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Buccaneer Quotes, Nov. 15

Posted Nov 15, 2013

Just five days after joining the team, rookie RB Michael Hill will have a helmet for Sunday's game, as the Bucs want to keep three tailbacks active...That and other topics being discussed at team headquarters on Friday

Rookie running back Michael Hill was on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad on Tuesday. On Sunday, he'll be on the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

The Buccaneers prefer to keep three tailbacks active on game days because they don't want to be left with just one if an injury occurs. That's how Bobby Rainey found himself in uniform for Tampa Bay in Week Seven just two days after he was claimed off waivers from Cleveland, and how he was suddenly an important part of the backfield two weeks later when starter Mike James went down.

For that reason, Hill had to follow Rainey through the same steep learning curve this week. The Buccaneers may not go into Sunday's game in Atlanta with the intention of involving the newcomer in the offense, but they want him on call just in case. Hill might also help immediately in the kick-and-return game.

-- RB Michael Hill worked his way through a steep learning curve this week
"He’s picking it up well," said Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano. "He's the third running back now and he’ll be active, he’ll be ready to go. We’ll have him involved in special teams. I don’t know how much he’ll actually get on the field that first week, but he’s a quick learner and he works very hard. He’s fit into that room very well quickly, so that’s good.”

Veteran Brian Leonard is listed first on the Buccaneers' depth chart with James (and Doug Martin) now on injured reserve, but the rushing load will probably be split between him and Rainey. If either Leonard or Rainey is unavailable for any reason, the Bucs believe they have a ready replacement in Hill.

The running back arrangement for Sunday's game wasn't the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Friday. Below are some additional thoughts from Head Coach Greg Schiano and wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“[Today was a] good day, [we] got a chance to go over things one more time. For your guy’s information, [running back] Mike James had his surgery yesterday; [running back] Doug [Martin] is having his surgery today. We’ll get them both fixed up today. Looking at the game [this week], [both] teams are kind of in a similar situation. They have some injuries on offense with [wide receiver] Julio [Jones], [tackle Sam] Baker. We have ours with [wide receiver] Mike [Williams], with [offensive guard] Carl [Nicks], with Doug, and Mike James. Offensively we’ve got two teams that have lost guys. Defensively they’ve gotten some guys back; they’re getting some guys back. They got [running back] Stephen [Jackson] back last week and [wide receiver] Roddy [White] back – it should be just a great divisional game and one that our guys are excited about.”

(On how Mike James is responding after surgery)
“He’s doing well, he’s down in Miami and he’s doing well.”

(On defensive end Da’Quan Bowers’ status this week)
“He was out there but he was unable to practice today. Not definitely [out for Sunday], but the longer we wait, the more we’re headed in that direction.”

(On if the team blitzed more against Miami)
“I think it was pretty much proportionately the same as it’s been all year. I think maybe at the end it stood out more because we got two sacks in a row, but no. One of those was a four-man rush and one of those was a blitz.”

(On who takes Bowers’ place if he can’t play this weekend)
“Just kind of spread them around; the guys that’ll be active, they’ll all get reps. [Defensive end] Steven Means has an opportunity to be up, I’m not sure of that we’ll see. We’ll take a good hard look at it in the next 48 hours. As I’ve talked to you guys about before, that 46 man game day [roster] is always an interesting 48 hours before.”

(On in the defensive game plan includes being aggressive against Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan)
“We kind of were aggressive in the game. Matt, he doesn’t get sacked very much. I think they’re eighth or 10th in sacks allowed. He gets rid of the football, he has a very good sense of timing. It’s not that he’s not getting hit because he is getting hit, but he gets rid of the football, so he’s not an easy guy to sack. We’re going to try to do everything that we can to get to him, but we have to make sure that we disrupt his timing, that he has to get rid of it before he wants. To do that, if you can have tight coverage, then he’s either getting rid of it into a pass deflection, an interception, or he’s holding onto it and getting sacked. That’s where – against a guy like this – the coverage and the rush work so much together. In the same token they do a lot of things. They know that they get rid of the ball on time, they’re not going to let you play man. They’re going to run a lot of pick routes, a lot of clusters, a lot of bunches, you’ve really got to be on your P’s and Q’s as far as how you’re playing your matchups.”

(On the benefits of having a young roster) “There’s no doubt, when you look at the rookies that we’re playing with offensively, with [tight end] Timmy Wright, [running back Bobby] Rainey, Mike Glennon, obviously the quarterback, some of the guys at wide out Skye Dawson defensively you look at [cornerback] John Banks, and [defensive tackle] Akeem Spence, there’s a lot of rookies that are on the field in prominent roles. What rookies do is they make rookie mistakes. No matter how hard they work and how hard you try to school them, they’re going to make rookie mistakes; you’ve got to live with them. But there’s also that hunger and that innocence and just that excitement to go do their job. You hope that semi-balances it out and the fact that they’re good players sure helps a lot too.”

(On how he chooses the players they sign)
“I think [it varies] by position, you know what I mean? I think at running back, you like the guy who’s a little fresher because running is so instinctual, so what you see is what you get usually. Certainly you coach them and you try to help them be more patient and understand the plays all those things. But when it boils down to it, that’s why young guys can play no matter what level, high school, college, or the NFL. Young guys, if you’re a natural runner, you can get in there and be effective. That’s kind of how we approached it.”

(On who has been the best job at fighting the rookie wall)
“I don’t know if you can say who’s done the best, because they’ve been on different timelines. Tim [Wright] didn’t get a ton [of work early], and then all of sudden he’s getting a ton. Akeem, he’s been getting it from day one, so I think his wall came a little faster. Johnny Banks, his wall came a little faster. I think they’re all doing is dealing with it from a position of being educated, a position of understanding it. Don’t try to run from it, every team in the league has issues right now, whether it’s injuries, young guys playing. I think the good teams learn and fight through it and the not-so-good teams just try and get through it. There’s a big difference in my opinion.”

(On if playing a team that passes the ball like Atlanta alters the defensive game plan) “It doesn’t vary in that, if you have a guy like Matt Ryan – who can definitely hurt you, he was 20-26 in the last game, he certainly performed well against us – but if they can run it as well then you’ll get run out of the building. I think you always have to stop the run, but have to be able to do it without sacrificing too much on the pass. I think our guys do a good job that by of mixing it up. If you become one dimensional defensively in an effort to stop the run, then you do expose yourself to pass. Like we talked about last week, no passes over 25 yards, that’s critical. When you can do that, then you have a real opportunity to win games. You look their skill guys though, they have skill guys that can make plays and then you know Matt Ryan can. The challenge is huge and they’re a well-coached team. There’s not a lot of stuff that goes on by accident, there’s not a lot of weird stuff that happens. They’ve been together a long time, they understand each other. The quarterback, the head coach, the offensive coordinator is only in his second year, but their philosophy has remained consistent.”

(On running back Jaquizz Rodgers first touchdown against them in the last meeting)
“We made a mistake, yeah that was an error.”

WR Vincent Jackson

(On what has changed offensively since the first meeting with Atlanta)
“We’re just trying to be balanced offensively, as usual. We’ve got a bunch of guys and weapons on this team that can make plays. Each and every week, we’ve got to come in and run the ball, control the line of scrimmage and take our shots when we can and just be efficient, keep drives going on third down, and when we get down in the red zone, come away with touchdowns.”

(On if going against cornerback Darrelle Revis has helped improve his play)
“Absolutely. We knew that coming into training camp. It’s a lot of fun for us to work together. I’ve played him a few times in my career. You like that, you like the challenge, you like playing guys that are considered some of the best at their position and it brings the best out of you. All we’re going to do is continue to elevate each other’s game.”

(On the effect of Revis on cornerback Johnthan Banks)
“As a rookie, coming in here, it’s great for him to have the veteran leadership he has in his meeting rooms with [safety] Dashon [Goldson] and Darrelle. For all our young guys, the knowledge that they can impart on those guys, as far as things that happen on the field, is only going to help their development.”

(On if it felt good to win a close game)
“No [laughs]. It’d be nice to win by 20 or 30, but if you can win a tight game like that, [with] the way our defense played at the end of the game, and the offense did what we needed to do to get enough points – but the defense closing the game out the way they did was a big test and awesome to see, just to show that we can finish a game, we can close a game out in the right way and come out on top.”