Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Linebacker Lavonte David
Center Joe Hawley
Defensive End George Johnson
Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
“You put an awful lot into being ready for the opening weekend, [to] play your best ball. You assume that you are ready to go. You have to get to that first game. In our cases we got to the first game and we weren’t as ready as I thought we would be. I’d say yes, disappointing loss. I can’t tell you in words how disappointed we all are. As I told the football team – of course we are watching video right now of it – it does count as one loss only. There are a lot of other teams that are disappointed with one week into the season. One disappointing game does not define our season. We won’t let it. This isn’t an old Buc team of the past. Our 2015 version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we are very disappointed in how we played for one game. Whenever you lose a home game it’s a big deal. Opening the season, we realize the magnitude of the loss. We have to keep in mind as we move forward, we can get it back. There is nothing like getting a road NFC South victory that can make us feel a lot better. From that game we had a few injuries – bumps and bruises. Some guys that kind of worked through things. I’ll go [over] the injury list Wednesday when we have to. Mike Evans, of course wasn’t able to go. He’s getting better. [I] don’t know his availability for this week, but we will be able to see it a little bit later on. Offensive side of the ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins played well. [It was] a coming out game for him. We talked a lot about his potential and what he can be in this league and got a sample of that yesterday. Doug Martin ran the ball well. [I] wish we could have been in situations where we could rely on that run a lot more. Ali Marpet did some good things, but we just didn’t play as well as we need to as a whole. Of course, Jameis [Winston] didn’t play [well]. He’ll play better than he did yesterday, just like the rest of our football team. Defensively we didn’t get a lot done. I know a lot of the focus goes to the quarterback and what happened there, but we didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to win by the way we played defensive football. We have to play a lot better.”
(On if the biggest surprise of the game was the play of the defense)
“Yes, we put an awful lot in the way we start and being ready to go right away. We defer, want them to go out. We get them backed up. [It’s] unfortunate that we got a penalty the first play of the game. That could have given us a little bit of life. We still had them in a third-and-long situation. We did some things that we wouldn’t normally do. We had breakdowns in our coverage on that. We let them out of the hole, followed up with another big play right after that. Those plays shouldn’t happen in those defenses that we had, but we didn’t execute them the right way.”
(On his view of the penalty called on safety Major Wright during the first play of the game)
“To me it’s pretty simple. The officials call it. We have to lower our target. As I told Major, [it’s] as simple as that. You lower your target, we get the same effect. Running backs would rather you hit them higher than down low. We have to lower our target and aim down there and that play can count.”
(On the first aspect he wants to assess after a game like this)
“Nowadays you have the video with you almost immediately. Where it starts [is] the start of the game. It doesn’t matter exactly [where] you start. I’m going to go through all three phases a few times to say the least. We were able to do that. We’ve seen the video. We’ve analyzed it, critiqued it every way you can and our players are doing the same thing now.”
(On if Tennessee offense was difficult to replicate during practice)
“Yes, some of the plays they ran, you don’t know for sure until you get into a game. They ran the football against us. Those were basic plays. A lot of two-back runs and they were able to run the ball well against us. Yes, we knew that. Some of the pop passes will frustrate you a little bit, but you can’t let them go the distance like Kendall Wright’s long one. That should be a minimum gain play and we get ready for the next play. Those are the kind of things that can’t and should not catch us off guard.”
(On the performances of cornerback Tim Jennings and D.J. Swearinger)
“As a football team nobody really played well. D.J., for [him] not to start but play, that’s telling you exactly what we think. We want play and we wanted to play as many guys as possible. Both of those guys will continue to play for it.”
(On if the team wasn’t ready)
“Not ready, I wouldn’t say not ready. We didn’t play well. Why not? There’s a lot of reason why [not]. Whether you want to call it ready or not, to be ready I think you do everything you that you think you need to do. Then you get to that game, you never for sure. It’s happened. That’s all I can say. You can feel like you are ready and stuff does happen sometimes and you just don’t play as well as you need to for one game. That’s where we are. We’re not going to make it anymore. It’s disappointment on a game. These are correctable things and we will [correct them].”
(On how much the early deficit affected the plan Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter had for quarterback Jameis Winston)
“It affected everything. Again, everybody has a say in us getting into that hole. I talked defensively – first out – we had an opportunity to get off the field right away. That could of put the offense in a lot better position. [It] didn’t happen. 7-0 our offense gets the ball, can go right back down [and] make it a 7-7 game and we throw the pick. From there, 14-0 five minutes into the game or whatever that puts you on your heels a little bit, but we were on our heels and we fought back – 21-7 with an opportunity. [The] fourth down play, of course, was a big one to miss. I felt like we needed to stay. They were moving the ball. We needed to match what they were doing at the time. It put us in a hole, but we had opportunities to get out.”
(On one thing the team needs to fix in order to be ready for New Orleans)
“As I talk about all three phases we had penalties too. Penalties hurt us. I would say just early on when you get into games like that, you need to be ready to go. When I say ready to go [I mean] in positions to make plays early on. We had those opportunities early on. [I] think it would be a different game and normally it will. The times we’ve had success we’ve come out early and it’s like with most teams. Then just critical situations – [we] need someone to make a couple plays. We rely on takeaways an awful lot around here. We could have used a few. Protecting the football, look at the two turnovers of course, [we] have to fix that and of course, we get a fourth down opportunity we need to do that too.”
(On the mentality to score even when the game is out of reach)
“It’s important. We just wanted to do some positive things. We got to the point where we were out of the game, but it’s not just about this game. It’s about building going forward. We are a young football team and we’re in situations like that. We just want to learn from them and have something positive happen from them. That’s what we are trying to do.”
(On Tennessee’s passing game and if they had success due to coverage breakdown)
“There were some breakdowns. We had a few breakdowns, but some of them, there were tight throws on his part too. You have to give him some of the credit. There weren’t a whole lot of just true breakdowns where we didn’t have anybody there. We were close and there are some things – it’s just not coverage. A lot of those, there is a small window. There should be somebody in the throwing lane. A lot of them were low passes that were being thrown. I’m just going to say it was a combination of both. In order for us to go forward we need to prove that up front. The linebackers were a part of it and the secondary too. We shouldn’t give up long runs. [If] there’s one disappointing play. It was their first touchdown. That shouldn’t happen. That gave them momentum that we shouldn’t of.”
(On if he needs to figure out ways to create more pressure)
“First off, when you say there is no pressure, where you normally get pressure is when you have them in favorable passing situations. On first and second down, when it is a run [or] pass situation, it’s hard to get a lot of pressure then. When there are play action fakes and the run, that’s what we were dealing with. When we got them in a true passing situation we had success. Stopping the run and having more success on first and second down, that’s what we needed to do. We’ll be able to do that in the future.”
(On what gives him the confidence that the team can fix things around quickly)
“If we would have been on the other side, we wouldn’t have been printing up Super Bowl tickets right now either. It’s just one game. The season isn’t made on it. There’s a lot of football left to go so you need to keep that in perspective. If everything was fine right now, maybe we’re feeling better right now, but I think it’s not all bad to have more of a sense of urgency early on in the football season. There are some things we need to get corrected. As we look at the video, these aren’t things that can’t be corrected. That’s when it would really be bad. That isn’t the case right now. I’ve made the statement that normally the biggest improvement you see with your football team – a lot of years – is between the first and second week. Hopefully that will be the case with us.”
(On the role the defense must play for this team to succeed)
“There’s no doubt, we didn’t show up defensively. We have to play a lot better defensively. As I talked about our model for winning football games, I’ve talked about us running the football on the offensive side first. We did a fairly decent job of running the football. We did not play the brand of defense we will play this year. Our defense has to play a lot better and it will. Once we do those two things, along with some of the other things we highlight, we should be okay.”
(On what was missing from the defense)
“[It was] a combination of all right now. On a day like today, after a game like that that you saw, yes, everything – coaching, scheme, execution, whatever else you want to say. That’s what we are going to go through until we can get that bad taste out of our mouth. We will get that bad taste out of our mouth. This week all of the above.”
(On what he liked about Winston’s play)
“I didn’t like anything about our team’s play. There’s not a whole lot that we liked and on a loss like that I don’t think really you should focus a whole lot on the good that we did here. We point them out – and there were a lot of good things – but not the time to talk about that right now. There will be other times when we do a lot of things right and we will concentrate on that then.”
(On if players and fans are looking at this loss as a continuation of last season)
“Not guys in the locker room and I should hope the fans don’t, because we are 0-1. That’s all it is is 0-1. We can’t go back. We can’t bring in the Super Bowl of 2002 or anything else. We are 0-1 and we are disappointed about how we played the first game. There’s no more than that. Number two is up.”
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
(On how tough it was to prepare for a spread offense that gets rid of the ball quickly)
“We just [have to] react better, just turn in and out of our breaks quicker. That’s the main thing. As you watch film, you see how stuff breaks down and you see small things that we could do better, then you just look at that and move forward.”
(On how hard it is to keep a positive mindset following that loss)
“Not hard at all. First game of the season didn’t turn out as we expected. Luckily, we got what – 15 more games left? So we look forward to that and now we get started for New Orleans, get ready for New Orleans. Division opponent, will be a tough, another hard-fought football game for us and [we are] ready to get up there and fight our butts off.”
(On defensive end George Johnson saying the Buccaneers weren’t physical enough on Sunday)
“I agree. I don’t think we were physical enough. I think we didn’t execute our defense better than they executed their offense. I think a fire wasn’t there. We kind of let that first play, that penalty, knock us off our momentum so we let that get to us. We’ve got to look past that and keep going.”
(On if the defense having the talent to make plays and impact games)
“Yeah, of course. We’ve got to have that mentality every time. Before the season we started out saying whenever we’re on the field it doesn’t matter – we’re on the field, we’ve got to get our ball back to the offense. We’ve got to have that mentality from here on out. We’ve got to do a better job of helping each other out on defense and playing together.”
CENTER JOE HAWLEY
(On whether his transition is made easier working under Tampa Bay Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter, who previously held the same position with Atlanta)
“I talked to him a little bit. He said it was pretty much the same stuff. Different terminology a little bit about blocking schemes and stuff, but, for the most part, after I get a little refresher course, I should be good to go.”
(On when he feels he will be able to play and if he feels his knee is fully recovered)
“Yeah, the knee is 100%. I should be ready to go just basically as soon as I can get the playbook down, which hopefully should be quick.”
(On joining Tampa Bay)
“I’m ready to move on and look forward to the next step in my life. I’m just excited that I’m able to play football again. Last week, being unemployed, it was kind of like, ‘Wow,’ that’s how quick it can be taken away from you. So I’m just excited to be here in the locker room, ready to play some football.”
(On what he can bring to the Tampa Bay offensive line)
“I’ve played a lot – I’ve played left guard, right guard, center, I’ve played against a lot of different guys, I’ve played a few years now. So I think experience is a big thing I could add to the room. [I’m] just trying to help this team in any way I can. I know they have a lot of young guys, so hopefully I’ll fit in really well and get to know them and can teach them a few things.”
(On staying in the NFC South and having familiarity with many of the teams he will face)
“That helps a lot. I’m excited I get to play Atlanta twice. But I know these guys. I have been playing against all these teams twice a year for the past five years, so it’s nice, and not too far from home.”
DEFENSIVE END GEORGE JOHNSON
(On why the defense struggled Sunday)
"We have to be more physical. They came in here and 'out-physicaled' us. They were willing to come in here and do whatever they had to do. We didn't have that same mindset and it kind of showed on the field and on the scoreboard."
(On if the problems were all about being less physical and not about scheme)
"Well, execution has a lot to do with it to, but to us we feel like we had to be physical. When we're physical, we can set the tone. When you're not physical, teams feel like they can run anything. We can't let anybody 'out-physical' us. We have to be the most physical team on the field."
(On how to achieve that goal by next Sunday)
"It starts with practice. When we get back on the field on Wednesday, it starts with our individual drills and then carries over to team. If we continue to take care of that, it's going to carry over into Sunday."
(On not getting the Titans into long third downs)
"When you're playing third-and-three, they have a lot of plays that they can run. They can go from pass to quick pass to deep pass. When they're getting three or four yards on first and second down, it's kind of hard to stop them on third down when they don't have far to go."
(On if it gets difficult to keep the mindset that Sunday's loss was just one game)
"It does because you get down, just because you see that scoreboard. But then again, look at the  Giants. They went into the playoffs as the underdogs, the six seed [actually the fifth] and they wound up winning the Super Bowl. You can never put yourself down and say, 'Okay, this is the one game.' This is not college where you're one-and-out. You have a lot of games to go and you've got playoffs, so just take this game, learn from it and get on to New Orleans."
(On if the defense feels like it has to drive the team)
"On the D-Line we always feel like we have to be the engine of this team. We feel like as we go the team should go. I think it all starts with our D-Line. If the D-Line picks it up, everybody else is going to pick it up around us."
TIGHT END AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS
(On if he was pleased with his performance despite being disappointed in the team's loss)
"Yeah, I played well, but I'm focused on getting better, the team getting better so we can go out and get a 'W.' That's the most important thing."
(On what they learned from film study today)
"We need to do better and we're going to work at that this week and we're going to be fine."
(On losing the opener)
"It's a long season and it was the first game. We have 15 more games to play, so that's the good thing."
(On if Arizona's tight end having success against New Orleans gives him incentive)
"My incentive is to win, and that's the most important thing to me. That's all I'm thinking about. I can't wait to watch the film and get ready."
(On if the players still have confidence in the team)
"I think we all have confidence in this team. Actually, I know we all have confidence in this team. It was just one game; we have 15 more games to go. Yeah, we all have confidence."
(On the offense still working hard to score after the game was out of hand)
"Regardless, whenever you're out there you're playing. You want to try to keep getting better. It wasn't perfect but we tried to continue to get better throughout the game. The score was the score, everyone saw it, we knew what it was, but that doesn't mean we can't go out there and continue to try to get better. I think that's all we were trying to do, and I thought we moved the ball well at times. I think we got better in some spots."
(On having a chemistry with Jameis Winston)
"The O-Line first of all had to hold up, too, those times. Jameis knew where to put the ball, I knew where to run, it was a great play call and we executed it. We did our jobs and that's what turns out."