TAMPA — The Bucs got a long weekend to reset themselves after two home losses in a span of five days, and they return to practice today hoping for a better result in Sunday's home game against the Bears.
"Hopefully this weekend, we get our minds right, get it together and fix whatever we need to fix and get back to action," LB Lavonte David said Thursday after a 43-28 loss to the Falcons. "Guys are trying. The only thing is getting to try harder. That's all there is to it. We're going to take this weekend to regroup, get back (today) with an extra day to fix whatever needs to be fixed, get back to the drawing board. Things are going to change."
DT Gerald McCoy said the back-to-back losses after consecutive road wins at Carolina and at San Francisco to get to 3-3 call for "soul-searching" by players during the weekend off.
"We've got to take these three days off and evaluate ourselves, do some soul-searching individually," he said. "I'm not pointing fingers, saying it's this or it's that. Everybody has to look at themselves, see what they can do better to bring to this team. So the next few days really need to be a break. We need the rest. We need to reload. Something has to change."
The team entered the weekend ranked 28th in the league in total defense and 29th in scoring defense, down from 10th and 26th, respectively, last season from a unit whose performance played a large role in the firing of coach Lovie Smith. CB Vernon Hargreaves said that halfway through his rookie season, this defense still needs to establish its identity.
"We've got to figure out who we are," Hargreaves said. "We have to figure out who we are as a defense, who we want to be and how we want to finish this season. It's just like life. Sometimes you're up in life, sometimes you're down. Right now we're down, and we need to figure it out. It's no secret. It is what it is. We're going to figure it out."
NEW START: Former Bucs CB Johnthan Banks was inactive Sunday in his first game with the Lions but said last week that the constant coaching turnover was a frustration in his time with Tampa Bay. "It's tough to adjust every year," he told mlive.com. "I mean, Tampa is a great place. I respect (Dirk Koetter), I respect the Glazers. I think they have a fine organization. But every year, when you get a new defense, a new defensive coordinator, new defensive backs coach, everybody wants to mold you and twist you and turn you into this player and that player. It kind of gets old. You lose your fire for the game, and it's frustrating."
Contact Greg Auman at firstname.lastname@example.org and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.