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Patriots Vs. Bucs Reaction: Tampa Bay Rookies Shine

The two Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 first-round draft picks made a name for themselves in Friday's 30-28 win over the New England Patriots.

Running back Doug Martin scored on a 1-yard run on the game's opening drive. Safety Mark Barron intercepted a Tom Brady pass -- which was tipped by Ronde Barber -- and returned it 22 yards to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

Coach Greg Schiano was pleased with Barron's overall performance.

''Mark played faster this week. He looked more confident in what he was doing,'' Schiano said. ''That's what rookies do. They learn and they get better.''

Martin finished with a very strong 53 yards on 13 carries, as he looks to force his name into the conversation with LeGarette Blount. Barron also added two tackles to his line. Fellow rookie running back Michael Smith also had some good runs, finishing with 38 yards on six carries, good for 6.3 yards per run.

It was a needed showing from Barron as the seventh overall pick fro Alabama is expected to help shore up a defense that was one of the worst in the league last year. The Buccaneers surrendered a franchise-worst 494 points over the course of the season. The Bucs were also last in the league in sacks with only 23 last season.

For more on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason, head over to Bucs Nation and join the conversation.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.