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08 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, December 8, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans has 10 touchdown receptions this season, tied for the third-most in the NFL this season. His 10 touchdown catches are also tied for the second-most in a single season in franchise history and are the fourth-most by a rookie since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger.
Below is the transcript of Head Coach Lovie Smith’s earlier media availability:
(Opening statement)
“This week’s a little bit different for us. There’s no ‘Destination: Phoenix’ or anything like that. I know last week it was pretty much the same situation, but again, different mindset as far as all that being off the table. Now it’s about [a] three-game season for us, and a one-game season as far as playing better football against the defending champions in our division. Division team. A few of the weeks, when you lose that many games – I’ve talked an awful lot about, ‘We had chances to win,’ really, maybe even we should have won – we didn’t handle situations at the end and things like that, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. They were better than us from start to finish. We were close at times, but they had control of the game throughout. Offensively, we couldn’t get the run game going. Passing game, they pretty much shut us down. Defensively, we’ve been playing a lot better, but we didn’t yesterday. Those things happen sometimes. So that’s where we are. Had a few injuries: Lavonte David, of course, went down; Gerald [McCoy] went down for a period of time but came back in; trying to think of who else; Brandon Magee on IR. Then we have some players that weren’t able to go last week; hopefully we’ll get a couple of those guys back and go from there.”
(On the report that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy dislocated his kneecap in the game and came back in to play)
“There’s no truth to that. Gerald bruised his knee and stayed out a few plays and then went back in. We would not put Gerald McCoy back into the game – Gerald McCoy would not go back into the game if he could only play with one leg. So that’s not the case.”
(On the injury status of linebacker Lavonte David and if he will have to go through concussion evaluations this week)
“Yes, he will have to. Tough lick by him. For Gerald, Lavonte, and any of our players, if there’s anything that we need to do to protect our players, we’ll always do that. They will never get back out on the football field until we’re all 100 percent certain that it’s OK for them to come back out there. We won’t take any chances with them. We never have and we never will. Hopefully – yes, Lavonte has started that process and we’ll see how it goes throughout the week.”
(On where he stands in relation to the starting quarterback position)
“After Sunday, of course, not many things went our direction. Right now, we’re just evaluating the video, kind of going from there. Want to put the best product on the field, guys in the right spot, ones that give us the best opportunity to win, things we’ve been saying each week. That’s where we are.”
(On if the team will use these final three games to evaluate younger players on the roster)
“I said yesterday wasn’t the time [to answer that question]. Today really isn’t either. But I have made a statement on that. We’re going to do what gives us the best chance to win. If playing a player in a position that won’t hurt our football team to win the football game, we’ll always look at that. Haven’t made it that far. We haven’t even started looking at video from Carolina yet. But we won’t give up a game just to see – to put a player in a situation like that. And I would like to think that if there’s a young player that we haven’t played, and when you go through a 2-11 season, you would have looked at that option a little bit earlier. So I don’t think that we have a lot of those situations around.”
(On the overall performance of the younger, less-experienced players on the team this year)
“We have looked at – you mentioned Mike [Glennon] and Kevin [Pamphile] have gotten some time. But some of the players you mentioned, Orie Lemon has gotten quite a bit of time – now he’s one of our guys and we’re depending on him to make plays. And he made some good plays yesterday. We talked quite a bit about Danny Lansanah playing all the [linebacker] positions and even changing midstream; he was working at MIKE but had to move over to the WILL position. Dane Fletcher hasn’t played a lot but he had to [yesterday]. I think across the line, I don’t know how many guys have started every game for us – I know last week, you kind of hit me with that defensively. Feel like we played guys in a lot of different spots right now. Don’t think that there is a lot more guys that we need to look at it that way.”
(On what he saw from defensive tackle Akeem Spence and defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers yesterday with the injury to defensive tackle Clinton McDonald)
“Akeem Spence, we’ve seen him quite a bit. He’s been in the rotation throughout. So we knew what we were getting with him. Da’Quan Bowers has done a pretty good job though. Every time he’s gotten a – of course, he had a big game against the Steelers way back when – but the last couple of weeks, in a limited amount of play, he’s made some plays to make us take notice. Kind of like what we’ve seen a little bit from him.”
(On how linebacker Danny Lansanah played at the linebacker position)
“[He played] OK. I’ll just say this, it’s hard – contrary to public opinion – you can’t just move anywhere in our system and it’s real easy to pick up; that’s not the case. Linebacker-wise, the position has as much responsibility and it’s hard when you move. All three linebacker positions are different. Again, Derrick Brooks played the same exact position his entire career, Hardy Nickerson did, it’s hard doing that [changing positions] and for a guy to have to do that at all three positions is pretty much – almost series-to-series a little bit – it’s just unheard of. Looking at it that way, Danny has done a good job, but by doing that there are a couple of plays that we would like to have back and that really kind of cost us a little bit.”
(On where Lansanah fits in the linebacker corps long-term)
“He won’t be our WILL linebacker, from there I think his talents are suited probably better at the MIKE or the SAM linebacker position and he’s had success at both of those. Again, we’ll find out more these next three weeks, like we found out more about him each week he’s played. I’ll just say he’s a player that’s a part of the foundation we’re building.”
(On splitting the running back carries)
“Just talking about the running game in general yesterday, that’s a pretty good defense that plays the run well. We got a nine-yard run, but we never felt like we were in control of the football against them. We did play Charles [Sims], but that was the type of game we were in. We felt like his talents suited what we were doing at the time a little bit better, but it’s no more than that.”
(On why the offense didn’t stick with the running game)
“I think it all depends on what you’re getting. There’s something to be said about [showing commitment to the running game], but Detroit had a lead and they were able to put rushing yards on at the end of the game when they had full control of the game. Detroit got back in the game passing the football and that’s why we lost the game against them, if you just look at run-pass versus Detroit based on what they did in the passing game. We want to stay with it, but you have to do what you think you have the best chance of being successful with and, of course, yesterday I don’t think we’re successful doing either.”
(On watching quarterback Josh McCown taking hits)
“It’s tough. It was tough watching a few things yesterday, that’s a part of it. You try to limit the amount and a couple of those hits Josh needs to get down on to try and protect himself a little bit more, but our quarterback got hit too many times yesterday, yes.”
(On what he would’ve said when he got hired if he was told the team would be 2-11)
“I wouldn’t have said much about it, like right now. Life takes you on different turns, but they’re temporary from what I’ve found. This bad taste in our mouth will be there a little bit longer, but it will eventually get out of our mouth. As I came back here in January, there’s a reason why I came here knowing that normally you have to crawl before you walk, you have to go through some adversity and we’ve gotten that part out of the way, now I’m anxious to take that next step. Eventually the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win a whole lot of football games around here and I guess it’s just a part of the process you have to go through.”
(On telling the team after the game that they were not a good football team)
“There was no intent; I’ve been real with our football team throughout. The weeks when we just didn’t handle the situation well, I let them know that. I’ve been real throughout, but at 2-11 if I would have told them otherwise – what I’ve told our football team is that I like our football team and eventually we’ll be good, but right now we’re not. 2-11 says that, there’s no other way to put it, if we don’t like it, we’ll do something about it. We have an opportunity to at least get that 2-11 to 5-11 and we’ll feel better about it or maybe even just 3-11 and we’ll feel better about it, but at that moment I said the same thing over again and I told them that again. That’s what we’re all saying right now, we’re being real.”
(On being able to have tight Austin Seferian-Jenkins back for the last three games)
“I think we’ve got a good evaluation of him. We’ve wanted him to get back in games, but injuries are a part of it, he’ll get back, he’s been working as hard as you possibly can – all of our players have. I’m talking about injured players that have been doing everything they can to get back on the football field. Yes, we want to see him, he’s our tight end of the future, and I can say that about a few positions. We would’ve liked to lock everybody in and gotten good work with them at their position and it just hasn’t worked that way for us this year, but eventually he’ll help us win a lot of games.”

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