NFL: Buccaneers’ play irks opponents

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NFL: Buccaneers’ play irks opponents

By Bob Grotz, Delaware County Daily Times

Posted: 10/11/13, 12:57 PM EDT | Updated: on 10/11/2013

PHILADELPHIA — If you are what your head coach is, you have to wonder about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Greg Schiano isn’t making any friends or winning football games with the growingly unpopular tactic of attacking centers and quarterbacks while they’re in the process of kneel-downs to kill the remaining clock.

Schiano drew the ire of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin last year when his players submarined through the line and toppled two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning with the game basically out of reach.

Coughlin chastised Schiano after the game.

More recently, Schiano employed the same tactic against the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer, who was thrown on his rear end. Cards head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t happy about it. His team exited with a 13-10 victory.

Eagles center Jason Kelce doesn’t care for the tactic. He saw it in college when Cincinnati took on Schiano at Rutgers.

“We used to get in four-point stances and fire out at them as well just to protect ourselves,” Kelce said. “I don’t know if we’re going to do that this week. But we know that they do that so obviously the guards are going to try and protect me because I’m the one who’s got his hand on the ball. I can’t fire out as well because I’ve got to secure the snap.”

Schiano’s objective is obvious.

“They’re trying to disrupt the quarterback-center exchange,” Kelce said. “They’re trying to create a fumble. They don’t just do it on kneel-downs. They’ll do it on situations where you’re trying to spike the ball. They’re never just going to sit there, which is different from most teams.

“Most teams if you’re spiking it the D-line will step into it. If you’re kneeling it’s usually guys are just standing there. You’ve just got to be ready for it.”

Schiano defended the strategy during a conference call yesterday explaining that his players are all-in with him.

“If our players came to me and said they didn’t want to do it we wouldn’t do it because they’re the ones physically doing it, not me,” Schiano said. “Using that play we’ve caused balls to be fumbled. Has it done that in the NFL? No, but it didn’t do it in college either for a while and then it did. That’s our whole deal. I’m not trying to make friends but I’m not trying to make enemies either. We know that they know we’re going to do it. We’re not trying to injure anybody. We’re trying to do some things to get the ball out. And that’s kind of how I approach it.”

Whatever the motivation Schiano might not be long for the Bucs. He’s already disposed of quarterback Josh Freeman. A loss Sunday and the Bucs will have to bid to become the first team since 1990 to reach the playoffs after a 0-5 start.

“I understand why they do it,” Kelce said. “I understand why the coach tells them to do it. If you really are that hard-working and that hard-fighting and everything you should try and win the game previously instead of at the end of the game taking the snap away. But that’s the way it goes. It’s not like this is the only time they’re working hard is on kneel-downs and spikes. Throughout the game they’re going full throttle, and I think that’s the M.O. they’re trying to build on that team.”

Limited in practice for the Eagles Wednesday were quarterback Michael Vick (hamstring), cornerback Brandon Boykin (groin), punter Donnie Jones (left foot) and running back Chris Polk (ankle).

While Vick reported increased activity at practice, including a turn in 7-on-7’s, it sure looked like Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley were getting more of the snaps in the portion open to the media.

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“It’s a lot looser today,” Vick said.

Kelly maintained Vick is still “day-to-day.

“We’ll see how he goes,” Kelly said. “He got individual work yesterday. Threw the ball around a little bit. Did not get any team or 7-on-7 reps. We’ll just see how he feels as we get going in practice today. We’ll adjust accordingly. A lot of that is from feedback from Mike.”

The weather couldn’t have done Vick any favors today as it was a chilly, windy 58 degrees.

The same can be said for his teammates.

Thankfully for Jones, it’s the non-punting foot that’s an issue. He also doubles as the holder for kicker Alex Henery.

Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) was a full participant along with linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) and offensive tackle Jason Peters (finger).

Chung likely will rotate between safety and cornerback in the secondary when the Eagles oppose the Bucs Sunday in Florida.

“We’re hopeful we’re going to get him back,” Kelly said.

For the Bucs, cornerback Michael Adams (knee) was held out of practice.

Limited in practice were safety Dashon Goldson (foot), defensive end Steven Means (shoulder), guard Carl Nicks (foot) and wide receiver Mike Williams (hamstring).

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