Maintaining focus a big test
One year removed from a season-ending 10-game losing streak, the Bucs say they have a lot to play for in the next two weeks.
Tampa Bay will take a four-game skid into Sunday's home matchup against the Rams before closing out the 2012 slate on Dec. 30 at Atlanta.
"You've got to put good stuff on film because you might not have a job after these next two weeks,'' LT Donald Penn said. "It's going to be a big test for every player in this room.''
Last year's dismal finish cost head coach Raheem Morris his job. Although first-year coach Greg Schiano is safe, players will be under scrutiny to see how they handle adversity.
"These two games are very important,'' rookie OLB Lavonte David said. "The last two weeks are going to determine our will. It's important that we stick together, no matter what. One thing I know — we're all being tested right now.''
After their first shutout loss since a 24-0 setback against the Giants in 2009, the Bucs are determined to maintain their focus down the stretch.
"You sign up for 16 and you play all 16,'' veteran S Ronde Barber said. "Nobody's playing for next year. … You're playing for the name on the front and back of your jersey. This franchise is trying to establish something.''
Barber didn't hesitate when asked how to overcome a loss of Sunday's magnitude.
"Collective amnesia,'' he said.