Davin Joseph to younger Bucs: The clock is ticking
When eighth-year right guard Davin Joseph scans the Bucs locker room, the two-time Pro Bowl selection struggles to find teammates who have lasted nearly as long.
No player on the current roster has logged more time with the Bucs than Tampa Bay’s 2006 first-round pick, although tackle Donald Penn and long snapper Andrew Economos also are entering their eighth seasons with the franchise.
That status gives Joseph a unique perspective compared with that of his younger teammates. While players and coaches at One Buc Place envision the team qualifying for the playoffs in 2013, Joseph can share with his young counterparts just how difficult the task is.
Despite playing in 84 career games and for three different coaches, Joseph has participated in just a single playoff game (in 2007), and he has yet to experience the elation of actually winning in the postseason.
It was a feeling that was reinforced after Joseph, 29, watched the Ravens hoist the Lombardi Trophy after their Super Bowl victory in February.
“After the Super Bowl, seeing how excited the guys were in Baltimore, you just really want to feel that one day,” Joseph said. “Me, going on Year 8 now, the hourglass is coming toward the end. So, of course you want to feel that experience.”
So, during these grueling days of offseason conditioning, when muscles ache and fatigue kicks in and it can be difficult to focus when opening day is months away, Joseph hopes his perspective will have an impact on others.
“I think a lot of guys who haven’t experienced (former coaches Jon) Gruden and Raheem (Morris), they need to know what this organization’s been through and where we’re at now,” Joseph said, referring to the Bucs’ single playoff berth in the past seven seasons.
“I try to encourage guys to be here as much as possible and really take this seriously.”
There’s been a revolving door of players in Joseph’s eight seasons, but the Bucs have arguably never possessed this much offensive firepower during his tenure. He says they have an offense that can “shoot for the stars,” but he emphasized the reality that much of groundwork for championship teams is laid long before the season kicks off.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys come in and out the door,” Joseph said. “There’s only a few of us left. I think it’s me and Donald and, hopefully, Ronde (Barber) – fingers crossed – who are still here. It shows you how tough a league it is.
“We’re talking about great players like Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton, all guys who have come in and now are out. You try to share that with guys. This offseason that’s voluntary, it’s not voluntary if you really want to play.”