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05 November 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Thursday, November 5, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: This season, Tampa Bay has scored following 12 of their 13 takeaways (92.3%), the second-highest percentage in the league. Their 64 takeaway points are the second-most in the NFL.
                                              
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list, we added D.J. Swearinger. [He] hurt his big toe a little bit. Besides that same guys: Vincent Jackson, Jacquies Smith and Major Wright weren’t able to practice today. Thursday practice. One thing about Tampa in November, it’s hot. Make sure the G-men know that. It’s going to be hot here this week and we are getting a taste of it. Good work, guys pushed through it. [We] are excited about playing this weekend.”
 
(On if defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is limited)
“He’s limited with his shoulder. He’s getting a little bit better. I don’t know the degrees of limited. Limited means you don’t go through everything, but you go through some of the stuff. He’s going through some. A little bit more than last week, how’s that?”
 
(On if McCoy’s should injury has limited his explosiveness or performance)
“No, not that I can say. He’s not limited in the games. He’s limited in practice, like a lot of NFL players are, especially linemen. On a Wednesday, on a Thursday you need to try and get them as fresh as possible for game day. As far as him being limited, no more than other players this time of year. No one is 100 percent, but everybody is good to go.”
 
(On New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning)
“Eli has two Super Bowl rings, [I’ll] start off with that. Quarterbacks at their best, he has two Super Bowl rings. It kind of tells you really all you need to know about him. He’s calm. He’s been through a lot as a quarterback, played at a high level for a long period of time and when a team has a game like they had last week, when you have a quarterback like that, it’s not like you’re saying, ‘Man, how did that happen?’ When you have a great quarterback and you have good skill guys it can happen at any time, hopefully not this weekend.”
 
(On his plans to activate tackle Demar Dotson)
“Yes, we are [talking with him], but of course I can’t go into any of that on what I’m telling him. I try to talk to him always. When players come to you you ask them, ‘Hey, are you ready to go?’ You are going got get the same answer always. If they have a broken leg you are going to get the same answer, ‘Yeah, I’m ready to go. I’m feeling a lot better.’ That’s the case. Then we, on game day, make those decisions. We want to have as many good options as possible. That’s the case. Demar is making progress. He hasn’t played. It’s been a long period of time since he’s played. We’ll see how it goes. He’s back in the mix.”
 
(On the possibility of Dotson being active on Sunday)
“[There is a] possibility, yes.”
 
(On if other positions can factor in to who dresses on game day)
“Yeah, if we are banged up at a position and we feel we need to have some more security, yeah, that does affect it. Just at that position though, if we are fairly healthy at a position it may allow you to really make sure someone is ready to go. You take all that into consideration, but the first thing you take into consideration [is] , ‘Okay, what gives us our best chance to win?’ Believe me, we’re not going to sit anyone if they are ready to go and we feel like they can help us win. When guys say they are ready to go 100 percent and all that, we’re monitoring that constantly. When someone is ready to go and they give us a good chance to win, they’ll be out there.”
 
(On if  the success of the offensive line makes it a tough decision on whether to switch tackles Gosder Cherilus for Demar Dotson)
“It’s a tough decision when you have two players that you like and think you can win with, but it’s still the best guy that you think gives you the best chance to win. Once you have two players that are healthy and ready to go, you evaluate those two. If that means you keep the same group you kept previous weeks, that’s fine, but if there is somebody better and they’re ready to go and healthy we’ll put them in there. [I’m] not afraid of that.”
 
(On if continuity trumps talent on the offensive line)
“I don’t believe that at all. I’m not a part of that group that’s, okay you played good on the offensive line so that means all five have played the same way. No, you look at them individually. It’s great when you have five guys individually that have all played well, but if four are playing well or three are playing well and there are two other guys that gives us a better chance, you plug those in. You plug those guys in and the three guys that have been playing that way, fine. If you as a coaching staff have made a decision to put those guys in there you expect that to happen. It’s not one group. It’s a group – same thing with the defensive line or secondary, all positions – we just don’t look at it that way.”
 
(On if Tampa Bay has asked the NFL to look into a play involving safety Chris Conte and Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman)
“I’m not part of that group. If we did I wouldn’t be talking about it in here. Part of our basic routine each week, plays that we disagree with, officials’ calls that we disagree with or we need a better ruling of why something was called we send in. We send things in each week. There was nothing major that happened from that game. There were a couple things that we saw differently. It’s like that each week though. If we do send something in it’s just to clear it up. When we are in that situation again, we’ll know exactly how to handle it and why something was done a certain way. [We have] no issues with last week.”
 
(On knowing what the team’s identity is)
“First off, on offense, defense and special teams there is no question on how we want to win football games. We may not be playing the way we would like at every position, but there is no question on that. It is comforting though, but you should have that established now on how you want to win football games.”
 
(On seeing it every week and having a consistency)
No, that’s good and you want your team to see that as soon as possible and see it working a certain way. It’s one thing to have a belief, but you really believe when you get good results from it. I know our football team. I think everyone knows exactly how we want to win football games and more importantly what their role is on accomplishing that each week.”
 
(On containing New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.)
“He has great hands, great quickness, speed. It’s a tough match up man-to-man. [He has] a different body type. We feel like we have a receiver that’s a tough match-up for anybody – Mike [Evans] with his size. Guys have different strengths. Odell and Mike are two totally different players, but both of them you have to deal with. As far as just talking about him it’s a tough duty because his speed, quickness, we know he can catch the ball. We’ve all seen some of the amazing catches he’s made. Those are the problems that he poses.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
                         
(Opening Statement)
“Good afternoon. [It’s an] exciting time for us to get a chance to be back home in front of our fans on Sunday. Players are really looking forward to this ball game. So far, so good in our practice preparation. Today is a big day for us. Defensively, we need to have a good day at practice to get to where we want to be at on Sunday – so far, so good.”
 
(On if defensive end George Johnson would start if Jacquies Smith cannot play on Sunday)
“Yeah, that is a strong possibility if [Jacquies] isn’t able to go. We’re tinkering with some things and we’ll make that determination here in the next, probably, 48 hours.”
 
(On what he has seen from defensive ends Howard Jones and Josh Shirley that gives him confidence in their ability to have an expanding role in the defense)
“You look at what Howard has done in his short stint in the National Football League , he’s accomplished some things some other guys haven’t in a season. We definitely have some confidence that he can make some plays. Can he be a 40-50 play guy? We don’t know that, but we may be forced into a situation to where that may have to be the case because of injury, so we’ll see. He’s definitely done well with the snaps he’s had. Josh, still has a learning curve there. He’s been with us a shorter time than Howard has. We’re still getting to know him, he’s still getting to know us. Both of those guys have been pressed into playing and Howard has stepped up and hopefully Josh will do the same when he gets another opportunity this week.”
 
(On defensive end Lawrence Sidbury Jr. contributing right away because of his familiarity with the team)
“No doubt, he’s been with us throughout the offseason, he was with us in training camp so Sid is very familiar with what we’re doing and how we do things. It was good that he was out there, for us. We can plug him in and we really don’t miss a beat. He’s in good condition as well.”
 
(On defensive end Howard Jones’ technique)
“He’s getting better every week. I look at some of the things he’s doing on tape and early on we were saying it will be a while before he can counter with this move or it will be a while before he’ll be stout at the point of [attack], but he’s showing us, as time goes on, that the learning curve has been decreased. He’s picking up things, technique-wise, a lot sooner than we thought. He’s still very raw, still very young. There’s still a lot to learn, but we don’t feel as intimidated about putting more on his plate. It’s still early in his career, but he is moving right along.”
 
(On keeping New York’s passing game from being successful)
“They have one of the top quarterbacks, in my opinion, in the league. He is very, very good and very bright in that pocket. He does a lot of good things with the ball. He definitely has some weapons as well and [Odell] Beckham [Jr.] is one of them. You have to find a way to rush the quarterback with four. You don’t want to rely on trying to pressure Eli all day. He identifies pressures, he identifies where they are coming from and he gets the ball out fairly quickly. They don’t have a lot of sacks. [They’ve allowed] 12 sacks up to this point. You got to find a way to rush with four and when you do come with five or six it needs to be at the right time. You need to have them disguised well, because he’s pretty good. He’s pretty good.”
 
(On improved play in the red zone and what adjustments were made)
“We did have to make some adjustments. We weren’t getting achieved some of the things we set out to do in the red zone. Those adjustments were things that I’m sure New York is looking at on tape because Atlanta hadn’t seen them and it definitely affected some of the things they wanted to do in the red zone. We’ll have to keep tinkering a little bit until we get it the way we want it, but we’re headed in the right direction we think. This will be a big test for us if we find ourselves in the red zone on Sunday. This team is very efficient. They proved it last week going for it on fourth down a couple different times in the red zone. This will be a big test for us, but we have to just keep evolving when it comes to our red zone play.”
 
(On if players are being more disciplined with their responsibilities)
“That’s some of it, but also just making sure we put them in the right spots as well. It’s a combination of the execution and also our ability to be a little bit creative in what we are doing.”
 
(On the defense not performing as well as it did last season)
“I think we’ve made good improvements in some areas. Our run defense was effective a season ago, it’s still effective this season. Our sacks are up. The biggest thing for us, from an improvement standpoint is seeing what we are doing with takeaways. That is the great equalizer sometimes when you are not playing as well in some other areas. The fact that we were able to get four last week and we’ve got one in just about every game this season, that’s been a plus. There are some positive things that are going on. There are obviously somethings that we need to get better at. There is a lot of football to be played. We think we are headed in the right direction, we just need to make improvements in certain areas, but the dye is not cast yet. We still have some work to do, but we think we’re going to improve.”
 
(On if linebacker Lavonte David needs to play better)
“Lavonte is still a big-play player for us not just being at the point of attack, but also his leadership. That’s as important, sometimes, as his playmaking ability. He’s going to make plays. That will come in time. It’s great to see what Kwon [Alexander] is doing. He’s making some plays, but Lavonte is still the leader of our linebackers group. The fact that he hasn’t come up with the big splash play, that doesn’t mean he’s not playing well. He’s doing some good things. We wouldn’t be doing some of the things we’re doing without Lavonte, so we’re pleased with his play.”
 
(On if they played more man-to-man coverage than usual against Atlanta)
“Yeah, a lot of that had to do with [Julio Jones] as well. You want to keep somebody over the top of him. He’s a pretty good receiver, so we have to utilize a little different strategy and it was effective. When you hold that offense – they’re more than capable of scoring a lot more than 20 points. They didn’t punt on Sunday and they were held to 20 points. Why? Because of the takeaways. That’s big. Sometimes you’re going to find yourself in some situations where you may give up some yards, but at the end of the day in our league it’s always about points, always. If we can stay on that track with keep the points down we’ll have a chance every week and that’s the goal.”
 
(On shuffling around players in the secondary)
“The personnel we have are the guys we have. I don’t know if we have quite settled that this is it, but we are trending in that direction. We like some of the things that Johnthan [Banks] did a week ago along with Mike Jenkins. Chris [Conte] has played well for us this season. Bradley McDougald is continuing to improve in his second year – really first year as a full-time starter. Alterraun [Verner] being at a new position, the nickelback positon, he’s still growing. It’s still a process in regards to that and hopefully we’ll get it done this week. We need our secondary to play well. This is a very good passing attack and hopefully the guys we put out there will play well for us.”
 
(On safety Bradley McDougald’s performance against Atlanta)
“When we were talking about game balls, he was one of the guys that I voted for for a game ball because of his tackling. He did a great job in limiting what could have been some explosive passes, keeping those to a minimum and some runs as well. He stepped up his play. He’s done a good job for us, did a good job last week and [we’re] going to need him this week depending on the health of their tight end. They have a very good tight end in that [Larry] Donnell kid. He’s a good player, so we need Bradley to just keep coming.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy getting double-teamed and if the players around him need to take advantage of single blockers)
“What you said is what we talked to our guys about. We know Gerald is going to rarely see one-on-one blocking. There is going to be a guard and a center that are going to be sliding the protection to him nine out of 10 times. That means other guys have one-on-ones. I think Jacquies [Smith] has benefited from that. I think Howard [Jones] has benefited from that. We need more. We need it this week. As I said earlier, it’s going to be very difficult to play good defense if we can’t rush the passer with four [players]. If people are going to try to take Gerald away other guys needs to step up. You got to win the one-on-ones and we have been getting a lot of one-on-ones with other guys, so we need them to step up this week.”
 
(On New York wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.)
“He does so many things well. Obviously his catching radius is wide and varied. He makes some great catches. He’s a great route runner, he has very good speed, good quickness and he can run after the catch. He has a lot of the attributes you look for in a great receiver, a gifted receiver and he presents a lot of problems for teams. They put him in different places sometimes, in the slot, sometimes he’s outside. They move him around. They’ve even lined him up in the backfield. He’s a good player and we’ll have to contend with him this week.”
 
(On if there has been an emphasis on not hitting the quarterback low)
“It’s definitely an emphasis. We had it happen to us against Washington and it was actually Gerald [McCoy] that it was called against. We are emphasizing it. We know we need to stay high on the quarterback and not tackle him low. We don’t want any personal fouls. We saw what the results of those can be.”
 
(On how often the defense is in man-to-man coverage)
“We try to mix it up. You don’t want to be always, but we do probably play more man than people realize. It’s been good for us at times and other times it hasn’t been as good for us. You have to find that balance and sometimes that situation dictates that you have to play man. In a perfect world you play zone [coverage] and just rush your four and get all the results that you want, but that’s not always the way it is.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On if he is expecting be double or triple-teamed against New York)
“No I don’t think so. They have good corners. I think [Prince] Amukamara will be playing, probably [Dominique] Rogers-Cromartie. They have good corners so I don’t think they will double me and I don’t feel pressure.”
 
(On New York’s 52-49 loss to New Orleans)
“Yeah, I like scoring points, but I don’t know if that will happen again. I mean, seven touchdown passes, I don’t know if that will happen, but we’ve seen some things on film that we like. Hopefully they don’t switch up their game plan too much. Hopefully we score a lot of points.”
 
(On what needs to happen to improve his catches)
“Just practice. It’s picking up and we’ve been good the past few weeks, so keep practicing hard and it will come.”
 
(On if he considers drawing penalties on the defense a small victory)
“Absolutely, I got some calls. I was so happy to get those. I think I got like four – two pass interference, two defensive holding [penalties], so I was really happy with that. I work my butt of on the route trying to out physical the guy and I got some calls, so that helped us.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston needs to put more air under deep passes to him)
“I don’t see it. Maybe he got pressure or something like that. I’ve got to come back and make the play. As long as it’s in the area, I should be able to make it.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On winning consecutive games)
“Getting one is the goal. You just take it one game at a time. If you can get on roll, start building some momentum, you get used to that feeling after a win and it becomes contagious. You want to keep having that feeling. We just have to build off the positives from last game and learn from the negatives. We’ve got a lot of momentum going into a home game [against] a very good team. They’re kind of in the same boat we are, losing some games late. It’s going to be a tough one for us.”
 
(On defensive tackle Clinton McDonald leadership on the sideline)
“That’s great. It doesn’t always have to be on the field. There’s different ways to lead. He’s an emotional leader as well as a vocal leader. When times got tough during the game, he always had the right thing to say. That’s a huge luxury, when you have a guy like that.
 
(On Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returning from injury and possibly playing Sunday)
“You never want to see anyone go down, period. Regardless of whether they are a top guy or an undrafted free agent – you never want to see anybody go down. To see him working his way back is good to see.”
 
(On Pierre-Paul’s ability to play at a high level with his injury and if he will still be able to play both defensive end spots)
“A person like me, I go both ways. I can go right, I can go left. Sometimes you have to learn to play with just one hand – like [Warren] Sapp. A lot of people don’t realize he played with the same hand down, even though he played on the left and right side. Up until ’99, he played with his left hand down. As a D-lineman, it depends on how you play the game. Watching Pierre-Paul, he plays with the same hand down. I think that’s why it will be a lot easier for him to go side-to-side.”
 
(On Giants quarterback Eli Manning)
"He is good, man. He's got two rings, and arguably the best quarterback in history is his older brother and he's got more than him. Not only does he have the rings, but he was the MVP of those games. He's a road warrior, a tough guy, very smart and he'll light you up if he gets going. So we've got a tough one ahead of us this week."
 
(On the expectations for Tampa Bay’s defense against New York this weekend)
“We’ve just got to – [opponents] going on a long drive is not the problem. It’s if you let them get points. The yards don’t always matter. It’s the scoring. We just have to hold up better in the red zone.”
 
(On if pass-rushers get more excited about playing against one of the league's best quarterbacks)
"You get excited, you get excited. I don't know if you get amped up more, like more of a sense of urgency, you've just got to realize that you're not facing your average, everyday NFL quarterback. This is one of the elites. But as a defensive lineman, to have a chance to play against a guy of Eli Manning's status, it's exciting to me; I don't know about everybody else. I love this game and I'm a fan of the game, so I'm going to do my best to try to get there instead of just enjoying playing against him."
 
(On if he has a chart or a memory of the quarterbacks he has and has not sacked)
"I don't have a chart at home but all defensive linemen [know who they've sacked]. They asked [Warren] Sapp how many times he sacked Brett Favre and he gave the answer immediately. All defensive linemen do. I definitely do and Eli Manning is one that I missed out on in 2012. So I'm looking forward to this one."
 
(On notable quarterbacks he still wants to sack)
"I missed [Tom] Brady and Peyton [Manning], played against them both once and I missed them both, and I missed Eli. And I missed both games we played against Aaron Rodgers. Those are my four."
 
(On McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David leading the defense)
“There’s different ways to lead. It’s not going to always be by making the play, [but] by how hard you play, how you face tough times when adversity comes. If you have the right things to say or you react to things the right way. It’s just how you prepare throughout the week. If you have a guy like me or Lavonte that draws a lot of attention, then it helps out the guys around you.”
 
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