For the second time in four seasons, Bucs G Davin Joseph has been chosen to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl.
Joseph, 28, signed a seven-year extension with the Bucs this summer. He has started next to RT Jeremy Trueblood since they were Tampa Bay's first two selections in the 2006 draft.
Joseph, a first-round pick out of Oklahoma, earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2008.
"This was an honor well-deserved for Davin,'' Trueblood said Tuesday night, just minutes after the Pro Bowl squads were announced. "He's just a very good all-around player. Davin's very solid in pass protection and he's a heck of a run blocker.''
The Bucs are averaging 4.3 yards per carry and have allowed only 30 sacks in 543 pass attempts.
"Playing next to Davin all these years has made me a better football player,'' Trueblood said. "He's also one of our leaders. … Davin leads by example. I'm very happy to see him recognized as a Pro Bowler.''
Job well done
The division rivalry between the Buccaneers and Saints didn't prevent Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris from congratulating New Orleans for winning the NFC South on Monday night.
Morris watched the Saints dismantle the Falcons, 45-16, behind record-setting QB Drew Brees, who topped Dan Marino's NFL record (5,084) for passing yards in a season.
"I got a chance to text (Saints coach Sean Payton) last night and tell him congrats,'' Morris said Tuesday. "That's pretty special to watch anybody break a record. I'm just glad it wasn't on us. That's special, especially doing it in 15 games, breaking a 27-year-old record by a guy like Drew in that city. Now they get a chance to go to the playoffs and see what they (can) do.''
Play or sit?
Sunday's matchup at Atlanta, flexed to 4:15 p.m., could be relatively meaningless to the Falcons, prompting coach Mike Smith to rest some of his key starters.
If the Lions (10-5) beat the Packers at Lambeau Field at 1 p.m., Detroit will clinch the NFC's No. 5 playoff seed and Atlanta (9-6) would be relegated to the No. 6 spot, facing either New Orleans or San Francisco on the road in the opening round.
But if Green Bay wins, the Falcons could wrest the No. 5 seed from Detroit by handing the Bucs their 10th consecutive setback. In that case, Atlanta would open the postseason on the road against the NFC East winner, either Dallas or the New York Giants.
"Believe me, our internal goals are much higher than just being a participant in the playoff field,'' Smith said after Monday night's lopsided loss.
Second-year DT Brian Price had started every game this season until an ankle injury rendered him inactive Saturday at Carolina.
He didn't practice Tuesday and Price said he's proud of the way he has fought through an array of ankle and hamstring injuries in 2011 that hampered his performance.
"That's what they pay you for — being a professional,'' Price said. "It's the name of the game and I'm not making excuses. You just live and learn. You take the positives and learn from the negatives. You grow from both and use it for the next season.''