Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach Greg Schiano wants to avoid preconceived notions about Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PALM BEACH — If Bucs coach Greg Schiano has done nothing else since being hired in late January, he has familiarized himself with last season's team.

Because coaches aren't permitted to consult with players about football until Monday, Schiano can do so only through game tape.

So when Schiano looks at the 2011 Bucs, what does he see?

Raheem Morris' replacement is hesitant to make assumptions without context, even though the club lost its last 10 games (the last five by an average of 23 points). Schiano emphasized Wednesday at the owners meetings that everyone on the roster gets to start over.

"Other than to evaluate personnel and steal whatever scheme or things we liked, I didn't try to overanalyze (the tape)," he said. "I think things kind of got going in the wrong direction. And I think when that happens, you can try to overanalyze and overjudge everything.

"A lot of guys are excited about having a fresh start."

Schiano can see last season's dropped balls, missed tackles and poorly thrown passes. But what about the character of his team? Some analysts believe the Bucs quit on Morris and each other.

"You can look and say, 'I think this happened or I think that happened,' " Schiano said. "That's a little bit of a waste of time because there were different variables involved, different people involved. Everything's people, the relationships you have with guys. Do they trust you? Do you trust them? That's what carries you through those tough spots."

And Schiano will set out to build a team that can weather those inevitable rough patches with the hope that temporary struggles don't become seasonlong tailspins.

"The old saying is that adversity reveals character, it doesn't build it," Schiano said. "We'll have our share of adversity, and one of the things that you train for is that adversity. That's mental toughness. There are certain ways you can build mental toughness. We'll coach that as a staff."

MIXED BAG: The team likely will have a different linebacker lineup with weakside starter Geno Hayes not expected to be re-signed.

Schiano said he's still working through that and will continue to evaluate. And he sounded noncommittal about keeping Mason Foster as the starter in the middle.

"I think Mason Foster did some good things at times," Schiano said. "At times, he looked like a rookie. I went back and watched his college tape and tried to evaluate him as if he was coming out of college, and he really was a productive player.

"Hopefully, he can do it. He seems very intelligent. That'll help him. The (middle linebacker) has got to make a lot of checks."

STILL A MYSTERY: Asked what his defense will look like, Schiano was vague but said his scheme won't be easily classified.

"We've had a high percentage of pressure with zone blitzes," he said. "Then again, all my years in college, I studied (ex-Bucs defensive coordinator) Monte Kiffin (and the Tampa 2). When I was at (the University of) Miami, we'd drive up and come to camp and (offseason workouts).

"So we're kind of a mishmash of a lot of different people. The one nice thing coming from college is you don't have to deal with the (spread offense). That has really taken over college football. To be able to get back to playing some real football, the football I grew up on, that'll be fun."

DOTSON SIGNS: Demar Dotson, a restricted free agent who can back up both defensive tackle positions, re-signed for two years, the team announced. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009 with the Bucs and has played 22 games, including 13 last season. The Bucs also announced CB Ronde Barber officially signed a one-year contract to play his 16th season.

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