Quote of the day
"When you know the defense and you're comfortable and you're playing fast, you can make plays on the ball. It's one of those things where, last year, it was a transition. And now we're back to our Bucs defense, and we're doing a great job."
Sabby Piscitelli, safety, talking about the defensive struggles of 2009, when the Bucs changed coordinators midseason from Jim Bates to Raheem Morris and struggled to adjust to all the changes
Quote of the day II
"For one, you start every play one-handed."
Jeremy Zuttah, guard, explaining the difference in moving to center, where he will replace the injured Jeff Faine, out four to six weeks with a thigh injury
Not special enough
Coach Raheem Morris said he wants more out of the return game, and return man Micheal Spurlock concurs. His averages (20.8 yards on kick returns and 7.8 yards on punt returns) aren't terrible, but they're pedestrian for the Bucs, who have thrived on special teams success in recent seasons. The bar was set high due to the past feats of Spurlock and others.
"It's really all about momentum," Spurlock said. "We haven't had a lot of (long returns), but the ones that we have had have looked good. Around here, we've been known for defense and special teams.
"Right now, in order for us to be a good team, special teams has to come on. We have to bring it. That's with all the guys. It's not just me or any other guy. Special teams is a big part of our offense as well because it gives us good field position. We're watching film, and we're finding as many ways as possible to get it done. You best believe, we're going to get it done."
It was Spurlock who sparked the comeback win last season against Sunday's opponent, the Saints, with a 77-yard punt-return touchdown that sent the game to overtime.
Joining WR Mike Williams (foot) as questionable for the Bucs are CB Elbert Mack (foot) and DE Kyle Moore (shoulder). C Jeff Faine (quad) is out. The probables: DE Michael Bennett (groin), RB Earnest Graham (hamstring), S Sean Jones (back), LB Niko Koutouvides (ankle), TE Kellen Winslow (knee).
For the Saints, leading rusher Pierre Thomas (ankle) will miss his third straight game. Starting DE Will Smith (groin) practiced on a limited basis Friday and is questionable. The probables: LB Stanley Arnoux (ankle), QB Drew Brees (knee), DE Jeff Charleston (neck), WR Marques Colston (rib), TE Jimmy Graham (ankle), S Roman Harper (hamstring), RB Chris Ivory (knee), LB Scott Shanle (hamstring), T Jon Stinchcomb (shoulder), T Zach Strief (knee), CB Leigh Torrence (toe), LB Anthony Waters (hamstring), DE Jimmy Wilkerson (knee), S Usama Young (quad).
By Stephen F. Holder, Times staff writer