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24 December 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Vincent Jackson needs 9 yards to reach 1,000 this season, which would mark his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season with the Buccaneers (fourth consecutive overall). If Jackson reaches 1,000 receiving yards this season, he will be only the second receiver in team history to post three such seasons (Joey Galloway, 2005-07). Jackson’s four consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards would be the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Calvin Johnson, five consecutive, 2010-14) and his six 1,000-yard receiving seasons since 2008 would tie for the most in the league during that span (Calvin Johnson & Brandon Marshall).
                                                                                                              
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Cornerback Alterraun Verner
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“Mason Foster [has an] Achilles [injury], he did not practice at all today. Achilles injury, you know, he hasn’t ruptured it yet, but it’s sore. Isaiah Frey, same thing, he didn’t practice today. We added Dashon Goldson to the list. Dashon has a shoulder that’s bothering him a little bit, should be good to go. Also Robert Herron wasn’t on the list yesterday. He has a hip flexor that’s giving him a little bit of trouble. Those are the only injuries that we have. Besides that, it’s our last hard day where we’re installing our game plan at least. Friday will be a full game plan day for us. That’s always good. You wonder about the attention right before you take some time off – which we’re going to do tomorrow – but guys just keep showing up, trying to get better. Division opponent this week, we’re going to do everything we can to win the football game. I’ve kind of answered that question quite a bit.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy being named to the Pro Bowl and linebacker Lavonte David being named an alternate)
“The one Pro Bowler [McCoy], he’s the best interior lineman, so he should be on the Pro Bowl team. It’s good that others besides the people around here that see him each day – the guys that play against him should vote him in. It’s not like it was a surprise. It’s an honor though, to be voted by your peers and fans and everyone, being on that team. Of course, with me being Lavonte David’s coach, I think he’s as good an outside linebacker as there is playing the game, period. Our defense didn’t have the type of year that we need to, our team didn’t have the type of year that we need to. I’m sure that didn’t help him any, but to me there are Pro Bowl players and then there’s guys that have maybe a Pro Bowl year. To me, Lavonte David is a Pro Bowl player. We’ll get him back there next year, hopefully along with our football team [being] better will help the case.
 
(On if there are practice squad players that he would like to see play against New Orleans)
“I think we’ve seen in these last weeks, we’ve moved – I bet, I don’t know what the numbers really say, but we’ve had more guys coming through, working them out; on the practice squad, moving them up, going down. We’ve looked at a lot of different players, so I think just about everyone we have here – except, of course, the safety we brought in this week – we’ve seen. I think there’s maybe a couple and we may try to get one of them up this week. So I think we’ve done that for the most part. And when I say we’re doing everything we can to win, that can be playing some young players too. Guys like Josh Allen haven’t gotten a lot of time and we’ve given him more time – more reps for him; Kevin Pamphile, some of our linemen that haven’t had a lot of reps, we’ll continue to try to get them some.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
 
(Opening statement)
“Final game of our season, a chance for our defense to line up against another very good offense and I think our guys are looking forward to this football game. We’re practicing well and it should be a good Sunday for our defense and that’s what we’re planning on.”
 
(On if linebacker Lavonte David will have a chance to make the Pro Bowl in this defensive system)
“I first want to congratulate Gerald [McCoy] on making the Pro Bowl, which is outstanding. Another great year for Gerald. It’s unfortunate that he was unable to finish the season with us, but he’s had a tremendous season and the players and fans recognize that, so congratulations to Gerald. I think for sure Lavonte will be able to make enough plays in this defense, you don’t have to go any further then Derrick Brooks to take a look at that. It’s been done before, he’ll continue to improve in this system and get better and we look forward to congratulating him on his first Pro Bowl starting appearance eventually. He’ll make enough plays in this system to go through the Pro Bowl.”
 
(On how much linebacker Mason Foster’s injuries have hurt the defense)
“That’s an important cog in the puzzle. Your middle linebacker, in a 4-3 scheme, he’s very, very important to your system. It’s unfortunate that Mason has been kind of in-and-out with the injuries throughout the season. That’s given guys like Dane [Fletcher] and Danny [Lansanah] some opportunities, but you would like to have a guy you’re preparing with every week during the course of the season. It doesn’t always happen in our league and that means other guys have to step up. Dane and Danny have done a pretty good job for us, but you would like to have a starting MIKE [Linebacker] that you can count on week in and week out.”
 
(On if the team believes Foster has the ability to play outside linebacker)
“He could possibly play outside, but we see him more as a middle linebacker here for what we do. Right now it’s not our mindset to move him outside. As I mentioned, it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t been able to stay on the field on a more ready basis, but we think he can play middle linebacker and play it well. We’re not thinking in that direction.”
 
(On cornerback Leonard Johnson’s performance this season as a nickel corner)
“He probably had his best game on Sunday. He really made some plays for us against some very good receivers, but he was in better position for the most part throughout the day. He gave up the one touchdown on the one-yard pass, but he did a lot of good things. He’s gotten better as time has gone on. It’s been a challenge for him at different times of the year, but I think the second half of the season he’s really improved, so that gives us some hope just watching his improvement. Now this Sunday, we’re playing against another very potent passing attack and we’ll learn more about him against a divisional opponent.”
 
(On the areas he believes the defense has gotten better)
“The obvious is the points allowed, that’s dramatic compared to where we were prior to the bye, but just seeing how some of the things that we were teaching as coaches have kind of came together after the bye. A lot of that had to do with our run defense getting better. I think we’re ninth right now in yards-per-carry, which is a big improvement from where we were. Just the guys buying in and our being able to teach it a little better and then having that time during the bye to just go back and just kind of start from scratch to try and get guys on the same page. I think we started having a little more continuity with the lineup as well. We had a lot of guys in-and-out. Once we got a little continuity, I think that helped us a little bit from a practice standpoint, to be able to practice with the same 11 for maybe two weeks in a row. It’s been unfortunate that we have been able to start with those guys all the time, but we were able to get some quality practices and that helped. That’s probably the biggest thing that I could point to, the fact that we were able to get the same guys on the field together, get some real practices together because part of this system is trusting one another in what you’re doing and knowing that this guy is going to be where he needs to be, but when you’re rotating guys all of the time, it’s a little bit tougher.”
 
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER
 
(On what they did well in the first game against New Orleans)
“The first Saints game in the beginning, I would say was probably one of our better performances. Especially the defense, we had an interception for a touchdown, Johnthan had a big interception in the first half and we were playing really, really well. The thing that we would want to replicate is that type of performance, but throughout the game, because in the second half, that’s where we started to give up stuff. They started to run the ball more efficiently and we were missing some tackles. We’re a better team than when we played then. As long as we just continue to do what we’ve been doing, we should put a much better effort than that and we gave up 30 points in the game. That’s how I look at, not to do too much different than we did from that game, but just control the things that we can control which was making tackles, stopping the run – that should help us out.”
 
(On trying to get the team’s first home victory)
“It’s big, not only because it’s the last game you would like to go into the offseason with a win – a good feeling – but also with it being at home against a division opponent, everything is stacking for us to get this win. We really, really want and need this win. It’s big to not be 0-8 [at home] and to finish this season with all of these losses. It will be good, it will be a nice little holiday pick me up if we can get this win.”
 
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