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Bucs CB T.J. Ward – I should have kept my mouth shut

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – In retrospect, disgruntled Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward says he wishes he had kept his mouth shut last Sunday when he opted instead to pop off about how little he’s being used by his new team.

That doesn’t mean Ward takes back what he said when he made it clear in the wake of the Bucs 30-27 loss to the Bills that he doesn’t like the fact he’s become a part-time player in the Bucs defense.

“The facts: Do I want to be out there all the time? Yes,’’ Ward said Wednesday. “That still remains. But there’s a complete other way to handle it and I know better.

“I should have kept a lot of my thoughts to myself. I’ve been in this league – this is my eighth year – and I’m a fiery person, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

“I mean, this is all brand new to me. This is a new team, a new situation and I’m just trying to take it as it comes, so I hope everyone works with me and my teammates, they know it’s not malicious. The coaches, they know it was not malicious.’’

Whether it’s a result of Ward’s limited playing time (the fact he played just 24 of the Bucs 68 defensive snaps last week is what set him off), the Bucs defense hasn’t been very malicious either.

Over the course of the last two weeks it’s allowed 866 yards and 68 points and fallen to 30th overall in the NFL, including 30th against the pass, which is course where Ward figures in.

“It’s something we’re working on with this defense and with this team,’’ Ward said. “We just have to see how this boat is rowing and get it in the right direction.

“We have to play better individually and that will help us play better as a unit. And positionally, we have to be more aware of things that are going on as players. That will help us pull those close wins out.

“I mean, we’re good enough to get it done. We’re good enough to be a top defense in this league. We just have to put everything towards that and not focus on other things, on little stuff. We just have to focus on being the best.’’

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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