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28 December 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 28, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Against Chicago, RB Charles Sims recorded 117 yards from scrimmage (45 rushing, 72 receiving), bringing his season total to 1,001 yards from scrimmage. Sims combines with RB Doug Martin (1,565 yards from scrimmage) as the only pair of running backs in the NFL to each top 1,000 yards from scrimmage. It is only the second time a pair of running backs have done so in franchise history (also 1999, Mike Alstott & Warrick Dunn).
                                                                         
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“After looking at the video a lot more – you go back to the turnover ratio, I think we were minus three. Those two fumbles really hurt a lot, the interception down in the red zone really hurt a lot. Defensive side of the football, the one interception we did get was called back. Kind of summed up the game right there. There were a lot of things in between. Offensively, there were some dropped balls, we didn’t connect on some favorable match-ups we had in the passing game. We really couldn’t get our running game going the way we wanted to. On the other side of the ball, defensively, not being able to stop the run, especially late when we needed to get the ball back really hurt us a lot. Special teams-wise, got us off to that fast start that we talked about, blocking the punt and getting seven points out of it. Again, that sequence where we intercepted the ball and the penalty called it back – we couldn’t recover from that. It’s disappointing, to say the least. We know what’s happened the last three games, but we have one more opportunity as much as anything. We wanted to finish up the right way at home and that didn’t happen, but we get a chance to finish up the season the right way against, arguably, one of the best teams in football right now. As I said last week, a division opponent that we eventually need to find a way to beat. That’s kind of where we are. We didn’t have a lot of injuries from the game.”
 
(On the decline in offensive production, especially in the first half)
“We just haven’t been able to finish, as much as anything. We’ve moved the ball, as you mentioned, running. We’ve had our moments in the passing game, but, like the interception in the red zone yesterday, we haven’t been able to finish drives. I think if you look at the last three games that would be the story of what has happened to us offensively.”
 
(On how much of the offense’s struggles are the quarterback’s responsibility)
“It’s on all [of us]. Of course it’s on the quarterback, but I think everyone has joined in and had opportunities that could get us out of that hole and had an opportunity to make a play down in the red zone. Of course it always starts there, but it’s a lot more than that.”
 
(On how Chicago was able to run the ball effectively and Tampa Bay’s run defense)
“It has been a strong area, so as far as what we didn’t do; didn’t get off blocks, we had a couple that broke out that we didn’t play it right, normally that’s the case. We haven’t given up a lot of big explosive plays in the running game, had a couple more – quarterback scramble one time, they caught us in a blitz. That happens from time to time, but it was some of the seven-yard gains where we were in situations where we should be able to knock out the run. It’s not like it was a two-back power running game going after us. That wasn’t the case. Again, we haven’t played that way against the run. We’ve had disappointments defensively this year in the passing game, but not in the running game, especially late.”
 
(On why opposing quarterbacks’ completion ratings have been so high this season)
“First off, the completion rating can be misleading. You have to look at the context of how it’s happening. I don’t really go by that an awful lot. You can dump the ball off and get a one-yard gain and there’s a completion so I don’t put a lot into that. What’s discouraging to us right now is we haven’t gotten the type of pressure that we need. We haven’t intercepted the ball enough and some of the long passes that we’ve given up – those are the areas that I and that we look to as far as if we are playing the pass good enough or not.”
(On if the pass rush is still an area where he would like to see improvement)
“Yeah, we played a lot of games this year and there are certain areas we’re just not there yet. It’s as simple as that. Coach it up, play hard and all those things, we’re not a finished product right now. We’ve made a lot of strides, but there are some areas that we need to improve. It’s as simple as that. Eventually it’s come down to a situation where you have to be able to cover man-to-man and you have to be able to rush and win one-on-one battles. We haven’t won enough of those, period.”
 
(On why this defense has been unable to execute the scheme as well as his past defenses have)
“It’s not a finished product. When I say it’s not a finished product, the way you get a finished product is, first off, you have to have the type of player that you are looking for in every position. We’re not there yet. When I talk about not being able to rush one-on-one and beat someone or cover, it’s that. You can’t put that with all the other defenses we’ve had. It’s just not as simple as that. You continue to build and you strengthen some positions and we need to strengthen more. After 15 weeks that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.”
 
(On if cornerback is one of the positions the team needs to strengthen)
“I think you guys have been watching our games, too. Without going into detail on exactly what we need to do, we still need to improve a lot of areas.”
 
(On safety Keith Tandy’s performance against Chicago)
“I think Keith came in and did a good job, started off strong with a big tackle. Keith has been a guy that when you need him at different areas, whether it be nickel or either one of the safety positions, he’s come in and had pretty good play. He’d like to have a couple tackles back from yesterday, but [he’s] a valuable part. I think he’s played his role fairly well on what we’ve asked him to do.”
 
(On cornerback Johnthan Banks)
“We didn’t play well enough yesterday, so I’m going to say that about everybody. I can’t [stand] up here and tell you, ‘Hey, this guy played well.’ I definitely didn’t do my best coaching job and most of our football team, we didn’t do our best. That wasn’t our best job we’ve done for the season, so it’s hard to say who did well.”
 
(On how momentum or lack thereof at the end of the year can affect next season)
“I’m saying the same thing right now. We have our core here. I think yes, we can put something into this last game. It’s an important football game for us and if we don’t play well, that’s leaving a bad taste in our mouth. I think as we leave, you’re going to remember the last thing that happened. I said that last week, I’m saying that again this week. We play one of the best football teams in football right now and we get one more chance to make a lot of these things look a lot better than they do right now. But it’s a bottom-line business, we realize that. Our football team has made progress this year. We have a better record, but we have an opportunity to add to that this week and that’s why this is our playoff game, all the words you want to use. This is it for us and we’re looking at it that way.”
 
(On improving the record from last year, but having missed opportunities for more wins)
“I’m looking at it from a positive approach, yes. I can probably add a few more to that that we had a great opportunity to [win]. I think when you’re a young football team, too, it doesn’t happen right away. You keep building, there are a lot of not necessarily rookie, but young-team mistakes that we’ve made. We haven’t handled situations as well as some more veteran teams will have, but that’s a part of it, too. As we go forward, yes, there is a lot to build on, but I’m going to go back. We’re building, we’re not quite there yet. That’s what our record says. When you’re 6-9 it says you’ve made progress. You’re not there yet, but you see signs and that’s where we are.”
 
(On having one takeaway in the last five games)
“Yes, one that counts, so I’m going to throw those in there. We have come up with a couple, but you just look at whether you are able to get it or not and whether a penalty on the other side has something to do with it. That’s all you can continue to do. You go through spells like this is all I can say. We’re stressing it, we’re not stressing it enough. We’re preaching it, we’re not preaching it enough and we’re not executing it enough. There will be a time when we will see better results from it. It’s just like everything else we’re doing. We’re not a finished product. Just because we preach it and we talk about it an awful lot doesn’t mean it just happens automatically or everyone would be doing it. It takes times with that, too. That’s how I would answer that.”
 
(On if it’s hard to get a team motivated to play if it is out of the playoffs and facing a team that has something to play for)
“No, I don’t think so at all. I think when you’re competing it’s about pride. I think it would have been a little bit of a downer if [Carolina wasn’t] playing to win and to play with their best players out there and all that. We want to see what we can do against one of the best in the league. Right now with where we are I think that’s the only way to get that bad taste out of your mouth, to play well, similarly to how Atlanta played this past week. They had some disappointment and they played well, so they’re feeling pretty good about where they are right now and we have an opportunity to do that this week. I think it’s great that they are playing all of their guys. As far as checking out, no, when guys sign up they sign up for a full season, period. That will not be the case with our football team.”
 
(On what a win against Carolina in the last game of the season would do for the franchise)
“I think for the last couple of weeks, as you’ve heard everything that I’ve said, I’ve talked about how important this is. Now we’re down to one opportunity, period, to see what we’ll look like in the future. Even though the roster does change quite a bit, the core remains the same and it is big. I’m going based on experience. I think for every football player that we have, they want to play their best their last opportunity [they] get, period.”
 
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