Raheem The Dream Speaks

April 2nd, 2009

Late Wednesday afternoon, Raheem The Dream called in to talk with the dean of Tampa Bay sports talk radio, “The Big Dog,” Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620. Of course, Joe took notes.

On how The Dream enthusiastically bounced around during minicamp:

“It’s fun for the guys. Gives them something to talk about.”

How his relationship and daily regime have changed now that he has media responsibilities:

“Funny, I got a preview of that [last year]. Every day it seemed like there was a defensive back issue. Now I have to do it in a press conference after each practice. It’s interesting. I’m getting used to it. It’s all positive. If you are positive they will be positive back.”

What has been The Dream’s biggest adjustment?

“It’s been really great. I’ve always been a nosey coach. Now, you visit around and control the tempo, the precision and the timing of practice… how everything works and runs. I’ve been walking around; see what everyone else is doing. It’s fun. I get excited and walk all around.”

What are some of your instructions to your assistants?

We talked about being fundamentalists. We hired some really good teachers and that’s what they are, they have a lesson plan and then you see the players’ execute in the afternoon. To watch [defensive coordinator Jim] Bates get excited and chest bump is fun to watch.

“[Bucs offensive line coach Pete Mangurian], he is exciting to be around. He motivates and stimulates. His voice is awesome. Rich Bisaccia is still motivated. He gives you details for what he wants and is detailed about what he wants.”

How will the new NFL rules affect you on special teams?

“Everybody has to adjust. We did have some wedges and cross blocks where three or more people came together and that is pretty much the rule. I used to be the guy who fought them. But if you go to owners meetings you grow up fast. Players’ safety is key.”

How have the players adapted to you?

Some don’t know about their own skin. Whether you agree or disagree you make rules. You make the game tough and as physically violent as you can.”

What are your thoughts on your first minicamp?

“We picked up a third one as a bonus deal. I used it now to get a preview of guys before the draft. It gives people a chance to run around and learn after the offseason.

We have had a great turnout. We missed a few people. But it has been fun. We are moving on.”

What’s up with Kellen Winslow, Jr.?

“It’s a voluntary camp. He’s been in meetings and looking at tape. I’m excited to have him here. exited t have here. Yesterday he was awesome. Yesterday he acted like a big giant ball boy.”

At the combine, how much weight did you put into the interviews?

“It’s really everything. It’s why we go to the combine. Otherwise, we’d just stay home and watch the NFL Network.

“In an interview, you get a chance to feel that person and try to hear him out. When they get to your place you hope they have questions for you. Then you determine if this is someone you want on your team?”

How is Jermaine Phillips making the switch to linebacker?

The one thing we know and love is that Phillips can play in a box. He is so violent. To see him make plays and have so much fun, it’s rejuvenating. You are excited. I’m having a bunch of fun watching him.”

What do you say for those who claim the move can’t be done, a safety moving to linebacker at the age of 30?

“That’s what you do; you move them down [closer to the line]. That’s the way the league is moving with the athletes [closer to the line]. That’s the way we are going. We need linebackers who can move, who can run, who are violent. Jermaine has a lot of those qualities. Dat Nguyen, Brian Urlacher, they were all safeties and you see those guys move around. It separates them a little bit.”

[JOE’S DISCLAIMER: Nguyen was, in fact, a linebacker at Texas A&M when drafted by the Cowboys.]

What is your defensive theory?

“The front four always get off the ball and gets vertical penetration, one-gap guys. Two-gap guys need to be more physical and be able to shed more blocks to make more plays. The ends need to be vertical but they also need the ability to be stout and make big time plays.

“To the naked eye, there’s not that much of a change. But the coverage is different. But we developed into a read-defense. We played more Cover-4 in recent years as much as Cover-2.

“That means you had a heck of a secondary coach calling disguises.”

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