Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Rookie Mini-Camp Thoughts and Impressions From Greg Schiano: Not Afraid to Make Changes


The rookies had another day to work out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they put for a great effort. Greg Schiano had this to say about his dozens of tryout players:

  • On the overall effort: “They gave great effort, whatever we gained in heads spinning less, we lost in being sore and tired… I thought overall really good effort, great attitude, fun group of guys.”
  • On William Gholston’s work in pass rush drills: “Was pretty impressive… He did a nice job, I’m sure the quarterback didn’t think so.”
  • On Deveron Carr (cornerback from Arizona State): “We spend a lot of time getting to know these kids… We targeted him as one of the guys we wanted to recruit as a free agent (if not drafted). He’s long, he can run well, plays press coverage very well. We need to work with him on off and zone technique, but real nice prospect to work with.”
  • On Evan Landi: “I go way back with Evan… We used to play against him. He kinda does everything, did everything, and now he’s settling into one deal. I think he’s got potential… we’ll see how he can compete with the guys on the roster.”
  • On Mike James: “Maturity. Loves the game. Wants to know. Asks questions that are good. He’s gonna be a fun guy to have on the team.”
  • On how Mike James affects Michael Smith: “You need multiple running backs, depth at running back. It’s a physical position. They’ll compete from the time Mike (Smith) gets back. Whoever wins will get the second, whoever doesn’t gets the third, Brian Leonard will be in that mix, he can play a kind of hybrid position.”
  • On making the roster from tryout camp: “It’s tough. It’s tough to even get to tryout camp, forget getting signed to a contract. The one thing I’ve told these guys is: It doesn’t matter, we gave some free agents money, some guys got contracts, we’re gonna evaluate all guys. We’re gonna put stock in this weekend, we get to actually coach you in the meeting room and on the field… We’re not afraid to make changes. I don’t know how it was done before, but we’re not afraid to make changes.”
  • On Robert Marve: “Robert did a nice job, good energy, good attitude, can throw the ball well. We have to see how that fits into our needs, but the guy is a good player.”
  • On Akeem Spence: “We think he’s athletic enough to do that (get after the passer a bit) We think a lot of what’s talked about is playing the tilt nose, the tilt nose, the tilt nose. We ask that guy sometimes not to play the tilt nose, and to get over the guard.”

There are certainly some interesting quotes here from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach. Mainly, key in on his comments about the running back battle. It seems like Mike James and Michael Smith will be battling for the second and third spots on the roster, with Brian Leonard figuring in as more of a fullback, h-back, hybrid player. That means James and Smith could both make the roster, which helps Smith’s chances of earning the kickoff return job.

Also, notice the subtle shot to the previous regime with “I don’t know how it was done before, but we’re not afraid to make changes.” Schiano was speaking about his willingness to let go of players that don’t meet his expectations, and bringing in hard workers like Leonard Johnson from seemingly out of nowhere and trusting them to play.

It’s also intriguing that Schiano had built-in respect for Evan Landi, and didn’t just bring him in as a favor to USF. It seems like Landi could compete for a roster spot, although he has a steep hill to climb to beat out any of the present Buccaneer tight ends.

To finish, here are a pair of interesting thoughts from Stephen Holder about the aforementioned Deveron Carr.

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  • RussMillerWY

    I could see how the “not afraid to make changes” is a positive thing to say to a bunch of hopeful kids. My worry about Schiano is that he wants to mold the team in his own personality’s image, and therefore may be throwing out the babies with the bathwater by chucking all of the stars from the Raheem era. Talib, Williams, Bennett, Freeman, and Blount did some amazing things, and Raheem did have some high flying success in his peak middle season. To me, Schiano seems to be saying, “These guys were Raheem’s guys. He liked or tolerated their quirks and made the best of them. I don’t like quirky guys with laid back personalities. I like guys who remind me of myself.”

    Office politics in the NFL are just a lot like any other office. If the boss loves someone as a protege, even if that person has mediocre skills or potential, then they’re golden. If someone is a not the boss’s kind of guy or gal, it won’t matter what kind of ability they have. That’s why, for example, the Bucs never got better in the Ray Perkins era. Their team personality changed to his satisfaction, but their won-loss record remained the same.