To Bucs veteran tight end Dallas Clark, the team's 1-3 start to the season seems like a long time ago.
But Clark said a key reason why Tampa Bay (6-4) has rallied to win four straight games, putting themselves back in the playoff picture and in a showdown with first-place Atlanta (9-1) Sunday, is that they didn't try to make it up all at once.
"We've played a lot of ball since then and that's the whole thing," Clark said. "And I think that what this team has done a great job of keeping focus on just not the big picture and when you're 1-3, you're not going to get a winning record overnight. You've got to work at it each day, stay patient and that's what this team has done. We really narrowed in on our focus, detail and really just taking a one-game-at-a-time. And we've been slowly getting back to competitive football."
Much of the talk in Monday's open lockeroom session focused on how the Bucs felt prepared, even in the desperate situation of being down eight points with 62 seconds to go - and no timeouts. The team has actually practiced for that very situation, with receiver Vincent Jackson saying coach Greg Schiano is at the top of the class when it comes to preparing his team.
"You can't possibly practice everything, you try to use technology as well as situations that we do practice," Schiano said. "But these guys are into it, that's the big thing. You can throw anything you want at them, if they're not willing to learn, listen. And we've got alot of guys on this team that love the game of football."
Schiano loved watching his team celebrate after Clark's overtime touchdown, which clinched the victory.
"I was really happy for our players," Schiano said. "You saw a lot of kid come out of a lot of these men when that happened," Schiano said. "When they won the game and in the lockerroom, I'm really excited for them. I enjoy it, I like winning. But it's kind of like a parent, it's fun to watch them enjoy it more than anything."
-- JOE SMITH
Posted by Times Editor at 2:23:36 pm on November 19, 2012