You’ve got to feel for Tampa Bay Times Buccaneers beat writer Stephen Holder, who is considering purchasing a boat to get around after Hurricane Isaac moved its way near the Tampa area early this week.
Fortunately, Holder’s phone was working just fine late Monday afternoon, because he’s this week’s guest for the “Behind Enemy Lines” podcast.
We had a variety of questions for Holder about the Bucs, which had a lot to do about Tampa Bay team members from a season ago who, for various reasons, were let go and are now with the Washington Redskins (namely former Bucs head coach/current Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris and former Bucs/current Redskins receiver Dezmon Briscoe).
We also asked Holder about the tight-ship regime under new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, and what to look for in Wednesday’s game, which is at 7 p.m. ET at what we’re all hoping is a dry FedExField.
The complete audio interview with Holder is below, but here are some snippets from the conversation:
On the difference between current Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and former head coach Raheem Morris:
“Well, he certainly has a different approach than Raheem Morris … Raheem, I guess, had the label of a player’s coach — not a bad thing, in my opinion, but I think he just had a different approach to his job and the way that he related to players. Greg Schiano has really tried to be, basically, the opposite of that, and I think that’s what usually happens when you have a coaching change: the new coach generally tries to do something different than the last coach. So, that’s what’s happening here. They are extremely structured; he keeps these guys extremely busy. Their days are very full and there’s not a lot of time for idle chatter.”
On if he feels Morris will be amped up to coach against his former team, even if it’s a preseason game:
“Oh yeah, absolutely. I’ve known Raheem a long time, and the one thing you know about him is that he doesn’t love anything more than competition. He loves it, and game day for him was just the epitome of everything you work for. He loves it, and he competes whether it’s basketball or whether it’s a video game, he loves to compete and he’s always had that in him. I think, yeah, he’ll want to go out there and talk some smack and he probably will to his guys — playfully — [Wednesday] night.”
On if he feels fatigue will be a factor in Wednesday’s game (Redskins played Saturday; Bucs played Friday):
“The starters for Tampa Bay on Friday played into the third quarter, played quite a bit, as did most teams over the weekend. So I think the guys who are going to be playing in this game saw just a little bit of action in most cases, and probably won’t be fatigued for the most part. So I think they’ll be OK; I think they’ll be able to handle it.”
On what things the Bucs are hoping to get out of Wednesday’s game:
“Well, they have a lot of decisions to make on — I don’t want to call them fringe players — but the players who will comprise their depth. They have to make some decisions on these guys, and, you know, you don’t always get a clear picture through the preseason ’cause there’s so many players you have to get into games, so it just gets very difficult to get an accurate depiction all of the time. … So I think of a guy like [safety] Cody Grimm, for example, I think he is a guy who has been a safety for this team, seventh-round pick two years ago from the area, Virginia Tech, and, you know, is a guy who has played very well for this team the past two years, but suddenly finds himself a little bit on the bubble with some of the additions that were made this past offseason.“
On the surprise players — both good and bad — for the Bucs this training camp/preseason:
“Well, I think it’s not a surprise when a second-round pick does well, but I would say that Lavonte David — he’s the second-round pick from Nebraska, their weakside linebacker — he has really stormed onto the scene, and really has taken the starting job at that position. I think that was kind of the hope for him on this team; I think they hoped that he would be able do that, but it’s one thing to project it and another thing for him to actually make good on it. … I would say, also, a guy like [wide receiver] Tiquan Underwood has been a guy who had a really good training camp; he’s been a player who’s been kind of a journeyman wide receiver — he had a very good training camp, I thought was proven to be a deep threat, but he struggled in the last couple of preseason games, so I think this a big game for him to maybe solidfy what he did in training camp so that he ensures that he makes this roster, because that hasn’t been, maybe, tied up just of yet.”
On his thoughts about Briscoe, who led the Bucs in touchdown receptions last season and is now with the Redskins:
“I really like Dezmon Briscoe … He didn’t drop balls for the most part, and I think he created separation because he ran good routes. So you can create separation in many different ways, and he was able to do that without being that blazing receiver speed. I think also he’s a big target; being 6-2 or 6-3 he also is someone who a quarterback can kind of give a shot to on a jumpball and he’ll go sort of high-point the football, if you will, and he’s proven to be able to do that. I just think he was a very timely receiver. He played very sparingly — well, somewhat sparingly, I should say — last year, and still led them in receiving touchdowns, and I think that speaks to his production and the ability to maximize his playing time.”
Here’s the complete audio interview with Holder, who you can follow on Twitter by clicking here:
2012 Behind Enemy Lines archive:
– Indianapolis Colts (Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz)
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