All 90 men reported for Buccaneers' training camp last week. That included the entirety of the new defensive line, to which there were six additions this offseason. Defensive end Vinny Curry, along with defensive tackle Beau Allen, were both added to the roster fresh off a Super Bowl win with the Philadelphia Eagles.
There were quite a few things that made that Eagles team so good. One of them, and maybe perhaps an overlooked one at that, was the team's chemistry. It's something that doesn't happen overnight. It's part of the reason that even though the Bucs don't go away for training camp like many other teams do, the team still stays together at a hotel near the practice facility. It's as much for team bonding as it is for convenience and structure. It's the start of that chemistry-building process that will take them through the entire season.
"That's one thing you know we pride ourselves on," Curry said of building that team chemistry. "You know, right now - like I've said already, everyone is getting to know one another. By this time next week, we'll be a totally different team from today. That's the goal, to come out here and kind of get better each day, learn something new and get down that chemistry as soon as possible."
While Curry may know a thing or two about how to build chemistry, he also knows a thing or two on the field. Chemistry doesn't work if the talent isn't there. But Curry isn't worried about that, either. The line has really taken to new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner's philosophy by Curry's own accord. He believes the team has the opportunity of a lifetime here in Tampa Bay because of the talent and pieces that make up the unit.
"You know what man, we had a great team last year and great defensive linemen," Curry said of his experience last year. "You know, from the ones to the twos, we rotated every four plays. We're building that here. We have just as much talent on our defense here in Tampa as we did in Philly."
Having guys on the line with Super Bowl experience is an invaluable asset. Not only do both Curry and Allen have the notch in their belts, so does defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who won Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 2012 and their coach Brentson Buckner, who played in two Super Bowls during his playing days. Just ask veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy about what that can bring to a team. He has been with the team for his entire NFL career. Being able to bring a new perspective onto a team that already has a defensive staple like McCoy should make for some vast improvement overall.
"Well we brought in four new guys that have all played in a Super Bowl, and three of them have won it," McCoy said. "That's a lot of experience. Guys who know what to do and how to do it; do it the right way. We have a new D-line coach who played in [two], and had numerous opportunities to go back as a coach. Just the room overall is different, a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge. Guys bouncing ideas off of each other, things you've never heard before, I'm helping him, they're helping me. It's only just going to make us great in the long run. But we've got a lot of work to do."
That work has certainly begun with the team entering training camp this past week. The physical play on the field will develop as the team works on installs and technique. There isn't a playbook for team chemistry, but with guys like Curry helping to lead the way, the Bucs have a plan for that, too.
"My biggest thing is I'm telling everyone: winning is contagious," Curry said. "You know, it's contagious man. You know, at this point, it's the National Football League, everybody is good. It comes down to discipline and how bad do you want it. If you go out there and put your heart on the line and everybody is on the same page, that's really where you get your click in. That's really where you get, 'Damn that team is fun to watch.' When everyone is on the same page and everyone's got one goal in mind, you know, one heartbeat one sound. That's when it's like, 'oh, that team is fun to watch.'"
View pictures from the Buccaneers' 2018 Training Camp practice on Sunday at One Buccaneer Place.