Advertisement

Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS MOVE ON UNDER COORDINATOR OLSON

Though one says, "I think it was a shock to everybody," players try to take jolt in stride.

Apparently, the cold business of professional football tends to prepare you for just about anything.

That includes the firing of your offensive coordinator 10 days before the regular season.

Bucs offensive players, to a man, said Friday their performance won't be affected by the club's decision to dismiss Jeff Jagodzinski on Thursday, even if they admit to being blindsided by the move.

"It's always something in this league," receiver Michael Clayton said. "Nothing is going to waver. We're in great position still. We have veteran guys in key positions to keep this thing rolling.

"We look at it just like when a player gets cut. We move on."

Players are used to coming to work and finding cleaned-out lockers once occupied by teammates. And in Tampa Bay, players know what it is to be shocked by a personnel move considering coach Jon Gruden's surprise firing in January.

So, the idea that players are equipped to handle this sort of sudden change has merit. That's particularly true on offense, where the Bucs are much more experienced than on defense.

"Distractions only do what you allow them to do," said quarterback Byron Leftwich, entering his seventh season. "I've been through all types of things in this league. This league prepares you for a lot of stuff. I don't see any distraction here. We're grown men and we're professionals. Nothing is going to change. I think (Greg) Olson will do a good job."

Olson was named Jagodzinski's replacement and served as coordinator Friday against Houston. Players said little could be gleaned from the offense's performance under his direction in the final preseason game, in which 10 of 11 offensive starters were sidelined.

"I can't say (the offense) was more up to speed," fullback B.J. Askew said. "It's just been a day. This is just another one of those decisions that had to be made. But I didn't see it coming. ... I just work here like everybody else. We just have to keep it moving. I was shocked."

Left tackle Donald Penn shrugged when asked about the impact of the move.

"I think it was a shock to everybody because it wasn't expected," he said. "But I think with the playing experience we have, I don't think it's going to be a problem. You have to be headstrong to be good. ... We'll be fine."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement