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December 21, 2012 @ 8:00 am
Current rating: 3.67 Stars/3 Votes

Rams Game Very Meaningful For Young Bucs

Written by Andrew
Andrew Scavelli


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Despite being knocked out of playoff contention, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have many factors that are keeping the team motivated to play hard, including a chance to finish out the season on a high note as well as putting on a good show for the fans.
Going into Sunday's matchup against the Rams with a 6-8 record and playoff possibilities no longer in existence, one would think that the Bucs have nothing meaningful left to play for against St. Louis. However, that is far from the attitude Tampa Bay is approaching this contest with.

The team's last home game of the season will give this developing squad the opportunity to continue to build and lay down the foundation for next season. The Bucs could have chosen to lessen the role for key building blocks of the team's future like running back Doug Martin and rest more established starters to get some of their developing prospects game experience, but that's not what head coach Greg Schiano is all about.

Coach Schiano has a plan in place for his football team for every possible situation, including the struggles Tampa Bay is going through right now, and in his program every game is equally important. There is no time to think about next season just yet for the Bucs.

“We’re in the early fazes of the development of this program,” Schiano said. “Part of that is learning how to win and win consistently. That’s our number one and only goal Sunday  to go out and win. My main focus is trying to build a culture of winning, and the things it takes to win.”

As much as this game means to Schiano's program, it is just as important for the players involved. Third-year defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is so focused and determined to win this week and help get the team back on track that even his biggest supporters are in the back of his mind for this contest.

“Well let me tell you this and make it clear, we love our fans and we love all our supporters, but it’s not about them, it’s really not,” McCoy said. “This game is not about them or putting on a show for them, it’s about us getting back on track and doing what we have to do to get a big win. If there’s a show involved then great, I’m sure it will make the fans happy, but this game is about us.”

Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams has even put aside any personal accomplishments he has the chance to achieve this year such as reaching 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. The third-year pro doesn't care about his numbers now as the only thing on his mind for the remainder of the season is winning football games and proving to the fans that the team deserves their support.

“Basically [I’m playing] to get a win,” Williams said. “That’s the number one thing. No matter what happens we want to go out and get our fans a win. Let them know that we’re still fighting for this team so they come out and cheer for us next year.”

Linebacker Mason Foster also wants to finish out his second season as a pro by continuing to build and improve every week rather than giving up when things are looking down like the team did his rookie year.

“It’s definitely a completely different feeling than last year,” Foster said. “Everybody’s still fighting; we have a great team [and] we have great coaches and we want to finish out this year strong. We’re still competing in practice and still working to get better. As long as you let us go out there and practice we’re going to work hard. It’s good to be a part of a team like that.

"You want to end on a high note and you definitely want to end the year playing your best football. That’s going to keep you going and leave you with a good feeling going into the offseason."

- Haley Cornish contributed to this report
Last modified on Friday, 21 December 2012 12:01

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  • avatar

    I'm sure "Schiano Klaus" is watching closely. He knows when you're a player, he knows when you're a fake. He knows if you can defend the pass, so remember what's at stake." Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I expect nothing less than 100 percent effort by all. We better have a different pass defense scheme because so far it has been a big failure. Go Bucs! Show us that this a different team than last year.
  • avatar

    I agree with Barry. This is the make or break portion of the season. The next two games will show which players have the heart and desire to play football for the Buccaneers. I want to see hustle on the field. I will be at RayJay for the home field season closer and hope to see a Bucs team willing to fight for its pride. We could easily be the 4-10 Lions, folks. And to be honest, they might even have more talent at a few major positions. The team needs to stay together in the fight. This year was wild: Broncos go H.A.M. (Hard as A Mofo, for you old folk), Russell Wilson lifts SEA, Luck in IND, Dalton in Cincy, NYJ go kerplunk, NO is all over the place, the 'best division in football' NFC East is upside down....I could go on. We were hit with the injury bug hard and it showed the fans and hopefully the ownership, that we need to fix our scouting department. Lots to be happy for with the turn around this season. Lots more to look forward to next season. LEH GO BUCS!
  • avatar

    Anyone who thinks this is a meaningless game , has got to be brain dead. This game and next week's games are huge. Either we have a 8 and 8 season or a losing season , case closed.
  • avatar

    Is it a coincidence that Freemen played so well when the running game was going great. Perhaps that took the pressure off and a relaxed Freemen is a more effective Freemen. Maybe he can learn to relax or maybe if the Bucs defense can stop the pass next year, he won't feel he has to put up 30 points a game.
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