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Buccaneer Quotes, Dec. 26

Posted Dec 26, 2013

CB Darrelle Revis has had a healthy and productive first season as a Buccaneer but there’s reason to believe he’ll be even better in 2014...And other discussions

On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finish their 2013 season in New Orleans, and cornerback Darrelle Revis will make his 16th start of the season. That’s a victory in and of itself; Revis’ availability to the Buccaneers via trade this past spring was in part a product of the serious knee injury he had suffered the previous September while with the New York Jets, and perhaps some worry about how thoroughly he could return to his famous “Revis Island” form.

Revis was ready to start by opening day – and that in itself defied some predictions – and he steadily got more strength in his repaired leg, to the point where he was eventually back to doing his one-on-one shutdown work against opponents’ top receivers. Starting every game was a great first step for Revis, who signed a six-year deal with the Buccaneers after April’s trade – but the fact that he was back to the type of form that discouraged opposing passers from looking his way was even more encouraging.

- CB Darrelle Revis has discouraged opposing passers from throwing in his direction all season
“I think that’s been the case most of the year,” said Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator of opponents’ wariness to throw in Revis’ direction. “I don’t know if they think it’s worth it to insist on trying to do that. I think a lot of games or a lot of halves you’ve seen have very little action his way, especially in the passing game.”

The better news: As good as Revis was in 2013 – Pro Football Focus has him as the top-rated cornerback in football – he’s almost certain to play at an even higher level in 2014. That’s because he’ll be able to use the offseason to focus on his preparations rather than rehab.

“I’m pretty excited with the 2013 version,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano. “As I’ve said before, he’s been chasing this season, trying to get ready with the rehab. He didn’t go through his regular regimen of offseason preparation that he does. [For] some guys, that wouldn’t make such a big difference, but he has – like I’ve said, it’s legendary – his ritual he goes through out in Arizona to get ready for the season and for the offseason. I’m excited that he gets to do that, because I think that just builds confidence. But like I said to start, I think he’s played pretty well.”

The play of Darrelle Revis wasn’t the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday. Below are some additional thoughts from Tampa Bay coaches and players.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“Thursday practice, a regular Thursday, so we introduced red zone and third down, reviewed some first and second down stuff. Health-wise, [linebacker] Dekoda [Watson] did not practice. We put [defensive end] Da’Quan Bowers on IR [injured reserve] today. That’s about it. Everything else is about status quo.”

(On if Bowers will need surgery)
“[He] already had it. [It was] not a major surgery but [he] had kind of a wash-out deal. It won’t be that long of a rehab.”

(On safety Mark Barron’s availability for Sunday’s game)
“We’ll see. He’s day-to-day. He was limited today. It’s probably going to come right down to game time.”

(On if Ted Larsen will start at left guard)
“I wouldn’t say that for sure yet, but [there’s a] good chance Ted will get the start. I’m not sure we’re going to make [that decision]. That’s more on speculation than anything. We’ll see. I’m not sure who will get the nod. Obviously no one seized the position, otherwise it would be locked in, it’d be done, right? In Week 17, the fact that we’re still fiddling around kind of speaks to that.”

(On defensive end William Gholston’s performance in his first start)
“He did well. I was pleased. He’s played well as a reliever, a guy who’s come in. I wanted to see how he’d handle the start – was it too big for him? Not that it’s a lot different – you’re still playing the game, but for some reason, sometimes when a guy gets a start, it changes his psyche a little bit. It didn’t. Will just went out and played ball, actually played pretty well.”

(On if Gholston will start again Sunday)

(On Gholston’s natural position)
“[Defensive] end. Now in sub-rush, he goes inside sometimes, or he’ll stay outside – he’s flexible that way. First and second down, he plays that E [end] position for us.”

(On the improvement of the defense)
“We’re getting better as a defense. I think that guys are getting more comfortable in the scheme, understanding it better. There’s a lot of little subtleties to this defense, so each time that you get to install it and then rep it, I think you get just a half a click faster in all your recognition. I’ve seen a climb. We’ve tweaked some things to get it more the way we want. We’re not where we want to be, obviously; we’re not near where we want to be, but we’ve improved.”

(On matching up against New Orleans’ offense)
“You don’t know that we do matchup well. [If] you look, we’ve had three outings with them, we’ve had mixed results – we’ve had good results, we’ve had bad results, we’ve had in-between results. This year’s version, [it was] early in the year – that was, what, game two? Game two and game 16 [involve] such different teams, they take on a life of their own, and I don’t know if we’ll have Mark [Barron] to match up with [tight end] Jimmy Graham. That certainly is a good guy to have if you have him, but Jimmy is such a good athlete and a really productive receiver for them. They have a lot of weapons, obviously, and I mentioned earlier in the week – your tight end’s your leading receiver, your running back’s your second leading receiver, then you get to your third leading receiver [and] it’s a tie between another running back and a wideout, then you keep going down the list. Your 18-yards[-per-catch] receiver is a rookie who has like 30-something catches but he’s averaging 18 yards, so there’s your speed guy. It’s an interesting mix of talent, and, again, I think it goes back to the quarterback [Drew Brees]. The quarterback reads things out exceptionally well, delivers the ball where it’s supposed to go. He’s a true, quintessential ‘take-what’s-there’ quarterback, so if you don’t cover everything, he’s going to find it, and that’s our big challenge, to make sure we cover everything, or if we’re playing vision-and-break zone defense, to make that we react very quickly when he does throw it. The best thing you can do is get some pressure on him.”

(On Brees being sacked multiple times this season)
“He has been sacked, [but] not very much at home. It’s an interesting phenomenon. At home, the interceptions aren’t there, he’s played very well, and thus the points – 33 to 18 average [home versus away]. We’re walking into a tough situation as far as where we’re playing them and all that, and that’s been made clear to our defense. They’re 7-0 at home, there’s a reason. We’re trying to make them 7-1.”

(On Sunday’s game being like a playoff game)
“Like I said earlier in the week, the atmosphere is going to be playoff atmosphere. Certainly they have an opportunity not to go to the playoffs if they lose, not that it’s necessarily for sure, but they can. We don’t get to go to the playoffs this year, so we need to finish this season the right way. Why? Because we get 16 chances to play, and this is one of them. We talked at the beginning of the year: 16 one-game seasons. This is the 16th and we’ve got to play our best football to have an opportunity to win this game.”

(On how New Orleans’ defense has changed since their Week 2 matchup)
“They’ve evolved some, but it’s still the same base structure. They’re multiple. [Defensive coordinator] Rob [Ryan] does a really good job with that scheme. He’s very comfortable and their players seem much more comfortable in it now. They’re a top five defense. It’s a remarkable turnaround.”

(On if New Orleans will miss safety Kenny Vaccaro)
“Yeah, very good player. [They] used him in a lot of ways. It’s going to force some other guys into action that haven’t had to do that. He was a good selection for them and a guy who they leaned on quite a bit in their defensive scheme. But they have veteran players, so I’m sure the guys they’re going to ask to fill in [are] veteran guys [so] it’s not going to be too big for them.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan

(On which players he hopes get selected to the Pro Bowl)
“I’d hate to single guys out, but probably some of the obvious ones would be the guys that most people would say. [Defensive tackle] Gerald [McCoy], I thought has had a great year, [linebacker] Lavonte David and barring some injuries, I think several guys in our secondary you could say the same thing – from [cornerback] Darrelle [Revis] to [safety] Mark [Barron] to [safety] Dashon [Goldson]. It will be interesting to see I know the players will be anxious to find out.”

(On McCoy’s improvement this season)
“I think just a comfort level with the defensive scheme that we’re running and therefore really just being more explosive because he doesn’t have to think at the line of scrimmage. He kind of knows what the calls are and what’s expected of him so he really can explode off the ball and be very disruptive as he gets into the backfield, whether its run or pass. I think that’s probably the biggest thing.”

(On if Revis’ coverage leads to other cornerbacks getting targeted more)
“It is and especially earlier in the year when those guys might have gotten beat on some pass plays, it’s because of that, because they’re going to go to the other people. Those are good young corners [Johnthan Banks and Leonard Johnson] that are going to be good players and have had very solid seasons for us. But you’re right, they’re going to have opportunities but also potentially get exposed a little bit more because the ball is going to come their way more often.”

(On the intangibles that Revis has brought to the team)
“I think that a couple things that, amongst many things that Darrelle has brought is: one, he’s got a tremendous confidence level and that kind of can just permeate an entire room or a defensive backfield because he has a tremendous confidence level in his own ability – he’s a proven successful player in the league. Aside from that, he’s got a very professional disposition on how he approaches his work, how he comes to meetings every day and how he digests the film and how he prepares and takes his practice reps. Young guys who just wanted to look at how a Pro Bowl cornerback gets ready week in and week out, all they have to do is look at him because he demonstrates that every week.”

(On how the team has meshed with some of the personnel changes since last season)
“Hopefully this Sunday we’ll be playing our best football, defensively. I think, again, for the guys that were here a year ago, they’re much more comfortable with the scheme and they’re playing a lot faster. I think for the guys that we brought in, especially the veteran players, it was easier for them to adapt to adapt to, whether it’s our communications or what our calls are or how we play certain kind of defenses that they’re familiar with, but maybe have played slightly different from where they were coming from. But because they’re veterans and they’ve been around a lot of football, it was a much easier transition. We’ve acquired a lot of really good players, there’s no secret to that. They’d start for most of the teams in the league if not all 32 other teams – they’d be starting for those teams as well so that definitely changes the complexion of your defense.”

(On if the defense is close to being a top-tier unit)
“I’m not sure it will require a whole lot of different personnel. I think our players – and we try to have them reflect on that when they come back on Mondays or Wednesdays and look at the previous film. It’s always a handful of plays every game you wish you had back and that you wish you would’ve played better or correctly because those are when the ball breaks out – the ball gets thrown down the field or a run breaks out. For the long stretches of time and the majority of the games, I think we’ve played very competitive defensive football, I’ll say that. I do think that a year from now we – whether you’re talking about statistics categorically or just where your win/loss record is, which is the most important thing, I definitely feel that we have the defensive personnel right now and if we can add to it through the draft or free agency that’s great, but I definitely think we’ll have a playoff-qualifying defense for sure.”

(On how much more comfortable he is with calling the defense in his second year with the team)
“[I’m] definitely more comfortable. It’s been great working with [head coach] Greg [Schiano] because he relies on the staff quite a bit and he’s put together a really good assistant staff. I know I get a chance to come up here and visit with you guys every week, but if you’re familiar with the assistant coaches we have on our defensive side of the ball, Greg has hired an outstanding coaching staff, guys who are very passionate about football and love their jobs but know football and enjoy the scheming and the breakdown of the opponent and the tendencies. If we’ve had any success on defense from a coaching standpoint, it’s because of the staff that Greg has put together, just being more familiar with our package, because it’s our package. I’m more comfortable with it and it’s easier to plan it and how to use it, how you can apply it to the different offensive schemes that you get from week to week where maybe a year ago, we were just trying to – especially in the offseason – trying to get on the same page about what exactly our defense is and how do we want to use it and how do we want to play certain things. The second time around, it’s very easy now to just apply things that, maybe, we did use a year ago or that we’ve used earlier in the year. It’s been better that way.”

(On limiting New Orleans’ offense in the Superdome)
“I think it’s a gigantic challenge and our players definitely recognize that. They’re as talented offensively as anybody we’ve face every year. Of course when we watch film, we’re just watching the scheme stuff and I couldn’t tell you exactly what their win/loss record is here in the last eight games, but they’re fighting for a playoff spot and they have the personnel to be in that position, that’s why they are. It’s a big challenge for us. I know they have a great home record and they score a bunch of points when they’re at home, but our guys have a lot of pride and our guys are going to play on Sunday.

(On if limiting the big plays has been the biggest change for the defense this season)
“I think it is and that’s very insightful of you to say that, we talk to our players about that all the time. We’ve probably coached them a little smarter. We haven’t played as much press coverage. We have better personnel in the secondary. We’ve had more production, maybe not from a sack count, but from pressuring the quarterback. Our front’s done a better job, at least getting a guy to move around and be uncomfortable in the pocket, much better, again, whether the sack total shows itself or not. That’s been a big change and a big improvement for our guys and it always just gives you a chance to be in the game in the fourth quarter. When you give up the balls thrown over your head, those are easy scores and not only can it be deflating for your morale in the middle of a game, but you’re not making the offense work for it and as you know it’s difficult for an offense to put together an eight-, 10-, 12-play drive. It’s just hard to do because of the circumstances that can come up in a drive. But we have done a much better job with that and I think that’s made a gigantic difference, I agree.”

(On defending the reverse against St. Louis)
“[My] hat’s off to them. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve I would have called something different. We didn’t play it great but it was a really clever call for them at that time and they definitely caught us on our heels and it hardly even got contested it was a walk-in so it was very discouraging.”

(On defensive end Da’Quan Bowers)
“I hoping that actually the surgery will help him because I think he’s – and maybe people wouldn’t be aware of it – I know for a fact he was nursing that all year. He’s never been well. You’re trying to decide all season on whether or not to make that move. ‘Is he healthy enough to play? Can he at least play on third down? Or are we better off just getting him to have surgery and get him cleaned up and let him rehab for an off season and come back?’ I think you’ll see a different guy next off season.”

CB Darrelle Revis

(On how close the team is to having an elite defense)
“[Only] a couple of pieces away, it really is. At this point, it seems like we’re trying to look a little bit ahead. We’ve got one more game left – but to answer your question, we’re a couple of pieces away of getting new talent in here and being an awesome defense. We did great this year, sometimes the coaches tell us where we’re slotted at, if we’re top 10 or top 15 in the league. We’ve made some strides on defense, but at the same time there’s some pieces there maybe that we can feel some holes.”

(On New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees)
“Drew is Drew. I feel when you’re at the top of your game you find a way to stay consistent. I don’t think Drew Brees can get any better than what he is, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, the only thing he can do is win Super Bowls. Once you reach a certain level of eliteness you’ve just got to stay consistent at what you do.”

(On the improvement of the secondary)
“I think it’s great. We had a young secondary and you add pieces like [safety] Dashon Goldson and me and some of the younger guys can look up to some guys who are experienced and that’s great. The guys – we’ve been taking them under our wing and trying to help them the best way we can and they’re responding. Like I said, it’s been a rough year, but at the same time this is a little learning experience for all of us to take forward, to take the learning experience and use it for next year.”

(On if postseason accolades mean anything to him)
“No, you can’t control that. The only thing you can do is just go out and play ball. If you get selected, you get selected. If you don’t, you don’t. That doesn’t mean you’re not a great player. You’ve just got to go out there and play and help your team win, that’s basically the thing. If accolades come, it’s because you played well if they don’t, it’s because you’re not playing well so that’s how I look at it.”