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Buccaneer Quotes, Nov. 7

Posted Nov 7, 2013

Before Doug Martin went down with a shoulder injury, the Bucs had seen signs that rookie backup Mike James could handle a larger role if needed…And more thoughts from One Buc Place on Thursday

When the 2013 regular season began, rookie Mike James was third on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' depth chart at running back, behind incumbent starter Doug Martin and veteran free agent acquisition Brian Leonard. That depth chart didn't change on paper until a few days ago, but by the time Martin went down with a shoulder injury against Atlanta in Week Seven, it was obvious who would step in for him as the primary ballcarrier.

While Leonard remains a valuable asset to the Buccaneers' offense, it was James, the sixth-round pick out of Miami, who started the next two games after Martin's injury, producing 197 yards on 38 carries. James move up the depth chart may have been a gradual process, but Head Coach Greg Schiano saw it coming. Schiano said he saw "signs" along the way of what James was capable of accomplishing.

-- RB M. James has produced 197 rushing yards in his two starts

“He came in here and he just tried to do everything we asked him to do, not only schematically and technique-wise, but taking care of his body and rest and all the things that [we asked of him]," said the coach. "And he just got better and better and better, and you could see it, and we started to play him more and more. Early on, Brian Leonard was the next guy in, but Mike kind of [ascended].

"And you want him to, because Brian’s 30 years old – he’s getting up there. He has a real function he does for us on third down and special teams. I like the way we can give Brian a few, and Mike James, and the guy we acquired last week, [Bobby] Rainey, he’s got a good feel for running the football as well. Play with the guys you have, you know; that’s the way you do it.”

James' readiness for a larger role wasn't the only topic being discussed at Buccaneer headquarters on Thursday. Below are more thoughts from Buccaneer coaches and players as they continued their preparations for Monday night's game against Miami.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening statement)
“It was a good practice. It felt a little more like September than November; guys were dragging a little, I think, at the end with the heat, but it was good. [It was a] good, physical practice, guys got after it. We got some guys back healthy. [Guard] Davin [Joseph] came back and practiced. We had [safety Dashon] Goldson, he participated in quite a bit of it – not everything, but quite a bit. All that’s good. [Running back] Doug Martin did not participate. But [it was] good, a good start, and now we’ve got to shine it up going towards the game.”

(On deciding if Martin will play Monday)
“I think it’s going to really be just a medical decision. At what point do you say Monday’s out of the question? We’ll see. I think it’s going to be all or nothing. It’s just going to be a decision that we’ve got to make; everyone, collectively, has got to make a decision and then go with it. When we make it, I’ll let you guys know and we’ll move forward with it.”

(On if he sees renewed purpose in the team after the success they had in Seattle)
“I don’t know if it’s renewed purpose. I think it’s [that] they just really want to win a game and get started, get the thing rolling. I think going out there and playing in a game like that, they’re disappointed about the end result but they’re encouraged by the things we were able to do against a good football team. I think that encourages them, but I’ve not had any where we needed to renew it. I think, every week, the guys have come out and they’re worked hard, with a real focus. Some of the weeks look better than others on Sunday, but I think there’s definitely an intense focus on this one and [we’re going to] do everything we can to go get it.”

(On how to keep from losing the locker room at 0-8)
“I think it’s a couple things, maybe a few things. One, you have the right people in your locker room and in your coaches offices; that, to me, is paramount – character, integrity, all those things are present. The second thing is the leadership. It starts with the head coach – if I want to walk around with my dauber down and every ‘woe is me,’ then the organization will follow. I think, in times of adversity, the leader has to be more upbeat than ever. I’m human too, I get down like everybody else, but I can’t, not outwardly at least, and I think our leaders do the same thing, and our coaches must do the same thing. I think those are kind of the key elements of it. It doesn’t work unless you have the right people, but we do have the right people and they’ve worked extremely hard, each week, to prepare for the game.”

(On the offensive players who have filled in for injured guys)
“I think some guys have stepped up. I think Tim Wright at the tight end position has stepped up. [Wide receiver] Tiquan [Underwood] has done some good things. [Wide receiver] Skye Dawson, drawing two big DPIs [defensive pass interference penalties] – there’s a reason he drew the DPIs. We just need to keep working it to the backs as well. The thing that gives you a chance is that [quarterback] Mike [Glennon] will spread the ball around, because he’ll just read out the play and go to where it’s supposed to go. That gives you a chance. If you’re more locked into a particular guy or guys and then one of them goes down, well, now you’ll really struggle, because that’s not what you’ve been doing. I think because Mike does things the way he does, it gives us a chance. And they’re good players [or] they wouldn’t be on this team, they wouldn’t be on our active roster.”

(On having a week without outside distractions)
“As my cohorts have mentioned, it’s only Thursday [laughs]. You hold your breath, right? I think that’s the way it is these days. That’s part of the landscape, so get used to it. When things do come up, you’ve got to deal with them and you can’t let them suck up too much of your time because there’s a limited amount of time to get ready for the game each week. But it has been nice to have a few days without any major issues. I don’t wish it on anybody.”

(On if the run-pass balance in Sunday’s game was closer to what he wants)
“Yes, much. I think that’s who we are. We still want to throw more balls down the field. We tried to. Sometimes we got sacked, sometimes they ran coverages that prevented it, but I do think Mike can throw those balls accurately. I know he can, I don’t think he can; I’ve seen him do it. We just need to get it done in games.”

(On being able to sustain drives by running the ball)
“Having manageable third downs is the key. I thought we still had manageable third downs in the second half, we just didn’t convert them. In the first half, we did convert them. When you get them, you’ve got to convert them. You’re not going to convert every one; they’re going to do their job as well. The reality is we ended up, I think, over 50 percent [in] third down conversion. The only thing is we did it all in the first half and none in the second. If you can do that over the course of a season, you’ll win a ton of games.”

(On using McCoy to get the best matchups)

“There’s different ways to use guys. We match Gerald up all game long. Sometimes I hear, ‘They’re not [matching him up].’ We’re moving him all over. If you look, he lines up on the left, he lines up on the right, he lines up over the center. We’re moving him all over to get the matchup. I think we’re more the same [in our thought process] than we’re different, let’s put it that way.”

(On what led to the offensive line’s success Sunday in Seattle)
“A couple things – number one, first and foremost, you’ve got to give them a chance to do it. We ran the ball a lot, so you give them an opportunity to do it. That would be my comeback if I were the line coach, ‘Give me a chance, let me show you what we can do.’ That’s where I told you I was upset with myself a week ago in that we didn’t give the line and the running backs a chance. The second thing is Seattle is a stationary front; they’re really good players, but they don’t move a lot. Now, this week, we have a new challenge. This week, Miami does a lot of ‘this’ and a lot of ‘that’ [moving from side to side] and we are really going to have to be on our P’s and Q’s to get them blocked. We had no negative plays [Sunday]. If I can stand up here Tuesday and say we had no negative plays against the Dolphins, that’s going to be key, because they do some things like we do to create negative plays. That’s the challenge at hand, to be able to capture those guys that are moving and just get on them. You don’t have to blast them, you’ve just got to get on them and let the back run off you. But it’s easier said than done.”

(On if the offensive line was more physical Sunday)
“Absolutely, but, again, give them a shot, give them chances to do it.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan

(On getting more sacks from the defensive line)
“I think we’ve had opportunities in every game, regardless of what the stats are for Miami’s offensive line. They’re more than capable and they do a good job of moving the pocket a little bit for the quarterback and keeping seven guys in to protect him in certain down and distance situations. He’s more than capable from a mobility standpoint; he doesn’t actually pull it down and run it across the line of scrimmage like the guys we’ve played the last two weeks. He is more than capable from an athletic standpoint. He’s definitely able to extend the plays and avoid the rush. He’s not looking to do that nearly as much as the guys we’ve played the last two weeks. I think the opportunities will be there if we do a good job of rushing. We have – like you said – the last couple of weeks we’ve been exposed with some contain issues that have hurt us on some of the third downs and even some of the earlier downs. The two quarterbacks we just got done playing are very athletic and they’re doing that every week to other people they’re playing as well. That’s why people are drafting guys like to play quarterback for them.”

(On getting defensive end Da’Quan Bowers increased playing time)
“We always talk about trying to get him in more. I know he plays a lot of third down for us and unless you get some long drives, unless you’ve pre-scripted when guys are going to play certain series, unless you’re having a six, eight, or ten play drive – and hopefully you don’t have a lot of those – you’re not really thinking about subbing within the drives. Sometimes unless you script ‘Hey we’re going to play this guy every third series or fourth series,’ you may think about doing it but you get to halftime and the guy hasn’t played other than maybe his sub third down pass rush. We wouldn’t make any decisions – and I’m not putting words in your mouth – with kind of the mentality ‘What the heck, we’ve got nothing to lose, let’s just put him out there.’ We certainly would do that. We treat every game as the most game of the year and it is and this one coming up is for us. We talk all the time about getting him in more because he is a talented guy and he’s actually improved for us.”

(On players having to earn their playing time)
“It’s not like we’ve been disappointed with the guys that have been in there, but we do talk about that all the time because he is a talented player. He actually has improved, he’s gotten better. Just even in the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about that in our staff meetings as well. He’s actually done a more conscientious job of trying to improve some second down techniques as well.”

(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy getting pressure on the quarterback, but the defense not finishing the play)
“It is frustrating and I think some of it is – like what was asked prior too – we had some elusive quarterbacks the last couple of weeks. You’re right, Gerald has done an excellent job of flushing these guys out. Unless they’re going to full slide or try to pinch him off at the line of scrimmage, he’s able to get penetration on regular down and distances and pass rush. Some of these guys, they’ve gone back far enough in the pocket and then just turn and run sideways and out leverage our defensive ends even though in several instances – I’m thinking back to last week – our ends were up the field, but the kid was going backwards in an attempt to escape and he was able to do it. He could just out run our ends and then you’re just hoping he’s making a bad throw on the perimeter or you’re running him out of bounds. Is it frustrating? Sure, because like I said, Gerald’s had a lot of – I wouldn’t say production from a sacks standpoint – but he’s definitely beating guys in protection and moving the quarterback around and our ends are cognizant of the fact that they do have to get to a level rush and contain the guy and give us a chance to get him cooped out and get him on the ground.”

(On having defensive end Adrian Clayborn stand up when pass-rushing)
“What we’ve done just recently with A.C. is given him some liberties about getting down in a two-point or three-point [stance]. He’s usually to the split end side, just the guard-tackle surface, so he normally doesn’t have that tight end in front of him. We’ve given him some liberties and he feels a little more comfortable in certain situations doing the same job he would do if were to put his hand down, but doing it from a two-point stance. Not so much to give him a better chance to do his job in regards to containing the quarterback, but just from a comfort standpoint, he has a little bit of a better vision when you standup like a linebacker. Since he’s just playing to the what we call the open or the two-man surface, you’ll see him a lot of times playing in a two-point stance. It’s not really designed to provide a better pass rush for him. If you’re really trying to get up the field, you actually have the kid get down for a better get off. It’s more just overall vision.”

(On if Clayborn mixes up he stance between running and passing downs)
“He would be mixing it up on either one. Sometimes, it might be depending on the backfield set or what some of the calls are. Some calls he feels better about executing his job from a three-point and other times he feels better about playing in a two-point stance. It’s not specifically just for pass rush or run-pass.”

(On cornerback Darrelle Revis can keep up with Miami wide receiver Mike Wallace and if the team will use different coverages)
“We’ll do both and to answer the first part of your question is absolutely. We feel completely confident having Darrelle match up on any receiver in the National Football League no matter what type of receiver he is or what depth or intermediate route runner he is, but yes we will definitely mix it up. You won’t see Darrelle on him every snap of the game, but there will be times where we’ll be putting other coverages on top of that guy to try and contain his vertical threat and he definitely has that.”

(On safety Mark Barron)
“I think Mark’s had a great year, I really do. Mark’s very critical of himself; he’s real hard on himself, which probably makes him such a competitive player. He’s always the first guy to admit what he didn’t do well; he’s not a real boastful guy about how well he’s playing. He’s got a lot of personal pride and he knows he’s a good player. I think Mark’s had a really good year. He’s got a lot on his plate too, like a [linebackers] Lavonte [David] or a Mason [Foster] would, as far quarterbacking the back end, especially since [safety] Dashon [Goldson] hasn’t played in the last couple weeks. Mark’s kind of taken over that role, as far making the calls and making sure we’re in the right coverage rotation and that kind of stuff. He had a very good production game the other day, he makes a lot of tackles and he’s a very physical tackler. He can close and get to the ball and he covers a lot of mistakes by other guys. I think if you asked him he still thinks his best football is way in front of him. The first thing he’ll probably point out is the two or three plays he didn’t play like he wished he would’ve.”

(On how the defense has dealt with the team’s 0-8 record)
“I think they’re actually doing a great job. I’ve been asked that before and when these guys come in the building every day, they’ve got very good disposition. No one’s hanging their head or feeling sorry for themselves. They’ve had very spirited practices, they’re into the game plan, they’re asking questions, they want to know how things are supposed to be played, whether it’s covering routes or fitting up runs. Through this stretch – obviously it’s very tough because our guys are so competitive and they’ve had success other places – but I think their dispositions [have] been great and we couldn’t ask for anymore. Our guys have done a great job coming in the building every day with excellent work ethic and a plow on, move forward mentality. It’s been great, it’s been refreshing and it’s inspiring as a coach to be around our guys, it really is.”

(On if the Dolphins offensive line will vulnerable after their losses this week)
“I think the one thing is they’ve play a lot of really good pass rush teams. If you look at even the last four weeks who they played, the [Baltimore] Ravens and teams like that. Anytime you have really dynamic pass rushers, unless you’re willing to keep seven guys on, you’re counting on individual pass protectors, offensive lineman, to keep those guys away from the quarterback and along with some teams that had some pretty clever pressure ideas, I think they just played some really good pass rushing teams in the last month. Whatever pressure they’ve had on their quarterback a lot it just contributed to the fact that the guys they’ve been lining up against, they’re putting pressure on every quarterback they’re playing every week. Everybody is talking about the pressure that they’ve had on their quarterback, but they’ve played some really good defensive fronts the last couple of weeks.”

RB Mike James

(On earning an opportunity as a starter)
“It’s a blessing, I thank God for it every day, but I’m still a piece to the puzzle. I’m just a part of an offense who’s trying to get us moving, trying to get us going and trying to help this team get a win.”

(On if being the primary running back has changed his approach)
“I wouldn’t say so. I approach every day like I’m a starter. I approached college, high school, ever since I’ve played this game like I was going to play 60 to 70 plays and that’s how I still approach it. [If] I wasn’t playing as much, [if] I was only getting one carry, I [would] approach it the same way.”

(On the play of the offensive line)
“I love it. We’ve got a great front line. They do everything they need to do to get on guys, no matter what the scheme is. I love the way they get on guys. I love how physical they are. I love how they finish blocks. I’m sure going to continue to keep doing that and hopefully I can do what I’m supposed to do and handle that accordingly.”

(On his pride in the offensive line)
“It’s through the roof. My expectations from the jump, I knew it was a great offensive line. Just to be able to run behind them and get as many touches I have, it’s a blessing. Just to run behind those guys, it’s an honor to even have [guard] Davin [Joseph] discussing my name in an interview, so I’m happy about that.”

(On his touchdown pass against Seattle)
“It’s something that Coach Sully [offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan] always had in his back pocket. I didn’t know he was going to call it; I was just as surprised as everybody else. It’s my job to go out and execute it. He called it and Crab [tight end Tom Crabtree] was there where he’s supposed to be and I got lucky.”

(On his excitement for Monday’s game against Miami)
“[I’m] very excited. I get to go, my college roommate [Miami running back Lamar Miller], I get to go against him, get to see him. We’ve been texting all week so it’s going to be fun.”

DT Gerald McCoy

(On former Buccaneer Warren Sapp saying McCoy could be better than Sapp was)
“One, it means a lot, it’s a great compliment, but, he said I have the potential to be as god or better than him. And I said on my radio show last night, a lot of people have the potential, it’s about what you do with it. Do I have the potential to be as good or better? Yes, it’s up to me whether I reach that and I’ll leave it at that.”

(On the team proving themselves)
“We definitely have plenty of time to do that. I don’t think that it’s our goal. Our goal is just to get as many wins as possible. But in the process, we definitely can prove what everybody thinks of us is not who we are.”

(On the defense getting back to their early season form)
“That’s how we played in the beginning of the season, you’ve seen it’s possible, you’ve see we can do it. It’s just that in the beginning of the season, our issue was finishing off the game, it wasn’t whether we had the defense to do it, it was finishing the game. Now we need to see if we can put it all together; both sides of the ball, all the way through, all four quarters.”

(On the importance of the defense acting as a group and what he contributes)
“Yeah, it has to be. I do what I’m supposed to do and that’s get the quarterback off the spot. Whether I get the sack or not, my job is to disrupt anything. They brought me here from Oklahoma – who is going to win tonight by the way – they brought me here to disrupt everything that happens on offense. Whether that’s on the run play, I’m in the backfield – I don’t have to be making the tackles, but if I’m in the backfield, it’s automatically like ‘Here he is again.’ I might not be getting the sack, but I’m making the passer always have to look for where I’m at, always have to move around or not sit in the spot. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Collectively, we have to make sure we get them on the ground. A lot of guys made a lot of names around here off [No.] 99 [Warren Sapp], it’s a fact. That’s not to downplay anybody’s talent but a lot of guys made a lot of names around here off of what 99 did. I’m just trying to help my team mates do the same. That’s what I want to do. It’s not about me; I want to help my teammates. I tell [No.] 54 [linebacker Lavonte David] all the time ‘Hey, I’m going to make you right. I’m going to go, I’m going to mess something up, and you run free and make the play.’ That’s what I’m here for, to help my team mates.”

(On Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill)
“Ryan Tannehill, he can extend plays with his feet. He’s more of an athlete than people give him credit for. They say he’s not a running quarterback. Yeah, right. He played receiver in college for a reason, he can run if he wants to he just chooses not to. He can make the necessary throws. With him, we have to keep him in the pocket. You like to keep quarterbacks in the pocket, but it’s kind of one of those things where a lot of quarterbacks, if you let them sit there, they can kill you. He’s not one of those guys; he plays better moving around, so we need to keep him sitting in the pocket. He’s not as short as the last guy we played; he’s not as elusive or as huge as the guy before that so let’s see if we can get to this one.”