It's been an offseason of uncertainty for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the only constant seems to be the hate that is being dumped on the team by the national media.
What started out as a thing to chuckle about among fans has actually grown into a weird anti-Bucs narrative that every NFL reporter seems to have been mandated to follow. Peter King said the team was the second-worst in the entire league, NFL Draft pundits are already projecting a Top 5 pick next season, and Todd Bowles has been fired so many times this offseason we've lost count.
Basically everywhere you turn, from the signing of Baker Mayfield to knee-jerk reaction toward grainy minicamp footage, folks have made it their business to laugh at the Buccaneers.
It's something fans have been fighting back against all offseason, and they're now being joined by players in the locker room. Every negative thing that has been spewed about the Bucs has been heard by the players, and they're finally starting to bite back.
Carlton Davis blasts critics who are doubting the Bucs
Carlton Davis spoke with Ty Dunne at Go Long and dropped a quote aimed at everyone who has been dumping on the Bucs since Tom Brady retired back in February.
"We're about to do it to 'em," Davis said. "Anybody who feels we've lost Tom—and lost something—is going to be in for a rude awakening. A rude awakening. Tom was a great addition for us, but obviously it's a team sport. Obviously, you need components to be successful. We still have those components. And I'm only getting better."
He made sure to drop the mic on every single critic who has cast doubt over whether or not the Bucs will continue their winning ways without Tom Brady.
"We're going to wreck s--t. Like, wreck s--t," Davis said. "Interceptions. Turnovers," Davis said. "Plays will be made. I will say. Plays. Will. Be. Made."
If you just felt the urge to run through more walls than the Kool-Aid Man after hearing that quote from Davis, you're not alone. For all that has been said about the Bucs phining this season in and tanking for a high draft pick, Davis is here to put an end to that notion.
Moreover, he's here to put the rest of the league on notice.
It's impossible to argue that the Buccaneers are better without Brady, but they're hardly as bad as they've made out to be. While Brady is gone, All-Pro talent like Vita Vea, Devin White, Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield Jr., Tristan Wirfs are still in Tampa Bay. Lavonte David and Jamel Dean -- two of the top free agents this offseason -- chose to forgo massive paydays to re-sign with the Bucs on team-friendly deals. Baker Mayfield specifically chose Tampa Bay as the place he wants to revive his career, opting against more money from other teams.
Not to completely morph into That Guy, but that's the part of the narrative they don't tell you about.
There's a chance the Bucs flame out and don't bounce back this season, but it clearly won't be for a lack of trying by a very talented team that has established there's a massive chip on their shoulder.