Highlights of Greg Schiano's press conference
The Bucs are back. Well, sort of.
The team was put through the first day of official offseason conditioning workouts today, with players working with the strength and conditioning staff and in meeting rooms with their coaches.
Coach Greg Schiano provided an update on a variety of things after players were dismissed. Here’s a summary of the important points he touched on.
* Regarding attendance for today’s voluntary workouts, Schiano said it was practically 100 percent. That’s a rather impressive feat with the offseason roster near 90.
“It’s fun to have them back. . . As far as attendance, everyone was here except for one person who was accounted for with a family situation. A very good family situation. Eric Wright and his wife had a baby yesterday, so it’s all good. Everybody’s excited to get back to it. I include myself in everybody.”
* Regarding defensive back Ronde Barber, who is still mulling a return for his 17th season, Schiano said things are still fluid.
“He’s not under contract so no, he was not here,” Schiano said. “We’ve been in communication but there’s no developments and that’s fine. That’s the way we kind of left it. We just continue to keep in communication. There’s certainly no silence or anything. I just think it’s the process of figuring it out.”
Would the team issue a deadline for Barber’s decision?
“At some point, I guess, down the road, but we’re not anywhere near that,” Schiano said. “For planning purposes (there may be one) down the road.”
* On the team’s decision to pass on most defensive line options in free agency, despite watching Michael Bennett and Roy Miller leave for other clubs, Schiano doubled down on the team’s existing linemen.
“We’re young, we have an opportunity to be really good there,” Schiano said. “We have some players we’re developing that we feel good about. And you have to look at every decision. It’s not just that position. You’re looking at the whole football team. Sometimes there has to be some give in this area for some take in that area, and vice versa. That’s the hard part. You can’t look at all these decisions in a vacuum. You have to look at it in a more global vision.”
* Asked about this offseason versus last year’s, Schiano explained the stark contrast now that the team is in its second season in Schiano’s offensive and defensive systems.
“It definitely is different,” he said. “Any time you begin a repeat of something you feel much more comfortable. Now we’re repeating all these things as a staff and I am as a head coach. When you’re a new head coach, you get those extra two weeks (of practice).
“But I would trade the continuity and having all our systems in place for those two weeks. It’s not even close. Just today, we started meetings with the players and we’re watching video of us. We’re not watching Giants video and Rutgers video and Dolphins video. We’re watching Bucs video. Just the fact that you’re watching your players on their tape, it’s a huge advantage. Things are installed. I feel good about that.”
* Finally, Schiano explained his stance on the quarterback position, for which he said he wanted intensified competition. The Bucs haven’t added any players behind Josh Freeman, in fact reducing backup Dan Orlovsky’s salary. The draft might provide an option but Schiano isn’t stuck on the position, he said.
“I think there’s always opportunities (for acquisitions),” he said. “There’s not this guy I’m thinking of. I believe in competition. That’s just a core belief of mine. But I’d like to have a lot of things. If we don’t have it (oh well).
“Dan is an excellent backup quarterback. I believe that. At this stage in his career is he going to (win the job)? I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that’s the plan. If we get someone in here, we do. If we don’t, we don’t. I’m good with that. Again, I clarified it once and I probably should do it again, because quarterback is such a focus position. (Causing a stir) wasn’t my intent the day after the season. My intent was just to express that I believe in competition and I want it to be prevalent.”