Joe’s Take: Strong Leadership And Coaching = 8-3

November 24th, 2008
The sheer will to win is the strength of this Bucs team

The sheer will to win is the strength of this Bucs team

There’s no panic in the 2008 Bucs. No worry or quit, either.

They play like a team with complete confidence in its game plan, even if Antonio Bryant often shows get-me-the-ball frustration.

The credit goes to Jon Gruden and the coaching staff, as well as the tremendous on-field and off-the-field leadership on both sides of the ball. Effort is the strength of this team. They play with a Super Bowl caliber commitment.

Whatever the reasons for the Bucs falling behind on the road to the Bears, Chiefs and Lions by a combined 48 points, Tampa Bay played with confidence during every moment of those comebacks. 

They believe.

And Joe thinks most fans are starting to watch Bucs games with that same swagger.

Barrett Ruud and Chris Hovan shared their thoughts with the Tampa Tribune.

“We were out of whack at the start,” said LB Barrett Ruud, who led the Bucs with six tackles. “Once we tightened up our run fits, we were fine. When it was 17-0, there was frustration … but no panic.”

Perhaps most impressively, Tampa Bay overcame a combined 10 giveaways in the three comeback road victories.

“We’re sitting there down 17-0 and I’m thinking, ‘Hey, we’ve been here before,'” DT Chris Hovan said. “One thing we’ve learned the hard way is that this team keeps its poise, no matter the situation. The guys in this room are going to stay the course.”

The Bucs no doubt must stay mentally tough through the next three games: New Orleans, at Carolina, and at Atlanta. They’ll likely trail in every game.

Together, they’re coaching and leadership should drive them to win two out of three. And there’s enough talent on the Bucs to win them all.

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