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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs veterans to teammates: Finish strong



NEW ORLEANS -- After four straight losses that have undermined all the Bucs’ midseason momentum, the team’s veterans will have to play a central in helping focus a wayward team that has two games remaining.

The process was already underway in the locker room today, with some of the team’s more prominent players already formulating the message of the week to come.

“You’ll see a lot of the character of this team and how everyone handles it and what they’re going to do this week to prepare and stay focused,” tight end Dallas Clark said. “No matter what the season holds and no matter what happens throughout the year, we signed up to play 16 (games) and you have to be a professional and play each one like it’s the most important game you’ve played. I think we have a lot of class on this team and I think that’s what we’ll see. But it’s going to take everyone to really focus in and take it personally and bring the professionalism onto the field.”

Safety Ronde Barber said: “I’m going to try and lead them. The record doesn’t matter. We are all privileged to play this game. I say it all the time: At the beginning of the year, you signed up for 16 weeks, so you have no choice but to see it through.”

Guard Jeremy Zuttah highlighted the opportunities that exist in the remaining games.

"We just have to focus on improvement," he said. "We have two weeks left to get better as a football team. We have to take advantage of that. You can’t give up on yourself of the people around you. You have to press forward and get better."

For his part, coach Greg Schiano said, “I haven’t been here in a while, but I’ve been here before. We’ll fight back.”

[Last modified: Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:48pm]


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