Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Greg Schiano sees good things for new Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck

TAMPA — Even more than two years ago, when Greg Schiano first discussed with P.J. Fleck a position on the Rutgers coaching staff, the current Bucs coach knew the young assistant might one day become a head coach.

"When you hire good coaches, you know that's part and parcel, especially if they have aspirations to be a head coach," Schiano said "I knew from the day I interviewed P.J. back then that that's what his ultimate goal was. And that's good."

Fleck, the Bucs' receivers coach, got his first chance this week when he was hired Monday as Western Michigan's head coach. He'll remain with the Bucs for their final two games, but he's being pulled in several directions by the new job and a new daughter, born Monday.

Offensive assistant Ben McDaniels, the brother of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, works alongside Fleck and will pick up the slack.

"Together we're not going to miss a beat," Schiano said.

Schiano listed the qualities he believes will make Fleck, 32, a former standout receiver at Northern Illinois and a two-year member of the 49ers, a good head coach:

"I think he has very strong beliefs. He's very sure of himself. … At one point, I was the youngest head coach in the country (at Rutgers). Hey, you don't have experience. You just do what you think is right, and if it's wrong, you fix it, and you keep moving. But the one thing he has is great energy, he's got great focus and strong beliefs.

"If you have that, 80 percent of leadership is knowing where you're going."

Said WR Tiquan Underwood of Fleck: "We've (developed) a relationship. He's helped me grow as a person and as a player. Those guys at Western Michigan are lucky to have him."

TOPIC DU JOUR: The struggles of QB Josh Freeman continue to be a common topic of discussion at One Buc Place, with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan addressing it Wednesday in his weekly news conference.

Like Schiano, Sullivan had made it a point to not overreact in the wake of Freeman's four-interception performance in the 41-0 loss to the Saints on Sunday and his slump in the past three games.

For Sullivan, the focus is on Freeman's performance over the course of the season.

"There are so many things that we need to improve, that we took a few steps back on, that go well beyond Josh or any individual player," he said.

DOUBLING UP: DE Michael Bennett is trying to become the first Tampa Bay player to reach double digits in sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005.

Bennett enters Sunday's game against the Rams with nine sacks, the most since Rice's 14 in 2005.

With Bennett entering free agency this offseason, reaching double digits would look nice on the resume, but he would settle for a much-needed victory.

"Getting double digits in sacks, that's my job," Bennett said. "I would like to get double digits. But winning is the most important thing. Everybody puts a big emphasis on me getting sacks. But I would rather win the game."

INJURY REPORT: TE Luke Stocker (head/nose) and DE Aaron Morgan (shoulder) were limited in practice.

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Greg Schiano sees good things for new Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck 12/19/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Rather than criticizing anthem protests, we should be asking about the reasons for them


    MINNEAPOLIS — They are football players. They are teammates. They are Tampa Bay Bucs.

    Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Bucs journal: Game gets away when offense has slow start


    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Bucs defense struggled to handle multiple starters out with injury, Tampa Bay's offense had no such excuse in struggling to score three points in the first half of a 34-17 loss at the Vikings.

    Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) breaks up a pass to Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Rays up next: at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Today: Off

    Up next: at Yankees, 7:10 Tuesday, Yankee Stadium

  4. Here kitty, kitty ...


    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  5. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.