|Veteran Ronde Barber is Tampa Bay's midseason defensive MVP after moving from corner to safety. (US Presswire)|
Tampa Bay is back to .500 at 4-4 overall following Sunday's win at Oakland. After last season's 4-12 debacle, there is plenty of credit to give for the team's resurgence in our midseason awards.
Offensive MVP -- RB Doug Martin: This could go to any number of players, but no one has made a bigger impact on the Tampa Bay offense than the rookie from Boise State. He provides a burst and an ability to hit for big plays that the Bucs simply didn't have when LeGarrette Blount was the starter last season.
Defensive MVP -- S Ronde Barber: The veteran made the transition from cornerback to safety seamlessly. He has taken to his new spot just fine, with three interceptions -- one against the Chiefs that included an impressive 78-yard return for a TD -- and a forced fumble.
Rookie MVP -- RB Doug Martin: He's the third-leading rusher in the NFL and is on pace to finish with almost 1,600 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. There are several other worthy candidates -- LB Lavonte David and CB Leonard Johnson have both been solid contributors on defense -- but Martin is in a class by himself.
Top assistant coach -- OC Mike Sullivan: The Bucs are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging 28.3 points per game. They were 27th in the same category a season ago, averaging only 17.9 points per outing. Sullivan, the first-year offensive coordinator and former Giants quarterbacks coach, deserves a good chunk of the credit.
Biggest disappointment -- Injuries: As well as the Bucs are playing, it would be even more interesting to see what they could do if they had stayed healthy. So far, losing the team's two best offensive linemen -- Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks -- hasn't hurt too badly. But it might down the stretch. Similarly, DE Adrian Clayborn -- whose season ended early due to a knee injury -- could have provided a big boost to the defense.
Biggest weakness -- Cornerback: The cornerback position has been nothing but a problem all season. The Bucs traded away Aqib Talib after his suspension for testing positive for Adderall. Eric Wright dealt with an Achilles injury for most of the first half of the season. The Bucs rank dead last in the NFL in pass defense, and poor cornerback play is why.
Projected final record -- 8-8
Playoffs? Close, but not quite. The undefeated Falcons have already all but run away with the NFC South, and it's probably going to take a record better than .500 to slide into the field as a wild card.
One fact you may not know but should know: Turnover margin is always key to success in football, and the Bucs are at +9 for the season, the fourth-best mark in the NFC. They have excelled both at generating takeaways (17, tied for third in the NFC with the Falcons) and avoiding giveaways (8, tied for second in the NFC with the Packers).
For more from Tampa Bay Bucs blogger Patrick Southern, follow @CBSBucs on Twitter.
Want to know who CBSSports.com says the MVP is? Check out our Midseason Awards.