Davin Joseph is done with rehab and should be healthy going into the offseason workout program the guard said in a press conference today. Joseph tore his right patellar tendon in the preseason last year, causing him to miss the entire season. The Bucs coped surprisingly well without their former Pro Bowl offensive guard, but the line noticeably wore down during the final games of the season. Having Joseph back should give the line a boost, although Carl Nicks recovering may be even more important.
When Joseph talked about the change in regime from Raheem Morris to Greg Schiano, that's when my ears perked up, though.
Going from a country club to a place where we conduct football business.
That's a pretty damning indictment of the Raheem Morris regime, something we have heard only in very small snippets over the past year. Players generally loved Morris -- but after spending a year under a more strict regime, we're starting to hear more and more negative remarks about Morris' way of doing things. The feeling that the Bucs had a country club and not a professional football team seems to be prominent among those players who have operated under Greg Schiano.
Part of that may simply be the fact that the Bucs got rid of the players who preferred Raheem's approach, of course. Kellen Winslow is the most infamous example, but players like Dezmon Briscoe, Brian Price and others were let go unceremoniously -- and the culture clash likely played a role there. As I've remarked before: this environment is not for everyone, and you need to find the right players to fit your culture. That's true for every team, of course.
But it's also noticeable in a lot of other things. Schiano wanted to change the team culture last season, creating a disciplined environment where everything's about football. That's what Bill Belichick did in New England, of course, and Schiano has taken some cues from the Patriots head coach.
We won't continue to see the extreme discipline now that the culture has shifted. Schiano has brought in the players he thinks fit his culture, he has instilled that culture in the players that were already there -- and now it's time for that culture to take root, and for the players to employ some social pressure to keep up the work environment. That's not speculation: Greg Schiano, Gerald McCoy and others have remarked repeatedly that that is what's going to happen.
One of those leaders will be Gerald McCoy, who was trotted out in front of the media for a press conference, too. With Ronde Barber gone, he's one of the most veteran players on the defense and has the longest tenure as a Buccaneer of any of the players on defense right now, except for Adam Hayward. We've heard a lot about McCoy taking up the leadership mantle in the past, and he reiterated that today. He talked about this being "his defense" now that he's more veteran, has a Pro Bowl under his belt (although he refused to be called a Pro Bowler).
One thing to like from that press conference: McCoy talked about how they (and he) hadn't done anything in 2013 yet, and how he thus was not a Pro Bowler. Even their 2012 run defense (the best in the league) wasn't good enough. They didn't meet their yards per carry goal, apparently, which is rather astounding. With a culture change setting in and the players having to carry that forward and enforce it, McCoy will apparently be the key to that change on defense.