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Buccaneer Quotes, Oct. 31

Posted Oct 31, 2013

Rather than let their frustration from an 0-7 start weigh them down, the Buccaneers are continuing to work hard on the practice field and trying to keep the mood positive at the same time

Can an 0-7 football team have fun?

Can there be laughter in the locker room on a Thursday afternoon? Can the plane flight back from a road loss be a calm, quiet, business-like trip rather than three hours of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling? Can a coach tell a few jokes during practice?

Well, there was laughter in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room on Thursday. The last flight home, from Atlanta in Week Seven, had an air of disappointment but no despair. And apparently there has been some levity on the Bucs' practice field this week…which is okay because there was also a great deal of hard work. In fact, Head Coach Greg Schiano, who wants to make sure his players stay engaged, said the Bucs' had a "really good" practice on Thursday as they prepared for their game against the 7-1 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

"I had an old high school coach – a legendary coach in New Jersey – who used to say, ‘They don’t need your pats on the back and your love when you’re winning," said Schiano. "They need it when things are tough,’ because they get it from everybody else; they get it from [the media] and the fans. When they’re winning, they get it from everybody else. Now is when they need it, because they aren’t getting it from anybody. That’s where I think me, the coaches, we can keep the ball moving a little bit, keep it exciting and our leadership does the same. That’s really, I think, what, if anybody said that, that’s what they’re referring to."

-- The Bucs are working to stay focused and upbeat on the practice field
Of course the Buccaneers are shocked and upset about their winless start to the season, and no amount of laughter is going to erase that. But neither will expressions of frustration help the Buccaneers get into the win column. Regardless of the mood on the practice field or in the locker room, the team knows that only hard work will get them to where they want to be, and that hasn't changed since opening day.

“It’s frustrating, for sure, but we know that all we’re ever given is an opportunity," said Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan. "The league is so competitive and nobody cares how hard you’re trying. We’re in a production business and a performance-based business. Yeah, it’s frustrating, but we know everybody else works hard too. Everybody else has offseason programs and comes to work every day and studies film. We don’t ‘Woe to us,’ because we’re working hard. We expect nothing less than that. We know that’s our only chance to even be competitive. If we are full bore, put our heads down and go 100 miles an hour every single day when we come into the building, that’s our only chance and we know that."

Schiano said his players are still doing exactly that.

"I know it’s hard on everybody," he said. "These guys come to work every day and they bust their tails. They come in the meeting rooms, they’re alert. The guys are into it, they’re on point, they’re taking notes, they’re doing all the stuff that you want as a coach."

The mood on the practice field wasn't the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place. Below are some additional thoughts collected from the locker room and the media studio on Thursday:

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(On safety Dashon Goldson)
“He was limited today. He was out there later, yeah. He was in with [Director of Sports Medicine and Performance] Todd [Toriscelli] doing some stuff.”

(On the slim chance running back Doug Martin plays Sunday)
“Yeah, I think it’s getting slimmer as time goes on though.”

(On what offensive lineman Jamon Meredith brings to the left guard position)
“[He’s] a bigger guy. He’s going to be physical. This is going to be a big man’s game Sunday [against Seattle]. They’re big. [I think he] gives us a better physical matchup.”

(On what makes Meredith well-suited for the left guard position)
“Other than center, Jamon’s played every position – both the tackles – and that’s kind of the way it goes when you’re a backup, sixth or seventh lineman; you have to be multifunctional. He’s done a good job of that, but now his role is changing. I’m not sure 100 percent, but I’d think that he’s going to be the guy at left guard. We haven’t totally made that decision, but I thought he practiced well two days in a row. Unless something would make us change our mind, he’s done a nice job. Hopefully the things that I just talked about will give us a chance to move some of those big guys.”

(On wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“I think he’s having a good year. I think it’s getting lost a little bit in our year, that we’re not. Vincent is a perfectionist, so I know that any mistake he makes he gets very, very frustrated [with]. I don’t have to ever get on Vincent Jackson; he’s on himself when he makes a mistake. I think he’s going to have a big second part of the year, too. I think he and [quarterback] Mike [Glennon] have a good feel for each other. I think the way Mike’s reading out plays is going to allow Vincent to get more, because if they want to double Vincent, well then Mike’s going to go to other guys until Vincent isn’t doubled anymore.”

(On Jackson getting a lot of targets)
“We do look at the targets, but it’s more catchable balls – were they caught or not. Then, really, what it boils down to is drops. That’s what you look at. You know, a target – he may be targeted, but the guy was under duress and he threw it – but someone has to be targeted. If the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands, it’s got to be targeted to someone. Now, I don’t say that to downplay the number of targets he’s had, because, as long as we’re reading it out – and we do make him the first read a lot. We better, right? So, he’s the first read, and if it’s there, you give it to him. Like I said earlier, with Mike reading things out efficiently and not going to Vincent when he is double-covered or covered, I think that’s opening it up for Vincent more and letting us go to him more.”

(On Jackson’s dropped passes)
“He’s had a couple, but if you look at the top receivers in this league, they have some drops. Why? Because they make some spectacular plays and they have such confidence [that] they’re running before they catch it; they’re thinking about scoring every time they touch it. You’d love to have spectacular plays and no drops, but that’s not realistic. I mean, maybe it is if you have the perfect guy, but I haven’t met him yet. I think Vincent is having a good year, he’s at a point where he could really take off and that’s what we hope for.”

(On if Jackson is being targeted too often)
“I don’t worry about that – again, as long as we’re reading it out. I can’t say that, all year long, we’ve been reading it out, but, as of late, we’re reading it out and that, to me, is the only thing that’s important. If you read it out and he’s there and you can throw it to him, throw it to him.”

(On what has kept guard Davin Joseph from playing at full strength)
“It’s like anything else. When you come off a surgery – he got hurt in the New England game, in the third preseason game [last season], and it’s a serious injury – he was going through recovery and had some setbacks but didn’t get a lot of preseason practice. It’s one thing not to get preseason practice if you’re totally healthy and something happened. Guys say, ‘Well, this guy missed preseason; he held out and he came in and was fine’ – yeah, but he was totally healthy. [Davin’s] coming back, playing a big man’s position where you need your butt and legs to move people, and I don’t care who you are, if you’re not able to train the way you’re accustomed to training to play your position, there’s going to be some [difficulty], but the goal is that we just keep getting better and better and he gets stronger and stronger. If he hadn’t run into some side-tracked issues in his recovery, maybe he’d be further along and feel better. But I think, as of late, like last game, I thought he played better than he has. I think he’s getting back the feel. You’ve got to remember, he only played like 20 snaps in the preseason.”

(On what has been hindered in Joseph’s game)
“Again, he knows what he’s doing, so he gets on the right guy. [I think it’s] just the ability to really unload. Again, he plays a big man’s position; the guys you’re pushing on, they’re not little people. And he’s not the biggest guy; he’s not a 340-pound guy. He needs his strength and technique to move these big guys. Like I said, I think he’s on that trajectory right now. He’s getting it all back.”

(On providing information regarding Joseph’s staph infection)
“I don’t think I need to. I think that information was provided by Davin yesterday, so I think it’s all clear. That whole thing is really – I’m in charge of everything with the players – but that’s a medical issue. I’m not an expert on that stuff. Davin spoke on it, so I think we’re good.”

(On if Seattle or Tampa Bay has the better secondary)
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. They’re our guys and those are their guys. It’ll be good though, a lot of good players on the field Sunday.”

(On if they studied tape from Seattle’s Week 8 game)
“You always do. You always look at, ‘Okay, what was effective?’ The other flipside to that is they’re good coaches and, ‘Okay, this hit us, this hit us, this hit us. Let’s get it corrected.’ So, sometimes you’re chasing something that’s not there anymore. So, then what would be the next thing? If they’re going to take care of that, maybe we can do this, because, if you have to deploy more troops to take care of that run, now you’re a little more vulnerable over here. That’s the kind of way we think of it, not just copy it per se.”

(On how Seattle is using defensive end Michael Bennett)
“[They’re] using him as a sub-rusher, so he’s not playing base; he’s coming in as a sub-rusher, both inside and outside. He’s been relatively effective, and he’s got 4.5 sacks, I think. He’s playing all over, but he’s playing inside, too; he’s inside pass-rushing as a sub-rusher.”

(On cohesion in the secondary)
“The first few weeks, I felt it was really going very well, and then we got a little bumped; [safety] Mark [Barron] got bumped, so he’s playing, but he’s not practicing a heck of a lot, so you lose that continuity. Then, [safety] Dashon [Goldson] hasn’t been around, with his injury; he’s here and he’s in the meeting rooms, but again, he’s not out there practicing. That’s the stuff that, in the season – you’re not going to put a bunch of new stuff in, but what you’ve got to do is just keep fitting your stuff to that opponent’s routes – they line up like this, or they line up like that, or they cluster, whatever. That’s all being talked about on the fly. We have rules, but then you’ve got to communicate it and really, what you end up [with] in sub packages – six defensive backs on the field – they’ve all got to see it the same, they’ve got to communicate it and then they’ve got to play out the scheme. There is a little bit of a disconnect because there’s some guys in and out, but, again, I say that every time we talk about it – that’s the NFL. Forty-six guys get a hat, and those 46 guys have got to get the job done. The last two games – really, the game before was the one that really set me off [with] those ‘over-the-top’-ers. If you just keep it in front of you, you’re going to be in every football game. It’s ones that [go over the top] that get you in trouble. I say that and then we lose contain and a running quarterback like [Carolin’s] Cam [Newton] got us. This week, this guy’s [Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson] both, so we better keep him contained and we better make sure we stick to our guys, because he can throw it on the run.”

(On similarities between Wilson and Newton)
“There’s similarities. I mean, one’s 6’ 5” and the other’s 5’11”. When Russell takes off running, it’s like another running back running. He’s a 5’11” stout guy, and he’s not looking to slide very much; this guy’s running like a running back. I think it’s a different dimension that way. I think Russell Wilson is the best on-the-move deep-ball thrower that there is. On the move, he can just [throw it downfield] accurately and it just jumps off his hand, so it’s a big challenge. We’ve got to hold our depth if we’re in zone [coverage], we’ve got to hold our man if we’re in man[coverage] and make sure we keep it in front.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan

(On the personal criticism towards Head Coach Greg Schiano)
“I appreciate you asking me that because it gives me a chance to speak on that. It definitely is not warranted and it may be very hard for people on the outside who don’t know Greg, because for some of the criticism that he apparently is receiving – and I don’t know or have firsthand knowledge, I don’t follow, but indirectly of course we all get it, right? It definitely isn’t warranted. I’ve worked for a lot of quality people in this profession –long before I even came to the NFL – and I’ve certainly worked for quality people in the National Football League and I would put Greg up against anybody I’ve worked for in regards to a guy of single-mindedness of purpose towards doing the job that he’s been asked to do and doing it with complete and total integrity. If, in our profession, we get criticized for that, then he should be criticized. But all he’s ever done since I’ve been here and worked for him is be the first guy in the building and the last guy to leave, focus his entire energy and concentration on what he can do on a daily basis to help the Bucs win and he’s done it with complete and unadulterated integrity. If in our profession we get criticized for that, then that’s the way it is, but without expounding on it anymore, that’s my response and I appreciate you giving me the chance to say that.”

(On if Tampa Bay’s secondary is affecting the game enough)
“I think in the big picture of things, yes, to answer the first part of your question. Again, with the exception of the obvious, the two or three plays that have broken out or gotten thrown down field, especially in the last couple of games. But down-in and down-out I think we are – at least statistically – we’re dramatically different in our pass defense. I think a lot of it has to do with – especially earlier – not giving up big chunk pass plays. I know we’ve had a couple in the last couple weeks and its hurt us obviously in the final results of the game, in the scoring. But overall, yes we have guys that can cover man-to-man and we’re able to have better match-ups on people. I think they’ve definitely met what we’re looking for and hope for.”

(On if the team is coming together as the underdog in Sunday’s game)
“I think to a certain extent, yes, and you may even say we’ve had that the last couple weeks. Definitely, going into a place like Seattle, they’re playing well this year, they’re having a great year, and they have a very talented team. It’s a tough place to play, if you’ve ever been there before as a visiting team because they have a very lively and loud crowd and it can affect you, especially if you’re not playing well and that’s what they’re counting on and thriving on. We always have that mentality to some extent when we go on the road, period. I think our guys like that role.”

(On the pass rush making an impact)
“I think – I even told our guys this just even after the last game – we have affected the quarterback, we’ve made the kid move around. Obviously, last week the kid scrambled for a few plays, I think right back to the Jets game, that kid did the same thing. We affected the quarterback; he wasn’t sitting back there as we call ‘Five Mississippi’ before he threw the ball. He had to move but when you have it out for the quarterbacks, like the kids that the Jets had and [Carolina quarterback] Cam [Newton] last week and definitely this guy [Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson]. You may not feel or see that because he does scramble around and make plays, whether he’s running and throwing or running for first downs. To the first part of your question, you do want to have a coordinated rush, you don’t want to have four independent rusher because depending on how many guys you keep in protection, there’s as many as six rush lanes and you’re only rushing with four guys, so unless you are gaming or twisting them, you can’t just have four independent guys on their own pass-rush plan because there’s at least going to be two huge step up lanes at least one. even if they only keep five guys in for protection. Like I said in my mind, we have had production in regards to pressuring the quarterback, making him uncomfortable and have to move in the pocket. Our biggest challenge, especially for this week – like last week and again I refer back to the Jets game – when you play an athletic quarterback, you’ve got to get him corralled. It’s not enough just to move him because these guys are athletic enough to extend the play and throw on the run or pull it down and run for first downs on very critical third down plays. That happened in one of our first third downs the other night, a longer third down play and Cam just ran for the first down – I think it was third-and-11. To answer your question, I think it has been effective in moving the quarterback and putting pressure on him but when you play these athletic guys, it’s not enough in the sense that you’ve got to corral them as well and keep them in the pocket and make them throw it on time and not run around and extend plays.”

(On if Seattle will utilize Wilson’s mobility)
“I think they do it every single week. I don’t know if it’s so much of a plan as it is a spontaneous response. That’s the one nice thing about having a quarterback like Seattle does and Carolina does and the Jets have. I’m sure they would love to just be able to drop back and throw the ball in timing and not have to worry about it, but when you have an athletic quarterback like that, it’s a spontaneous reaction to pressure. I’m sure they don’t coach against it, because the guy’s made plays doing it.”

(On St. Louis’ game plan against Seattle in Week 8)
“I would say it was a good plan. It was very, very, very simple. They didn’t do a whole lot. They definitely relied on the fact that their two [defensive ends] could run past [Seattle’s] two offensive tackles and put great pressure on every down – first, second and third down. There was a very simple game plan and they were willing to stick with it. It started out well and it worked out well for them – matter of fact, when they got away from the plan is when they had the big pass play. That was an unconventional call for them, that wasn’t what they were playing the majority of the game. Is it a blue print? We and everybody else does something like what they were doing the majority of the time on first and second down. I think it worked out well and they stuck with it. Sometimes that happens, but they also could have been very vulnerable if they could have protected because they were a lot of just one-high press man-to-man on the two receivers or the three receivers, almost daring Seattle. Because of the pressure they were able to create with the five-man rush, [the Seahawks] weren’t able to handle it as well.”

(On if one of the keys against Seattle will be the success of Tampa Bay’s defensive ends)
“It definitely is part of it. They have an outstanding rushing attack. They probably have – as much as anybody we’ve played this year – probably as many third down-and-two-to-five’s as anybody we’ve played. You don’t see them in a lot of third-and-eight and-nine and-tens. The reason for that is they’ve done such a great job of running the ball on first and second down – which is how everybody aspires to play offensive football, get in to very short and manageable even possible run-or-pass third down situations. You can do that when you’re in third-and-two and third-and-three which they are a lot. That’s definitely a part of our success coming up here, but we’ve got to stop them on their first and second down run game as well. They have an outstanding tailback and they’re very committed to doing that and they run enough of the gun-run stuff that you’re seeing everybody do now with the quarterback that they have. All that are things that have to be addressed and stopped as well. It’s not as simple as our d-ends just have to tear up the field. They’ll do that when the situation presents itself, but I think there’s a lot of things that they pose that you’ve got to be ready for and stop or you’re going to find yourself in a lot of third-and-two’s or third-and-three’s and those are very difficult downs to stop people in.”

G Davin Joseph

(On Seattle’s defense)
“They’re a very good defense. Their defensive line, their linebackers, defensive backs – they’re all good. They do a good job of creating turnovers, a good job of getting to the quarterbacks; it’s going to be tough. We’re playing in their house, it seems like they’re a different team when they play at home.”

(On playing at CenturyLink Field)
“It’s loud, it’s a tough place to play, but I think we just have to stay on track as an offense and just continue to maintain drives, get in the red zone and score.”

(On the feel this week being different than previous weeks)
“It has, we had little bit of an extra rest because of the Thursday Night game and of course the big challenge of facing such a great team. It’s been a great vibe this week, we had a really physical practice yesterday, had a nice crisp practice today and, so, so far, so good.”

(On the MRSA reports this week)
“I never had MRSA. I do not have MRSA and never had MRSA, plain and simple.”
(On if he had a staph infection)
“I had a staph infection over the summertime, but it wasn’t MRSA.”

(On the pressure of getting the first win)
“It’s not going to be easy. Playing in the NFL and getting a win in the NFL is not easy. It takes a lot of focus and preparation to play a team such as Seattle, but that’s going to be our challenge for everyone, even after we get the first win.”

CB Darrelle Revis

(On Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson)
“I agree with what Coach [Schiano] says, he has a very strong arm. The guy, he can launch it. If you look at their passing attack, they take a lot of shots down the field. In the secondary, we do have to be ready to go and we have to be ready for those shots down the field.”

(On practice feeling different this weekend)
“I think we’ve just been really focused this week, especially for this game. We know this is a big game. It might not be for Seattle, but for us it is. This is time for us to hopefully get our first win. Everybody is really focused and, you know, we want to beat them. We want to go in there and get a win in Seattle.”

(On what he thinks of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman)
“I haven’t really studied film on him to really make an assumption on him being the top guy, but he can play. I love his game; he makes plays, that’s all I [can say]. He makes plays, I like how he presses, he’s a great corner in this league.”

(On how the Seattle and Tampa Bay secondaries compare)
“Those guys, you know, you have to tip your hat off to Seattle. They’ve been playing a couple of years together. This is our first rodeo. Me, Dashon [Goldson], Mark [Barron], Johnthan Banks and Leonard Johnson – we’re still trying to click together and get things right. But, at the same time, we feel confident. We’ve had spurts of making great plays, and you have seen that. We just have to continue working hard.”

(On Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch)
“I played against him a lot when he was with the Buffalo Bills and I was with the [New York] Jets. The guy, he’s an aggressive runner, a power runner – he’s very tough. He’s tough to get down as well. We do have to gang tackle him; the guy, he makes plays. He’s one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the league.”