Here is what you need to know about what happened at One Buc Place on Friday December 20:
PRACTICE CONDITIONS• Tampa Bay began practice at 10:45 a.m. under bright blue sunny skies and cool temperatures in the 60’s.
BUCS INJURIES• Head coach Greg Schiano started off his daily press conference updating the media on the team’s injuries.
“Good Friday practice. Guys reviewed everything, got goal line [and] short yardage done, so [we’ll] get some review work done in the morning and get on the plane and go up to St. Louis. Health-wise, [defensive end] [DaQuan] Bowers will be out, [guard] Carl [Nicks] is obviously out, [safety] Mark Barron is limited and I’m not sure if he will be able to [play], we’ll see he’s questionable.”
ROSTER MOVESThe Buccaneers did not make any roster moves on Thursday.
THE BIG NEWS AT ONE BUC• PewterReport.com learned on Thursday afternoon that offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan will be interviewing for the Army job sometime on Friday and that the interview will take place in Tampa, as to not disrupt the practice routine of the Bucs.
Sullivan was seen at One Buc Place when the team walked onto the practice field on Friday.
On Friday after the team’s two-hour practice, Schiano didn’t want to get into Sullivan’s situation.
“Well, I’m never going to comment when we have – that’s part of the business, I’m never going to comment when that stuff does come up or doesn’t come up,” Schiano said. “I will comment on the fact that when you have good coaches, as happened last year and has happened some that guys are never made aware of because fellows tell them ‘I’m not interested,’ but that’s part of the business. Mike is a heck of a football coach and if that’s something that comes up and there’s something to report, I will report it but our focus is really on the St. Louis Rams and what we’ve got to do to win that game so I’m just going to keep it at that, that’ll be kind of the way we handle these things.”
• The Buccaneers have made a dramatic improvement in overall defense, and especially against the pass, where the Bucs ranked last in the NFL in 2012.
Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan spoke to the media this week and was asked about his overall feelings on how the defense has progressed this season.
“I think the biggest thing you’re seeing as far as an improvement is two things: One is familiarity with the scheme, at least the guys who were here a year ago and then the second thing is [general manager] Mark [Dominik] and the personnel department went out and acquired excellent free agents for our defense and those are the guys in our lineup right now and have made us a distinctly better defense than we were a year ago,” Sheridan said. “Those two things and you’re counting on the same thing as you go forward either through the draft or the free agency coming up here in the offseason, as well as, again, another season under our belt of playing hard defenses scheme with our coverages, pressures and guys being more familiar with what they have to do in there and how they want those executed.
“So those are two biggest things I think why you’re seeing that and I imagine it’ll continue to get better and better, again, with the acquisition of new and better personnel at certain positions like everybody’s trying to do in the whole league as well as just familiarity with our defense.”
• Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, one of the Buccaneers’ captains, took a handful of questions from the media during open locker room. PewterReport.com asked Jackson if he, as a leader, has a message t, the other players about not allowing themselves to be distracted by the team’s record and non-playoff situation.
“There’s only so much coaches can say,” Jackson said. “Despite the record, the guys have to believe that we’re playing for each other and you’re playing for the name on the back obviously and that emblem the helmet, representing your city, representing your team, organization that’s given you a job and given you an opportunity. I think we have that here, we have the right kind of leaders in this locker room and out on the field they’re going to not only lead by example, but they’re going to make sure these guys are mentality focused to say ‘You know what, put the record aside, whatever, every time we step on that football field, we’ve got something to prove.’” Jackson was then asked how mentally tough it is to look past the distractions.
“It can be. You can let those distractions leak in if you want to or you can just say ‘You know what? No matter’ – you can take away the calendar, you can take away the record and you just say ‘You know what? We’ve got two football games left and right now we’ve been taking like we have since week one, one game at a time.’ We can only play one game this week, St. Louis Rams, and with the opportunity you have, why not go out there and play an excellent game and feel good about it? There’s nothing like that feeling winning of an NFL game, let’s go get that feeling.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK“We’re a couple pieces away, I think, from being a dominant defense. We have some good players, some really good players. We’ll just keep working at it. I think some of those pieces are going to develop into being dominant players. We have some young kids here who I think have the upside to be special. Our whole philosophy is draft and develop anyway, and that’s really what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to continue to do that.” – Schiano on his defense’s future WHAT’S NEXT FOR TAMPA BAYThe Buccaneers will travel to St. Louis on Saturday afternoon, as they get ready to face the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and will broadcast locally on FOX-13. Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick and Laura Okmin will handle the broadcast duties.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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