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Saturday, Feb 06, 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs report, eager to prove predictions wrong


Most prognosticators are predicting another miserable season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Bucs themselves don't see it that way.

Though some are clearly taking a work-hard-and-see-what happens approach to the coming season, others are predicting big things from a team that went 3-13 last year.

"I have high expectations,'' middle linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "I expect us to contend for the playoffs. I mean, 3-13 was a bitter year and I think everyone has a lot more confidence going into this year.''

The confidence level of the players on defense is particularly high, Ruud said, as a result of head coach Raheem Morris's decision late last season to replace coordinator Jim Bates and re-install a one-gap, cover 2 defensive system.

"That was huge,'' Ruud said of the decision to change defenses and coordinators. "We just had a lot of uncertainty last year. We didn't know what to expect with the defense and a lot of us didn't know how to approach a game or what we were going to do.

"But we had some success (late last year) putting a defense together on the fly and I think this offseason the confidence is really high, a lot higher than it was a year ago, so I think we're going to be a lot better on defense.''

Defensive end Kyle Moore is one of those who's feeling a lot more confident this year. He said the team chemistry is much better than it was a year ago and that should show in a positive way on the field.

"What's different coming into this year is that we spent a lot more time together (during the offseason),'' Moore said. "Everyone was here during the offseason and we got to mesh together and jell on defense.

"So I feel like there's a lot more of a team atmosphere this year instead of everyone being all over the place like they were last year. The chemistry on the team is a whole lot better than it was last year.''

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