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08 September 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, September 8, 2014

Below is the transcript of Head Coach Lovie Smith’s earlier media availability:
(Opening statement)
“As I told our football team after the game yesterday, we can’t go undefeated, [but] we’re one game out of first place. We didn’t play well. Did a lot of things to lose a football game. At the end we had a chance to win. We’re going to build on some of the positive things that we saw late in the game. I’m talking about, offensively, scoring 14 points having the ball in position to score more. But some of the things that we did before and right up until that moment, of course, the takeaways – it’s all about the turnover ratio. We turned the ball over. Josh [McCown] would like and our offense would like to have those two interceptions back. Both of them led to points – you can’t do that. You have to protect the ball – it’s about ball security for us. On the other side, defensively, we’ve got to take the ball away. Simple as that. When you don’t get any takeaways, normally, with our brand of ball, you’re not going to win a lot of games. We had opportunities to make a couple of plays on the ball with them. But with all that being said, we didn’t start the game the way we wanted to. We were playing a good football team. We were playing the defending champs in our division and they were a great defense last year. So I knew we would have a hard time probably early on establishing what we wanted to do with our run against that defense, which we did have trouble doing. Other side of the ball, I thought we would be able to get after their offense a little bit more than we were able to early on and get as much pressure as we needed to early, and that kind of set the tone for us. Again, we’re a game out of first place. We do know we did set the bar on exactly where we’re at right now, and we know exactly where we need to go. Injury-wise, we had a few injuries from the game, which you normally have. Can’t say an awful lot on the injuries right now. We’ve been evaluating the players throughout the day. We’ve been in the video room most of the day so I don’t know a lot more to tell you than what happened yesterday. Wednesday, we’ll have an injury report; we’ll be able to fill you in a lot more then.”
(On the injury status of guard Logan Mankins)
“Less than 24 hours after an injury, I can’t give you a lot more than that. If a player has a serious injury, we’ll send him to our medical people and start getting them checked out, which we’ve done. We’re evaluating him, and that could be MRI, all doctors checking up him every which way we can. But right now, we can’t really talk an awful lot on it. We don’t know a lot more right now.”
(On the plays he wish he could have back from the game)
“Pretty simple: everything that we did wrong yesterday. It kind of comes back to the head coach. I look at, ‘Hey, could I have done this to make us handle the situation a little bit better?’ So all of the above. And I’m not just trying to say that; that’s kind of how I feel about it. For me, every decision, I feel like should impact the game in some way. Bottom line is we didn’t get our guys in position to make enough plays and that starts with me.”
(On what the team’s offensive identity is)
“Well as you look at what we did yesterday, first off in the first half, we didn’t have the ball enough. In order to establish an identity, you have to have the ball. And I don’t think any team has an identity until you get to the season and then you see what you’re going to be, what you can do. And it changes each day, each game. Yesterday, what we wanted our identity to be was we wanted to establish the run, which would open up other things for us – we weren’t able to do that. It does hurt you when you lose one of your starting guards right away. But that can’t be a reason why. So what we want to be able to do what we need to do that day. And I’m talking about some days, you get in, you need to run the ball. Some days, the run isn’t there, and you have to be able to pass the ball. We’ve talked about balance. So if you ask me what we’d like to be, we would like to be a balanced offensive attack.”
(On what offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey showed to put him in the game as Mankins’ replacement)
“We have the starting five and we normally dress seven offensive linemen. You have a swing tackle that can play on the outside and you have a swing guard-center inside. That guy has to be able to snap the ball off, so that’s what Garrett gave us.”
(On the performance of the defensive line in the game)
“As I’ve said, it starts with the four-man pressure for us – we weren’t able to get enough. So from there, it kind of tells you what type of day we had, especially early on. And we had some good individual efforts. Gerald McCoy is pretty much going to play the same way most of the time. We had other things that kind of hindered us from getting some of that pressure: Michael Johnson hurt his ankle about the third play of the game – rolled it. So he wasn’t as effective as he needs to be, and he will be. And then from there, we just weren’t able to generate enough pressure, win the one-on-one battles, and those are things we need to get corrected.”
(On what he picked up on about the offense and McCown after watching film)
“I think it’s all out there what he did and the things he did wrong, it’s been reported quite a bit and it should. We didn’t protect the football. It’s not just protecting the football, it’s some of the decisions we made on trying to make a play on those balls that lead to points on their part. The part that I liked about what Josh did was how he finished still. We were in a position at the end and that was based on – we were down 17-0. In the fourth quarter, we scored 14 points, normally you’re going to like that as a football team, if can start scoring points like that, it just needs to start earlier and we’ll start earlier this next game. Josh led us to those 14 points at the end and completed a simple pass that we fumbled there at the end, so that’s how he finished.”
(On if wide receiver Solomon Patton’s 33-yard punt return excited the team)
“It really did. Going all the way back to the week before when we released Solomon, the numbers kind of got him a little bit. He did enough in the preseason to really show us that he could help us. We had an opportunity to bring him up and of course he jumped at it. I thought he was one of the bright spots that had a winning performance from that game from start to finish. Rookie, undrafted free agent, the game definitely didn’t seem too big for him. He was going vertical with it and almost being able to break one. I’m pleased with what he was able to do in his first game.”
(On if free agent guard Richie Incognito remains an option at the guard position)
“As you look at our roster right now, we kept 10 active players or we have 10 guys on our 53-man roster on the offensive line, we’ll probably be choosing from those. Normally we keep eight offensive linemen, so we are a couple over right now and we’ll probably choose from that group, if Logan can’t. Logan has been injured before and he feels like he’ll be able to go. I’m not saying much about injuries right now, let me hold on a little bit.”
(On his assessment of the offensive line’s play)
“There will come a day when I’ll be able to give you a whole lot more and I won’t be talking on general terms, but we didn’t play well as a team yesterday. The offensive line is a part of that. I thought we pass protected a little bit better. All of the sacks that were given up, I think there were three given up, they weren’t all on the offensive line. I thought our ends for the most part did a decent job with two great players on the outside, but as whole, back to [offensive] line play, it wasn’t good enough. A little bit better with passing game than with the running game. You have definitely have to establish the run in order for us to do something though.”
(On if he was surprised for the first three quarters played out the way it did)
“I wouldn’t say surprised. You guys have got to keep in mind, we were playing against a pretty good football team and we’re just establishing who we are – that takes time sometimes. We would have liked to be Super Bowl ready, the first game out. The crowd was awesome, to come out and cheer their team on. We’re not there yet, but we’ll figure out how to win football games eventually. You mentioned the three quarters, sometimes you have to keep sparring, but eventually you find out exactly who you are and what you need to do be successful. I just think at the end we were at least on the road to that.”
(On the status of offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford this week)
“As we talked about Jeff last week and we mentioned him being able to do a little bit more, he was able to do that last week. Friday’s practice he was here, in the press box giving a little bit of input, but we were really kind of gearing towards him being ready this week. He’s in the office, he was in there early this morning, full-time, ready to go, leading the meetings and hopefully we’re back on track . We need Jeff out there.”
(On how getting the ground game going will help the passing game be better)
“It would definitely help being able to get Doug [Martin], Bobby [Rainey] and our running game going, but Josh will tell you they’re totally separate on some of things that stopped us from being able to move the ball early on, but we have to establish [the run game]. We don’t want to be a team that just passes the ball every second. We want to be up-tempo and we started picking that up at the end, but first you have to crawl before walk and you just can’t jump into it right away. Again this is our first time out and we’ll see a little bit better play, it has to be a lot better play this coming week.”
(On why teams make a lot of progress between Week One and Week Two)
“I think it’s because you really don’t know [what you have] until you get to first game. The first preseason game, you have no idea who you are and you get to go against someone the first time, even though it’s in a practice-type environment I guess you can say. The regular season, you never know until you get there and now we do. Now we’ve seen, for quarterbacks, who never get hit, never have that in the back of your mind ‘Coach is going to scream at the players if they touch you’ and those kinds of things, nothing is really live throughout. I know you get that a little bit with the preseason games, but it’s protected. Teams don’t do an awful lot, but now once the full game plan starts and you see how it goes and it’s just a long game, four quarters of football. For us, we prepared for a hot day and we wanted to finish strong at the end. I think we did finish strong at the end, even though our play wasn’t as up-tempo or as exciting as we wanted it to be early on, we did finish that way. You have to build on that from the first game heading into the second.”
(On if they will start running more up-tempo earlier in the game throughout the season)
“You’ve been around and you’ve watched us practice. Eventually we would like to be an up-tempo team, but again in order to be an up-tempo team you have to have plays, you have to sustain drives and we weren’t able to do that. You look at all of the different stats, there was one that if we can continue convert 50 percent of the time on third downs, that will help us in the long course of the season. That’s about the only thing that we really did well yesterday if you want to throw out a number.”

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