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Buccaneer Notes & Quotes, Dec. 13

Posted Dec 13, 2013

The Bucs are eager to finish their 2013 home campaign on a four-game winning streak, and they'll have a mostly healthy roster with which to try...And other discussions

  • The Buccaneers have won three straight at Raymond James Stadium and will try to finish their 2013 home slate with a fourth victory
  • WR Vincent Jackson is expected to play against the 49ers after practicing without limitations on Friday
  • Head Coach Greg Schiano discusses the special teams battle and more
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't lost a game at home in nearly two months, and they can make that run stretch at least another eight months if they pull off one more victory against San Francisco on Sunday.  That would give the Buccaneers a four-game winning at Raymond James Stadium to close out the 2013 home schedule before hitting the road for the last two weeks.

Even if the Buccaneers sweep their last three games and compilea  7-1 mark in the second half of the season they won't make the playoffs, thanks to their wholly unanticipated 0-8 start to the campaign.  The Lombardi Trophy may be out of reach, but there are still gains to be made in 2013, including the ongoing attempt to establish the sort of home field dominance that marks most contending teams.

"We’ve been able to play well at home as of late, and of course we want to end it on the right note," said guard Davin Joseph.  "We want to go out there on Sunday and play good ball, competitive ball. I believe, if we can do that, we’ll walk away with a win. I think our fans believed in us all year. We just had some tough breaks, tough games, good opponents. Most Sundays haven’t turned out our way, but our fans have stuck with us through tough times, and we want to give them something to be proud of.”

Games at St. Louis and New Orleans will determine the Buccaneers final record for 2013, but a win on Sunday would help the Bucs finish the season on an encouraging note.

"You want to finish strong every time you play at home, or even on the road," said wide receiver Vincent Jackson.  "Every game’s important, but we want to leave a good taste in the mouth for our fans – go out there, play hard, put up a great effort and performance and hopefully come out with a win.”

Jackson will almost certainly suit up for Sunday's home finale despite missing most of practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  He has been managing a hamstring injury for weeks but was able to play through it last Sunday and catch three passes for 70 yards and a score against Buffalo.  Jackson's status is a little more clear heading into the weekend this time around, however, as he is expected to be listed as probable instead of questionable on the official injury report.  In fact, the only player who did not practice fully for the Buccaneers on Friday was guard Carl Nicks, who has not seen any field action since Week Four.

-- The Bucs win over Buffalo last Sunday was their third straight in their home stadium
Due to the time-zone difference between the Bucs' and 49ers' practices, their official injury reports for Friday will likely not be included in the NFL's early-evening update.  The above status indicators for Buccaneer players were taken from Schiano's post-practice comments.  Below is the injury report each team submitted on Thursday.




Thurs. Participation

DE Da'Quan Bowers


Limited Participation

LB Lavonte David


Full Participation

DE William Gholston


Full Participation

DT Gary Gibson


Full Participation

WR Vincent Jackson


Limited Participation

G Davin Joseph


Full Participation

G Carl Nicks


Did Not Participate

DT Akeem Spence


Full Participation

C Jeremy Zuttah


Limited Participation




Wed. Participation

WR Jon Baldwin


Full Participation

CB Tarell Brown


Limited Participation

WR Michael Crabtree


Limited Participation

S Craig Dahl


Limited Participation

RB Frank Gore


Limited Participation

G Mike Iupati


Limited Participation

WR Mario Manningham


Limited Participation

DT Ray McDonald


Limited Participation

TE Vance McDonald


Limited Participation

LB Dan Skuta


Limited Participation

LB Aldon Smith


Full Participation

DT Justin Smith


Limited Participation

G Adam Snyder

Not Injury Rel.

Full Participation

T Joe Staley


Full Participation

The home finale and the injury situation weren't the only topics being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Friday.  Below are additional thoughts from Schiano, Jackson and Joseph.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“Health-wise, everybody got bumped up to full [participation] – other than [guard] Carl Nicks – and we’ll go from there. [We] got to introduce short-yardage, goal-line, coming out and backed up, that kind of stuff and reviewed everything else. The guys were sharp and now the rest of it is mental preparation.”

(On if wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s will be a game-time decision)
“No, I think he is probable.”

(On defensive end Will Gholston’s injury)
“He’s doing much better, but again we’ll evaluate him right up to the event. That’s the Head Injury Protocol, we follow that very closely.”

(On what San Francisco has done to bounce back from an early season ‘lull’)
“They’re just doing what they do. They’re going to pound you, mix in the pass, playing great defense, really good in the kicking game and they’re playing their game. [San Francisco wide receiver Michael] Crabtree back is big for them and it opens some things up, but they’re a talented football team.”

(On if he likes a physical game)
“I do like it, number one, but I think Buffalo was a physical game. I mean it wasn’t a lot of finesse there, they were trying to pound it. This will be two teams that have a similar belief.”

(On how important the special teams will be against San Francisco)
“I think it’s really big. They have very good specialists, we have very good specialists. They have very good big men on special teams, we have very good big men on special teams. I think it is a great matchup and I spoke to the team about it, who’s going to win it, because I think it will be a big bridge in this game offense, defense, that bridge in the kicking game is going to be huge.”

(On what has been the change that allowed the team to win 4 out of 5 after starting 0-8)
“I think it’s just sticking together, everybody just staying to their job, not pointing fingers, and sticking together.”

(On if linebacker Lavonte David should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year)
“No doubt, show me somebody more productive all around. The guy does it all. To me he’s my Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t even know if I get a vote, I don’t think I do – I’ll stump for him a little here.”

(On tight end Tim Wright’s progression)
“He’s progressing very well. I think when you lose three tight ends, I’d say the position took a hit, since just one usually plays. Tim Wright is taking advantage of every opportunity and really become a reliable good player for us. He’s made a lot of big plays, converted on third downs and is becoming a better and better blocker every single day, which is what you’d expect. He’s a tough kid, he just hasn’t done it, hasn’t been asked to do it. In this league it’s awfully hard to get good at blocking during the season because you can’t really wear pads. I think he’ll take another huge jump when he gets the opportunity to go through another training camp and do all that tough stuff. [Tight ends coach] Brian Angelichio is one of the best coaches that I’ve been around, he will get the most out of him, it’s good.”

(On San Francisco’s read-option offense and operating out of the pistol formation)
“Well [there’s] pistol, then [there’s] read option. Every time they’re in a pistol, they’re not doing read option. But they’re 17 percent pistol [on] first and second down in our breakdown, but not all of those are read option.”

(On if teams figured out the read option offense)
“I don’t know. I think NFL teams had not seen a lot of it so, then they got a dose of it, so then they had spent an off season looking at it and fixing it. But the offense didn’t just stop evolving. They keep creating different things with the pistol, and the zone-read option game so it’s a similar cat and mouse with everything in football. If you look back at their season last year, it wasn’t until late in the year and then the playoff run where it really exploded. I think they pick their spots when they want him carrying the football and when they’re going to risk injury but when he does he’s very effective. So today, if this is the week that all of sudden makes a big showing, we’ll just have to be ready for it.”

(On San Francisco’s defense and third and nine)
“Well, third-and-nine actually, which is weird, is one of those down distances – yeah cause third-and-nine, we’re actually pretty good for whatever reason, that number we’ve been decent. Actually better on third-and-nine than third-and-five, which is weird. But third-and-11, that’s another story. Double digits are not kind to many people and they’re good, they get after you. Anytime you have rushers like they do and they can pin their ears back without the threat of run, it puts you in a one-dimensional game and can get you in trouble.”

(On if San Francisco is a heavy blitzing team)
“No, it’s not their gig. I mean they will, but that’s not what they rely on they’re pretty stout up front.”

(On if he thinks they will need another quick start to win)
“Well, a quick start helps for sure, especially against a good football team. But if we don’t have a quick start it doesn’t mean the game is over, we’ve just got to keep pounding away. I think this is going to – for us to win this game, it comes down to the fourth quarter, that’s the way I look at it. We just have to keep pounding away and fighting our guts out and getting to the fourth quarter and find a way to win it.”

(On second half adjustments)
“We’ve kind of changed some things in the way we do them in the beginning of the game and the beginning of the half this year, I’m not going to get into specifics but we’ve kind of tweaked it a little bit and maybe the tweak’s are working in the first half, not so much in the second yet but that’s why we’re playing Sunday, right, we’ll see if we can get that figured out. I think we’re trying to exhaust every possibility to be affective.”

(On cutting the offensive coaching staff slack due to injuries on that side of the ball)
“I don’t think I need to cut anybody anything. Our offensive coaching staff is just busting their guts to find a way to move the football. This whole coaching staff, throughout this entire season, has been trying to do everything we can to give our players the best chance to win – that’s offense, defense and special teams. I think you just keep pushing forward, that’s the key. You’ve got to keep pushing forward, finding new ways. When you prepare 16 – really when you prepare 20 game plans, not that the preseason game plans there was a heck of a lot of thought that went into them – but when you prepare 16 game plans, it’s not easy and then you have the outside factors and we’re all doing it, every team in the league is doing it. You really stress yourself here towards the end of the year coming up with things that you think are unique and coming up with things you think can work. You’ve got to be careful you don’t overthink it. ‘Well, they know we do this.’ – You know what? That’s what we do. That’s one thing that I always come back to is ‘What do we do best, we better do what we do best [or] we’ll trick ourselves.”

WR Vincent Jackson

(On taking pride in not missing a start)
“I do. I know everybody’s out here going hard. It’s a tough league. I’ve never seen so many guys go down this year, [not just] on our team but just around the league in general. To complete a full season, every game is noteworthy.”

(On safety Dashon Goldson helping gameplan for San Francisco)
“It’s been good. Obviously, each year, a team’s going to be a little bit different. He can share a little bit about personnel with some guys and tendencies, but, overall, he just shared general ideas with us. They’re a different team, I think, a little bit, than they were last year. He’s definitely tried to help us a little bit, but that’s nothing we can rely on. Again, we go back to just film and their statistics and what they’ve done and what’s shown up.”

(On what stands out about San Francisco’s secondary)
“They just do a good job of not giving up a ton of big plays. They try to keep things in front of them. I don’t think there’s anything in particular that jumps off the screen to me. We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to go out there and we think we can be successful.”

(On his ability to shield off defenders with his body)
“It takes time. It takes some experience as far as knowing where the ball’s going to be and putting yourself in position to make them go through you; sometimes you get the PI [pass interference penalty], other times, it just allows you to make a contested catch. It definitely takes some work out here. A lot of it’s done out here on the practice field, putting yourself in game-like situations and attacking the ball. We try to make him [quarterback Mike Glennon] feel confident that, if you give us a decent shot at the ball, we’re going to try to come down with it for you. I think a lot of guys on this team – [tight end] Timmy Wright and the running backs and [wide receiver] Tiquan [Underwood] and all the other receivers -- have done a good job this year.”

G Davin Joseph

(On playing several good defenses to end the season)
“It’s some tough challenges, but it’s going to have carry-over for us, especially in the offseason – going and playing against some tough teams and really seeing how we can improve, going against some 4-3 teams, going against some 3-4 teams, different style defenses and really seeing how well our offense can operate.”

(On if it would be gratifying to have a 100-yard rusher against San Francisco)
“We’ve got to go out there [and] we’ve got to play good ball. We’ve got to play balanced [offensively]. Consistently getting first downs is what’s going to help us win the game. If that’s one thing that comes along with it, I’ll take it. We’ve got to go out there, we’ve got to stay on the field, put some consistent drives together, get in the red zone and score.”

(On San Francisco’s linebacking corps)
“I can’t think of anybody better. The guys are definitely smart, tough, physical football players that make an impact on a defense. They run 3-4 [defense] exactly how you’re supposed to run it.”

(On staying consistent)
“A season’s like a big wave: you have your ups and your downs and ups and downs, but you’ve got to find that middle ground – staying consistent. We’re doing that right now. We’re playing good ball. It may not always find its way on the stats sheet, but I feel like, from left tackle to right tackle, we’re playing good ball week-in and week-out. Right now, we’re on a little high. We don’t want to ride it too high. We’re just staying right in the middle and just continuing to work hard throughout the week to prepare for a very tough team that’s coming in this week.”

(On blocking for a running back like Bobby Rainey)
“It’s fun blocking for a home run-hitter. Losing Doug [Martin] and Mike [James], you’re kind of stuck in a situation in which now your guys that were in training camp, now you’re just down to one with Brian Leonard. He’s a great running back, but you find a guy in Bobby Rainey and it just surprises you; [it’s] a pleasant surprise. It’s definitely good to block for a back that can definitely change the game. He’s definitely an impact player and he’s proven that.”