The culture that Greg Schiano has created at One Buccaneer Place demands that players treat each game week as its own “season.” The Buccaneers just finished their “New Orleans Season,” for instance, and are now moving on to the “Minnesota Season.”
With that in mind, there isn’t much time in any given week to celebrate victories or dwell on defeats. And that is particularly true this week, because the Minnesota Season is going to be a short one.
The Buccaneers get their Thursday night exposure this week (with the new expanded Thursday schedule on the NFL Network, every team plays at least one prime-time game), and it happens to be on the road. Thus, just three days after battling the Saints to the finish in a 35-28 shootout loss, the Buccaneers will be on a plane headed to take on the 5-2 Vikings in the Metrodome. Perhaps that’s why DT Gerald McCoy, less than an hour after the game, sat in the Raymond James Stadium locker room and declared, “It’s over; we’re moving on to the Vikings.”
“We understand that we can’t hang our heads too long,” added TE Dallas Clark, who scored his first touchdown as a Buccaneer in the fourth quarter on Sunday. “We’ve got a game in the blink of an eye. We’ve got to learn from this one and put it to bed a lot quicker than on a normal week and come back and get ready for Minnesota.”
The Bucs were back in the building on Monday morning, as usual. They’ll have a series of meetings but no field work. On Tuesday, the team will essentially condense two days of “installation” practice into one, at walk-through speed, and it will already be review time on Wednesday before the plane takes off. That’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, but on the other hand it does make it easier to move on from the tough loss.
“You can look at it in many different ways,” said cornerback Eric Wright. “Obviously, as players, we’re excited to get another game as soon as possible. We always do the same thing, regardless of the schedule. We’ll correct some things, build on some things that we did well, and get ready for the next game.”
Ronde Barber, who had his 46th career interception Sunday, is the most senior member of a mostly young team. He’s experienced many more unusual game weeks than most of his teammates, but he doesn’t think they’ll have any problem adjusting.
“The short work week, it is what it is,” said Barber. “We’ve got to come in tomorrow and be done with New Orleans. I think we’ll all be comfortable with that. Getting to play on Thursday, get the chance to go on the national stage, and really show what we’re all about. It can’t be a performance like this. It’s got to be our best ball.”