Bucs Q&A: Jimmy Wilkerson

Penciled in as a starter opposite Gaines Adams this season, the veteran defensive end talked with Bucsblitz.com about new coordinator Jim Bates, the defense's new formation and the differences between Bates and former coordinator Monte Kiffin in this exclusive Q&A. Find out more about the Bucs' new defensive philosophy right here.

Q: How has the defensive coaching change affected you?

A: I like to adapt to any environment that is given to me whether it is Coach (Jim) Bates or Coach (Monte) Kiffin's defense. Any time you have a defense presented to you, it's your job and duty to adapt to that environment and that defense so you can learn it the best way you can.

Q: Have you ever played in this formation before?

A: I have never had my outside end down when we are doing our pass rush, so it is a learning experience for me. I am used to having both hands down, but at the same time, I am not used to having my left hand down on the left side. It is kind of becoming natural the more and more we work on it, but I am having a lot of fun.

Q: When you came here, did you ever think you would be playing a different style of defense then a system that has become so famous in the sport?

A: Being five years in Kansas City and going through the things I went through, I went to coach (Jon) Gruden before he signed me and said, "Hey just give me a chance and if you don't like what you see, release me. Let me go somewhere else so someone can give me a chance." They stuck with me, and I was excited about that. They saw what I can do. Really coach Rich Bisaccia was overwhelmed with me, especially my special teams play, so I kind of miss that a little bit. Playing six years on special teams, that's nearly all my career, so that is hard to get away from.

Q: If Bisaccia is excited about you, that must be a lot of excitement?

A: Yeah, when Rich is excited about someone, that says a lot because he really doesn't get excited about too many players.

Q: How do you feel overall this team is currently?

A: I think we are coming along, but we still have a long way to go. We have a lot of talent on this team, a lot of speed, and a lot of young guys who are really stepping up. It is going to be interesting in training camp.

Q: What's the biggest different between coach Kiffin's defense and coach Bates' defense?

A: For me personally, a defensive lineman is really thinking on the run. We have more of a pass rushing mentality, but also thinking run second. It is always pass rush first, run second. It is giving the defensive linemen, especially defensive ends, a lot of freedom to run and do things a little differently.

Q: Did you change you conditioning at all knowing that it is a new defensive scheme?

A: Not really. I still have the same workout mentality. I am always going to go hard and give 110 percent, whether it is working out by myself or working out with the guys here. Everything is the same, but I just try and push myself a little more every year.

Q: Is there one play that stands out in your mind from last year that you still study and go over in the film room?

A: Really it is a bunch of little things that together become one big thing like poor tackling, missed alignments, and not being in the right gap. It is just all your little assignments. One thing that we are really harping on is everybody playing on the same page. Once we do that, we can be a really good defense.

Q: In minicamp, head coach Raheem Morris focused a lot on the basic fundamentals. How important are those?

A: It is very important. It lets you know that you have to be prepared for any given situation. Coach has done a really good job putting us into those positions and getting us prepared.


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