Buccaneers locker room tidbits
A couple things for you to chew on that came out of the locker room after the game.
- LB Adam Hayward has an ankle injury that looks potentially serious. It could eliminate any chance he had to compete with Geno Hayes for the starting job on the weak-side.
- Speaking of Hayes, he seemed to perform well in his first start and gave coaches no reason to doubt his ability to take over long term. It's early, and he still has much to prove, but he displayed great speed and showed the aggressiveness necessary to play the position. "Any time I get on the field, I feel like a starter out there," he said.
- Can't say enough about the starting defense. By my count, they've given up just a single touchdown, which came on the first snap from scrimmage last week at Jacksonville. The scheme is firmly in place now, and the players are starting to look comfortable in it. Miami had just one first down against the Tampa Bay starting D. "It's coming together. We're all in tune to what's going," Hayes added. "We've got the scheme down. We put a lot of emphasis on that. That's a trademark for the Buccaneers." SS Sabby Piscitelli made an important point: the starting defense didn't give up big plays against Miami. That was certainly the case against the Jaguars, but Piscitelli said they are maturing because they're learning from mistakes. Hard to argue with him considering the results.
- The offensive line has its act together at least when it comes to the zone-blocking system. Though the pass protection was not anything to brag about, but the linemen were certainly in a groove when it came to helping establish the run. C Jeff Faine, finally back from a groin injury, said it's starting to become evident the team's backs are a good fit for the blocking scheme. "I think all the backs were pretty hungry tonight, and it was good to see those guys really come alive," said Faine, who said he held up fine in his first preseason action. "They're hard runners, so they run through arm tackles, and you're going to have a lot of those in this scheme."
- Lastly, Jermaine Phillips started at free safety where he'll evidently play while Tanard Jackson is out for four games on a league suspension beginning Week 1. There wasn't much to tell based on his first outing, but it'll be something to build on. "It was good just geting back there and getting some looks," Phillips said. "I didn't get a lot of action but I'm anxious to see the tape and see how I did."