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22 December 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: This season, Tampa Bay ranks seventh in the NFL in total offense (374.2 yards per game) and fourth in rushing yards per game (141.5). The 347.2 yards per game would be the highest single-season mark in team history, while the 141.5 rushing yards per game would stand as the second-highest in franchise history (152.3 rushing yards per game, 1979).
                                                                         
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Wide Receiver Evan Spencer
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“It’s a little bit different talking about the game plan a day early. I see some of the local guys, I see the regulars aren’t here today, so it must be a Tuesday. But we have the main guys. Chicago Bears, we have a couple common opponents. They blew out the Rams and the Redskins beat them in a close one, so we haven’t crossed over an awful lot, but know their personnel fairly well. I know any team that is coached by John Fox, you know what type of ball they’re going to play. They have some skill guys that you have to deal with – quarterback, running back, wide receiver. It will be a good challenge for our defense. We talked about how we haven’t taken the ball away. It’s really hurt our football team, not being able to do that. We need to create some takeaways on that side. On the other side of the football we need to keep doing what we’re doing. I’m talking about having balance, whether it be us wanting to run the football or pass it and finishing drives as much as anything, along with protecting the football too. Special teams-wise, you are always looking for that spark from your special teams. We have a lot to look forward to this week. Injury-wise we’ll go over the injury list tomorrow, but everyone is getting better.”
 
(On facing a team he formerly coached)
“Well there’s not a whole lot [of players still on the team] – time kind of does that a little bit – but I understand the team that we’re playing. Just like last week, I had a lot of fond memories of my time in St. Louis, [I have] a lot of fond memories from my time in Chicago. As you said, we look across to an opponent on the other side. We need to play the best game we’ve played all year, whoever is on the other side. There won’t be any family reunions or anything like that going on. We’re just trying to get a win.”
 
(On who he hopes represents Tampa Bay in the Pro Bowl)
“It’s hard. I don’t want to leave anybody out. If you just go on numbers – I think a lot of time [the] Pro Bowl is kind of, you can look at it a couple of different ways. We have a couple players that have been Pro Bowl players, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David. That has to help you. It’s not like they’ve changed or anything like that. You start with them. Based on what has happened this year, who is playing better football than Doug Martin? I think it’s not a stretch to say he should be on that team. In order for our running back to have that type of year, somebody on our offensive line is playing pretty good football. We’ll kind of let it play out. I think the teams that vote on it – we don’t vote on it ourselves – so the teams that vote on it, I think that they’ll see what I see.”
 
(On an added emphasis on avoiding penalties in the last two games of the season)
“We have to improve in a lot of areas, but we have had too many penalties this year. Yes, that’s discipline, whatever you want to call it. In order to become a championship team you have to take care of that. When I say penalties, I’ve kind of grouped those into types of penalties that we’re talking about. Post-play penalties, pre-snap – that’s not the hard part. The hard part should be after the ball is snapped. Those areas, yes we would like to eliminate those completely as we go into 2016.”
 
(On how wide receiver Evan Spencer can help on special teams)
“[He’s] another big athlete. You are always looking for athletes with a little bit of size that can do a lot of different things. At the receiver position, that’s the way Russell Shepard made his name. Through just my time in the league, I’ve seen guys with a similar talent level as Evan, they get an opportunity – we’ve been looking at him for a long time on the [practice] squad. Again, he’s got good size, he can catch, he’s a tough guys, good speed. That’s why we moved him up. For our practice squad, we put guys on we think eventually deserve to move up. It’s good to see guys like that get their opportunity. We have a few guys on our football team like that right now. Just look at the receiver position, Donteea Dye was in a similar position, of course, Adam Humphries, so it’s good to see him move up.”
 
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s attitude against St. Louis)
“I think every time Jameis opens his mouth it’s positive energy he’s putting out, but Jameis has been that way for a long period of time. You saw some of it then. It was a big game. Guys want to do what they can to encourage their teammates. It’s peer pressure, which is a good thing also. Again, that’s kind of Jameis.”
 
(On if Winston’s attitude is unusual for a rookie)
“I haven’t had a lot of rookies that have been in the quarterback position. Kwon Alexander, of course, I saw him become more and more vocal. Once you get in those – Mike linebacker, quarterback – positions where you can’t remain silent. People want to hear what you have to say and we have two guys that when they talk, you should listen. By now, two games left to go in our season right? That’s a lot of football that has been played. That rookie title has kind of left them a long time ago.”
 
(On linebacker Jeremiah George)
“What we like about Jeremiah is we have a certain type of linebacker that we play with. Size, we don’t worry a lot about how much they weigh, how do they move in the open field, can they play in the open field, what type of agility, speed do they have and will they hit, do they play hard? All of these things, he does. Sometimes you have to wait for your opportunity too. He got, I think, a play or so the other night. Kind of like what we saw from it. There’s a reason why we brought him here and again right now the role we’ve asked him to play is on special teams. It’s left up to him to make us put him in other positions.”
 
(On if Bruce Carter will play middle linebacker against Chicago if healthy)
“You can understand on a Tuesday why I would like to answer that question, but [can’t]. I’ve kind of answered it the same way for these 14 weeks. We like Bruce. We put him in that position and then he got hurt. Hopefully he’ll be healthy this week and we’ll see.”
 
(On linebacker Josh Keyes performance against St. Louis)
“I think he played okay for the first time out. Tough situation to go in, but one we felt like we needed to make. After about the first series or so, we thought he settled down and did some good things for your first game as an NFL player. That’s how he played.”
 
(On if he’ll use these last two games to evaluate his young players for the future)
“Yes we do. We’ve been doing that, of course, throughout, but these last couple of games, one more shot for everybody, one last look. What happens these last couple of weeks, that’s going to leave a lasting impression on us, whether it be through leadership, through a certain amount of play that we haven’t seen. Yes, these are important games for us to see something that we haven’t seen or just to confirm some things that we’re thinking right now. It is good for us, again, we’ve seen an awful lot from some of our young players but there are still some more things for us to see.”
 
(On the character of defensive tackle Clinton McDonald)
“No I don’t think you’re overestimating [his leadership] at all. We’ve talked about young leaders, Jameis [Winston], Kwon [Alexander] coming up, Gerald [McCoy] has a role, Lavonte [David], Logan [Mankins], there’s a lot of players, Vincent Jackson, that have a role on our football team. Starting off with captains, we added one more captain this year based on who he is. It’s not a popularity contest. You move into those roles based on what [the players] have seen, what they see on a daily basis. Clinton – that’s tough – he’s our anchor, can’t play anymore football [this season]. You’re role has changed Clinton, we need you to do this. He just embraced it. Yeah, you notice that on the sideline. He’s just as involved as you can possibly be on the sideline. He means an awful lot to our football team. A lot of our younger players, he’s one of the first guys they go to for advice and he’s a guy that you want talking to, not only the young players, all of the guys on our team”
 
(On McDonald being a ‘glue guy’)
“All good teams have them. It’s not scripted on who moves into that role. It’s based on what [the players] see on a daily basis and we see the same thing from Clinton McDonald. Every day he’s the same guy.”
 
(On wide receiver Kenny Bell)
“Again, it’s along the same thing, you’re out, you can’t participate that what, what can you do? You can gain so much from watching and for a rookie coming in having an old redshirt year and Kenny has taken advantage of it. He’s been in all the meetings, in tune, he’s traveled with us every game. Except for actual game day and practicing with the team, he’s doing an awful lot. That hamstring that kind of knocked him out and some other things, he’s be able to really take care of that and before you know it he’ll be back with this group. We’ll be expecting big things from him.”
 
(On if not producing takeaways is going to stick in his mind after the season is over)
“It’s there right now. You look at all the teams that are really doing something right now. Look at the last four games, we’ve had one. It’s just not how it works, not how it works around any football team that I’ve been on. You need to finish strong, get more at the end and find a way to take the ball away. You start checking off things to improve on in 2016, things we have to do a better job of in 2016 is that – taking the ball away.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On what he learned from training with retired NFL wide receiver Randy Moss)
“It was very beneficial, picking the brain of one of the greatest of all time. It helped me, I know how to get open better now. I just have to stick to the fundamentals.”
 
(On if the opportunity was rewarding)
“Yeah, absolutely. He taught me things about the game that I get to see from his perspective. He’s one of the greatest to do it so that’s always good, working with Randy.”
 
(On being one of only six players in NFL history to record 1,000 yards receiving in their first two seasons)
“That’s cool, [but] it’s just age. Odell [Beckham Jr.] did it as well, but he’s a couple months older than me, it’s just age. It doesn’t really matter.”
 
(On if Carolina cornerback Josh Norman tries to get in the head of his opponent)
‘Yeah he does, but I think Odell [Beckham Jr.] was probably upset about the touchdown he dropped. I would’ve been upset as well and I would’ve probably got in my head and I would’ve been going at him as well. That probably factored in the most part.”
 
(On facing Chicago’s secondary)
“[Tracy] Porter and [Kyle] Fuller are there corners. I played against [Fuller] last year and I played against Porter when he was in Washington. They’re good players. A vet guy, Porter, and Fuller is a good young corner. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”
 
(On what the team is trying to prove in its last home game this season)
“It’s just momentum. Just get momentum for next year – we don’t have a chance at the playoffs – get momentum for next year and no one wants to lose, so we want to win these last two games and we want to put on a good show for our home crowd to give them something to think about next year.”
 
(On if it was a goal of his to gain 1,000 yards receiving this season)
“It wasn’t a goal. I should get that if I get the targets and stay healthy, I should get that. I just want to be consistent and make all my plays.”
 
(On his consistency this season)
“It was obviously down this year, but I could be better and I will be.”
 
(On his chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston)
“Jameis is going to be a great player in this league for a long time. We fell short this past week, but hopefully we’re together for a long time and we can just put up numbers for a long time and win a lot of games. That’s the goal and it’s possible.”
 
(On if he and Winston developed a rhythm against St. Louis)
“Yeah, absolutely, they were blitzing a lot and I had a lot of one-on-one matchups, so he was finding me. I love that he has that trust in me, just like I have trust in him. We can be a great combo.”
 
(On the team’s young offensive core)
“It excites me a lot. We’re very young. The sky is the limit for us. If we put in the work and stay disciplined and not beat ourselves we can be a dangerous team for a long time.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER EVAN SPENCER
 
(On getting promoted to the active roster)
“It’s amazing, I get to fulfill a childhood dream and get to go out there and play football against another NFL team and suit up for an NFL team. It’s something I’ve looked forward to for a very long time and it being against Chicago makes it even better.”
 
(On his familiarity with the city of Chicago)
“I grew up there, so I went to junior high, middle school; I’m still really close with my friend back there, so I’m sure I’ll probably be getting texts all week and after the game. I’m excited to play them and I’m ready to contribute in any way I can.”
 
(On his time with the Washington Redskins)
“I got hurt towards the end of the preseason and then because of number issues and because they needed to bring some other guys in for different circumstances, I ended up having to get the boot off the roster, which things happen for a reason. I’m down here and I get a chance to play against the Chicago Bears for my first NFL game. Something happened for a reason, I’m excited.”
 
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