Although he still has his old Bucs gear, for the first time in his NFL career, Davin Joseph won't be at camp with the Bucs. After eight seasons, the former first round pick is getting ready to head north to play with the St. Louis Rams.
He leaves with many insights on what went wrong for the team last season, a problem-plagued year that ended with the firing of head coach Greg Schiano.
"We just didn't have the right chemistry last year,” Joseph said. “It takes a lot to be a great team. You see how hard it is with a rotating door with players and coaches to really get a team that has a great core. That was something we weren't able to develop here in Tampa."
He says all that is still possible for the team.
"Hopefully with Lovie coming in, I wish those guys all the best of luck. I really hope for them that they can improve and get the right core guys, get the right chemistry and be able to put some wins together."
Where did it go wrong for Greg Schiano, and does Joseph think he'll ever get another shot to coach in the NFL?
"He will get another shot,” Joseph said. “A lot of coaches go down the same path. You're given a direction. He was given a direction when he came here. He executed it well. To me he executed it very well. He did exactly what they asked him to do. Things just didn't pan out."
Joseph says there’s still much ahead for Schiano.
"So a lot of coaches go down that path and they end up getting another shot. He's up there [New England Patriots] learning and growing, improving, working hard. So it's going to pay off for him," he said.
Schiano was brought in to bring discipline to a team that lacked it under Raheem Morris. Did Schiano over correct?
"That's what he was asked to do,” Joseph said. “They brought him in for that reason, to change the culture of the building. He went about it the best way he knew how. He was given a direction. He executed it the best way he could and he just wasn't given enough time."
So what went wrong?
"Personally I liked him a lot. I like him a lot, but he'll get another chance. To say what exactly went wrong? Who really knows. A lot of little things. They all add up, right. But wins cure all and so we didn't get enough wins to make it all mesh together. I don't regret any part of it. You learn from every circumstance. So I felt we all improved some way, somehow," Joseph said.
With all of the swift changes the Bucs made with the coaching staff and the roster, does Joseph see a quick turnaround?
"I don't know. It's a tough division. A tough schedule, but he's a smart coach. He has some really great players on his team. It will be interesting to see what happens for the Buccaneers in 2014. I believe they will compete hard and they'll play tough. That's one thing you can guarantee," Joseph said.
Lovie Smith says this isn't a rebuilding year. They're in it to win it this season.
"He's made some changes that definitely make the team a lot better. I think he's adding pieces I guess you could say. If you're not rebuilding you just adding pieces I guess you could say," Joseph said.
In the meantime, Joseph says it’s tough to leave the Bucs.
"I was asked yesterday what I'm going to miss about Tampa Bay,” Joseph said. “Of course, the fans and the environment on game day, but most of all, probably my teammates and the lockeroom. I will miss those guys, but I have a chance to play against them this year [week 2], which will be very interesting. With this new change I'm going to learn a lot.”
He says he is looking forward to a fresh start.
"I look forward to going to a new team and being the 'new guy' and proving that I still got a little bit left in the tank," Joseph said.
Joseph still considers Tampa his home and wants to eventually retire here.
NFL veterans around the league will begin checking in for training camps this Saturday. The Buffalo Bills report first.
The Bucs have a little over a week before they check in at One Buc Place.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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