The Bucs face a tough challenge in playing Thursday night on the road, just four days after facing the Saints. The bigger challenge according to Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano will be attempting to slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and the multi-dimensional Percy Harvin.
How serious is Brandon McDonald’s injury?
“I think he is going to be okay.”Can you talk about Percy Harvin and what he brings to the table not just as a kick returner, but how he can make plays from anywhere on the field?
“Yes, he is multidimensional as you alluded to. This guy can do everything. He plays running back. He plays receiver. He plays returner. He is really a very good athlete with great speed. He is a weapon.”Donald Penn seemed to hold his own against Jared Allen last season and how has Penn played this year and your experience with him?
“I think Donald (Penn) has been steady. I think Donald has better football in him which we are going to see coming up, but he has been steady so far. This will be a great matchup for sure.”When you look at having lost Adrian Clayborn and you see what teams are doing now differently and is it affecting the pass rush?
“When you lose a guy like Adrian Clayborn or even Davin Joseph, you do see different schematic shifts from your opponents. Because you don’t have to deal—again it is players not plays. So you identify the players [and] how can you neutralize those guys. That’s what our opponents do the same. So certainly losing Adrian (Clayborn) does have an effect on a lot of things defensively. Pass rush, run game, [and] everything. I just think everybody in the league deals with it in some form or fashion and whoever deals with it best usually ends up winning.”How much of a factor is that in your pass defense?
“I don’t know how you quantify it, but it certainly has an effect. You are talking about what he had seven sacks last year or whatever it was; those are seven passes you don’t defend. Now if they are the right seven that can be a big difference.”
There are some teams in the league that do not have the ability if they get behind by a couple scores to come back so can you talk about the importance of having a guy like Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson and Josh Freeman when you are in a situation like that where you can come back from a deficit?
“Well it is nice to have those skill sets on your team. From the beginning our philosophy offensively is we want to run the football. We want to take shots down the field. I think that’s what we want to continue to do. People will do things to take certain strengths away. We were just talking and I think that what Minnesota is going to do that to some degree. They can play Tampa two and force you to throw the ball underneath and those kinds of things. Let’s just see how it unfolds, but I do think from your point and your question we can do that. You don’t really want to do that. You want to play from the other side, but if that’s where we find ourselves like we did Sunday we got to be able to come back and win the football game at the end.”What has Tiquan Underwood meant to you as a third option behind Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson?
“I think he has been very productive. Just look at his numbers since he has been back with us. [He] just needs to continue getting better like everybody else and he can be a productive part of this club.”How do you begin to straighten out some of those break downs that you have had in the secondary?
“It hasn’t been, I don’t want to make an epidemic here, and it hasn’t been a problem. I shouldn’t say that. There have been spurts where it has been a problem, but it is not like that’s our main issue. We just got to get it cleaned up. There was a little indecision. When you are playing against the level of athletes that they are in the secondary against the wide receivers, there is not a margin for error that big. If there is even a little indecision they got you. We have to make sure that is not a factor. We got to clean it up and cover people because we can.”Does the zone make that more difficult and do you have to be more on point in terms of your signals and your communications?
“Not really on defense because they are going to be quiet for their offense. Where it happens it happens on offense when you are away. That is the one thing about people see us with the noise out there and why do you have that you are at home, [but] defensively you cannot hear a word. It is third down and the crowd is on their feet. It has to be all hand signals.”Can you talk about the challenges not only going from a short week, but also going from facing a team like New Orleans to a fairly different look in the Minnesota Vikings?
“Well, short week for sure, but we both have the same short week. The only advantage they have is they don’t have to get on a plane for three hours. So what? That’s life. Schematically, yes they are different for sure. It is going to be a challenge. [Adrian] Peterson is as good as they get at running back. That guy runs with an attitude. We need to play run defense with an attitude. We have and we will, but I think that is going to be a great showdown. You know a great matchup.”With the injury he had last year do you see any change in his style at all or is he the same back he was before the injury?
“It is not fair for me because I studied him as a fan. Before I watched him like everybody else. Put the TV. on if I ever had the chance to watch him on highlights. Studying him now, I don’t know what he was, but he is darn good right now. I can tell you that.”Have you seen improvement in Doug Martin the past few weeks and what he has been able to do with the ball or is part of it the offensive line?
“I think it is all connected. Also part of it is we are throwing the ball better, right? So it loosens things up a little bit. All along I have said this I think Doug (Martin) is going to be a special running back. I do. I see the things that I have [seen in] great running backs. He has that. I can’t wait.”Do you find yourself amused maybe or frustrated a bit to find yourself as a storyline several times this year or does it come with the territory?
“Not amused. I think comes with the territory is it. We are not afraid to do what we think is right. Maybe it is a little different than it has been done. That doesn’t particularly—the thing that is frustrating is when what happened Sunday happens and you don’t believe that—I said enough.”
–Victoria Horchak contributed to this report
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