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New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano demands adherence to his program

TAMPA

One player has a sprained knee ligament. Another has a broken bone in his foot. A third strained a hamstring during the grueling conditioning test. A fourth will miss several weeks with a strained calf preparing for it.

First-year coach Greg Schiano is changing the culture of the Bucs, and that can be painful.

It was for WR Arrelious Benn, who likely needs four weeks to recover from a sprained right medial collateral ligament. It was for CB E.J. Biggers, who could miss a month with a broken left foot. It was for CB Derrick Roberson, who will miss a few weeks with a strained hamstring sustained during the conditioning drill that consisted of 16 110-yard dashes with 45 seconds in between. It was for LT Donald Penn, who could miss the first preseason game with a strained calf sustained while getting ready for the Aug. 10 matchup at Miami.

QB Josh Freeman, WR Mike Williams, G Carl Nicks, TE Colin Franklin and others have had issues with dehydration.

But injuries are part of the game. So is roster turnover.

Even though most offseason workouts are voluntary, Schiano jettisoned four players who weren't committed to spending their free time in Tampa: S Tanard Jackson (released), TE Kellen Winslow (traded to Seattle), DT Brian Price (traded to Chicago) and WR Dezmon Briscoe (waived).

In the case of Price, who netted a conditional seventh-round pick, and Briscoe, the Bucs weren't too concerned with getting value in return. The Bengals, Cowboys and Eagles put in claims for Briscoe, who went to the Redskins. Isn't it possible one of them would have given up a draft pick for Briscoe (whose six touchdown catches last season led the team)?

No matter. The Bucs aren't waiting for players to get with the program under Schiano.

"He's done a really good job of presenting his message and his clear vision of what he wants out of his football team," veteran DB Ronde Barber said. "And every coach does that. He's no different than Tony (Dungy) or Jon (Gruden) or Raheem (Morris) in that regard. He's going to demand a lot of us. He's a very concise speaker. There's no confusion about what he expects.

"I imagine this camp will be much like it was my first couple of years in this league. Every minute of the day is scripted and calculated. And that's good for this team. Our expectations aren't to be a rebuilding team. He's coming in here to win, and that's good. I, personally, appreciate that philosophy. The sooner we buy in, the sooner we get together as a team and get all 53 guys buying into that … the better off we'll be."

MILLER TIME: DT Roy Miller grimaces when he watches film from last season. In part because he remembers how much pain he was in with an injured back and sprained left knee ligament. Also, because of those injuries, his play wasn't very good.

"It was very frustrating," he said; "losing, the rushing yards, being hurt.

"I had a series of shots in my back that went on for a couple of months. It was hard for me to sit down in a chair, besides playing football. I had to work on my core this season and lose some weight. I put some things on tape that I didn't like at times. I was hurt. And as a man, it's hard to go out there and be hurt and play and not be as effective as you want to."

Miller, who played at about 325 last season, is down to 308. And with the trade of Price, he has a good shot to start at nose tackle.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: It has been only two practices, but it appears rookie RB Doug Martin will get every chance to win the starting job. He has been taking the first reps with the starting offense. Besides, why would you use a first-round pick on a player you don't believe can play immediately? LeGarrette Blount and Michael Smith will have important roles as well, and things can change when the pads go on today. But Martin has the edge.

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano demands adherence to his program 07/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 8:46pm]

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