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Schiano says Bucs D needs more precision

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Published Oct. 29, 2013

TAMPA — Coach Greg Schiano said he and his staff examined many aspects of the Bucs over the weekend, trying to decide what changes to make.

And when it came to the defense, Schiano said the biggest thing to do is get back to the precision they had in the first few games.

For example: Schiano said in Thursday's loss to the Panthers, Tampa Bay had players break free on blitzes but let QB Cam Newton escape. The Bucs (0-7) have allowed 31 points in each of the past three games after averaging 17.5 allowed in the first four.

"It's not like we're trying to do something we haven't done before," Schiano said. "Why have we become less precise? We're not scoring a lot of points, so then you try to make a big play. Generally, when you try to make a big play is when you get yourself in trouble. If you do your job, the play comes to you."

Schiano said it's the coaches' job to put players in the best position. That includes freeing up Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy from some of the double teams he has been facing. Schiano said his defense is not far off from having the precision it needs, but acknowledges some big plays have proved costly.

"In the last two weeks we've given up nine plays that (without them), the rest of the game you're pretty happy with," Schiano said. "But you give up (those) nine plays and you can't, those are the plays that kill you. What we weren't doing in the first three games, we've done in the last three-four.

"We've got to get back to playing one play at a time, doing the little things right, because we're good enough on defense to play good defense."

Lining up: The Bucs are considering another change at left guard, with Jamon Meredith taking first-team reps Monday in practice. Meredith would be the fifth player to start at left guard this season (Gabe Carimi, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, Ted Larsen). Zuttah started the past two games at guard, but was moved to center after Larsen botched two shotgun snaps Thursday. Meredith, 27, started 12 games at right guard last year when Pro Bowl RG Davin Joseph was out with knee surgery. "I don't know who is going to end up at the left guard spot," Schiano said.

Stuck with Schiano: According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, Schiano met with the owners, the Malcolm Glazer family, on Friday, then addressed the team, telling players they're stuck with him. Schiano wouldn't confirm or deny the story. "I meet with (the Glazers) often, whether it be on the telephone or in person," Schiano said. "And since I've been here, what I say to our team is private. As we've all seen — I hope you've seen — there's been a lot of things said that aren't true, and there's been a lot of things that might be true. I'm not going to get into all that stuff."

Medical matters: S Dashon Goldson (left knee), S Mark Barron (hip) and LB Dekoda Watson (shoulder) were all limited in Monday's practice. But Schiano said he's encouraged by the progress of their recovery, and thinks they'll be able to play Sunday in Seattle.

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Follow Joe Smith at @TBTimes_JSmith.