Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneer Quotes, Bye Week

The Buccaneers are hopeful that the bye week will give Michael Johnson's ankle time to heal and allow him to be the impactful player they coveted in free agency…And other discussions.

Photos from the Buccaneers' bye week practice at One Buc Place.

The extra time afforded by the bye week will likely help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get starting cornerback Johnthan Banks back on the field to face Minnesota in Week Eight. It could add enough time for starting free safety Dashon Goldson to come back from his ankle injury.

The secondary could use the help those two would provide, but the Buccaneers' pass defense would also look a lot better if it was playing behind a fierce pass-rush. And in that regard, the bye week might deliver the best gift of all: A healthy Michael Johnson.

Johnson, the Buccaneers' first signee in the early hours of free agency in March, hurt his ankle just a few plays into the season and has been dealing with that injury since. He missed one game, barely played in another and has been some percentage less than his normal self in the last two. The Bucs hope that percentage dwindles down to nearly zero with all the rest afforded by an entire week of inaction.

"For us, it's a factor," said Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier. "He's been playing injured. This week is going to help him tremendously. We're not going to tax him much this week at least, and we'll take it slow next week. So we need a healthier Michael Johnson and we should get that by having these two weeks.

"From that second play of that Carolina game – that was one of the plays that we looked at yesterday as we were going through our self-scout – to see him on the ground grimacing, from that point on, it's just been an uphill battle to try to get him back healthy. He's made great progress with the time that we've had him and the time he's missed. But he's not the player that we had coming out of training camp, because of that injury. But the time off this week and next week should help him. He'll be closer to what we all expect to see when we line up against our next opponent."

NFL coaches and players routinely dismiss the impact of injuries on a team for several reasons, not the least of which is that every team is missing something due to injuries. Neither Frazier nor any of his fellow coaches would use injuries as an excuse for the Bucs' 1-5 record. That said, the impact of the ankle injury on Johnson's game has been real, and that's actually an encouraging point if that ankle is healed when the Bucs suit up again in Week Eight.

"When you have an ankle injury, to push off, to twist and turn like you have to do at the defensive end position, it's going to impede some of the things that you have to get done," said Frazier. "He's not a guy who wants to be thinking about that injury for what he has to do – he's going against the best left tackles in the National Football League. But to be able to twist and turn, to burst, to get on the edge of a tackle when you've got an ankle injury, sometimes it's hard to put that weight in the areas that you need to without feeling that sharp pain and having to deal with it."

Buccaneer players and coaches discussed a number of other issues on Wednesday before letting the players go for a relaxing four-day weekend. More thoughts from Frazier and others can be found below.Head Coach Lovie Smith

On how limited has defensive end Michael Johnson's ankle injury has made him:* "It's a legitimate injury and whenever you can't go full speed it's tough duty, especially for a defensive end trying to pass rush – you have a big lineman leaning on you, but not many players are full speed at this time of the year. Michael is getting closer and as he continues to get more and healthier, he'll be able to do more things."On how much injuries can attributed to the team's record: "We have injuries, [but] what can I say about injuries? Every team has injuries. We haven't played as well as we need to, we're not even going to go down that road. The players that aren't injured, we have to become a better football team with them and it's as simple as that. The bye week helps you do that a little bit, we should be healthier when we get back and get ready to play the Vikings."On fullback Jorvorskie Lane suspension: "Not much more I can say. He made a mistake and when you make mistakes, there's punishment that comes along with it. He'll serve his two game suspension and his team will be here then."On treating the bye week of practice as a second training camp: "That's how we're looking at it and for our football team coming out of a training camp starting the season, that's exactly the approach that we're going to take and with training camp you go over our techniques that we aren't doing correctly right now and we need to improve on it, it's as simple as that. That's why we're 1-5. As coaches we need to do a better job and as players we need to – the players are taking coaching and everyone is taking a hard look in the mirror to see what they can do to help our team win more games."On the message he would give to frustrated fans: "Yesterday I talked about the only message I can give is that it's seven-and-a-half minutes left to go in the second quarter and we're behind. We understand that, but the games don't decide the winner then, you have to play it out and that's what we're going to do. What we need to do these next two games – starting with this next game – is for us to just get better while we have time this week, which we're doing. I would tell the fans that we are getting better and look at the overall picture of where we are. We've been very disappointed in our play two weeks [this season], there's no way to sugarcoat that. The other four games, that was a decent football team that hasn't figured out how to win consistently yet, but I would say I understand, we're disappointed right now, but things will change."On how his relationship with quarterback Mike Glennon has changed since he has been the starter: "I wouldn't say it changed because I would be disappointed as the 63 players, counting the practice squad guys – the 63 to one, Gerald McCoy, would say I treat them the same way. As far as if the relationship has changed, I made a statement that Mike is our quarterback of the future, saying he has a future with us, that came a little sooner than we thought and he's played well. Yeah, we would like to have couple of plays [back], but looking at the overall picture on what Mike Glennon has done, he's given us a lot of hope. As far as our relationship, Mike you have a big role in leading us back and he's accepting that challenge."On the problems in the secondary: "Coverage in general starts with the rush and it hasn't been good enough. Simple, but from there we've given up big passes – we're not supposed to give up big passes, you're supposed to earn it the hard way and we haven't made plays on the ball. We just haven't played consistent football. We need to get some of our players back in the secondary – the last game we played a couple of players who weren't on our football team when we started the season, but some players that have been here a while would say that they're not pleased with their play so far, I would definitely say that. Hopefully next time when we go out against Minnesota we can correct some of those things. When you're going through the season, [you] play a game and then it's next week and you forget that game, but when you have a bye week, you have some time for it to soak in. And just don't assume with a bye week, everybody is taking off to the Bahamas right now. No, we have time to really evaluate and be real with ourselves to see what we need to do."*Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier

Opening statement:* "We're going to try to use this bye week to improve as a group on defense. We had one day yesterday where we had a chance to get some work, both in the classroom and on the field as well. I thought we did make some improvements. Today will give us another opportunity to do the same thing. We had some meetings this morning going through some of the things we want to get accomplished. We'll get a chance to go on the field this afternoon and work through some things and try to use this time to improve. I think our guys have that mindset and our coaches do as well. We've got to get that done."On what he has seen from the game film that has gone wrong on defense: "We went back and we're still [looking at tape]. Looking back at those first six weeks and just trying to ascertain how we can get better at what we're doing. We think we did improve in some areas along the way – we'll take a step forward and then we'll take a step back. We're just going to try to tear everything down and see if we can figure out a way to get better – some of the basic things that we're trying to get accomplished. But we're not through with that process yet. We're going through it now and hopefully we'll come up with some better answers."On if he can pinpoint one major problem on defense: "When you experienced what we experienced on Sunday, it's a gamut of things – it's not one thing. We did some good things the prior week and then we had some breakdowns on Sunday. So we've just got to tear some things down and just try to figure out what we've got to do. But it's not one thing."On if injuries and rotating players during games has caused miscommunication on defense: "You're right about the scheme being where you have to have a feel for the guy next to you – we play so much zone. And some of it has been the shuffle that we've had personnel-wise – that's been a part of it. But also you don't want to get into the business of making excuses. With the guys we have, we've got to make it work. The good thing about this week, we get a chance to go back to some of the basic things that we've put in – back in say April or May – and we have some guys that are playing for us, some that played for us on Sunday, who weren't with us in the summer, weren't with us during training camp. So now we'll get a chance to start from the ground floor and try to build up with some of those guys that are having to play a lot more for us that we thought they would've had to play back in August. But that's part of it: being able to trust your teammate and practicing with him and getting a feel for him. This week will help us to do that and hopefully we can get through next week with a healthy week and have the majority of our players on the field."On what he has been getting from the nickel position and what has to change: "We want to get more from our nickel player. That position in today's NFL, you're like a starter. Some of the teams are going three and four wide receivers – you play a lot of snaps. We need to get more from Leonard [Johnson] at that position. He was in a position on Sunday in a third-down situation to make a play. Didn't make that play and we've got to make some of those plays. He's going to have more opportunities and hopefully he'll make more of those plays. But this is a week for him to get better as well. We'll go through some of the things we did five or six weeks ago and try to get him better at some of those things. But we need more."On if newly acquired defensive back Isaiah Frey will play more at nickel back or cornerback: "He's been primarily a nickel in the past and we're going to look at him at the nickel back position primarily. He'll get some work at corner but he'll spend more of his time at nickel."On if the team will consider making personnel changes for defense during the bye week: "As banged up as we've been, we've played just about everybody you can play defensively. We haven't had many guys sitting and not playing. But everything is on the table and you want to do whatever you can to improve. So we're going to look at everything that we can during this time that we have to evaluate and try to improve. But I think that we've played just about every guy that we can play at their positions."*Cornerbacks Coach Gill Byrd

On how the team has been trying to overcome injuries on defense:* "I guess first of all, I would just say that the guys are really trying to do the things that we're asking them to do. And for me, it starts with coaching. If they're not performing out there, the buck stops there with me. And so I've got to take into account, look into the mirror, see what am I doing and not doing to help the players to be successful. But they're doing exactly what we're asking them to do. Injuries don't matter – in this league, everybody has injuries. The next man has got to be up, next man has got to play. And this is on the coach to get the next man prepared to play. And that's all I can say about it is it's on me – it's on the coach."On what he's seen on defense that would explain the lack of takeaways: "I see that I haven't done a good enough job of coaching them. That's what I've seen. I've seen that I haven't gotten the players into position to where they feel comfortable, they're playing fast, and it starts with me. It really does. And I have to do some self-evaluation over these next four days. I've got to get better. And I figure we'll reflect it in the players."*Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson

On the bye week:** "I don't know if there is an art to the bye week. I think your bye week is all about getting back to basics and working on those things that you need to improve on and identifying those things that you need to get better at and I think we've done that. We've been working hard and I think we're looking forward to our next game."On why they can't get pressure on the quarterback: "In terms of pressure, it's a number of things. We pride ourselves on rushing and covering and sometimes the opponent does make a play here and there and we've just got to be in position and work together in sync to make those things happen. I think we've just been a little bit off, but we've had a good week of work this week and we're looking forward to our next opponent."Offensive Line Coach George WarhopOn the offensive line's performance against Baltimore: "I think Baltimore to this point was the best defense that we played and they are different guy, body types, and we didn't play our best. They're good and we weren't and that's a bad combination."On getting the rushing attack going: "We just have to do our job. I think our running backs are running hard, I think Doug [Martin] is doing all he can to be successful, Bobby [Rainey] goes in there and he does a good job of being successful, but it's the guys around them. It's every group on the field other than the running backs have to do a better job and I thought last week, even though we didn't play very well, the one thing that showed up is that the running game is getting better. It's been improving and you don't see it as much in terms of the stats, but when we watch the tape you see it getting better each week and last week I think if we had a chance to really run the ball, I thought we had a great plan and it showed up the few times we did run the ball."LB Lavonte David

On if it helps having linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson who went through a similar situation during his playing days with the team:

"Oh yeah. It helps out a lot. He always talks about it. He's like, 'Man, just stick with it. Things are going to turn around fast.' He's played in this exact same defense, so when he's preaching that to us, we believe in it. All we've got to do is just believe and keep working at it."**QB Mike Glennon

On what getting back to the basics this week meant for him:** "I think just getting back to the fundamentals of playing the quarterback position, working on footwork, working on using my eyes better, working on accuracy and everything. Having these two extra practices allowed us to kind of get back to that camp feel, going against our defense, and working on ourselves and not really focusing on what the defense is doing. I think we had two good days of practice and now we'll get a break and comeback Monday to get ready for Minnesota."On how much different it is going into the bye week this season compared to last season:
"It's definitely a lot different. Last year I had one start and then we had the bye week which was good to have some experience going into the bye week, but this year I feel like I am a completely different player. I just have a lot more knowledge, more experience and it's definitely a different feel heading into this bye week than the last one."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
win monthly prizes, download the app and turn on push alerts to score

Download the Buccaneers app and turn on push alerts for your chance to win

Latest Headlines