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Buchanon takes veiled shot at Lions, hopes for better times in D.C.

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Posted April 01, 2010 @ 4:12 p.m.
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

You can't blame Phillip Buchanon for wanting things how they were when they were great. He had three fairly productive seasons in Tampa Bay, which helped turned a flagging career around. But when the Buccaneers went with Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib as their starting cornerbacks, it left no room for Buchanon to return.

From there he moved onto Detroit, seeing a starting opportunity with the Lions. That he got, but things did not go swimmingly as he thought they might. The Lions were rebuilding following the worst season in history at 0-16, and it turned out they were not ready for (not anywhere close to) primetime. Buchanon was benched at one point (though he regained his starting job) and it was somewhat of a lost season.

Last week he signed with the Redskins. Buchanon and I chatted for a few minutes the other day about his new chances to succeed in Washington and why he signed with the Redskins.

“It’s more about the respect of the coaches and the coaching relationship," he said. "That’s the best thing I can really ask for. My thing is, if I can’t talk to the defensive coordinator or I can’t talk to my position coach as we can’t make something try to work between us, then this whole thing is not going to work.

“That’s what I had in Tampa, and that was one of the only places I really had it at. I never really did want to leave Tampa in the first place, but …”

So does this mean Buchanon had a rift with Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham or secondary coach Tim Walton? Or both?

“Just so you know, there were never any struggles for me," he explained, choosing his words carefully and pausing for effect.

“Like I said, I went to the Redskins for the communication, hoping it would be like it was in Tampa. Being in Detroit, people can say what they want to say. I didn’t have any problems. If you look at the film and really judge it, I don’t feel like I played badly like people said. You have to really evaluate the film."

The film showed a defense that struggled to generate a pass rush, leading to blitzing too much. It put the corners on an island, asked to man cover as much as for six seconds on some plays.

Part of the problem with his time there, Buchanon suggested, was a deteriorating relationship with head coach Jim Schwartz.

“Coach Schwartz, he’s doing certain things and it just didn’t click. You can say that," Buchanon said when asked how he wanted to characterize the relationship with his former coach. “It was more of a player-to-coach (problem) and the vibe just wasn’t good. Actually, it wasn’t good since May and June, going into the season. (The relationship) was all messed up."

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