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17 September 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Thursday, September 17, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: In five career games against New Orleans, RB Doug Martin has averaged 96.6 scrimmage yards per contest, including two 100-yard rushing performances.
 
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
Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Running Back Doug Martin
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list: T.J. Fatinikun and Major Wright are both getting better each day, but neither one practiced. Besides that, Danny Lansanah, Mike Evans [and] Mike Jenkins were all able to do something on a limited basis. Bruce Carter was able to go full. Our guys that are limited, getting better, getting closer, we’ll know a lot more tomorrow. Guys practicing in some form on Thursday, that’s a good sign, which says he has a chance to go. I know all of you would like to know whether Mike Evans is playing or not. [I] don’t know that. I just know he’s getting better.”
 
(On what he saw from safety D.J. Swearinger against Tennessee)
“I thought D.J. played hard throughout. That’s the first step, playing hard, being relentless getting to the ball. Then he’s got to be able to make a few more plays once you get to the point of attack. That’s what we didn’t do enough of at the point of attack – converting. D.J. is a good run support player. That is his strength. He’s done a decent job with the pass.”
 
(On practicing with crowd noise)
“That’s our regular routine when we go on the road. We have crowd noise throughout starting Thursday. Normally Wednesdays we don’t when we initially install our game plan. Thursday and Friday we have crowd noise. That will be a factor. It’s a factor when you go into a dome, but it’s not the first dome we’ve gone into. We feel like we have safeguards in place to handle it the best you can.”
 
(On how the crowd noise drills at practice have gone)
“[It’s] been good. We’ve had some form of noise going on throughout camp, whether it be loud music, we’ve had something in the background. If you let it, it can make you be not as focused. Now it’s kind of elevator music to us a little bit, which you would like, where guys focus in on what your responsibility is. The communication will be vital for us this week, of course with the line and everybody.”
 
(On quarterback Jameis Winston and linebacker Kwon Alexander experiencing rookie growing pains)
“Yes, that’s definitely the case. We had two rookie signal callers and they are both going to play a lot better than they did the first time out, but you would like for him to be a seasoned vet right away, but it doesn’t happen like that. The next time out though, you want to limit the mistakes and just keep growing from there. That’s what we will do. Both guys, like all our team of course, took it personally and have been doing something about it trying to improve this week.”
 
(On Alexander’s mistakes coming from being overly aggressive and trying to make a play)
“Yes that, but a lot of times it’s the other way around when you are a little uncertain on what you do – you can’t be as aggressive as you normally would be and we would like. The more you know exactly what you are supposed to do, the faster you can play. If you don’t know, you are normally an average player because you can’t go fast. That was the case a little bit this past week.”
 
(On if it would help to use fewer checks and just play fast)
“I think that is our defense. There are still things that come up in today’s game, you can be as simple as possible – there’s still, though, things that can make you make mistakes and experience is the only thing that will correct that. That will happen. Again, it’s no different – quarterback, middle linebacker. That happens the first game. [The] second game is normally a lot better.”
 
(On kicker Kyle Brindza)
“First off, [when] you are looking for a kicker, what kind of leg does he have? Does he have a strong leg? He has a strong leg. Of course accuracy is big, just as important. He can kick the ball. He’s been fairly accurate. Why wouldn’t you like him? There’s nothing to dislike. We’re just lucky we have him on our team.”
 
(On if New Orleans running back C.J. Spiller can be an X-factor for their offense)
“He’s an explosive player, great quickness, great speed. He’s a guy that you have to deal with and know when he’s on the field, when he’s healthy. They are a better football team when he is on the field.”
 
(On New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton being able to utilize the skillset of a player like Spiller or former Saints running back Darren Sproles)
“Sean has always had a player in that role. For us though, we are preparing for him to play, which will make their offense better than last week.” 
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
                         
(Opening Statement)
“NFC South opponent, big game for us. [We’re] on the road against a team that, traditionally, has had a high powered offense and put up some good numbers this past week. We’ll have to have a heck of a week of practice to get back on track from a defensive standpoint. I think our guys are anxious to get that bad taste out of our mouths and get ready for our next opponent.”
 
(On the defensive performance against Tennessee)
“I don’t know if there is an explanation that would please anyone. We’ve kind of taken the mantra ‘No excuses, no explanations.’ You’ve heard that before. We got to do a better job all the way around with some of the things we’re doing, obviously, and prepare for a very good opponent this week. This offense we’re facing, traditionally, has been one of the best in the league. We didn’t get the job done last week, but one of the good things about where we are in the season – you have to learn from that ball game and you better be able to move on. The next team is not going to feel sorry for you. I think our guys are working hard and they are putting everything they can into it and so are the coaches. We got to play better.”
 
(On players being out of position and not covering their assignments)
“We made a ton of mistakes from the opening drive on. What the reason for it? We’ve gone through the tape. We’ve talked to our players about it. We think we’ve addressed the issues. Now we get a chance to go back out this Sunday and see how much we’ve improved or if we’ve improved. [We had] too many mistakes for sure.”
 
(On if there was a significant amount of communication errors with linebacker Kwon Alexander in the game)
“When I mentioned mistakes that was a part of that. That’s all encompassing. There were enough things that happened that really dictated the outcome from a mistake standpoint. We’ve done some things this week in our approach that we hope will help us and help our players as well. Now we have to go out and find out if that’s the case on Sunday.”
 
(On if the coaching staff critiqued themselves on the team’s performance)
“Absolutely. Whenever you have the breakdowns that we had you got to unearth every corn, every stone that you can to try and figure out a solution and figure it out fast because of the opponent we are about to face. I think we kind of, like I said a moment ago, tried to address some of those things and we’ll find out. I think we have. Now we have to go out and play better this Sunday.”
 
(On if Alexander will continue to call the plays on defense)
“Yes, he still will. He’ll still be responsible for that. We have other guys out there that are helping in the communication as well. He just so happens to wear the headset and gets the call to the players, but we have other guys assisting him in that area.”
 
(On if there will be any major personnel changes)
“We’re always looking to make sure we got the right 11 on the field. There’s no question about that. We’ll go through the process this week and  see where we are at at the end of the week.”
 
(On what causes a player to be undisciplined and not knowing their assignments)
“There’s probably a myriad of reasons for it to happen, but I do know this; for us to have any chance for us to succeed, I think we all in this room know we got to play better than we did on defense this past Sunday. We’ve done our analysis of this past Sunday. We’ve talked it through with our players on Monday. Yesterday, going forward, we’re hoping we’ve put that behind us and we’ve learned from it. As I mentioned before, Sunday will determine how much we’ve improved or how much we’ve learned from those mistakes.”
 
(On if he has seen the captains and leaders step up this week)
“Yeah, I think we have good leadership within our structure form our players. Those guys have a lot of pride. I look at the tape in that fourth quarter. They were fighting. That game could have been a whole lot worse number-wise. Gerald McCoy, Lavonte [David], those guys were still battling in that fourth quarter and doing the things you needed to have done from an effort standpoint. I don’t think effort was an issue on Sunday. I think we have good leadership when it comes to that. As I mentioned, I think we’ve addressed those issues. I think our players have amongst themselves as well. I don’t think anybody is pointing a finger at another player saying this, that. I think all of us are in this together, coaches included. That’s a good thing. That gives you hope that you can get it fixed.”
 
(On what gives him confidence they can correct the errors on defense)
“I think the character of the guys. They are high character guys. I think because of that, as much as anything, if you didn’t have those type of people who are going to look to the left or look to the right, as opposed to looking to the mirror then you would be a little concerned. I don’t think we have very many guys like that. We have guys who take ownership for what they put on tape and they want to get it fixed.”
 
(On if setting the edge is of high importance this week)
“It starts with stopping the run. We think we have some guys who can rush the passer, but when you don’t stop the run you get what we got on Sunday. The quarterback threw the ball 16 times, 16 times. That’s not the ingredient for success the way we are set up. We have to do a much better job against the run. I mentioned to our players this morning, New Orleans Saints, they are going to feel good about running the football. We better figure out a way to get this fixed. As well as they can throw it, we all know they are more than capable of running it. They’d like to be able to run. We got to get that addressed. Everything else will fall into place when we get that addressed.”
 
(On the challenges of New Orleans’ offense this season compared to last year)
“They still got that quarterback named [Drew] Brees. That in itself presents enough challenges for any defense. Jimmy Graham is an outstanding player, but they have other outstanding players. They have a good offensive line, they have some good running backs, but it starts with their quarterback. He’s one of the best to play the game. For whatever shortcomings they may have had, he kind of fills those roles, whatever deficiencies there may be. He’s outstanding as we all know.”
 
(On if disrupting the passing lanes is something the defense needs to do better)
“Absolutely, a lot of those throws were quick throws as you mentioned. It’s a matter of tight coverage and getting your hands up in those throwing lanes. There wasn’t a lot of drop back in that ball game. [There was] a lot of play action, a lot of [bootlegs]. You have to get your hands up. It’s hard to stop three-yard slants, four-yard slants other than tackling and limiting yards after catch, which we weren’t as good at either. Yes, we are going to have to get our hands up on Sunday.”
 
(On if he has seen a different mentality from the defense this week compared to last week and if they are angry)
“Yeah, disappointed for sure, but you have to be able to channel that energy to the right place. We got to be focused on figuring out what we need to get done and get better. To be angry but not find the solution is no good. I think the energy has to be focused in the right place. I think it is based on what I saw yesterday and hopefully today we’ll have a good day as well.”  
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On if he will play this week after being questionable last week)
“Same thing, it’s up to [the coaches and trainers]. I feel 100 percent. I’m ready to go. I’ve been practicing.”
                   
(On how hard it was to watch the game against Tennessee and not be able to play)
“Extremely tough. They played a great game though. They got out to a fast start. We didn’t expect that at all. I don’t know if I could help 28 points be different, but it was hard to watch my team. I was capable of playing. Hopefully this week I will get the go-ahead.”
 
(On what he has seen from quarterback Jameis Winston this week)
“He’s been the same guy. He’s practicing hard, he’s doing stuff after – he’s ready to go.”
 
(On facing New Orleans’ cornerbacks)
“They’re more physical. They’re longer, it’s harder to get off their jams, but I like going against physical guys. I’m a physical guy myself. If I play, it will be a fun matchup.”
 
(On if playing against physical cornerbacks is an advantage for him)
“I think it plays to my favor, more physical guys. The ref will let us play more, hopefully, so I like going against bigger guys.”
 
(On if he will be available Sunday)
“I’ve just got to see how I feel Saturday, that’s what Coach [Lovie Smith] told me, so we’ll see then. I’ll practice today and tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.”
 
(On how he felt yesterday and today)
“I felt great. I feel 100 percent. I feel good, real good.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER VINCENT JACKSON
 
(On facing New Orleans)
“Yeah, we are excited about it. Obviously, last week was trouble for us and it’s behind us. We’ve been hitting New Orleans hard all week and that’s our focus. We obviously want to go out there, put a better performance out there, play complete football, take care of the football and I think we’ll like our results.
 
(On injuries to New Orleans’ secondary)
“This is the NFL and anybody they put out there I’m sure they have confidence in. Those guys are out there for a reason. They are going to be good players. We’re going to go out there, we’re going to respect everybody that lines up. We have a job to do and our biggest focus is – I think it always has been – is not worrying so much about what’s over there and focus [on] executing, doing our job on our side and if we do that and if we play sound ball we’ll be just fine.”
 
(On what it means to have wide receiver Mike Evans on the field)
“The more guys you’ve got out there the more depth and great players you’ve got out there like Mike, it’s going to help us. We all know that. We just want him to make sure he’s smart and going to be healthy for the majority of the season. Obviously he is doing a lot of good work. I see him out there with the trainers and he has been out there doing some work at practice as well. We’re definitely hoping to get him back out there as soon as possible, but whoever does line up out there, again, we have confidence in the guys that we put out there – everybody is working very hard, they have throughout training camp. We’ll be just fine whoever we have.”
 
(On if this is a game where personal pride plays a factor)
“I don’t want to sit here and make it that dramatic as far as the pride thing goes. I think it’s just about doing our job. It really gets back to the simple part of we put too much work in and we are a much better football team than what we showed last week. We do have to prove that though. You can say that you are a better football team, but that’s yet to be seen. We’ve got to do it when those lights come on and when it really counts. That’s our goal this week, is go out there, play the type of football that we know we’ve prepared and we’ve worked really hard to be.”
 
(On what impressed him about how quarterback Jameis Winston handled himself during the game)
“Just his composure. The fact that you didn’t see any emotions come out on the sidelines or anything on the field. He just continued to fight each and every drive that he was in there. He was running that huddle just like the score was 0-0. For a young guy to have that calmness and composure, that’s a blessing to have. Hats off to him and his background and the way he was raised and all the work that he’s put in. That’s going to go a long ways for our team and for his career.”
 
(On Winston staying up until 2 a.m. after the Tennessee game to study film)
“That doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s one of the first guys in here every day and usually one of the last guys out. He’s constantly working at his craft. On the practice field I don’t think he ever sits down. He’s always doing some sort of drill with our quarterbacks coach, working on something, making sure he’s reading defenses. The guy is just a workaholic and I know that one probably really ate at him, but again, we get about a 24-hour rule, evaluate it, work on it, understand and own your mistakes and then you’ve got to move on. It’s a fresh week this week and we’re excited about that.”
 
(On tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
“Like I said earlier throughout this camp, we have so many weapons on this team. We’re going to spread the ball around and we’re going to be very balanced in the pass game and in the run game. Austin obviously struggled a little bit with injuries last year, but having him healthy out there – what he can do in creating mismatches with safeties and linebackers up the middle of the field is just going to make our offense that much more dangerous and it’s very, very exciting to see him play that well.”
 
(On what he would say to fans who are questioning if the Buccaneers made the right decision with the first overall pick)
“We absolutely did. There’s no doubt in our mind. We are 100 percent confident with the gentlemen we have in this room from quarterback all the way to second-string punter. Our management works really hard on putting the right people in here that fit this organization and fit this scheme. We absolutely have 100 percent support behind Jameis [Winston] and we’re excited for him to show everybody why he is the No. 1 overall pick.”  
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On his performance against Tennessee)
“I was just trying to get something going. We were down by like three scores and we needed a spark. We were playing for pride. At first we were playing to win the game, then the game got kind of lopsided, so it was a game for pride and showing each other that we’re not giving up on each other and finishing the game through.”
 
(On how he ran during the first quarter against Tennessee)
“We had a good drive going. That’s the type of drives that we expect the offense to execute throughout the whole season. That’s what we’re going to get better at. That’s what we’re going to do throughout the season.”
 
(On how the rookie offensive linemen performed against Tennessee)
“They played well. They’re progressing and they’re getting better. [Like] my first year, [the] first game, get the first-game jitters out of your system. We’re going to do a lot better as an offense as a whole, in execution. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do down the line.”
 
(On the team’s mood)
“The last game is behind us. That’s not what we wanted, that’s not how we wanted to start, but we’re focusing on the New Orleans Saints this upcoming weekend. The guys are hungry. These guys want to win, they’re competitors. They’re ready to go out here and fight.”
 
(On playing against New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense and the Cover-Zero look)
“We’ve got something for the Cover-Zero to counter that. I can’t tell you what we have in store. There’s always some opportunities out there and we’ve just got to make the most of our opportunities.”
 
(On the team’s penalties against Tennessee)
“Flags aren’t good, penalties aren’t good. That’s something that we emphasize, is to play clean and not have any holds or any self-inflicted penalties. If we do that, then we’re going to be ok.”
 
(On having a big run called back by a penalty)
“You have to shake it off. You can’t worry about the last play and try to be successful on the next one if you’re thinking about the last one, so you have to let that go and continue on to the next play.”
 
(On staying focused on the next play
“It’s just dealing with adversity. The great ones can deal with adversity well. Some calls aren’t going to go our way. We’ve just got to shake it off and move on to the next play.”
 
(On if is exciting to play a familiar opponent in New Orleans)
“It’s a division game, we play the Saints twice every year. Everyone’s excited to play the division games. It’s going to get loud and you can’t practice in front of the crowd noise – it’s going to be a fun one.”
 
(On playing on turf at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
“It’s better footing, doesn’t move on you too much. It’s considered a faster field.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
                         
(On the defense’s performance against Tennessee)
“They played better than us.”
 
(On how the team plans to fix the mistakes)
“Yesterday we got the game plan and you take the positive from last week. There was positive in the tape and you build off of that.”
 
(On the team not getting off to a good start against Tennessee)
“We started slow. That can be fixed though.”
 
(On the defense being unable to recover from a slow start against Tennessee)
“No, we didn’t. It was just a bad game. It was one game. We have 15 more.”
 
(On intercepting six passes in two games from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and if that gives the defense confidence this season)
“That was last year. This is a new year. You see things happen new every year. We have to make sure we can do it again.”
 
(On how disappointed he was in the overall defensive performance)
“It was bad. Being the leader of the defense, it was embarrassing. It has to be better. We are playing a [quarterback] – I believe – is a first ballot Hall of Famer this week, so we have to be better.”
 
(On not being able to stop the run game)
“You can’t rush the passer until you stop the run and we didn’t.”
 
(On if there is an emphasis this week on players getting their hands up in the passing lanes)
“Yeah, we’ve got to do it. Drew Brees is not the tallest quarterback, so we definitely got to get our hands up.”
 
(On New Orleans center Max Unger and New Orleans’ interior offensive linemen)
“[They have] a couple Pro Bowl guys inside, a new starter at left guard who was a back up center last year, played some right guard the years prior to that and [2013]. Drew Brees thrives off the guys in the middle and I don’t think this group is any different. We have to get after them.”
 
(On the mood in the locker room going into Week 2)
“Yeah, it’s a division opponent. You always get excited for a division opponent.”
 
(On the type of competitor Drew Brees is)
“He’s one of the biggest competitors we have in this league and that’s not going to stop until he retires so we need to bring it.”
 
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