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Bucs’ owner Bryan Glazer predicts growing year for team

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There is building going on, Bryan Glazer says. On the Tampa Bay Bucs, and around them. But, as one of the team owners, he sees that now the right pieces are in place.

Glazer expects the Bucs, who have struggled lately, to have “a growing” year as a football team. He also says that plans for an indoor facility are close, and that team and the Tampa Sports Authority are “working smoothly” on stadium improvements.

In other words, he is confident that last year’s 2-14 season was as bad as it will get.

“It’s a growing year,” Glazer said. “We have a rookie quarterback (Jameis Winston). Everyone in the community is real excited about that. The team is real excited. We’re going to put it on his shoulders and see how we go. But it’s one step at a time. We’re not trying to do it all at once here.

“You can feel it throughout the community, the excitement with Jameis here. We made strides last year, even though the record didn’t show it. The team made strides last year. It played better and better as the season went along. And now if you can get that franchise quarterback, which we think we have, you take the next step.”

As far as facilities, the next step would seem to be an indoor practice facility. The Bucs missed their first practice with the typical summer rains. Glazer said he would like to think the Bucs would have a facility by next training camp, although he caught himself and said, “Let’s see the drawings.”

In a separate issue, he said the team is close to a deal with the Tampa Sports Authority concerning the stadium improvements needed to host the national championship college game and for the Super Bowl bid.

Glazer said the team roster is still being built, too. He indicated there would be no problem with the new contract for linebacker Lavonte David.

“Lavonte wants to be here, we want Lavonte here. Jason (Light, the general manager) is working diligently with his agent to get it done. That will get done. We’re just waiting to get it done. He’s a pillar of this organization. With Gerald (McCoy) and him, we have two guys we want for their entire careers, and we feel they will be.”

The Bucs have not won a playoff game since the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, and they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007. Glazer said that’s frustrating for the owners, too.

“It’s hard,” Glazer said. “You try each year to put it all together and get the right pieces. And some things don’t worked out. That happens with a lot of teams in the NFL. It is frustrating to watch. As much as we own the team, are fans, and we want to win. One of the things we’ve seen is that is a quarterback-driven league. So hopefully, with the quarterback we can have success for along period of time.

“Jameis has done everything we expected him to do. He’s been everything we thought we were going to get is what we’ve gotten. He’s the first one here in the morning working hard. Student of the game. A sponge. Working hard to earn the respect of his teammates.

“At the end of the day, he’s been the leader of a team before. He’s a young man, but he’s a man. He’s doing him the things we expect him to do, and he doesn’t need a lot of prodding to do that.”

Asked about his confidence in head coach Lovie Smith, Glazer said, “We have 100 percent confidence that Lovie will get it done. He’s patient and a teacher. He’s doing the things that we want behind the scenes.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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