Conte: Bucs defense taking ownership, ready to come together
The Bucs defense has struggled in its last two games, giving up 73 points in home losses to the Raiders and Falcons, but safety Chris Conte is confident the unit took the long weekend to regroup and refocus and expects a better showing Sunday against the Bears.
"I think we've taken a lot of responsibility," said Conte, preparing to face the team he played for in his first four NFL seasons. "A lot of guys have made efforts to do more to come together as a unit, to come together as players to take ownership. We're the ones out there on the field and we want to band together and have a sense of pride in our defense, to believe in one another. We're fighting together."
The defensive collapse in the second half against the Falcons had some questioning their effort, giving up touchdowns on the first three drives after opening the half down just 20-14. Conte said it's been a good week in practice and in the locker room, with players getting a fresh start as they try to establish an identity on defense.
"I think everybody's positive," he said. "We need to take that energy and start over. We need to go out and play fast and make plays. If we do that, we'll start stacking some wins up and things will be good."
Conte said the Bucs understand the urgency Sunday's game presents as Tampa Bay is 0-4 at home and runs the risk of coming out of a three-game home stand without a win with more difficult games ahead.
"We want to create a homefield advantage," he said. "We have a lot of fans that come out to our games and support us, and we want to play well for them. They can help us win, and we'll give them the results that they want."