Sitting with a 2-6 record at the halfway point of the season, many inside One Buc Place don’t feel that the record is reflective of the type of team that they’re capable of being.
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is a firm believer that the Bucs are a much better team than the 2-6 record shows, and their last game in Seattle showed him that they can compete with any team in the NFL. It’s just putting it together late in games that has prevented them from having a better record.
“It’s unfortunate that our record is really 2-6,” Leftwich said. “This is the team that I knew, the team that played Sunday, this is the team that I know. But we got to understand, to win football games, it takes a little bit more and we got to always understand that. We got a football team out there that it’s unfortunate that we’re 2-6, and these guys compete as if they’re a good football team, which they are. The record may not say that right now and we’ll take what comes with the record, you are what you are, we’re a 2-6 football team. But I think we all feel as though we’re better than what that number may say and we’ll see this second half and we’ll see what we can try to do the second half of this year. We feel confident in our football team that we have here.”
The chances of a playoff berth are slim at this point of the season. But with eight games left, Leftwich is confident in the fact that the Bucs can turn what’s been a disappointing season around.
“You got to work,” Leftwich said. “I think we’re on the right path. I think the guys are focused the way they need to focus. I think everything is coming together the way it should, but like I said, it’s unfortunate for us that we’re 2-6 right now, a couple of those things go a different way, you guys are asking different kinds of questions, but it’s not. We’ll continue to work to try to better that record week in and week out.”
In terms of putting points on the board, Leftwich and the Bucs’ offense have held their own. At 28.8 points per game, the Bucs are fourth in the NFL in that category. Scoring hasn’t been as much of a problem as it’s been stopping the other team from scoring.
Despite that, Leftwich doesn’t feel the offense needs to score every time they have the ball, citing that the team wins and loses together. And one important component this team has is that they’re fighters, so it’ll be difficult for any team to put them away.
“We’re coming together as a team,” Leftwich said. “We got a young team and people don’t understand that. We’ll get in these situations and we’ll win these football games where we’re supposed to win them. We’re going through the process where we’re fighting and learning how to do that and in that process sometimes you come up a little short. I think we’re a couple wins away from being in those situations and winning those games and it’s truly building a certain type of confidence in this team.
“There’s one thing I know about this team, when we go out on Sunday, it’s going to be a tough out for whoever we’re playing just by the competitiveness of the guys, the way these guys practice, the way these guys compete, you got to enjoy that as a coach and have so much respect for that and just try to put them in the best situations week in and week out. But these guys love to fight.”