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Camp Conversations, Day Seven

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Head Coach Greg Schiano, QB Josh Freeman and WR Vincent Jackson spoke after practice Wednesday, addressing such issues as the injury situation, offensive chemistry and the upcoming preseason opener


Watch: Vincent Jackson on the Bucs' offense

Third-year defensive end Adrian Clayborn sustained a groin injury during positional drills on Wednesday morning and was unable to finish practice at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp.  It is not yet clear how much practice time Clayborn will miss due to the injury, if any.

 

Head Coach Greg Schiano described Clayborn, who has returned to practice during training camp after spending the previous nine months recovering from a season-ending knee injury in 2012, as "frustrated" after the injury.

 

"He’s incredibly frustrated, obviously, after being out all that time with the surgery," said Schiano. "He just gets it rolling again and now something’s holding him back, but that’s the way life goes, you just have to keep battling on. He will.”

 

Several other Buccaneer veterans made progress in returning from their own injuries on Wednesday.  Cornerback Darrelle Revis, who missed most of last season while playing for the New York Jets with a knee injury, took a scheduled step forward by taking part in a drill that had him covering live receivers.  Previously, Revis had participated in individual-position drills during camp practices before spending the rest of the morning in strengthening exercises.  In addition, guard Carl Nicks, who missed the second half of the 2012 campaign with a toe injury, had his reps increased by a small percentage on Wednesday, as planned.

 

“[Revis] got a little bit [more] today, down on Field One," said Head Coach Greg Schiano after practice. "He covered a receiver and went through the passing tree.  He’s been doing everything, just on 'air;' now we actually put a receiver there with him, so it was good.

 

“By design we moved [Nicks] up a couple of reps in the real period. He was doing those teach periods, so…little by little. You've got to see how he responds, then move him up some more.”

 

Schiano, quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receiver Vincent Jackson all spoke after practice on Wednesday, which concluded the first week of the Bucs' training camp.  They addressed a variety of topics, including Mason Foster's coverage abilities, Tom Crabtree's chemistry with Freeman and young players who have stood out so far.

 

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Head Coach Greg Schiano

 

On if the players looked fresh after their day off:

“Fresh? No, but I wouldn’t expect them to be fresh. It was warm out there when the sun was out. I always get the heat and then the humidity and the heat index, so I’m always gauging that, and use that to kind of judge how we performed. Today was the highest one at one point that we’ve had. It’s good, it hardens us.”

 

On wide receiver Vincent Jackson taking on a more versatile role last year after coming to the Buccaneers:

“Well, I think Vincent is a consummate pro and now you have a change of systems, which allows him to do some different things.  If you have a veteran guy who is not a pro, like Vincent [is], he doesn’t want to change. Vincent welcomed change with open arms, he looked at it as an opportunity to be a versatile receiver, and that’s exactly what he’s become. He’ll line up anywhere, from next to the tackle all the way out to the number-one receiver, and everything between that.  And that makes it hard to be able to [cover]. If the defense is trying to take him out of the game, certainly they can double him, but the more places he is, the more rules you need to double. It’s not just the two guys that are doubling him, it’s everyone else in the coverage around that. We like the versatility and we like the different things you can do with him from different spots on the field.”

 

On if linebacker Mason Foster has made improvements in his coverage skills:

“Yes. I actually think he’s a pretty good cover guy already. Where he got in trouble, coverage-wise, wasn’t technique or skill, it was assignment. It’s hard to say, ‘well why was that?’ If you don’t know what he was supposed to do, but I can tell you that when he knows what he is doing in coverage, I think he’s pretty good. He’s a linebacker, so it’s not like [cornerback Darrelle] Revis covering, but he’s a good cover ‘backer. I think all of our ‘backers can cover. They can run, so they can cover.”

 

On how the secondary has looked:

“I think Dashon Goldson has taken the group over, for sure. He’s the man back there, running the show, which is what we anticipated and hoped for. Mark Barron is playing at a higher level; he needs to keep doing that. At the corner, there’s great competition, with Leonard [Johnson] and Danny [Gorrer] and [Rashaan] Melvin and all of those guys. You throw in [Michael] Adams, there’s just a bunch of guys that are competing. That’s what preseason is for. We get into those games, how do they do against an opposite-color jersey? it’s going to be important.”

 

On defensive tackle Akeem Spence’s strength showing up:

“It is. He’s a very strong guy physically and he’s made some big improvements, even from his college tape as far as technique and stance and hands. He’s got a lot of upside. The problem is, we need that upside to be [realized] soon. We’re trying to accelerate it in every way we can, and he knows that.”

 

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QB Josh Freeman

 

On if communication within the offense is improved this season:

“No question, no question. You no longer have the language barrier, the terminology, where, you thought of something you want to do and you’re not quite sure exactly how to say it off the top of your head.  Now we’ve got [a handle] on it pretty good.”

 

On the new secondary coming out on top in some drills:

“They work their stuff, we work our stuff. They've got a lot of talent on that side of the ball, a lot of talent, a couple of rookie corners, [Johnthan] Banks, [Rashaan Melvin]. We’ve got guys out there [including], the linebackers. The linebackers have been doing a lot, they are extremely active in the red zone, matching routes. It’s made it a little more difficult at times, but we’ve just got to continue to run our stuff and persevere.”

 

On any players that have stood out to him so far in camp:

“I can’t say anybody too crazy. It’s been awesome to see Carl [Nicks] and Davin [Joseph] out there, kind of mixing in certain drills and mixing in the walk-throughs. I’m excited about Mike James, he’s having a really good camp, but aside from that the guys that were big for us last year continue to up their game and find ways to get better.”

 

On if he's developing a chemistry with TE Tom Crabtree:

“No question. Tom’s a guy that came to us from Green Bay and he’s kind of an all-around tight end. He’s really good at blocking, he runs good routes, and he’s got good hands. He’s getting used to this heat and this humidity, but Tom’s a guy that I think has a pretty good shot at doing some stuff for us this year.”

 

On what he thinks he can improve about his own game:

“Everything. [You] never try to pinpoint one thing. You just have to encompass the entire game. Whether it’s footwork, or it's throwing the ball, or its accuracy – it’s everything. It’s protections – there’s such a large pre-snap workload put on the quarterback. It’s just being efficient, getting everybody in the huddle, motivating, leading, getting everybody out and just running the thing smoothly. “

 

**

 

WR Vincent Jackson

 

On if he thinks the offense will be better this season:

“I think so. We’ve added some great pieces on the offensive side as well. Again, guys with the second year in the system are going to be more confident with what they’re doing. Coaches are more confident with the players and what’s going on out there. So, I expect us to be very solid on offense this year.”

 

On what has been the key to him maintaining his season-to-season consistency:

“I just think it’s a beginner’s mentality. I come out here every camp acting like I’m trying to earn my job, which I am, and then from there acting like I’ve never heard the system, taking notes every meeting, coming out here every practice, fundamentals, individual drills. You know, working on the small things, just catching the balls in different positions. That’s what I do every year. I start every year, you’ve got to maintain that through the season, taking care of your body, all of those kinds of things. It kind of helps me get focused on my job.”

 

On the Buccaneers competition for the third receiver spot:

“I think we have a lot of good guys out there. [Chris] Owusu’s playing good; we’ve got Tiquan Underwood coming back; we added Kevin Ogletree this offseason, he’s picked up this offense very well. Some other young guys are stepping up, some rookies. I feel very good and confident that whatever five or six guys that we do keep on the roster are going to be able to step in and make plays.”

 

On if either the offense or the defense has gained an edge so far in training camp:

“No I don’t feel so. I feel confident on both sides of the ball. I think guys will continue to get better. Right now we’re focused on one day at a time. We just finished up today, we’ve got some meetings and some things to get better at and we’ll come out tomorrow and re-do it, do it all over again. So, I wouldn’t give anybody an edge. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement for us and we have that time now to get there.  A week from tomorrow, we’ve got our first preseason game so it’s time to crank it up.”

 

On which player in training camp has been the biggest surprise to him:

“You know, it’s hard to say ‘surprises.’ I think the guys that have been here last year, whether they were on practice squad or not, [are] more confident in this system and they’re playing well. But I just think the rookie class themselves, I think our organization has done a good job bringing guys in that fit this system and guys are stepping in and being pushed in and they’re playing well.”

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