TAMPA — Bryan Glazer is excited. He sees familiar things in his team, things that have prompted feelings of optimism.
The Bucs co-chairman remembers fondly the qualities he saw in his team early in his family's ownership of the club, the late 1990s. Now he sees parallels in today's team.
"You feel it when you're in the locker room," Glazer said Saturday. "We have a tremendous core of young players, and it's exciting to me to see this. We have an offense that can keep up with anybody in the league. That has not been seen before in Tampa in a long time. Also, there are players on defense at brand new positions. We've added new players. The football team is only heading in the right direction."
Glazer spoke in a rare interview during the Bucs' night practice at Raymond James Stadium, which drew about 33,000 fans. He said those fans have been responding positively at the ticket booth, with sales rising for a team that had a majority of its home games blacked out on local TV over the past three seasons. Glazer said fans should enjoy more televised games this season after just two last season even with a lower threshold for tickets sold to lift blackouts (85 percent).
"I think you see it throughout the whole community," he said. "You see people are very excited about the team. They see the offseason moves that we made, and it is reflecting in some of the (improvement) the ticket sales we're doing. We have a ways to go, but it's been improving. The economy is getting better. So everything is coming together at the right time."
The Bucs are shaping up to be competitive in part because of the addition of cornerback Darrelle Revis, 28, for $16 million a year in an offseason trade with the Jets. "You don't (often) have the opportunity to get what could be the best player of his generation at his position at a young age," Glazer said. "But at the same time, we have a team that is ready. If this was three or four years ago, I don't know if that would be the right fit. Now we're ready."
Soon Glazer's family might also be ready to reward quarterback Josh Freeman with a new deal. His rookie contract expires after this season.
"Josh Freeman and the (Bucs) and our family and our head coach and our general manager are all on the same page," he said. "So there is no problem there."