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Buccaneer Coaches Quotes, Dec. 4

Posted Dec 4, 2013

New Bucs LB Danny Lansanah could help out quickly on special teams, which took a hit with the loss of LB Jonathan Casillas...Plus other thoughts from Buccaneer coaches

Given that Danny Lansanah spent the last two years playing in the United Football League and most of this season toiling on the New York Jets' practice squad, there's no particular reason why he should be on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' radar, beyond the team's always thorough pro scouting. But on that radar he was, and when the season-ending injury to Jonathan Casillas created a hole in the Bucs' linebacking corps, the team came calling.

“When Jonathan went down, we had some guys in that we had a look at and we have some connections with Danny and there’s some people in our personnel department who have some connections, so we thought he was a guy who could come in here [and help]," said Head Coach Greg Schiano. "He’s a little bit older guy, he’s 28 years old even though he hasn’t played a lot. We think it’s a good time to bring him in here. He’s not going to have to be forced into action right away, unless he’s ready."

-- Head Coach Greg Schiano emphasized the challenges of Buffalo's defensive front seven at practice Wednesday
Lansanah spent two years trying to make it in the NFL after leaving the University of Connecticut as an undrafted player, then tried his hand at the UFL. He came back to the NFL with the Jets last January and now that he's on the Bucs' active roster he could see some game action before the season is up. Lansanah last played in a regular season game in 2008 with Green Bay, but Schiano thinks he can help out fairly quickly in the kicking game.

"I think he can be a really good special teams player," said Schiano. "As we talked about, Jonathan worked his way into being our starting SAM linebacker and I thought was really playing good football before he got hurt, on the defensive side. But all year long, he’s been an excellent special teams player – physical, speed, everything you look for, smart. So we were looking for a guy that, if he is active, can do that for us as well.”

The newest player on the team wasn't the only topic being discussed at One Buc Place on Wednesday. Below are some additional thoughts from Schiano and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening statements)
“Well, we had first and second down install. Certainly with Buffalo’s pass rush, their front seven is very, very good, they lead the National Football League in sacks. We’ve played against two really fine front sevens in the last two weeks and now we’re getting our third. We have struggled a little in pass protection so that’s a play emphasis, getting rid of the football, finding some different ways to protect, we have to do that. They play a lot of man coverage, we’re going to have to be able to get off man so we worked on those things today in first and second down as well as running the football. Defensively, they’re a no huddle outfit. They’re going to go up tempo, so we’re going to have to be ready to go, every snap. And they have to very good running backs, very good running backs that we’re going to have to tackle. [Buffalo running back] C.J. Spiller, if he gets out in the open or he gets the edge, he’s gone. He has unique speed. [They have] good people in the skill positions so deep balls, we’ve got to keep them in front of us for sure and in the kicking game they have some dangerous returners. Both their punt returner and their kickoff returner can score at any time, so it’s a lot of speed on that field, a lot of explosive players that we have to make sure that we do everything in our power to keep them contained. From a health standpoint, you know about [linebacker] Jonathan Casillas, he’s going to have surgery soon, [wide receiver] Vince [Jackson] was limited today, we were going to give he and [guard] Davin [Joseph] off anyway today. Vince had a little bit of a leg issue. I don’t think it’s real serious, but he was scheduled to be off anyway today. We’re getting into the fourth quarter of the season now and some of the guys who have played a lot of football we kind of either give them Thursday or Wednesday to get some extra rehab. Other than that, I’ll answer anything I can.”

(On limiting turnovers against Buffalo)
“[That’s] every week, right? But certainly against this team. I think that, again, the pass rush goes hand in hand with the interceptions. They put so much heat on quarterbacks that there’re some balls – if you watch the tape, game after game, and then the cut ups, guys are under duress and they put it up there and they can’t realty see and then they get intercepted. Their secondary is very athletic, their safeties really do a good job of seeing the quarterback, anticipating throws, so they’ve got man to man all over the place. They’ve got a deep safety who makes some plays, they’ll play some one hole there where they have a guy in the middle post and then a guy who’s lurking in the middle. They’ve got a lot of different combinations, their defense is very, very multiple, all different packages, all different blitzes, all different overloads, we’re really going to have to be on our ‘A game’ to be able to pick everything up. First identify and then pick it up physically, those are two different issues because their front seven is really good.”

(On why the team has not been able to run the ball as well the last two games)
“Well, if it was one thing, [I’d] snap my fingers, we’d change it and it would be fixed, right? It’s not; it’s an accumulation of things. We’re going to run the ball better. We have to run the ball better. We just can’t do what we’re doing right now in our run game and have a chance to win so we have to do that and there’re some things, hopefully, that will give us the chance to do that. But until we do it, you’re right, we ran it well against some very good defenses and then the last couple weeks has not been as good. For us to win, we need to be able to run the football.”

(On Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel and what they thought of him coming out of college)
“I can go even further back. He was in that same group of guys that we went up to evaluate when I was recruiting him out of high school, so we recruited E.J out of high school, Coach McNulty and myself, so we go back a ways. He’s a really fine quarterback and a great young man. He is mobile, got a big arm, I think he’s a smart guy, he’s got all the tangibles – intangibles rather – that’s one thing we really liked about him. And then coming out in the draft we also felt that – we knew people that had coached him at FSU [Florida State University] that spoke very highly of him as well.”

(On the offensive struggles in the second half and making adjustments at halftime)
“It’s actually 12 minutes believe it or not, so that’s why I get a kick out of the halftime adjustment thing. But, it is 12 minutes. You guys know, one of my guys on the booth, every series, tells me real time, how long the series lasted so I can keep track: ‘Okay, the defense needs a rest’ [or] ‘That was a quick series,’ Not the time on the clock, real time and there’s a lot of opportunities where you have more than 12 minutes on the bench during a game. That adjustment thing, that’s what I mean when I say that you should be adjusting although in a game. We’ve had our issues over the course of the year offensively, for a lot of different reasons. Whether it was phasing guys in from a health standpoint or losing guys as we were phasing guys or just didn’t play very well or coach well enough and the third and fourth quarter [are] inclusive in that and that’s where we find ourselves right now. We’re not having a lot of success offensively, consistently. I’m not saying that we haven’t had spurts, we have and we’ve looked good at times, but we’re having our struggles being consistently effective. So that’s why I kind of look at as the game wears on, a lot of things wear on, some of the limited depth we have wears on. I don’t mean that in a way – it’s not really depth, I shouldn’t say that – it’s more, with some of the guys you’d like to have playing aren’t playing, and you have some guys in there who haven’t played a lot of football, they do get a little worn down. Those are reasons that maybe contribute to not – even though we’re not gangbusters throughout the game, we seem to be better in the first and second quarter. And the second quarter is really the quarter, I think we scored 90 something points in the second quarter this year, so that seems to be our hot spot, we need to be able to pick that up in the third and fourth quarter. But, you’re right; it’s not for the lack of trying. The offensive coaches have gone through some different scenarios, different scripting the openers in the second half, I mean, everything you can imagine to try to break the – and you know we did it, what was it two games ago, we came out and we scored on the opening drive of the second half. I don’t know if there was a bigger cheerleader in the house on that drive because we were able to do that. We’re definitely working at it but we’re working at everything on offense, we just, we have some situation right now that we’re in.”

(On not having success from the edge pass rushers and the pressure that puts on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy)
“You’re right; we haven’t had the production off the edge that we would like in a four-man rush. With pressure, it’s been okay, but straight four-man rush, it hasn’t been as good as we would like and that we need. Gerald has done a good job at getting the quarterback off the spot and I think what you’re referencing is when one guy in the interior gets him off the spot, you hope that he gets him off the spot into another guy’s lap and that’s how you get a sack. Again, not from a lack of, not only getting Gerald in a position where he’s most advantageous to get him off the spot, but also trying to get guys to play in conjunction with Gerald. We just have to keep working at it, keep getting better at it because Gerald really is a special talent and we’ve got to make sure that we’re able to work him in conjunction with the rest of our front. Well he could [get frustrated] but that’s not Gerald, so he won’t. Gerald will just keep working and we’ll get better but that’s what makes Gerald a special guy, that’s what makes Gerald a captain and a leader is that he understands everybody isn’t blessed with his abilities and he just does his part, what he can do.”

(On guard Carl Nicks and if it’s possible that he will return)
“We’re in constant contact with Carl. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I think it would be, I’d be guessing, to tell you right now. There are only four games left so I think pretty soon, we’ll know something. He hasn’t played for a while either, so as time goes on, we’ve got to figure everything out.”

(On Nicks’ location)
“He is in Tampa.”

(On forcing turnovers)
“Well, I think that we’ve had some guys who have stepped up in a big way. Maybe not your first-team players, a guy like [defensive back] [Keith] Tandy has three interceptions. They keep their depth, they do their job, inevitably, and balls come to you when you do that. The other thing is, I think we’ve had a little better pressure then maybe people feel and that’s what’s lead to increased interceptions. Again, that all ties together, pass rush and pass coverage, they all go together. Interceptions are a part of that pass coverage, so I think we’ve had some quarterbacks who’ve thrown us the ball under some pressure and what are pass rush has gotten better at doing is not only – you don’t always sack the quarterback, but if you can affect his throw by mirroring the throwing hand and those kinds of things, you change the release point by that much, 25 yards down the field it’s that much and that’s usually the difference between an interception and not. So there’s been some of those and we need to get better at affecting the throw because there will be more interceptions. I think our secondary has a good feel, we have some ball hawks back there that read the quarterback well, and if you’re playing zone that’s good. If you’re playing man, you really want to be reading the receiver but if you’re playing zone, that allows you to make some plays.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan

(On why the running game has been limited the past two weeks)
“Two very good defenses. I don’t care who you have on the offensive side of the ball, you better make sure you play at the highest level, make sure you coach at the highest level and certainly the past two weeks we didn’t do that. You look at this most recent week, we actually had something we were feeling pretty good about in the second half, if you go back and look at the game there were several runs – 16 yards, nine yards, eight yards – and that’s one of the things that when we look at overall consistency-wise that’s the biggest word, maybe that’s what you’re alluding to, how we can – you show flashes of it and then how can you maintain it. I think the biggest thing we need to do is continue to do the things that are going to give us the best chance to win. Specifically – rather than give you coach speak – it’s hold on to the football. We can’t have the turnovers, we can’t have the self-inflicted wounds of a sack when all of a sudden we’re in second-and-17 or second-and-18, the third-and-extra-longs. We’re just trying to get that consistency. I was kind of thinking back through the other day and heck it seems like I’m going back to what seems like a thousand years ago, the Philadelphia game, you come out, you get a big pass [and] the interception and just some of those things. I think to get the consistency that we want out of the run game, I think we have to commit to it as we have. We have to really – especially as we get into some of these great defensive teams, defensive guys that are big and strong upfront which this group would fall into this category as had Carolina and certainly Detroit – be smart about the things we’re asking our guys to do and be able to adjust. Fortunately with Carolina that specific run that we found, we found a little bit too late and as the game kind of gets out of hand and the ability to stay with the run, and that’s always what’s going to be our ballgame. If we can have our be able to have the dual threat and we pass on our terms – because otherwise things get out of hand and you have to throw – that’s going to be a challenge I think for any quarterback.”

(On not being able to score in the third quarter)
“You look at some of the issues or any of the common threads as always, there are things that I can certainly do better, there are things that we as coaches can do better to get the guys prepared. Certainly we’re working our tails off and the guys are working their tails off and trying to continually adjust as we’re going. One of the things we really want to go with as far as to start our second half – and a couple of weeks ago we had one where heck it was a great day and we took it down there and life was good – and then you stub your toe and you go back to this previous game, you’ve put yourself in a position, a couple of big plays and then comes a turnover. I think it’s always a bunch of factors that are involved, but I think at the scene of the crime, so to speak, that every one of those things is when we have some sort of significant penalty or sack or just the negative plays that are very, very tethered. You’re not going to get any sympathy, that’s your job. It’s my job to get us to overcome it, it’s the players job to overcome it and obviously those things happen and we’ve got to continue to push forward. If we can limit those and eliminate those I think we’ll have a better chance to get the consistency that we want.”

(On making halftime adjustments)
“It’s a very small window of time in the reality, especially coming down from the press box. There’s communication which is ongoing, but we’ll get together in a quick huddle as offensive coaches and then I have to take the major issues if there’s a protection problem or just something that we really need to fix that I feel I need to address to the group and then I like to give the guys just a heads up as far as ‘Hey we’re thinking about this and this, and this is where we’re headed.’ But then the position coaches need some time too, to go ahead and fine tune it and no sooner sometimes than I am in the middle of showing a picture or something and then it’s the security guy, we’ve got to hustle up to get up to the press box. I think it’s important that we do it ongoing and we certainly can and will do a better job of that as it goes, and just talk through the headsets and make adjustments as best we can.”

(On if it’s possible to script series for the second half)
“I think it is. I think there are things that you have in your plan that in cases you like to save a few things for the second half, show them something that they hadn’t seen and that’s always the deal, it’s like ‘How long am I going to hold on to this thing? I better send a round down range,’ so to speak. But then you also go back to – and if ideally we had something that was a good run or pass concepts, ideally we’ll try to dress it up as a different way, there are different personnel groupings or formations just know that ‘Hey we have to circle back to that. Through it all – and again it sounds trite or cliché, but it’s biggest, most important thing that we’re taking care of the football, that we’re not turning it over or doing anything that’s going to set us back because when we can play football on our terms with the game being in the balance, boy life is great and you’ve got the lead, then you’re able to go ahead and be as unpredictable and still maintain that balance and be able to keep running the football.”

(On if quarterback Mike Glennon seemed rattled after his fumble)
“I think that’s a frustrating, disappointing [play], no one feels worse about the play than he does and I’ve seen it happen before and it’s a – [I] feel bad for him, feel bad for our team, especially at that point in the game where you’re on the brink of hopefully scoring a touchdown and getting the lead or worst case scenario you throw it away and you’re kicking a field goal and taking the lead. I think there was a lot of learning that Mike will gain from this game, I think he’s had maturity and the work ethic and has had a steadiness about him and that was some sledding out there both form the standpoint of some of the mistakes that he was making, some of the things we weren’t doing good offensively and then you get into that game and a quality opponent like that, I think any guy is going to get frustrated, maybe a little bit rattled, but I think the one thing that I’ve said before about him and I’ll say it again, I don’t think you’re going to see those same types of mistakes. Take the interception for example, where he avoided a sack, and if we’re going to take a sack down the field it’s got to be a rhythm throw and then you go up and give Vince the chance to get the ball or one of our receivers to get the ball and then if you have to do something to get out of rhythm to avoid the rush then we’ve got to live to fight another day. I think sometimes if you try and you made a mistake – all of us, you guys, me, all of us if you make a mistake in one area, you’re like ‘Man I don’t want to do that again’ and you tend to over compensate in another area and maybe you end up pushing. I think that’s all a part of his maturation process and his growing process. It was rough in a lot of respects, not just for him, but for the offense, for all of us and we just have to learn from those mistakes. I think he’s done a great job of not repeating the same mistakes.”

(On what else Glennon can learn from this past game)
“Beyond just from the decision making – I think that’s a pretty huge one – and I think the other thing is there are times when you go back and it’s a heck of a lot easier for me standing up here in this air-conditioned room at this podium to say, than the guy right there boots on the ground that has those big guys coming at him, of the opportunities as far as finding windows and when were the decisions as far to extend plays and how we can extend plays and when there’s opportunities to step and when you have to scramble. That’s all a part of, I think, as he becomes more comfortable with what we’re trying to accomplish with the play and he’s very receptive to the coaching and the things as we look at each play where we could’ve had a greater success at throwing the football or everything from that to the subtleties of a specific running play where you know what ‘Heck his course was a little bit too wide and that pushed the back and as a result the back got pushed to wide and all of sudden someone who is coming off the edge is ending up making a tackle for loss as opposed to us getting at least a gain of two or three yards. Every little thing and I guess some bigger things, just some of the things that I think he is really gratifying about being around a guy like that is he is locked in to not just ‘No kidding coach yeah I know certainly have two hands on the ball, no one wants soap dish the football,’ but there’s all the other things that are part of his game both from the pass game, protections and how that presents itself and the run game. I think he has really zeroed on it and really wants to improve upon it.”

(On does he understand the game better than most young quarterbacks)
“He’s very, very perceptive. I think he does, to use the term, get it. I think it’s two-fold. You have to understand it and okay what the heck are we saying? What’s the intent of the play? How do you transfer that out to the practice field? Then to do it when it’s live when it’s against some really darn good defenses. Sometimes with every player there’s going to be physical disparities and some guys being able to execute something a little bit better than others, but what’s been very, very impressive about him is his ability to [say] ‘Okay this [is] what we’re trying to accomplish, alright let me go ahead.’ He’s got specific questions out there today, playing a team like Buffalo with all the multiplicity of their fronts. I mean he has really zeroed in on the identification and that might seem very simplistic but it’s real critical that he knows exactly what’s out there in terms of how we’re going to set protections and what we want to do in the run game and he is really zeroed in on that. The thing that was great today was that while we really challenged him and we threw a lot out there, once the ball is snapped he reacted and we had some good execution in the pass game, some really good execution doing some things that we want to do in the run game to get that going with some wrinkles and so forth. Again to answer your question in a long roundabout way, I’ve been very impressed in terms of getting it and trying to transfer it onto the practice field and the game.”

(On if he’s advanced in that way)
“I haven’t been around a lot of young guys, but in talking with other coaches and you get a sense before the game, after the game, at the combine, and what some young guys are doing I think he’s definitely been impressive in that respect. I think most guys would say he’s got a good grasp and ahead of the curve so to speak.”