The Buccaneers had a bad game last Sunday in New Orleans. They followed that with a strong week of practice, according to Head Coach Greg Schiano. Whether or not that translates into an improved game day remains to be seen, but Schiano is optimistic, given what he saw Wednesday through Friday.
“We had a really good week of practice, and now I’m anxious to see us play,” he said. “I think we’ll play well, but as a coach you never really know. Anybody who tells you they do is guessing. But I have a good feeling about the way our guys will play today, and they just have to go out and do it now.”
Schiano actually started the week by giving his team a little extra time off, letting the players rest on both Monday and Tuesday. That kind of schedule is usually reserved for weeks following victories, as a reward, but Schiano thought his players needed the time to clear their minds after their first lopsided loss of the entire fall.
“It’s been a long season,” he said. “We gave them a chance to kind of take a breath. Certainly after last week there are a lot of ways you could have approached it, but I thought this was the best way.”
The Bucs have dropped four games in a row, after a four-game winning streak that had put them into the playoffs, but the game at New Orleans was the only one that wasn’t still in doubt in the fourth quarter. A fast-starting team for most of the year, the Bucs were shut out in the first half for the second straight game, but unlike the Week 14 Philly contest, weren’t able to rally after halftime.
Schiano obviously would like to see his team return to starting fast, but he didn’t alter his approach during that nice week of practice.
“We do the same thing,” he said. “Our preparation’s the same, our openers, we walk through them in the same way. Sometimes your opponent has something to do with it. Maybe they had a little bit better of a plan at the beginning of the game than we did. Maybe it was just unfortunate timing with the call against their call. There are a lot of things that go into a successful play. One is the call, then there’s the other guy’s call. Number two, do we execute the call? Then number three, a little bit of luck, a wind gust, all of those things. You tell me how you factor in all of those things, and that’s why you practice. You keep doing it over and over again, repetition, and repetition kind of cuts those variables out, little by little.”
Schiano thinks all those repetitions could pay off on Sunday once the whistle blows.