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Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier doesn’t mind not calling plays

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After a big victory, there is no questioning the lines of communication.

Tampa Bay Bucs‘ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier says that it is a good thing that head coach Lovie Smith is calling the team’s plays. He expects it to continue this week against the Cleveland Browns and beyond.

“There were times a year ago where there would definitely be communication on the headsets,” said Frazier of his 25th-ranked unit. “It won’t be any different this year. He’s going to be heavily involved as he always has been with our defense. He is going to do the majority of the defensive play calling. It really doesn’t change my role from a year ago, it really doesn’t.

“My role is to come in and help our defense and help them prepare for every ball game and help our team to win. It really hasn’t changed anything that I have to get done.”

Frazier said that is a good thing that Smith is so involved. He doesn’t seem to feel as if his authority has been lessened.

“I’m excited for it, because (with) his background, the defense that we install is the one that he ran in Chicago,” Frazier said. “It should be good for our defense, good for our team. I think we are all looking forward to continue to build on this momentum we have from this offseason and also what we gained in that ball game Monday night.”

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said it shouldn’t matter to the players who is calling the defense.

“The play is signaled in,” McCoy said. “Kwon Alexander says what the play is and I play it. It’s as simple as that. There is no more to it. You play what’s called. After that it’s everybody needs to just do their job instead of being concerned about who is calling it. Whatever is called, just do your job. Worry about everything else later.”

The defense will be important for the Bucs. Not only are their two best players – McCoy and Lavonte David – on that side of the ball, it is the team’s most experienced unit.

McCoy said it is understood that the defense will have to carry Tampa Bay.

“Just learning from our mistakes and realizing there is little things that have to be done better,” McCoy said. “Rush lanes are huge in this league. We’re playing a quarterback this week that I had the pleasure of playing with. If you give him a seam he will tuck (the football) and run.

“We definitely have to be in our rush lanes with him. Leading into Week 1, obviously [Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota] can run. Rush lanes are huge up front and just covering each other up. On the back end, just being on your keys and everybody individually doing their job. I think if we grow mentally we can get over that hump to start finishing games out.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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