One of the focuses of Bucs’ training camp in 2021 is not being complacent after winning the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay’s end goal of “going for two” and repeating as champions is a tall task. No team has gone back-to-back since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
If there’s any player that understands wiping the slate clean after winning it all, it’s Rob Gronkowski. The now four-time champion has experienced entering a season with those same aspirations before. Outside of Tom Brady, he is the Buc that is best equipped to know how to recalibrate for a new season following the peak of success.
“Coming off a championship season, that’s huge,” Gronkowski said. “It’s definitely a different vibe because you have to leave that in the past. You’ve got to learn how to leave that in the past. Yes, it was great to celebrate and all – we had our time to celebrate, but that’s in the past – it’s a whole new season now. So, you’ve got to find ways to just put it in the back of your mind.
“This is a whole new season – we have a target on our back. We’ve got to find ways to get better, find ways to improve. I’ve got to find ways to go out there and be consistent on a daily basis. You’ve just got to keep finding ways to step up your game because you have a target on your back as a whole and you’ve just got to keep improving. You can’t have any setbacks thinking, ‘great, that’s all in the past.’”
When asked about the advice he’d give to his teammates, Gronkowski said it’s all about finding another gear that you can get to.
“I would say find a way to push yourself to another level of whatever aspect you feel like you need to work on in order to take your game to another level,” Gronkowski said. “So, if it’s getting in better conditioning – learn how to take that conditioning to another level to push yourself. If it’s becoming a better blocker or learning the playbook in more detail, then it’s that. It’s just pushing yourself to another level that isn’t that big of a strong suit.”
The Bucs offense has experienced leaders to prevent complacency, but what about the defense?
Bruce Arians isn’t worried about that at all with players such as Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul leading the way. Before winning again last season with the Bucs, Barrett also won a championship with the Broncos, as did Pierre-Paul with the Giants. Both players know what challenges they are set to face this season.
“Defensively, guys like Lavonte and Shaq and JPP have been there,” Arians said. “So, they know what it takes. And our guys know what the film [says]. When they look at the film, they know what work looks like, and good work. If it’s not good work on tape, they’ll address it. I don’t have to say anything.”