Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is hoping that seeing the game from a different perspective will spark a resurgence in the attack that was one of the 10 best in the league last year.
Following up on a suggestion he made to head coach Greg Schiano during the bye week, Sullivan moved from the field to the press box for Sunday's game against the Eagles, and that's where he plans to stay.
“For two years in Jacksonville and then for eight years with the Giants, I was always in the press box,'' said Sullivan, a former Jaguars and Giants position coach.
“So we talked during the bye week (about) the ways we can be more efficient, and I know from all those years of being up in the press box there is a perspective and a vantage point that you get that I felt would be beneficial.''
Sullivan wasn't the only member of the coaching staff involved in the move. While Sullivan went from the field to the press box, quarterback coach John McNulty went from the press box to the field.
Sullivan is still calling plays, but is now relaying them to McNulty. By seeing the field from a different perspective, Sullivan thinks he can make better play calls.
“I think you have a better feel,'' Schiano said. “I think there's a huge advantage when you're upstairs and can see everything, because you don't have to rely on others' eyes. You rely on your own.”
Sullivan spent the 2012 season working from the field, which worked out rather well. The Bucs finished the season ranked ninth overall in total offense.
The move back to the press box did take some getting used-to, though.
“I was very comfortable up there,'' Sullivan said. “I was a little rusty, but it was good to have that perspective of things again. So ,moving forward, we'd like to continue that.''
Rookie CB Johnthan Banks is coming off a pretty tough week. First, he learned that he had contracted a MRSA infection. Then, after being cleared to play by doctors because posed no threat to others, he gave up two of the biggest plays during the 31-20 loss to the Eagles.
The first of those was a 47-yard, third-quarter touchdown pass in which he got beat by Riley Cooper running a go-route. The second was a 44-yard pass to Cooper, who juked Banks into missing a tackle after a 5-yard throw.
Looking back on those plays, Banks says he learned a lot.
“I learned that I need to play with more urgency and just be a better tackler, a more fundamentally sound tackler,'' Banks said. “You just have to live and learn and I'm learning. If I don't take anything from those games there's no use in being out there.
“Every game I'm out there, I make a mistake. And that's one of those things where you hate that it happened but you're kind of glad it did happen because it's something you can learn from and learn to get better at.''
Have to hand it to you
Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon has handed the ball off to RB Doug Martin only half as often as he's thrown it through two starts, but that's not the reason Glennon and Martin have had some trouble completing the handoff.
Glennon and Martin have botched three handoffs in Glennon's two starts, and Martin says the problem is not so much a lack of familiarity as a lack of fundamental execution and patience.
“It's a matter of me being on the right track (to the hole) and having patience,'' Martin said. “It's a draw play and that takes patience, because I have to let him come back and hand it off.''
The botched handoffs have led to two fumbles, including one the Bucs lost against Arizona. That has resulted in more time being spent on handoffs at practice this week.
“It was a huge point of emphasis to make sure that we get the quarterback in sync with (Martin's) track and the very specific track that the runner has, because (the botched handoffs) are inexcusable,'' Sullivan said.
See you Sunday
RG Davin Joseph was back at practice Thursday. Joseph missed Wednesday's workout with a sore left knee he injured in Sunday's game against the Eagles, but said the knee problem won't keep him out of this Sunday's game.
“I'll be fine,” Joseph said. “It's nothing that a little ice and a little rest won't take care of. I was able to play with it the rest of the day (Sunday), but after the game and on Monday if swelled up, so we jut had to get the inflammation out.''