This looked like the Bucs defense of old — swarming, aggressive, at the ball?
That Bucs defense of old is long and done, you know? I told a couple of people last week that we need to let that go, man. This has to be our new defense — who we establish ourselves to be now and we're off to a fast start. The first half against Seattle felt like this, and the whole game today was what we really wanted to do.
Do you feel as a defense that you're getting more chemistry and more continuity?
Success will make those things happen. It's easy to talk about it, but until you get out there and do it, until you have something quantifiable that says, ‘This is how we're going to play this year,' no. I think that's where we're at right now.
How much did this team need a game like this?
We needed a win at home, you know? It's funny. We're losing last year and the fans were emptying out of the stadium. We win this year and they're still emptying out of the stadium. I guess we'll take it in this manner than the other. But we needed to establish something here at Raymond James Stadium.
You mentioned new guys on defense. Obviously Barrett (Ruud) has played well two weeks in a row, and then Cato June came out today and made plays. That was huge.
That's why he was brought in here. He's kind of an honorary DB. He gets all of our premium look packages, so we expect him to make a lot of plays. He had his opportunities today and he took advantage of them. That turnover was huge. A lot of guys stepped in. Phillip (Buchanon) stepped in for Brian (Kelly). Sammy (Davis) was on the street last week. He had to come in and play. He worked with us in training camp and it's a testament to our depth. It's what we've always needed. It's hot and we worked a lot of guys into our linebacker corps today. It was a warm day and we needed the depth to step up and it did.
That doesn't apply to the corners, right?
(Laughs) No, we stay out there.
Talk about Phillip Buchanon's play today
We talked about that last week. He's been in this defense, he understands what we need out of him, and until BK gets right, I think everyone around here is comfortable with Phillip.
Does this set the tone not only going into next week against the Rams but division-wise as well?
Well, we had an opportunity to get to 1-1 today and all we can do now is look forward. St. Louis is who we have to prepare for. I think we're ready to deal with whatever comes our way.
Is this the most complete victory you've put together in a while? There weren't many mistakes out there today.
Obviously we would have liked to step up at the end of the game and not let them have those easy touchdowns on those last couple of drives. But as far as how we started the game, how we got off (defensively) on third down, how we converted (offensively) on third down, and then scoring points, yeah this is as complete as I've seen it in a long, long time. I think anyone who has been a Bucs fan or an admirer of Bucs football for the past couple of years hasn't seen this kind of game and it was good to have one.
How much of a momentum changer was Barrett's recover and how long did it seem out there?
The replay was busted or wasn't working. Sitting down on the field, we all saw the ball come out. We all knew. I think we had a feeling that it might come out in our favor, but it was a big momentum turner. He fumbled the ball on the first drive, his first carry, but it bounced back to him. We knew we were laying the groundwork with our physical play and it created something for us.
What does a victory like this do for a veteran like you, who's been through this and knows it's just one game?
I think a lot of people had a bad feeling about where we were (last week), going on the road to Seattle. And Seattle has a good football team. Not coming away with much there, and not showing much that second half of that football game, it's easy to be discouraged and say, ‘Same old guys here.' We put a lot of work in this offseason to not have us look like we looked out there, so this is as important a game as we're going to play this early in the season against a division opponent, we had to go out and improve ourselves.