With the trimming of the older players back in spring, and the most likely combinations of roster spot outcomes and predictions, we can figure the Bucs starting 11 on both sides of the ball will average out to 27.2 years old, relatively young by NFL standards, but not so young that inexperience should be an issue. Last years team was around 29.6 depending on who you put in this slot and that. The eldest statesmen of course are Ronde Barber and Jermaine Philips, so if say Elbert Mack were to beat out Ronde, and Geno Hayes wins the Weak Side linebacker spot, that number could drop even more. Aqib Talib is on the other end of the spectrum.
Talking about Friday's practice:
On Geno Hayes and Geno Hayes' hit on Antonio Bryant...
"Obviously it was two-minute, which you guys saw executed by four different quarterbacks. They had the opportunity to go down the field. The situation was, we need three to tie it, we need six to win, so we're trying to get in position to at least tie it, being backed up on the minus-35 with 1:35 left. We had two timeouts on offense. The defense had one, because also you have the situation on their side. The offense hits a big play and you get down to your 20-yard line and they start trying to kill the clock and kick a field goal, Coach [Jim] Bates and myself have to make a decision whether we're going to call that timeout, make them kick the field goal so we give our offense a chance to win that football game.
So all situations popping up, and it's just awesome. It's just like Sunday. I get a chance to run on both sides of the field right now. I'm with the officials, I'm over talking to Bates, I'm over there talking with Jags…it's a good deal. Sometimes I get caught up watching it and then realize I've got to make a decision real quick and then I run over there and do it. But it's fun. We did some red zone stuff, just emphasizing that. You can't throw out a stat like 60% to you guys and not mean it, not come out and practice it, practice it the other day one time and then you never see it again until the game. We just want to emphasize that.
We had a seven-on-seven red zone [drill], one- on-ones in the red zone, ended the day with a team red zone. The more and more stuff you can get like that, the more stuff that you can get, figuring out what you want to do, how you want to do it, when you want to do it. I think it's important for our team. And obviously the other emphasis was special teams. Canceling that special teams practice this afternoon, we don't take any emphasis off of that. We actually had three areas of special teams that we were going to cover and we only covered two. The third one, it was getting a little long, we took it out and went with the extra two-minute."
"Geno Hayes did. I told you, all those young backers have been impressive. They've been running around really competing. They know they're in an open competition. They know they're in a position where if they lose the starting job or they don't win the starting job they're going to have an opportunity to get it back, an opportunity to play. We're going to play a lot of people. We want to play fast, we want to play physical, we want to play violent. You can't do that stuff without playing your team. We've got to use all 45 men that you get on game day. I wish they'd start letting use all 53. I'm still, being a rookie head coach, confused about that rule, but it is what it is."
( Asked about Hayes' hit on AB on the sideline)..."I was more than okay with it. I was more interested in why Bryant didn't step out of bounds in the two-minute drill. When you get guys to go live, they get a little animated and they forget the situation. That's the kind of stuff we've got to be better at. I kind of ran over there and ripped Antonio about not getting out of bounds. He shouldn't take that hit in two-minute, he shouldn't get tackled in two-minute when you've got an opportunity to get out of bounds and stop the clock. The clock kept rolling and I was mad at him for about a second, until the next play he went down and scored. I went over there and gave him a nice hip-bump."
"Play well in the games, play well in the games. As we all know in this league, the backups doesn’t get any reps, there is no doubt about that. If you’re going to be the backup quarterback in this league, one, two or three, when you are thrown in the game it is the mental reps you’ve taken. Whatever you decide to do on the side is an opportunity you can take advantage of. There have been a couple of situations where guys have been able to take advantage of those opportunities. Matt Cassel, being the most clear of them all, you have the Steve Beuerlein’s, all those type of guys throughout this league. When they got their opportunity and became the starter, they took it and ran with it or they failed and they’re out miserably. That’s what you have to do when you are in a backup role or fighting for a backup role. If you let everyone tell you that you’re not getting the reps and that’s why you’re not going to be able to make this team or not do it, then that’s your own fault."
So how well did the Two Joshes do?
"They actually got most of the team work. I believe Luke and Byron took the first four snaps of each period and then the double Joshes kind of handled the rest. They were good, they were impressive. They went out there and we didn't look like a ragtag football team. They handled themselves well. One threw a slant for a big touchdown. The other executed a drive to get down there, manufactured a field goal. So they were efficient. They were cautious with the ball yet they were not scared, not fearful. They managed the huddle. It was good to see the guys use the walkie-talkie today, the headset to walkie-talkie. They understand how we're going to look, with Greg Olson talking to them through the helmet and Jags [Jeff Jagodzinski] communicating with Olson.
We were just talking about situational football, and those guys are growing up fast. You're really looking forward to those guys having a demeanor. It's a credit to the guys in front of them because they're doing it first and giving great examples. It's a credit to their coaches, because they're being patient and they're helping them out. It's hard to do that when you don't get many reps. Then to get in there and be that impressive, it's fun to watch."