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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What a Difference 24 Hours Makes

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27:  Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to the media at an introduction press conference at the team training facility January 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
J.J. RodriguezContributor IIApril 27, 2012

Not too long ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the epitome of an undisciplined and hapless bunch.

There were missed tackles and blown assignments, followed by shrugged shoulders and pointed fingers.

But perhaps worst of all, there was almost as much accountability in the locker room as there were fans in the seats, which is to say not enough.

Sensing they were further losing their once loyal fanbase, the Glazer family reacted by firing Raheem Morris and staff and bringing in the hard-nosed, no-nonsense Greg Schiano to right their wrongs and lead the team forward.

Driven by a renewed commitment to fielding a competitive team, the Buccaneers bypassed their annual spring hibernation and spent in upwards of $140 million within the first 24 hours of free agency.

And while they were able to address a few of their needs in March, it was clear that if the Buccaneers were to improve not only the product on the field but the character in their locker room, they would have to do so in the draft.

And boy, what a difference 24 hours makes.

By adding safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David thus far, the Buccaneers have made one thing very clear to their fans and the rest of the NFL:

They mean business.

Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik have praised the intangibles of their choices, tossing around words like "leaders", "productive" and "impact" to describe why they exemplify something Schiano calls the "Buccaneer Way."

Oh, and lets not forget. They're pretty good, too.

Barron is nasty and revamps the secondary. Martin is feisty and reshapes the offense. David is instinctive and re-energizes the linebacking corps. All of them are sorely needed and long overdue.

For years, you'll recall, the Buccaneers' defense was strongest up the middle, with Sapp and McFarland up front, Brooks and Quarles in the middle and Lynch patrolling over the top.

One look at what the Bucs have done with their last few drafts (this one included) and it's apparent they are working to replicate that model, with McCoy and Price up front, Foster and David in the middle and Barron over the top.

And yes, I acknowledge it usually takes several seasons to find out how good (or bad) any given selection is. There are so many uncertainties that factor into whether Player A or Player B ultimately succeeds. Injuries, system changes and coaching ability—among many other things—all play a role one way or another.

So while we may not know how Barron, Martin and David will fare in the long haul, this much has become abundantly clear: Their addition to the Buccaneers has put the team in a better position for success than it was in on Thursday morning.

Which, if all goes as planned, will lead to much more pleasant Monday mornings in the years ahead.  

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