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28 September 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, September 28, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: After catching seven passes for 101 yards at Houston (9/27), WR Mike Evans now has four 100-yard receiving games in his first two seasons, tied for the fifth-most such games by a Buccaneers player in their first two seasons with the team (Vincent Jackson, 9 from 2012-13; Antonio Bryant, 7 from 2008-09; Keyshawn Johnson, 6 from 2000-01, Keenan McCardell, 5 from 2002-03; Joey Galloway, 4 from 2004-05; Kevin House, 4 from 1980-81).
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Linebacker Lavonte David
(Opening Statement)
“Just like yesterday, nothing has changed an awful lot about the disappointment when you have so many opportunities to have a different outcome in so many areas. Our ball club is getting better, though. I know the record isn’t showing that right now, but that is going to change. Talking about yesterday though, offensively, the offensive line played well and it was a good front we were playing against. The offensive line played well. [They] gave us an opportunity to do some things, especially throw the football. We had too many dropped balls, simple as that. Jameis [Winston] would like to have a couple of throws back. I thought he did a pretty good job, as a rookie quarterback growing and growing. Defensively, I talked about not being able to stop the run yesterday. That’s the same after we watched the video a few different times. Special teams, we realize we didn’t get it done, especially with the field goals. Kyle [Brindza] is a good kicker. He’s a good kicker that had an off day yesterday. We had a few injuries in the game. Of course, [I] won’t go in detail about them right now, but had a few injuries in the game. We’ve got to get that right. As disappointed as we were yesterday, we realize what’s at stake this week. We are going to talk today about yesterday’s loss and then we’re going to move on to Carolina as soon as we can. We are 1-0 in the division, looking on the bright side. [We] have an opportunity to get two wins in the division, get that first home win in a long time.”
(On if the loss was because of fundamental problems)
“We didn’t play our best ball – fundamentals, not being able to make the play. Whenever something doesn’t go the way you want it to go it’s about the fundamentals, some of the basic things you need to do to have success in a play. Yes, that was the case.”
(On getting the right personnel on and off the field)
“When you try to match up sometimes and have the ideal setup for what they have, it doesn’t work the way you would like for it to do sometimes. In particular, we substitute – of course, they go three receivers – we try to match up with an extra defensive back, take out a linebacker. When a team, in short yardage situations, goes two tight ends, two running backs, we try to match up a corner for a safety. Those were some of the problems that we had yesterday. Those aren’t things we will have a lot of trouble with going forward. We can simplify some of that.”
(On if he talked to kicker Kyle Brindza after his performance against Houston)
“Of course I do. Of course I do and knowing me, of course you know what I was going to say to him. We went over the obvious. The obvious is he didn’t have a good day. Good players can have a bad day. That’s how I started the conversation. You’re a good kicker, but when you don’t have a good day and you are a good kicker you have to really search and we have to figure out exactly why that happened. We shifted to the why as soon as we possibly could. A lot of the times the why is just, ‘Oh, do this’ and all of them go in. We have a little bit of time to work on it before we’re on center stage again.”
(On what Special Teams Coordinator Kevin O’Dea thought about Brindza’s performance)
“He said he had a difficult day. He missed some field goals. I can’t give you any little point-for-point reasons why it happened. There are a lot of things that went wrong with us yesterday. There is no reason to over the point-by-point details of those, too. We’ll work on correcting and as far as our kicker, let’s give him a little bit of time. He had a 58-yarder yesterday, so all wasn’t lost. He’ll come back this week. He will get another opportunity. He’ll be our kicker this week, so you’ll get a chance to see him then.”
(On if the defense is struggling to find an identity)
“This is the third game of the season. I think you look in the league, you have to give the offenses a little bit of credit and to think that I invented defensive football and the offense can’t move the ball – there were periods of time yesterday when we played pretty good football. We didn’t finish the way we would like, but it’s a 19-9 game. It wasn’t a 42-14 game yesterday. We didn’t play the run as well as we needed to at times. We got a couple of guys out of their gap, but we’re not getting ready to junk anything. Let’s just play let everything play out a little bit. We’ll be fine on the defensive side of the ball. I saw some things yesterday that I haven’t seen. We worked some different combinations. I liked what we were able to get a little bit from our cornerback positions. Mike Jenkins came in yesterday and gave us some good play, so we’ll be fine.”
(On having eight tackles for  loss but still being inconsistent on defense)
“I think that was pretty good to have that many tackles for losses. When we stop missing a few tackles we’ll have a lot more, that’s how I’ll answer that question.”
(On the playing time of cornerback Alterraun Verner and other members of the secondary)
“If you see a guy’s time increase or decrease based on the play on the football field, simple as that. In [Verner’s] case, Mike Jenkins was nursing an injury, he’s back now. Verner got an opportunity to play earlier; we brought in a new player in Tim Jennings. We hadn’t had an opportunity to see him play, so we wanted to take a look at those guys. I like what I have seen from them. As you see time increase or decrease [it is] based on film study, video study and what we’ve seen in practice and who we think gives us the best opportunity to have success.”
(On what areas the team is showing improvements)
“We’re 1-0 in the division. That’s a good start. We’ve played three games. We have an opportunity to be 2-2 in this young part of the season. We were right in it until the end yesterday. That’s why we’re excited. You of course cover us quite a bit and you have a chance to see us every day. I would think you would think we have gotten a lot better, too. Eventually, as we think we are getting better, you have to see it on the football field and that’s what I believe right now.”
(On why teams have been able to score on a slant route down the middle of the field)
“You’re not supposed to let him run the slant route inside. It’s as simple as that. You have to stop that, cutoff that route, simple as that. When you are deep third, you can’t let them get the ball back behind you. It is as simple as that. Sometimes you out-think yourself a little bit or you think they are running something else and you are trying to get a jump on that and you guess wrong. It’s not something that should happen. Once you get down on the goal line that’s the easiest throw to make. A lot of time, when you see that slant, there are other things that happen, too. You look at the defensive line. In both of those cases, our rush lanes weren’t exactly what they were supposed to be, so it’s a combination of both.”
(On the defense giving up eight touchdowns in nine attempts down in the red zone)
“Our defense has given up 19 points the last couple of weeks as I see it. There has been a lot of improvement. When you group everything together, you can get it distorted a little bit. Our defense has given up 19 points the last couple of weeks and I think that’s pretty good. You look around the league, I think that’s a pretty good stat.”
(On why the offense has not been successful on third down)
“You are throwing and catching, simple as that. You have some drops. I would say a lot of it would have to do with that, probably most of it. I don’t know exactly, I’ll say as you look at it, it was probably that, when we had opportunities to make those plays. That’s why I’m excited about where we are. We’re not going to always drop the ball. When we have good protection, our quarterback is a good football player and he can get the ball there. In time, that connection, when our guys all get on the same page with that, that won’t happen. A lot of those third downs really came down to that.”
(On receiver Mike Evans being targeted 17 times)
“That is a lot to focus on one guy, yes. We need to distribute. Dirk [Koetter] will be the first guy to say that ‘we’ will be, saying that we need to distribute the ball around to more of our guys. Sometimes it just happens like that when you feel like you have a favorable matchup. You’re not just worried about how it’s going to look later on. In this moment, it’s a good matchup and we had that throughout. Mike had over 100 yards catching yesterday, right? Add some of the drops in there, it was one of those days. I think as you look around the league, sometimes you can just highlight really one receiver on certain days. We can spread the ball around to some more of our receivers, yes.”
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston was trying to force some throws to Evans)
“I can’t say force. If you were a quarterback, you would like to throw the ball to Mike Evans too. You would probably be looking for him quite a bit, too. I can’t say force. We have more than just Mike. We will need to not force, but throw it to some of our other receivers also.”
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s shoulder injury and how much it affected his play)
“He was definitely limited, but when you are going in, a lot of players are limited, too. Gerald played hard right up until the end, but no doubt he was playing with pain. He wasn’t playing with an injury though. He was playing with pain. I just know that another week should put him in even a better place. Hopefully he’ll be able to do a little bit more this week.”
(On if he is worried about McCoy’s shoulder)
“No more than I worry about any of our other players. Once we deem a player healthy and ready to go, can’t worry about it then. You just have to monitor the reps a little bit. We’ll always do that. We’ll monitor what he does this week in practice. If he is good to go and he is injury-free he’ll be out there as often as possible.”
(On running back Doug Martin’s performance so far this season)
“Every game we have played, Doug has done some good things. He has done what the offense has asked him to do for the most part. I’m going to say I’m pleased with what Doug has done. There might be days when we need Doug to rush for 200 yards. Other days, when we have favorable matchups throwing the ball, but Doug Martin has played well for us every game he has played this year.”
(On how much more comfortable Winston looks in the pocket as compared to the preseason)
“He looks more and more comfortable in the pocket each week. I think we can all say that and feel good about making that statement. Yesterday – I’m just going on what happened yesterday – it was a good front he was going against. I thought he was in control throughout. His mobility in the pocket and what we’ve seen, there were a couple times yesterday where he had to get out of trouble. He was able to do that. But he looks comfortable and there were a lot of good throws that he made yesterday. I think that’s going to be a common topic that we’re going to have, a piece of conversation, is how comfortable he looks in the pocket and how much better he’s getting every time we see him go out and play.”
(On whether he wants defensive players to fall on a loose ball or always try to scoop and score)
“We would like for them to pick it up, of course, and run with it, always. Two disappointing plays, going back to New Orleans, it was disappointing that we didn’t’ pick that ball up when Drew Brees fumbled it right away, and then yesterday. But [yesterday] was a new player [Josh Martin] that has only been here a couple weeks. He hasn’t gotten the full [brunt] of us getting that point across. But our number one goal every play is to try to score and the only way you can score is to try to pick the ball up, unless there are a lot of people in the crowd and then your only option is to fall on it, then we will [do that].”
(On whether he has been pleased with not giving up many points per game over the past two weeks, even if the opposing team manages to put up yardage)
“No, you misread what I said. No, I’m not pleased at all with – you’re right, 19 points isn’t bad, but defensively our number one goal is to score, is to get three takeaways a game, is to be under 30 percent on third downs. We haven’t accomplished any of that. Our goal isn’t to give up 186 yards. But you have to look at the big picture of how were you in the football game, and that’s where we were. At the same time, I’ve seen a lot worse defensive games being played than what we’ve done the last couple weeks. A lot of room for improvement still, and we’ll make that, but we’re not going to junk what we’re doing right now, is my point. We’re on track to eventually break out of this and have an excellent defensive, offensive and special teams game into one. Hopefully it’s this week against Carolina.”
(On whether he plans to continue rotating players in the secondary)
“In an ideal world, that’s the way we’d like for it to happen. Tim Jennings, for the most part, played throughout. We had injuries that dictated an awful lot yesterday at our safety and our corner position, but, just in general, we dress a guy and we have a lot of plays. Yesterday we had a lot of plays. You have to be able to keep fresh guys on the football field, so I guess you can look at that both ways. Yeah, we’d like to lock into a couple, but we want to play as many guys as we think we can win with.”
(On whether rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander’s play is validating his selection as a draft pick)
“Kwon will tell you he played okay yesterday. No one played exactly the way we wanted them to yesterday, but as a young football [team], our rookies are getting better. I’m talking about Donovan Smith, [who] played his best game yesterday, Ali Marpet [who] played good ball, Kwon Alexander, playing good football – they’re getting better and better. And of course Jameis Winston. Jacob Schum punted the ball well yesterday. So our young players are coming [along] and that’s why we have confidence in them. But we have to live with some of the pain, but less pain each week as I see it.”
(On allowing Houston to have success running the ball and how the team can fix that)
“That’s the main thing, [if] you want to be a dominant defense, nobody can run the football. We just got through watching the film. We see a lot of things that we could have done better. It’s small things, it’s real funny when you see it. Once we get that situated, it’s a real easy fix – very easy fix. It’s going to be fixed right away. That’s the thing that you look forward to, that’s what makes everybody more confident. We shouldn’t have let that run game get on us like that. We’ve got to do a better job with that.”
(On missed tackles allowing opposing offenses extra opportunities)
“I had two crucial [tackles] that I missed, that I don’t usually miss. Watching film, I’m critiquing myself, what I did, what I’ve got to do. As I’m approaching the ball carrier, I’m breaking it down – what I’ve got to do to get better, stuff like that. Those two missed tackles that I did have probably could have been game changers, you never know. Probably [would have] put them in longer down and distance situations. Just small stuff like that is an easy fix that we can do.”
(On if he thinks the team is improving)
“I think so, from Week 1 to where we’re at now, there’s progression. Yesterday I think we let some things slip out of our hands. [We] had a lot of missed opportunities on both sides of the football. Once we get that taken care of – those self-inflicted wounds that, personally, you have to take pride in and get yourself better at – once we get that fixed, we’ll be where we want to be.”
(On how the team can improve)
“Like I said, just got done watching the film. Just very small things that can be easily fixed and we’re going to get it fixed – it’s that easy to get fixed. Once guys understand and realize we can’t let that happen anymore, we won’t have another game like that again. We don’t plan on having another one like that either.”
(On if players are still learning the defense)
“I think it’s just a matter of – we’re playing fast, but sometimes getting out of position. Once we’re out there playing fast and plus [not] getting out of position, I think it will be a lot better.”

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