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07 December 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 7, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: This season, Buccaneers RBs Doug Martin and Charles Sims have combined for 2,065 yards from scrimmage, the most by a pair of running backs in the NFL this season.
                                                         
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Going into the fourth quarter of the season, we are in a position we would like to be. Of course we would like to be up a little bit higher, but we’re right in the mix as much as anything, is what I’m trying to say, which is exciting. Got to play this season to get in position to make a run, I think we have. Exciting game for us yesterday, guys played hard and found a way for us to win in the end. The last two games we’ve played at home have been exciting games like that. It’s taken offense and defense to pull-off the games. Had a few injuries from yesterday’s games, but not any more than what we’ve had in the past, so can’t really complain about an awful lot right now.”
 
(On linebacker Kwon Alexander is possible four-game suspension)
“Nothing has changed officially from the last time I talked about Kwon. That’s what I know. Nothing officially has changed. Once it does, then we’ll talk about it.”
 
(On who would play middle linebacker if Alexander was unable to) 
“If Kwon Alexander was injured and couldn’t play we have Bruce Carter, we have Danny Lansanah, our two players right now that have both played that position. We try to have a back-up plan for every position on our team if injury or whatever causes a player not to be able to play.”
 
(On young players stepping in for injured veterans on defense)
“First off, it has to be that mentality of guys go down for whatever reason throughout the course [of a season] and you’re constantly developing your full roster – not just the one you start with or your starters early on – and the guys you keep have to have potential to play for you someday and that’s the case for them. Talking defensive line, Joe Cullen and Paul [Spicer] have both done a great job of developing players but [the players] have been waiting for these opportunities and yesterday they stepped up. Will Gholston, of course, has been around a while and he played well again yesterday. Henry Melton. Those are two guys that have given us good, solid play throughout the season. Getting Akeem Spence back. Howard Jones, Kourtnei Brown – some of those guys – Josh Shirley, answered the bell yesterday.”
 
(On if it is difficult for a young quarterback to gain the respect of veterans as quickly as Jameis Winston has)
“I think if you deserve respect as a young player a veteran will give it to you. They don’t go on what you come in saying. They watch closely and when you are on the football team you’ve been around each other for such a long period of time seeing guys in every imaginable situation. It does say a lot for a player like [Gosder Cherilus], for Demar Dotson, of course Logan Mankins. These are real men and Jameis has gotten a lot of compliments, but coming from these guys it really is a compliment.”
 
(On if Winston’s passion is contagious)
“I think all of our guys play with passion and that’s good, but I think they are following Jameis [Winston] because he’s a good football player and he’s making plays. They’ll follow you and especially if it’s in that leadership role like the quarterback is. Yes, they will follow you and as a quarterback they’ll do what you ask them to do. They want to protect you as much as anything.”
 
(On wide receiver Donteea Dye returning kickoffs in the second half over Booby Rainey)
“Bobby is our returner. Doug Martin carries the ball most of the time, but Charles Sims does too. You can have more than one guy. We thought we could get something with Donteea back there for a certain look that we wanted on that. I like what Donteea was able to do on just not back there as a returner, but on the special teams in general. That’s one of the reasons why we had him up yesterday. He did a good job.”
 
(On who would call the defensive plays on the field if Alexander was unable to play and how would it change the speed of the defense)
“There’s reason why we have Kwon Alexander as our starter. But Gerald McCoy didn’t play yesterday and the defense held up. You have to be able to play good football based on who you have. We feel like if Kwon can’t go, both [Danny Lansanah and Bruce Carter] can step up. We’re not going to change up duties or anything like that. The person that moves into that role will call defensive signals if that would come up.”
 
(On if Demar Dotson will be the starting right tackle moving forward)
“He was our right tackle yesterday. We talk about moving forward – I saw you about two hours ago and haven’t really seen the players yet, but we like what Demar Dotson did yesterday. We like what [Gosder Cherilus] did before that. What I see is we have different players move into starting roles and playing for us giving more options, making us a lot deeper. Again, I like what Demar did coming back. I can say the same thing for Austin Seferian-Jenkins getting some plays in yesterday. He took a hit right away, bounced right up. It’s good to get those guys back into the mix.”
 
(On if his best players have to play better when the team is short-handed due to injuries)
“That and just as you advance down you schedule each week ,yes, we’re looking for the Jameis Winstons, the Doug Martins, the Lavonte Davids, to step up and make bigger plays each week. That’s the standard, that’s what they expect to do down the stretch and Lavonte did step up. He stepped up quite a bit throughout this year. That play yesterday, we were really excited about our offense scoring, but [Atlanta] had a timeout and plenty of time. We had to get them stopped and, yes, special players step up in those situations.”
 
(On cornerback Johnthan Banks)
“He did a good job. For Johnthan, just think about what we’ve asked him to do. Your roles change throughout [the season]. We’ve had a lot of different starting combinations and the roles have changed for a lot of our players, but they’ve accepted it. Yesterday, boom, a change where Jude [Adjei-Barimah] went down and we needed [Banks] to step up and he jumped right in there like you would expect him to do.”
 
(On if cornerback Sterling Moore’s man-coverage ability is allowing the defense to have more options)
“I think it’s that and I think it’s just overall play. He’s a smart player, he’s in position, whether it be man, zone, pressing off, stripping the ball as he did a couple week ago. I think we’ve just gotten good play out of Sterling Moore since we’ve moved him to the starting lineup. Again, if you continue to do things right you’ll eventually get an opportunity and then it’s up to you to take advantage of it. He has that. We matched him up with Dez Bryant a few weeks ago, of course with Julio [Jones] yesterday and he’s meeting the challenge.”
 
(On Winston’s on-field growth)
“Yes, that’s definitely maybe the final thing you would like to see from a young quarterback. It is how you finish up the game as a quarterback in general and eventually you recognize the quarterback based on what they do at the end of the football game. He’s on record now and it’s just not throwing – decision making of course and if you need to run the football. He’s done it all. Then just his presence on the sideline for the defense, ‘Hey, get us the ball back. Get us the ball back we’re going to score.’ And it gives everybody on the sideline hope that we can pull it out. Sixty minutes, whatever it’ll to take, we can pull it out now. That’s what I saw on the sideline, we were down, but we are going to win this football game.”
 
(On the feeling among the staff after watching Winston’s 20-yard run at the end of the fourth quarter)
“We’ve seen it a few times, just like everybody else. That’s what you expect. He wasn’t down. He played through until the whistle blew, that’s what we teach and that’s what we saw out there form him. Again, that’s what we saw.”
 
(On if defensive players recovering from injuries such as Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith are expected back sooner rather than later)
“Yes, I do. That’s why for the guys filling in now, again, your role changes. ‘Now we need you to do this until the Geralds and [Jacquies] Smiths come back.’ They’re not out with season-ending injuries or anything like that. In the meantime though, you are putting on a Tampa Bay uniform and there’s a certain type of play that we need to get. Howard Jones, we still need to get back there and sack the quarterback. Will Gholston, you might have to sack the quarterback a few more times than what you normally do. Guys realize that.”
 
(On if that was the most thrilling victory he’s had since becoming Tampa Bay’s head coach and what it meant to the fans)
“Every victory has been pretty special. It was the last one, so of course that’s the one that’s vivid right now. I know what it means to our fans. I heard them this morning – early in the morning when you were sleeping I was coming in earlier – at the bus stop three people standing there, two with their Bucs jerseys on. That feels good. MaryAnne and I stopped by Culver’s to eat, you know a high-priced date going back to Culver’s to eat. Fans really excited, letting us know about their football team. Didn’t really have to see that. I saw it in the stadium yesterday. I don’t know exactly how many fans were there, a lot, but I know at the end that was old Raymond James stadium at the end, after we scored – the excitement there. Then the crowd knowing we needed them to be as loud as possible when Atlanta took the field. Our fans have done their job for a long period of time – the two years we’ve been here. We’re just starting to step up to the plate now and it’s good to see.”
 
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