The starting QB took aim at a golf cart with a target painted on it, and he missed it. The crowd whimpered.
Gerald McCoy beat his man to reach the QB in a one on one deal. Fans clapped.
But when the team was introduced position by position, the loudest noise came from Bucs Fans when Cornerbacks were introduced. One player came out of the tunnel at first….then a few more, all the while fans got a little more restless. Then you could see #24 pass throught the smoke…and the crown livened up.
Can you blame them? This is a town built on the backs of Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp. Bucs fans are used to seeing their cherished Defenders running interceptions the other way…like Barber in 2002 against the Eagles. Even Linebacker Shelton Quarles has the Bucs lifetime longest Touchdown…a 98 yard return vs Green Bay in 2001..something that was brought up during Bucs trivia yesterday at practice.
Instead last year, Fans were treated to the greatest (worst) collapses in Bucs history. Even the 1986 Bucs weren't as bad. Even the '76 team wasn't that bad. Going out and getting the best cover corner in the game, and the then one of the top safeties to boot. …and when free agency was over the Bucs turned to the draft and got rookie Jonathan Banks, who will wear # 27 now that Legarette Blount has moved on.
Can it be done though? Can you replace a whole secondary? In 1981 Legendary HC Bill Walsh drafted Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, and Carlton Williamson with the 8th, 40th and 65th pick. The rest was history..as rookies along with veteran Dwight Hicks accounted for 23 interceptions and a No.2 defensive ranking that year.
If you ask Bucs fans, they will tell you history is about to repeat itself.