FB Mike Alstott has improved each year, according to Tony Dungy
Every Saturday, Buccaneers.com listens in as Tampa Bay Head Coach Tony Dungy discusses the next day's games and various team topics. On Saturday, December 11, one day before his squad's battle for NFC Central supremacy with the Detroit Lions, Dungy covered the following topics…
…Rookie QB Shaun King: "He's going to be special. My last year playing in San Francisco, we had Joe Montana there. He wasn't playing, but you just said to yourself, 'Boy, that guy's going to be a good player.' And you didn't know why. It's the same thing with Shaun. No one thing he does jumps out at you, but he just puts it all together. He knows the game of football, he's learned it very well.
"He's a little bit like (Detroit's) Charlie Batch. He can avoid the rush, but he moves around in order to throw the ball, not to run."
…The next step in King's progress:
"Your whole first year as a quarterback, you're trying to learn your offense. He's in the process of mastering that right now. Taking the next step is learning what the other team is doing. It's a logical progession."
…The alignment of Tampa Bay's receivers:
"When Bert (Emanuel) got hurt, we moved Reidel Anthony to the weak side, where he had played the year before, and put Jacquez (Green) into the lineup on the strong side. Now that Bert's back, we've kept it that way with Jacquez and we rotate Reidel in with Bert. We've left Jacquez out there where he has made most of his big plays. When we go to three wides, Reidel comes in in the slot. Then Karl comes in when we go to four wides."
…Detroit's defensive approach:
"We feel like we'll get a lot of blitzes tomorrow. If so, our outside guys will have to make plays. They've blitzed us a lot in previous games, and had success doing so. They'll try to get us into second and long, third and long, and give Shaun (King) some different things to look at, make him figure it out. On first down, they mix up their coverages a lot. They play a lot of single-safety sets, with Ron Rice up near the ball. We have to figure out a way to get him blocked."
…Tight end Dave Moore: "Dave's playing very well for us. He's a bit of an undersized guy (for tight end), but he's a 'try-hard', pesky type of blocker. Plus, he has a knack for making big plays when we need one. We don't get him the ball that often, with all of the speed guys that we have, but he comes up big when we need him to, like he did last week."
…Fullback Mike Alstott and confidence in him: "He just went through that one stretch, about three games, when he couldn't hang onto the ball. But it was a fluke thing. He's had no problem the last three or four weeks and we're not worried about it. He's running the ball as well as he ever has for us, and his blocking is improving each year. He hadn't done a lot of blocking when he got here, but he has done a very good job of picking that up."
…The offensive line: "They were a little off-and-on earlier, but they've played pretty well during our winning streak. Jerry Wunsch has really come on since taking over for Jason Odom, who got hurt. We made a change at left guard last week and put Kevin Dogins in, and he played a good game. We still use Jorge (Diaz) there, but we've reversed it so that Kevin starts and Jorge comes in to spell him."
…Status of injured quarterbacks: "(Trent Dilfer)'s definitely out for the regular season. If we get to the first round of the playoffs, that's when we think we'll have a decision to make. That's what our trainers see as the best-case scenario. Eric (Zeier) is getting better. He had a tough injury, took a helmet right to the ribs. He really just started practicing last week; he's practicing well now and I think he's close to 100 percent. He hasn't taken a git since that Detroi game, but he's confident he could stay in there and get banged around a bit. He still winces every now and then when he throws the deep ball, but he's much better than he was three weeks ago."
…Rookie kicker Martin Gramatica:
"He's something special. I was at Pittsburgh when we got Gary Anderson, and I had never seen a guy like that that had the same stroke every time. No matter what the wind or field conditions were, you just felt he was going to make every kick. That's a great feeling to have as a coach. It's the soccer training (for Gramatica). He's used to making kicks with the ball rolling and in adverse conditions. He feels like it should be no problem when the ball is sitting still."
…The keys to Tampa Bay's offense against Detroit: "The number one thing we have to do is take care of the ball. I know we say that every week, but the last couple of times we've played Detroit, they've gotten up on us with a big defensive play. We also have to make sure we block Luther Ellis and Robert Porcher. They've made a lot of big plays."
…Defensive tackle Warren Sapp:
"I haven't seen everybody, but he's playing as well as anybody I've seen at defensive tackle. He's creating havoc inside and making plays against both the run and the pass. The thing we talked about this year for him to get to the elite level was that he had to make plays even when he was double-teamed. Sure, it's a sign of respect when you're double-teamed, but you have to get through that and make plays anyway. And he has done that.
"He's smart, he understands the game and he plays his best in big games. He has a lot of the same traits as Joe Greene – he's a big man, but he excels more with his speed than his power. He impacts our whole defense. When he's playing well, we're all moving, w're rolling. Often, he dictates the blocking we're going to get."
…Linebacker Derrick Brooks:
"He's playing as well as anybody I've been around for a long time. He finishes a game with 15 tackles, three passes defensed, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a sack and you say, 'He can't do that every week.' But he does."