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bucs1

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: February 08, 2007, 06:45:49 PM

From Buccaneers.com: http://www.buccaneers.com/news/newsdetail.aspx?newsid=5655


Policy of Truth

Feb 08, 2007 -


New Bucs Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach Larry Coyer lays it on the line for his players

It wasn’t even one full minute into the interview when new Tampa Bay Buccaneers Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach Larry Coyer came clean. Admitting the original meeting scheduled for the previous day had slipped his mind, Coyer apologized unnecessarily for the 24-hour delay.

Considering Coyer stays pretty busy these days getting acclimated to his new surroundings, the unintended postponement hardly called for an act of contrition. After all, Coyer’s ultimate priority is helping improve the Bucs defense, and that’s exactly what he was working on, engaged in various meetings with his fellow defensive coaches for much of the day.

Still, Coyer insisted on ‘fessing up before the interview went any further. See, that’s just Coyer – honest at all times, about everything and to everybody, whether you’re a stud defensive end or a writer with whom he’s sitting down for the first time. He lives by it, and he expects it from those around him.

And it’s that honesty that has characterized Coyer’s 43-year coaching career in the collegiate and professional ranks, which has seen numerous stops. Coyer has coached in the USFL, at UCLA, Ohio State, East Carolina, the New York Jets, Iowa State, Pitt and most recently the Denver Broncos, with whom he spent seven years, including the last four as defensive coordinator.

During those four years, the Denver defense twice finished among the top 10 defenses in the NFL, and it ranked in the top half of the league four straight times. The Broncos had the league’s fourth-ranked defense in both 2003 and 2004 before finishing 15th in 2005 and 14th this past season. And from 2003-05, the Broncos gave up the fifth fewest points in the league. They tied for eighth in that category this past season.

What’s more, the Denver defense last year posted one of the most impressive starts to a season ever, becoming the first unit since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to not allow a touchdown over the first 11 quarters of the season. Overall, Denver allowed only two touchdowns during its first six games as the team opened with a 5-1 record.

Of that historic start most football fans are no doubt aware, but with the exception of Broncos faithful, the majority would be hard-pressed to name Denver’s starting front four this past season. That group, which combined for a solid 17.5 sacks, was comprised of ends Kenard Lang and Ebenezer Ekuban and tackles Michael Myers and Gerard Warren. Then again, Cleveland faithful might also easily identify that bunch, given they were all Browns at nearly the same time. Without taking anything away from that group and its strong performance, it’s safe to say that none of those players quite reached their full potential with their previous teams. Yet, in Coyer’s defensive scheme, each player seemed to play at considerably higher levels.

So what was Coyer’s secret? It all goes back to that “honesty thing;” in other words, being upfront with the men up front.

“I think it’s honesty and expectations,” Coyer said of getting the most out of his players. “You just say, ‘This is how we expect to do it, this is how you are going to do it, and if you don’t do it this way, then you can’t be a part of our football team.’ I think it’s just that simple. You don’t brow-beat anybody; you don’t bring up the past. Those are negative things.

“That’s the approach we took [in Denver]. It’s just honesty and being upfront, and the guys responded to that. As long as we’re honest it’s not a problem. It’s when you try to be a ‘yes guy’ that it becomes a problem. What players want is the truth. If you sit them down when they don’t perform, they respect you. If they do perform, you reward them. It’s just a simple matter of honesty.”

It’s armed with that honesty, a gritty determination and a willingness to lead by example that Coyer approaches his newest responsibilities with the Buccaneers. By now, he’s well aware of the facts.

He knows the Buccaneers defense finished out of the top 10 for the first time in 10 years in 2006. He knows the defense was second-to-last in sacking opposing quarterbacks. He knows that opposing passers fared far too well against the Bucs last year. But he also knows of the proud tradition of defense that permeates this team, and he knows the Bucs can return to form, sooner rather than later with Head Coach Jon Gruden and Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin leading the way. In fact, those two men were the chief reasons, Coyer said, that he chose to come to Tampa.

“I have great respect for [Gruden’s] demeanor and the way he coaches as well as Coach Kiffin, who I regard as one of the best defensive minds in football.

“This is the most excited I’ve been. I think for everything that happens in your life, there is a reason. And I’m just regenerated. I’m excited to be here, truthfully. To be here coaching these guys with Coach Gruden and Coach Kiffin, it’s an exciting thing. I feel like I’m young again. You’ve got to learn, you’ve got dig, you’ve got to scratch, you’ve got to work, and it’s good for everybody. I’ve been blessed, and I’ve been blessed more by being given this opportunity. It’s exciting because we can get ‘er done. We’re gonna get ‘er done.”

Next week Buccaneers.com will delve into some of Coach Coyer’s defensive philosophies and how they apply to the Buccaneers.

redtab78

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#1 : February 08, 2007, 07:37:18 PM

GOOD READ



Anyone who thinks Tim Tebow will be a great NFL QB is an idiot.






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#2 : February 08, 2007, 07:41:00 PM

senile



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#3 : February 08, 2007, 10:34:35 PM

GOOD READ


Honestly.  :)

marlevr

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#4 : February 09, 2007, 10:07:00 AM

great read, thanks

redtab78

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#5 : February 09, 2007, 03:17:05 PM

GOOD READ


Honestly. :)

yes very honestly, he seems to be a very sincere man, which we need.......

God knows we dont need any Saban Jr's running around our franchise.........



Anyone who thinks Tim Tebow will be a great NFL QB is an idiot.




dbucfan

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#6 : February 09, 2007, 03:42:33 PM

Pleasant read - seems like a nice guy - maybe next write up will have some substance.

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

mrwycka

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#7 : February 10, 2007, 09:27:31 AM

I like this guy. I think he is just what we need.


T

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#8 : February 10, 2007, 11:29:06 AM

Good article,I'm excited to see what the new defensive coaches can do, if anything at all.But I am always a optimist.


bucs1

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#9 : February 12, 2007, 02:55:08 PM

Here's the follow-up of the Larry Coyer Article...
From Buccaneers.com: http://www.buccaneers.com/news/newsdetail.aspx?newsid=5659


Coach Coyer: Getting Defensive

Feb 12, 2007 -


Larry Coyer knows the men he coaches are the key to turnovers...and that's the key to victories

After a dramatic increase in sacks by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense during the 2004 season, in which the team ranked third in the league with 45, the pass rush has fallen on hard times over the last two years.

Following that 45-sack performance in ’04, the Bucs’ pass rush generated just 36 the following season, ranking it in the NFL’s bottom 10. That decline continued this past season, as an injury-depleted unit registered only 25 sacks. That number was good for second to last in the league, and it was the lowest total by a Bucs defense since 1995.

Tampa’s new assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Coyer knows those totals can’t continue to dwindle if the Buccaneers’ defense is to regain the form that characterized it through the last decade and propelled the team to a Super Bowl championship in 2002.

“Oh, you’ve got to rush the quarterback,” Coyer said. “I don’t care where you are, who you are. You have to be able to alter the quarterback’s plan of attack. If you can’t do that, [quarterbacks] are too good. If you can’t make them throw when they don’t want to throw, they’re much too gifted now. They are going to complete those that they are supposed to complete. What you’ve got to do is take them out of their rhythm. If you can’t do that, there’s no coverage that’s any good.”

Such was the case with the Buccaneers in 2006. As might be expected, the lack of pressure reverberated throughout the entire defense last season, and the unit finished the year ranked 17th in the league. It was the first time since 1996 that Tampa’s defense failed to rank among the top 10 defenses in the league, ending the second-longest such streak in the NFL’s post-merger era.

Though he’s new to the franchise after spending the last four years as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator, Coyer believes Tampa Bay’s true defensive talent is closer to what took place from 1997-2005 than the ranking it put up this past fall.

“I think it was a little bit of a blip, and what happened last season was all the things that made them good in the past didn’t happen – whether it be turnovers or sacks or whatever,” Coyer said.

“Those things did not occur as they had in the previous year – and that’s what has made this football team special. When they were in the Super Bowl, they were tops in the league in turnovers, sacks and rushing defense. If you look at last year, they were nowhere near the top in any of those areas, particularly points scored, and I know they led the league in scoring defense when they went to the Super Bowl.”

That championship year, the Buccaneers totaled 43 sacks. It was their fourth consecutive year and fifth time in a six-year span to register at least 40 sacks, including a 55-sack performance in 2000. That’s the level to which Coyer wants to see the Bucs’ defense return, and he knows that doing so starts up front with the Bucs’ defensive linemen that are now under his direction.

“I think in any four-down scheme, the pressure [on the front four] is there,” Coyer said. “You’re going to be as good as your front four. There’s a division in the NFL right now between 3-4 and 4-3 teams. Three-fours try to do it with different athletes. Four-three teams are going to try to do it with those front four guys, and if they can’t do it, it’s a negative deal. I think that’s true for every four-down team. You are going to be just as good as your ability to pressure the quarterback.”

One of the chief reasons for that – if not the chief reason – is that pressure relates to turnovers, and in Coyer’s mind there’s no bigger stat than takeaways. Not coincidentally, last season in a year in which the Bucs defense was second-to-last in sacks, it also ranked third-to-last in total takeaways as well as takeaway/giveaway differential.

Just how strongly is sacking the quarterback related to creating turnovers? Examining the top five defenses in the league this past year in terms of sacks, three of them were also ranked in the top five in total takeaways. When it comes to the worst five teams in the league in terms of total sacks recorded by their defenses, no team ranked higher than 16th in the league in total takeaways. What’s more, two of those five teams ranked last (Washington) and third to last (Tampa Bay, unfortunately) in takeaways.

As telling as that relationship is, sacking the quarterback is linked to an even more important statistic: wins. Those same five teams who led the league in sacks also went a combined 53-27 on the season. Only one team (Miami) finished with a losing record, and three of the five earned postseason berths. As for the five worst defenses last year when it came to sacks? They posted a combined record of 33-47. Of course, it’s only fair to note that one of those teams – the lone squad with a winning record – was the Indianapolis Colts who triumphantly hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last weekend.

As the saying goes, there’s an exception to every rule. Still, the correlation is pretty strong. Sacks help cause turnovers, and turnovers usually lead to wins.

“The number-one factor in football is turnovers,” Coyer said. “When you look at winning and losing, the number-one factor is turnovers. Plus-turnovers equal wins. It’s in the 80th percentile. Teams that win the turnover battle win the game. That’s true throughout history.”

But don’t think Coyer is focusing exclusively on improving the Bucs’ pass rush up front. He’s well aware that next season Tampa Bay will face the first (Atlanta), third (Jacksonville), fourth (Washington), fifth (Tennessee) and sixth-best (San Francisco) rushing attacks of 2006. And he knows his front four will need to anchor the Bucs D against such potent running games.

“You can’t win a championship if you can’t stop the run,” Coyer said. “If you look at the Super Bowl, they stop the run and they can run – both teams. It has been that way for the last 30 years. When you look at the stats, that’s one thing that stands out – they could run the ball and they could stop the run. We took pride in that in Denver, being able to stop the running game, because if we couldn’t, we were never going to get to the playoffs because Kansas City was going to be able to run the ball. Coach Gruden was at Oakland (before Coyer ascended to defensive coordinator), and they were number one in the NFL in running the ball. And San Diego with [LaDainian] Tomlinson, is one of the best running teams now in football.”

Over the years, Coyer’s defenses have been among the best at neutralizing those explosive running games. In four seasons as Denver’s defensive coordinator, Coyer coached defenses that never finished worst than 12th in the league against the run. In three of those years, the Broncos finished in the top 10, ranking seventh, fourth and second. That’s quite an accomplishment considering each season the Broncos faced Tomlinson and either Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson twice.

“It starts up front – tackling and your ability to control the line of scrimmage,” Coyer said. “If you can control the line of scrimmage and shed blocks and tackle well, then you’re going to play the run pretty good. When Tampa was the best team, they were the premier tackling team in football. It seemed to permeate the team. Everybody was a great tackler. They didn’t give up big plays. They tackled, they made big hits and they could hit, shed and swarm the ball.

“That’s the key to stopping the run – the ability to swarm and tackle, not one man trying to tackle Johnson or Tomlinson, but people ganging up and coming after them. That’s the key to that, and Tampa was, in my opinion, the best in football for a long time at doing that particular thing.”

Coyer believes that tradition of strong defensive play –against both the pass and run – still defines the Buccaneers organization, and it’s a tradition he has already begun working hard to rekindle.
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