Greg Schiano SpeaksOctober 19th, 2012
Earlier this week, Bucs coach Greg Schiano dropped in for an appearance on “The Blitz,” co-hosted by popular sports talk show personality Adam Schein and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Naturally, Joe recorded the spot and typed out each and every word of the conversation.
Rich Gannon: Let’s start with the offense. You did some great things in that game. We talked about it Friday; you mentioned that Josh Freeman throws the deep ball so well and he gave guys like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams and Tiquan Underwood some chances in the game, just some thoughts on your young quarterback.
Greg Schiano: Well, as we talked about Friday, he continues to improve. He understands he has some receivers that if you give them a chance to make a play, they are going to make most of them. I think that is undervalued by some. I think we threw one ball out of bounds because we couldn’t make the play. All the rest were in play and the receivers had a chance to go compete for the ball. That is a big improvement for us.
Adam Schein: I think that is a major improvement coach, without question, also, I thought the receivers did a helluva job. Not only Vincent Jackson — he’s a stud, he’s a beast — but I also thought Mie Williams stepped up and I think that is crucial for you guys to get some depth and some productivity out of somebody other than Vincent Jackson.
Schiano: Well, we agree. I think Mike has been really doing a good job this year. Here is a guy that has really, really good body control. I mean really good. If he just keeps doing what he is doing, you know, as we get better throwing that ball down the field, both of those guys will be really productive.
Gannon: And how about the running game coach? It seems like you continue to take the next step from what I saw with Doug Martin but it is also nice to bring in a fresh body like LeGarrette Blount late in the fourth quarter and let him bang it up there for 58 yards.
Schiano: Well, if you could write the script, that’s how you would like to do it. Throw the ball to score points but run the ball to win the game. That is what we were able to do. It’s nice when it comes off like that. Hopefully, we can get LeGarrette involved a little more, maybe get him involved a little earlier in the game. That can take a little bit off of Doug too and make him a little more productive.
Schein: Boy, Ronde Barber. So incredible, so impressive as he continues to carve out a Hall of Fame career. Coach can you explain to us just what he means to your program, not so much as a player but as a leader for your Buccaneers.
Schiano: I think you hit the nail on the head, Adam. I think he is playing really well at a new position at his age, that right itself is amazing. But what he brings is a maturity, sense of been-there, done-that. ‘Listen guys, this is what we need to get done.’ When he addresses the team — the funny thing about Ronde is, he is not a big talker, he’s a doer. So when he does address the team, all ears are alert. I can tell you personally he has been great to have here to bounce things off and get his feedback. We are fortunate to have him.
Gannon: Coach, the second half of last season, the last 10 games, was just awful on defense. The effort wasn’t there, they couldn’t stop the run. You and Bill Sheridan and the job you have done with the defense, I just saw in this game, you knew what the issues would be. You knew Jamaal Charles was one of the hottest backs in the league and you held him to just 40 yards rushing on 12 carries, just talk about the improvements you have made just on defense in terms of the run defense.
Schiano: I think you hit it on the head. Bill and the defensive staff have been doing a great job of communicating exactly what we need to do. And the players are really buying in and doing what we have asked to do. It is just like a lot of teams: “Just do your job, do your job.” They probably hear that in their sleep. But when all of the guys do that, the puzzle fits together pretty nicely and you can play good defense.
Schein: Greg, do you trust Aqib Talib when it comes to staying out of trouble?
Schiano: That has obviously been a talked about subject down here and where I am with it is he is suspended and I have commented on it and I would like to just sit and let the thing be until he gets back. But, I can say in the time I have been here, he has worked awfully hard. Yeah, he had a past, I know all of that. But I tried to come in here and give everybody a clean slate, a clean start. Again, I don’t want to stick my head in the sand. I know what has happened in the past. Since we have been here, this is the first thing that has been an issue. Hopefully, he will come back in great shape and we will be doing well at the time and we will see how it goes from there.
Gannon: Coach, it is never easy to lose players that late in the week, on a Friday, and all of a sudden you have a guy like E.J. Biggers who has played some snaps step in and really played well this game.
Schiano: He did. You know, a week ago, he came back from an injury and played in his first contest and got some limited work in. What we asked him to do, was play a sub-corner, he did very well. I think this guy is going to be a guy we can rely on — I know he is. The guy works his tail off doing what we ask him to do so he is a valuable member of our pass defense and we are going to need him.
Schein: You know Greg, it is interesting, I think that, the ending of the Giants game got a lot of conversation and scrutiny. There was a negative article written about you and the Buccaneers from Yahoo! Sports. I think frankly that the Buccaneers needed a win from the Kansas City Chiefs, whether that is media perception or whether that is fact, I thought you guys responded incredibly well in the game against Kansas City. What did you learn about the character and the toughness of your ball club over the weekend?
Schiano: The only concern we had from a coaches’ standpoint was, will we keep fighting? As long as we kept fighting the way we had in the first three weeks — we have had three losses by a total of 15 points and had an opportunity to win all three games and we didn’t do it — the guys never stopped fighting. To me, if you keep that attitude moving forward, we are just going to get better and better. They practice hard, they study tape, they are in the meeting room on their own. When you have that kind of environment you are going to be good as long as you keep fighting.
Gannon: I am sure you were up late last night watching film. You talked about your pass defense, they will be put to the test this weekend against Drew Brees and the Saints. What is the challenge from your perspective about going up against a quarterback like Drew Brees?
Schiano: Well, I have observed him from afar as a collegiate coach, it certainly is a challenge. When you watch the tape, and you watch some of the balls he gets in some of those windows, you sit there in amazement. When the play begins and as it plays out, you think to yourself, “There’s no way he can get that pass in there.” And he does. We will really have to be on our A-game and with our pass defense just to have an opportunity to win this game. You know, the thing that gets overlooked is, in doing that, you cannot neglect the run. Once they get you into that, they get you going both ways and that’s exactly what they want.
Schein: You know, it is interesting coach to hear you say that. I guess it would go for a lot of big-time quarterbacks and of course Drew Brees is certainly under that umbrella, and it is also part of the style of your offense: That if you have long sustained drives, run the ball with Doug Martin, run the ball with LeGarrette Blount, that is part of the defense here or the gameplan against a guy like Drew Brees.
Schiano: Certainly, the best way to defend that guy is to get him off the field. That, again, is playing good team football, both offense and defense and the special teams being the bridge between them. Certainly, when you are playing a team like the Saints you have to have it in all three phases of the game, there is no doubt about it.
Gannon: Coach you have a lot of young guys playing valuable snaps on defense, Lavonte David, your second round pick, and how about Mark Barron? I think he is a guy that stood out to me when I watched the game last week, your first round pick out of Alabama. Tell us about the impressions you have had from Mark the first six weeks of the season.
Schiano: I think Mark has been on a real steady climb. Each week, you can see how he is more comfortable with the scheme and his job within the scheme. Because of that, he is playing faster and faster each week. I agree with you, Sunday against the run where he was real physical and that is his calling card but against the pass he made some plays in the pass game, and that interception he was where he was supposed to be as a deep safety. I think he is getting better and better and we will need him to. He has the ability that can be overwhelming if he can get it flying on all cylinders.
Gannon: Hey coach, how valuable is it to have a guy like Ronde Barber back there who has played 16 years in the league, kind of a calming influence on a guy like Mark Barron I would assume?
Schiano: There is no doubt. They have a unique, kind of a special relationship. Ronde has all these years of experience in the National Football League that he can impart but Mark has all of this safety experience that Ronde doesn’t have. So it has been pretty cool to see those guys work together. I am really excited to see what these guys can do the rest of the season.
Schein: Can you gain any insight as far as gameplanning by talking to someone like Carl Nicks? Or is that an overrated storyline?
Schiano: Oh, we are definitely going to use some of his knowledge to help us. Again, does an offensive guard have an intimate knowledge of the downfield passing game? I doubt it (laughs).
Schein: Right (laughs).
Schiano: That one, [Nicks] is probably getting a burger at lunch (laughs). He is definitely a guy that we will talk with as we always do.
Gannon: Coach, last one from me. What have you learned about your staff? It’s staff that you put together, some guys I know that you had prior relationships with. You brought some folks from Rutgers with you, just your observations you have seen from your staff through the first six weeks this season?
Schiano: I think we have a great group of teachers and to me, that is what coaching is. We will continue to teach right through, which is something we pride ourselves on. I think the other thing is we have a good mix. We have some guys that came with me from Rutgers and some guys from the National Football League I knew, experienced guys like a Jimmy Raye and a Butch Davis, guys who I have known for a while, a guy like Steve Loney. Again we have some young guys and I like the mix, I really do. Above all, they are good people. When things get tough, it is always great to know you have guys you want to get in a foxhole with.
Schein: Coach, great stuff. Good luck on the win, good luck this weekend and we will talk again soon.
Schiano: OK fellas, take care.