New Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was formally introduced to the media at One Buc Place on Wednesday and talked about his offensive philosophy, the Buccaneers current personnel and the excitement he has about getting things started this season. Below is the full transcript of his press conference.
(Opening statement)“It’s great to be here in Tampa. Really looking forward to it, really excited to be here with Lovie and the rest of the staff. Been here probably four days now, so I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to enlighten you guys, but [I’ve] just been in the process of evaluating our team and so on and so forth. [I’m] really excited to be here, anxious to get started, can’t wait until the players are actually able to come in so we can spend some quality time with them, get to know them and obviously get on the field with them is one of the biggest things so we can get to know them on and off the football field. With that, any questions I can answer?” (On why he came to the NFL now)“It’s something that I’ve always had my eye on. I’ve been head coach at Cal for the last 11 years and this last season took a season off. I think that was really helpful, to recharge the batteries. We had a lot going on at Cal, building a brand new $450 million dollar facility, so this last year was refreshing. As far as the college things go this year, there wasn’t a whole lot going on, it was kind of a slow year in college. When [Head Coach] Lovie [Smith] called and we had the opportunity to speak, it was something I was really excited about. I have a lot of players in the NFL, so I’m pretty close with all our players throughout the NFL and very interested in it. I watch a lot of NFL when I can to be able to watch those guys play, but I think it’s a great challenge. It’s very exciting. It’s great to be here with the Bucs. We have a lot of challenges; we need to improve a lot. I’m excited for the challenge. Like I said, I’ve been a head coach for the last 11 years, but before that was a coordinator at Oregon and Fresno State. I spent some time in pro football, in the CFL, played pro football in Canada for six years and then I coached up there for three or four years. It just really excited about the opportunity to be in the NFL, to be with a great organization and a great head coach like Lovie. It felt like the right fit and I’m really excited about it.” (On calling plays at an NFL level after coming from college)“I don’t have any apprehension about it. The different rule changes are obviously going to be something as far as clock management. Clock management is huge. As I’m watching a lot of the games in the NFL, a lot of it comes down to the last four minutes, two minutes. [There are] a lot of tight games, so clock management is a little bit different. Besides that, football is football. They’ve got 11 guys on both sides and a lot of the same coverages and so on and so forth. There are minor rule differences that obviously you have to make sure that you’re on top of. I’ve got a rule book on my desk I’ve been reading through to make sure I’ve got those covered. The play-calling – I’ve called plays my whole life. Probably for the last three years, as we started building that facility, I didn’t feel like I could give the right amount of attention to it to get it done and we had some very capable people who understood the offense and felt good. I was in every game-planning meeting that we had, put the game plans in and I would still call a few plays throughout the game – if we got to a certain situation, ‘Hey run this, run that’ type of thing, but not every play. I’ve called plays my whole life, so I don’t really have any apprehension about that whatsoever.” (On if he wants players to fit his offensive system or if he tailors his system to the players he has)“I think a little bit of both, actually. The players are the ones playing; our job is to put the guys in a position to be successful. To try to put a square peg in a round hole is not the wisest thing to do, so we want to make sure that whether we have the players on our team now – which is what we’re in the process of evaluating – they can do some of the things we want to get done, or drafting them, or free agents, or acquiring them however we get them. The philosophy is we want to make sure we can run the football; we want to be physical up front and run the football. We want to be diverse. We want to get speed in space, multiple personnel, formations. We will change tempos from time to time. The big thing is to make sure that we give the players the answers to the test and put them in a position to be successful. Preparation is key, ball protection – turnovers are probably the most telling statistic in football and so absolutely making sure we’re protecting the football. That we play together as a team [is key], because certain games come into it where, depending on the game situation – it’s a situational game. You have to win the situations and you have to try and put yourself in a position to win those situations –staying out of third-and-long. Third-and-3 is a much higher percentage that third-and-long. How we’re playing as a team, the situation of the game, I think all dictates your approach on how you go about calling a game at that time.” (On quarterback Mike Glennon)“I’ve seen a lot with Mike on tape over the last couple of days. It’s really hard to know, because you don’t know what he was asked to do. Until you look and say ‘What was he asked to do?’ you really don’t know if he was doing the right thing or the wrong thing. My first impression is he did a lot of good things. He’s a rookie. He took over the fourth game, so I think his growth and development – I saw some progression through the year with him. I think he’s got a lot of poise in the pocket, I don’t think he gets frustrated in the pocket. He’s pretty smart with the football, when things aren’t there he’s throwing it away, he’s making good decisions. Good decisions come in many forms, whether you’re trying to complete a pass, throw the football away, manage the clock, whatever it may be. I see a lot of real positive things with Mike. I’m really looking forward to getting to know him better, to be able to sit down and actually talk to him about things. Physically, I think he brings some real positives, but I also think there’s some things that he can improve on, I think he realizes that. I think there are some quarterback fundamentals that we can help him with. Then physically, himself, I think he understands what his limitations are that we can improve on, in the weight room, with strength and conditioning and fast twitch and doing some things there that may help him a little bit. I think when he’s out of the pocket he does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield, he can throw well on the run. He can change the launch point, which I think is critical, so you’re not just a sitting duck in one spot all the time. I think he does a lot of those things. I got a chance to meet him, he came in to say hello. I was impressed with his demeanor, being able to speak to him. He seems like a very bright guy. My understanding is he’s very well-respected in the locker room. I think as a leader he will grow, too. I think when you’re a rookie, you’re a backup, then you move into that role, it’s kind of hard to just grab the reins and do that, but my understanding is that he’s very well-respected in the locker room and I think that will even continue to get better and his leadership capabilities will improve with his comfort level. I think after one year, the more you’re doing it, the more you feel like it’s your team and the more comfortable you can be and the more leadership you can provide.” (On his success with running backs at California and what he thinks of Tampa Bay’s running backs)“It’s hard to tell. I think there’s talent there and I think there’s potential. It’s hard to look at the continuity last year because of all of the injuries. Doug [Martin] being hurt, Mike [James] being hurt, I think [Bobby] Rainey probably played the whole time, but we had some injuries last year on the offensive side of the ball. I’ve been very fortunate to be around a lot of great backs. Michael Pittman played here, Maurice Morris [I coached] at Oregon. Then through Cal we were very fortunate to always have really two backs, whether it was J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch and then Marshawn and Justin Forsett were together and then Marshawn and Jahvid Best and then Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen. We really always had a good one-two punch in the backfield and I think that’s what you need. I think for one guy to carry the load the whole time – especially as physical as this level is – I think to have two and probably three backs that are quality backs that can provide different things for you as far as third down backs are concerned, catching the ball out of the backfield, pass protection, all of the things to be able to create some matchups, I think, are really key. Which are the things that say a Shane Vereen brought to the table and I think he’s exhibiting that in New England. He’s big with what he’s doing there. Marshawn can do that, but he’s kind of turned into the power guy more than that, but he had the ability to do that. I think it’s important to find guys who are versatile, that can do those type of things. Then great speed – when I say speed in space, to get outflanked and get guys in the open field that can make guys miss and be explosive with big plays.” (On meeting with Lovie Smith during the 2013 season to watch football and looking for another college job)“We had a very productive meeting. I had not known Lovie, really. I think I met him in passing years ago, when Dilfer was here and I came to watch Trent practice one day in camp. We had a very productive meeting for two days, watching ball, very informative. I probably asked him as much about defense and trying to get in his head about defense as the offense. It was great. We hit it off – I thought the chemistry was really good. To have the opportunity to do it – the college thing, at that point, my wife and I made the decision that this is an opportunity for us to do this and no matter what head coaching thing comes up now, this is an exciting transition for us and I’m really excited about the challenge and the opportunity to be here.” (On guard Carl Nicks’ health and status for the upcoming season)“There’s just been a few guys that have been through the building that we bump in to and say hello, but really I have not talked to him. We haven’t had a meeting with the trainer to give us an update on what’s going on or anything like that. It’s been a little early. We’ve been having a lot to do to try and get our offensive staff put together, kind of do some evaluation, start looking at free agency, there’s been a lot going on. Some of the players who have been through the building we have had the opportunity to speak with and just introduce. We don’t get all that involved, but I have not had a chance to visit with him.” (On the offensive coaching staff assembled to this point)“We have everything in place right now. Tim Spencer is our running back coach; Andrew [Hayes-]Stoker is our wide receiver coach; Marcus Arroyo is our quarterback coach. We’re in the process of finalizing the tight end coach and we’re in the process of solidifying an offensive line coach.” (On teaching mechanics to quarterbacks at the NFL level)“That’s a good question, because I wondered how coachable they’re going to be, too, but in talking to all the guys – I’ve been fortunate, I’ve had six first-round draft picks and probably three others that are still playing in the NFL – talking to those guys, they’re still hungry to learn. So fundamentally, they want to learn, they want to get better, they want to be consistent, they want to be efficient, and that’s the goal. So whether it be with your drop and your footwork, getting away from the center, your ball handling, your efficiency in your release or your separation in the throwing motion, all those type of things that each one of those guys, all six of those guys that went in the first round all had something we needed to work on. And so I can see a few of those things with Mike [Glennon] that I think we’re going to be able to show him and I think it’s going to help him with a couple things. But I think they’re all hungry to be coached, I really do. I think they all want to be better, I think they want to be the best players they can be, and our job as coaches is to help them do that and that’s what I’m looking forward [to]. I’m really looking forward to getting on the field with Mike and going over some drills and some fundamentals mechanically that may help him, whether it’s just getting the ball out a hundredth of a second faster that you’ve got a guy bearing down on you and to get rid of the ball you’re going to take a hit but you’re going to throw a post for a touchdown. So things like that. I think they’re all hungry, even [Green Bay quarterback] Aaron Rodgers and I talk about those type of things, about fundamentals and stuff like that, so I think they’re all hungry to improve.” (On if he still talks to Rodgers)“Yeah. He lives in Chico [California] and I have a lake house about 45 minutes north of there, and not this Fourth of July, the previous Fourth of July, he was at our house. We were hanging out, talking ball, just having a good time. I’m sure we’ll always continue our relationship, but it’s fun to talk ball with him.” (On if his head coaching duties at Cal might have pulled him away from what he loved to do)“There were a lot of other obligations, whether it be fundraising or designing a building, designing lockers for the new locker room or figuring out where the doors were going to be, there was a lot that went into that. That was a process, not to mention the people that were living in the trees. I don’t know if you heard about that. At one point, we had people living in the trees protesting the trees coming down – they were right outside my office. They were my friends for about a year and three months, so woke up to them every day banging their drums or whatever. But that took a lot of time, and yes, I can tell you when I would go into the offensive room it felt like a breath of fresh air, and so that’s why I’m so fired up to be in a room here and all I’m thinking about is what to do on third-and-three, how to get this guy blocked, how to match up with that guy, so on and so forth. Because that’s what I’ve done my whole life, but the obligation and responsibilities of the head coach, with all the things that were going on, didn’t allow me to do that as much as I like to do that. That’s why this whole thing is a huge breath of fresh air. I’m so excited about the challenge. It’s going to be challenging, but I can’t wait to do it. I’m already fired up about every day, thinking about ball 18 hours a day. So it’s great.” (On if the volume of game plans changes from coaching in college to the NFL)“No, because we had a huge volume of plays in college, and probably too many. Probably too many in college because I’d just keep adding plays and I’d even look at and say, ‘Man, when did this thing get so huge?’ and they’d say, ‘When you stop scripting the plays is when things got huge, because you’d just keep coming and putting them in and now it’s our job to make sure we’re repping them against this defense, that defense,’ so on and so forth. We will have a volume of plays obviously, but we’re not going to go into a game with that. There’s percentages that you need to stand by so that we’re practicing the right things and we’re efficient in the things we’re doing and we’re not so watered down where we do none of it well. And so we’ll have a system, there are tools – we tell the coaches there are tools in the toolbox. One week we may use that tool to take care of this blitz or that blitz, and next week we may not be getting that blitz, whatever it may be. So no, 20 games, I coached in the CFL where we had the same amount of games, game plan wise we played teams two times, three times, maybe even four times if you played them in the preseason, twice in the regular season and once in the playoffs or the Grey Cup. Now, that’s a longer season, admittedly it’s a longer season, but it’s all good. We’ll have plenty of offense to get done. It’s not about the amount of offense, it’s about how productive we are with the things that we are doing and making sure that we don’t overdo it to where we can’t do it efficiently.” (On if he has to adjust his offense when game planning alongside a defensive-minded coach in Lovie Smith)“You have to work well together as far as the team’s concerned, and the ultimate goal is to score one more point than the other team, but I like scoring many more points than the other team, so that’s the objective. But, you have to be smart about it, too. If we’re in a situation and we need to use clock, then we need to use clock. We can’t be foolish about it, it’s a team game and the objective is winning, whatever that may be, whatever it calls for, it’s winning. So if they’re scoring a lot of points, we better score a lot of points. We like to score a lot of points every week, but reality says that there are going to be huge challenges, there’s going to be probably some 13-10 games and there’s probably going to be some 35-33 games, there’s going to be those type of things. Lovie probably wouldn’t want me saying 33, probably wouldn’t like that many points scored, but no, it’s whatever it takes. Coming in here, there are no reins saying, ‘Just don’t mess it up.’ That’s not the intent of coming in here. The intent of coming in here is to do what we can do offensively to be successful every play, every series, every quarter, every half, every game.” (On if there can be offensive success at any level without an elite or franchise quarterback)“I think it’s a quarterback league, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Not just in the NFL, but everywhere, in college, the more efficient your quarterback is, the more productive your quarterback is, but, that being said, it’s not just the quarterback, it’s the cast of people around him as well. You could have a great quarterback and if you don’t have the cast around him, it’s very difficult. But to have that guy that does his part to make plays and have a cast of people around him that we can utilize our talents, be it from the backfield, the tight end, the wide receivers, whatever it may be, I think it’s critical to have a cast of people who are making plays to help the quarterback be successful, the quarterback help them be successful by being cerebral of putting them in the right play. Getting them in and out of the right plays and those type [of things], that’s a big job of the quarterback as well: make sure that all of the other guys, all of the other 10 guys of the offense are in a position to be successful.” (On if in order to be successful, you need a quarterback that drives the offense)“I think it’s leaning that way, yeah. I think it’s definitely leaning that way, but I think you still have to be able to run the football. When you get inside the red zone, inside the 10 and the five-yard line, you can throw it all the way down there, but unless you can bang it in, not everything can be a pass. So even though football in general is going to that, spread it out, spread the field, speed in space, throw the ball, even though they’re throwing it to the bubbles and all of those things out there, those are extended run plays in essence. But I think an identity of a team of being able to run the ball downhill with different run schemes – inside, outside, perimeter, traps – all the different things that we want to do on offense, I still think you have got to be able to have an identity of running the football. Whatever the ratio may be, and it may change from week to week on, like I said, the game situation, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that you have to be effective throwing the football to be successful.”
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 [email protected]
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