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Buccaneer Notes & Quotes, Dec. 6

Posted Dec 6, 2013

Friday Notes: The availability of WR Vincent Jackson on Sunday will be a game day decision…Plus, additional injury updates, a visit from a former Buccaneer great, and more

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson's status for Sunday's contest against the Buffalo Bills will likely not be determined until game day, and the decision will ultimately be made by an expert on the matter: Vincent Jackson.

Jackson came out of last Sunday's game against Carolina with a mild hamstring strain, one that has kept him off the practice field for much of the week but might not be an impediment on Sunday given the extra rest he's received this week.  Head Coach Greg Schiano said he was "optimistic, cautiously," about Jackson's game status but added that only the wideout himself would really know when kickoff is approaching.

“It will be up to him," said Schiano.  "He knows his body, he knows if he can do it or not and he wants, he desperately wants to help us win, but he and I have talked he’ll let me know.”

-- WR Vincent Jackson, the Bucs' leading receiver, is questionable for Sunday's game against Buffalo
Jackson is officially considered questionable for the Bills game, as are three other Buccaneers: defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, defensive tackle Gary Gibson and wide receiver Chris Owusu.  Bowers was just added to the injury report on Friday with a knee ailment; he missed Tampa Bay's game two weeks ago in Detroit due to a concussion.  If Bowers is unable to play, the Buccaneers would likely continue increasing rookie defensive end William Gholston's exposure and perhaps give fellow rookie Steven Means a slice of the action.

The full injury reports for both teams, with game status designations added on Friday, are below.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

DE Da'Quan Bowers

Knee

Limited Participation

Questionable

DT Gary Gibson

Calf

Limited Participation

Questionable

WR Vincent Jackson

Hamstring

Limited Participation

Questionable

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Did Not Participate

Out

WR Chris Owusu

Hamstring

Limited Participation

Questionable

CB Darrelle Revis

Chest/Shoulder

Full Participation

Probable

DT Akeem Spence

Wrist

Full Participation

Probable


Bills:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

WR Marquise Goodwin

Calf

Limited Participation

Probable

DT Kyle Williams

Achilles

Did Not Participate

Probable


* Fans attending Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium will get a chance to see two of the most promising young linebackers in the NFL, Tampa Bay's Lavonte David and Buffalo's Kiko Alonso.  And those who keep an eye on the BucVision videoboards in the third quarter – and who have a good feel for Buccaneer history – will also see one of the best linebackers ever to put on a Tampa Bay uniform.

With former Buc great Hardy Nickerson in town for the weekend, the team will take an opportunity to recognize the five-time Pro Bowler after halftime of the Bucs-Bills contest.  Nickerson, a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1990s, is the third-leading tackler in team annals (1,028) and one of the most popular figures in Buccaneer history.

Nickerson, who recently ended a successful four-year run as the head coach at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, now intends to pursue a coaching career at the college level.  His son, also named Hardy, is currently a very promising linebacker who followed his father's path to Cal and might also follow it all the way to the NFL.  Nickerson is headed back to California at the end of the weekend but he stopped by One Buccaneer Place on Friday and spoke with Buccaneers.com.

While his son is a big Buccaneers fan, the elder Nickerson has been a bit busy with his own coaching duties to get too much of a look at his former team this season.  Still, he sees at least two players who could be the foundation of the same kind of turnaround he helped engineer in Tampa in the mid-1990s.

"I haven't had a chance to watch many of the games, but from the highlights, you see David making a lot of plays, you see [DT Gerald] McCoy getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback," said Nickerson.  "He seems to be a guy who's very tough to block up front, in the mold of a Warren Sapp.  Those are two guys you could certainly build a team around."

Watch the entire "One-on-One" interview with Nickerson here.

* After his 163-yard breakout against Atlanta in Week 11, second-year running back Bobby Rainey was held to a total of 98 yards by Detroit and Carolina the following two weekends.  That downturn is more a reflection of the excellent run defenses the Lions and Panthers field, and an overall failure to crack them by the Bucs' offensive front.  Rainey has continued to run well; against Carolina he had two 11-yard runs and a 16-yarder before the team had to go to the air due to a growing deficit on the scoreboard.

Rainey joins Doug Martin and Mike James (both now on injured reserve) as the only trio of Buccaneer backs ever to each post a 100-yard rushing game in the same season.  The Bucs are hoping Rainey can get another one against Buffalo and it's 24th-ranked rush defense, an outcome that would surely help slow down the Bills' very productive pass rush (an NFL-high 43 sacks).  Schiano appreciates how the 5-8 Rainey can avoid big hits and get yards after contact.

“Well, a lot like Doug and Mike, they don’t really give you a clean shot," said Schiano.  "He’s always kind of twisting and contorting his body and I think that helps. If you’re not a big guy you better be that and he is.”

Like many Buccaneer fans, Schiano is looking forward to seeing what the team can do with an apparently loaded backfield next season.  With Martin and James back from injury, Tampa Bay will have a rare collection of running back talent with which to work.

“I’m encouraged by Bobby," said Schiano.  "Bobby has a good feel as a running back and it’s going to be really good when they’re all healthy. Those are three or four really good backs, but I’m looking forward to Bobby continuing to get better as he just gets more in the groove here, I think he’s going to improve even more.”

In addition to the future of the Bucs' backfield, Schiano discussed a number of other topics on Friday after practice.  His thoughts on those additional issues are below.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“Good Friday practice, we had a chance to kind of shine up all the phases of the game plan, introduce short yardage [and] goal line that was good. From the injury standpoint [wide receiver] Vincent [Jackson] was limited, but [I’m] optimistic, cautiously, [he] did some things. [Defensive tackle] Gary Gibson was limited again, we’ll see. I think that’s about it.”

(On how Jackson and quarterback Mike Glennon’s relationship has developed)
“I think great, I think really strong. Vince is such a good leader and such a good person that no matter who it is, he helps them. [He’s] not overbearing by any means but he’s going to help a guy out. That’s the guy he is.”

(On if he sees similarities between the team and Buffalo)
“The similarities I see are philosophically, we both want to run the football, we both want to throw the ball down the field, both committed to aggressive defenses, that’s the most of the similarities that I see. One win separates us record-wise, so that’s another similarity.”

(On what he remembers about facing Buffalo Head Coach Doug Marrone)
“Always a very well-coached team. Doug is old school and his teams are well-coached, they’re tough, they play with a chip and off the field I know Doug through our experiences together, he’s a really good person and he’s doing a good job.”

(On how RB Bobby Rainey has done in the pass protection)
“I think he’s done pretty good, there’s one that burns in your mind, he kind of slipped a little bit, went back to block him and the guy sacked Mike. The ones you don’t see are the ones he does his job on and he’s pretty good with it.”

(On if having former Buffalo Defensive Coordinator and Current Special Teams Coordinator Dave Wannstedt on staff helps in preparation for this week)
“Personnel wise is where the benefit is, certainly they’ve changed schematically everything they do so it doesn’t help there; but from a personnel standpoint Dave can give his input. You always have to be cautious too because hopefully you’re a different writer, I’m a different coach a year later and you do change, you do adjust, you get better, adapt so you take it; but then you also have our pro personnel people who are constantly evaluating rosters, we put all of that into the personnel scouting report.”

(On Houston firing Head Coach Gary Kubiak)
“[They] just told me coming off the field. We know when we get in this we know it’s all a part of it, but it is hard.”

(On his relationship with Kubiak)
“I know him. I’m not close with him, but I know him.”

(On older players having to do maintenance on their bodies later in the season)
“ A guy like Vincent can because he has so many cumulative reps and he works so hard when he is out there. My biggest and our biggest job with Vincent is pulling him back during the week. We have to limit his reps because he just goes all out in practice every time he runs a route and then he finishes the route for about 30 yards and then he runs all the way back. Our biggest thing [wide receivers coach] John Garrett has done a good job of limiting his reps, because we know he’s going to go that way, which we love, but limiting his reps so he’s ready on Sunday. A week where he doesn’t do a lot is actually not a bad thing for Vince as long as the game plan hasn’t totally changed where he doesn’t know what we’re doing, but that’s not – we don’t do that.”

(On kicker Rian Lindell's mindset after missing kicks)
“You know I’ve never kicked, so I’m not sure exactly, but I have as a head coach for the last 13 years dealt with a lot of kickers and I think confidence is critical. You’ve got to remember to I think 45 yards and in is like high 80 percent. I’m not afraid to send him out there for the 50 [yard field goal] because if he makes it we get three and if he doesn’t – when I do that I have confidence that our defense is going to hold up, because I think two or three of those misses are over 50. When we signed him we didn’t think the 55, 53 yarders were going to be the norm. If we hit one great like he did the other day, but 45-44 yards in is where we need it and I think he’s been pretty good.”
Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers