Did you accomplish all of your goals in this mini-camp? “As a coach you never get done what you want to get done. There just aren’t enough hours. But I was really encouraged by the attitude of our guys and the energy level they brought to work everyday. If we continue to grow that all the other stuff will continue to grow.”
Where do you see linebacker Dekoda Watson fitting in? “Well he is an explosive athlete, he really has great explosion. Where he is going to play? I don’t know. We have worked him at the linebacker positions. Different ones. He certainly has all the skills to be a tremendous special teams players as well. He can rush the passer. There are a lot of different things Dekoda can do. I think – and I talked to the squad about it – it is not only enough to get the right guys on the bus, but you have to get them in the right seats. And that is one of the things we are trying to work very hard at and that is to figure out who works where in our scheme. And do we have to adjust it because no one fits it. There is always more football than you need. So if we don’t have the fit right now, you put it on the shelf for if it ever is a fit again.”
Will Mason Foster continue to play middle linebacker? “I want to sit down with the staff and really talk through it. These have been long days and at the end of the day we staff meet but we haven’t talked a lot of personnel. I thought he had a good three days. I’m not sure where all those linebackers will land. Mason played the Will (weakside) in college then he played the Mike (middle) last year. So I will have to go back and look at his college tapes – I have watched a few games – just to get a better feel. Because we are not back at this stuff until June so we have some time to really study it.”
Who did you work at weakside linebacker? “We mixed it up, really. We had Quincy there a little bit. We had a bunch of guys there. We’re going to move them around right now. We can’t screw around for too long. It’s good to mess around and try guys at different spots, but then we have to lock in. So I really look forward to talking to the staff about that. And then there’s this thing a week from today, that draft thing, that might bring some new bodies here, too, then I think we can know better where we’re headed.”
What kind of impact can Vincent Jackson make on the receiving corps? “I think Vincent Jackson is going to have a really good impact on everybody. He’s a real pro. He works very hard, he practices very hard and he’s very good. I like having him on our team. He brings an energy to practice as well as a playmaking ability. That’s exciting.
Did these three days allow you to answer the questions you prioritized? “Some. When you don’t’ actually hit, which is such a big part of football, it’s hard to tell. My biggest desire was to make sure everybody left with the core principles of what was important to us as a coach staff and as an organization on the football end. I think that got across. Now we just have to keep going at it. And that’s a never-ending process. Schematically, there’s miles to go. There just aren’t enough hours to meet and walk through and do it, but the biggest thing I mentioned already is the way they worked and the excitement they brought to practice already, that to me was great. The effort was great.”
Did you make it through the mini-camp without any major injuries? “We did. A couple of muscle pulls and that sort of thing. But we got through everything. It’s always worrisome because they want to go out there and play and their big tremendous athletes, but we don’t want to bump without pads on so you kind of hold your breath. But we got through it OK.”
How will your first draft day be working with Mark Dominik? “Mark and I, from the beginning we’ve made it very clear we’re just going to work together and we have done that. Along with Dennis Hickey we’ve spent countless hours watching tape and talking about it. Our whole scouting staff, our coaching staff has done evaluations. I think it’s really very quickly become a good relationship with the scouting staff, the coaching staff, Mark, Dennis and I just kind of working at it. So I’m very comfortable with it. We formulate our opinions and then we run it by ownership and together we make organizational decisions and we know the kind of young men we want to bring here, not only as football players but as people. We’re going to get Buccaneer men – as we say – guys who will do the things that we expect them to do and that have the talents to help us win championships. I think as long as you stay focused on that and don’t get caught up in all the other stuff, you’ll be fine.”
What’s your philosophy be on going with Claiborne or Richardson? “Anything I say publicly about this puts us at a disadvantage. I’m going to tell you the truth if I answer the question, which I’m not going to. I’m not going to comment on draft stuff because I think it’s such a big thing. We have people scanning people’s websites, trying to find any clue and every other team in the league does the same thing. So if they’re watching this…we’ll see. I can’t wait. It’s exciting stuff. We put a lot of time and effort into it. You like to see it come to fruition and get the players here.”
Is it about filling need or best player? “That’s a good way to restate it. I’m going to stick to the same deal. I think that lends to what my feelings are and people can read into it. Any chance you lose a competitive advantage I don’t want to do that. I think this pick is very important to our organization. Not just this pick – but all six picks. The thing I love, when you come from college, you get a chance at 200 and some draft picks. Those are the 200 or so best players in the world. How can you go wrong as long as you pick the ones that fit your system and fit the kind of people you want you should have good football players? So we’re very excited about that. We can’t wait for that.”
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, the beach and family time.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
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