Former Tampa Bay assistant and current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined the local media on Wednesday to discuss Sunday’s contest between the Bucs and Steelers. Below is a transcript from the conference call.
(On the return on linebacker James Harrison and the impact he hopes Harrison will have on the field)
“It’s less about impact. I know he’s James Harrison, but he’s coming back in a different role than which he left. Here’s a guy that wasn’t in a training camp-like setting. So first and foremost, we’ve got to see what he’s capable of executing in terms of assignments and see what he remembers. He’s been gone from us for over 12 months. Obviously, his level of conditioning is going to weigh in to any amount of the participation. So it’s not as shiny as it appears, but obviously, we’re excited to have him back. It fortifies us from a depth standpoint at the outside linebacker position with a guy that we know, that knows us, that understands how we do business and is in line with us in that regard.”
(On what it was like for him to come into the NFL out of college and work with Tony Dungy in Tampa)
“It wasn’t anything uncomfortable about that. I’ve been in meeting rooms and dealt with guys all my life and I’ve been coaching all of my professional life. That introductory press conference, that was new. That was the first time I’ve ever had a press conference. That was interesting. I remember Joe Berry, myself and Jim Caldwell; Coach [Dungy] had an introductory press conference for all of us and we had the opportunity to speak with you guys. That was more of a concern for me than meeting and dealing with the guys.”
(On how his time in Tampa helped mold him into the coach that he is now)
“I was in just a great learning environment for a coach. Obviously, Coach Dungy is a great teacher and mentor, but just everyone: Rod Marinelli, Monte [Kiffin], even the offensive guys I didn’t work as closely with. We had a veteran-laden staff and they were helpful to me in terms of my personal growth and development. And it would seem like they always took a personal stake in it, which I appreciated.”
(On what is different about him between now and then)
“I was in my late twenties, now I’m in my early forties, so I’m probably as different as anybody between their late twenties and early forties. I’ve experienced a lot and I’ve learned from it and hopefully I’m better for it.”
(On how teams come back after big losses)
“I think it’s a lot easier than people realize. These guys are professional athletes because they’re capable of overcoming adversity. That’s why they’re at this level of football. There’s plenty of talented people out there; usually the ones that persevere and ascend to this level, it’s because they can overcome adversity. The big thing about this level is being able to deal with success. So it’s a natural act to respond to adversity, to bounce back from a negative performance; that’s what those guys have been doing all their life. That’s what I warned my football team against this morning. They understand and expect to get the very best of the Buccaneers, because like anybody, they’re going to bounce back and come back fighting us, just like we did the week before. We got embarrassed on Thursday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. It doesn’t sit well with a professional athlete, and they all better understand and recognize that.”
(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I’m just starting to familiarize myself with him. Obviously, them being an NFC team, I didn’t look at them a lot last year. We’re in the midst of that process right now. He does have long ball capabilities, he’s willing to put balls up and give those big wideouts an opportunity to make it – he’s got a legitimate rapport with Vincent Jackson. We’ve got to respect those 13 games he started a year ago. I’m sure it’s going to serve him well as he moves forward. I’m sure he’s excited about playing, I’m sure he’s got a different perspective on this opportunity having lost it in the midst of the starter this season. So we’re anticipating the very best from him. Really, I’m just beginning to familiarize myself with him and his capabilities.”
(On if the Tampa 2 defense is still a viable defense in the NFL)
“Oh Gosh, yeah. I mean, Carolina was essentially the best defense in the league with it a year ago.”
(On if the Tampa 2 defense relies on the pass rush)
“Like any defense, it all works together. Rush and coverage works together – you can’t say one without the other. It’s all predicated, of course, by your ability to stop the run and get people in non-advantageous third down situations. And that’s any defense.”
(On how difficult it can be changing offensive coordinators)
“What they’re going through is not a change in systems. Obviously, I’m sure there’s some adjustments that need to be made. I’m sure they’re obviously better equipped to answer their situation than I am. But that’s not a coordinator change, it’s probably not a system change; they’re simply just moving forward through Coach Tedford’s stuff and having to make the necessary adjustments to overcome his absence.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get our facts straight. Cover 2 is not dead in the NFL. Lots of teams still successfully play a version of the Cover 2. Nobody, including the Bucs plays the pure Cover 2 of days gone by that some may be referring to.
Two of the most successful defenses in the NFL play a version of the Cover 2. Carolina plays the exact same defense as the Bucs (Ron Rivera, Lovie Smith disciple)and Seattle plays Cover 3 which uses Cover 2 as the base defense.
Cover 2 in its modified form is not the culprit. No defense works if you don’t have the skill set or the players don’t know how to employ it. I suspect the Bucs are guilty on both fronts. Lovie needs a FS like Earl Thomas and a SS like Kam Chancellor who can come down into the box and play as an extra LB (Barron has been an epic fail). Lovie does not have a MLB who can play deep and cover, ie, Cover 2. Fix the players, fix the defense!
Those who want more info, read for yourself.
Macabee, I totally agree with your comments, especially the part about having the players that fit the defense. I think the players know that they don’t have the correct skill sets and are frustrated because of that. McCoy and David are really the only two pieces that do fit the scheme well and when they lost McCoy, the D lost hope that they could make it work (and they were right). Without the correct talent it will not work and we do not have that talent now. We need ball hawling safeties, LB’s that can cover and DE’s that can get sacks…cupboard looks bare.
No question the horses are needed. Sure Carolina was the No. 1 defense last year but look at that front seven. When you can notch 60 sacks in a season, you could run pretty much any scheme.
Gotta wonder if Tomlin is just being kind…today..Wait until sunday…Trust me,his team will exploit our defense and the holes its full of…Funny~Tomlin was the one damn coach we should have kept and or promoted~look at what the bucs have had since he walked and see what hes done for the steelers over his time there.
Totally agree macabee. Schemes don’t win…..players do. In our case, schemes don’t lose….players do. But here in Pewterville, we go from being excited about the return of the Tampa Two to thinking it was written on a scroll and ready to abandon it after three games while key players are hurt and still learning the intricacies that our playoff teams mastered. Sapp always said it’s not the scheme….it was those players. I remember when the Tampa Two referred to the two wins we somehow were able to muster.
Is it the scheme, or the players? We were horrible last year with a different scheme. This year we changed schemes, and we’re still horrible. We even changed half the roster, result, we still stink. Only in Tampa can you change both, and still be bad. How can this be?
The problem is TIME.. Sure the Bucs could use a few players on the D side, but the team hasn’t learned the system to the point of being able to run it without thinking. Brooks pretty much said it himself
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