Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pre-game Patter

A short chat with Offensive Coordinator Les Steckel before the Bucs’ crucial Game 13 against Dallas

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The Bucs' passing game struggled against Buffalo, but WR Keyshawn Johnson still stood out in Les Steckel's eyes

On game days, the press box at Raymond James Stadium is packed with hundreds of media representatives ready to cover all the action. Only one source, however, is allowed in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room before the game: Buccaneers.com.

That means access to players and coaches in the tense period of pregame preparation. Today, let's take a look at the thoughts of Offensive Coordinator Les Steckel in preparation in the hours before the game.

What's your opinion on the Warren Sapp comments of last week, and their supposed effects?

"I have to be honest," said Steckel. "I don't really read the papers, so I didn't even know what Warren said. I just don't have time to see what's in the paper, so I just treat everyone nicely and do every interview as if they're only writing good things about me. In the locker room after the game, the first guy that approached me was Warren Sapp, giving me high-fives. I guess the frustration was over, but I'm still a little frustrated by our inconsistency."

Do we have to worry about another seven sacks, as we allowed last week against Buffalo?

"Well, the first two were mental mistakes," said Steckel. "We had some trouble we weren't expecting with their schemes, but we got it straightened it out at halftime. The one thing I've learned over the years is that sacks have no correlation with winning and losing. Turnovers do, but Shaun held onto the ball despite all of those sacks. I told the team not to get alarmed (by the sack total) – we'll be fine."

What should we expect from the Bucs' offense in the absence of Mike Alstott?

"Well, we've definitely simplified things," said Steckel. "Mike Alstott is a heck of a football player, but so is Warrick Dunn. Then you've got Keyshawn, and everyone underestimates Jacquez Green. There's a lot of people we want to get the ball to. But with Mike out, we have to simplify our packages. That's probably better for the defenses we're playing against, but it's better for us, too."

Has Keyshawn Johnson lived up to your expectations?

"The thing I love about the guy is that he's one of the toughest football players I've ever coached," said Steckel. "He's our tough guy across the middle. That hit he took against Detroit was big, but he got right back. A lot of guys wouldn't have done that. You watch Keyshawn last week against Buffalo, he caught two passes but he was just drilling guys all over the field. I like to just run the ball and watch him block."

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