The Buccaneer’s remaining schedule consists of three teams battling for an NFC playoff spot this season. And while they themselves won’t get to enjoy that same feeling of accomplishment, players are claiming that their opponents’ situation will be important for them to see, as they look to be in the same position one day.
In other words, experiencing any kind of playoff contention will serve them well in the future, even if it’s the other team’s push.
“These games will be important for us,” said quarterback Josh McCown. “All of these teams that we’ll be playing are playoff teams that want to win these games. We want to win these games because we’re competitors and you want to win every game that’s in front of you. They will bring a lot of juice because they’re in that mode.
“And it’ll be a good opportunity for us to match that, feel that and to kind of learn from ourselves. Even though you’re not in it and the carrot is gone a little bit, you still feel the playoff intensity from those guys because they’re playing and trying to get ramped up. These reps of playing against a team that’s doing that I think will serve us well down the road. And if we find ourselves in this position next year, where we’re one of these (playoff) teams, we’ll be able to recall and go, ‘that’s what it feels like.’ For the guys that remain on the team, I think it will serve that purpose.”
Along with living vicariously through your opponents success, this is a time for Buccaneer players to prove themselves on the team, because, in all likelihood, there will be another roster turnover in the offseason. Everyone from ownership, to the front office, to the coaching staff will be closely monitoring their personnel.
If anything, this is the time to show you belong in Tampa Bay in 2015.
“You find out what your football team is all about during these times,” said Evan Dietrich-Smith. “You find out the kind of players you have. Are you going to be the guy that just goes out there and goes through the motions knowing that there are only three games left with not a whole lot to play for? Or are you going to go out there and fight as a team and try to win the football game because it matters to you?
“I know personally, I’ve never been one to step out on the field and just go through the motions. A – you’re going to get hurt doing that. B – it looks bad. And C – it means a lot for me to be in this league, and in this position this many years in. I still get excited to go out there play the game; it’s fun.”
Of course, there are many fans at this point who are rooting for the highest draft pick.
Understandably, that’s not the case from within the organization. From an individual’s perspective, it’s about showing your worth. And from a team’s perspective, it’s about playing for pride.
“We’re going to go play, that’s the bottom line,” Dietrich-Smith said. “We’re going to go out there and perform. Like I said, if we win out three in a row right at the end, everybody might be saying something different. But right now, we’re not worried about draft order. Guys are worried about making sure we go out here, put out a good product to finish out the season and give everybody kind of an insight to keep going forward and what the expectations are going to be.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Cut after the season: (S) Goldson, (QB) McCown- keep Glennon-he’ll be in his 3rd season/make or break year for his career, (P) Koenen, (LT) Collins, (C) Deitrich-Smith, (LG) Mankins- unless he takes a hige pay cut, (C) Gilkey, (TE) Myers, (DT) Bowers, (LB) Fletcher, (CB) ALL besides Banks/Vernor. Resign Clayborn and Foster- both should be reasonably cheap. Draft QB Mariota if he has the arm strength and let glennon start next season
Winning takes care of a lot of things. I know it doesn’t matter when we pick, but who we pick. Get this win! You’re better than this. Go Bucs!
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I know we’d all like to have the highest draft choice possible; even if used to parlay into multiple picks. But I agree with Horse that the team needs to at least win one measly home game so Scubog doesn’t have to be chided by those polka loving Packer fans and the all too full of themselves Saints fans. Play the season out by at least showing a little resolve to win the games and let the chips fall where they may on Draft day.
The only team I see us having a chance against is N.O.. Rogers will be sitting the second half with four T.D.’s, and the Panthers defense can probably put up more points then our offense. We’ve played like crap for 13 games now you want to show some pride? We need the #1 pick, not a useless win. EDS, you can be proud in 2015 when you’re no longer a BUC.
Depending on how things go the Saints could be playing for a divisional championship when they come to Tampa. I would like to beat the Panthers because of embarrassment still lingering from our opener (we had such high hopes then) the best team to beat would be the Packers, because they are the best team. I am not in favor of laying down to get the number one draft pick, that would leave a bad taste in my mouth through the offseason. Win all three, go out on a high note, I agree with scubog, “let the chips fall where they may on Draft day.” Go Bucs…….
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