FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Amazon Prime’s All Or Nothing 2015 Arizona Cardinals series was an incredibly insightful look at new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians and some of the assistants he brought with him. One of those assistants is cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross, a former NFL cornerback with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ross was instrumental in helping develop Patrick Peterson into a perennial Pro Bowler in Arizona.
Ross is an old school coach, who I believe will work wonders with young talent like Vernon Hargreaves III, Ryan Smith, Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart among others. In one All Or Nothing Clip, Ross talks about the softness in which the Cardinals were practicing and lacking the needed mental toughness with safeties coach Nick Rapone.
“We as a staff can’t tolerate it,” Ross said. “You’ve got to go hard. You’ve got to go hard and take your body and your mind to another place so that when it comes down to it in a ball game, it’s natural. It’s all natural (to where they say), ‘I’ve been there before. I’ve been expecting this. I can’t wait for this’ – all that. We have to teach it.”
During one interesting exchange with cornerback Jerraud Powers, Ross tries to empower him and make him a more vocal leader.
“Today, take on the responsibility to get everyone focused – anybody that’s in the huddle with you,” Ross said.
“I ain’t the rah-rah type, coach,” Powers replied.
“I don’t need rah-rah,” Ross said. “I don’t need rah-rah. I said focused. There’s a difference. I don’t need you jumping up and down and all that. I just need focus.”
“I don’t like all that big brother stuff,” Powers responded.
“That’s something about the big brother thing that you don’t understand,” Ross said. “Just because you don’t like it don’t mean that you don’t consume that role. I don’t like a lot of things. I don’t like walk-thrus, but I know why we do it. You like winning?”
“I love winning,” Powers said.
“Alright, this is part of winning,” Ross said.
That’s good stuff.
Ross also was featured schooling Peterson and the Cardinals cornerbacks on stopping Calvin Johnson’s catches on back-shoulder fades before the game at Detroit. Peterson held Johnson to five catches for 67 yards and had an interception against a back-shoulder fade in Arizona’s 42-17 win.
• THE MAN-BUN IS BACK! PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema took some time away from his offseason duties at The Draft Network to join Mark Cook, Matt Matera and I for a brand new Pewter Nation Podcast. This one is chock full of Bucs analysis as we talk about left tackle Donovan Smith, the Bucs draft and more in Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 107: The Return Of The Man-Bun. Make sure you listen to this one, as Sikkema says something that makes Cook laugh and send Powerade up his nose in the process.
In case you missed it, Cook, Matera and yours truly discussed the future of Bucs defender Noah Spence and other Bucs-related topics in Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 106: The Reclamation Project. This one is full of Bucs insight and analysis, too. Make sure you check it out!
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped during the middle of next week.
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• No one spoke more highly of Arizona head coach Bruce Arians in the Amazon Prime series All Or Nothing than quarterback Carson Palmer, who played some of his best football during the 2015 season.
“I think he’s the best coach in the game because he’s always educating,” Palmer said. “That’s one of the things that Bruce does that separates him that makes him the best. Every time he’s done that I’ve picked up one thing and it’s been a really good point.
“He’s talking about play concepts. He’s talking about linebackers, he’s talking about defensive linemen, and he’s talking about referees and how the referees change (from game to game). It seems like such a simple, no-brainer thing for a head coach to do, but head coaches don’t do it because they don’t think of it.”
• One final note from the All Or Nothing 2015 Arizona Cardinals series. Despite Bruce Arians’ warning about slacking off for the season finale against Seattle, the Cardinals take their foot off the gas and get shellacked at home. Arizona had already clinched a playoff bye and a home game in the postseason before the Seattle game, so there technically wasn’t much to play for, and Arians is not a believer in resting starters.
At halftime of the game with Arizona trailing 30-6 in Week 17, Arians ripped into his team.
“If you don’t want to play, tell me so I can take you out of the game because you are saving yourself for the playoffs – that’s obvious,” Arians said. “I’ll tell you right now I am taking the quarterback out. I’m taking him out of the game. But the rest of you make up your f*@$ing minds what you want to do for these next 30 minutes. Cause it’s going to be the ass-whooping that you ain’t never felt before – or as grown ass men you are going to stand up and try to play for 30 minutes. Now whether we win or not don’t matter. But we’ll set the standard back to the way we’ve been playing for 14 or 15 weeks.”
After trailing 30-6 at halftime, the Cardinals shut out the Seahawks in the second half, losing 36-6. Message sent, message received.
• Kudos to former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano for being named Brian Flores’ replacement as New England’s defensive coordinator. Schiano has spent time with head coach Bill Belichick before, and just had a tour of duty with Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator. It’s good to see Schiano get back into the NFL and he’ll become a better coach because of the time spent with perennial winners like Meyer and Belichick.
If he succeeds in his new role, he could join the likes of Romeo Crennel, Matt Patricia and Flores as former Belichick defensive coordinators that get their shot as NFL head coaches. Of course Schiano’s first stint as an NFL head coach didn’t go so well in Tampa Bay, evidenced by his 11-21 record with the Bucs from 2012-13, but he learned a lot of what no to do that will serve him well in his next opportunity.
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• The Bucs signed former German Football League kicker Phillip Andersen this week, but are monitoring the situation with former Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant and Cairo Santos, who was signed midway through the 2018 season to replace Chandler Catanzaro. Bryant is 43 years old and the Falcons had to keep two kickers on the roster because of Bryant’s penchant for getting injured. Bryant, who was Tampa Bay’s kicker from 2005-08, pulled his hamstring hitting a game-clinching 57-yard field goal against the Bucs in Atlanta last year, and his age is the biggest reason why the Falcons would cut a kicker who was 20-of-21 on field goals last year.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht is typically adverse to signing older veterans with a history of injuries, opting to go with younger talent with more of an upside. That has been apparent as Licht has passed over the likes of running back Adrian Peterson even though Peterson has expressed a desire to sign with the Bucs in the past.
Conversely, new head coach Bruce Arians sees value in experienced veterans, evidenced by the fact that the 2015 Cardinals signed running back Chris Johnson, defensive end Dwight Freeney and defensive tackle Red Bryant, who were all in the twilight of their careers. It will be interesting to see how Licht’s philosophy and attitude towards aging veterans meshes with that of Arians going forward.
The Bucs might sign Bryant or re-sign Santos, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger on either move just yet.
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