Thursday's Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp quotes
Thursday's Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp quotes, courtesy of the Bucs:
HEAD COACH RAHEEM MORRIS
(On having a walk-thru on Thursday morning)
"We're getting close to the game. I want to try to get these guys to the game so they can play. We want to be able to evaluate them in their best form, at their best shape, so I thought it was a smart decision this morning to go with a little walk-through. We'll get out this afternoon and run around the stadium a little bit, more of a glide-and-stride rather than the normal tempo you guys are used to. We'll still have helmets on, no shoulder pads, and we'll run around in our sneakers and our cleats to get that stuff done. The Tennessee preparation this morning I thought was critical. We had a 98-yard drive, having the ability to move down the field and these guys getting the confidence to move down the field, walking through all the situations. Like we talked about today, it's ever-changing, so that was important for us."
(On injuries and roster moves)
"We've waived Greg Peterson and we've signed Dirk Johnson. On [Josh] Bidwell, we're still evaluating that situation and we'll be able to get back with you with further information on that. But other than that, we're status quo. The guys who won't play, we talked about them before, Michael Clayton, Antonio Bryant. We actually got a couple guys back today. If anybody's got any other significant injuries, we can talk about that later. Johnny Lynch is in town. He's working our game this week. I put him in first class with me, even though he's the media. He's got money in the emotional bank account. He's 47 Red, he's back home and I thought he deserved a ride up front. We've got Mark [Royals] in town, he bleeds what we do, too, but I'm not putting him in first class. Just 47 Red – I coached him. I had to say I coached him because Dave Moore is also a guy that bleeds the colors, so I had to let him know that I coached 47 Red, he's in town and I'm giving him special privileges."
(On who would hold for placekicks)
"Dirk's the holder as well. And we had a plan for holders anyway. You've always got to have a backup plan when you talk about holders. We've got guys on the staff who do it. We have Sabby [Piscitelli] that punts, kicks, holds. You've got Brian Clark and a couple other guys. Obviously none of them are great at; they're very efficient. They've done it in college, done it in high school, things of that nature, so they can go out there and get it done for us if we need anything done there. That's very important. A lot of people don't understand when you lose your punter you usually lose your holder and a bunch of operational things."
(On if the injuries add anxiety to his preparations for the game)
"No, it provides more opportunities for the guys that are backing those guys up, to see what our roster is going to look like. Who are the guys who can step up and go in there when we do have injuries during the season? Every year you have injuries all throughout the season. You have guys go down; there's nothing you can do about it. There will be guys that go down this season. I can't change that. So right now I'm getting the full complement of our team. Who are the guys that are going to step up and play great when we have our starters go down? Who are the guys that are going in and giving us the best chance to win every week? Now I've got a chance to see. I've got a chance to see some of those wideouts a whole half. I get a chance to see those three wideouts – talking about Cortez Hankton, talking about Brian Clark, talking about Maurice Stovall – for a whole half, mixed in with a little Sammie Stroughter. In the second half, I've got a chance to see that big number 19 that we're all talking about [Mario Urrutia]. I get to see him for a whole half. In a normal situation, you've got two starters in there and you might get two series of 19. Now, I've got an opportunity to see who he really is for a whole half and I'm excited about that."
(On Jimmy Wilkerson's versatility)
"Jimmy Wilkerson, we talked about him the other day, but you're just talking about a hard-core, hard-nosed guy. You're talking about a guy that's going to give you complete effort at left end, can move inside on third down and give you the rush. You've got to spell him a little bit because he's a smaller guy. He's a smaller guy playing left end, but his effort, his motor, his intensity is going to make him the best defensive end that we can have out of Jimmy Wilkerson. Now, I've got to be smart with him. Like Coach [Richard] Mann would say, you've got to have a plan for him. Going to have a little guy, got to have a plan, keep him healthy because it gets sticky. So we've got a plan, got to follow it. Maybe some other guys will step up and help him. You need a Kyle Moore to come along and get some snaps. You need Greg White to come and get some snaps. All those things have to happen. You need Quincy Black to be able to get him some rush inside so we can give him some snaps up. But we've got to have his best stuff. If we have his best stuff, I think about 35 to 40 snaps, I can't overdo it.
(On the running backs)
“It is a great room. You are talking about guys who have dug themselves out of being the 53rd man on the roster. Who is Earnest Graham? What round did he get drafted in? Exactly. What round did Derrick Ward get drafted in? Exactly. Cadillac [Williams] is one of the few guys that has been drafted high. You are talking about a great character guy, a guy who bonds with his teammates; you’re talking about a guy who can get them all going. What round was Clifton Smith drafted in? That’s right, that’s what I thought. You’re talking about a bunch of guys that love playing football that hustle, that cheer for each other. They are bonding together in that room, in the pit, in the tunnel, whatever you want to call it. They come out and they just start swinging at people. That’s great.”
(On Luke McCown’s perseverance)
“I don’t know as much about his perseverance as you guys might know. I’ve been here with Luke since he got here. He has been in a backup role. What I will say about Luke is that this is his time. Here is his legitimate chance to be a starter of the Buccaneers. He has to show up. If he shows up, then he will have a great opportunity. We have to make a decision. I don’t think he can worry about his perseverance. I think he has to take advantage of the opportunity presented in front of him right now. I think that is what he is trying to do right now. I don’t think he is worried about the past. ‘I had to overcome that. I was supposed to start that game and I didn’t.’ Who cares? Here is your opportunity right now. You’re starting for the Buccaneers this week. Let’s see if you can hold on to it. Let’s see if you can keep it. Let’s see if you can be the very best.”
(On Luke’s opportunity this week to become the starter)
“I don’t know any other time in which Luke McCown was put in the situation to start. Every other time he has come in as a backup. He has come in as the second guy. You guys never looked at him in the past as competing for the starting job. Right now, he is competing for the starting job. This is his time. It is right now, right in front of you. This is just like how it is my time. I’m the head coach. I’ve never been head coach before. I’m standing in front of you guys talking to you. It’s my time. Right? I have to be the very best. It is his time.”
(On Dirk Johnson coming in as punter)
“After Rich Bisaccia gets with him to find out what he does best, then your team formulates around your punter. Right now, when you’re evaluating the guy, you just ask him to do all kinds of random things. ‘Hey, put the ball over there. Put the ball down the middle. Put the ball on the right hash. Put the ball on the numbers. Hey, here is a red zone kick. Let me see you put it really high and short.’ Those things all kick in right now. Once you start to get a feel for who your guy is, who your punter is, once you know your team, you are going to do what is best for that guy. You are going to do what that guy does best and what he can do most consistently, most accurately. That is how that thing will work out.”
(On why they waived Greg Peterson)
“He has been dealing with the injury, obviously, so we haven’t seen a whole bunch of Greg Peterson. In this league, you have to move on, you have to go. You can’t hold up the whole ship. Just like I told you guys before, we have to find 53 guys to make this roster. If we don’t have 53 then we have to play with 40, we have to play with 30, whatever the case may be. So, we had to waive Greg Peterson. He is a young talented guy who has some promise.”
(On Donald Penn)
“Donald Penn has all the talent in the world. As far as you talk about progressing, to me his progression right now is with his coach, Pete Mangurian. Those two started learning each other. I can see those two forming a bond. I can see those two actually starting to have fun together. They can yell at each other and actually have a little smirk or a little grin at the end of it. Donald Penn is working on his weight. He is coming down. He is probably starting to get into the best shape of his life. He is playing harder. He understands the concepts. He understands the system. He is getting better and better everyday. He has a tough coach. He has a coach that is going to be on him everyday, every single day. And again you talk about another guy who has no ego. A guy that came from the bottom. What round was he drafted in? That’s right, free agent. A guy who just worked his way up. That 5 3rd man. The mental toughness that forms with your team when you get those guys is something you really can’t talk about. You really can’t stress that enough. And the things that strengthen your crew. I just love it.”
(On Sabby Piscitelli getting a few more snaps on Saturday)
“He will get more than Tanard [Jackson]. He played most of the time last year or split the time with Jermaine [Phillips] or Tanard. But I just thought I would let Sabby go out there and run around a little bit more. It’s a brand new defense. He is still a young player. He’s got the legs. He will play more than Tanard. The reason Tanard didn’t have to go is because Tanard can run all day. You guys know Tanard. You guys can see Tanard out there running for no reason. We are going to go out there and get Tanard one series. We will get Sabby a couple more. Let him play with Will [Allen] a little bit. And get those guys out there playing so he will play a little bit more.”
(On looking at why there are a lot of hamstring issues right now and what might be contributing to them)
“That was a thought. But I don’t think it is a problem right now. What we have been used to around here is not having those because we have so many walkthroughs and stuff of that nature. So we always got the back tightening up. We have some of those injuries. We have the critical injuries. The knees and that type of stuff. But what I think it is, is me being tough on them, me putting the pads on them, me making them run. You are going to get more hamstrings. You’re going to get more groins. You go back and you look back at your stats with Todd Toriscelli like we do all the time. We had more hamstrings when Coach Dungy was the coach here. Because he taught a practice like us with more tempo, with more pads, more physical play, toughness. Dealing with the heat you are going to get some more hamstrings. We have the best trainer in the world. He is very confident in getting all these guys back. You never had a hamstring that lingered. I can’t remember actually one ever on this team. I can’t remember one that has been a problem throughout the year. Actually I can remember Aqib [Talib] having a hamstring whatever week it was we played the Bears. He was out a week and he was back the following week, off a hamstring. That never used to happen. So you have the kind of guys and you trust them. You trust your strength coach. You trust Todd Toriscelli and the decisions they are going to make. I’m completely fine with it. We will pull back when we have to and when we need to. But it is developing the mental toughness. We would have never seen the emergence of [Michael] Clayton if we didn’t do that. So him pulling his hamstring might have been a good thing. That kind of woke him up a little bit. But you guys know Clayton can still catch. He is still pissed at you guys for saying he can’t catch. You say he’s just a blocker. (laughing).”
(On another milestone with Jermaine Phillips going up against teams having to account for him on defense)
“This is it. This is what we have been waiting for. I’ve thrown away a lot of those live drills based on Phillips. Based on our linebacker group. Based on everybody. It helps everybody. You’ve got to see those guys. The guys that haven’t done it. The Quincy Blacks, the Jermaine Phillips. Here is another big test for Jermaine Phillips and I think he is going to shock us all. I can’t wait to see him go out there and do it. I’ve watched him in the box for years. I’ve seen him have the talent. I’ve seen him be able to do it. But you have to do it consistently and you have to do it every snap now. He has great coaching. He has Joe Barry here coaching. So I am fired up about that and so is Coach Bates.”
(On the depth at left tackle)
“At swing tackle, you are talking about guys like [James Lee]. You’re talking about [Anthony] Alabi. You’re talking about this new kid. The kid that no one even knew his name. The big kid. The big giant. I actually asked the team last night, ‘What is his name?’ Nobody knew it. Nobody knew his name. Nobody could say his name. I think Aqib [Talib] actually called him John Coffee from The Green Mile. But his name is [Demar] Dotson. He has been showing up. He has been impressive. I can’t wait to see him get in the game. You’re talking about a kid who played four years of basketball and one year of football. He came here in for free agent tryouts. We didn’t have a big enough pair of cleats to fit him, so he wore sneakers all week. Now he is out there kick-sliding and blocking some of our best defensive ends. He is blocking good players, learning the system. He didn’t know about football. He learned it from Pete [Mangurian]. Everything that he is getting right now is fresh. It’s new. He is 6-9, 310 pounds. He has basketball feet. That’s exciting. I can’t wait to see him go out there in a game and compete. Xavier Fulton, I forgot all about him, because we have him playing everywhere. We have him playing guard. We have him playing tackle. We drafted him in the fifth [round]. He had the shoulder injury, so he is going to be bouncing back from that. He rehabbed his butt off all year. You’re talking about another smart kid. He has some [Jeremy] Zuttah type qualities, when you’re talking about a smart kid. He will be another guy out there in the mix. Those guys bring value, like I talked about [Marc] Dile the other day playing center, playing tackle, playing guard. You have Xavier playing tackle, playing guard. He hasn’t played center yet, but I’m sure he can. Those guys bring great value to your team, when you talk about backup roles. You’re talking about me on gameday having some decisions to make. Do I want this live linebacker body, or do I need to have the extra lineman? If I have guys who can play multi-dimensional spots, then maybe I can figure it out. Again, I say, I don’t know why I can’t play all 53 on gameday. I have to get it down to 45, but that is a league problem. I have to deal with it.”
(On any pressure for other coaches tonight at practice)
“It is not necessarily that I’m going to throw curveballs at them but I’m going to put all of the situations out there and let them go through the situations because you’ve got to do it. It is one thing to sit in your office and script it and talk about. That’s easy. I can do that. I’m the best coach in the world upstairs. I’m great, I’m unbelievable. I should have been the head coach six years ago (laughing). But until you actually go out there and you’re under fire and under the gun, you have to make the right call, you have to make the decision, you have to do it. I’ll try to simulate the best I can tonight. But really tonight is more about rhythm and timing and getting it for the coaches and getting it for the players so when we go under the gun, it is not the first time. It’s not our first rodeo. It will be my first rodeo because I have to make some decisions tonight. I might put myself on the spot a little bit because I have to go out and dodge bullets on Saturday. It will be good.”