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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Answer Man, Vol. 4

The fans’ source on the inside fields more questions, discussing such topics as defensive tackle techniques, the Pirate Ship in Buccaneers Cove and timely news breaks


DT Anthony McFarland will play the three-technique in 2004, giving him more opportunities to penetrate the backfield

When Rod Marinelli grabs you by the shoulders and drags you to a certain spot on the grass, you don't think about resisting. This is a man who has made a living out of telling 300 pound men – fast, powerful, angry 300-pound men – where to go and when, and not always using his inside voice.

Okay, the Answer Man doesn't want to exaggerate. There was nothing to fear in this particular episode; practice was over and Marinelli is a very friendly, soft-spoken man off the field. Still, I had asked for a little primer course on a couple of defensive line terms – well, one of you had asked, sending me into the fire again – and I was suddenly a stand-in offensive guard. The Answer Man just wanted to be sure Marinelli wasn't going to go into a three-point stance and bull-rush me.

All is well. I got our answer (see below) and I feel a little bit wiser, football-wise, for it. I've got several new pieces of information for you, in fact…you had me running all over the building. Check out the answers to your questions below, and keep on sending new ones. I'm starting to think I can get my own office around here.


1. John Eckert of Columbus, Ohio asks:

What is the one-technique and three-technique used by defensive tackles?

Answer Man: "How much time have you got?"

That's not what I'm saying to you, John. That's what Marinelli said to me when I posed your question. Having just seen Marinelli spend an extra 30 minutes on a blazing-hot practice field hashing over the most minute details of the defense with Monte Kiffin, the Answer Man was a little worried about what that meant.

Fortunately, we talked Marinelli, a certified D-Line genius, into the short version…and we'd like to add in here that Marinelli's relaxed patience with a neophyte is yet another reason to admire the man.

Anyway, the first thing you need to know, given the wording of your question, is that the terms 'one-technique' and 'three-technique' are usually used in regards to the type of player a guy is, not a specific technique he uses. In other words, a coach isn't going to say, "I want you to use a three-technique on the guard," but he might say, "Anthony McFarland is going to be very productive in the three-technique this year."

Here's Marinelli on those two types of players:

"A three-technique is more of a high-energy, high-motor, explosive player who is going to get one-on-one pass-rush a lot more. He's a penetrator. He's got to be the disruptor; he's got to create some havoc. The one-technique is usually to the bubble and he's going to get the heavy run game, the heavy double-team, all those doubles coming off with the power running game."

Or, to put it another way, a one-technique is a nose tackle and a three-technique is an under tackle.

Okay, I kind of knew that. Maybe you did too, John. What Answer Man didn't know was from where the terms came. Why would an under-tackle also be referred to as a three-technique? Turns out it's all part of a code, and Marinelli cracked it for us.

Imagine you're facing the center and the guard to his right. The center's right shoulder is referred to as 'one.' The guard's right, or outside, shoulder is referred to as 'three," and so on down the line. The under tackle will often be trying to penetrate off that guard's 'three' shoulder, or through the B gap. Thus, three-technique.

By the way, straight up on that guard would be 'two' and his inside shoulder would be 'two-I.' And you thought it was all just see quarterback, chase quarterback!

Hope that helps.


2. Kathy Kennett of Tampa, Florida asks:

My family and I are new to Tampa and my husband is active-duty Navy. He was told that the Buccaneers allow only Navy families to fire the ship's cannons at the stadium. Is this true? If so, how do we find out more information about this. We'd be very interested in participating in a game, not to mention watching the Bucs play!

Answer Man: That's close to the truth, Kathy. The Pirate Ship in Buccaneers Cove is staffed completely by military personnel from MacDill Air Force Base. The Bucs are very thankful for and proud of their association with the servicemen and women at MacDill; in fact, approximately 350 people from the base work during the game in some capacity.

If you would like to express some interest in working on the ship, please contact Killeen Mullen at Buc headquarters (the phone number is 813-870-2700). About 30 servicemen and women work on the ship at each game; if there is not a spot open in that capacity, there may very well be some other volunteer job you'd be interested in on game day.


3. Tim Blackwood, Meridian, Mississippi asks:

I was wondering why it sometimes takes so long for breaking team news, i.e. major signings (Tim Brown), to make it to the website. What gives?

Answer Man: Tim also said in his question that is his homepage, but he often finds the breaking news, such as player signings, on first. So thanks, Tim, for having us as your homepage.

And thank you for this question, because it's an issue we deal with every day at There's no question that a big player signing – say, Charlie Garner – is almost always going to be mentioned in other sources before And, frustrating as that is, there's a simple reason for it.

It boils down to this: Anything on is, in effect, an official release of news by the team. And the team will never – and I mean, never - release a bit of news before it is completely official.

So another source may report that Garner has signed on a Friday night, when he's in town to meet with Buc officials, but our site won't do so until Garner has actually signed. That might be on Saturday morning.

Take your example of Tim Brown's signing during training camp a few weeks ago. was allowed to post that news at 3:45 p.m. The press conference was held 15 minutes later.

We hope we make up for it with our in-depth coverage and the other team and player-specific features on the web site. You can watch the video of Brown's press conference, posted that same day, and read a follow-up story complete with his thoughts and those of Coach Gruden. You can see one-on-one video interviews with many of our new players. You can read about how they're doing at practice every day. You can see dozens of pictures of each player. And, while we may not be first or second on every news release, we will have all of the news about the team. That's our only subject here at


4. Roger Kitchen Jr., Huntsville, Alabama asks:

Dennis Hopper did some commercials for the NFL 5-7 years ago. He depicted Hardy Nickerson, former TB linebacker, in a commercial but I can't remember the nickname he used for Nickerson.

Answer Man: I've got to give an assist on this one to Pat Brazil, the team's assistant video director. Answer Man's memory failed and I wanted to guess 'Hardware,' Nickerson's usual nickname around One Buc Place.

But, no, Hopper had a different name for Nickerson in those Nike commercials from the mid-90's: 'El Dragon.' Brazil, who has been with the team since 1991 and can remember the minute details of a midseason game in 1996, needed about 0.5 seconds to think of the answer.


Confidential to David Azevedo of Panama City: (Ooh, I feel like Ann Landers!)

I'm awfully glad you're son had such a good time after the game on Friday. I'll make sure to pass your thanks along to the players who were signing. Hopefully, we'll be back in Jacksonville in early February and we can make some more memories for a young fan.

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