Rejuvenated, relaxed, a renewed Greg Schiano took the podium this afternoon at One Buc after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The team is 2-8, but the mood is more like a team that is 8-2 after the early disappointment and eight straight losses. Winning has made the game fun again. So what was the focus of the news conference today?
There was just one question that needed an answer: What happened to turn on the switch? The mix of players is certainly different (because of injuries); the quarterback is different (after the Bucs cut Josh Freeman -- which I still firmly believe was the right move).
But what happened to turn this team around? I asked Schiano if he was frustrated at all, seeing how his team is playing now, thinking where was this when the season started.
"I'm not thinking about the first eight games, there is nothing I can do to change that. So we push it aside and focus on what we can change and that's been the last two games," Schiano said.
One thing fans need to look at in that eight-game losing streak is that at least four of those games were losses in the final minutes. They lost to the Jets late by a point, the Saints by two late in the game and the Cardinals by 3. So it wasn't as if the Bucs were getting blown out -- and it's not as if they have suddenly stopped making mistakes.
Penalties were a problem in the first eight games and penalties were a problem against Atlanta -- they had 11 of them for over 100 yards. So what has been the difference between then and now? Simple, it's confidence -- as Davin Joseph told a reporter on Sunday -- the light went on, they believe in Schiano, they now see there is a payoff with the hard work.
So these Bucs now have what the first eight games didn't: an ability to bounce back, and an ability to take a shot and still respond. That was what was missing in the first eight games.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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