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20 October 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, October 20, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith is 6-3 following a bye week, including winning six of the past seven games he has coached.
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Tackle Demar Dotson
Defensive End Michael Johnson
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(Opening statement)
“It’s good to take a little bit of time off and those days I think helped our ball club. At the same time, it’s good to get back on the practice field. We realize what’s at stake and what’s in front of us. We know who we play next and as I told the team today, it’s always about the next opponent only, but that’s the position we’re in. [Minnesota] is a good football team, they’re going to challenge us in different ways, they’re committed to running the football, Teddy Bridgewater is playing good ball for a rookie and we know what they have on the other side of the ball, they rush the passer well. They’re in a similar situation as us, probably a little disappointed in where their season is so far, but probably just like us, they’re not looking behind, they’re looking forward and knowing how important this football game is for us, the days off helped us heal up even more. By Wednesday, we should have most of our players on the practice field getting ready for this push.”
(On quarterback Josh McCown’s status for this week’s game)
“He was ready to practice and get some reps in today. He’s making progress.”
(On his plans for the quarterback position for Sunday’s game)
“Wednesday I can talk a little bit more. Monday is kind of an extra day. As we’ve talked about the first game of the season, after Monday practices I’m not going to talk about injuries. That part hasn’t changed, but Wednesday we’ll talk a little bit more.”
(On having a chance to win the NFC South division)
“What our record is – I watched all of the games this week, I know what happened in our division, I realize how many games we’re out of first place, we’re in it as much as anyone with our record. That’s what we’re focusing on. Again, there’s life when you take a little bit of time off to not play a game and end up in a better position than when we started the Sunday, we’re in a lot better of a position now. We’re excited about that.”
(On how he spent his bye weekend)
“Football. You say just in general? Football. Time off? Football. What else? Football kind of consumes you this time of the year. You can assume [I came to the team facility], most coaches are working though. We’re working like everybody else is. It’s been said what our record is, that tells you what we did for the most part, but our guys got away a little bit. I think you can always gain something from watching a football game. I watched Mike Phair’s son play high school football at Land O’ Lakes Friday night, Saturday I watched a lot of college games and Sunday I was in front of a TV like you.”
(On how important it is to score more points in the first half)
“It’s very important for us to start fast and I’m looking for ways to do that. It’s about points and it’s as simple as that. However you get them – special teams, offense and defensively scoring points, taking the ball away. Going back over how we’re going to win football games with our football team, it’s about that turnover ratio, but again, the win is determined by how many points you put up on the scoreboard, it’s as simple as that.”
(On how he will determine who will start at the quarterback position)
“I think all decisions are pretty easy in the end. Guys tell you exactly what you need to do, who needs to start, who needs to play, there aren’t any tough decisions in the end as I see it. I can’t wait until we get to the point where I can come in here and I can talk to you about both of our guys being healthy and ready to go. The rest of the stuff will take care of itself.”
(On the team parting ways with Director of Player Engagement Isaiah Harris)
“Disappointing personally and in my role as the head football coach, disappointing. People make mistakes, there are consequences for all of the mistakes we make, and unfortunately the consequences were pretty harsh for Isaiah. He did a lot for our organization, but I think it’s out there in the direction that we’ve gone and we’re going in a different direction now.”
(On how the team’s mentality has to change for the rest of the season)
“I think it’s fairly obvious where we are right now and again, what our record is and the direction we’re heading and where we want to go, I think you can put that together. As I talked with our football team, it’s not like it was some foreign language I was talking to them in, everyone got what I was talking about. They know what we need to do, but the talking part, we need to do less of that and it’s what we do out on the football field one day at a time, one play at a time, that’s the message. If there’s a message, one good play at a time and it’s as simple as that.”
(On what he learned after self-scouting the team during the bye week)
“It is good to go back and look at some of the things you did early well, some of the success we had early and we did do that, but we also did some of the things that we didn’t do as well. It was just a full critique of what we’ve been doing and then the things you really like, we’re concentrating on what we did to get it that way. That’s what you do when you have a chance to take a break, you analyze all of that and you get your plan together going forward. We feel comfortable with our plan going forward and how we’re going to turn this around.”
(On a report that the team was contacted about acquiring wide receiver Percy Harvin from Seattle this past weekend)
“Kind of one blanket statement: as I’ve said to you, we’re always trying to improve our ball club. Teams in the NFL talk each week pretty much. You’re always talking about different guys. So if there’s a player that’s available, we look at him. Was there a player that was available? No. We’re not looking at players from some other football team. I wouldn’t put too much into ‘sources says,’ unless they can say, ‘Hey, I talked with Jason [Licht], I talked with Lovie, and they said this.’ I haven’t been looking at a whole lot of news, but I didn’t see that. We like our football team that we’re going with, that we have here right now. We’re not trying to shop any of our players, to answer any questions out there. And it’s people – if they call about some of their players, we take all calls. We don’t [say], ‘Oh, this area code? We’re not going to take this call.’ We don’t do that. We listen to what everybody has to say, and we go from there. You see who’s on our roster today. I would just kind of go with that.”
(On if he made any strategic or schematic changes to the team over the bye week)
“Not necessarily – it could be schematically also. I say each week, we tweak what we do a little bit. But as far as wholesale changes – I made a statement: wholesale changes, we’re not doing. We’re not going to change our overall scheme [or] anything like that. You should expect to see some new things, different things in what we’ve done. I would like to think that every game, you’ve seen some different things that we’ve done throughout. That’s just a revolving door really with that.”
(On how quarterback Josh McCown looked today in practice)
“Threw it fairly well today. For that hour-and-a-half that I was out there at practice, he threw the ball fairly well. We’re encouraged, as I said earlier, about his progress.”
(On if he is surprised that the team ranks last in defense in the league)
“Disappointed, I would say by that. Very disappointed. If it was the end of the year, I would really be surprised and disappointed. But it’s not. So for our football team, that’s on our record right now: bad defensive stats. But we get a chance to do something about it, and what we’re going to do – since we get to decide what we put – we’re going to keep our stats from here on. I’m anxious to see what we do starting this week and those stats. Because right now, no matter what we’ve done, we’re – as we talked about – two games out of it. And if we play good defense from here on out, and we take the ball away, and we’re good on third downs, and we score and some of those things we talked about early on what we wanted to be, we can still be that. So, disappointed? Yes. Don’t like where we are, but I’m confident we can change that.”
(On how much the team can rely on defensive end Michael Johnson to help divulge information about his former defensive coordinator and current Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s knowledge of the personnel)
“I think it all helps. But it’s all on video too. You’re right, [Michael Johnson] knows quite a bit about Zimmer and some of the defensive guys and what they did. But it’s about – you don’t know until the ball is snapped what they’re going to do. So that helps a little bit. Leslie knows quite a bit about their personnel there, but not what they’re actually doing right now. But I’ll say every week, there’s some type of connection that you have that can help you or maybe hurt you if you spend too much time in trying to guess what they’re going to do. There are one hundred percent keys that you go with that tell you how to react on every play. We’re going to choose to go more on that than anything else. Again, we know what type of football team they are and we’ve got a chance – we have six good football games on them right now that tells us what they’re going to do.”
(On Minnesota’s defensive line and the play of defensive end Everson Griffen)
“Well you threw out his name so that’s a little bit – seven sacks, and he has a couple of zeroes with his contract. Their other defensive end [Brian] Robinson has the same thing. They have a top pick inside. So they’re, to some people I’ll say – but to us, I mean that’s a pretty good defensive front. It’s not surprising that they have so many sacks. It’s not like they’re doing a whole lot of blitzes. They’re winning the one-on-one battles, getting pressure with the four-man rush. [Linebacker Chad] Greenway has missed a couple games – coming back, of course, lately has helped.”
(On how difficult it is to get each to player to focus on just doing their job)
“I think you just keep talking about it. And I think if you’ve been in sports long enough and you’ve been playing ball long enough, you see how important every play is. If you’ve been in sports long enough, [you] know that you have to just keep looking at that guy in the mirror, the man in the mirror, and getting ‘me’ right and just concentrating on all those little details, and you just keep pounding it. It’s just like everything else: you want to get it into a situation where it becomes a habit that you’re doing something right consistently. And the only way I’ve seemed to do it is just keep going over it and over it again. And that’s what we do. As coaches and as players, we just keep trying to perfect that craft over and over, and it takes time. For us right now, again, we’re not satisfied with where we are. But I think if you just keep pounding, eventually though, you do get over that hump and you don’t know when it’s going to happen. Sometimes it takes going away, sometimes it takes getting embarrassed a few times, and then going away and seeing things become a lot clearer, and boom: you show up at Raymond James [Stadium] after a great week of practice and you look like a football team.”
(On if this game on Sunday is an opportunity to move up in the NFC South division standings)
“It is. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. It’s a brand new start. We keep saying that, but this is an opportunity. Because as bad of a start that we had, we’re still in it. That’s a good thing right there.”
(On how crucial it is for the offensive line to know their protections given Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer’s tendency to drop defensive ends back into coverage)
“It is. I think that the O-line coach in this game will be real critical of knowing our assignments. We can’t have any missed assignments and allow things that hurt us in the past. We can’t let those missed assignments hurt us because Zimmer, he’s a guy that just throws it at you – he’s a tough coach.”
(On how he spent his bye week)
“Pretty good. I got to go back to Atlanta and visit with my son and family. It was fun.”
(On the team’s focus after the bye week)
“Just take a deep exhale and let all that go. [We’ll] come back in refocused and fresh and just take it one day at a time.”
(On playing up to his expectations on this defense)
“Like I said last week, it’s part of the game and you’ve just got to deal with it and stay positive and keep rolling and believe it will get better, and that’s what I’m doing.”
(On if anything has changed following the bye week)
“Just the energy. [We] won’t really be able to tell until practice gets going. I will say this though: we just had – granted, a lot of people don’t think it makes a big difference, but it does – we just had the best walkthrough we’ve had since camp started. The communication, guys actually in place, pad level in a walkthrough, things that make a difference that you can carry over to practice. It was actually really good by everybody.”
(On how he spent his bye week)
“Rest. Mentally and physically. We got to sit back and see what else is going on throughout the league. OU lost – that wasn’t good. Just got to sit back and reflect a little bit. I think people got to see what we’re really missing.”
(On if he is surprised at the level of play of the defense so far this season)
“Yeah, of course I’m shocked. You don’t go into a season expecting to be last, and then when it happens, it’s like, ‘Dang.’ But we definitely still have what it takes. Just look across the board who’s on our defense. Just got to get guys in the right place. Like I said, there’s a mentality you’ve got to have. Things don’t always start out as planned. I think people are failing to realize the first year that – I believe four Hall of Famers were on this defense [and] they started out 0-6.”
(On the team’s mindset heading into Week 8 against Minnesota)
“It’s a one game at a time mentality. We can’t play Minnesota today. We’ve got an off day tomorrow. We can take advantage of the opportunity we have today at practice. That horn will blow at 1:30 [for practice] and we’ve got to go from there. When the horn blows and practice is over, we’ll be in meetings after – take advantage of the opportunity. And then when we get off the field, get your body right. Tomorrow, rest – get off your feet. We just came off a bye week. I’m sure people went to see their families or did something. Now that we’re back to business, tomorrow, get off your feet, come back ready Wednesday.”

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