TAMPA — The Bucs added several new faces in key places during the offseason. The changes may not have had as much as a positive effect as they had hoped. In some ways, QB Jameis Winston said, the Bucs are victims of identity theft.
"I think this team has to find its common ground and … we’re still learning what that is," he said Thursday. "Last year, there was a point in the season where we found our identity. We’re still trying to develop our identity and use it to get better.
"Any time you have new pieces to the puzzle, you’re always seeing how you can work it. I’m ready for us to go ahead and find our identity."
Tampa Bay added two free agents, WR DeSean Jackson and DT Chris Baker. They also used a first-round draft pick on Alabama TE O.J. Howard.
Coach Dirk Koetter did not want to speculate on what Winston was referring to.
"I wasn’t here for that, so I’m not sure what he meant," Koetter said.
When asked if he thought the Bucs have found their identity, Koetter said "It’s tough. … When you’re 2-5, it’s not the identity you want. … Every team has its own identity, and it changes from year to year. Right now, our team is not where we want to be, so of course everybody is searching for the reasons why. The reasons why that we keep saying every day is that we’re not playing consistent-enough football across the board. When we do play consistent football across the board and we don’t beat ourselves, we will have an excellent chance to win games."
McClain, Robinson back
DBs Robert McClain and Josh Robinson, who did not play Sunday against the Panthers, were cleared from the concussion protocol, coach Dirk Koetter said.
Two weeks ago at Buffalo, the Bucs started McClain at cornerback and used Vernon Hargreaves in the slot when the Bills went to three receivers. Hargreaves returned to his old position Sunday and played well against the Panthers. Koetter would not say what the plan was for Hargreaves and McClain for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
"We are just trying to get our best 11 guys on the field where we think they have the best chance to help us this week," Koetter said. "Obviously, I can’t tell you that because I’d also be telling the Saints that."
WR Adam Humphries (ribs), LB Kendell Beckwith (knee) and QB Jameis Winston (shoulder) were limited in practice. DT Chris Baker (ankle) had full participation.
Coach Dirk Koetter said the Bucs had no plans to activate QB Ryan Griffin (shoulder sprain) from injured reserve. "The only way that would happen is if we were under some general concern more than normal that we would need a third quarterback this week, which we aren’t," Koetter said.
The Bucs have until Wednesday to activate Griffin or he will remain on IR for the rest of the year.