Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Caged Dog

As he told Pewter Power Hour listeners on Monday night, John Lynch is itching to get back on the playing field

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S John Lynch hits hard on the field but made nice Monday night on the Pewter Power Hour

John Lynch's job often affords him the opportunity to meet new people. Sometimes he even learns their names as he's helping them up off the turf.

Lynch is a Pro Bowl strong safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, commonly regarded as the NFL's hardest hitter, so his 'meetings' often take place at about 30 miles per hour and are meant to put the other person on the ground. Still, he's as nice and personable a man as you would want to meet off the field.

That's what callers to the Pewter Power Hour on Buccaneers.com learned Monday night when they called and spoke directly to Lynch. Through this unique, live call-in show on the Buccaneers' official web site, fans across the nation were given the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with the longtime Buc safety. All it took was a toll-free call and a good question.

The very first caller to the Pewter Power Hour on Monday, for instance, wanted to know how the team was going to come out of its long layoff this coming weekend to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch helped allay the fans fears of a rusty or unfocused Buccaneer squad.

"A lot of people are concerned about our layoff and all the other factors – Minnesota being 0-2," said Lynch. "Our approach is, it comes down to what we do. It's going to come down to how we play.

I think we've used this unfortunate layoff due to the tragedy and the bye – as a team we looked at and said, 'Look, we can make excuses when the time comes that we've had a long layoff. Or we can use it as an opportunity to get better as a football team.' We went out there and worked hard and I think we've done that.

"We're like a bunch of caged-up dogs and we're looking forward to playing."

John and the caller, a transplanted Buc fan in New Jersey named Brian, laughed over that image and spent a few more minutes chatting, then it was on to the next fan on hold. And thus, another Pewter Power Hour flew by.

To listen to the entire audio recording of Monday's Pewter Power Hour with John Lynch, please click here.

Lynch went on to a variety of topics with the show's callers, to which a few of his answers can be read below.

Are you concerned about the offense and will the current layoff set it back?

Lynch: "We all knew this was going to be a situation where we were going to expand our package as we went on during the season. I think these last two and a half weeks have given us an opportunity to do that. I think we will. I think we're ready to as a team."

What do the Bucs do to build team character and avoid disruptions in the locker room?

Lynch: "A lot of that comes from our organization, and things tend to come from the top on down. First and foremost, what they try to do is be aware of that when they're scouting a player. We try to bring in good character guys – good character guys that can play football. We don't just want choirboys. We want guys that can play football, but they have to fit into what we do.

"Players around here have set the standard, too. When a young player comes in, there's a certain way to act. If they don't, they're going to be told about it. After awhile, the coaches can do all the talking they want about how we're going to do things, but it comes down to the leadership within the locker room. I think we have a good situation here with that, and as a result we don't have a problem with that."

How's the shoulder that bothered you last season?

Lynch: "I feel great. I made the decision this offseason right after the Pro Bowl to have surgery. I did, and thankfully, here I am going into week two of the season and I feel great. I feel like it's back to a normal shoulder. I don't think about it, and I'm glad I elected to go ahead. Last year was a struggle playing with it after the injury. It was loose. It's really been loose my entire career, so I'm enjoying have it in there and not worrying about it."

Can you give me a description of the 'cover two' defense we always hear about?

Lynch: "Our cover two defense essentially is when our corners are rolled up on the outside. What they're trying to do is re-route the receivers. The 'cover two' essentially comes from there being two deep – that's the two safeties. They're the deep players in that, playing over the top. It's a zone concept with five underneath and two deep. It's been a real successful defense for us, and you're seeing a lot of people league-wide take what we do and implement it into their own systems. This is a copycat league and usually when someone has success with something, people will copy it around the league. We've had a lot of success with that since this staff came here in '96. "

Check back with Buccaneers.com to learn the starting time and guest for next Monday's Pewter Power Hour.

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