Joe Talks To Dave Wannstedt

November 28th, 2013

Joe enjoyed a chance yesterday to spend solo time with Bucs special teams coach Dave Wannstedt, the former Bears and Dolphins head coach, who won a national championship and Super Bowl rings as a defensive coordinator for Jimmy Johnson. Wannstedt’s been coaching since 1975. This is Part I of the interview, diving into special teams and Mike Glennon. Is there an unsung special teams player that fans wouldn’t know about who is having a great year?

Dave Wannstedt: I think everyone knows Adam Hayward and [John] Casillas, who was a guy that we signed as a free agent. They were a couple guys that we had brought in with high expectations. I’m excited about where their progress is at this point. Someone the fans might not be aware of, the first thought that would come to mind would be [rookie] Russell Shepard, a receiver that was actually cut by the Eagles and we signed him. And he had done a little bit of special teams work. We put him out there as a gunner on punt, and a kickoff coverage guy. He actually had the most points last week of any player; we do a production chart every week, and he had the most production points of any player on the special teams unit. It’s funny because he was a quarterback when he first went to LSU, and then I think they moved him to defensive back and then wide receiver, and now here he is as a special teams/kickoff coverage guy. So it’s kind of a neat story and obviously one that most fans are pretty much unaware of.

Joe: Is he in on all phases?

Wannstedt: Yeah, he plays on all four.

Joe: Eric Page. Coach Schiano talked on his radio show the other night, sort of saying this guy’s got massive upside but patience is running thin as Page’s teachable moments add up. Can you talk about Page, who’s just 22 years old, and what he has to learn?

Wannstedt: You know he’s not the fastest guy in the world. But he is, some players when they have the football in their hand have a feel for when to make the cut and where the tacklers are coming from and do it really with God-given instincts. He has those. He has a real good feel of where to make the cut, when to make the cut when he has the football. I think that at times he gets a little confident. I mean [against Detroit] he had two kickoff returns, one 39 yards, I think, and the other one 33, and then he had a 17-yard punt return and then he gets a little bit cocky and a little bit anxious. And rather than letting the ball go on that one punt at the 3, he tries to catch it and he didn’t fair catch it. So when he didn’t fair catch he was telling me he was catching it to return it. And obviously we don’t want to do that, you know. So he’s still learning as far as what’s smart play and when can you be aggressive. But right now we’re fifth in the NFL in kickoff returns and ninth in the league in punt returns. So that’s a real credit to him.

Joe: You’ve seen what Mike Glennon has done. From the perspective the history of the NFL, he’s performed extraordinarily well as a rookie, especially coming into this situation like this. This is a tough division for quarterbacks. You won three AFC East titles with Jay Fiedler, who’s not a name that’s going to go down in history. Do you think the game’s changed to where you need a quarterback who can be a Cam Newton type and run the ball and do all sorts of things? What’s your take?

Wannstedt: The qualities of a quarteraback, a top quarterback in this league, are the same, regardless of what offense you run. I mean the guy’s got to be a leader. He’s got to demonstrate that on and off the field. Players have to believe in him. And in crunch time, he needs to be able to deliver. That is constant whether you’re running a two-back running attack like we do, play-pass. Or if you’re running a quarterback read game like Philadelphia, the type of offense really doesn’t matter. The qualities of an outstanding quarterback do matter, and they have to be constant. And I’ll tell you what, Mike [Glennon] has just been unbelievable. I mean, he’s totally, I don’t want to say, “caught people by surprise,” but I don’t think there was anybody that would admit in July that they thought this would happen. No. 1 that they thought he’d be the starter, and No. 2 that he’d perform at such a high level. It’s exciting. I was at the Doplhins when Tom Brady got his first start, and I can’t remember him playing as good or better or as sure as what Mike has. I don’t know what the numbers compare, but they can’t be better.

Part II will be posted tomorrow.

9 Responses to “Joe Talks To Dave Wannstedt”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Russell Shepard acquisition intrigued me because he can run, catch and throw….I thought, and still do think he would be great in a wildcat. I’d really like to see us add that to our offense next year. Either that or line him up in the slot a few times per game.
    I like Wannstedt & think he could be a good DC for us….but I would be happy with someone else there….perhaps Butch Davis or someone new because he is doing a great job on Special Teams.
    Page is another very young player in development and has produced and will only get better with experience.

  2. Harry Says:

    What Wannstash has done with special teams is really impressive; he is obviously a great teacher and organizer. Seeing he has never coached special teams, I am very impressed.

    I second that motion to move Wannstash over to DC; I don’t care at all for what Sheridan has done there. It may be Schiano’s defense, but as DC he is responsible to convince Schiano on concepts that don’t work and need to be changed – i.e; line stunts and blitz packages.

  3. Chef Paul Says:

    I’m glad Wannstedt has a reputation as a bad head coach. Then hopefully no one will take him away from us. I also hope he’s happy here. I wouldn’t mind him being our DC in the future either. He’s doing a great job for us right now. I think he is right where he needs to be and hopefully he sees it that way too. If Sully leaves or gets canned, we have McNulty to take over. If Sheridan gets canned, we got Butch or Wannstedt to take over. If Wannstedt goes, we are back to square one on special teams. He is one of the more difficult to replace coaches we have right now.

    I’m glad you are doing this, Joe, with Wannstedt, because he doesn’t get enough credit right now.

  4. BucoBruce Says:

    Glennon is the next Brady ,I have been saying this since we drafted him.

  5. Architek Says:

    Fifth credible analysis comparing his game and mechanics to Brady – same thoughts I had during the draft.

    Worse case he end up as a highly productive quarterback but he could easily do great things if he has right coach and support around him.

  6. Bucfan#37 Says:

    I like Wannstedt too. He seems to be a likable person and coach. His experience is an added bonus. The Bucs need to keep him as a coach. Schiano made a good hire bringing him to Tampa.

  7. Buddha Says:

    Brady vs. Glennon

    Tom Brady’s first full season was 2001, when he started 15 games compared to Glennon’s 7 games thus far:

    Brady Completion % 63.9% Glennon 62.5%
    QB Rating 86.5% 91.6%
    TD/Int 18/12 13/4
    YPP 6.9 6.6
    YPG 189 222.8

    Glennon likely will end his first 12 games with more touchdowns and fewer interceptions; more yards per game, and a comparable completion percentage. Brady had much better personnel surrounding him than the injury-depleted Buccaneers. Glennon is having a better rookie season than anyone in recent memory THUS FAR. The question remains, will he progress or regress, always the question with rookie quarterbacks. But if you have the rookie stats of a Brady (not a rookie at the time), and Elway, a Luck, etc., you do not draft a quarterback in the first or second round. You simply do not. A GM who would draft a QB in the first round under these conditions ought to be fired immediately. Oh by the way, Drew Brees first year as a starter, his second year in San Diego, his stats were 17 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and 6.2 YPP.

  8. Splengo Says:

    STs have improved.

  9. oldfart44 Says:

    He’s a good, experienced coach. Too bad he isn’t in charge; there, I said it!

    Happy Thanksgiving