Tampa Bay needs to improve this season on defense for the team to have overall success in 2016. While the offense is benefiting from continuity from last season to this season, the defense is seeing a new staff that is coming with a new philosophy. The players — to this point — have embraced the ideas and are ready to put it all together once the season kicks off.
On Tuesday, the team had its first practice on the fields of One Buc Place for OTAs and it provided a glimpse into the excitement the defense is carrying into this season.
“Look forward to some hard working guys,” linebacker Kwon Alexander said about what to expect in 2016. “Guys out there having fun. We’re young guys; we’re going to be out there having fun. We’re going to get a lot of victories this year.
“[Defensive coordinator] Mike Smith brings a lot of energy. He’s a very good coach. The defense is running; it’s going to be a real good defense. Everybody’s excited about it and we can’t wait to get on the field.”
A double digit season season isn’t out of the realm of possibility especially if the defense can play to their full potential. There were lots of challenges they faced in 2015 with the cornerback carousel and a scheme many of the veterans had a tough time grasping. Reinforcements were brought in to help ensure success and one of the newcomers spoke about what he has seen so far.
“The guys are hungry to win,” veteran defensive end Robert Ayers said. “You know, things haven’t been going the way this organization would have wanted them to go the last couple of years, but these guys want to win. They’re eager for knowledge and we have a staff that’s willing to give it to us and we’re embracing the challenge of – we have high expectations. We’re just a group that’s ready to win, ready to work, so I love it.”
Tampa Bay still has a ways to go. However, players speaking highly of a new defensive philosophy this early is certainly promising.