Buccaneer players on Wednesday told Pewter Report that the 2012 team is completely different than last season's 4-12 squad and that there is no quit in this team despite a 41-0 loss on Sunday to the Saints. All the players agreed they were looking forward to getting back on the winning track this Sunday against St. Louis.
While no Tampa Bay players will go on the record and say the 2011 Buccaneers gave up – or quit – as some have suggested, talking to the players on this year’s team, you can sense a different attitude.
With a four-game losing streak hanging over their head, several players from last season’s 10-game losing streak squad strongly hinted things are much different under head coach Greg Schiano.
Safety Ahmad Black carefully chose his words when describing the difference in the two teams, but you could read between the lines.
“It is definitely different, a new year a new team,” Black said. “We lost 10 straight last year – and no one is saying anyone gave up but – you can just sense it feels different as far as last year and this year’s team. We are just going to go to practice this week, work hard and get another W under our belt. No one likes to lose.”
With the Bucs mathematically eliminated from the postseason, the fact they wont have a chance to compete for a title is frustrating to Black. PewterReport.com asked Black if a 13-3 season and no Super Bowl is the same as a 6-10 season is a sense.
“You are damn right,” Black said. “Anything less than a Super Bowl is a disappointment, that is the ultimate goal. That’s what we wake for early every morning and come to work for to try and achieve.”
Black’s defensive backfield teammate E.J. Biggers agreed, saying no one is quitting in 2012.
“I don’t really want to speak on last season,” Biggers said. “We are still fighting. There is nothing about us as far as negativity. We are all positive. We truthfully are looking at it like just going out and getting better everyday. We don’t even want to talk about the past games. We are just focusing on St. Louis.”
Biggers also said there is plenty of incentive left to play for, including getting the bad taste of their mouth from last week’s embarrassing shutout loss to the Saints.
“Coming off of a loss you always want to come back and find out what mistakes you made and get better from them,” Biggers said. “No one wants to lose. That is the only reason we play the game and that is to win. Coming off a loss you want to get back to that winning streak again. That is the plan and that is what everyone is playing this game for.
“So that’s what we plan to do starting this week. Come back together as a team, take the coaching and do whatever we have to do to get back on that streak.”
Linebacker Adam Hayward was another of the players who experienced last season’s 10-game meltdown, and said these are two different football teams.
“We want to end this season on a positive note, not going out there and getting blown out 41-0,” Hayward said. “When you get new coaches and a new team together you try and take any positives you can. Last year it was ugly, but this year we are kind of going on the fact we are coming together as a team. We wanted to be in the playoffs but it didn’t work out that way. So what is the next best thing? And that is getting better as a team and finding out what our nucleus is and kind of building around that.
No matter what, we are going to fight to the end. The guys we have in here now all want to fight until the end. It is a very competitive game and you just want to win. You don’t want to be one of those guys that go out there and just lay down. We never want to be that.”*Note: Hayward was asked about his blowup on the sidelines with linebackers coach Bryan Cox but didn’t want to discuss it, just saying that it was in the past.
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