Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quotes: Jackson, David, Moore (4/28)

New Buccaneers CB Sterling Moore has a head start on learning the team's defense from his work in Dallas, and that is helping him as he auditions for two different potential roles.

Related Links




When cornerback Sterling Moore chose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from a handful of suitors in free agency, he knew the defensive system he was stepping into. Now he's working to determine exactly where he fits within that system.

Moore, who joined the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent in March after four seasons split between New England and Dallas, has joined his new team for its offseason training program, which began on April 20. Since it's only Phase 1 of the program, as prescribed by the NFL for all teams, players can only take the field for conditioning work this month. However, they can work with their coaches in the meeting rooms for up to four hours a day, and that's where Moore is beginning his efforts to nail down a specific job on the Bucs' defense.

Specifically, Moore and the Buccaneers' coaching staff must determine if he is going to be used primarily in the slot as a nickel back or if he's going to play outside, where Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner started last year. During the first week-plus of the offseason program, he's getting some exposure to both roles, a learning curve made less steep by the fact that the Cowboys ran a similar defense under coordinators Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli for the past two years.

Gill Byrd is the Buccaneers' cornerbacks coach, but Senior Defensive Assistant Coach Larry Marmie also works specifically with those players who are learning the nickel position. The nickel backs often split from the rest of the corners during practice last season, and they are doing the same thing so far in the offseason meeting room sessions.

"Right now I'm three days with [Marmie] and a day in the corner room," said Moore. "I plan on doing both. I pride myself on doing that throughout my career. I played a lot of outside last year as well as inside. That's what I pride myself on is being versatile and I want to bring that to this team."

Injuries in the Cowboys' secondary opened up more of an opportunity to Moore to play on the outside last season, and he took advantage, starting seven games and breaking up 13 passes. He retains a good feel for playing in the slot, however, and knows what it takes to succeed.

"I would say vision on the quarterback," said Moore. "That allows you to play fast. That allows you to break and make a lot of plays on the ball. Knowing route combinations is always helpful because a lot of times your back is to the No. 1 receiver and you need to know what is going on behind you. You know what is going on behind you from what No. 2 does. Just knowing route concepts and seeing the quarterback."

Whether he finds himself filling one of those two roles or both, Moore will have a good feel for what's required of him.

"Obviously there are some coaches here and some players here that I'm familiar with, but the biggest thing was just the system," said Moore. "I've been in this system the last two years in Dallas, so it should be an easy crossover and that's something you are always looking for when you are headed to a new team.

"It's very similar. I would have to say the biggest thing is the terminology differences, but there are a lot of similarities as far as the techniques and what you're keying and things that allow you to play faster. I think my familiarity with that will help me play faster."


(On why Tampa's defensive scheme is a good fit)
"It's just a system I am familiar with. Obviously there are some coaches here and some players here that I'm familiar with, but the biggest thing was just the system. I've been in this system the last two years in Dallas, so it should be an easy crossover and that's something you are always looking for when you are headed to a new team."

(On how similar this system is compared to other defenses he has played in)
"It's very similar. I would have to say the biggest thing is the terminology differences, but there are a lot of similarities as far as the techniques and what you're keying and things that allow you to play faster. I think my familiarity with that will help me play faster."

(On if he is working primarily with the nickelbacks coach)
"Right now I'm three days with him and a day in the corner room. I plan on doing both. I pride myself on doing that throughout my career. I played a lot of outside last year as well as inside. That's what I pride myself on is being versatile and I want to bring that to this team."

(On the trick to being successful as the nickelback in this defense)
"I would say vision on the quarterback. That allows you to play fast. That allows you to break and make a lot of plays on the ball. Knowing route combinations is always helpful because a lot of times your back is to the No. 1 receiver and you need to know what is going on behind you. You know what is going on behind you from what No. 2 does. Just knowing route concepts and seeing the quarterback."

(On how much it helped having former teammates like Henry Melton and Bruce Carter here to ease the transition)
"It was big. Obviously, I had some other visits after I came to Tampa and those guys were calling me literally every day trying to get me to come here. It always makes the transition easier when I have guys here that I can go hang out with or talk football with and things like that. I'm not just here by myself. It was definitely a deciding factor. It wasn't necessarily a main factor, but it definitely helped."

(On if you are looking forward to the game against the Dallas Cowboys this season)
"I'm sure when the time comes and that week starts, I'll definitely be a little extra excited for that, but right now that's the farthest thing from my mind."

(On his familiarity with [safeties coach] Mikal Smith and if that had an impact on his decision)
"It was big. That was another guy that was calling me every day, every other day asking 'what's going on? What's the next process?' Like I said, the familiar faces here with all the coaches and players is definitely a big thing, from my comfort and standpoint. Having three coaches who were in Dallas with me is always helpful. I can go to them and ask them questions and not be hesitant about things."

(On his impression of the team before beginning contract negotiations)
"I knew they had a good defense. Their front seven has always been good. Obviously they struggled at the beginning of the year last year quite a bit, but down the stretch they played extremely well. There were also a lot of games within like six points or something like that. It was one of those things where you are trying to figure out what's the reason why they are losing these close games and things like that. But, with a defense that came on strong last year, I think they want to continue that into this year and I think that's what everyone wants to do so joining along with guys that have been here and saw the first half of last year and saw the second half of last year is going to make a big difference."

(On the time it takes to adjust to the Tampa-2 defense)
"It definitely takes a bit. The techniques are so pinpointed and the schemes and things like that. It's always a transition. Obviously we had that transition the entire year in Dallas, so it was something I have already experienced and kind of know what they went through that first half of last year."

(On learning the new terminology by the first OTAs)
"I think I will be pretty knowledgeable of what is going on. Maybe it's a crossover of old terminology, new terminology, I still think I'll recognize things and see it and be able to play fast. It's maybe calling out things. The way it's done here is going to take a second, but as far as knowing what's going on, either way, if it's the old way or the new way it's still going to transition to this defense."

(On making interceptions at the nickelback position and if the team wants more takeaways at that position)
"Not necessarily from that position, but overall in general. That's some that Lovie [Smith] has always preached to the defense. Takeaways, takeaways, takeaways. We had the same preaching with [Cowboys' defensive coordinator Rod] Marinelli in Dallas. We made a big jump in that last year and I think they are going to make a big jump here in the second year in the system. It's all about really honing in on that. Every player should have pride in getting to the ball or getting your hand on the ball. Then it's about capitalizing on opportunities that come."

(On if he is following the draft)
"I'll watch the first night. I won't necessarily get into the second or third. Maybe even the first 10 picks. After that I could care less."

(On if you care about the No. 1 pick)
"Yeah, I definitely care about the No. 1 pick. I'm excited to see what happens. I think everyone around here is excited to see what happens. I'll definitely be watching that."

(On if all cornerbacks are cross-training at nickelback)
"No, I think I am the only one that's going back and forth. Most of the time in Lovie's [Smith] system, guys are designated to where they want to be, but that was something I mentioned to them on my visits. I told them I pride myself in that, I don't want to be locked in to just one position. I want to have the opportunity to compete. I pride myself in being a competitor at more than one position. There allowing me to do that thus far and that's all I can ask.   


(On meeting Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston during Winston's pre-draft visit to One Buccaneer Place)
"It was just kind of random, actually. I was just in here working out and he was on his visit that day, so I was in the weight room and he was walking around touring the facility. They just wanted to introduce him to me, so he went in there. We probably talked about two minutes; it wasn't very long at all. Nice kid, seemed bright. Obviously a very exciting time in his life, so he was having a lot of fun doing his travel and all that stuff. We just more talked about the whole experience and what he's going through right now with the draft and everything and didn't get into too much football."

(On what the addition of Winston might mean for Tampa Bay)
"Obviously it's been the talk of the town. He's obviously very high on a lot of mock drafts and is expected to be right there in contention for that first pick. A very talented player, had a successful career. Any time you're winning national championships, that's something to be recognized. I have a lot of respect for his game, [but] obviously a lot of work to do. I think for us as an offense, organizationally-speaking we made a lot of improvements just with some coaching staff stuff, obviously we're going to be having some different players in different roles this year, and I think that entire culture of changing – more than just one piece (in drafting a quarterback) – is the big thing that's going to make an impact. But any time you can add great players and great talent, that's going to help you."

(On interaction with a rookie quarterback)
"We spend a lot of time with our quarterbacks, so we'll have a lot of hands-on interaction with him on the field, in the meeting rooms, things like that. I'll definitely try to help tutor him and help him with his learning curve as much as I can, whoever it is that comes in."

(On Winston referring to Jackson during a television appearance)
"I heard about it; I didn't see it myself. It's pretty cool. His mindset is obviously getting ready for that next level and that's got to be fun and exciting for him. We're ready to get back at it as well."

(On whether he has watched film of Winston, Mariota or any other possible quarterbacks)
"I haven't. That's what our management, our scouts and everything – that's their job, that's their role and we trust them. And they've done a good job here bringing some great players into this organization. For me, personally, I think maybe once whoever that person is gets in the building, we may start breaking down some of their strengths and ways we can craft our offense to support their strengths, but, for now, again, we don't know who it's going to be, so it would kind of be a waste of my time to spend too much time on that part."

(On the team hiring Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter)
"Great move, great move. Great guy. He called me early in January when he got the position and we had a nice conversation. Just a lot of respect for his body of work that he's done, his approach to the game. (He's) a very down-to-earth guy. Wants to be simple and sound, fundamentally sound. And I think that's something that Lovie really harps on and tries to teach as a team: being fundamentally sound, playing smart football. That's what Dirk is about, putting guys into position to be successful first and foremost, but then, at the same time, not beating yourself. I think a lot of stuff we had trouble with in the past, a lot of mistakes that just set ourselves back a little bit."

(On what he likes about Koetter's offense)
"It's just balance. I love the balanced offense. We're not going to be one of those wide-open, just always in the shotgun, on the tempo ball. We're going to run the ball as well. That's going to be a strength of this team. For a receiver, obviously, we want to throw the ball (a lot), but this day and age, you've got to have some balance."

(On working with less experienced quarterbacks)
"I think the biggest thing is just communication. Being out there on the field, being available to these guys, telling them what we're seeing, asking them what they're seeing, what they're expecting of us is the biggest thing. Just having an open book and keeping those doorways open. You know, popping into their meeting room, sitting in some of their meetings and just listen to them, exactly what they're seeing, what they're feeling, and ways that we can, as receivers, as a group, make their job easier."

(On why he feels Mike Evans will perform just as well in his second season as he did as a rookie)
"Mike's just a great talent, you know what I mean? He's a big kid, but he works hard at his craft and you can tell that he wants to continue to improve. By no means did I see at the end of that season, or even starting up early in this offseason, any kind of complacency with him. He's hungry; he wants to continue to learn the game. Obviously we're all dealing with a new offense right now – it's a new language and stuff. It's taken a lot of time and effort, but you can just tell he's putting in that effort. He wants to have another good year."

(On whether Evans made one of the biggest 'jumps' from his performance in college to succeeding in the NFL)
"I'm sure there have been plenty of guys that sometimes are just kind of under the radar in college and you just aren't sure what you're going to get, and they find a way to be successful. Sometimes that's system, sometimes it's just, again, just being a great player. Mike's a guy who came in last year in a system that we had some turmoil with losing Tedford and things like that, and it put a little bit more on everyone else's plate and we struggled at times with that, but, as a receiving corps, we've always kept the mentality that we're going to go out and try to perform well each and every game. We want to be one of the best groups on the field and Mike bought into that. He goes out there and he takes a lot of pride in his work, so that's fun.

(On the upcoming NFL Draft)
"It's always an exciting time. It's going to change a lot of our franchise and it's going to be a lot of buzz going around. Having that first pick is rare. You don't get a lot of those every few years. I think it's going to be exciting, whoever it is and however it works out. We're going to get him in here and we're going to get rolling. We're excited about who we have in this building already, but, again, adding good talent throughout the draft – not just the first pick, but throughout the draft and even free agency – is going to be important for us."

(On providing an example of proper work ethic for younger players)
"I think the best thing I can do is lead by example. I've always been that way. Each and every year, I come into a season no matter what successes I've had in the past (and) I treat it like I'm a rookie. I have to learn everything again, whether it's a new offense or the same offense, I go back to the basics and fundamentals and I do take a ton of notes and I try to learn as many positions as I can. Just understanding the real, whole concept of – you know, what are the running backs doing, what are the tight ends seeing – just really helps you as an offensive player, as a receiver, understand where you need to be on the field. I think these young guys have seen my work ethic in that manner and they do put in the time and the effort. It's fun to work with a group of guys like that, that want to come to work every day. They're willing to be coachable and improve their game. That's fun."

(On whether he went on any military-related tours during the offseason)
"No, no tours this offseason. Having MacDill (Air Force Base) right here keeps me plenty busy. There's always stuff to do here. It's been such a pleasure and a blessing for my foundation, having a crucial base in our national military family tree right here in our backyard. It's been good."

(On the atmosphere around the building)
"It's a lot more positive than you would kind of expect after last season. Guys kind of come in, maybe still a little bit of that hangover, but I haven't felt that. It's been a really positive air since the first meeting Lovie had last week. That stuff's behind us. We know we're a fresh team. We have some new faces in the building, obviously some new coaches as well. I really feel like the whole energy in this building is on the up-and-up. It really has been."


(On the status of his contract extension)
"I don't think it really matters to me right now. I'll just let my agent take care of that, as of now. Whenever they start sitting down with me and officially start talking to me about it, maybe then I'll think about it. But until that time comes, I'm just focusing on being here right now and just trying to get myself better."

(On how eager the team is to move past the 2014 season)
"Very eager, you can tell by the guys' attitudes in the locker room. I don't think (anybody)
mentioned (anything) about last year yet. It was one of the worst years I've ever been through since I played football and it's something that I want to get out of my head as soon as possible. That's why I'm here every day, just trying to do what I've got to do to not go through (anything)
like that again, and I'm sure all the other guys feel the same way."

(On if the team began to understand the defense better as the season went on)
"I think so. Everybody was coming together; everybody was understanding (the defense) more. Especially for the defense that we run, some of the stuff can sound so simple, but there are a lot of details that go into it. I think later, as the year went, guys started understanding the concepts and things like that and what different teams were trying to do to attack us in certain defenses. Now we have the chance to pick up where we left off and already, as a group, as a defense we're getting together, studying and things like that. That's a positive sign."

(On if there is a different atmosphere in the building this year)
"Not really man. I can see everybody's really happy – the offseason is really long. I can tell guys (were) happy to get back, be back in the environment that they know, finally start talking about football instead of watching basketball, baseball and things like that. Guys are happy to be back to work. Guys are really excited to get this thing started."

(On linebacker Bruce Carter)
"He's an athletic player. So far he's been a great guy to be around. In the meeting rooms, he's already answering a lot of questions. He's taking care of his responsibility as far as what he's supposed to do in the film room at his position. Like, we'll be watching film and he's calling thing out for his position. That's a positive sign. Him and (former Tampa Bay linebacker) Mason (Foster) are two different types of players, so hopefully he can come in and just pick up wherever Mason left off and maybe even do better."

(On how Carter will make the transition from outside linebacker to middle linebacker)
"We've got a great coach in Hardy Nickerson, so I'm sure that transition won't' be as hard. Hardy played the exact same position that (Carter)
is about to play. From what I've seen, he's been getting in Hardy's ear a lot, asking him a lot of questions, so that's a good thing. Like I said, it's going to be tough at first, but that's why we've got this time now, to iron all the kinks and things out so once we get on the field it can be real simple for him."

(On Carter saying he watched film of David last season and if the two discussed that)
"No, not really, we didn't have a conversation like that yet. In the locker room, we just do a lot of things to try and get to know each other, a lot of laughs and giggles. Then in the film room, we don't really have that much time to discuss other matters besides film. You know Hardy – he gets right to it. Maybe down the line, we probably will (have that conversation) – I remember watching him in college and also in Dallas. He's a great football player from what I've seen, so I can't wait to get on the field with him."

(On if the linebackers need to create more turnovers this season)
"Yeah, I think so. As a linebacker group, the only guy who had all the picks was Danny (Lansanah), so we need some more guys like that, (like) me and myself to come in and compete with Danny to get some hands on some footballs, so we already told him that we're coming for him. Hopefully that competitive nature brings the best out of all of us."

(On how Jameis Winston would fit into the Buccaneers locker room if the team were to draft him)
"We've got guys in the locker room with great character and I think, if we draft him and he comes in the locker room, I'm sure guys will pull him to the side. We've got some veteran guys who could pull him to the side and make him understand that there's a role he has to play once he comes in and sometimes you may have to tone (your personality) down. Some guys may even say, 'Just be yourself, that's who you are, just be yourself.' But I don't think it will be a distraction or anything like that. I'm sure if he comes in he'll adapt to what we've got going on in the locker room."

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