How is Quincy Black?
“Quincy (Black) overall he is going to be okay. Now it is a serious injury and he is having some complications with his left arm. So there are still further tests he has to go to before we can make a definitive statement. It is serious and how much time that means we are going to have to see. As soon as we know we will let you know, but obviously that is not good. The good part of it having been down this road you know when you start down it is scary is that other than the left arm he has got full function. We will just kind of work through this now.”
How was he last night when you saw him at the hospital?
“He had just been through a lot of tests, but he was okay. It was a you know he is a grown man [and] he is a mature guy. He knows there is something [and] that it is not a little thing, but I think he will be fine.”
Are you ruling him out right now for this week?
“Oh yes I think for this for sure. There is no doubt. I think it is more of a bigger [and] longer term thing right now.”
Is this a career stopping injury of sorts?
“I hope not. I don’t know enough yet again that would be speculating. I sure hope not. I think right now we still have to do these further tests to find out exactly what it is.”
So what is the plan at strong side linebacker?
“It is infant stages right now. We are just getting information as we go. The good thing is we have linebackers on our team [and] in our depth that haven’t been active that will just go through a natural progression as we talk about it as a coaching staff. Every week is different. Depending on what offensive personnel they present we may feature this or feature that. We will figure all that out as the week goes on.”
Have the doctors classified what the injury is?
“It is, the spine is fine. It is just nerves and things come out and so I don’t want to say too much because I am not even exactly sure. I would hate to misspeak, but I do know that it is going to need some further test to get right to the bottom of it. There are a lot of really smart, good doctors that are working on it right now for Quincy (Black) which makes me feel good that we are going to get him the best care and get the best solution and get him back to being well.”
Were there a million things going through your mind as you walked out there to Quincy Black?
“I think actually because of what I have been through with Eric (LeGrande) I was a little relived because I saw him move his right hand. That was later when he gave the thumbs up, but I saw him move it on the field. Initially when I saw him still I was very worried. When I saw him move I though well I will let the docs handle it and then when he laid there a little longer I said I better go out there and make sure that—not that I can do anything—but just to talk to him to keep him calm. Totally different situation. He was fine [and] looking at me in the eye [and] talked and speaking. Totally different than when that happened before.”
By NFL standards one penalty and zero turnovers can you talk about that as a prescription for success?
“Well I think the cleanness if you just flip the order of what you just said that the ball security [of] taking care of the football and taking the ball away is why we won the game. So that to me is number one. You take care of the football and you give yourself a chance to win. The penalties are good because obviously that was a problem the week before. We had 15 penalties the week before against Oakland. Something we talked about as a team. We worked [and] we always work on it, but I think there was special emphasis because that’s just too much. That was a mark of improvement which was good.”
How is Eric Wright and is that a potentially serious injury?
“Well it is a continuation of what he is dealing with. He practiced last week so I really thought he was going to be fine, but then he retweeked it. He played well up until he did it. He made a nice TFL there at the beginning of the game. It was good to have him going. Then Todd came up to me and told me it doesn’t look like you are going to have him today. I was like ugh. Next. Next. Keep going. What do we got next? So it changed things. Compliment to the guys that jumped right in and played and didn’t bat an eye. That’s what you got to do.”
Is the mentality with Tampa Bay that it doesn’t matter where you came from; once you’re here you’re good enough to play?
“Well I think that definitely is important. I’ve always had that approach no matter what level I coached at. And the good thing is, organizationally we believe that starting with our ownership and then Mark Dominik our GM – you don’t make decisions in a vacuum here. One of the things is my interview process when meeting with the Glazer brothers, ‘We want to win. Whatever you think is best to win - that’s what we do,’ and we talk about it and we make decisions and we go and that’s comforting. Because your players know that too and everybody knows that they have a chance to play, it doesn’t matter where you were drafted – none of that stuff comes into play, we’re going to play who gives us the best chance to win. I think that’s a good formula at any level.”
How is Mike Sullivan doing?
“I think Mike is doing a great job. He and the offensive staff. Mike is the leader of that group and they communicate well and work well together. They’ve kind of narrowed their focus and what it is exactly that we do best, yet they haven’t stopped working on the other stuff, because when you build an offense there are certain things you’re going to get faster than the other things. But for the long haul you have to have your full menu, whatever you think is best for the group of people that you have. So we’ll practice things out there, some that we’re not going to run just yet because I don’t think we’re quite ready to do it. But we will start to be ready. I though last week you could see in certain things where we switched over from learning to knowing, if that makes sense., and the guys just did it and there wasn’t that hesitation where you’re learning something. And the more things we can get to feeling that way with the more your athletic ability can take over and that’s really what we’re trying to do is to get guys playing loose and playing free, knowing what they’re doing, and not having to think about it.”
Josh Freeman has thrown 13 touchdowns and one interception in the last five games. How is he playing at such a high level?
“Again I think cumulative reps, he understands better what we’re doing, what we’re asking of him, and he’s playing within himself. He’s not trying to make plays. He’s just trusting his training and executing what he’s been trained to do and the plays come. When you’re as talented as Josh freeman is and you’re as talented as we are at wideout and tight end and running back, if you just go out there and process, process, process, the plays will come. And more importantly, the negative plays won’t come. Usually when you have a bad play, a turnover, you’re forcing something. Now, has he been perfect? No. there’s been a few in this stretch that could have been interceptions. But generally when you’re straining to do the process, the outcome is usually in your favor.”
With a 5-4 record, do you talk about the playoff race at all?
“You guys take care of that. I don’t need to. They’re very aware, just like anyone is very aware of what’s at stake and what could potentially be. That one week season as you call it, that to me is more than just a rhetoric. That is truly what we’re about. You’re competing with yourself. There’s another team there because otherwise it doesn’t count as a win or a loss, but you’re competing with yourself because you can’t control them. And what we can control is what happens out there on the practice field, in the meeting room, how we prepare. That’s everything to use. How can we out prepare ourselves this week as compared to last week. Be just that much better. And if you keep doing that in each one-game season, you’re going to win your share and then at the end you look up and hopefully it’s enough and that’s what we’ll do. My big thing as a head coach is, we’ll judge it when it’s over. Right now we’re in it, so let’s make adjustments and just keep moving forward and preparation is everything to us.”
- Dory LeBlanc contributed to this report.