Marinelli: How are all those studs out there? nice to hear your voices.
Q: Thanks coach. Can you give us an idea of your emotions going into this game with the Buccaneers, where you spent 10 seasons?
A: Emotions for this game, spent 10 seasons — you guys know me, right? So you could probably already write my answer. ... it's always been gray matter. It's all about us. It's more important this week for me. It's all about us. ...but, that said, we do play them. I'm very fortunate to have been there. It was a great 10 years. I had a chance to be with coach (Tony) Dungy, coach (Jon) Gruden and win a super bowl. (Former Bucs GM) Rich McKay, (current GM) Bruce Allen. And (defensive coordinator) Monte Kiffin and all those players who are going to the hall of fame. The ones that were just high-motor guys, great motor guys. That's something that's in your mind forever and just locked in. I'm very, very grateful, very fortunate to have been there with great owners.
Q: Coach, what did Monte do to facilitate your growth as a coach?
A: He's a special guy. I think it's the details. How hard we worked. Not just in season, in the offseason, on Fridays, when every other staff in the country is golfing, we're out there till 5 in the afternoon, standing on the drill having a fit drill. That's what we like to do. We were all like that, Mike T(omlin) and Joe B(arry). We all loved it. The guys loved it. It's fun. That's all I can tell you, it was so much fun coaching football all the time, that's all we did. When we got together, we talked football. ... it was about the details. We got things right. And then, within that, he's extremely physical, the hustle and all that stuff. Monte is the full package.
Q: Coach, you spent some time with Gaines Adams before the draft. What do you see out of him and how difficult is it to be a rookie in that spot?
A: It is tough. I admire what he's doing. Boy you can really see the athleticism, the speed and the spin move and the hustle. They're doing a good job bringing him along. But it is hard. In my opinion, it has always been a quarterback and a defensive end. Sometimes, a guy who's got to go in and rush, everything you've done in college doesn't work. You've been beating people with athleticism or just raw speed. Now, that speed is negated because guys' ability to set, slide, the different protections All those things are different. It's about technique. And Gaines is as good an athletic rusher as I've ever seen. Under Monte, he's just going to get better and better and better.
Q: Coach, your standard for work ethic is pretty high. Was there a shock factor in Detroit when you got there?
A: It was a little bit of a shock. I got turned in in my first mini-camp. Whatever. But I just believe in our game. I have a certain way you have to play football and a certain tempo. For me, it comes from the leader, you are the source of the energy in terms of what you believe in. and I believe a certain style. I have then become consistent with what I believe in. I'm going to find guys who want to do it. ... that first year, it was brutal. It was tough. but I stayed consistent. We practiced. We stayed in pads. We fought to the end of the year, and I found guys that really wanted to do it the way I wanted to get it done. We were able to add some guys, and now it's still the same process. Dig your heels in and go to work.
Q: Rod, can you speak to the job Monte has done this season getting this defense back into the Top 10?
A: He's doing great. But it doesn't surprise me, because of how hard he works at it. You just know what he's going to do. He's going to bring out the best in each player. He's going to put them in good position. And you know, he'll always work to get an edge. That's what we're expecting.
Q: Coach can you talk about the play of the Buccaneers secondary so far this season and how they might match up against your receivers this week?
A: The safeties, wow. They jump right out at me. They have my attention. And our staff's. Right now, they've got our players (attention). The way they're filling and hitting, boy, it's impressive. I think Jermaine (Phillips) is back to playing where he was a couple of years ago. And that rookie (Tanard Jackson) is something. Ronde Barber, you know what he can do. He can tackle, he can blitz and has great ball skills. .... Watching these guys on tape, you remember the type of ball skills. And 55's (Derrick Brooks) ball skills are as good as anybody in the NFL still.
Q: Rod, where do you stand with your pass protection right now. I saw where you were concerned after the Washington game. Is that a product of falling behind offensively?
A: No, it's just not doing your job correctly. If you're behind or ahead, it doesn't matter. Each guy has to do his job. We had a great chance during the bye week to really zero in on some of our protections and the basic fundamentals. We've got a challenge and now we've got to solve it. It's just bone-on-bone football and we've got to be better.
Q: Coach, you worked with Monte for a decade and now you're working with one of the best offensive coaches in the NFL, Mike Martz. How much do those guys like going up against one another?
A: Being with coach Kif all those years, when we went against coach Martz, he was on it. There was a great respect. Always had a great respect. And it was fun. Now, I'm on the other side with coach Martz, and the respect is the same. It's just unbelievable how much respect everybody in this league has for coach Kiff. It's awesome. .... This league, you earn respect in this league and you earn it not by your mouth, not by the newspapers, but by what you put on tape. As a player and a coach, what you put on tape — that goes around the league. That's how good coaches are found and how coaches get respect. You look at the tape, you say, 'Wow, that guy is doing a heckuva job and he's coaching the heck out of his players and his guys are responding.' It's about the tape you produce. Both these men, coach Martz and coach Kif, have put out great tape for years. That respect is there. Not from you guys, but from what he's put on tape.
Q: Coach, Jon Kitna predicted 10 wins for this team in the offseason. How did that affect the mindset of your team? Did that hurt or help?
A: You guys would love him. I really love this guy. He is as tough as they come. He's smart. He's bright. He wants to win so doggone bad. And he's in the huddle, he looks at those guys eyes and see, 'Hey, we've got a chance to be a good team.' He basically challenged our whole organization. 'We're good enough to do this.' Now, the challenge is out. He reminded me with Warren (Sapp). 'Give us 17 points, we'll win.' That was a challenge to the defense. It's the same statement, 'Let's go live to this standard.' He's setting a standard and we have to out now and live up to that standard. It's good stuff, especially how who it's coming from.
Q: Coach, how well has Joe Barry (former Bucs assistant) stepped into the defensive coordinator's role?
A: He brings a guy that's been well-trained defensively by coach Dungy, when he first was there, and he has coach Gruden in him, and those five years of Monte Kiffin day in, day out, grinding in your ear. He and (Steelers head coach) Mike T(omlin) both came in there and had to take over for two really good coaches. He's been grounded into the fundamentals of this defense. He believes in this defense. That's the biggest part of it. It's not just cover 2, it's how you do things — how you run to the ball, how you tackle, the tackling drills, the fit drills, when you blitz, doing things exactly right. That's what this defense is about. That's how he's been trained. ... well, now he's an old man. coach Kif would love him. He's been his own man. That's why I'm excited to have him here.
Q: Coach, your team has been up and down this season, Which one is going to show up on Sunday?
A: What team are we going to see? It's the one that's going to play one
snap at a time. That's a real answer. It's the truth. I've got to get a team that plays one snap at a time.