Rested Buccaneers turn attention to Chiefs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rested and eager to resume their

season.

Coaches and players reconvened Monday following a bye week that

provided extra time to evaluate the team’s progress through four

games, focus on fundamentals in practice and make some adjustments

that Greg Schiano hopes will be beneficial the final 12 weeks of

the season.

The Bucs (1-3) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when

they host the struggling Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) next Sunday.

”We evaluated a lot of things, and if your evaluations are

correct and your adjustments are correct, then it helped,” Schiano

said of the break.

Since shutting down Cam Newton and beating the Carolina Panthers

in the season opener, Tampa Bay has dropped consecutive games to

the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins by a

combined 15 points.

Although the players didn’t like the idea of having to wait two

weeks for their next opportunity to end the skid, Schiano felt the

open date fell at a good time.

The Bucs practiced last Tuesday and Wednesday before taking the

remainder of the week off.

”Without a doubt … it’s good to get them some rest,” Schiano

said Monday, when the team got an early start on preparation for

the Chiefs.

Players usually don’t receive the game plan until Wednesday.

”The rest definitely helps,” guard Carl Nicks said. ”I’m a

little recharged, a little refreshed.”

The Bucs have played well at times, but also have been wildly

inconsistent – sputtering for long stretches on offense and

struggling defensively to stop opponents in critical

situations.

”We’re not anywhere near our potential. We’ve got to finish

better, start better and be more consistent,” Nicks said.

”Although we’re 1-3, and that’s not a good record to have, all of

our games have been close and it’s encouraging to know we can

battle with any team in the NFL.”

Schiano reiterated that while the team’s record could be better,

it also could be worse.

Asked if he’s concerned that the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons (5-0)

are beginning to build a commanding lead in the normally tight NFC

South, the first-year coach stressed his focus is solely on the

Bucs.

”I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rooting for Washington this

weekend,” Schiano said, alluding to Atlanta’s latest win. ”We

can’t handle what they do. We can only handle what we do. If we had

done a little better job handling it, we wouldn’t be talking about

this. We can’t do anything about the past, but we can do something

about Sunday.”

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said there’s a positive vibe in

the locker room, despite the slide that’s extended a stretch in

which the Bucs have lost 13 of 14 dating to last season.

”You know what’s great about this team is everybody’s so

encouraged. Nobody’s down,” McCoy said, adding that this is a time

for players to critique themselves critically and do whatever’s

necessary to eliminate mistakes that are affecting the club’s

chances of winning.

”Nobody wants to be 1-3. Nobody wants to be 2-2. Nobody wants

to be 3-1,” the third-year pro said. ”Everybody would like to be

undefeated, but the reality is it’s not going to happen.”

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