Many of the cornerstone players of successful Buccaneer seasons have been acquired through the draft
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted to lay a foundation with an eye towards the future in 2009 under Head Coach Raheem Morris and now have their eyes set on continuing that plan in 2010.
"It is all about progress with our guys," said Morris, one day after the conclusion of his first year at the helm. "It's all about what we're doing. We are all part of a plan. We wanted to get a franchise quarterback; we did. We wanted to keep progressing; we did. We wanted to get better down the stretch; we did. We wanted to find a way to get some wins; we did."
Most of all, what the Buccaneers did in 2009 was take the first steps in a plan that was carefully formulated last winter after Morris was named head coach and Mark Dominik was named general manager. That plan was followed faithfully the remainder of the year.
Inject young talent into the roster. Build from within, and with an eye towards competing every single season. Stick together. Stay the course. Construct a team that will compete at the highest level year after year.
The Buccaneers also intended to contend in 2009 while putting that plan in place, and thus the team's 3-13 record was a disappointment for everyone involved. What wasn't disappointing was how hard every player and coach worked to keep the plan in motion, and that will continue into 2010.
"We are committed to the plan that we began 12 months ago with Coach Morris, and we look forward to building on the pieces that were put in place this season," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer.
A 3-13 season can be a harsh spotlight, but the Buccaneers believe it illuminated a wealth of rising talent, as opposed to a team struggling to find its identity. In 2009, Morris sought to remake the roster into a tough, resilient, cohesive group that could compete with any team in the league. Wins proved to be elusive but the identity was established.
"I know it was a tough year," said Morris. "I know it wasn't what everyone wanted it to be but they are a tough team. I know that when I turn on my tape of my team and I watch them play down the stretch, you see nothing but hard, tough play. You see those guys never quit. Not just one individual player but all of them."