Published: Jul 27, 2014 8:29 PM EDT

Tampa, Fla. - It's been 12 seasons since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won a playoff game, and they haven't been to the playoffs in 6 seasons.

"I've been through the good, the bad, the ugly and the blessed with the superbowl," said one self-proclaimed diehard fan on the first day of training camp.

Perhaps this year, more than any other in recent history, the Bucs and the fans believe it's time for a winning season. With former Chicago Bears coach, Lovie Smith, heading up the team, there's an optimism in the air.

"Glad that Lovie's back," said one fan. "Lovie was here before. He was a great coach then, he's a great coach now. Can't get any better than that!"

"Guys want to play for coach Smith," said defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy. "He makes you want to do well for him; that's the type of coach he is."

Lovie Smith coached the Bears for nine seasons, but started his career as the Bucs linebackers coach in 1996.

"It's exciting to get back on the football field," Smith said. 'When you're away from something, you see how much you really miss it."

Smith as boss on the field means Josh McCown, a former Bears quarterback and the starting quarterback for the Bucs this year, is reunited with his head coach.

"The coach and the quarterback's relationship is critical in any organization," McCown said, "and I think there's value in the fact that we've worked together before."

While fans are looking forward to what rookie wide receiver, Mike Evans, can do on offense, they're also looking forward to what veteran defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, can do on defense.

"As you watch their position drills," Smith said, "he's the first guy at the front of the line. That's Gerald McCoy."

Only time will tell if the Bucs will improve this year. While the players are praying for a winning season, the fans are crossing their fingers.

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