Coach Schiano held his regularly scheduled day after game day press conference today. In his conference he discussed what he saw in yesterday’s loss to the Rams, what he has learned about game day management, as well as his quarterback’s play and Eric Wright’s status.What is your overall assessment of the game yesterday?
“Well, it’s disappointing. Again, the turnovers didn’t change. We turned the ball over five times and you’re not going to win in the National Football League when you do that. Of course, if they turn it over somewhere in that vicinity too, the game can go either way. But that wasn’t the case. There were a lot of good things, though, that encourage, especially defensively. We played better than we have the last couple weeks. Not that it was near what we expect, but it was better so. And I thought that the two young corners battled, which is good to see. But at the end of the day all that is for naught because we turned the ball over five times and like I said, it’s going to be very difficult in this league to win when you do that.”Also hard to win when you don’t score in red zone and have busted defensive plays, correct?
“Since you have to score touchdowns and get the bigger number, seven, it certainly plays into it in a big way. I think what it boils down it is, we’ve been, I think, one or two in the NFL in red zone offense and then all of a sudden, it disappears yesterday. Did we forget how to coach, did they forget how to play, I don’t think. It just didn’t happen for us. Certainly that has an impact on the game. It’s about scoring points and keeping the other team out of the end zone. The one play that you mentioned defensively, the busted play, chalk it up to a beginner’s mistake. But they all have an impact on the game.”
What have you learned about game day management?
“There are some differences from where I coached the last 11 years, but I am grateful for having done it for 11 years. Because I think people are kidding themselves, if you never had to make the decision, you’re kidding yourself if you’re thinking, oh, when I get there I’ll be fine. You learn as you go through it. Whatever stage your involved in as a coach, The south Tampa Pop Warner, if you have to make the call on fourth down whether to go for it or punt, that’s a challenging decision when you hold the game in your hands with that decision. That’s one thing that I personally and certain members of the staff spend a ton of time, in season and out of season, the challenge part is different, being able to challenge. And it’s been seen across the league, even experienced people make mistakes in the challenge. Even officials make mistakes in what can be challenged. So certainly it’s not a perfect science. But I feel like we’re in a position where we have a philosophy. It may differ with other people’s philosophy, but what we haven’t had a lot of this year is two-point situations that have come up early in the games. I won’t tell you what our philosophy is, but everyone has a different thing, but I always say that as long as you’ve studied it and formulated educated opinions on things and you feel strongly about things, then there’s no looking back. You go do it. Usually 50 percent will agree and 50-percent will disagree unless it’s a clear-cut no brainer. I think that part is something I really enjoy and I think our football team is umpteen times more football smart than they were five months ago. We’re still not where we need to be by any means, but eventually, that’s’ going to be something that we clearly recognize as a Buccaneer advantage.”Will Eric Wright be playing Sunday?
“He is back. Can’t tell you right now without getting him on the field and seeing where he is. I think he’ll be in shape. I just have to see what I think is the best for our football team, which I’m not sure of right now.”How are E.J. Biggers and Jeremy Zuttah?
“Both had injuries. Going to have to wait and see on both of them. I think they’re going to be able to play but it’s early yet to make that call. I hope they can both play. With Eric we’ll see. I don’t think conditioning will be the issue, but football shape and being in good cardio and change of direction shape, those are a little different. So we’ll see.”You look at how you practice; can you leave something on the field on Wednesday and Thursday that you need?
“No doubt you can. And that’s my job to make sure we don’t. Certainly, if you look at this week’s practice, there’s zero chance that we left it. We didn’t even put pads on. So we went the fewest plays that you can go, we went a very minimum number of plays. But to be frank with you, a lot of the things that we did really well in practice, we actually went out and did really well in the game. Some of the things we didn’t do well in practice bit us right in the rear end and was a contributing factor to some of those turnovers. So you don’t always play like you practice, you know the old adage, but this week I think it pretty much held kind of consistent. And Mike’s comment about Sunday is 100-percent right. The level of your organization, and not just the coaches, but the ball boys, the trainers, the equipment managers, the whole level of the organization has to arise on game day and that’s my job as the leader, you have to make sure that thing goes like that on game day. And when you lose you look at every single aspect of that. Every Tuesday I have a meeting with administration that has nothing to do with blocking, tackling, catching and throwing ,but is about how we move the buses and all that because we want to be efficient and you never stop examining, even when you’re winning. It’s easy when you’re winning not to say, oh, we’ve got it. The minute you think you have it is when you have it all right.”What about the things you didn’t do well?
“Any time you turn the ball over it’s one of two reasons. It’s either a decision making, how you see things or how you’re carrying the ball less than securely. And I’ll leave it at that in that we did some things in practice that weren’t what we wanted to see and then it came out in the game. The thing I don’t;’ want to get into details about is regardless of whether Atlanta has clinched or not, I don’t want to give Atlanta a competitive advantage on us and I know I watch other coaches, so I’ll leave it at just general.”Was it Josh Freeman’s decision making?
“No, certainly some of it, he touches the ball on every play. But it was coaching, it was playing. When I evaluate, I evaluate all of us, starting with me.”Is Freeman pressing?
“I don’t feel like he’s pressing. I think he’s an aggressive player who has skills and he wants to use them. As I said yesterday, it’s such a fine line between being a great play and pressing or forcing and you don’t ever want to get your quarterback afraid of saying, I’m going to put it in that window. Because now all of a sudden you’re a dud and we don’t want that ever. We never want to take that out of a player. The game management comes with experience. And by that I mean knowing how the whole game is going. We can talk through it and say we’re playing good defense here, let’s make sure, you practice dropping back and seeing the coverage and throwing the ball and that takes a lot of experience to know that one’s a close one, it’s a tight game, we need it, I’m going to take it or we’re doing a great job, let’s not take that one. That may sound easy but it’s not easy. It’s sitting there on a platter for you and you have the skill to do it, but I don’t think Josh is deficient in any of that in any way. He doesn’t have enough years and reps to be really, really great at it yet. And you look at any quarterback who is in that phase right now where he is, in that 50-game areas, that’s where they start to really get it. Now in college you only have them for four years, but if you have a four-year starter, at the end of his junior year, the beginning of his senior year, they really start to get that. And Josh is getting it. He is. You can see him getting, he’s got such a better understanding of the whole game. And I think as I’ve said many times over a long period of time, we’ll get it all of a sudden. But it takes all those reps and all those opportunities because situations are so unique, because a quarterback begins to formulate his own philosophy, his own kind of how he feels it happening in the game. And it would be easy for me to say I think he’s pressing, that’s why he threw four interceptions, but I don’t. I think it’s such a fine line. I look and I say, that one I wish we didn’t throw. That one, I’m good with him throwing it. If they pick it off, let’s get him on the ground and go play defense, because if he doesn’t throw that one then you never get to see that one. And to me that’s a fine line you walk. The ones where you sit there and say, argghhh, those you don’t throw.”Are you nagged by the possibility of a poor finish undermining what you did well?
“That’s not nagging me. I care about what the fans feel and think because that’s important. I know that’s how we exist, because of our fans. What’s eating me right now it that we’re close but close is not what we’re here for and we have to get to where we stay getting the five or six plays that determine a game on each side of the ball. Right now we’re coming up 2-4, right. And 3-3 you have a chance to win but at 2-4 you’re not going to win, especially if you do it on both sides of the ball. That’s where we’ve kind of been here the last five weeks. This one included. And that’s what eats me. Because I know these guys can do it. There have been a lot of things that have happened over the course of this year, some of the guys we started with aren’t here. But that doesn’t matter. Again we had opportunities to do it and we didn’t coach well enough or play well enough to be on the positive side. And that’s what eats me. Now, maybe at the end of the year, when I look back on it, I’ll say, Oh many we had great momentum and it’s sputtered out, but when you’re in the hunt, in the fight, you just have to focus on getting it corrected and the retrospective, that will be for a week or two from now.”
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