Bucs DT Gerald McCoy - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Four straight wins and bum-rushing the playoff picture has earned the Bucs plenty of praise outside of the Tampa Bay area.
In addition to hearing national media personalities and programs thrust praise upon Tampa Bay and acknowledge the team’s emergence, the NFL wants to increase the team’s visibility as well. After a home win over Seattle and a road triumph against San Diego in back-to-back weeks, the league flexed a pair of Bucs games into more favorable time slots. This week’s NFC South home date with New Orleans moved from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m., then next week’s trip to Jerry World in Dallas elevated to Sunday Night Football status.
But if players and coaches are enjoying the positive attention and brighter spotlight, they’re not letting on. Minutes after sitting down for a live SportsCenter interview Thursday afternoon, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said the heightened interest is nice, but that he’s far more concerned with the team continuing their on-field success. “It’ll feel even better to get a win Sunday, so I’d rather talk about that.”
Bucs DT Clinton McDonald and CB Alterraun Verner – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Fellow interior defensive lineman Clinton McDonald took that mentality a step further when asked about it Wednesday.
“We haven’t really done anything to earn anybody’s respect yet,” McDonald said. “We’ve got a long way to go and we know we have a long road to get there. We know it’s going to take a lot more than just winning a few games. To earn the country’s respect, it’s going to take a lot more than that. We’re just happy to be here – not just happy to be here, but happy to be presented with the challenge.”
For veterans who have been in Tampa Bay for an extended period, though, the change of pace is hard not to notice.
“It’s definitely a different feel around the locker room and around the whole community,” safety Keith Tandy said. “The one thing you’ve got to make sure you do is just keep the goal in mind and keep whatever process you’ve been doing to get to here, keep on going at that. It’s really like the first meaningful games we’ve played in December in the five years I’ve been here, so it’s new territory for us.”
McCoy may not have wanted to expound upon all the broad, outside attention from around the country, but giving a shout out to the Bucs’ fan base was a different story.
Bucs S Keith Tandy – Photo by: Getty Images
“I’ve always said I love our fans,” McCoy said. “I wouldn’t say [there’s] more and more fan support. I think it’s being pointed out more, but our fans have always been there. We’ve always had our fans, we love our fans and that’s why we play so hard. They deserve to see us win.
“I run into people all the time out in public just saying thank you for giving us something to believe in. It feels good, not just for us but for them, too. When you say fan it’s short for fanatic, so this is a part of their life. Anything that’s a part of your life, when it’s not going good it affects you. So when we’re winning it makes it easier on our fans and we’re happy about that. So we just have to stay the course, keep going through the process, and do our best to go out and win on Sunday.”
You don’t hear many comments from Clinton. But I have noticed he is humble and unassuming kind of man. I’ll say this though, if I was ever need of back up in a brawl I would gladly take his help. That photo makes him look like he could twist your arm with no trouble.
While I was typing this out my phone notified me that John Glenn passed away. He was my hero when I was a child.
America just lost one of our truly great citizens. Not only were his feats legendary, he was a truly great human being.
He will be missed.
Agree about john Glenn. Sport and movie stars are not heroes. Glenn was , and he was a US Senator as well. We need more like him.
I do not enjoy that quote from Tandy. Correct me if I am wrong, but were the Bucs not 6-6 last year and in the hunt before dropping back to back games vs the Rams and a team I refuse to name? Those were meaningful games that I was not happy about, a higher draft pick and Lovie gone were nice side effects but not at that time. No wonder our secondary was terrible last season, they didn’t even give themselves a chance!
Tandy is absolutely correct, actually. Unlike you and me, he was inside the lockerroom when the head coach buzz-killed the entire team at the beginning of their four game losing streak last season. They could all read the tea leaves and knew that Lovie Smith was a loser and they were destined to lose.
In other words, don’t blame the messenger
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