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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris' quotes from Thursday



(On practice)
"Dallas preparation today. I'm kind of simulating a Friday for us; we'll get kind of a bonus day a little bit. Injuries: E.J. Biggers, he did not participate today; John Gilmore, no participation; Adam Hayward, no participation in practice today. Antonio [Bryant] and Michael Clayton were limited today. Having a bonus day, just make those guys limited and be smart. Kyle Moore did not participate today – a little soreness and we'll update that tomorrow."

(On where Kyle Moore is sore)
"He has a little baby groin type of deal that's bothering him.”

(On Kellen Winslow being the only player on the field in full pads)
"Why is that the first question? I think you stumped me for the first time. Kellen is a full-pad guy. He wants to be as ready as he can be for Sunday. Sometimes, we've got some players, they feel things and they've got a natural progression of things. He wants to get used to Florida and he wants to embrace the heat. He may be buying into what I say a little too much. At the same time, it's a Thursday and if it was a normal week we'd be in pads, we'd have our uppers on. The national anthem isn't about to go off, but he practiced like that all day. He went hard, did everything we asked and I was happy to see him out there being productive. He wants to get used to it. That was just a decision we came up with, me and him."

(On some players having pads on)
"We used to do that all the time on defense. Coach Gru [Jon Gruden] used to have us all take our pads and Ronde [Barber] and Flip [Jermaine Phillips] and Derrick [Brooks] and a lot of those guys would want to leave their pads on so they would for a couple plays. Even sometimes when we came out and we didn't have pads on, you would see those guys do it. They like to put their pads on and move around. Everybody's got to prepare for themselves, everybody's got to prepare in a different way. Kellen's the same type of way, he likes to have his pads on, three shoulder pads on sometimes. As long as he's got his footwork right, he's okay. Everybody's different, everybody has their moments, their little pet peeves. I don't think anybody even realized he was the only one in pads out here. I don't think anybody said a word, so it was fine."

(On Quincy Black)
"Seeing Quincy grow, seeing Quincy become an older player, watching him fly around and gain more confidence…he's always been a physical presence that you look at and say, 'Wow, when this guy gets it and the light comes on he's going to be pretty good.' I think the light's starting to come. He can't wait for these live-action bullets here to start flying. We'll get him out there in that realm and we'll judge him on that. But he's done everything we've asked him to do, he's been smart, he's been detailed, he's moved around a little bit for us. You talk about position flexibility. Special teams, he's been dominant. I'm fired up about Quincy this year and the year he's going to have."

(On if Black is a player the defense can be built around)
"I'd like to think so. You're talking about a guy who is hopefully going to be our starting 'backer for a long time. Him, Barrett [Ruud], Geno [Hayes] giving us our foundation and hopefully they become the guys that take the torches and run with them. They're in constant communication with all our older guys. Once you're a Buc, I think you're always a Buc. I know [Warren] Sapp talks to him a lot. I know all those guys call back here and they're a part of this football team. We're fired up about that. We're fired up about these young guys taking this thing and running with it."

(On signing a punter to the practice squad)
"You've got to bring guys in here for competition. You're always looking to get better. You don't want anybody to get comfortable. We've got Dirk [Johnson] in here, he's our punter. We've got [A.J.] Trapasso to see what he can do. We want to see his leg in live action, see his leg out here on grass, see what it looks like in Florida. I don't know if this is Mile High or anything, I don't know if the punts go higher or whatever, so we want to see all that type of stuff. We want to see him work with our special teams coach, see him hold, see him do all the things a punter should do. Then you've got to make decisions based on what you believe as far as how long you can keep him and all that stuff. But Dirk's our punter. We'd just like to bring him in for competition. You've got to get your best 53."

(On his comfort level with Dirk Johnson)

"I'm feeling really good about Dirk. Dirk did everything we asked in the preseason. He's a very good directional punter. He's an older guy, he's been around the league, he's sharp, he's bright, he can do all the things we ask him to do. He's taken all the information well. He's savvy; the other day we had a misstep and he caught the ball and got it off quickly. Some of the things you see that you like about him, that you like about having a vet like Dirk in here, are pretty good. So I'm feeling comfortable with him."

(On the physical offensive line of the Cowboys)

“You always know that. You have to do some things to try to get around this offensive line. They are monsters, who are we kidding. They are big guys. Maybe you want to use some movement, you want to try to go around them and you have to outwork them. You have to do some different things on them. You are talking about an offensive line that is stacked. You are talking about big bodies in there that once they get on you they can absolutely maul you. They are strong, they are physical and they are violent. They are very good. We just have to hope that we can hold up.”

(On how RB Clifton Smith fits into the mix in the backfield)
“You are talking about Clifton; you are talking about our Pro Bowler. He is our punt return Pro Bowler, our kickoff return Pro Bowler, you are talking about a guy that can do some other things for us on offense, you are talking about a guy that can catch the ball out of the backfield, motioning. He just brings so much to the table. You have to have some wrinkles in there for him. You have to be able to put him in the game, put the ball in his hands, use him as a decoy, a bunch of different things. I’m excited about Clifton. Everything he brings to us is just another option, more valuable tools in the toolbox that we pull out when we need.”

(On if Smith is going to be mixed in immediately)

“You are going to have to wait until Dallas on that one. I don’t want to be giving any secrets. Clifton is a major part of this team. He will have a helmet on and is one of the 45, I will tell you that much.”

(On where WR’s Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton are at with their conditioning)
“You have to talk about our football conditioning and where it’s going to be on Sunday. We are going to see that from everybody, those two in particular because they missed a couple of practices down the stretch there. We have a great strength program. We have Kurtis Shultz, we have those guys running. We know it’s nothing like football ready but they are going to have to fight through it to be ready to go. If they are not, they have to be ready to go as far as their backups, the Brian Clark’s of the world, the Maurice Stovall’s and Sammie Stroughter’s. All of those guys have to be ready to step in and play a major role. Like I said the other day, ‘there is nobody on this football team that has to play 60-minutes, except for Barrett [Ruud] and the left cornerback and guys like that.”

(On how much Clifton Smith will be used on offense because of his value as a kick-returner)
“You do, that’s just a natural career move from being a young head coach. You don’t want to get him out there and ruin your guy, but you have to use his talent. He is dynamic when he gets the ball in his hands, whether it is a kick return or a punt return, a halfback pass or a screen, whatever you can do with that guy. You can just do so many things. He is talented.”

(On how important field position is on special teams)

“You have Clifton Smith; obviously he can change field position in a hurry. That’s what you need. The guys who have to win for us are the guys that are holding up those flyers on punt team. You have to have those corners and that goes to your corner battle. Whoever is out there at the time, whether it is Aqib Talib, Torrie Cox or Elbert Mack. They have to win for you with those flyers to give Clifton a chance. You are talking about your coverage units. Your coverage units have to be on point when they are going down the field, whether it is kickoff or punt. When you’re covering you have to win those battles and then on defense and offense. We have to be successful; we have to move the ball to give ourselves a chance to get a red zone punt out of there. We have to be able to stop those guys to get them to be backed up to us. You have to win that game; it’s going to be a constant batt le throughout the day. We’ve embraced for it and are ready to deal with it.”

(On if WR Sammie Stroughter could be a receiver going into traffic in the middle)
“I hope so. We have to see if he likes it. We had a guy around here that was doing that for a long time, Ike Hilliard. He got in there when it was ‘sticky’, what we called it around here and made those ‘sticky’ catches. He wasn’t afraid to get his face peeled off like he did a couple times and he got up, from some of them. Some of them we carried them off. Antonio likes to say, ‘sometimes we go in there and it’s daytime and sometimes you come out and it’s night.’ You have to be ready to deal with that when you are a wideout. That’s the nature of the beast and we’re going to have some of our guys to do that.”

(On if Derrick Ward’s familiarity with the Cowboys when he played for the Giants would help the Buccaneers)
“You would think so. It’s like us playing a divisional opponent. You know them so well, they know you so well. Nobody is trying to trick each other that week. You might as well call each other up and tell them what you are going to do because it really doesn’t matter. He’s done it for a while, I’m sure he is sharing it with his room, I’m sure he is sharing it with his coach. Anything that he has that might have worked for him, it has to help. It’s a natural thing.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:41pm]


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