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15 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 15, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay averaged 6.6 yards per carry against Carolina, the team’s highest single-game total since 2012 (8.7 at Oakland, 11/4/12).
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
                       
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Tackle Demar Dotson
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
               
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“Yesterday’s game, of course, disappointing. Not a whole lot more to say. Hung in there, fought hard, guys played hard, just didn’t get it done. We have some injuries from the game. Our plan right now is to put these three players on IR: Gerald McCoy with a knee sprain, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a back injury, and Louis Murphy has a high ankle sprain. Beyond that, some of our other players – Mason Foster, some of the guys that didn’t play – they’ll be getting better. Realize where we are. Two games left to go in the season. Of course, big game against the Packers coming up this week.”
 
(On if defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s injury will require surgery)
“No. Not to my knowledge.”
 
(On the decision to place rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on season-ending IR)
“We waited and it’s gotten a little bit better. He’s a good football player and of course we wanted him out there a long time ago, but just didn’t happen. We’ll kind of move on and take the next step.”
 
(On how McCoy took the news that he was being placed on season-ending IR)
“Well you know how Gerald took the news, of course. He didn’t go off on the cart yesterday [in the game]. When you’re the leader of the team, you want to be there right up until the end. Of course, it wasn’t a decision that Gerald was going to make. You knew he wanted to continue to play, but it’s something bigger than that. First off, he has an injury and he can’t play, but we’ll take every precaution with him. Of course, going through a year like this, you want to finish it with the troops. He’ll have a chance to get started next time.”
 
(On how difficult it can be for a rookie to not be able to finish the season like Seferian-Jenkins)
“It’s tough when you don’t finish the year, but what I think he got from it – all the way back from training camp coming in making us take notice right away – he’s done enough around here for the people who’ve seen him to know that he has a bright future ahead of him. But you still want it to end a certain way. Just like I talked about with Gerald, you want to finish it with your teammates, but now you know your season will be ending probably. Now it’s about next time up and doing everything I can to – now that I’ve tasted some success, I want to get back out there, and that’s where he is.”
 
(On what he learned about McCoy in his first year as his head coach)
“Just so much. You’re right, I knew quite a bit about him – his reputation at least. But you know, reputations, you want to see it first-hand. We saw it first-hand. Initially, just coming in, ‘Hey, I’m Gerald McCoy. This is what we’re going to do. What do you need me to do? What’s my role on the team?’ And he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. Showed up every day, the leader in every drill, great player, face of the franchise for good reason, future is so bright. Again, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve been down here together. It’s going to be fun rising up together with him. But we will rise up based on guys like him.”
 
(On if he thinks McCoy improved this season)
“He was a great player on tape, and when you get to see him up close and personal and see how you get to game day: more impressive. That’s how you want superstars to be, like him, to put in the time like that and deserve to play and be a great player like that.”
 
(On the chance that defensive tackle Clinton McDonald will return to action this week)
“He’s getting better. Those hamstring injuries – you look, it’s been two-plus games [he has missed], so he’s right at about that point [of returning]. Clinton, of course – you talked about leader and doing everything the right way – he’s been doing everything he can. He knows that the team needs him, but we’ll see how it works out.”
 
(On what is the biggest issue for Seferian-Jenkins and his back injury and if it is tightness or pain)
“I’m not going to try to play doctor on that. He has a back injury that’s prevented him from – you know, tight end: the pounding; blocking those defensive ends; of course, putting yourself in position to take a hit. He has a back injury. Being an old guy like me that’s had back injuries all my life, you can only do so much with them when you have one. So that’s where he is, but he’ll be back someday.”
 
(On if Seferian-Jenkins’ injury will have long-term effects)
“No. None of these injuries – it’s a shortened season right now and they can’t get back in time for that – but none of these are injuries that will keep them out of circulation for a long period of time.”
 
(On if Seferian-Jenkins was able to show him what he is capable of after missing OTAs in the offseason and dealing with injuries throughout the season)
“Well there were glimpses in between that and all the injuries that he fought. And that’s showing an awful lot too – to see how a guy will handle the injuries. He played with pain quite a bit. He fought through it. Yes, he had enough opportunity to show us that he’s someone that we really liked throughout it all.”
 
(On wide receiver Louis Murphy’s performance this season)
“Just outstanding job by him. Of course, you know who Gerald McCoy is; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, second-round draft pick – but Louis came in a little bit off the streets you can say. Didn’t miss anything, earned everything that he’s gotten. Of course, [we] haven’t had a lot of wins, but he had as much to do with one of those wins as you could have. Just kept showing up. Love what he brought to our team on and off the football field.”
 
(On if Murphy did enough to warrant being brought back for next season)
“Oh I think that’s safe to say that he’s a guy that we like representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
 
(On being disappointed with the amount of turnovers quarterback Josh McCown has committed)
“We’re disappointed in a lot of mistakes and the amount of turnovers that we’ve had, yes, Josh was a part of that. Again, if there’s just one thing that I’m really disappointed in I could answer, but those questions always seems to be pointed at one position most of the time. He is a part of it, I am disappointed in him and I never thought that this would be something we’re dealing with and this hurt our football team an awful lot, but again, this is right now and this less than 24 hours after a game, we’re still working through a lot of things.”
 
(On if he has considered making a change at quarterback)
“I don’t talk about those things right now. Josh started for us the other day and we’re disappointed in his play along with some others.”
 
(On how the defense performed after McCoy went down)
“We’re not the same without Gerald – no team would be. I didn’t like the way it looked without him out there and let’s start with that, but we’ve played without him before. Again, we’re not the same, but we have seen some things that we like out there. Inside with Clinton [McDonald] and Gerald [McCoy] both being out, there’s a void and there’s no other way around that. We’ve talked about our defensive ends and what we’ve gotten from some of the unexpected help that we’ve gotten from them outside of some of younger players, but the others will have to pick up some slack. We played Da’Quan Bowers, I’ve been talking about him getting better and he’s had flash plays when you’re playing about 20 reps, but now we’re talking about 50 reps and we need to see more from guys like that. We have a couple of options, but again we would have to get a player like Clinton back and we’ll look better inside.”
 
(On what tight end Luke Stocker has brought to the running game)
“Luke is another one of the players – and there’s a group of players that coming in will these guys make our roster, [I] don’t know exactly what their role would be on the football team. Luke has been – whether we’ve had him as an inline tight end or in the fullback position, he’s stepped up to the plate and I’ve been very pleased with his play pretty much throughout.”
 
(On how tackle Demar Dotson performed playing on the left side of the line)
“I should’ve talked about Demar a little bit – yes, I thought he did a pretty good job for his first time out. By saying that, we’re not All-Pro ready or anything like that, but that’s a lot when you’ve been playing one position. The steps are all different, he took the challenge last week when we approached him and told him this is what we’re going to do, he was all on-board with it and for the first time out it was an encouraging start. If you look at just the position in which you’re looking for long arms, big body, athletic, good feet, there’s nothing that would tell you he wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m anxious to see him there again this week.”
 
(On the decision to deactivate tackle Anthony Collins)
“First off: what caused him to initially go in that slot is he had an injury and then from there you can sometimes move on. You give other guys an opportunity and you kind of like what you see a little bit from there. Anthony was back and is pretty much healthy now and gave us a good look out there last week and we’ll see how it goes this week.”
 
(On Carolina tight end Greg Olsen having a big game)
“First off: Greg Olsen has caught quite a few balls on quite a few guys, he’s an excellent target, a good receiver and all of that. We did talk to our guys a little bit about him and some of their other players too, but take away [them getting] the ball on the four-yard line, then they scored 12 points. Sometimes when you’re caught up in catches and things like that – it’s a little bit more than that, but I’m just going to say Greg is a good football player and he made some good plays yesterday.”
 
(On both Olsen and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin having over 100 receiving yards)
“I’ll say the same thing, they’re good football players. They’ve been catching balls on most of the guys that they’ve played against. Benjamin is a big target, a good player, he hurt us at times yesterday and he was a part of those twelve points besides that one that was given to them late there. Sometimes those passing yards, you’ve got to be careful on those a little bit. Talking about yards yesterday, I liked the way we ran the football. We’ve talked a lot about trying to get our running game going a little bit – it’s good to see Doug Martin get going well and Charles Sims showed flashes also yesterday. I’ve been talking a lot about what we haven’t been able to do at the running game, but we did it a little bit at the game yesterday.”
 
(On if he is considering move tackle Anthony Collins to the right side)
“All things are on the board, on a Monday, all things are on the board. We haven’t gotten that far yet, players are watching the video right now and we’ll start that process a little bit later on.”
 
(On if he was encouraged by some of the defensive stops the defense was getting)
“I was encouraged, that was kind of my point a little bit, you give up that many points there are some things that you like. You don’t like – they almost had 400 yards and we talked about Greg Olsen and Benjamin and things like that, but I thought we did do some good things. There are a lot of plays that we would like to have back yesterday, but considering some of the guys we had out we did a decent job.”
 
(On how finishing last in the division is sitting with him)
“It’s not a position that we want to have right now, but that’s how I look at it a little bit. In the short term it’s not going to sit well, we’ve got all year to be in that basement, but these aren’t lifetime positions that you have to keep and that’s how we’re looking at it. We won’t be down here forever and that’s why it’s going to make it that much more fun when we do make that rise and with some of the players that I’m talking about right now, our future is bright. Right now we’ll just have to take it down there and see if there are some benefits from being down there.”
 
(On if losing the close games will help the team win in the future)
“I think it helps going forward. It’s not like we’ve just been so far out of most of the games – it has been close. I think our team can see the potential in how close we are and to see how quick we can turn it around if we just take care of a few things. In the same sense though, it’s a fine line between winning and losing and you have to figure out a way to get over that hump and in time next year we’ll do that.”
 
TACKLE DEMAR DOTSON
 
(On playing his first game at the left tackle position)
“It was a little different and a little awkward; my balance felt off a little bit because I was so used to being the at the right [tackle position], but it’s nothing I can’t work at and, in due time – like I said, I’m going to put in the work and I’m going to get better at it and that’s without a question.”
 
(On if he is open to change of positions)
“No doubt, I don’t make those decisions, but if they ask me to then you best believe that I’m going to put 100 percent effort in to being the best left tackle I can be.”
 
(On having to change footwork with the move)
“The footwork is a whole lot different and it takes a lot getting used to. I’m so used to doing stuff on the right side and now I have to flip all that stuff over in my mind and a lot of the things I knew was coming, but I was slow reacting with my feet. It’s just about continuing to work and I’ll get out here next week and just work hard every day in practice, take every rep and go hard every rep. I can’t take any plays off and I need to keep constantly getting better every day.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On if he wanted to come back into the game after his injury yesterday)
“Of course you want to finish the game with your guys, but you have to look at the bigger picture and that’s my overall health. Not going to be any playoffs; we fought hard, but things didn’t go this season the way we wanted. So you’ve just got to look at the bigger picture and more long-term.”
 
(On if his injury will require any offseason surgery)
“No.”
 
(On if any of his teammates advised him to not come back into the game)
“Clinton [McDonald], Vincent Jackson, Lavonte [David] said, ‘Sit down.’ They said, ‘sit down.’ I’m a soldier, man. In order to – real soldiers – in order to make them stop, you’ve got to kill them, and I’ve kind of got that mentality, man. You’ve got to shoot me, you’ve got to kill me in order to keep me down.”
 
(On refusing to take a cart off the field after his injury)
“I wasn’t about to get carted off and give the thumbs up. That’s just – no. I can walk. If my leg didn’t come off, I’m getting up and walking off the field.”
 
(On if his injury to his knee last week contributed to this injury)
“I went through all the protocols of testing out the knee from the week before, and I was OK this week at practice, so I went out there. Passed all the protocol necessary to play, and it’s just – things happen, man. Made a bad cut, the grass gave out and there it is.”
 
(On not wanting to come out of the game)
“It’s hard to keep me off the field. I just love the game so much. Man, I love my teammates, I love my organization. As long as I’m able to go, I’m going. But I believe this is the best decision because it’s more [about] long-term. We have a lot of great – not good, great – ahead of us with this team and this organization. A big part of that will be my health, so I need to be healthy if we’re going to be successful.”
 
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