The Buccaneers were again back on the practice field Thursday in preparation for Sunday's road trip to face their NFC South divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints. Head coach Greg Schiano spoke to the media following practice and touched on a number of subjects ranging from Gerald McCoy to Saints QB Drew Brees.
Head Coach Greg Schiano spoke with the media on Thursday following his teams’ practice for the day. He addressed the play of his offense line and defensive players such as Mark Barron and Gerald McCoy. He also addressed the kick returner situation. How is Da’Quan Bowers?
“He was back today. He practiced today.”It was an excused absence yesterday?
“Yes it was.”How is Jamon Meredith?
“He practiced today.”Aaron Morgan has had more playing time the last couple of weeks and what have you seen from him?
“He is developing. He is getting better as a pass rusher first and then see if it goes further than that.”How did you think Gary Gibson played last week in place of Roy Miller?
“I thought Gary (Gibson) played a solid game. It was not spectacular, but he did his job. if everybody does that we will be good. When you look at the grade sheet it was clean as far as mistakes and that kind of stuff.”Are you content right now with Tiquan Underwood as a kick returner?
“We need to see. He got it out to the 23 the other day I think it was from five [or] six yards deep. Very little data to make a decision on, but right now that’s who it is. That’s who it will be this weekend.”Tiquan Underwood has been playing some of that slot receiver spot is that hard for him to do and do you need more of a physical type guy in regards to your third down package?
“If you watch Tiquan (Underwood) lines up in there, but Vince (Vincent Jackson), Mike (Mike Williams) lines up in there and Dallas (Clark). They all line up in there. We can format it however we want. The things we ask Tiquan (Underwood) to do in there I think lends towards his skill set. We are not asking him to do some of the things that a traditional slot [receiver] might do. You know muscling guys because that is not his game. He is fast and he is elusive so we try to utilize his skills when he is in there and also when he is outside.”
What do you take the most from that first Saints game in terms of pressure on Drew Brees?
“We actually got him off his spot. We did not hit him and we did not sack him, but we did get him off his spot. What we didn’t do a great job of in the first game is eye disciplining our coverage. We had eye mistakes probably three or four of those plays and they amounted to plus 30 plus 40 plus whatever it was 48. The big plays that came were directly as a result of that. We need to do a better job with our eye discipline covering. We need to continue to get them off the spot and hopefully regulate the contain and make sure that we get hits and get him down because you got to do that to him.”Is he as good as there is in terms of looking off receivers?
“He is very good. He is in that elite crew of guys that you probably could name who the others are, but very, very good.” Where do you see Josh Freeman is at right now in regards to these past few games?
“Well, he didn’t play his best game a week ago, but I think he’s built equity in our offense and what he can do. He just needs to come back and play another game and play well and that’s what I anticipate. As I mentioned yesterday, some of the errors, some of the errant throws, were not the result of Josh (Freeman). Some of them were for other reasons. But some of them were a result of Josh, so you know, plenty of blame to go around, starting with the guy behind this mike (microphone).”How is this offensive line playing?
“There’s guys playing in there that weren’t originally going to be the guys playing and then there’s guys playing in there that weren’t originally going to be the guys playing with pain. So having said all that, I think they’re competing their guts out and relative to the rest of the National Football League, we’re protecting the quarterback pretty well. I mean, this is the National Football League, you are going to have pressure. There’s guys rushing the pocket but I think our guys fight. They mirror their coach. I think coach (Bob)Bostad is a non-nonsense guy and Coach (Steve)Loney is the same way and I think our guys follow that. Some guys like Jeremy Zuttah and Donald Penn that kind of bring that. So I think that’s what it is – a tough group that fights every down. Because that’s the only way we survive that.”How is Mark Barron holding up mentally?
“I think he’s holding up fine. He’s also making some plays that not a lot of rookies make. You’re going to make some mistakes, there are some veteran guys that will make mistakes. But he’s learning that this is different and the skill people you have to cover at this level, they’re the elite people in the world at what they do, but overall I think he’s done good. He’s a level as you go guy, and he’s getting better.”What kind of impact has he had on the rush defense?
“Mark? I think as big as anybody. You know, rush defense to me is 11 pieces fitting the puzzle correctly. When you’re not good in rush defense you’re giving the offense daylight and when you are good at rush defense you’re dictating the daylight. So Mark is a critical part of that dictating daylight and he’s done a good job with that.”On McCoy, what clicked for him last week?
“I think he’s just getting better at some of the things but I think he’s played at a high level all year. He’s been very disruptive. I think he’s allowed other people to make some plays as well. In the run game he’s been dominant at times, so I think what he’s doing is just like what we need our whole team to do which is become a more consistent performer with more cumulative reps under his belt, better understanding of the position. As you said, he had limited stints of playing (time) in his first two years and there is no substitute for playing games. Practice is great, but the way you learn is in the fire and I think he’s gone back to the fire over and over again this year and he’s gotten better and more consistent.”
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