Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano spoke to the media following Tuesday's OTAs and discussed the progress made so far, the status of Brian Price among other topics.
Commenting on having Eric LeGrand at today’s practice:
“I think Eric’s had that kind of impact on a lot of people. I can’t tell you the number of letters and text messages from people across the country that I don’t even know. His attitude has inspired them with their own issues. I’m really proud of the way he goes around and represents and lives his life. I think I speak for a lot of us. I don’t know if I could do that. It was great. When I found out he was coming down this week I was excited, but I didn’t know how it would go. This isn’t his environment, it’s a new environment. He’s done a great job. He’s in there having lunch with the guys. That’s good stuff.”Commenting on Brian Price’s absence from the OTA’s:
“Yeah, I mean I don’t know. It’s a combination of things. But right now I'm hopeful that he’ll be able to go but we’ll have to play that by ear. I’m not sure. We’ll see. If it’s not the minicamp then certainly in six weeks, I hope so.”Are there any health issues that may be affecting his ability to practice?
“It may be related to that. I don’t think it’s that specifically, but he’s had some issues and hopefully that will work itself out.”How is Price doing emotionally after the loss of his sister?
“Again, I think it’s tough. He’s struggling with it.”Were Josh Freeman’s struggles last season mechanics related?
“There are mechanical flaws, there were some decision-making [issues], but every quarterback has those things. I think with Mike [Sullivan] and with Ron Turner, our quarterback coach, they’ve just broken it down. A lot of times, decision-making and uncertainty leads to poor mechanics. A lot of times when you coach for a while you can see indecision in a guy’s feet. So just starting from scratch and going through it and building the platform and working from there. And I can see he’s just steadily improving, which is the goal. Just go out and get a little bit better every day. It’s hard because you’re thinking all the time. It’s a new scheme, it’s new reads, there are some different concepts, so as we’ve said all along, time is our enemy. We’ve just got to keep pressing through it. We’re not going to have the whole shooting match in, there’s no way. But that didn’t happen anyway. That didn’t happen in New York with Eli [Manning]. It’s an ongoing process. The worst thing you can do is get too far out in front of yourself. We want to make sure that what we do we do well.”
Commenting on how Gerald McCoy has looked thus far after biceps surgery?
“I think he looks very good. I think he’s practiced with great energy. He really understands the position that he’s playing and I look forward to coaching him.”Commenting on the addition of two more defensive linemen (Gilberry, Mitchell)
“As an organization, Mark, myself, Dennis, we’re constantly trying to … it’s not just the top seven to 10 players on your football team, it’s every guy on your team. Every roster spot. If you can get better you're going to try and do that. Not at the cost of just moving to make moves, but we felt that these two guys would give us a chance to be a little bit better. You never know until you get them and coach them yourself. I'm looking forward to working with both of these guys.”How has Doug Martin looked in OTAs so far?
“It’s good to see him out there because you watch all the college tape but we haven’t actually had the opportunity to see him run our offense. He’s done some nice things. He’s only done it for two days, but he’s done some nice things. You can see he has good vision and that’s the one thing you can’t teach. You can teach a lot of things, but vision, you can tell him to where to put his eyes, but for me to see daylight over here when I'm looking over there, that’s a gift.”Are you getting any closer to getting a feel for a starting unit on defense?
“Getting closer? Yes. But until you put the pads on and actually play the game I think it would be premature to make any assumptions there. And it kind of happens because it is the offseason and there isn’t a lot to comment on so all of a sudden Rennie [Curran] was working with the first team. Right now we’re kind of just mixing and matching and seeing how the best combinations will … And then, you know, so much of the game is played in nickel, too, so now you’re only playing with two linebackers. So we’re just trying to figure who the best three are and then if we go two, who the best two are. To do that you have to move guys around because you want to make sure they have opportunities so you’re comparing apples to apples.”Commenting on how Mason Foster has looked so far?
“I think he’s getting better every day. I was just watching the tape last night and he seems to be getting more comfortable in our defensive scheme, which is important. Again, we don’t have pads on. One of the key elements of being a good linebacker is how good you can tackle.”Did you and do you expect Foster to be the starting middle linebacker?
“I really didn’t have a preconceived notion either way. I know he played the Will linebacker in college in a similar scheme, not identical, and I still don’t know where he’ll end up to be frank with you. He’s been taking his reps at the Mike and I think we’ll just wait and see on that. I think he’s a good football player so that’s good. You can’t have enough of those, right?”What have you seen out of rookie Lavonte David in the last couple weeks?
“He has great acceleration and he’s got a feel for the game of football. What he needs to do is learn our defensive scheme, and so does everybody else. Everybody’s new but he’s a little newer than the other guys. He’s working extremely hard. The rookies as a group are working extremely hard. They’re on a different schedule. This seven-week rookie program is designed to get them caught up so they can come into training camp and have a realistic opportunity to compete. So we’ll have to see how well they utilize that time, but it still comes down to practice and those preseason games.”What is the rookie program and how is it going so far?
“There are different rules with what the rookies can do with time limitations, so we utilize the time a little better. Not only football-wise but life skills and things like that. Terry Cousin is our player engagement guy now and we’re excited to have him onboard. He’s doing a heck of a job just getting them acclimated to Tampa and being an NFL football player and all those things. We kind of use their days up. They’re pretty busy guys the whole day.”What are your general impressions of the secondary?
I think they can be a really good group. I think Aqib [Talib] is really doing some good things. Mark (Barron) is getting it. Ronde (Barber) is – as I’ve said multiple times –just a true professional. E.J. Biggers and those guys are working hard. I think it’s been good.”Have you been disappointed on anything in the last few weeks?
“Not disappointed. As a coach you always have this vision of what you want it to look like. Very rarely does it ever look like that. Every once in a while you get a game and you say, “Wow, we were actually pretty good today.” But usually it doesn’t meet your expectations, but that’s good. You set the bar high and that’s what keeps you working and coming back for more. But I do know this; the guys are giving great effort. They are really focused and trying to do what we ask them to do. As long as we continue to do that we’re going to get better. Like we’ve said all along, time is our enemy. We’ve got to get better faster. That’s kind of the key right now.”
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