Almost nobody saw this coming. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after an offseason of getting dumped on by pundits all over the league, are among the few remaining undefeated teams heading into Week 3 of the regular season.
Calling it a surprise start doesn’t do it justice, as the Bucs have been dead and buried as far back as March. In true Undertaker style, they’ve punched through the dirt and kicked open their coffin and have turned the national tide that was initially against them.
Peter King called them the second-worst team in the league back in May, but now has the Bucs among his Top 10 teams. Baker Mayfield was laughed at when he signed in Tampa Bay, but is ranked third in PFF’s statistical quarterback rankings.
As much fun as it’s been, we’re only two weeks into the season and about to learn a lot about the Bucs. Wins over the stumbling Vikings and horrid Bears still count, but a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles awaits on Monday Night Football.
It’s in this game, in front of a national audience, that we’ll start to learn if this team is for real. Captain Lavonte David isn’t about to let the hot start cloud anyone’s preparation and is trying to keep the team’s eye on the ball.
Lavonte David sends message to Bucs players ahead of MNF showdown
David was a guest on CBS Sports Radio this week, and our friends over at JoeBucsFan were listening in. The fact that David was on national radio talking about the Bucs is cool enough, but he used his appearance to send a message to his team that the work is only just getting started.
“Don’t fall apart. Things are going to happen in this game,” David said. "Stick to the script and play our brand of football.”
Monday is a massive game for the Bucs, as a solid performance against the Eagles will solidify their reputation as a contender. IIt also threatens to undo the good will that has been built up over the team’s surprising start.
We saw this offseason how quickly the narrative can turn against the Buccaneers. They’ve done a logo to reverse course but a bad game against the Eagles on MNF will once again make them easy targets for the hot take artists.
David, the locker room leader that he is, doesn’t sound like he’s going to let that happen on his watch.