Mike Williams says everything that is written is garbage. Donald Penn pointed a finger at the reporters and bank of cameras and declared, "I think you guys are causing all the drama. You guys threw the kitchen sink at us. I think we're good inside these walls."
(Then again, none of us were on the sideline at MetLife Stadium on opening day when Penn slammed a water bottle down at the feet of WR Vincent Jackson following an animated discussion.)
QB Josh Freeman insists he trusts coach Greg Schiano and is sure Schiano would never rig a vote for captains even though there was a players-only meeting that might or might not have had the topic on its agenda.
Even CB Darrelle Revis said he felt as if he was back in New York when the New York Post and Fox Sports reported he was unhappy with either Schiano or how he was being used. Revis had a 15-minute clear-the-air meeting with Schiano on Tuesday to reassure him he was on board.
Never mind that two days later, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan admitted, yes, in hindsight, they wished they had put Saints WR Marques Colston on Revis Island before he caught the 31-yard pass that set up the winning field goal.
Is it possible Revis vented to somebody — anybody — his frustration over not being used to blanket the Saints' No. 1 receiver in crunch time instead of Leonard Johnson?
Where, oh where, do these rumors, innuendos and — eventually — stories come from?
Before you turn those palms upright in mock astonishment, fellas, Billy Joel said it best: We didn't start the fire.
Losing — seven out of the past eight games to be exact — begets belly-aching in every NFL locker room. Eventually, it gets too loud to keep in house the way what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Maybe a player vents to his agent or relative. Maybe he had a relationship with a media member that covered his previous team. Who knows?
All I can tell you, guys, is where there is smoke, somebody is at least rubbing two sticks together.
Numerous times, players and front office members have been the source of stories I've written that might not paint the organization in the best light. The story is printed, and the subsequent denial comes from the very same person who provided the information in the first place. It's comical at times.
Sometimes, those who protest the loudest do so to cover their own tracks. Some who share secrets from inside the locker room make a point to remain on the down low and far away from the media spotlight, hoping to not be discovered.
Lately, we've been chasing a lot of unattributed stories and "starting fires." I know enough to say some were probably started in the Bucs' locker room.
Of course, nothing is a better silencer than winning. That is what the Bucs need to do today at New England if they want to change the narrative. Otherwise, the garbage will keep piling up — maybe even in the stall of the player next to you.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Freeman has thrown four touchdowns and 11 interceptions over his past five starts.
QUOTE OF THE Week: Schiano on why he believes the Bucs can turn their season around after starting 0-2: "We have good players, proven methods, good schemes, good coaches. When you have all those good components and you're doing things the right way it'll turn. Everybody that has been in competitive athletics goes through some stretches where they wish things were better. If you have the components — now you're kidding yourself if you don't have the components — then you're just wishing. I know we have the components. So we've just got to stick to our guns, and it'll turn."