Steven Means Making A PushAugust 11th, 2013
With Da’Quan Bowers’ play below Bucs coaches’ standards, and Adrian Clayborn missing time with a sore groin, the door has opened for one of the Bucs’ rookie defensive ends to make a name for himself.
It seems Steven Means is, at least he has to Joe. The University of Buffalo product played OK in his NFL debut against the Crows Thursday night and in practice, he is making offensive linemen work, including left tackle Donald Penn.
Saturday, he got heat on Josh Freeman who tried to pass over Means. But Means simply jumped up and plucked the ball out of the air and jogged into the end zone for a pick-six.
“Coach [Bryan] Cox came out here and he told me, ‘Just go today. Just go,’” Means said. “He knows I know my plays, so all I’ve got to do is go out there and play my game. That’s pretty much what I was doing today. It excited the whole defense. A lot of the offensive players even came to me afterward and said, ‘Good job.’ It was a good feeling.”
Means is starting to get comfortable in that the he has adjusted to the speed of the game. Means thanked Bucs coaches for that.
“The fact that these coaches emphasize us coming out here and emphasize us coming out here with high intensity, it really wasn’t that much different from how I practice,” Means said. “Just to get out there and get the feel for it was amazing. I felt right at home. I’m looking forward to playing in a lot more games. The coaches just told me, ‘Get off the ball more. Get around the edge more instead of running down the middle of the man.’ That’s something that I took into consideration and I started applying it today.”
This is a critical time for the Bucs. It appears Means has done enough to earn time on sure-passing downs. Whether he plays more than just passing downs is up to all sorts of factors, including Bowers’ aptitude, Clayborn’s health and Means’ play.