The Bucs coaches speak! Team must blend

by Gary Shelton on May 19, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

The Bucs think Martin has looked good so far. /JEFFREY KING

The Bucs think Martin has looked good so far. /JEFFREY KING

Friday, 2:58 a.m.

While you are clearing out room in the Bucs' trophy case, while you are planning the parade route, there is word of caution.

This time, it's from offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

There is a way to go.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Bucs have an impressive collection of talent. But right now, that talent is like a band where

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everyone plays great on their own. As a group, however, what they produce is noise.

“It’s always fun to add talent to the mix, but talent alone gets you beat,” Monken said Thursday. “It’s execution that wins. Getting those guys up to speed and getting our timing with Jameis (Winston), and getting back to the core of what we should do well, which is run the football and play action pass and play off of that. If we don’t get back to that — the weapons should help us in the run game — but if we don’t get back to that we won’t reach the levels we think we’re capable of.

The Bucs don't always let their assistant coaches speak. When they do, there is wisdom to be heard.

A sampling:

Special teams coach Nate Kaczor, on Roberto Aguayo facing competition from Nick Folk: “I would just say like most second-year players, he’s probably in a different place mentally just from maturity, seeing what the NFL looks like under the cover so to speak. There’s a big learning curve there for any pro athlete to come and go through their first year, particularly at a young age. So, I would just say, as a human being and as a football player, that he’s really in a different place in terms of maturity. Not saying that he is matured yet. Obviously, that is a work in progress and I think he’s definitely on the way to becoming a more mature football player, which usually helps development.”

Monken, on Jameis Winston: “To me, the biggest checklist for him is timing and accuracy. Why, with his diligence to want to be a great player, would he not want to continue that ascent.”

Quarterback coach Mike Bajakian, on Winston: The big thing is he’s got to do a better job of understanding situational football. I know five of those interceptions came on third-and-10-plus, where our chances of converting on that (down and distance) are statistically 20 percent or less. He’s got to understand that, ‘Hey, we don’t have to make a big play on every play.’ There’s certain situations where we just maybe need to check it down, add a couple yards to the punt and make the other team’s offense go a little bit further. He’s getting a better and better understanding of that, and that’s part of a growth process that he’s gone through since day one. He’s a smart player, he understands that. I think sometimes it’s just getting caught up in the moment.”

Monken, on running back Doug Martin: “Doug’s been great, again, I think he’s in great shape. He’s in good spirits. But, Doug was that way last year. Doug works hard, Doug’s a good teammate. Hopefully Doug’s got himself in the right place and right mind-frame. Doug’s a good player and Doug’s a good person. When he’s out there, he works hard. He looks good.”

Linebackers coach Mark Duffner, on rookie Kendall Beckwith: “He should be good to go for training camp. I think he has a lot of flexibility in our defense. He’s been an inside linebacker. I think he’s got the ability to play outside linebacker, so it’s going to be really fun to get him out there and see where he can contribute the best to our defense.”

Defensive line coach Jay Hayes on the impact of losing end Jacquies Smith: “I mean, it was huge. He only played one play (last season). It was disheartening. We went into the game, the first series, we went out and we stopped them on that first third-down against the Falcons and he went out on the punt team on the next series and kind of just got jostled. I mean, it was not a big thing. I think someone just kind of put their hand on him and his leg and he walked off. So, I was talking to him. I said, ‘Hey Jacq, next series let’s…’ and the trainer was talking to him and I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ Then he said that he thought he hurt his knee and then [Head Athletic Trainer] Bobby (Slater) told me that he thinks he tore his ACL. So, that was it, so he got one play.”

Secondary coach Jon Hoke on rotating the safeties, including free agent J.J. Wilcox and draftee Justin Evans: "We haven't practiced yet, we haven't seen them play yet. But you hope it gives you some flexibility where you can get more guys on the field and do some different things. That's kind of where we're at right now, just seeing what we've got. J.J., we're excited about what he can do, he's a big guy, he can hit and those types of things. And we're excited about [Justin] Evans because of his athletic ability. I think it will all play out itself."

Defensive back coach Brett Maxie on No. 2 pick Justin Evans: "I've been very pleased with him. He basically is showing us some of the same things that showed up on tape. He's very talented, picks things up extremely quick, very conscientious. He asks a lot of questions, which is good for a new player, a rookie coming in and being in this environment. He's quite the gentleman. He's not a confrontational kid — "Yes, sir. No, sir." He's well-grounded. I've had some pleasant conversations with him, before the draft and right after the draft when we had a chance to see each other once again after he had gone through this process. But I like the kid, he's a very good kid."

Running back coach Tim Spencer on playing the first three weeks without Martin: “We’re going to approach training camp — and we know that he won’t be there the first three games — but we will approach like we’re getting ready to play. Everybody is going to be on point trying to be number one. That’s what we do. Everybody has to prepare like they’re number one. That’s how you make the team ready and we will choose from that. What we try to do is give guys an opportunity. We coach them up and we try to make them make the decision about whose here and whose not here.”

Tight end coach Ben Steele on No. 1 pick O.J. Howard: “That’s the thing, you go through the evaluation process of guys coming from college — not very many guys in the college ranks, with spread offenses, actually have their hand in the ground. So, when you get a guy like O.J. who is an every-down tight end that has speed to this fit on the run game and obviously, his dynamic receiving ability in the pass game, to find a guy that’s a true ‘Y’ (tight end) that’s going to be able to help us out, for us to get him, he’s definitely going to be a huge addition for depth at our position.”

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