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10 October 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Friday, October 10, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay’s offensive line has allowed only two sacks over the last two games, despite throwing 75 passes. The 2.6 opposing sack percentage is the seventh-best in the NFL during that span.
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Guard Logan Mankins
Running Back Doug Martin
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“First off, I would like to thank all of you, some of you reached out to me and [sent] the card. My father-in-law lived for 91 years, married to the same lady for 68 years and it was a pretty good life he lived. Thanks to all of you. I haven’t missed a lot of days of practice so I couldn’t wait last to get the video. Nowadays with modern technology you can get that video no matter where you are. We’ve had a good week of practice and it’s good to get some of our players back. Injury list, now that I know you haven’t gotten the injury list here we can talk a little bit more in detail about the list. Mason Foster did practice again today, he put in a pretty good week of practice and it’s always good to get the – you have the quarterback on offense and your MIKE linebacker on defense, a lot changes when you hear a familiar voice there, so it’s good to get him back on the football field. Other players, Michael Johnson is getting better and better with his ankle, Gerald McCoy and those players will be a little bit closer to being 100 percent. Josh McCown is making progress, but he’s still not there yet. Dashon Goldson is making progress and he’s not there yet. The guys that are out – Jonathan Casillas and Dashon Goldson are both players that we have ruled out right now. Others that haven’t been able to practice, Johnthan Banks hasn’t been able to do much this week and I mentioned the other players. Evan Dietrich-Smith missed today, but he was just sick, he’ll be good to go. Beyond that, the Ravens are a good football team, there are a similar team to the AFC North as far as how they play offensive football and defensive football. It’s a familiar front for our offensive guys since they’ve worked on, again, it’s a big challenge for us and I’m excited about playing at home after three on the road. We’re a better football team now than the last time we played at Raymond James Stadium and we’re excited about letting our fans see that.”
 
(On if the bye week will affect their decision to play wide receiver Mike Evans)
“No, not at all, it’s always about now. If a player is healthy, ready to go, we’ll play him, it’s as simple as that. For the players, they know that we do have a bye week, so you can treat this like it’s the last game you’ll ever play in your career, lay it all on the line, but we won’t put injured players out there, but Mike has looked good this week in practice.”
 
(On if surgery has been ruled out for quarterback Josh McCown)
“If it was something that we needed to do right away, then we would have done it then. This is one of the options we had as far as dealing with his injury and nothing has changed since then.”
 
(On the challenges of facing Baltimore’s rush guys)
“Challenging, but it’s like that each week. Every team in the league is paying a pass rusher – at least one, normally two – from [Terrell] Suggs to the different guys that they have. They have an excellent front rushing the passer, but also playing the run. With us being a running team we need to be able to open up some different options in our passing game, we need to be able to do that. It will be a big challenge up front for us. Linebacker C.J. Mosely is playing good football for them, the same type of play you’ve gotten from the secondary throughout – tough man-to-man and whatever else they want to do.”
 
(On cutting down on penalties)
“Our guys take accountability for it. We’ve made some mistakes that we have to clean up and we’ll clean up more of those, that’s a part of becoming a good football team. The truth of the matter is when you go into a dome, you have more of those types of penalties when you’re in a dome, that’s just how it goes. We have crowd noise and things like that, but a lot of those things we’ve hopefully cleaned up and we won’t see as many of those pre-and-post-snap penalties or after the play penalties I should say than we did this past week.”
 
(On how close the team is to being able to win consistently)
“I think most of you probably know me well enough to see that I feel real good about our football team. I know what our record says, but before those wins come, you have to take care of other things and I realized how many penalties we had this past week, but that’s not who we are. I see progress, we’re getting healthier and this is probably as close to the team that we started the season off with as we’ve had in a while, but we’re playing better ball in so many areas. Offensively, I’m pleased with what we’ve done the last couple of weeks, we’ve put plenty of points up on the board and we’ve protected the football for the most part. Defensively, we haven’t played our best ball, but that’s coming and getting a few of our players back, number one our MIKE linebacker will help that and I just feel like my glass is half-full each week, but I think this is as close as we’ve been.”
 
GUARD LOGAN MANKINS
 
(On the challenge of facing Baltimore defensive lineman Haloti Ngata)
“It’s a big challenge every time you got Haloti. He’s one of the biggest guys in the league and strongest and he’s actually very athletic, too. So, he presents multiple challenges and you’ve got to be on your game when you’re dealing with him.”
 
(On Ngata’s two interceptions this season)
“That just adds to his intelligence. He knows where to be most of the time and he sees that other guys at his position don’t, and he’s able to get in position to make those plays.”
 
(On Baltimore’s speed off the edge with defensive linemen Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil)
“You’ve got those guys coming off the edge and their big guys in the middle trying to collapse. They’ve got a lot of good pass rushers: Suggs, Dumervil, [Pernell] McPhee – number 90 – has been playing lights out this year. He’s brought a new element to their defense and he’s still got Ngata next to him. So, it’s a good front four when they got those four guys in there.”
 
(On what needs to happen to jump start the running game this Sunday)
“We just need to play more consistent. We need to block our guys more consistent, be more consistent in the mental aspect of who do we block. The run game comes down to everyone doing their job together and we just haven’t been doing that.”
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On if his knee injury from Week 1 has slowed him down at all this season)
“Oh no, not at all. I had the knee [injury] the first week so I was just healing up until I got back out there – I believe it was the Pittsburgh game that I was able to go back into. I can feel it better, but still, things have got to push through. But, it’s all good now and my knee’s fine and I’m good to go.”
 
(On why the team has struggled to establish the run game so far)
“It’s just everybody doing their job. Whether it’s me as a running back, the O-line, the tight ends, or the receivers blocking downfield, everybody has to do their job. It takes a whole unit to run the ball – it doesn’t take one guy. It can’t be just the line or the tight ends or the combo blocks with the line and the tight ends. So, it’s the whole unit, so everybody just has to stick to their job and get this run game going.”
 
(On what he can do to help improve the run game)
“Just continue what I do. Just run the ball hard, follow my keys and just keep going hard like I do.”
 
(On if he has felt at any point this season that the team was close to running the ball well in a game)
“Yeah, there’s been times where it’s definitely been close. These guys work hard. They work their butts off in practice. Everyone [holds] each other accountable for this. We’re going to get it going and I can’t wait until it happens.”
 
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