No team’s season is ever defined by Week 1 results but that’s the approach many Buccaneers are taking leading up to Sunday’s opener against Tennessee.

“We didn’t win a game at home last year. None,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Thursday. “So if we want to get to where we want to get, which is in California [for the Super Bowl], it starts Sunday.

“It really started in the spring, but as far as records go, it really starts Sunday. So it’s a huge game for us. A lot of people say, ‘Well, it’s the first game, it’s a long season.’ Not when you went 2-14 and didn’t win any games at home last year. Our fans, the greatest fans on earth, deserve to see a winner, especially at home so we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure they get it.”

Linebacker Lavonte David mentioned how the entire defense needs to pick up where it left off last season, which is playing much better than how it started. Tampa Bay finished 2014 ranked 25th in total defense, 28th against the pass and 19th against the run, but improved noticeably after its Week 7 bye while also avoiding embarrassments like losses of 42 and 31 points against Atlanta and Baltimore, respectively.

“Obviously, by the way we ended last year and the progress the defense showed last year, it showed we can come out fast on Sunday and basically have a fast start and try to get a win,” David said. “The main thing is that our team goal is to win all our home games. We’re starting out with a home game and our main goal is to win this football game.

“Every game we can’t lose. That’s everybody’s mindset, not just ours. We’re just going to try to go out there and dominate and end the game with a victory.”

Over the past 10 years Tampa Bay has won just three debut games (2012, 2010 and 2005) and it’s not just defensive players putting a little extra emphasis on getting out of the gate fast, either. Sunday can be a tone-setter with long-lasting reverberations this season, receiver Vincent Jackson said Thursday.

“Absolutely, it really can. Obviously we started putting a lot of emphasis probably about two or three weeks ago on Tennessee. For us there’s only one important game for us this week. As long as the season is, you can only win one every week.”

When asked why fans should believe in what players and coaches are saying until anything is proved, Jackson said it’s because he truly believes the team’s offseason changes are going to pay dividends.

“This ain’t the same Buccaneer team it was last year,” the six-time 1,000-yard receiver said. “You’ve got new coaches, you’ve got new players, it’s a fresh start and it’s 0-0. For us there’s nothing but one way we can go and that’s up. Guys believe in that, Lovie’s brought a consistent, positive message since we started this thing back when we showed up in April and it really has just carried throughout.

“I couldn’t be more excited to play with this group of guys in this locker room.”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I like the attitude; win the game! Go Bucs!

blackehart
blackehart
5 years ago

No doubt some of you have already seen this (link below), but the stats DO bear out what the coaches have been saying about how much better the defense played last year after the bye. It’s a testament to how long it takes for players to truly learn the nuances of the Tampa 2, and also a good sign for this season. With a full year now under their belt, better starters at MLB and DE, way better depth, and Lovie calling the defensive plays, I’m hoping we’re a top-10 D from the jump. That should keep us in a… Read more »

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

Way to go Horse-I like that in fact lets win at least 5 games and see what week we are in GO BUCS in 2015.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

I for one got pretty tired of driving home to Sarasota listening to everyone call in and complain about the team, including myself, on the way home.
Would be sweet win the first game of the season.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

The defense wasn’t the problem after the bye week, it was our inept offense being led by an inept offensive coordinator and a bumbling QB.
A lot of morons, especially those on a well known gossiping blog, have complained that all the team did for the defense was sign back up players on defense.
But as the story points out, a lot of those blown leads came as a result of not having enough quality depth to give the starters some rest during the game so they were fresher in the fourth quarter.

WiltheBrewer
WiltheBrewer
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

True, drdneast, if the O was able to finish games off last year, it wouldn’t have all been on the backs of the D.
Play calling and penalties late in the games were brutal.

Nicodemus
Nicodemus
Reply to  WiltheBrewer
5 years ago

That being said, the D had opportunities to win 2 games but on both occasions dropped the INT. As bad as our O was last year (they still had the opportunity to win 2-3 games but Lovie’s play calling/penalties and clock management blew it), the D wasn’t that great either. It’s nice to hear that they want to win now, but odds are that with Winston as QB we will be waiting for a while for him to get a win, we’d have a better chance with Glennon to win now behind the craptitude of our Oline.