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Greg Schiano, Carl Nicks Discuss Facing Saints in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach and guard spoke with members of the New Orleans media about the NFC South contest on Sunday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What has Carl Nicks meant to your team in his first year with the team?

"Carl has been a great addition. He is a physically dominating player. He has been a great guy to have in the organization. He has been a leader on the offensive line. He has really been a positive addition."

It looks like your offense has played at a high level the past two games. You won one game and should have won the other. Can you talk about how they have improved?

"The offense is getting better that's for sure. 'Should have won' I don't know. When you are the team that wins, you feel you should have won. I think we are getting better there. As we progress, we need to keep a balance with the running game and the passing game. I think Josh (Freeman) is becoming more comfortable with what we are asking him to do schematically. The new receivers Vincent Jackson, Tiquan Undnerwood and some of the other new guys are starting to get accustomed to what we are doing as well."

What about your defense?

"With the exception of a half against New York and Washington, I thought we have played very well on defense but you can't take halves out. We are looking for consistency on defense. Last week I thought the guys played very well. We need to continue doing that. It's certainly a huge challenge now coming to play the New Orleans Saints and what they bring. It's going to be a tremendous challenge."

Why do you think the Saints offense has been successful without having much of a run game?

"Well they have threats to run the ball – that's for sure. You look at the depth they have in the backfield…it's almost scary. That's one of the reasons. Even if it's not working the way they would like right now you have to commit resources to defend it. We all know the guy pulling the trigger back there is as good as there is. He seems to be right back at it. He is playing at an extremely high level. That's going to be a challenge for us."

What kind of balance do you look for with your passing and running game?

"I don't like to get into 'we want to be 50-50' or anything like that. Every game is its own entity. We call it its own season. We are just trying to be 1-0 at the end of each season. Whatever we have on our menu is fair game. Whatever offensive plays, personnel groups and all those things. Some weeks you may run more than pass and other weeks it might mean you pass more than you run. It's all predicated on the whole team. What's the plan to win the game as a team on offense, defense and special teams?"

How has it been using both LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin at running back?

"Getting LeGarrette more involved the last two weeks has been a good thing. He got bumped up a little bit in our opener. We weren't certain what it was. He has been doing better and those two can be a good 1-2 punch. They are uniquely different in their body types and style. I think it's a good combination. We are trying to constantly figure out what the right mix is. There have been two games where we are starting to figure it out and it's starting to get there."

With your run defense doing so well this season does it make your 31st ranked pass defense a little bit of an anomaly because teams aren't able to run on you?

"Well it matters how you want to look at it – it's either teams are able to run on you or why should they because they can just throw it. I don't know exactly what it is but I think we had a really clunker in the New York game where we gave up 248 yards in about seven minutes. That really changes things. We have to just keep playing good pass defense and I think that will fall back into line. Now, playing against Drew Brees isn't exactly the prescription you are looking for to get that, but we will give it our best."

How will it be not having Aqib Talib – how had he been playing prior to his suspension?

"Certainly he was playing well. He was starting so if he wasn't playing better than the next guy, he wouldn't have been in there. It definitely has an effect but it's just as if he had gotten injured. We need to move on and the next guy needs to step up and play. There is a new starter now. I thought E.J. Biggers really played well last Sunday. He has his work cut out for him this Sunday obviously but I am confident he will go and play the way we expect him to."

How has the addition of Vincent Jackson helped Mike Williams?

"I think it has had a big effect. No. 1 – Vincent is a great role model and has really taken Mike under his wing and talked to him about being a true pro – how to do that and how to prepare. We all need that. That mentor type. On the field, I think it allows Mike to be the guy that doesn't get all the coverage rolled to him. Now that Mike is making plays it will be interesting to see which way they roll the coverage. Are they going to get Cover two and be able to run the ball? You don't know. You kind of just play it out and see what defense they play each week and then you are able to adjust. You want a broad enough menu that you can adjust and take advantage of what is presented."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Guard Carl Nicks

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When you left the Saints and went to the Bucs, were you looking forward to this game or hoping it didn't come because of your close relationship with the Saints?

"I was looking forward to it."

Why's that?

"Why's that? For a whole bunch of reasons, but mainly so I can play the guys and play the team that let me go I guess."

Do you look at it as them letting you go? Is there animosity?

"It's a business. I don't hate anybody in the organization. They drafted me. I won a Super Bowl there. I got a lot of love from a lot of people there. At the same time, I think they had (Ben) Grubbs in the same day free agency started. I think it was that day or day after. You can say I left or say they sent me packing."

How has your experience been there so far?

"It's been pretty great. Rainbows. No, seriously, it's been great, a young team, talented group. I feel like I have more of a leader role here. I like it out here a lot."

Have you noticed the Saints running game struggling this year?

"No, I haven't really noticed. Since I've been in Tampa Bay, I haven't really tried to keep up with the Saints as a team."

You knew that would happen?

"I knew they weren't winning games. I didn't know why exactly."

Do you not really pay attention to what's going on here?

"Their defense now."

What do you see in this defense?

"Just the defensive front. What do I think of them?"

What are you seeing of them on film and studying, anything surprising, anything that you wouldn't expect?

"A lot of the guys I practiced with every day for years, but they play hard, they swarm to the ball and they hit you. You need to be prepared to bring your lunch pail."

Is blocking in Tampa Bay a lot different than here as it is a different blocking style blocking for Drew Brees?

"No, (it's) some of the same aspects. There isn't really much of a difference."

What would you say is the biggest reason why you are not a Saint right now? Is it money?

"I think it's a combination of things. I think it was opportunity, situation and a new challenge."

Are all of those tied into money? It seemed like a great opportunity here. What is the opportunity Tampa Bay provided as opposed to the Saints?

"Everybody thinks it was the money. But it really wasn't. The challenge here is to be something that the Saints didn't look at me as; a premier player that could be a leader."

When did you feel that it became hopeless and that there was no way you were coming back to New Orleans?

"I figured that my last year there when the talks were nonexistent. I figured if you didn't want to talk to me then, in my fourth and final year, it wasn't going to happen in the offseason. So, I figured I better ball out, because I have to put my resume out there."

How much do you think that's tied to the team needing to pay an incredible amount of money to keep Drew Brees?

"What do you mean?"

Where did you figure in that scheme? Were you anywhere in it? Robert Meachem kind of speaks about the same thing. He knew Drew had to get his money first.

"Yes, I knew Drew had to get his money first and that's how it should have been. He's a franchise quarterback and he's much more in the community. He needed to get dealt with first and I totally understand that."

Do you keep in touch with any of the guys here?

"Yes, I keep in touch with (Jermon) Bushrod and Jahri (Evans)."

Do you miss Thursday night dinners with the offensive line?

"I do. I miss the guys. I miss the guys for sure."

Do you miss us?

"I definitely don't miss you guys, always talking about the money."

Does the money always have to be tied to what they think of you?

"It's the world we live in. you should blame society for that. Honestly I've always grown up and been in the college and NFL and know the good players get paid accordingly. I felt like I was a good player and it happened accordingly."

Was New Orleans' best offer anything close to what you got in Tampa?


Do you like where you are? Do you think you made the right decision?

"I really don't like it here. I love it here. I think I made the perfect decision."

Is that because you're close to the sea?

"I do like the ocean. They have golf out there in New Orleans. It's a little nicer here. But, I think the situation, the city, my family; I think we all love it here."

Did you expect these questions when this game came around?

"Yes, you have to expect it, given how the offseason went, you have to expect it."

You use the word elite and it is used a lot about players like yourself. Do you feel like you needed to be paid like an elite player or just respected and/or both?

"Both. I felt like if they weren't even going to talk to me about being an elite player, then it wasn't really respectful. Who knows what would have happened if they had offered me that deal that they offered me before free agency started, during the season? Who knows?"

Can you shed a little light on that offer?

"I really don't remember to be honest with you, but I know to be honest it was a little bit more than what they paid Jahri (Evans) two years prior."

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