Bucs not surprised with success
Bucs defensive tackle Roy Miller said he drove into work Monday morning thinking about how good it felt to be coming in off a win, another come-from-behind effort against Arizona.
"All the work you do," he said. "And you actually get the (results)."
Miller wasn't alone. Though Monday was an off-day for Bucs players - who arrived home between 2-3 a.m. Monday from their cross-country flight - there were several at One Buc Place just several hours later, getting treatment or working out on their own. Tampa Bay (5-2) is tied for first in the NFC South heading into this weekend's matchup with Atlanta (5-2).
So how does 5-dash-2 feel?
"Better than 3-dash-13," quipped a smiling defensive end Stylez G. White.
But while the Bucs are happy where they are, they say they're far from done.
"One of the good things that we do is focusing," Miller said. "Focus on each opponent week-to-week. Even though we're trying to 'race to-10 (wins), we're focusing on the next game...
"It's way too early to be starting to get complacent, to talk about (playoffs)."
The Bucs hot start may have surprised the pundits, and players acknowledge there are still some who don't yet believe.
"It's like when we were losing, it was almost expected," White said. "And now, when we win, it's like, 'You haven't beaten anybody. But we're 5-2."
But the Bucs aren't stunned with the turnaround, even coming off a 3-13 season.
"We're not surprised about what's going on," linebacker Geno Hayes said. "We can be even better than we are right now."
Miller pointed to Sunday's 38-35 win over Arizona, when the Bucs blew a 17-point lead before rallying for the victory, is example of how much room they have for improvement.
"It's mixed emotions," he said. "It was a very up-and-down game. We made a lot of mistakes. It's easy to correct them. We're just going to look at it and keep doing whatever it is that we're doing.
"We've got a lot of fight and that's what keeps us in."
While there still hasn't been the big buzz in the community - each of the Bucs home games have been blacked out - players say they'll welcome any fans who want to jump on the bandwagon.
White acknowledged the fans aren't "believing in the product," which he said is understandable considering what happened last season (and the economy). But they're appreciative of what they have.
"At this point I'm worried about who's here, and the 30,000-20,000 that do come, I'm glad they're there," White said. "They showed up last year and the same people from last year are still showing up this year. I'd roll with them anyday...
"We've already got our fans right now who are there through thick and thin, and we're good with that."
- JOE SMITH