Year 2 of the Jameis Winston era is about to get underway when training camp starts Thursday.
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. HEY BUCS, IT’S TIME TO WIN
The facts are ugly.
Some of you already know them.
Most of you want to forget them.
Tampa Bay hasn’t had a winning record since going 10-6 in 2010, and that winning season was the only one over the last seven years. Double-digit losing season occurred in five of those years, including the last three.
The 2010 Bucs didn’t make the postseason, which hasn’t been reached by this franchise since 2007. In fact, since Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay’s all-time winningest coach, was fired after going 9-7 in 2008, the Bucs’ record has been a paltry 36-76 (.321).
Ex-Bucs coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That has resulted in four different coaches – Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter – over the past eight years, including the upcoming 2016 campaign.
You’ve had enough. The team has had enough.
Hey Bucs, it’s time to win – like this season.
I know. Tampa Bay is facing a much tougher schedule having to play five playoff teams, and has a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator and a new defensive scheme. It will be an uphill battle for the Bucs in 2016 after this young team improved from 2-14 to 6-10 last year, which was not good enough to save Smith’s job.
All signs point to another building year for the Buccaneers rather than a playoff year. It seems like this team is always building – if not dismantling, too, as head coaches come and go. But it really is time. It’s time for Tampa Bay to be that surprise team this year – the Cinderella of 2016.
Everything says the too-young Bucs should be another year away, but the NFL always has a team or two that comes out of nowhere and starts strong. Even the 2016 schedule does not suggest a strong start as Tampa Bay opens with two road games at Atlanta and Arizona before two home contests against Los Angeles and Denver, the Super Bowl 50 winner, as well as a Monday Night Football game at Carolina before the bye week.
Also consider that the Bucs lost four straight games to end the 2015 season and put a quick nail in Smith’s coffin, so there’s no tangible momentum to build on from the end of last year.
So what makes me think the Bucs have a chance to do something unexpectedly special in 2016? The emergence of star quarterback Jameis Winston, a new more aggressive defensive scheme, some hungry, playoff-starved players, and the fact that Tampa Bay is just due for a winning season – if not a sneaky postseason run sooner rather than later.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I want to make the playoffs,” said Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson, who has the longest tenure in Tampa Bay, arriving in 2009 as an undrafted free agent. “Before I’m done playing I want to taste the playoffs one time. You play a long time in the league and don’t make the playoffs, it’s almost a waste.”
The Bucs came the closest to the playoffs since 2012 last year with a 6-6 record heading into December before a 0-4 collapse.
“We had every opportunity,” Dotson said. “We had a chance to make the playoffs and we just didn’t do it. We fell short. We beat ourselves with penalties and things that we didn’t do good. We have to clean up those things and not make the same mistakes that we made last year. That’s the one thing Dirk is emphasizing – that we don’t make the same mistakes last year that put us in the hole we were in.”
Here’s what happens when a team like the Bucs doesn’t win for nearly a decade. The franchise loses fans. Not just the fans frustrated to the point where they give up their season tickets.
I’m talking about an entire generation of young fans.
For example, my 11-year old son, Logan, just happens to be a Baltimore Ravens fan.
His dear old dad has only covered the hometown Buccaneers for 22 years, has taken him to training camp, has brought Tampa Bay players like Davin Joseph, Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and the legendary Ronde Barber out to his South Pasco Predators Pop Warner football team’s practices over the years – and the kid still loves the Ravens.
Because the last time the Bucs had a winning season Logan was just five years old and he was just starting to really watch and understand NFL football. He doesn’t remember when the Bucs were any good.
Tampa Bay missed the postseason that year, but my son saw Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Joe Flacco get to the playoffs that year and get to the AFC Conference Championship Game in 2011.
By the time Logan was seven, the Ravens were winning the Super Bowl and his new favorite player became Jacoby Jones. The best the Bucs could manage in 2012 was a 7-9 record in Schiano’s first season. While playoff-bound Baltimore was going 10-6 the next season, Tampa Bay started off 0-8 and “Fire Schiano” billboards started popping up all over town.
Logan Reynolds & Ravens RB Justin Forsett – Photo by: Scott Reynolds/PR
In 2014, I took Logan and my family to the Bucs vs. Ravens game and got him a field pass so he could meet some of his favorite players – and by that I mean Ravens, not Buccaneers. Jones came over and actually gave him a pair of gloves in pregame warm-up. Yes, I was kind of embarrassed watching him give all the Ravens high-fives as they entered the field, but I’m going to respect his individuality and not going to force him to like a certain team.
Baltimore destroyed Tampa Bay, 48-17, as Flacco threw five first-half touchdowns to give the Ravens a 35-0 lead to start the game. Obviously, Logan had a blast.
Why would Logan – or any kid – want to be a Bucs fan after watching that crappy performance by Tampa Bay? In fact, out of the 28 kids we had on our Predators team last year, only a handful of them were Bucs fans – maybe five kids. Keep in mind that our team is based in Land O’ Lakes, Fla., which is about half an hour away from Raymond James Stadium.
The most popular teams with our football players were Seattle because of Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman, and Carolina because of Cam Newton.
Don’t think any less of my son, or that I’m a bad parent. Eric Fox, the son of Jeffrey Neil Fox, former owner and publisher of Buccaneer Magazine/Pewter Report, grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan in the early 1990s for the same reason – the 49ers were winners back then and the Bucs were losers.
Losing has affected a lot of kids’ allegiances in the Tampa Bay area, but the good news is that if the hometown team starts to win, a lot of those young fans will be converted. Even Logan tells me the Bucs are his “NFC team,” so I guess there’s hope.
Yes, it’s time to turn this around, Buccaneers. If anything, win for the kids.
“Winning changes everything,” said Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “It changes your perception of us as the media, it changes the fans’ perception, it changes our perception walking into this building. Your mindset is completely different if you’re winning. Winning changes perceptions of everybody.”
My son is not alone. Even one of the greatest Buccaneers of all time, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, hated Tampa Bay growing up. Sapp was a Dallas Cowboys fan as a kid.
Why? Because the Cowboys were fun to watch and they won.
“It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare to watch that ugly team in those ugly uniforms in that big high school stadium,” Sapp said in the America’s Game 2002 Buccaneers documentary. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t known for anything except losing.”
Bucs DT Warren Sapp – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Sapp grew up in nearby Apopka, Fla., and was drafted by the Buccaneers with the 12th overall pick after sliding down in the first round after drug usage rumors coming out of the University of Miami. Tampa Bay was the last place he wanted to go.
“The Yucs! This was the worst day of my life,” Sapp recalled just moments after being drafted. “Now I was a part of this.”
The NFL Films produced documentary, which was narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne, opens with the cold, hard truth about Tampa Bay.
“For many years the Buccaneers were the laughing stock of the NFL,” Fishburne said. “In the 1980s and 90s they endured an NFL-record 14 straight losing seasons.
“They were bush league – an organizational black hole where careers went to die.”
When it comes to the subject of winning for this edition of SR’s Fab 5, I went straight to the source and sought out Sapp, whose swagger, tireless work ethic, fire and brimstone attitude, Pro Bowl ability and winning mentality helped lead the way for the Buccaneers from 1995-2003. Once in Tampa, Sapp and former collegiate rival, linebacker Derrick Brooks, forged a plan to make the best of it and do the unthinkable – turn the orange-clad laughable losers into winners and ultimately Super Bowl champions.
“When I got here I went to Brooks and I asked him how many games he lost because I lost five [at Miami],” Sapp said. “He said he lost six [at Florida State]. That’s 11 between the both of us. This franchise has had 11 straight double-digit loss seasons before we got here. ‘What are we going to do about it?’ That year we broke the double-digit loss season because we went 7-9. It was going to be our first non-losing season if we had gotten to 8-8 but we couldn’t get that win against Detroit. We weren’t losers. I had seen three national championship games at the University of Miami. Brooks won one himself. We were all about winning and we were going to do something about it fast.
“I grew up in Florida, and I knew all about the 0-26 start. My brother was a Bucs fan. I grew up 80 miles from Tampa. It was that San Diego game in 1996 when they butchered Trent [Dilfer] on TV with his QB rating and they called us the ‘Yuccs’ on the pre-game show. I looked at Brooks and I said, ‘This shit ends today! I mean it ends today!’ We go out there and we’re down 14-0 before we break a sweat. Then we come back with 25 points unanswered and we win the game with an ugly score. How the hell did we get to 25? Tony Dungy’s teaching, the 1-7 start, everything we went through put us in position for that game and for us to go 5-3 at the end. That was a 10-loss season … but that wasn’t no ordinary 10-loss season. Then we jumped out to a 5-0 start the next year and took off.”
It took Sapp and Brooks three seasons to reach the playoffs. McCoy is entering his seventh season with the Bucs and he and star linebacker Lavonte David are entering their fifth year together in Tampa Bay. It’s taken a lot longer than they both expected it to for the Bucs to turn it around – and they haven’t done it yet due to constant turnover, according to Sapp.
“In the last five years how many coaches have we had?” Sapp said. “Four coaches in the last five years. That’s madness. You can’t have that kind of turnover and expect to win. Ask Cleveland. The one thing that we had back in my day was a stable system that we understood what was asked of us. Then we just went out and did our job.
“The switching of coaches and systems has hurt. That was the one constant for us. We had one defensive coordinator and one system. We catered our draft and free agency to that system to make the Tampa 2 a world-renowned defense. There has been a disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff for years and that hasn’t helped.”
The Bucs are banking on the close relationship between Kotter and general manager Jason Licht, who has been instrumental in upgrading the talent in Tampa Bay, especially on the offensive side of the ball since his arrival in 2014, paying off with a playoff berth sooner rather than later.
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“You have to ask Gerald how he feels about it, but what I see is a Bucs team that is talent-laden, but they have to put it all together,” Sapp said. “We had a bunch of individual pieces just like they do. Once you put all of those fingers together and you ball it up as a fist – now you have a weapon. Now you actually have something you can go to war with. We had to learn how to go to war with each other. We said, ‘No more’ collectively, but for me it was really, really personal on a whole other level because for my older brother, the Bucs were his team. He was a die-hard Bucs fan.
“There has just been so much change over there [at One Buc Place] and it drives me nuts. Even though it’s been bad [recently], we haven’t had 11 straight years of double-digit losses. It’s been worse. You have to remember where we came from. We went from the Ol’ Sombrero – which was empty, and beer bottles were placed behind the players’ tires after the game because the game was that ugly and people were mad – to a beautiful palace and a beautiful One Buc Place. It’ll come around. Now we just have to implement a system. We have the players. I want to see it get done.”
Sapp still bleeds pewter and red and it’s been hard for him to watch the franchise he helped build up get torn down in recent years. It’s hard to fathom that Sapp was in uniform for Tampa Bay’s last postseason victory, which happened over a decade ago.
“It was the Super Bowl – January 26, 2003,” Sapp said. “It’s been a long time – too long. It was hard for me to watch the season opener this year – Week 1 against Tennessee. I went to that game. That was really, really hard. I also went to the Saints game and that was real hard, too. Nasty loss.”
The losing has to stop, and 2016 is as good of a year as any for Tampa Bay.
The Bucs re-signed Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin to help Winston and an explosive offense put more points on the board. Robert Ayers and Noah Spence were added to improve the Bucs’ pass rush, and Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves were added to pick off more passes and to lower opposing quarterbacks’ completion percentages from the grotesque 70 percent mark last year.
Bucs WR Adam Humphries – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“The entire team is hungry,” Bucs receiver Adam Humphries said. “I think you can tell with how we practice. Our tempo has really picked up and I think a lot of our guys are anxious to get back to football and get back to winning. Especially this time of year, it’s a good time to go back and look at what we did last year, some of the minor mistakes we made – if we had changed them it would have changed the outcome of so many games. We were close to making the playoffs. We see those and see how we could have had a much better record. We’re learning from that, and we have the same offense. That makes the guys more comfortable. Now we need to make some plays and win a bunch of games.”
While he has yet to taste a playoff berth in his illustrious career, McCoy said a winning season or a trip to the postseason wouldn’t satisfy his hunger.
“I want to win a Super Bowl, but my desire to win goes deeper than just the Super Bowl,” McCoy said. “It’s wanting to win a Super Bowl in Tampa. My favorite team growing up was the Bucs, so I watched them win the Super Bowl. That has to be the greatest feeling ever, but it has to be in Tampa.”
McCoy didn’t want to go anywhere else, which is why he signed a long-term contract to remain a Buccaneer in October of 2014 – even before hitting free agency. Dotson, who is in a contract year, also wants to stay in Tampa Bay and finish the job he started.
“Winning solves everything, but that’s something we haven’t had around here in a long time,” Dotson said. “I haven’t had a winning season except for 2010 when we went 10-6.
“We’ve got to win. I think we’ve got every tool that it takes to win – a quarterback, a head coach, the personnel and the players. I think we’ve got everything it takes to win. We’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
That has proven to be much easier said than done in Tampa Bay, but there’s no time like the present. This team is overdue. The fans are overdue.
It’s time to win, Buccaneers. Shock the world in 2016.
FAB 2. MORE DISRESPECT THAN RESPECT FOR BUCS FROM NATIONAL MEDIA
With winning comes respect. Without winning comes disrespect, and the Bucs have faced a lot of disrespect this offseason, especially from the national media, which rarely pays attention to Tampa Bay – much less watches the games.
The madness began when ESPN’s resident idiot, Stephen A. Smith, spouted off about how the Buccaneers made a mistake in firing Lovie Smith in January and embarrassed himself in the process. Naturally, Stephen A. Smith used racial overtones in suggesting that Lovie Smith was fired without cause – despite an 8-24 record in two years in Tampa Bay – calling it a “travesty.”
ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith
What Smith failed to point out was that Tampa Bay is the only franchise to have hired three African-American head coaches – the most in NFL history. Smith also neglected to mention that the majority of the head coaches – three of the five – the Glazers have hired have been African-American. Or perhaps Smith was just too ignorant to realize this.
ESPN doubled down on suggesting that firing Smith and hiring Koetter was a bad move, as Bill Barnwell wrote. He also said re-signing Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, who was the second-leading rusher in the NFL last year, was “short-sighted,” and that not enough was done to upgrade “an offensive line that’s been mediocre in its best moments over the past few years.”
Obviously, Barnwell is not giving last year’s offensive line, which helped the Bucs produce a 6,000-yard season and a top 5 offensive ranking for the first time in franchise history, any credit. He also picked on the right tackle position, which has two veterans capable of starting in Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus, suggesting the Bucs should have pursued Andre Smith, who only signed a one-year deal with Minnesota for just $3.5 million.
Barnwell’s offseason grade for Tampa Bay was a “C,” which was the lowest in the NFC South besides New Orleans, which received a “D-plus.”
Good guy Charles Davis from NFL Network got caught not doing his homework on a Path To The Draft program on March 26 when discussing Tampa Bay’s defensive depth chart. Davis and his producers failed to list starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander on the Bucs’ depth chart graphic, listing newcomer Daryl Smith there instead of at strongside linebacker where Danny Lansanah was listed. Of course Lansanah was a free agent and not re-signed by Tampa Bay.
That caused Alexander to take to Twitter to proclaim, “I promise you I will make you remember my name!” in protest.
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Getty Images
The NFL Network graphic also listed Sterling Moore at cornerback even though he was an unsigned free agent like Lansanah. Defensive linemen T.J. Fatinikun, Larry English and Da’Quan Bowers were also listed despite their unsigned free agent status.
NFL Network’s Heath Evans majorly snubbed the Bucs on his list of the Top 5 running games in the league. Buffalo, which actually had the NFL’s top ground game in 2015, averaging 152 yards per game, ranked fifth on Evans’ list. Kansas City was second on his list, despite ranking sixth in the league.
It was no surprise that Evans ranked Minnesota first due to the fact that the Vikings boast the league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson, who actually helped his team produce the fourth-best in the NFL. But it was Evans’ picks at No. 3 and No. 2 that were head-scratchers, especially since he left the duo of Martin and Charles Sims, who combined to give the Bucs the league’s fifth-ranked rushing attack, off the list.
Evans picked St. Louis, which was rated seventh in the run game, and Pittsburgh, which ranked 16th in the league, and as his second- and third-ranked running games for some reason. Yet Tampa Bay, which had the league’s second-leading rusher, was snubbed? That’s outrageous.
CBSSportsline.com’s Pete Prisco only had two Buccaneers on his annual Top 100 players list – Martin came in 96th and McCoy was ranked 26th – although linebacker Lavonte David, who was ranked as the 53rd best player the league by NFL Network, didn’t make the cut.
Perhaps the biggest show of disrespect from the national media this offseason came from ProFootballFocus.com, which actually thinks Tampa Bay will have an even worse season in 2016, predicting a 5-11 record while most Las Vegas insiders believe the Bucs will improve to 7-9. PFF lists the Bucs as the 12th best team in the NFC and noted that the “Buccaneers have the skill players to put a successful attack on the field, but the O-line will likely hold them back.”
Did you see that, Demar Dotson, Ali Marpet, Joe Hawley, J.R. Sweezy and Donovan Smith?
The level of disrespect the Bucs have received this offseason is as high as I can remember in quite some time, and there’s only one thing that can change it. How does a team get respect? By earning it.
Legendary Bucs DT Warren Sapp – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
On the subject of earning respect, I once again called on Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp to offer some insight as he played an instrumental part in achieving respect on a national level for the once woebegone franchise. Sapp and the Buccaneers had finished the 1996 season 5-3 with quality wins against San Diego on the road and Chicago at home in the season finale. In Tony Dungy’s second year in Tampa Bay, the Bucs would start the season 5-0, building an impressive 10-3 mark over the final eight games of 1996 and the first five games of ’97. Sapp said the quest for respect started in training camp.
“It was the start of the 1997 training camp, and you know the Dolphins would always practice against us and they treated us like stepchildren,” Sapp said. “My rookie year I didn’t know what was going on. The next year I was trying to learn what Tony was teaching me and I couldn’t express myself to the team that was coming in to practice against us, which I think was Washington. The next year, in ’97, we had a shot against the Dolphins and I remember how they used to talk to us and about us. I wasn’t having it any more. If it was going to start with me, I was going to change it.
“I remember Jerry Angelo and John Idzik coming over near me and they looked at each other and they said, ‘We’re a different team now.’ I turned to them and said, ‘What do you mean?’ Idzik said, ‘It’s because of you. These guys used to run all over us and give us no respect. With you leading us, there is no question that they will give us some respect now. If they don’t give it to us, you’re going to take it from them.’ I said, ‘You’re damn right I am.’ They weren’t going to look at me and my boys any more and say, ‘You’re inferior to us. It was not going to go down anymore. Not on my watch. It was personal for me. It was very, very personal.”
Even when Tampa Bay scored an upset win in Week 1, beating San Francisco 13-6 with Sapp taking out Pro Bowl quarterback Steve Young and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jerry Rice, the Bucs didn’t get much national respect.
“Nope,” Sapp said. “They thought it was an aberration. They thought the 49ers, who had beaten us 17 straight times, came over here and didn’t really think anything of it. I didn’t make NFC Defensive Player of the Week. It was a linebacker from Detroit.”
The Buccaneers made the cover of Sports Illustrated for just the fifth time in franchise history after upsetting the 49ers – or did they?
“The cover of that magazine wasn’t me, it happened to be me dragging Steve Young down,” Sapp said. “They wanted the look on his face. That’s what they wanted. It was Niner Nightmare. It had nothing to do with No. 99 dragging him down. That wasn’t a picture of me. That was a picture of my sack. He had that grimace on his face like, ‘Holy Smokes! I’m being ripped apart.’
“You can barely see me on the cover. It doesn’t say, ‘Watch Out World, Here Come The Bucs! It says Niner Nightmare.’ It was a story about the 49ers being dismantled, but you’ve got to read the story to find out who did the dismantling.”
The Bucs did get a full-fledged Sports Illustrated cover a month later after Tampa Bay scored another upset at home, beating Miami, 31-21, in a nationally televised game on TNT.
“We got a cover, but that was only after the fifth game,” Sapp said. “Then they were trying to figure out who they were going to put on the cover because it was me, Brooks, Lynch, and they went with Warrick Dunn, and we were like, ‘That’s fine!’ We all wanted to be on the cover, and when we started winning they came down and shot all sorts of shots of me, Brooks, Lynch and a few others.
“We played the game against Miami on TNT. I didn’t even play in that game. My ankle was wrecked and we beat Dan Marino after earning our respect from them in training camp. We wake up the next morning with Warrick on the cover, ‘Break Up The Bucs!’ Hey, it’s the Pewter Scooter on the cover! We can deal with that – Warrick is beautiful!’”
Sapp said that even winning the first playoff game in nearly two decades when Tampa Bay beat Detroit in a Wild Card game at Houlihan’s Stadium wasn’t even to truly earn respect league-wide.
“That wasn’t it, either,” Sapp said. “I always point to the NFC Divisional Playoffs as the game. It woke the world up to the fact that this wasn’t the same Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. That’s when they started to come around and realize that that team was for real. We took it all the way to the playoffs and then went up to Green Bay and it was 13-7 until late in that game. We were supposed to go up there and lay down. It was not even supposed to be a game.
“Brett Favre had gone to the Super Bowl and won and he was supposed to be on his way back. He won his third league MVP that year. We were supposed to go up there and do nothing. If Reidel Anthony didn’t have that damn fanny pack on, game over. Do you remember he got tackled with his fanny pack [after a 52-yard catch]? He came over to the sidelines and I snatched it off him and threw it in the fire. I took that damn thing off and threw it in the hot air blower. It melted down to just the clips.”
Former Bucs WR Reidel Anthony – Photo by: Getty Images
The Bucs won 10 games in 2010, but didn’t get any respect that season because they didn’t make the playoffs. In hindsight, the league and the national media were wise not to jump on Tampa Bay’s bandwagon because the Bucs had used smoke and mirrors and a very easy schedule to forge double-digit wins in 2010 before sliding to 4-12 the following year, which would be Raheem Morris’ final season as head coach.
The Glazers desperately want their franchise to be relevant again, and after two years of sub-par football under Greg Schiano he was fired in 2013. Former Chicago head coach Lovie Smith, who was Dungy’s linebackers coach from 1996-2000, said the right buzz word “relevancy” and said he would bring it back to Tampa Bay, and the Glazers believed him. After all, Smith had taken the Bears to several playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance. He made the Bears relevant again.
But Sam Wyche did the same thing in Cincinnati in making the Bengals relevant with trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl before coming to Tampa Bay, too. As fate would have it, Wyche’s tenure with the Bucs was more successful than Smith’s, which was a shock to everyone.
Smith’s time in Tampa actually made the Buccaneer more irrelevant, especially after a dreadful 2-14 season in 2014 that will go down as one of the worst all-time campaigns in franchise history. The fateful byproduct of that awful season though was the arrival of franchise quarterback Jameis Winston, so at least some good came of it.
Yet three years after Smith’s arrival in Tampa Bay, the Bucs are still searching for respect and relevancy in the NFL. The Pewter Pirates are often lumped together with teams like Jacksonville, Cleveland, Detroit and Tennessee, which annihilated Tampa Bay in the season opener last year, 42-14. That game marked the beginning of the end for Smith’s time with the Bucs.
In Smith’s first game as defensive coordinator for the Bucs, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for an NFL record four touchdowns in his rookie debut against a defense that looked woefully unprepared. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay would land on another Sports Illustrated cover, although this time it was Lansanah helplessly trying to pressure Mariota.
Mariota’s arrival in the NFL marked another occasion in which the Bucs got snubbed by the national media. With a squeaky clean image and playing for the media darling Oregon Ducks, Mariota was a Sports Illustrated cover boy four times in college, while Jameis Winston had only been featured on an SI cover twice at Florida State, not including a special commemorative issue celebrating the Seminoles’ national title in 2013.
After the 2015 NFL Draft, it was Mariota in a Titans uniform rather than Winston in a Bucs uniform featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated despite the fact that Winston had been selected first overall. Now, just five months later, Mariota, the national media’s golden child, was on the cover for a sixth time – after drubbing Winston and the Bucs.
Winning in the NFL is the only way to land on magazine covers in a positive way. It’s the only way to get respect in this league.
“Our job is to put W’s up on the board – that’s it,” Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “Whatever it takes to do that we’re going to do, regardless of whether or not people outside One Buc believe it or not. I live by the saying, ‘If they don’t believe, make them believe.’ If they don’t believe in us, so what? We’ll make them believe in us by winning. That’s the only way to do it. That’s all were concerned about.”
Demar Dotson, who has seen just one winning season in his career as he enters his eighth year in the NFL, echoed that McCoy’s sentiment.
“We have to do something about it,” Dotson said. “If we don’t do something about it we’ll never get it and we’ll get what we deserve. We have to go out there and prove ourselves. Nobody is going to go out there and give you respect without you proving you deserve it. If you don’t prove it, it’s not real respect.”
Sapp, who came back for the 2015 season opener and watched that massacre in person, longs for the return of the glory days in Tampa Bay.
Bucs fans celebrate a playoff win vs. the 49ers – Photo by: Getty Images
“I’m going to be right there at Raymond James just like when Mariota came down and thumped us, 42-14, but I’ll be standing there with a smile on my face and say, ‘The Bucs are back, baby!’ I’d love to see it because there is nothing like it when Raymond James is rockin’! Oh my God! Ain’t nothing like it when those cannons are firing.
“I still look back to that San Francisco 49ers divisional game when all of those flags were flying. Do you remember that game? Oh my God! We scored at least 27 points in every playoff game. It all came together. All of [Jon] Gruden’s hard work, all the cussin’ and yellin’ – we were ready at that point. There wasn’t anything that was going to stop us – nothing. I can’t wait to get back to those days. It’s coming.”
Over the last couple of years Tampa Bay has acquired a lot of players from nationally respected winning college programs like Winston from Florida State, wide receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander from LSU and wide receiver Adam Humphries from Clemson just to name a few. Those players have tasted a great deal of success and know what it takes to play football at a high level. It’s those players, in addition to the team’s Pro Bowlers like Lavonte David, Doug Martin and McCoy that will fuel the Buccaneers’ resurgence.
“I don’t think we keep up with a lot of that stuff in the national media, but we all understand that if you don’t get it done on the field on Sundays you’re not going to get the respect you deserve,” Humphries said. “That gets under my skin a little bit as a natural competitor. I don’t like seeing stuff like that, but we are the only ones with the power to change it. It definitely gives us a little fire under our feet for next year. We all feel it. We have to get out there and change the perception and show the world what the Tampa Bay Bucs are all about, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
FAB 3. SAPP LOVES FELLOW COUNTRY BOY WINSTON
In speaking with legendary Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp for this week’s edition of SR’s Fab 5, he raved about the talent and development of quarterback Jameis Winston, who passed for over 4,000 yards and went to the Pro Bowl to cap off an impressive rookie season.
Sapp went to Raymond James Stadium for three Bucs games last year, watching two painful losses to Tennessee and New Orleans, in addition to a gutsy, 10-6 win over Dallas, which was his favorite team growing up as a child. It was Winston’s game against the Cowboys that made Sapp a true believer in the first overall draft pick in 2015.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“The Cowboys game really gave me some life because I saw our quarterback finally understand what it meant to really carry the hopes and dreams of our football team in your hands,” Sapp said. “He threw that pick and then he came back and drove us to get that win. I thought the kid really grew up that day. I thought he really, really grew up that day. The kid said, ‘This is my team and I have to be responsible for everything I do with this ball.’ It was beautiful to see him do that towards the end of the season and grow like that.
“After that I thought, ‘We may actually have a quarterback besides Brad Johnson and Doug Williams.’ Other than Brad and Doug, who else have we had? Trent Dilfer? Trent would throw some good balls, but he would also throw that pick-six on slant patterns. Hey, remember at the 5-yard line for six points the other way – 1999 opening day against the New York Giants? We had 104 yards of total offense that day. They had more punts than first downs! We lost that game 17-14. My God, Kent Graham beat me that day!”
Sapp, a proud Miami alum, keeps a close eye on college football and began watching Winston strut his stuff at Florida State where he helped guide the Seminoles to a national championship and a 26-1 record during his time in Tallahassee – also picking up the Heisman Trophy in 2013.
“The kid has got it – he’s just got it,” Sapp said. “I’ve always loved this kid, standing in the pocket – the bigger the stage, the bigger he plays. Squinting, looking at the sidelines – I love it! Hey, whatever works for you, kid.”
Sapp liked the way Winston rebounded from almost fumbling the win away as he went airborne trying to score a rushing touchdown late in the game.
“If you’re going to lead your team and call it your team, then apply your love for the game to your team,” Sapp said. “That’s what all country boys do. That’s why I love Brett Favre because he and I shared a love for the game of football. We were two country bumpkins that love to play the game. You do not walk your way out of the woods. You have to ball your way out of the woods and off them dirt roads.”
Ex-Bucs DT Warren Sapp & Ex-Packers QB Brett Favre – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Sapp, who grew up in Plymouth, Fla. near Apopka, forged a friendship with Favre, who was from the country town of Kiln, Mississippi, despite chasing him and sacking him for years. There was hatred at first, but that quickly changed to mutual admiration and respect between the two living legends. Sapp sees a lot of Favre in Winston, who is from the rural town of Bessemer, Ala.
“The kid has got the swagger,” Sapp said. “You know Favre had it, too. The kid is a country boy that loves the game. That’s why I love him. He’s a country bumpkin that just loves the game. He doesn’t want to do anything else but play ball. He’s like me.”
Winston has quickly become the emotional leader for the Buccaneers like Sapp was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, albeit in a different tone. Sapp loved football so much he enjoyed practice as much as the games. Winston is the same way.
“Hey, Bo Jackson and that kid are from the same place,” Sapp said. “Is that coincidence? Not even a little bit. You don’t walk your way out of the woods. If you want out, you have to work your damn way out. You have to ball your way out, and that’s what he did.”
FAB 4. TROUBLE IS BREWING FOR ASJ
Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins needs to grow up. I like the guy and think he can be a force in the league if he gets his act together, stays healthy and matures.
You’ve probably read by now how Seferian-Jenkins was sent home early from Thursday’s OTA by head coach Dirk Koetter, who claimed Seferian-Jenkins didn’t know what he was doing on the practice field. That’s no big deal, but when Seferian-Jenkins took to Twitter to pout about it and then pick verbal fights with fans, even challenging one Tampa area firefighter to a fistfight it showed incredibly poor judgment.
I spoke with a few folks at One Buccaneer Place Thursday night while Seferian-Jenkins was burying himself on Twitter and they weren’t happy with what was unfolding publicly on social media. Make no mistake, when Seferian-Jenkins is focused, he’s a heck of a talent.
Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But he has shown some incredibly lapses of good judgment in certain instances, such as striking a Captain Morgan pose after a touchdown against Atlanta and drawing a 15-yard celebratory penalty, in addition to how he handled getting kicked out of practice yesterday that has some of the Bucs’ brass concerned.
Adversity strikes everybody in different ways at different times. It’s how you handle it that makes the real difference.
Seferian-Jenkins brought all of the negativity upon himself yesterday by merely tweeting anything after practice. Instead he tweeted the cryptic “MOVING ON!!!!” and then followed it up with “Can’t let negative stuff get to u. Let it happen and move on!”
Although Seferian-Jenkins didn’t follow his own advice – instead, he got involved in Twitter wars with some immature Internet tough guys. Seferian-Jenkins should have laid off social media last night. Bucs fans were already disappointed in his lack of availability last season as it took him nine weeks to recover from a serious shoulder injury, and many were circling like sharks smelling blood in the water.
Seferian-Jenkins saw Cameron Brate emerge as a receiving force in his absence last year, and should be concerned. Brate’s 23 catches for 288 yards and three touchdowns rivaled Seferian-Jenkins’ numbers, which were 21 catches for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Given the fact that the team has two veteran tight ends it likes in Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers, as well as two young hidden gems in Tevin Westbrook and rookie Danny Vitale, Tampa Bay is actually loaded at the position.
Bucs TE Tevin Westbrook – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Despite being a second-round pick in 2014, Seferian-Jenkins is actually expendable, especially if Westbrook, who I wrote about as a sleeper in February in a previous SR’s Fab 5, continues to develop. Bucs fans can read more about Westbrook, who had a few touchdowns on Thursday in Seferian-Jenkins’ absence and has looked good during the OTAs, right here in Zach Shapiro’s article.
Expect Koetter and Jameis Winston, the team’s leader, to try to rein Seferian-Jenkins in and get him focused on football rather than picking fights on Twitter. Make no mistake, the Bucs are better with Seferian-Jenkins on the roster, but if he doesn’t get his act together soon this team will move on quicker than you might think due to the talent the team has stockpiled at the position.
Koetter and Winston are easy-going, fun-loving guys, but they are also fierce competitors. I haven’t seen the level of focus during Bucs practices in quite a few years, and if Seferian-Jenkins isn’t focused on helping the Bucs win, he’s no good to the team.
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• As much as Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp respected former Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, he knew that Smith’s Tampa 2 defensive scheme was outdated an obsolete in the modern day NFL.
“In 2002 played the West Coast Offense three times in a row in the playoffs,” Sapp said. “Everybody was running that trash, and the kryptonite for it was Cover 2. We would jam you at the line of scrimmage and throw off the timing of your slant routes, which is what those offenses used to live off. Once you get off the slants, then you’re going to run Sluggo Seams and we took care of that, too [intercepting Oakland five times in Super Bowl XXXVII].
“But you can’t play under that system anymore. You can’t play Tampa 2 anymore, especially like John Lynch did. That type of safety is now obsolete. You can’t play defense like that anymore. The NFL killed it. They won’t allow you to hit nobody under their chin and defend the middle of the field. That is the most precious real estate on a football field, and it’s wide open now – it’s an Autobahn down the middle of the field now. The Tampa 2 is dead.”
Sapp should have told that to the Glazers before Smith was hired in 2014. Yet, Sapp is not yet fully on board with Koetter being named as Smith’s replacement.
“When Dirk Koetter was the hottest offensive coordinator in the National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons are the No. 1 seed and they were 13-3 and Matt Ryan was fixing to get $100 million, how many job interviews did he get [after 2012]?” Sapp said. “I’m just saying. What were we last year – 6-10? I thought we would get seven wins last year with the kid winning four and the defense chipping in three. I thought we would get seven. We’ll see [how they fare in 2016].”
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
• Count second-year wide receiver Adam Humphries as a big fan of Dirk Koetter, and has been impressed how he’s made the transition from offensive coordinator to head coach this offseason.
“It’s awesome,” Humphries said. “A lot of people outside of Tampa ask me how I like the new coach, but they don’t realize that he was our offensive coordinator last year. We’re very familiar with him and I really like the way Dirk runs things. He really looks out for our players, which is good. Our practices are a lot more up-tempo, which is good. We get good work in and we’re always flying around and running around, which is a good way to practice. It gets us more locked in during those two hours we’re out there.”
There was a disconnect between the players and former head coach Lovie Smith, who was stoic and standoffish with his relationship with many players. Humphries appreciates Koetter’s willingness to listen to the players’ input on everything from the music that is piped in over the loudspeakers at practice to catering the practice times to the early morning to help battle the heat and keep the Bucs fresher.
“He’s definitely looking out for us with early morning practices and walk-thrus around sunset,” Humphries said. “He’s looking out for our bodies, realizing that he doesn’t have to pound us into the ground and wear us out to get good work in. He realizes that we’re professionals and that we’ll get work in during the time slots we have. We do a couple of periods with helmets off and then go back to live work. It’s a good way to get your legs back under you.”
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images
• Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson is in the final year of his contract and is looking for a new deal just as he was a year ago. The difference was that last year, Dotson held out of OTAs and got injured in the preseason opener at Minnesota. That derailed all contract extension talks.
This year, Dotson is healthy, in shape and has been named the starter at right tackle heading into training camp. He’s still thinking about his contract and hopes to have a deal done before the start of the season.
“If you were out here of course your contract would be in the back of your mind,” Dotson said. “At the end of the day I just come here and do what I’ve got to do and believe that at the end of the day it will get taken care of somewhere down the line.”
The Bucs are open to doing an extension, but want to see if Dotson can remain healthy and atop the depth chart heading into the regular season. If that’s the case, look for a deal to get done in September rather than in August when Dotson would prefer it to be handled.
• If you’re not following us on Twitter, please join the 22,300 Bucs fans that are and click here to follow @PewterReport. We’ll keep you abreast of all the breaking Bucs news as well as links to new articles and columns on PewterReport.com.
• And finally, Father’s Day is rapidly approaching and Just Grillin is full of great gift ideas for dads and granddads in the month of June. Just Grillin is located at 11743 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood, which is just 15 minutes north of Raymond James Stadium. With Weber grills, Big Green Eggs, outdoor furniture and all of the grilling accessories you can think of, Just Grillin is the perfect place to do your Father’s Day shopping – and to drop some hints to the wife.
Just Grillin’s owner, Doug Driscoll, is the most knowledgeable grillmaster you’ll find and offers grilling classes most Saturday mornings. I both my Weber grill and all of the accessories from Just Grillin and love it. Visit them on the web at JustGrillinFlorida.com or stop by their amazing showroom, which is like Toys ‘R Us for grown men who like to grill – and tell them PewterReport.com sent you.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember the 49ers/Bucs game. I believe that game ended the 49ers’ dynasty and the Bucs began their ascension.
Stephen A. Smith loves to hear himself talk. Why would he let facts get in the way?
Respect will come when they start winning. With Jameis as the franchise QB we all have been waiting for, I believe it will happen soon, if not this season. He’s a winner, a leader, and a competitor. The Bucs will go as far as he will lead them. What’s great is his team mates want to follow him! Go Bucs!!!
Well Buc fans and labucfan-Tampa bay has never gotten any respect even after winning the Super Bowl vs Oakland. Until Tampa gets back to several Playoffs games. Tampa has to be consisted. I believe That this coaches change was the best for the Buc Nation and all the bucs followers. Iam Age 70 &1/2 yrs old I WANT TO SEE A CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN BE FORE i LEAVE THIS EARTH. glh go bucs
I’m not surprised at what the national media has written and said about the Bucs given our talent level versus the schedule that we’re up against in 2016. I fired myself from making predictions in the offseason on what the Bucs final record will be after I said they would go 11-5 in 2011 after going 10-5 in 2010 and they went on to go 4-12, but 4 or 5 wins this year was the number I had rolling around in my head before I read that on ProFootballFocus a week or two ago. If it makes you feel any better that’s the same record they predicted for the Saints even though they’ve improved also. Like I said before, winning comes down to talent and preparation and reading stories like this won’t help the Bucs’ talent level, but it may motivate them to prepare harder. Hopefully that leads to more that 5 wins.
Scott- Same here buddy I brought my son to a few games and had him meet players outside stadium walking to the player parking lot etc he had Bucs Jerseys, pennants and a bed cover for his bed. After so many losing seasons and watching the likes of Byron Leftwich, Josh McCown and Josh Freeman lead this team to sub par seasons he jumped ship to the Cardinals his hometown team anyway so I can’t be to mad ha. I was at the Niners Game as well and remember thinking great I get to see the Niners take it to the Bucs again I person after yrs of watching Montana shred our defense I thought the same for Young and the Ninners it was a great day and I went down to the exit for the players after the game and Derrick Brooks was standing there literally talking with another fan and my friend said “do you want to try and get a picture with him”? I said “naw its ok I’m waiting for Dilfer” Yeah, that bothers me still today. That’s like passing up on Lavonte David for a chance at Stocker ok Dilfer wasn’t that bad but bad enough
Gru, would you get Stocker’s autograph for me?
I have to get one for Mark Cook and Drdneast too, ha They love their mediocre players in Tampa always have always will
Stephen Smith is crap. Who cares what he says. You are correct about winning though Scott. You gotta walk the walk first!! You win and people start to figure out who you are. I have no idea if we are better then last year but as a Buc’s fan I am as usual all in. Go Buc’s.
Kids inherit a sense of hometown pride from their parents win or lose its about your hometown and pride.
Well that’s how it is for me and my family
Sucks the Bay Area is a bandwagon kind of town
With the schedule this year, a winning season may be a long shot. Regardless, I think we will gain some respect this year with Jameis showing improvement and the defense stepping it up.
If it makes everyone feel any better, I was born and raised clear across the country in Hawaii but myself and my 2 kids are still die hard Bucs fans lol. Pretty good considering the high level of bandwagon jumpers here.
We’ve earned the disrespect, but that should change over time. People underestimate the impact of leadership and coaching; if players on one team don’t believe and the team they are playing does, the intensity level and willingness to dig deep makes a huge difference. This could be a similar year to the start of the turnaround under Dungy; I don’t know much about next year’s schedule but if we get some momentum this year, the following year could really be exciting.
I’ve been saying ASJ was in danger of adding a “B” to his initials for some time, just as I’ve said Evans needs to do a better job concentrating/catching or both, and that GMC simply hasn’t played up to his draft status and contracts, that McClown was a joke and Freeman worthless etc but am usually harangued for doing so (until it becomes obvious later). I hope ASJb can get it together, seems to have the physical talents, but if not then it’s his loss, this franchise is about to turn the corner with or without him.
What does the “B” stand for? I’m lost.
Time for action, not words. Go Bucs!
Thanks PR for that snippet of the Bucs Fins game. Forgot how fun WD40 were to watch. maybe Vitale and Martin can get some of that old magic back. Watching Dilfer play you’d of thought that he was the greatest. Good to go back in time for awhile. Hope ASJ gets his s**t together, time to grow up kid.
Yea man, that was a blast to watch. I miss some of those guys so damn much. I had more fun watching that than I have watching us play a game live in years, lol. That was definitely an unusually awesome Dilfer game, lol. He looked awesome.
I understand wanting to cheer for a winner but don’t really understand not cheering for your hometown team….. I imagine for young kids, their favorite team will change, especially if they remain in the area they grew up. I am from Canada and started to get into the NFL around 2001… Obviously the Buccaneers were great and I started rooting for them… But once I did that I stayed with them. If I was from Minnesota, I would be a Viking fan. Outrageous, that people from Florida don’t cheer for the Bucs or Jags. I know it happens all over the place but if your home team sucks when you are 10 so you choose someone else and then home town team wins it all when you are 40… You gotta feel like a bit of a dick head or you have no choice but to be a bandwagon jumper.
From Pennsylvania and me and my brother started likeing the Bucs when they started grabbing FSU and Miami players. Have been “on Board” ever since and won’t leave now, especially with Jameis in the house.
@cgmaster, your post forces me to ask – with you being from Pennsylvania, why did the Bucs taking UM and FSU players make you want to cheer for them? There doesn’t seem to be a natural connection between your origins and those college teams either.
Not giving you crap, just honestly asking.
Yeah I guess I didn’t explain that connection very well. Our grandmother is from Florida, so when she’d come to visit, we’d always watch one of the Florida teams playing. I’m a big Noles fan and my brother a miami fan. I got the better end of that deal, Haha. But then Tampa started getting those key players from those schools so we just gravitated towards the bucs.
Stephen Smith is what is wrong with affirmative action.
Wasn’t it Stephen Smith who tired to whip up all the media frenzy about Peyton Manning’s college prank after Cam Newton was justifiably slammed in the media for the way he sulked after the Super Bowl.
It’s easy for national writers to say coaches or players should be given second or third chances when it’s not costing them any money to witness the losing.
As for jongudens desire to get a picture with Dilfer more than Brooks, I can only say his judgement and observations were as bad then as they are now.
Somethings never change.
Well as posters above had stated, winning changes everything. The other thing these bucs teams had in common with losing in the NFL was no QB. We have that now and we can only go up from here.
Love the interviews with Sapp and as I’ve said he’s a dick off of the filed, but on the field, he was exactly what this franchise needed.
Him talking to Derrick about the losses we had brought up a good point too for me. Picking players from winning colleges matters. These guys get used to winning and will not except losing.
As for Stephen A. Smith, he’s a racist asshole anyways , so who cares what he thinks? If he thinks Lovie was fired because of his skin, he clearly didn’t see how terrible of a coach he really was.
The disrespect in the media was at an all time worst last year when Gurley , how had 1 100 yard game in his final 8 managed to beat Jameis out for rookie of the year. What a joke. Jameis and Sapp could easily get along as their personalities on the field are very similar. Luckily Jameis is a much better person off of it.
As for ASJ, I have no idea why he wouldn’t know the offense, it’s pretty much exactly the same as last year. And I saw some of his tweets after, what a tool.
Another good FAB5. Especially for this time of year.
Character concerns are not just about whether a person got into trouble or did stupid things while in college. I did not see a lot of negatives written or said about ASJ when he was drafted. If ASJ becomes a bust it will really be too bad. He has shown flashes that he could become “the TE the Bucs have never had”. We as fans are limited to what we can glean from various sources including what other’s are asserting about this or that player.
I will be disappointed (based on the talent I see, not my “great” football knowledge) if we don’t achieve at least 8 and 8 this year. I am really hoping for much, much more this year! I am in harmony with the sentiments expressed overall in this edition of Fab5.
“The tight end we’ve never had”????
I guess the name “Jimmie Giles” somehow doesn’t mean much to you?
P.S. If what some of you are saying about Stephen Smith turns out to be true in the longer run (or even in a shorter term), he too will become a bust in his career.
Always fun to take a trip down memory lane and watch the Bucs highlights as they shocked the world by destroying San Fran and became 5-0 on Sunday Night Football against Jimmy Johnson’s Dolphins. The only highlight missing is the playoff win vs. Detroit and Barry Sanders that year!
Right on the money, Scott! Loved and fully agree with your analysis. A key to the Buc’s succeeding is to utilize Florida talent from winning programs. It is where Warren Sapp, Brooks, and Warrick Dunn all came from. With our present team it is where Winston, Hargraves, and Westbrook all came from. Then you add in players from winning teams like Evans, McCoy, our MLB from LSU, Spence and Spencer from Ohio State, Smith from Penn State, Humphries from Clemson, and David from Nebraska. Very good points, Scott! It is also where our leadership comes from on the Bucs.
Great work Scott. Kids want to do something because it is fun or maybe because their friends are into it. It’s certainly been no fun going to the games in recent years being surrounded by opponents fans who more likely live here and losing. But as you said, that can all change as it did in 1979 with our Worst to First season and again in 1997.
Bad parenting causes hometown kids to grow up as fans of other teams.
Still, I wonder how many Brownie fans would put up with that.
When you allow your children to make a front running team their favorite team just because they are in first, you aren’t teaching your kids much about loyalty.
My daughters asked me why I kept supporting the Bucs because they lost so much when they were growing up.
I explained to them the concept of loyalty and always backing someone no matter how bad they performed sometimes.
I explained to them how this transferred to the rest of the parts of their life as well.
Are you going to leave your husband because he gets fat or loses his job?
If you never know how bad it feels to be down and losing, you never understand and appreciate how good it really feels when you are up and winning.
It’s a cliché but like most clichés, it is a true one. “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”
The other day my 9 year old daughter comes in the house and asks me “Dad, why do you like the Bucs? My friend said they suck.”
“Oh yeah? And who’s your friend’s favorite team?”
I had nothing more to say at that point lol…I was proud though when my daughter replied “that’s ok Dad, I still love the Bucs too even if they’re not the best team”
“They will be soon,” I said
Tell her to ask the friend why they ran the worst play in the history of the game in the Super Bowl.
Here’s another saying when one chooses the winner as his team…..after the fact. “The sun doesn’t shine on one dog’s ass forever.” Captain Fear and Rodney Dangerfield have something in common, “It ain’t easy being me”
SR, thanks for calling out the Bucs. Sapp and Brooks called out the Bucco Bruce Yucs and began to turn around this team. Someone needs to call out this current roster and make them understand the influence they have over the psyche of this community. We love the Lightning and cheer for the Rays, but nothing lights a fire in the Bay area more than when the Bucs are winning. Hopefully Winston, who is developing into their vocal leader will put this team on his shoulders and call them out. His work ethic and enthusiasm are already having an effect. Next McCoy needs to get pissed off enough to rally the defense to play up to their potential.
Agreed, the combination of Winston/Koetter made a HUGE impact on the offense last year. Hoping for similar change on defense under Smith. I believe Kwon is becoming our vocal leader on defense as it’s not GMC’s style. Hopefully he will lead by example this year and hit those double digits
Them 1997 clips got me fired up Scott. Weird to hear a full Bucs stadium so load for the Bucs. I do believe we added a lot of key pieces last year, Koetter, Winston, K Alexander, Licht’s first draft with his staff and depth (and great pieces in 2014). This year it looks like a lot more of the same with another possible solid draft and coach’s like M Smith, J Hayes, T Monken. second year in Koetter’s Offense and getting rid of L Smith and replacing with a real Defense. The players really seem to be buying in and we have much more talent all over the team. I do believe this will be a season where the world realizes the Bucs are on there way. I can see us getting into the playoffs or just barely missing but I do believe we are on our way for a decade or more of winning records, playoffs & SB wins. GO BUCS!!!
ASJ has just got to mature a little more. I think the worst thing we could do is let him go, than he’ll mature for another team. Not all players have the same background growing up or mature at the same rate, he’ll be fine soon. He will be a beast in this league, I don’t want to see him kicking our butts every time we play new England. 🙂
Were those both horse collar tackles?
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