By Tom Krasniqi
It was rainy Monday at One Buc Place and the players were back to work from the bye week. During practice, the Bon Jovi song “Living On A Prayer” was blasting on the loud speakers. Quite an appropriate song considering the circumstances.
The Bucs are searching for answers after a 0-4 start. They’ll host the Eagles this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Head coach Greg Schiano said the coaching staff and players did some self-evaluating during the bye week and some adjustments will be made.
“We talked about it last week-- I think throwing the ball down the field some more,” Schiano said after Monday’s practice. “It wasn’t from a lack of trying, sometimes defenses take you out of it by coverage and things like that.”
Schiano also mentioned that he wanted to get speedster Jeff Demps more involved in the offense moving forward. Schiano called Demps a “valuable weapon.”
Defensively, the Bucs spent a lot of time during the bye week on studying Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. Schiano knows his defense has to be disciplined against the Eagles offense.
“It’s one of those deals where it can go—small gain, small gain, explosive play,” Schiano said of the Eagles big play offense. “They’ve gotten their opponents on their heels a couple of times and then they have weapons.”
The Eagles are 2-3 after a 36-21 road win over the Giants Sunday. Philly does have playmakers on offense. Running back LeSean McCoy leads the NFL in rushing with 514 yards. Wideout DeSean Jackson can certainly stretch the field vertically.
The Bucs needed the bye week in order to prepare for what Philly can throw at them--- and don’t forget their read-option game can also drive defenders crazy.
Bucs guard Carl Nicks believes that coming off the bye, the team can’t ignore its dreadful 0-4 start.
“No, that’s not real life,” Nicks said. “You can’t just say, ‘OK guys, whatever happened the last four weeks….’ No. You have to be adults about it—professionals about it—and keep it going. It’s a tough business and everyone understands that.”
Bye week is over. It’s time to get back to work. And for the Bucs, that means searching for that elusive first win when the Eagles come flying into town on Sunday.
News & Notes:
- QB Josh Freeman signs a 1-year deal with the Vikings. Schiano on the Freeman signing: “He’s moved to another team. I guess the best way to summarize it for us is that we’ve moved on.”
- Bucs LG Carl Nicks on the team’s desperation: “We needed a win two weeks ago. We need one bad.”
- Bucs DE Da’Quan Bowers says Schiano addressed the team Monday morning about dealing with the recent distractions: “He got some things off his chest. We got some things off our chest.”
- Schiano says TE Tom Crabtree (high ankle sprain) was limited in practice on Monday. Crabtree has a chance to make his Bucs debut this Sunday.
- Eagles QB Mike Vick will likely miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Nick Foles will get the start. If you remember back to last season, Foles beat the Bucs on the game’s final play.
- The Bucs have signed QB Jordan Rodgers to the practice squad. The Vanderbilt product is the younger brother of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
- According to Schiano, safety Mark Barron (hamstring) “practiced well” on Monday. The coach is hopeful to have Barron ready for Sunday.
- Schiano issued an apology for his remarks he made last week to suiteholders at a breakfast event where he called the Bucs the “laughingstock” of the NFL. Schiano says he was referring to the discipline problem surrounding the team before he took over and it wasn’t about the team’s play on the field.
- The Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with the Floor & Décor Countdown To Kickoff show.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.