Faine, others to take on leadership role
The Bucs lost a good bit of locker-room leadership in Wednesday's cuts, particular "Godfather" Derrick Brooks, the one who always kept young guys in check. Players like Warrick Dunn and Ike Hilliard certainly played an important leadership role, too.
So, when coach Raheem Morris made a round of phone calls to some of his key remaining players to deliver the news Wednesday morning, he asked them to help fill the void.
Among them was center Jeff Faine, who said Morris emphasized leadership in their conversation.
"That was something he asked me about," Faine said. "I told him it didn't need to be asked. I think it is an honor that he asked me to take that role. It's a huge responsibility, but it's a huge honor, too."
Morris added that Faine should "take the reigns," Faine said.
Another guy who will have to step up from a leadership standpoint is linebacker Barrett Ruud. He already had a big responsbility in playing middle linebacker, the player responsible for making the calls on defense. Now, he may have to be more vocal off the field, too.
Earnest Graham is perhaps a player who has earned the right to speak loudly and be heard, too. His influence will be key on the offensive side where Dunn was a key leader. Don't forget, Jeff Garcia is out of the picture, too. Though he was somewhat detached from his teammates, he was an important veteran presence.
Other leaders will emerge later, too. But this is just one more example of the many adjustments this team will have to make in the wake of Wednesday's startling decisions.