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01 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 1, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since their Week 7 bye, the Buccaneers’ special teams coverage units have been among the NFL’s, allowing a league-low 2.4 yards per punt return and the 10th-lowest average yards per kick return (23.8).
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
                       
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
               
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“Yesterday’s game, not much has changed since then. A lot of disappointment still. Kind of a broken record, I know, with my normal Monday press conference with you. A lot of disappointment still. Wasted opportunities still by our football team – I talk as a whole. We didn’t handle the end of the game the way winning football teams handle the end of the game. Didn’t finish strong like we talk [about]. During the course of the game though, there were some good things that happened. Special teams holding down their return game, especially their punt returner. Good coverage with it. Since the bye week, some of the coverage teams have improved quite a bit. And then defensively – a lot of good things happened yesterday defensively, like I’ve talked about since the bye with our defense. Good offense coming in, we talked about setting the tone right away. Can’t set it any better – I guess, except for maybe scoring a touchdown – by getting a takeaway to start the game like that. Played hard throughout, right up until – gave up a big third-down play at the end of the game, but came back and held them without a field goal to give ourselves a chance there late. Johnthan Banks; Alterraun Verner – since he’s come back from the hamstring injury; Brandon Dixon getting his first pick. Up front, thought we played well. Danny Lansanah has really been a bright spot in the amount of reps that he’s gotten. Offensively, just didn’t do an awful lot. Ran the ball OK at times – we were committed to the run, but didn’t get enough. When we got a good run – one of Doug [Martin]’s good runs – of course, we brought it back with a penalty. Normally when you’re plus-two [in turnover ratio], you win the football game – about 85 percent of the time. But when you have that many penalties, it offsets that. So that’s where we are injury-wise. Hopefully we’ll get some players back like Lavonte David, Evan Dietrich-Smith – get him back out there on the football field – and some of our tight ends.”
 
(On why the team has made mistakes near the end of games)
“I wish I could give you a good answer. Every [game] has been different. But it’s been the same results a little bit. We just haven’t handled the situations well. Kind of simple as that. You can live with – you mentioned Johnthan Banks [and his late penalty against New Orleans]; that’s playing ball. But how we’ve handled some of the situations at the end – had a lot of leads throughout.  Growing pains, learning situations. Normally it doesn’t take this many games to get the point across. But yesterday, that one hurt as much as anything, 12 guys on the field – it’s a sin. Kind of simple as that. Can’t do it. Have a lot of things, safeguards in place for that not to happen, but they all fell through, starting with me not seeing it. So that’s what’s happened. That’s why we have two wins right now, and we haven’t won at home based on how we’ve played at the end of the game.”
                                
(On how to eliminate the high number of penalties)
“The discipline part comes back though when you have that many at the end of the game. Trying to separate exactly what happened – we had too many [penalties] on the offensive side yesterday. Again, most of them brought big plays back or put us in a hole. Mike [Evans]’ offensive pass interference, can live with that. Thought the guy was going to get the interception. So I’m not talking about those. The rest of them, no defense for. They’re killing our team.”
 
(On his teams in the past being more disciplined penalty-wise)
“Haven’t been in this situation before, as I told the team. Normally I preach turnover ratio, and if you win that, you’re going to win the football game. What I’ve found out this year is that that many penalties can offset anything you do with the turnovers. Again, I knew it, but I’ve seen it too many times right now. And again, that shouldn’t be one of the harder things that you do. If you just went into every game and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to keep the penalties under double digits – got a great chance to win the football game,’ we’ll take those. But it hasn’t worked out that way.”
 
(On if losing offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford could be a reason for the high number of penalties)
“We haven’t had 12 guys on the field a lot. Yesterday, yeah, you could say that yesterday. But that hasn’t been a big problem for us. And some of the other – I can’t really say that – some of the other penalties we’ve gotten, I don’t think having another guy on the staff would’ve taken care of that. But that’s an opinion that I’m giving right now. We have the penalties, so whatever reason you come up with, I can’t really downplay it or say that that’s definitely not the case, because we’re searching right now. When you have this many games where I’m talking about the same thing, there’s something wrong.”
 
(On the decision to start offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey at center for the first time in his career)
“Well I think on every team, you have a guy that’s played center throughout. But you have guys that can play center. I think most of the time, you have guys that – you have a center and then guys that can play it. And that’s what you get as a backup. When you have a backup playing, you’re not going to get the same type of play. Yesterday was a day where we definitely could have used our starting center. And that’s not an excuse. We haven’t had the best outside linebacker in football the last couple of weeks and we’ve found a way. So I’m not going to use that as an excuse. Whoever we have in there, you’re an NFL player – we have to be able to get better play. Too many negative plays yesterday from that position.”
 
(On how you fix the issue of the team committing a high number of penalties)
“I think you correct it the same way you do any mistake that’s happened: you keep working on it, you keep bringing it to their attention. We start in the video session. You see it there, you keep preaching it throughout the week and just keep hammering it home. And eventually, it gets through. We’ve talked an awful lot about a player that started for the first time – it gets better as you continue to play. A couple of others – we had a couple of players that hadn’t really played an awful lot. Had a lot of those yesterday. And you just keep working on it and eventually, it gets through. Just like everything else. We have seen our team improve through the course of the year on a lot of different things, and the way we got improvement? Constantly working on it. That’s what we’ll continue to do here.”
 
(On reducing the number of pre-snap penalties)
“Those are the only ones that I’m really talking about. No, they’re not the only ones. The majority of the ones I’m talking about are those. Any situational football where you just can’t do certain things too. It’s situational football throughout. Those are some of the things – situational football right up until the end of the football game when [there are] certain things you cannot do, especially when you’re in field goal range already.”
 
(On showing more emotion than normal during Sunday’s game)
“You kind of see the outward part a little bit. I do have a lot of emotion deep down inside of me and it was definitely at a boiling point yesterday. Games like that, yeah, they’re disappointing, but you have a blueprint on how you want to start a game at home and getting the crowd into it and how you want the game to play out throughout and for the most part that’s how it played it out. In all of the things that happened, right up until a little over two minutes left to go and we have the ball needing a field goal, in great position. That’s how you want the game to play out and right up until the emotions – you had a lot adrenaline going, thinking in some kind of way – right up until the end and then win it at the end. Those are the emotions that you want to go through. A lot happens in between [the beginning] and the end – victory, we thought we would get a chance to feel that for the first time yesterday.”
 
(On if he’s getting angry with the team)
“Am I angry right now? I guess the only way I wouldn’t be angry is if I was satisfied with what’s going on right now. I’m not going to start throwing stuff, kicking guys around, being physical on the sidelines, but I’m disappointed with where our football team is right now and I’m doing everything that I possibly can to get this fixed.”
 
(On if he is holding the defense to a higher standard than the offense)
“No, we are holding [the offense] to the same standard. Defensively you’re looking at what’s happened since the bye – there’s a period of time before that when things weren’t like that. We’re holding all of players to the same standard, it’s just that we’re in two different places right now. Defensively I do, I want Gerald [McCoy] and the rest of the guys to think that way and still ‘What could have I down more?’ We can always do more and the ones that aren’t there we need to do a whole lot more. It’s the same standard, it’s your best individually and you’ll see the results for the team a little bit later on. All 46 guys that we dress, we’ll hold them to the same standard. We’re just not getting that type of play right now.”
 
(On how the offense has struggled since Week 1)
“We’re two and whatever right now for that reason. That doesn’t mean because you have a record you hold them to a different standard, we’re just getting different results right now and it’s as simple as that. Players that should be dominating, they have to continue to dominate and some of the ones that aren’t in a position to dominate, we just need to get better play from them.”
 
(On Tampa Bay’s fans at yesterday’s game
“[They] were outstanding. There are a lot of things that are disappointing, but for our fans – and this is not just coach-talk – for our fans, we are a two-and-whatever football team right now with a home game late in the season, I thought they were outstanding. You could hear them throughout.”
 
(On if he could hear the opposing fans yesterday)
“No, I didn’t hear that. What I heard is our fans throughout cheering when the defense was out there into it. We had a home crowd is what I heard. The Bengals fans didn’t affect us at the end of the football game. I heard our fans cheering most of the day when we did something where they should be cheering, that’s what we heard.”
 
(On the play of safety Bradley McDougald and how much safety Major Wright’s shoulder injury factored into McDougald’s playing time)
“It played a small role in it, but Bradley played a good football game yesterday. He’s good football player, I’ve been saying that all along and that’s what we’ll continue to get from him if he continues to play. He did a good job yesterday.”
 
(On Cincinnati adjusting to the running game in the second half)
“I think everybody makes adjustments throughout the game, but Doug [Martin] did some good things. That’s the best game Doug has [played], there was life to him and that’s because he was running with a purpose yesterday. They adjusted a little bit, but even in times – again, I’m going to say the penalties really hurt our running game as much as anything calling back big plays.”
 
(On cornerback Brandon Dixon and safety Keith Tandy lining up against A.J. Green)
“I was holding my breath there early on, but A.J. Green is a great player, one of the best receivers in the league and we’re asking a young player like Brandon Dixon to guard him and he stepped up to the plate. To get your first interception against a great player like that – there’s a lot good things going on behind the scenes, that’s why it’s just disappointing that our record doesn’t show that right now. In time, getting guys like that valuable reps will pay off for us.”
 
(On Oniel Cousins working as a tight end and him knowing which packages he was a part of)
“[We went over it] quite a bit. It happened at the end of the game, a lot is going on then and keep in mind we did that throughout the game and we didn’t have 12 guys on the field. Yes, we knew we had a week to put him in a different role and again, I can’t give you an excuse why. That’s not it, we did go over it last week, it was a mistake we made in the heat of the battle.”
 
(On wide receiver Russell Shepard’s play on special teams)
“Yes, Russell Shepard has played well, but he really played well yesterday. He had about as high of a grade you can get on special teams yesterday with an A, but we’ve gotten great play from him throughout, not only as a special teams player, but when he’s had to play receiver for us, [and] of course a little quarterback. Quite a bit that we’ve gotten from him and again, that’s why it’s still disappointing, we have some players on our offense and defense, we have players getting better, we hold them to the same standard and we just haven’t gotten that consistent play from enough of our guys on both sides of the ball right now.”
 
(On whether he regrets not giving kicker Patrick Murray a chance on the final drive)
“64 [yard field goal]? No, I regret some of our play at the end a little bit before that. 64 yards is a little out of his range.”
 
(On what the process would have been to avoid the 12 man on the field penalty)
“The process is to see it before. Are you talking about before? Somebody on the field, somebody screaming on the sideline, somebody on the field, that player that knows this is this personnel grouping and coming out. We have a lot of safeguards in place for that not to happen. I think that’s the only time that’s happened this year and unfortunately it happened in that situation.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On his downfield block on Cincinnati cornerback Terence Newman)
“Like you said, I like to enforce myself in the run game. That’s something I have control over. He jumped kind of funny and I just threw him to the ground.”
 
(On if he received any extra attention from Cincinnati’s secondary)
“I got doubled two plays I think. Two plays in the game, I got double covered. They played real well.”
 
(On if the losses are affecting him)
“Absolutely. I’m a competitor – I want to win. At this point, we know there’s a slim chance, but I’m just going to come in every day ready to work.”
 
(On his thoughts after wide receiver Louis Murphy’s long catch to put the team in field goal range before getting called back for too many men on the field)
“I was thinking [we were about to win the game]. I was hyped. I was trying to get down, spike the ball. But I saw the challenge flag [from] the Bengals coach and I didn’t know you could challenge a possible flag that’s supposed to be a flag the play before, but I guess you can. We got driven back and we didn’t convert. That’s that.”
 
(On if he knew the play was being challenged for too many men on the field)
“No, I thought it was for like the catch. I was like, ‘It’s an obvious catch – he’s wasting [the challenge].’ But they threw it and they got the call.”
 
(On the performance of the Tampa Bay defense)
“We’ve got to do better [on offense], I know that. Our defense played great, especially the past few games. They’ve been playing great and we haven’t been helping them much. We’ve got to get that going. Our defense is stronger than our team right now. We’ve got to help them.”
 
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