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22 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 22, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans and WR Vincent Jackson have combined for 1,988 receiving yards this season, the 10th-highest by a duo in the NFL this season, and the fourth-highest ever by a duo in team history. With 108 or more combined receiving yards against New Orleans, they will have the second-highest receiving total by a duo in franchise history.
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Cornerback Alterraun Verner
               
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“Disappointing season. We are to a wrap-up game with one left to go. One last opportunity for us, of course, as a team to get a win – get a home win, to play better. And then individually for guys to leave a lasting impression one way or another. So it’s an important game. We do want to finish it up the right way – I think all our guys realize that. Again, a lot of disappointment from yesterday, like we’ve had disappointment from the season. That’s where we are.”
 
(On why the offensive line struggled against Green Bay)
“To tell you exactly why we would have that type of performance, I mean, I can’t give you that. I’m going to first off go to the Packers – they’re an excellent football team, and I’m talking about up front. In some games, it’s not a good matchup and it wasn’t a good matchup with us. So for whatever reason, we didn’t play well. We had some players playing in positions that were tough matchups. There was a sack by [Clay] Matthews on [Garrett] Gilkey – that’s tough duty. Josh Allen, getting him some reps and Julius Peppers moved in. I mean, that’s tough duty. So there were some things like that, but those were just a couple. Overall, their front was a lot better than we were yesterday.”
 
(On if he expects tackle Anthony Collins to play against New Orleans)
“Haven’t really made it that far yet. We’ll look at the entire group that we have, so it would be hard for me to say exactly what direction we’re going to go this week. Anthony has been showing up at practice, doing a good job of what we’ve asked him to do.”
 
(On Collins being inactive the past three games)
“There’s a reason why everybody is in the position that they’re in. The amount of playing time you get – yes, there’s a reason for every decision that we’ve made and I’ll just kind of leave it at that. As I did mention, there was an injury that Anthony had earlier. He’s been showing up to practice. Later on, we’ve wanted to get looks at other guys. So a lot of things have come into play on that decision why he wasn’t active.”
 
(On why linebackers Danny Lansanah and Orie Lemon did not get as many snaps on defense)
“Wanted to look at a different combination that we felt pretty good about. Just talking about Danny Lansanah, it’s tough – we’ve asked him to play a lot of positions. But it’s tough during the game to go from SAM to MIKE to WILL, and then when you have a guy like Dane Fletcher that’s only played MIKE – there’s a lot that went into that decision to play them. When Danny is at the SAM position, of course, Orie isn’t in. But I think the linebackers, per se, did a decent job – the ones that we had out there. It’s not a big difference between the group that we have so we feel like they all deserve an opportunity to play.”
 
(On the inside move that defensive end Michael Johnson made on the sack-fumble on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers)
“It’s a basic part of our defense that we run numerous times each game and we’ve run all year. Let’s leave it at that.”
 
(On making the right call on that play to slant Johnson inside to make the play on Rodgers)
“As a general rule in our package, a typical defensive lineman has a three-way go; we may keep him in a base technique, we’ll slant him inside, or slant him outside. That’s about all you can really do. We had a slant move on that play. It’s nothing [that is] reinventing the wheel or anything like that – just a slant move inside. Good dip by him, good move by him to finish the play.”
 
(On having a guaranteed top-two pick in the upcoming NFL Draft)
“Couple of comments on that. From a 2-13 record right now, things we’ve found out – our draft class, we played them [and] we like some things we’ve seen from the draft class. Of course, Mike Evans, it goes without saying; Charles Sims, we’re seeing flashes from him; Austin Seferian-Jenkins – our top three picks, amongst others. So that part is good. And if you have to be down here, you need to get something from it. We are going to get, from our position – wherever it might be – we’re going to get to add some more. We have a full allotment of draft picks. We have an excellent staff that evaluates guys. So that’s positive if you look at it – we are going to add some more players to the mix. We need some more players added to the mix. So I am excited about that part. And again, if you have to be down where we are, why not get your choice of a few of the best players available in the draft?”
 
(On how he weighs getting the first pick of the draft against trying to win)
“I don’t think you weigh that at all. I think probably most veteran players in general aren’t really excited – some of them aren’t really excited about some of the players about some of the players that would come in with the potential to take their spot – but for the most part guys on your team want the team to be improved and that’s what we’re going to do with the draft picks coming in. As far as the game this week – I’ve kind of answered that question a few times and I think we’re going to end up in good position to get some good players, but to me that can’t even come into the equation. Yesterday, even though we didn’t play as well, the guys fought right up until the end – they weren’t thinking about that pick or anything like that. This week we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to make decisions that will give us the best chance to win by being able to look at players that we haven’t seen, that may come into the equation a little bit, but we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to try and win the game and let everything else take care of itself.”
 
(On if feel they feel as if they misevaluated the offensive line during the offseason)
“When you say misjudgments – there were some moves that we made that didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. I think that’s a fair statement – look where we are. We don’t have any way to combat that statement at all. That’s what you do, you make decisions you think give you the best chance to win, and you make improvements where you feel like you need to make improvements. They don’t always work out, but what we’re going to do – last year has nothing to do with this year. We’re in a different position right now, we know our roster a little bit better tight now and what we truly do need and like always, we’re going to be as aggressive as possible to improve our ball club in any way and through every phase: free agency, draft and etc.”
 
(On safety Bradley McDougald’s performance)
“You’ve heard me talk about him quite a bit and I think most guys know that I think he can play and I think that he’s going to be a pretty good football player and he has a good future ahead of him. He hasn’t done anything to make me alter that statement – the last couple of weeks, yes [he has performed well]. The part of the game he hasn’t been able to show people so far, is that he has good hands, he can cover, and yesterday he was in position to cover receivers from time to time. I think when you’re looking for a safety: he can cover, he has good hands and he’ll tackle, that’s a good starting spot.”
 
(On if the defense showed the ability to be physical is Sunday’s game)
“I think a lot of times when you – on the offensive side of the ball we didn’t play well. Then you say ‘Hey, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are really bad.’ All wasn’t bad yesterday, we took a very good football team with a lot of great players – I’m talking about the defense matching up against a great offense. There a lot of good things – the red zone play: first and goal on the two yard-line or whatever and we were able to keep them out of the end zone. The plays that they got – we should not give up, I don’t know what [Eddie] Lacy’s run was, a long run like that – 44 [yards] I guess I do know what it is – but anyway we should be able to keep them under that, that was a bad play. A great catch by Jordy Nelson down at the corner of the end zone, but they played hard. As far as being physical, yes it was a physical game, we saw a lot of things that we liked, and these are things that we will build on.”
 
(On Jeff Tedford saying he has been healthy the last two months)
“No reaction at all. I talk about guys on my staff right now and I would never talk about somebody on another staff. No comment at all. All comments are about our staff we have now.”
 
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER
 
(On how long this season has been)
“I always feel like at the end of the season, it seems like the season flew by. It was just the other day that I was watching OTAs and doing stuff in OTAs. So, I don’t know, the season is still the same as usual. [The] challenges and difficulties, definitely I never only won two games. Being 2-13, that’s definitely something I’m not accustomed to at any level. So that’s frustrating. But I like how we are battling every week. I don’t think you can see anybody giving up during the game, the course of the game, and you see people still trying to improve. So that’s the one positive that I’m taking from this whole negativity that we see. But it’s definitely been frustrating.”
 
(On the physicality of the defense against Green Bay and tackling the receivers immediately after catching the pass)
“That’s what we try to preach: no run after the catch; if they do catch the ball, contest it and be physical, and that’s something that we’ve been trying to instill the whole season, so it was good to see some of that happen towards the end.”
 
(On if he understands the fans’ frustration)
“No question. If I was a fan, if you’re not frustrated, then there should be a problem. It was 4-12 last year, it’s going to be worse this year. So it’s definitely frustrating, especially with all the movement, all the things that happened in the offseason with Lovie coming in. It was a lot of build-up for us to have – this season, this year. They’ve just got to be patient and it is going to come. But I’m not going to say that they shouldn’t be frustrated – they should [be].”
 
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