The Buccaneers began preparation for the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday at One Buc Place. Head coach Greg Schiano spoke to the media immediately following practice, and discussed the play of QB Josh Freeman, Michael Bennett and how the team is trying to get better in order to break their three-game losing streak.
Tampa Bay will travel to New Orleans this Sunday and try and end their three-game losing streak with a win over the Saints. At 6-7 there is no room for error if the Buccaneers want to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Head coach Greg Schiano talked the media on Wednesday about the upcoming matchup with New Orleans and the state of the team.
Jamon Meredith missed the practice portion we saw and what is his status for Sunday?
“I don’t know yet. Have to wait and see.”Can you talk about Michael Bennett and what was your knowledge of him after you saw the tape of him last year and what did you think of him?
“I was impressed with Mike (Michael Bennett) when we watched the tape. I thought he did good things in 2011. He has had a good year. He is sometimes bumped up, but he has been able to fight through it. I think if he was all healthy [he] probably could have done even more. He is fighting through it and he is doing a good job.”What does he do exceptionally well?
“He plays well with his hands and he has got some good slither. Slither defined the best way would be able to move this way yet bend and contort your body while you are still going up the field towards the quarterback.”
He is one of your better run stoppers, right?
“Yes, I said he is good with his hands.”This is second time facing Drew Brees and are there things from that first matchup that you said I will try this next time?
“There are. We are going to certainly try some things because I was very impressed. Now if you think back to the game we kind of did some things that were less than our best. Hopefully we can clean those errors up, but he still is going to get some plays. [He is] a first ballot hall of famer. This guy [and] that record he holds says a lot about just what he does—consistency. I know he had a tough game a couple weeks ago or whatever, but this is a guy who is one of the finest in the history of the game. It is going to be quite a challenge. We will try some things that I think—you live and learn. Hopefully you get better, but it is a huge challenge.”
How difficult has it been with the secondary with the injuries you have faced because it seems like a weekly basis you are rotating new guys in and does that make it tough to solidify this defense?
“You could say it would certainly be easier if you had the same guys there every week, but who does? We had it a little tougher maybe then some, but they have it at other positions. That’s the way the game plays in the National Football League. That’s our job. That’s what they employ us to do is get guys ready to play on Sundays and win games. You will not hear me say ever this guy is down or that guy is down. That’s life.”When you cut Brandon McDonald the first time what led to that decision, and you brought him back because of the depth there, but what changed for you?
“As I said about every personnel move since I have arrived, when we make personnel moves Mark (Dominik) and I we think what is the best thing for our football team to win games. At that time we felt going with other guys gave us the best chance to win. Going into the Saints season here we felt Brandon (McDonald) gave us the best chance. That’s what we are doing. It is good to have him back. He is a live wire. He brings energy. He is an experienced guy.”Can you talk about Josh Freeman the last two weeks and what do you think is going on with his inaccuracy?
“Certainly they have not been his best two games. That is obvious. Sometimes it is not always what it appears to be as well. Sometimes the route wasn’t exactly the way it should be and you are throwing it on timing and rhythm. Sometimes it is coming out before the guy ever breaks and if he breaks wrong. Sometimes it is not that. Sometimes he just misses the mark. Sometimes he is under pressure. It is never, like I always stand up here and I know it sounds like ‘oh here he goes again’ but it is never just one thing. If it was you would fix the one thing, but everybody would fix it. Be hard to win. He is a work in progress too. He is a young guy that is getting better. He has done some extraordinary things at the quarterback position since we have been here. Forget what he has done before we arrived. He has also had sometimes where he wishes he could have the throws back. I do see if you said that it was a stock, how is it going? Stock is trending that way [up] for sure. I know it is a what have you done for me lately business, but overall the stock is trending upward. We just got to get better this week though. The stock market has got to close Sunday at whatever time and we got to be on the higher side.”How important is it to finish these last three games as a team?
“I am not thinking like that. I am thinking about just the Saints game. I am not into the you know we go off into the [sunset] because I think if we win this game and we take care of our business I don’t know what is going to happen. I know if we don’t take care of our business I know what is going to happen. That’s what my focus is. I don’t think that way. Certainly if you stepped back and said boy that would be nice if we finished [well]. Yes absolutely. As I stood up here consistency has been our issue. Any team that is growing and getting better that is usually the issue. If you are good enough and you have talent enough to do it some of the time that’s the bigger tease. Yes we can, but we just can’t do it over and over and over again. That’s my job and that’s our coaches’ job to get them to do it over and over again. That’s why I stand up here and I take the responsibility. If we can and we don’t do it all the time, that’s on me. We got to get them to do it all the time. Whether it is a holding penalty, whether it is an inaccurate pass, whether it is a blown coverage that’s why you have a coach. That’s why you have assistant coaches. That’s our job to be better and it is their job to execute better. The one thing about this team [is] I don’t see anybody that is going to duck from blame or my fault. That is not the issue. It is sick that we are not winning. Sick that we lost three in a row. That is more the issue. It is something we got to get off. We got to win.” Does it get harder in the year when you are going through some struggles for guys to continue to motivate themselves or for you to motivate them?
“I hope not. I hope that we got the right people in the building that strive to be the best that they can be. Quite frankly personally it makes me even more want to do it right. The result was awful. The only thing that cures that is getting back to work and getting a win. If that’s not the case and I figure it out now I don’t figure it out all the time, but if I figure it out then they won’t be here. All I want is guys in here that want to be the best they can be. We cannot control our opponent. We can only control us, but we were not the best we could be Sunday. That is point blank. Forget who had more points. We were not the best we could be. The winning and losing is what we get judged by and we lost. Not playing our best and losing the game if you are not sick then there is a problem. That is where I am at with the thing.”You have been outspoken with player safety and how do you feel the league overall has handled the bounty issue?
“I am not enough an expert on that whole—I said that when you guys asked me a couple months ago. I truly have not taken the time to get into it because as far as I am concerned it has nothing to do with us winning. I don’t mean to dodge the question because I am not. I truly am not knowledgeable enough to talk on the issue. Player safety I am. I am not an advocate for player safety and everything that comes up. There are just certain things that I think are dangerous.”Zero tolerance from the league standpoint do you applaud that?
“I am not sure I even understand it to be honest. I am not sure I know what you are talking about. I am not being smart I just don’t. I have not followed the story and I refuse to get involved in it because I know we will never do it here. That will never be an issue here. So if it is not going to be an issue in this building, [but] what I have followed is if they are suspended or not. If we are going to play them and they are not playing that is okay too. I hear they are playing so let’s go get them.”–Mark Cook contributed to this report
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.