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23 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans has 11 receiving touchdowns this season, tied for the most in a single season in franchise history and tied for the third-most total touchdowns in a single season in team history (second-most by a rookie).
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Quarterbacks Coach Marcus Arroyo
Quarterback Josh McCown
Tackle Demar Dotson
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(On the injury report)
“I’m told tomorrow [the injury report] will be given, but not much, you’ll see tomorrow. We’re in pretty good shape. How’s that?’”
 
(On linebacker Mason Foster’s injury)
“I can tell you quite a bit tomorrow. Tomorrow we will go over it in details. In detail we will go over it tomorrow all that you would like to know.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy potentially making the Pro Bowl)
“If you just listen to my comments that I’ve made about Gerald when I say ‘best interior lineman in the game’ [it’s] what I feel. [It’s] A biased statement, but I don’t think I am by myself. Gerald is one of the best interior guys, he can rush the passer – comparing him to others that I’ve seen – if he’s on the [Pro Bowl] team, I can see why.”
 
(On linebacker Lavonte David potentially making the Pro Bowl)
“I describe him the same way. Lavonte’s stats aren’t exactly what – if you’re going on stats you would say ‘Hmm.’ But Lavonte is as good of a cover, all-around outside linebacker as there is. He can do it all, I get a chance to see him up close and personal. I’ve seen the linebackers that go to the Pro Bowl, I’ve had a chance to coach them, I know what they look like and that is definitely the case with him. If you just start with those two guys, I think it wouldn’t be a shock if they’re on the All-Pro team.”
 
(On not seeing David’s and McCoy’s play slip despite the team’s record)
“When I talk about hope and that we won’t be down here long, it’s because of guys like that. They don’t need a pep talk, they haven’t needed a pep talk after a tough loss or to get motivated for the next game. Of course Gerald is out and he’s not playing, but you hear him, you see him, [he] has about as much life as anyone could have and Lavonte is the same guy always. It doesn’t surprise me, but it’s my first time being around them and that’s why we will make that quick climb back up to the top.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans)
“Just for a rookie to come in – and that’s tough duty, to come in and for Mike he had a hamstring injury early on – but just a lot of fanfare and then you have to produce on the field. He’s played against good defensive backs. There was a period of time where everyone knew they had to stop him and they knew we were going to throw the ball to him. There was a period of time where the only success we had was throwing the football, defenses knew that, and he continued to make plays throughout. You set the bar your first year. He set a pretty high bar, but that’s where his bar should be set. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching him grow.”
 
(On what’s it going to take for Evans to take his game to the next level)
“I think just normal growth is what it will take for him, which he’ll do. Again, you set the bar the first year, now this offseason is important. Last year I don’t know what he was doing, walking around in his letterman jacket or something like that, but now he knows his role, he knows what it’s like and what it takes to play in the league, so this offseason will be important for him to get into the best possible shape. We would probably have him play a little lighter, a few pounds lighter, but then it’s just working hard: catching the football, running his routes and just improving his craft, which he’ll do, [he’s] a coachable guy. Again, that is what gives us hope. That’s why you don’t see just doom-and-gloom around here, we’re down now, but these type of guys like that are just going to bring us back up.”
 
(On the last opportunity the players have this season on Sunday)
“We’ve been saying another and another, but now it’s the last time – lasting impression. You remember the last thing that you see most of the time and for some of the players – we’ve talked about Gerald, Lavonte and Mike Evans, we know what they are – but for some of the other players that haven’t done an awful lot yet or haven’t gotten the opportunity, these are valuable reps for them to show us: first, I want to be here and as we rise I’m going to be a part that and I’m going to be one of the reasons that we come up. This is an important football game.”
 
(On if he wishes the season would continue to see players continue to step up)
“When you have two wins, for me, not a part of me, I know when you’re in this season – the sooner we end it, the quicker we start the next one as I see it. I’m looking forward to that next stage. I’m talking an awful lot about next, next, next when we have New Orleans coming up so I’m a little uncomfortable about what we’re going to do later on. Again, this week is about finishing it off the right way and we have time for everything else.”
 
(On Evans and wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s performances this season)
“We haven’t completed the overall plan, but as you’re glass half-full, you’re looking for positives from a year like this. It is a positive on us seeing that we do have our two receivers on the outside. When we started the season we kind of saw them having a 1,000 yards and being a factor each week and it’s played out that way. Different quarterbacks, we’ve had some issues with the offensive line, but that’s a positive part and I do want to have balance, but to me as much as anything we want to have balance and be able to move the ball and score some points. In the end it really doesn’t matter how we do it, but just in the history of the league, it’s just hard to win consistently when you can’t run the football and that’s something that we will definitely address.”
 
(On how defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers has performed)
“Okay. He’s gotten more reps the last couple of weeks. When I talk about how important this game is for some players, a guy like Da’Quan, he needs to leave his mark. He’s been around here awhile, shown flashes – the guys that flash guys, now they need to put it together and when you know ‘this is my last opportunity right now,’ you should get the best. He’s definitely in that group of guys that need to step up this week.”
 
(On how much his past success helps him get through a disappointing season like this year)
“It helps, but I’m not one that needs the pep talk either. I know what we’re going to do and I know that sometimes you have to go through adversity. I know that I have never been on a team that has two wins this late in the season, but new things happen to you and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, as you analyze what happened, we are close. Again, I haven’t really thought about that an awful lot, but my confidence hasn’t – I’m just disappointed in where we are right now like some of our players, but we won’t be down here long.”
 
(On what’s been keeping wide receiver Robert Herron on the inactive list on game days)
“Just other players. Even if it’s a sixth-round – and I’m not even going to say sixth-round, but there’s just not a whole lot of room. If you look, we’ve talked about Vincent [Jackson], he’s a receiver, you talk about Vincent and you talk about Mike and Louis Murphy, he isn’t here but has been pretty good too. Sometimes numbers really do get you. It’s no indictment against him or he’s a disappointment or anything like that, it’s just that it wasn’t his time. The offseason is big for him also, but we saw that speed and that quickness and we’ve seen an awful lot on the practice field, but I think he’s right about where he should be the way he came onto our football team.”
 
(On New Orleans and the talent they have compared to their record)
“There’s a few teams that are disappointed in the league – that’s how it goes. About half of them in the league each year will be disappointed and the Saints, of course, can be a part of that. They have good talent. As a football team, talking offensively, everyone just assumes they’re pass, pass, pass – and they do. I think they’re No. 1 in the league in total offense now – they do pass the ball a lot. But [they have a] commitment to the run also; just from the outside looking in, you wouldn’t assume [that]. So that’s impressive. They have, of course, great skill guys too. Defensively, they’ll probably describe the season a lot like we [would]: disappointed in where they are, they fought through injuries – there’s a lot of reasons why they’re down, their injuries, I think, being one of them. But that’s the league. There’s not a big difference between the top and the bottom in the league. A few breaks here and there, get a little momentum early on can kind of get you over the hump – we know how that is right now. So again, we know what we’ll see this weekend.”
 
(On if anyone on the coaching staff will coach the Senior Bowl)
“You’re looking far ahead right now. I just now we have this New Orleans game right now and I don’t know much more than that. New Orleans is up and that’s occupying all of our time. A little bit different week, as you can see, from how we’re handling this Christmas week, and that’s all we’re really kind of focusing on.”
 
(On if he would put quarterback Josh McCown in the category of players that will have to use this final game to convince the team to bring them back next season)
“Josh is a part of that, yes. Everybody that plays – everybody that we’re playing, putting on the football field, yes, I feel like and they feel like they have something to prove. And they want to – no matter what’s happened, [you] can’t do anything about those other 15 [games], but everybody that’s played and will play, yes, they need to play well and show us their best, period. Simple as that.”
 
(On if cornerback Alterraun Verner is starting to play like the player that he envisioned when he was signed this past offseason)
“He’s played a lot better lately, yes. You mentioned some of the great players he has played against [this season], but that’s every week too. Just look in our league, just the schedule in general – I just think now you look, just about every team has a couple of receivers that are really good – at least one – and when you’re a one corner slot, you’re going to get him, so it’s the same tough duty with life as a cornerback in the league. That will definitely be the case this week. This week, of course, we’ve played them, so guys really know. Verner will tell you – I think he had an interception last time, one [when] we played the Saints. But I know he left at least one, maybe two, on the field last time also. Verner has done some good things. If he had just held onto a couple of more of those interceptions, this season would even look a lot better.”
 
QUARTERBACKS COACH MARCUS ARROYO
 
(On potentially having two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season)
“I think it’s a bright spot obviously. Both those guys [Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans] are deserving – their work on the field and during practice and obviously putting the process of what we’re trying to get done. Both those guys have done a really nice job and I think they’re deserving of that type of reward, as far as just what they’re doing on the field. They’ve reaped those benefits and it’s nice to see the numbers obviously, but more than anything, just to see their success and to see the things we see in them show up – just continue to do the right things. And we’ve got to continue to do with those guys because they’re obviously very promising. They can do some very special things and [it is] exciting for the group to have those guys more than anything because it takes a lot of people to make that happen. But those guys are special guys – we’ve seen that from the jump and trying to get them to be that way and to give us a chance has been great. They’ve done a great job.”
 
(On if he has noticed wide receiver Mike Evans picking up on the habits of wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“Yeah, Mike’s a student of the game for a young guy in the league obviously. Coming from another perspective, another young person, you see the other guys who are taking in the surroundings, taking in some of the veteran things around them. You can see Mike reading some of the mannerisms and taking a lot of things into account. He does a nice job with that and I think it will continue to get better. I think I said earlier on, it’s great to have a guy like [Vincent] around Mike. I’m sure he’d say the same thing obviously.”
 
(On how difficult it has been to evaluate the young talent on the offensive line while having to play the five best players)
“I think goes a little further probably past my desk in the evaluation process. It’s nice to see the young guys go out each day to work; just even to see guys move around and see guys you haven’t seen just to continue to see what you have is nice, and see guys go out and play and make mistakes and make good plays and how they bounce back and how they handle the adversity and how they handle the plays that they really enjoy and how they respond in the meeting room on a Monday. I think all that is – really, the only part I get to see – as far as them evaluating, as far as the depth chart and all that stuff – that’s really Lovie and Jason [Licht]. But just to see those guys go out there and have a chance to compete is obviously exciting for us, especially with the young group.”
 
(On if he can point to any specific reasons why the rushing attack has not been successful)
“I think the things that stick out are the things that we talk about. We set a high standard and Coach has a high standard for both sides of the ball. We set a high standard early and not accomplishing those goals is obviously disappointing and getting those things done. But all those goals and all those things that win on Sunday – all those things we put forth early on, they’re all tied together. Obviously you sit back every week and you want to be able to look back and flash those things up and say you were close to getting this – at times, you did it; the closer your times to running the ball the way you wanted to, the closer your times to having the turnovers that you knew would dictate to win a game, and it’s just that one play here and that one play there. Someone asked me the other day, ‘What’s the thing you learned the most in the experience you had,’ I think that I said at that time that the keys to victory still are the keys to winning at this level [as] they were in college – and that’s where I’m coming from. But looking at that, to answer your question, those are the things that are most disappointing. Those are the things that are like, ‘Could I have done a little bit more here and done there more? Would one play here, one play there…?’ Those are the things you look back on and you’re like you’re one play away – you’re one play away here, you’re one play away there, you’re one series away here; and those one plays are – that’s a process. That one play is a process of a Monday morning meeting perhaps, and it meant, ‘How can I get that fixed?’ I think looking back on it, having the opportunity obviously as a staff, we’ve got to go back and look at it and say, ‘How come?’ And we’ve done that each week obviously and these guys have done a great job with the situation we’ve been dealt – just going in each week and trying to say, ‘How can we get a little better here, a little better there? Can your meeting be better? Could I have handled that in one less drill? Maybe one less rep here, one more rep there?’ And then just a group that’s trying to gel together; you just find out that you’ve got a lot of experience, you find out a lot of guys who just haven’t played together. You get times where guys try out things that they shouldn’t – whether you’re pressing or not pressing, or you’re engaged or you’re not engaged, you’re playing [or] you’re not playing, you’re injured, you got in a group – all those things that came to fruition are just the way it is. I think we’ve got to move forward and really evaluate that and find a way to make those things balance up to what it is we wanted to accomplish with our goals.”
 
(On how he has grown this season as a coach)
“The situation is what it is. The cards – we deal with [the hand we’re dealt] and that’s the way it goes. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I’ve mentioned early on I’ve been through a lot of stuff personally and that’s just the way it is. You’ve just got to get through it. You’ve got to be – obviously have a good attitude, make no excuses for it, really look yourself in the mirror and see if you can have a chance to get up and say that you’re proud of the way you worked and went forward and had a great attitude working with your guys and working together and finding ways to get better. I think obviously as a competitor and someone who’s really trying to get things done and really finding a lot of the things you do and trying to get things exactly right, you’re disappointed in the way that you handled some situations, you’re excited about the other way that you did some things. But I’m no different than any other rookie in my opinion. I’ve got a lot of things on my list that I know I want to really make really well. There are some things that I really like that I’ve done. But those things are really the last thing I’m thinking about. I’m concerned about how I can have my meeting better tomorrow morning; how today’s practice – I can go out and have one rep better with Josh [McCown] and Mike [Glennon] and Mike [Kafka]; and how I can have a meeting tomorrow with the offense and talk about third downs and how we can be where we want to be versus New Orleans, because that’s the only thing I have really control over right now. Everything else, I’ve got to look back at and grow from, and I’ve had that approach because of the predecessors that I’ve had. Fortunately I’ve had some really good guys who have taught me that and I think it would have been a lot harder if I hadn’t had those guys to understand the role I’m in is really just the one that’s right in front of my face. I’ve got to deal with it as it is and I think the staff has done a great job, and Lovie’s support and all that stuff. I’m one day at a time. Today is a Tuesday practice for New Orleans before Christmas and the only thing I’m worried about is can we be efficient on first down in today’s practice, because that’ll give us a chance on Sunday, and execute.”
 
(On running back Charles Sims)
“I think with such a freak dynamic out of the backfield catching the ball and running. Obviously coming off a little bit, you can see a little bit each week coming off that injury a little bit where he gets a little more explosive with that one step. ‘I haven’t seen that step since the first week of camp,’ and then, ‘OK, that’s something new.’ He’s getting confident too. You can see he’s getting more confident doing some of the stuff. So that’s – again, it’s the same thing with all those guys. It’s really nice to see because he has a very special skill set.”
                                                                                                    
QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN
 
(On what he feels rookie wide receiver Mike Evans has improved upon this season)
“I think his route running is getting cleaner and he’s getting better in those areas. It’s still his first year, so there’s still a lot to improve on, but, I think more than anything just his intent – the way he plays, the way he practices. Just so much more confident. Obviously you see it translate in the games in his aggressiveness to go get the ball and to want the ball, but I think, more than anything, his route running has gotten better.”
 
(On whether he feels Evans has picked up knowledge from wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“Yeah, I mean, I’m sure there is, because of the way that Vince comes to work and the pro that he is. I’m sure there are several things that Mike’s caught out of that and applied to his game. It’s great value to have a guy like Vince in that room, not only for what he brings on the field, but what he does to that room, especially for a young player like Mike.”
 
(On what there is to play for in Week 17)
“It’s the same as usual: to win the game. I think for us to go out and to play better football, especially offensively. What we did last week was not something anybody wants to put their name on and we’ve got to do better than that. Every year from season to season, things change, and you don’t know who’s going to be back, who’s not going to be back and part of this group and all that, so you have one more time to go out and play with that group and try to get something accomplished. That’s what it’s about, and it’s ultimately about winning the game and for as much as it can be, a little boost as you go into the offseason just to feel good about your last opportunity to go play.”
 
(On Jackson and Evans both being in position to finish with over 1,000 receiving yards this season)
“It says a lot about those guys. I said it Sunday, but you try to find some good in all this, some positives, and that’s certainly one thing that we can look at and be pleased with and can build on. I’ve had the good fortune of being around that before in Arizona with those guys and seeing guys go do that and then recently with the guys in Chicago. When you have that kind of talent outside, that can make those kinds of plays, you feel like you’re secure at that position, and that’s a good thing moving forward for the Bucs.”
 
(On whether he has considered Week 17 being the final game of his career)
“You know what, you try to approach every one of them that way, just so that you get the value, you enjoy the moment, get everything out of every game. I’ll treat this one no different. I don’t know if it’s at that point yet. Obviously right now, at this point in the season, your body’s tired and all those things, but once you get away from it and kind of reassess things – I feel good and my plan right now is to keep playing, yeah.”
 
(On quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo)
“I’ll tell you what, I have so much respect for him because, just what you said, he’s taken on a lot. He’s never complained once. He’s kind of wearing two hats and he is working his tail off and spends a lot of time up here and does so many little things that people don’t know about to try to help us. As a player, it hurts you that we don’t get the results, because you want to play for guys like that, you want to see positive things happen for people like that. I believe that will happen for him at some point and I know he has learned a lot. But I have so much respect for him and I’m better for being around him this year and getting to watch him handle what he’s handled and he certainly has grown, no doubt about it, from Week 1 to now. To be in that situation and to take two receivers over 1,000 yards, that’s kind of a cool thing for him, all things considered. But, more than anything, just his attitude has been so encouraging. It’s been cool to be around him.”
 
(On whether he feels there was ever a time where the offense really felt it had come together)
“I’d probably have to step back and look at it again, just the season as a whole. We were just so inconsistent. That’s the thing is just, all of us never stepped up like you said and really had that kind of game where we all said, ‘Man, everybody’s playing well,’ and then took it to another week. We all had moments when we played well and then others when we didn’t, and it was just, nobody was ever on the same page at the same time. So I don’t know if there was ever [that moment of coming together] – but there were certainly some good things that happened. I felt like the middle part of the year, it felt like things were getting tighter. We were just working through kind of who we were gonna be [early in the year] and all those things, especially once Marcus took over, because I think you can take over an offense, but you always have your own mindset or kind of your way that you want to do things or the way that you see things, so to try and factor that in took some time, too. But obviously never got consistent enough play from everyone to really say that we had that moment.”
 
(On working with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy)
“I loved being his teammate. I’m honored to say that I was a captain with him. I think he’s deserving of the Pro Bowl, no question. Just the way he works, he’s a pro. It never changed, nothing’s changed. He’s the same guy from the day I’ve been here until when he got injured, so I think that’s really – when you’re playing at that kind of a level, and you’ve achieved that, I think that’s what you want people to say about you is, ‘Man, that guy, whatever’s happened along the way, he’s been the same person, he’s the same guy and he works the same way.’ So I think it’s a really good thing that he’s going to be here for a long time, because he’s certainly somebody that you can build your team around for sure.”
 
(On his appreciation for McCoy’s game)
“Yeah, because when you see him making the plays on the field, you know there’s physical talent there, that he’s got a skillset that’s maybe a little different from some peoples, because he has gifts, but also, you see him making plays and you go, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen the guy work, too, though,’ and you realize how much the work that he does pays off, and how hard he competes in practice. To see that manifest itself in the game, it definitely adds the respect level to that guy, because you know he’s not just winning off physical talent, he’s winning off preparation and work ethic and those things.”
 
TACKLE DEMAR DOTSON
 
(On how badly the offensive line wants to bounce back against New Orleans after their performance last week against Green Bay)
“I think that we know we’ve got one more opportunity to put it on film. This will probably be the last time that we’ll all be together as a whole offensive unit. So that means we’ve just got one more opportunity and just go out there and fight and give it everything we’ve got. So we’ll all make the best of it.”
 
(On how his second game at left tackle compared to his first game)
“I felt more comfortable than the first time, so I think that I’m starting to get more comfortable. So a little more reps and keep working at it, I’ll keep getting better at it.”
 
(On facing a tough Green Bay defensive front seven last week in only his second career game at left tackle)
“I was up for the challenge though. Nobody expects me to be perfect – just go out there and fight and keep getting better. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. So with the right time and work and effort, I’ll be good over there.”
 
(On what has been most difficult with his transition to left tackle)
“It’s just a lack of reps over there, not working over there and lack of experience over there and not feeling as comfortable as I want to. That’s the biggest thing. But it all takes time and I’ll get there. I know I will.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On how much it would mean for him to have over 1,000 receiving yards in his rookie season)
“It’s good because [Vincent Jackson] is on the same pace and I think it’s like the first time in Bucs history for two receivers with 1,000 [yards in the same season], so that would be pretty cool. We would be one of the best duos in the league.”
 
(On what he’s been able to learn from Vincent Jackson)
“He talks to me a lot, but I get more just watching him. Watching him in practice, he practices hard, he looks like the freshest guy out there and it’s his 10th or 11th year. In the game, he doesn’t get frustrated. I get frustrated sometimes, but I watch him and it calms me down. He’s been a big help.”
 
(On how much Evans has grown as a football player this season)
“I’ve grown a lot. I can read coverages better. Early on, I knew the offense well, but not as well as I did when I got in a couple of more games. Then I started playing fast and now I know the cornerbacks’ tendencies and things like that now, and next year is going to be a lot of fun.”
 
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