We can officially put 2009 to rest tomorrow. It's been a full and challenging year for the Bucs, but finally the ghost of 2009 can be forgotten with an eye on the 2010 season. This is where the next few steps have to be taken by the team, players, coaches, and owners. We laid the foundation, cleaned house and started the process of rebuilding in 2009. To have that be worth it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to take that foundation and build on it. And that's what training camp is all about. Setting each player and the team to be successful in the upcoming season.
Games won't be won in training camp, but jobs can be lost or earned. All of the excuses that we had last year are gone. No more rookie head coach. No more rookie general manager. No more rookie starting quarterback (well, for at least a few games we might be able to say that). No more new schemes. No more new coordinators. All of these guys have graduated from rookie, to second year vet. They've all had a year around each other, around each teammate, assistant, coach and owner. And while a Super Bowl run may be stretching it, with the combination of draft picks, young players, and a dash of veterans, training camp and the 2010 season is where progress needs to be made. It's easy to look at this team and scream inexperience. It's easy to say they went 3-13 so going 6-10 is a stretch, but it's about process. The results will come if things are done the correct way. And for now, we have no reason to believe that things are going the wrong way in terms of acquiring talent.
When this all started, myself, as well as many others made the comment that this was a multi-year process. Last year was about getting better from game one to game sixteen. This year will be about building on that. Year two is just as important as year one and three. The processes have been put in place. The future has not been mortgaged for the present. The quick, easy band aid fix was not taken, instead opting for total reconstructive surgery. Sure it was painful, and was gruesome at first, but the end results should be something spectacular. Training camp is that first step.
So while training camp may not seem important or glamorous, see it for what it is. A chance for some guys to earn jobs on the team. A chance for the rookies to get a taste of the NFL world. A chance for the young players to have a grip on NFL life and begin leading the team. A chance for the coaches to put into play what they have been working all offseason on. And most importantly, a chance to put 2009 to rest.
Welcome to the 2010 season Buc 'Em.