It hasn't even been three years since the Bucs last beat the Saints -- Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa -- but for the current Tampa Bay roster, there has been nearly wholesale change in that time.
If linebacker Mason Foster, recovering from a shoulder injury that's sidelined him the last two weeks, can't play Sunday, that means none of the 22 Bucs starters on offense and defense from that 2011 game will play in this week's contest. As it stands, only four of the 53 current Bucs played in that game -- Foster, punter Michael Koenen, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and tackle Demar Dotson. By comparison, the Saints have 13 current players remaining that played in that game.
Dotson, who has been with the Bucs since 2009, longer than any other player, remembers that game, even though it came before his first NFL start. He was on the field as a tight end in victory formation for the game's final two plays, as Josh Freeman took a knee to run out a 26-20 win. A handful of other current Bucs were around for that win -- defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was injured then and defensive end Adrian Clayborn is injured now.
That five-game losing streak to New Orleans matches the second-longest for the Bucs against any opponent. Dallas has also won five straight against the Bucs, and only the Jets, who have won eight straight against Tampa Bay, have a longer current streak ...