Schiano says 99.9 percent of Bucs plays in OTAs permissible
Bucs coach Greg Schiano may not always follow pro football etiquette – the kneel-down play against the Giants last season comes to mind – but he does follow the rules.
That’s why he took exception Wednesday with a report in ProFootballTalk.com that the team’s off-season practices involve too much physical contact in a possible violation of NFL bylaws.
The controversy stems from a physical altercation last week between Illinois rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence and center Jeremy Zuttah, who played for Schiano at Rutgers.
On the first team drill of the first OTA practice, Spence and Zuttah had to be separated. Despite league rules that prohibit excessive physical contact between players during off-season practices, there were a few more instances where players were pushed to the ground. The incidents were referenced in a report by Profootballtalk.com Wednesday.
A team can be made to forfeit practice time and coaches can be fined for violating the no contact rules for off-season practices.
On Wednesday, Schiano claimed that his coaching staff teaches the proper techniques for non-contact practices and believes what the Bucs do is permissible.
"You're right, guys are chomping at the bit because this is what they do for a living,'' Schiano said. "But there are very clear expectations and rules presented by the league. We get a training video and then we also at our league meetings get to watch permissible versus impermissable play. I'm very confident that our practice tempo is 99.9 percent the plays are permissible. We had one that got kind of fanfare or whatever you want to call it in a young guy mixed up with Jeremy Zuttah, and you know, Jeremy educated him, maybe not the right way, like you don't do that. But we spent a lot of time about keeping your head gear, keeping your shoulders out of it. So we're playing 11-on-11 football but you use your hands and you use your feet and what we try to do is stay on edges and work with our hands and feet and then everything is tag tempo, so we tag off on ballcarriers.
"To say with 22 people on the field, they try to get out of the way when they tag off, do they sometimes run into each other? Yeah, it happens. But clearly in watching the training videos, I feel confident that we're doing it the right way. I'm very big on (how) I expect them to do things on and off the field and it's no different for me. There are rules set by the NFL and I'm expected to follow them and I do everything I can to.''