as well; in Week 5, PFF graded him as the NFL's third-best run-blocking guard.
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2. Doug Martin is rejuvenated.
If Martin continues to perform at the level he has been, he'll finish the season with well over 1,000 yards. He's earned 405 rushing yards and three touchdowns and finds himself right in the mix for the NFL's rushing title, trailing Matt Forte, the league-leader, by 33 yards. Martin has rushed for back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 4 and 5, bringing him to nine 100-yard games in his career. He's also been productive catching passes out of the backfield, hauling in 11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Martin said that a major part of his success has been his health, explaining that he was less than 100-percent for most of last season. He fell short of 500 yards in each of the past two seasons.
3. The Bucs can get after the passer.
Head Coach Lovie Smith has said that there's a bar set at 10 sacks for any elite pass-rusher. Through five games, two Buccaneers are set to surpass that. Gerald McCoy has picked up 4.5 sacks this season, tied for the second-most of any player in the league. He's one-half of a sack shy of Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap, who leads the league. For the first three games of the season, Jacquies Smith led the league in sacks. He is one sack away from the league lead with four. In total, the Bucs have 15 sacks on the year.
Photos of Jameis Winston through his first 5 games as a Buccaneer.