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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Schiano: Bucs have components to end losing ways

TAMPA — Going back to the last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won just one of their past eight games. Coach Greg Schiano is convinced, though, that after an 0-2 start this year a turnaround is on the horizon.

“We have good players, proven methods, good schemes and good coaches,’’ Schiano said. “When you have all those components and you’re doing things the right way, it will turn.’’

The Bucs next chance to turn around their season and recent slump comes Sunday when they travel to Foxborough, Mass., to face the New England Patriots. History suggests they’ll have a hard time.

The Patriots hold a 5-2 edge in the all-time series, including a 35-7 victory in London in 2009, and are 2-1 against the Bucs on their home turf.

Schiano remains confident, though, that good times are ahead. That the Bucs were in a position to win each of their first two games is a sign they are close, he said, but it’s the talent and system that give him the most confidence.

“Everybody who has been involved in competitive athletics has gone through stretches where they wish it were better,’’ he said. “But if you have the components, well... Now, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t have the components. Then you’re just wishing. But I know we have the components, so we just have to stick to our guns and it will turn.’’

Waving the yellow flag

WR Vincent Jackson says penalties are the biggest reason the Bucs have struggled to move the ball consistently this year. He should know. A penalty against Jackson erased a touchdown against the Saints last week.

A 73-yard touchdown pass from QB Josh Freeman to Jackson was wiped out when the Bucs were called for using an illegal formation. The call caught everyone by surprise, Jackson said.

“I guess it was something (that happened) before Josh was under center,’’ Jackson said. “The referee said I was on the line of scrimmage, but (that) it was something before that (where) the tackle (was) uncovered.

“Usually, we’re surprised when that gets called, especially with as much as teams shift nowadays and whatnot. We do that all the time. But you just have to live and learn and move on.’’

The best way for the Bucs to move on offensively, Jackson said, is to limit penalties such as that illegal formation. He also said that outsiders who believe there is disarray within the Bucs ranks aren’t seeing what he’s seeing.

“There’s no disarray in this building,” he said. “We know what we have to do and what kind of team we are. We just haven’t closed out two games. But there’s a lot of football left and we’re excited about that.’’

The Wright stuff

Injuries continue to plague the Bucs at tight end. Starter Luke Stocker was limited at practice all week by a hip problem and top backup Tom Crabtree continues to nurse a right ankle sprain.

With their status uncertain for Sunday the Bucs are strongly contemplating turning to rookie Tim Wright, an undrafted Rutgers product who caught 50 passes for 596 yards and four touchdowns in 25 games for the Scarlet Knights.

The Bucs are looking for “big things’’ out of Wright this week, QB Josh Freeman said on Thursday. Wright is just looking forward to an opportunity to prove he belongs.

“The tight end position is down a little bit in numbers and I have to step up,’’ he said. “And that’s fine. I’ve been working hard and preparing like I’m the starter and with that mentality and effort, good things will come.

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