Bucs' staff deserves a lot of credit

Updated: January 2, 2008, 11:12 AM ET
By Matt Williamson
Head coach Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers' front office deserve an awful lot of credit for Tampa Bay's NFC South championship. They dug up a handful of players who were relative unknowns and made them key components on defense and offense. FS Tanard Jackson, DT Jovan Haye, DE Greg White, RB Earnest Graham and OT Donald Penn have been instrumental in Tampa Bay's success and far-exceeded expectations this season.

Jovan Haye
Tanard Jackson
Jackson, Haye and White have all played major roles in elevating this defense back to among the league's best. Jackson is a rookie, but has played like a wily veteran as Tampa Bay's starting free safety. Coming out of Syracuse, there were questions about if he had the speed to play cornerback, but Gruden and his staff identified that Jackson could be a fine free safety. This 22-year-old is already a physical presence and deserved mention for the NFC Pro Bowl squad. The scary thing is he should continue to only get better.