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Buccaneer Quotes, Nov. 18

Posted Nov 18, 2013

Rookie QB Mike Glennon put up excellent numbers in Sunday's win over Atlanta, but his coach was most pleased with some unselfish decision-making that didn't add anything to the stats…And other topics

Considers the numbers in a vacuum, without a name attached, and you could definitely call them "elite." "Quarterback A" throws 23 passes, completes 20 of them, throws for 231 yards, tosses a pair of touchdowns, is not intercepted and takes just two meaningless sacks after his team has established a four-touchdown lead. The numbers alone spit out a passer rating of 137.5, the 13th-best mark by any NFL quarterback in 2013, behind a handful of performances mostly put up by the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

Quarterback A is, of course, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Mike Glennon. Given that the above performance came in just his seventh NFL start, and that it followed a string of competent-to-outstanding outings, it would be enough to say that Glennon played like an established veteran on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. The numbers, however, say "elite."

Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano also used that word on Monday, but the thing is, those numbers weren't the main reason. Schiano was most pleased with his rookie's decision-making and priorities.

-- QB M. Glennon showed veteran-like decision-making in Sunday's win over Atlanta
"I always listen to the quarterback’s press conference the next day, and he made a statement that I was really proud of," said Schiano, referring to Glennon's postgame talk with the press on Sunday. "He said 'The O-Line did a great job. I took a couple of sacks because of the situation of the game…why am I going to risk it?' That’s a mature outlook on a football game. That’s understanding the game, being an unselfish player because the number-one goal is to win and it isn’t about throwing for another 300 or 200 yards, chucking it up.

"I was really pleased with his response. I knew he thinks like that but it’s nice to hear him verbalize it to everybody. That’s what’s going to help this guy keep it up. It’s that he understands situational football and he goes and executes his job. We just have to keep putting him in situations where he can make plays and I think he’s just going to continue to get better.”

Glennon's decision-making wasn't the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Monday as the team looked back on its 41-28 win over the Falcons. Below are some additional thoughts from Tampa Bay coaches and players:

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“[Linebacker] Mason [Foster] is going to be under observation for [a head injury]. We’ll see. I think [defensive end] Da’Quan [Bowers] will be back with us when we get going on Wednesday. [Cornerback] John Banks has a very painful shoulder [injury]. It’ll be day to day, but hopefully, by the end of the week, he’ll be able to go. As far as the team, I appreciate the way that they’ve persevered through a lot of things, a lot of adversity. They’ve stayed the course, and I think, as a result, the team’s grown closer. As I mentioned yesterday, I think some guys that we count on to be elite performers are playing at that level. [Linebacker] Lavonte [David], [defensive tackle] Gerald [McCoy], certainly [cornerback] Darrelle [Revis] and [safeties] Dashon [Goldson] and Mark [Barron], those guys are [playing at an elite level]. Offensively, I think, [wide receiver] Vincent [Jackson is] making some really big-time plays. That’s what we envision when we see those veteran players, those guys that are playing at a Pro Bowl level, and we need them to continue. Then, as I mentioned yesterday, the younger guys – hats off to our assistant coaches getting those rookies ready to play and having them play at a high level; that’s been something that we’ve needed desperately this year, and the guys are stepping up.”

(On defensive end Adrian Clayborn)
“I think Adrian’s playing really well. He’s playing well on first and second down as well as on third down. We’re trying to roll some guys through there. We’re trying to get as many guys involved in the action on the defensive front [as we can], but Adrian – I think he’s getting better every week. He’s accepting coaching very well, and, each game, he’s kind of figuring out a little different wrinkle that’ll help him, whether it’s in run defense or pass defense. The one thing that he’s done since he came into this league is he plays with great effort, so, as you take that effort and his ability and you couple it with a better understanding, I think he’s only going to get better and better.”

(On linebacker Dekoda Watson)
“Dekoda was banged up for a couple weeks, playing through pain, and he’s certainly not 100 percent right now; at this point in the season, who is? We’ve moved Dekoda around a little bit. He’s playing some rush end at times. And you’re right, he’s the one who kind of altered the pass [on Foster’s interception]. As you watch it on tape, he hits the arm [of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan] that makes the fluttery pass and allows Mason to intercept it. He’s an unselfish, team guy, Dekoda is. He just wants to win. He’ll do whatever we ask of him. To do that, and whether it’s playing SAM [strong side] linebacker or a rush end or in third down or on special teams – that was an individual effort on that punt block. The guy went to cut him and Dekoda avoided the block and then made a tremendous one-hand block on the punt – really a great individual effort.”

(On if he is happy with the recent offensive balance)
“Yes, in that we’re playing more within our identity. The run doesn’t set up everything – the pass can set up the run, the run can set up the pass – but [we’re] playing within our identity in that the balance, in that we’re going to run it and you don’t get away where all of a sudden, you look up and you’ve run the ball 11 times. That’s not who we are, so, if [we] end up that way, shame on me. That’s what we talked about a few weeks ago. We had to go back to what we are, who we are, so that’s kind of how I feel.”

(On what has changed with penalties in recent weeks)
“I really don’t think there’s been a huge change, because, if you look at yesterday, one of the big concerns is just that, the penalties. We had four or five personal fouls, two costly holding penalties; those are things that we have to get cleaned up and what we talked about as a team today. I think the perseverance that we spoke about [is] all relative to the other 31 teams in the league. These guys have stuck together and they keep working at it. The big thing that I strongly believe in, and I know our coaches do, is you improve as the season goes on or you get worse; you don’t stay the same, and that’s an old adage in coaching. Our guys continue to work hard during the week. Wednesday, when we do have pads on, Thursdays and Fridays, these guys are working at it, both in the classroom and on the field, and we’re getting better. That’s the key, that we have to keep getting better, keep improving, certainly this week, playing at Detroit.”

(On if he’s frustrated that the team didn’t play this well earlier in the season)
“There’s nothing I can do about what’s transpired except learn from it. I don’t waste emotional energy or really any energy going back. We try to learn from it as we go and then put it behind us and move forward, so that’s really where we are now, and we’ve got a great opportunity, like I said, this week in Detroit.”

(On how a player like running back Bobby Rainey goes from being cut to being a success)
“I think, just like anything else, beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. He’s from Western Kentucky [University] and maybe he got overlooked a little bit. Can he do it at this level? Coming in as a free agent, he went to a team that had Ray Rice as their running back, so he was on the practice squad all year. Those opportunities, those are chances where, I said it yesterday – when preparation meets opportunity. This guy [has] incredible work ethic. When his chance came, he was ready for it. Had he been sitting on the couch eating bonbons and not being in shape, and now he got the phone call from the Bucs, the opportunity was going to come and go. It’s a good lesson for everybody.”

(On Rainey)
“He has good patience. He understands the running plays. [He’s] a very strong runner. He’s low to the ground and [has] good balance, so he just kind of patiently keeps pressing it forward. That sounds like, ‘So? Big deal, coach,’ but it’s hard, when everything’s breaking down in front of you – the bullets are flying – to just stay the course and patiently trust that the play is going to [unfold]. A lot of times, young backs [lack patience]. He trusted it and stayed the course right through the play. We call it running through the smoke, because it literally is real cloudy and then, right when you get there, it opens up, and you’ve got to trust the play, you’ve got to trust your linemen, that it’s going to happen that way.”

(On the performance of the offensive line)
“I think they’ve played very well. I think they’ve just stuck with it. I think a guy like [guard] Davin Joseph has battled back. This hasn’t been an easy thing for a guy who’s used to being able to impose his will on people. Not having the whole offseason of training and then not having very much play in the preseason at all, I think he’s kind of hitting his stride now. He’s still not back to where he’s going to be but he’s starting to get back in that area, that realm. I think [center] Jeremy Zuttah’s performed at a high level all season. He’s been asked to do a lot of different things and he’s done them well. [Left tackle] Donald Penn played his best game, I think, on Sunday, this year. Same thing with [left guard] Jamon Meredith – he played strong. If he doesn’t have that holding penalty, he really, without a doubt, played his best game. And that holding penalty – as I tell the players, if it’s called, it’s a penalty, whether you think it is or it isn’t, or whether I think it is or it isn’t. And then Dot [Demar Dotson] – I think all five of them, as a group, this way their best game to date.”

(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy asking for more straight ahead rushes)
“I don’t remember anything like that before Seattle, I think what we’ve tried to do all year is visit with Gerald, visit with the defensive line, and take their ideas. They’re the ones doing it; they’ve got to feel good doing it. That’s my whole point is you learn most from the players and what we’re always trying to do for Gerald because he’s a dominant player, if you watch the game tape from yesterday there’s times where he’s virtually unblockable. There’s a double-team and he just splits the double-team and gets a sack. We just keep trying to – like that time we didn’t find the single block for him, because teams are going to adjust, they know where 93 is and they’re going to adjust protections. Now you can’t just start sliding protections without having everything being coordinated. We try to work to get him the one-on-ones and whether that’s on the center, whether it’s on either guard, we’ll move him around. We’ve even lined him up at [defensive] end once this year. Those are all of our attempts, but at the end of the day Gerald does it because he’s a great player and like I said he had a double-team, he split and made the sack.”

(On defensive end Adrian Clayborn standing up and rushing more this season)
“There’s times he is and you notice he’s on the left, he’s on the right, and we’re moving guys around. Again all things to situate for the defense and for the individual, it helps him in a lot of ways depending on where he lines up and I won’t get into the specifics because then we give away an advantage or what I perceive as an advantage, but it does help him and it’s all related to separation from blockers, vision, and all of those things that it gives him. Different pass rushes that he may be running and he does a good job of mixing it up, if you just do it for certain things then teams get a bead on it. He mixes it up well, he’s got a good feel, and I think it gives us more flexibility overall as a defense.”

(On if the team getting their first win helped ease everyone’s tension)
“As I said after the game, I think it does. As the weeks kept going that first win is always the hardest win and you’ll love to get it opening week right because once you get it out of the way it’s not an issue. There will be a day when that’s not an issue period, you just go out and you win the game; but when you’re trying to find your stride and you have a bunch of guys coming back and there’s a little bit of uncertainty. I mean who’s kidding who this guy had surgery, that guy had surgery, a lot of guys thinking ‘Am I going to be my old self?’ and then you don’t win. Certainly it loosened it up, but I think our fans helped that a great deal. That Monday night crowd the energy was incredible, you don’t know what it’s going to be like and yet those fans yesterday were incredible. I thought the energy was really good in our stadium and our players sense that. Like I said to the guys when we came out - that was probably one of the more humid ones and one of the more still – there wasn’t a breeze in the building and that has its effect at this point in the year as well. Our guys did a great job physically preparing for the game, we didn’t have any issues with that and I think part of that was the energy of our crowd. It’s all good.”

(On the fans frustration and where the inspired play is coming from)
“I understand their frustration. It’s such a fine line. It could be confidence, it could be guys coming back from their surgeries starting to feel more like their old self, it could be rookies that are getting the opportunity and are now gaining confidence. I look at a guy like [tight end] Tim Wright he had one catch yesterday, but I tell you he did some things that opened it up for other players. You go down the lists – Banks, Banks made some plays yesterday and jumped up with confidence, and it didn’t look like a player of ‘Did I just make that? I made it, I expected to make it, and I made it.’ Now they’re rookies, they’re going to have their drop offs too; they’re going to have their rookie mistakes. The longer they play hopefully the less rookie mistakes. [Defensive end] Will Gholston is another guy who’s getting more and more playing time because he’s earning it. He’s playing awfully hard. I kind of look at those guys and again it’s all about earning your piece of the pie, earning your plays. That competition, that’s a good thing too, because guys want plays.”

LB Mason Foster

(On his 37-yard interception return for a touchdown)
“It was a great play, a great call, just having fun playing football. We just watched it; [linebacker] Dekoda [Watson] did a great job of rushing the passer. It was a great play for our defense. It was just one of those [plays where] he’s rushing hard, I’m playing hard, and when you’re playing hard, stuff like that happens.”

(On having fun on Sunday)
“It was a lot of fun, for the time that I was in there. Everybody’s making plays, a lot of energy. It’s a great game.”

(On Sunday’s win over Atlanta)
“It was good getting a big win at home like that, everybody’s playing well, we’re running the ball, everything. So, it was a great team win.”

(On if the defense is coming together)
“Definitely, I feel like we cleaned up little mistakes, everybody’s playing hard and even when people are making mistakes, it’s [at] 100 miles per hour, so you’re making things happen and guys are just playing off each other. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

(On facing the Detroit Lions)
“It’s a big challenge. We’ve started watching a little bit of them, but the coaches are going to come up with a great game plan and we’re going to go out there, practice hard and get ready for a big game.”

DT Gerald McCoy

(On how the productivity of the offense helps the defense)
“It’s great to see when they move the chains and it gives a rest on the sidelines when you keep moving the chains. It puts the offense in good, second-and-short, third-and-short positions and it makes us want to do the opposite of what our offense is doing. Our offense runs the ball, we want to make sure the opposing team doesn’t run the ball and it helps them. So it goes hand in hand.”

(On the team’s success the last two weeks)
“You knew it was there, we had the ability to do it, there was just something missing. I never could really point that out, I just knew we weren’t finishing games. We had a lot of opportunities, but the same opportunities that came up Monday night, we finished the game and all the opportunities we had yesterday we took advantage of. I guess you can say ‘Where was that earlier in the year?’, but you don’t want to look in the past, look to the future.”

(On the defensive line working together to create pressure)
“Yeah, we’ve got to work as a unit, that’s what I said last week. I didn’t want to change anything I was doing, just keep trusting that the guys next to me are going to do their job and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. And it all came together yesterday.”

RB Bobby Rainey

(On his performance after viewing the tape versus Atlanta)
“I watched a few clips of it. It’s a lot of things I did good and a few things that I need to work on, so learn from it, move on.”

(On the past month)
“It’s been crazy. Like you said, a lot has been going on as far as [the birth of] my child and moving, not being on the team, getting on the team, moving my furniture from one city to the next. And then learning a new playbook, so it’s a lot that has been going on.”

(On his vision and running ability)
“Yes, I’ve always been blessed with that. And then with the offensive line being taller than me, it’s hard to find me because I’m so short, so the offensive line does a great job of blocking and I just get behind them and hide, really.”

(On if he has ever been told he’s too small to play in the NFL)
“All my life, all my life. I just use it as motivation. It just motivates me to make everybody know who I am, and that’s as far as coming into work every day, knowing the playbook and doing my job.”