"We can’t see 0-4," offensive tackle Demar Dotson said. "I don’t want to see 0-4. This football team doesn’t want to see 0-4. It’s going to be a big challenge for us to go out there. Can we beat Pittsburgh? Yeah, we can, but it starts today."
Coach Lovie Smith has taken some criticism for the bad start, but Dotson said that is not where the blame belongs.
"This ain’t on Lovie," Dotson said. "When you come out there on the field, the players have to play. The players didn’t play. It’s not on Lovie. He did everything he could to prepare us. It’s all on us. We didn’t play good enough."
The mood in the locker room was surprisingly upbeat as the Bucs got ready to practice after having the weekend off.
"Tough times don’t last," free safety Dashon Goldson said. "Tough people do. I’m a firm believer in that."
Defensive end Michael Johnson, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, might have been the most optimistic of the players that spoke to the media.
"Everybody has to stay positive, keep believing and just trust in the system and trust the guys around you and the work and effort we’re putting in," said Johnson, who said his ankle is improving. "It’s going to turn in our favor. You’ll see. We’ll get this going. When we get it rolling it will be like clockwork. I’m excited to get to that point, but it’s a process."
I wouldn’t expect to hear anything else out of the locker room. Players have pride and they want to stop the losing. But there also is a cold, hard fact that needs to be pointed out.
If history is any indicator, the Bucs have a 2.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. According to ESPN Stats & Information, there have been 121 teams to start 0-3 since 1990. Of all those teams, only three have made the playoffs.