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11 November 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Per Stats Inc., this season, Tampa Bay is averaging 6.61 yards per first down play, the second-highest mark in the league.
                                                                       
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter
Quarterback Jameis Winston
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“How about the injury list first? We had a few more guys than normal not practicing. Vincent Jackson, Ali Marpet, Tony McDaniel were excused from practice today, Jacquies Smith and Alterraun Verner with a foot [injury], it flared up a little bit after the game. Then we had four guys that were limited in practice. We need a couple of the guys to step up a little bit since our numbers were down a little bit, but we were able to do that. We realize what’s at stake. You go through the season – we just finished up the first half of our season – and it’s always about what you do as you finish the game at the end. This second half is important for us. We realize it’s a home game and what’s at stake, who we are playing, all of that. We are making progress in areas, not enough to win consistently, but hopefully after the break starting this second half we’ll get some of those things taken care of – playing harder, eliminating some of the penalties and then making a few more plays.”
 
(On tackle Demar Dotson saying he was told last week he would be the starter and then being told this week he will not start)
“If that’s correct. You have to be careful about that. Demar Dotson was told last week that he would be active and he would be ready to play this week. I don’t give out starting positions a week in advance. I don’t know exactly where he got that. He was told he would be active and he practiced today. The continuity part – I’m saying the same thing – we’re not going to keep something going just for that sake, but if we like what we’ve seen when someone has gotten an opportunity to play – and a lot of times that’s the case – we will go with that.”
 
(On how to fix neutral zone infraction and post-whistle penalties)
“Too many. What do you do to correct it? You address it when it happens and you keep preaching it. It’s just like everything else. We have techniques we’re not doing correctly. You keep working on them in practice, in the game and you keep taking different measures, different steps, which we’ll do. Yes, I acknowledge everything you said. 3-5 teams do that sometimes, but eventually you can be a 3-5 team and get halfway through you season and guys focus a lot more and realize some of those things are bigger than ‘me’ and the team needs me to do this in order for us to win. Some things are hard, but before the snap and after the whistle is blown, that shouldn’t cause us to lose any football games. We’ll keep working on it just like we do everything else is the answer.”
 
(On using analytical data for game planning)
“Of course, we use portions of it. We do trust our eyes in the end. Analytics can only take you so far. We do all the research, we get all the research, all the data, but then when it comes down to it, as a play caller, as far as Dirk [Koetter] is concerned you do have to trust what is happening at that moment. You can only get so much from standard answers to questions or whatever. Everything available we try to use to come to a conclusion on when you have to make decisions that you have to make.”
 
(On Dallas quarterback Matt Cassel and if he is getting better every week he has started for the Cowboys)
“Most people do. When you keep coaching someone you want to see improvement. Matt Cassel has played at a high level in this league, so you expect that from a veteran player that has been in different systems. No doubt, he’s getting better. His best ball was played this past week so we’re going to get the best Matt Cassel that we’ve seen in a while. That’s what we are expecting. Of course they added more guys – Dez Bryant another week with what he’s done. You look at their offensive line, a lot of first-rounders, a lot of Pro Bowlers. They still have a lot of weapons on the offensive side. When you lose your starting quarterback, but they haven’t had their starting quarterback in a long time and this group that they are going with we need to be ready for.”
 
(On how proud he is of quarterback Jameis Winston since rebounding from the Carolina game)
“I think as we talked about the penalties – post, pre-snap – you have a problem then you just make up your mind that you’re not going to have to deal with it any more. You’re going to do something about it, stop it. Jameis is part of the process of becoming a veteran in the league. You have to go through some growing pains. He’s done that. I just know when some of those things happened he acknowledged them and said ‘I’m going to do something about it.’ As far as his play, [I’m] very impressed with what he has done, fighting through that and playing consistent football throughout and he’s trending [up]. We haven’t seen the best Jameis Winston yet. As we go through this second half of the season, we’re going to need all of our players, especially our best players, to elevate their game.”
 
(On the importance of the support he got from his teammates after the Carolina game)
“Important. You care what your teammates think of you. Sometimes you have to be in tough situations to see exactly how they feel about you and this is what we do when things aren’t going exactly the way we would like them to. He’s earned that. Guys like you and they support you when they are doing what you’re supposed to do to help the team win.”
 
(On how linebacker Lavonte David can improve)
“Just keep doing what he’s doing. There’s no magic pill for any of it. Our best players, head football coach has to do a whole lot better job – coordinators, coaches, everybody on the team. Some of our stars we expect them to play like stars each week. None of us have done that yet. None of us have done our job as well as we can and we will. What you do is you just keep working and that’s what Lavonte David does. Nobody works hard than him. Sometimes things just don’t happen for whatever reason, but you keeping coming, keep working hard and eventually you will. That will be the case with him. He’s a great player.”
 
(On how to maximize David’s skillset in this defense)
“No, it just hasn’t happened the first half of the season. It will happen the second half of the season. I think it’s as simple as that with him. Sometimes it’s hard to have four great quarters of football. For him, he’ll have a great second half if I know Lavonte David.”
 
(On changing the defensive schematics to better utilize David’s strengths)
“We’re running our defense the way we want it ran and in the second half it will look better.”
 
(On if Demar Dotson could play left tackle after Dotson said he didn’t want to)
“We all have wants. As far as where we are going to play him, we like Donovan Smith playing there right now. We don’t have to make all the decisions right now, on a Wednesday. We’ll see how it works. What I’m excited about is getting Demar back. We got Evan Smith back. We’re adding more players to the mix as much as anything and when guys get an opportunity to play we like what they’ve been able to do. It’s good to get Demar back out there where he can dress and start getting back into the flow.”
 
(On knowing Dallas Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and how that factors into the game plan)
“I think sometimes that’s kind of blown out of proportion a little bit. We played Carolina with Ron Rivera and most of their coaches [I’ve known for] a long period of time. I think each week there is someone you know, some of them intimately a little bit more, but it’s what happens after. We don’t know what they are going to do until the plays starts. What can you do then? It’s going ot be about execution. We can look at the video and know what they’re going to do. They know that. In the end I don’t think you win games based on that.”
 
(On how close did Tampa Bay come to signing Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy and if his off-field issues where the deciding factor to bring him in)
“This has been my comment on every available player out there; we look at them. Every player that’s available we’re going to do our research on them and come to a conclusion on what direction we need to go. We didn’t go that direction. Again, if there is anybody that is available our crew will look at them. He’s happy there. I’m sure he’s a great football player. We’re definitely happy with the guys we have here.”
 
(On if the New York game was the best performance he has seen this season from his cornerbacks)
“Yes, I like what we did. For two guys that hadn’t gotten a whole lot of first team reps last week I thought they did a pretty good job. We’re not quite there as a defense yet, but there was encouraging play from our cornerback position this past week.”
 
(On if the nickelback position can play better if the cornerbacks are playing better)
“I think you can say that for the entire defense, entire team, but it’s an individual position still. Nickel has to make the nickel plays. [Alterraun Verner] made some very good nickel plays this past week. When I say corner positon, you can say that’s a corner position too. I was pleased with how [Verner, Sterling Moore and Jude Adjei-Barimah] played this past week. Whenever you are at the nickel position and you get an interception and some good tackles you are going to be pretty excited about that. Of all the positions out there a guy should want to play, if I’m a corner I would want to play the nickel position because you are around more action than just about every position.
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DIRK KOETTER
 
(On if running back Doug Martin’s fumble affected his playing time in the second half)
“No, that was just luck of the draw. Don’t read anything into that. We still have our same rotation we’ve always had. We threw it a little bit more in the second half. We weren’t being very successful running the ball and we threw it a little bit more in the second half, but don’t read anything more into that.”
 
(On running back Charles Sims’ ability to break tackles)
“Yeah, on that long run he ran through two tackles. Both our backs have been doing an excellent job after contact so we’re really happy with both those guys. As far as that goes, we couldn’t be happier with those two guys.”
 
(On only having one pass to a tight end against the New York which had been giving up yards to tight ends)
“I never look at stuff like that. I would never go in saying ‘they got the least amount of yards or the most amount of yards, we need to do this.’ We’re going to do what we do. You got to realize you might have an idea who a pass is going to, but coverage dictates that, pressure dictates that. You might lose your backs when their checking their way out or tight ends are involved in protection. I don’t know why that happened that way.”
 
(On what needs to improve in the team’s red zone offense)
“Like most things in football, if we could pinpoint one thing and fix it, boom, we would snap our magic fingers and fix it. In this particular game we had a couple of blocking issues where we didn’t block runs right. We had a good play on – and very uncharacteristic – we had somebody make a mental mistake, so you got two guys blocking one guy and then nobody blocking the free hitter who comes over and makes the tackle. That happened twice. You got a couple times where they just covered it good or we hadn’t seen them double [-team] the X [receiver] before so we had one play on to Mike, they doubled him, a guy jumped outside. Give them credit. Then there’s a couple times where Jameis [Winston] either needs to make a better throw or he’s not on the right guy or I got to give him a better play. [It’s a] combination of all those things. That’s 25 percent, one-out-of-four is a bad number and that more than likely cost us the game. We got to do better.”
 
(On if there is a way to correct the red zone problems)
“Sure, all those things are correctable, but all those exact same things can happen on the 50-yard line, they can happen on the minus 10. That’s football coaching. You run 70 plays in a game and you run 70 plays in practice every day, you make your corrections and players learn from them and you try to get better. On the ones, as they affect an offensive lineman for example, I would just say that’s just uncharacteristic. On the ones that fall on Jameis [Winston], I would say that’s characteristic of inexperience. He started on one side one time, tried to switch over to the other side, which makes him look a little bit late. As I say every week when [I] get up here, Jameis is doing a great job, but everybody, me included, we’re expecting him to play like a five-year vet, and he’s an eight-game vet. He’s doing some fantastic stuff, competes his tail off every week,he studies, makes some beautiful throws, but everything happens just a little bit faster in the red zone and we have to make decisions and stick with them.”
 
(On if the absence of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins affects his play calling and if a segment of his playbook is gone)
“Not gone, but changed. Again, I’m not giving away any national defense secrets here when I tell you that you try to get the ball to your best players and if your best players aren’t there you have to do something else. That’s game planning.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston’s inexperience affects Koetter’s play-calling)
“Sure, absolutely. Not necessarily saying we’ll take the field goal, but sometimes your play-calling is more conservative because you know you’ve got a field goal in the bag, absolutely.”
 
(On Winston’s enthusiasm rubbing off on the rest of the offense)
“That can’t help but rub off. The issues we’re talking about here; red zone or quarterback reads, or missed assignments, we’re having no issues with guys playing hard and effort. I give our guys an A plus plus in that category. These guys are busting their tail and trying to do what we ask them to do. Fantastic, as good as I’ve been around and that’s from every single guy that’s playing on offense. We’ve got no issues with that. Is some of that Jameis? Yes. Some of that is Logan Mankins. Our team is playing and practicing hard. We got to play and practice a little better and we have to execute better because what we’re doing isn’t quite good enough to get the W. You have different issues you are trying to solve – the corrections we talked – but one of them isn’t effort or enthusiasm.”
 
(On what he tells a young quarterback when they are in the red zone)
“Make a decision and stick with. It’s like the golfer. All those pro golfers, they visualize that shot and you got to commit to it. You can’t change your mind midstream because that just never works out. Jameis made a couple good plays with his feet and sometimes you get caught. That’s not necessarily because he changed his mind, that could be because they covered it good. Again, Jameis is surpassing expectations as far as his scrambling and running. The mistakes he’s making – I don’t want to overstate – we’re not disappointed, it’s just an experience thing. We’re going to look back on this someday and we’ll understand that this was just part of the growing process. It doesn’t make it feel any better right now, but all the good things he’s doing, we can’t say we’re going to run the ball up the middle every play because we are afraid to throw. He’s doing a lot of really good stuff.”
 
(On Winston not turning the ball over in the last four games)
“That’s Coach [Lovie] Smith’s number one thing. It’s our number one thing, is protect the ball, no turnovers and the way we started the season, the way we opened the season against Tennessee, the way we played against Carolina that’s night and day. You can talk to a thousand people, a thousand people that have watched us have noticed that. He’s doing a fantastic job in there.”
 
(On if Winston’s four-interception performance against Carolina  motivated him to play like he is currently)
“You’d have to ask him that question. There are times when a slap in the face like that can do that to a player, but you would have to ask Jameis that. Nothing has happened before or after that we’re telling him anything different. If he’s looking at it different, you would have to ask him that question.”
 
(On if there are any benefits to playing a defense similar to what Tampa Bay runs)
“That defense that Dallas is playing is similar in its initial structure, but every defensive coordinator in the league spins their things different ways and it shows up more when they get to their nickel and dime packages than in base defense. There’s a little bit there in base that is maybe nice to have a familiarity, but they’ve got injuries, we’ve got injuries. We’re trying to play to our strengths, cover up our weaknesses. They’re doing the same thing. Not enough in my opinion that it is going to make a difference in the game.”
 
(On Dallas’ defense)
“[They are] underrated. They’re getting beat up a little bit on their stats. They’re kind of middle of the pack. I would say that when I look at them on tape I don’t see average. I see, since they added [Greg] Hardy I see a front four that’s deep and is playing hard. I see a secondary since they inserted [Byron] Jones as the starter at safety and then are bumping him down to the nickel, I see a secondary that can really cover. Their main weakness as we stand here today is just depth at linebacker. [Rolando] McClain missed some time and is maybe playing his way back to where he was a year ago. Then Sean Lee is one of the better linebackers in the league and the games that he’s out, like anybody, you lose a top flight player it’s maybe not easy to replace him. I see a defense that has played better than their stats.
 
(On Evan Smith coming into the game at guard against New York due to Ali Marpet getting injured)
“He did really well. That was awesome for Evan for a guy that has played the majority of his time [at center], in college he was a tackle at Idaho State – let’s not forget that. In college he played tackle, he played his pro career at center, for him to go in [at guard], he played physical, he gives us another communicator, another guy that can see the defense, he helped Joe [Hawley], he helped Jameis [Winston]. We were really pleased with how he played at guard.”
 
(On Tampa Bay having an analytics department and if he does or does not pay attention to stats)
“No, I trust my eyes. I watch the tape. Trust me, I watch a lot of tape and I trust what my eyes tell me, so I don’t need a piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on there to tell me something that my eyes can see… That whole thing about looking at a piece of paper and having that tell you how to call a football game is a joke in my opinion. That’s why I watch tape. Like I said, half the stuff on that paper – you can sort those stats out anyway you want to, but I’m going to trust my eyes, it’s worked okay for me so far.”
 
(On tackle Demar Dotson back on the active roster and how Koetter will approach the competition at right tackle)
“Again, it’s great to have that problem, number one. Let’s start with that. How many teams can say they have guys that aren’t play as much as they would like to that are capable starters in the NFL, especially on the O-line, so we are in a great position there. That is mostly Coach [Lovie] Smith’s area so that would be a better question for [him]. From where I sit, I look at it as a great problem to have and whoever is out there, where going to be fine with them.”
 
(On how much he has to account for defensive end Greg Hardy on Dallas’ defense)
“You got to have some. He’s definitely a game-wrecker. He’s an outstanding player and they move him around so it makes it tough to find him.”
 
(On if this is the deepest offensive line he has ever coached with)
“Yeah, I would say right now that it probably is. We have eight guys who have started and we feel real good about eight and we can mix them around, which when you start having injuries in the middle of the game [is good to have]. Usually we only dress seven, but we have eight guys we really feel good about.”
 
(On he thought the offensive line would be playing this well at this point in the season during training camp)
“Did you? We already know the answer to that. No one in here did. Don’t ask what I [think]. I’ve been the one here telling you we’re going to be fine and you guys are the ones that we thought we weren’t going to be any good there.” 
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(Opening Statement)
“Happy Veterans Day.”
 
(On if Dallas is a team he watched growing up and if this game has any special meaning to him)
“The Eagles were my favorite team growing up, so they’re rivals, but my family members love Dallas so it’s a big game for them.”
 
(On red zone play in the NFL versus college)
“Obviously it’s tighter and things happen faster down there, just by the players really, but it’s very similar. You see similar coverages. It’s just more difficult.”
 
(On sticking with the game plan in the red zone and if that comes with experience)
“Yeah definitely, that’s what I have to learn so we can score down there, just sticking with my read and standing by that, not having my eyes everywhere so we can convert down there.”
 
(On if the team’s red zone play is one of the areas he is disappointed about at the halfway point in the season)
“Not the team, that’s something I have to get better at, to help us out. I believe I’ve been getting better every week, but definitely my eye progression and the things that I see in the red zone and how quick I have to get the receivers is different. That’s another aspect of my game you have to get better at.”
 
(On what areas of his game does he want to improve the most in the second half of the season)
“Definitely red zone. Earlier in the season we wanted to work on third downs. Four straight weeks in a row we’ve met our goal for third downs. Red zone, we only did that twice this year, so I definitely want to start working on that, focusing on that a lot.”
 
(On if his decisions to run the ball come from seeing the defense faster and making quicker decisions)
“It’s just part of me wanting to get the ball in the end zone however I can. Obviously, Coach [Dirk] Koetter wants me to do it in my reads. You get better at it. I know I’m going to really watch and focus on scoring down there.”
 
(On running the ball into the end zone for a touchdown and how much his effort rubs off on his teammates)
“You see it rubs off because of the two guys out there blocking in front of me, Adam [Humphries] and Donteea [Dye]. When you see that play you can see me running, but if you put the cameras on them you can see them blocking, doing everything they can do get those guys off me. I think the team gets some sort of momentum off that. Big plays like [Charles Sims] long run. You get some momentum off of big plays and plays that lighten you up. You’re just like ‘Ah, that was a good play.’ Everybody feels good from that play.”
 
(On if he makes plays like that to bring the team together)
“Anything I can do to help this team out I’m going to do it.”
 
(On how his confidence has grown since his four-interception performance against Carolina and if that game ever got him down)
“Never. That’s what I did, I bounced back. You put the game behind you and you bounce back stronger. One of my favorite artists always says, ‘minor setback for a major comeback.’ We had a little setback there – I turned the ball over way more than I expected too – and I just focused on that, taking care of the football. The offense has been looking good. We’ve established the running game. We’ve got some passes here and there. The offensive line is looking amazing. We just have to score in the red zone and finish.”
 
(On if adjusting to red zone play going from high school to college is similar to going to college to the NFL)
“Absolutely, because when you are in the red zone you are playing against 12 men – the twelfth man being the back of the end zone. You don’t want to get sacked. You don’t want to hold onto the ball, because you don’t want to get kicked out of field goal-range. You just want to have positive plays and get the ball in the end zone.”
 
(On the offense having the fewest three-and-out drives in the league)
“It just shows how good our offense is, what Coach [Dirk] Koetter has done with this offense has been amazing. We as a team, we know what we are capable of doing. We still have [ things we need to improve], like me, I have to get better in the red zone. We still have room for improvement. It’s easy to see that we have a good football team. It’s easy to see that, but you have to win situation football to get over that hump, to have that 5-2 record instead of the 3-5 record.”
 
(On if he is surprised about how well the offensive line is playing)
“Absolutely not. Coach [George] Warhop is doing an amazing job with those guys and those guys want to protect me. They want to protect this team. It starts with them. They’re a bunch of selfless guys that just want to have success. You see it with Evan Smith playing [guard] – comes in last week and plays an outstanding game. Ali [Marpet] is outstanding. We hate that we lost him, but Evan came in right there and just played amazing. Same thing with Joe [Hawley] Joe did that earlier in the season. We get this offensive line and Ken [Pamphile] did it with Logan [Mankins] earlier. You see how hard they work and how much they put time into focusing on just the team.”
 
(On how aware he has to be of where Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy is lined up)
“I trust my line. Hardy is an amazing player, but we’ve got to focus on our game plan and do what we do.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans having as many dropped passes as he did and how Winston expects him to bounce back)
“I know he’s going to bounce back. That’s Mike. Mike is a competitor and it’s rare that they may happen, but I know he’s going to bounce back. He already put that behind him and we’re going to try and have another productive game this game.”
 
(On being at the midway point in the season)
“I’m just still loving football. I come to the facility and I’m excited because I get this blessing to play with this team and I just want to keep playing. This is what I love to do. This is my job. I’m just trying to get better every single day.”
 
(On if the game has slowed down at all for him)
“The game will probably never slow down because I’m going to try and get better every single day. There is always something new that you can learn or something that you can pick up to help you out.”
 
(On if he is impressed with how much progress he has made in a short period of time)
“I’m impressed, but I’m always trying to get better. I’m not really focusing on how well I did here. I’m trying to get better in every aspect of my game, so it’s hard for me to judge myself. You guys can judge me. You all can give me a grade, but I can’t judge myself because I’m trying to get better at different types of things. You might be focusing on this thing; I’m focusing on another things.”
 
(On ball security and not having a turnover in the last four games)
“That’s important. For the team’s sake I have to protect the ball.”
 
(On what he tells his teammates when the they make mistakes)
“Keep your head up. Keep going out there and playing. Things are going to happen, but it’s the way you overcome that adversity and show how we can improve in those areas. If we get a penalty, yeah the penalty may have moved us back, but if we overcome that penalty, it’s not a penalty. If we get a drop – okay Mike dropped [and it’s] third down – but if we convert on the next play, okay we converted, so that drop doesn’t matter. It’s basically just eliminating the mistakes is what we want to happen, but at the end of the day we have to keep playing football because if a mistake happens, that’s football. We have to overcome that as well.”
 
(On his opinion on whether or not Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy should be playing in the NFL)
“I don’t have an opinion on that. I play football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I focus on what’s in this building and my teammates.”
 
(On if there is something on this team that motivates him)
“When I walk out on that practice field and I see guys running around, playing their tail off, when I see that offensive line blocking their tail off, when I see Doug Martin getting the ball 20 times a game, pounding that rock – that keeps me happy. That keeps me confident because I know my guys are out there working their tails off. When I see Mike Evans catching [balls] from the jug machine because people say he can’t catch when he is one of the best receivers in the world. That’s what makes me happy. What makes me happy is seeing other people have success around me and that’s what makes you a better football team, when the people around you have great success as well.”   
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On his drops against New York)
"It's very hard having a historically bad day when it should have been a historically great day. But I can't keep whining about. I've got to still play. I've got to put it in the back of my mind and go play."
 
(On being from Texas and playing against Dallas)
"I was never a big Cowboys fan like that or anything. But I guess they're 'America's Team' and everybody in Texas loves them, so I guess it will be even sweeter if we get a 'W' against them."
 
(On if there are fundamental things to explain why he had the dropped passes Sunday)
"Yeah. When it wasn't raining I took my eyes off a couple of them. That one third down in the second quarter, I took my eyes off it, and then the pitch at the end, I tried to pitch and took my eyes off it. I've got to just focus in on catching it before I make a move."
 
(On if Head Coach Lovie Smith gave him a message after the game)
"Yeah, he just told me that I'm a great player and just keep playing. And the drops, clean it up and let's go."
 
(On if it was more disappointing to have those struggles after working so hard to prepare)
"I'm going to work hard no matter what. If I don't get the outcome I want I'm just going to keep working. So I've just got to keep working. I've done some good things. My bad days are 150 [yards], so that's alright. If I can improve on that, that would be great."
 
(On Dallas’ defense)
"The numbers don't show it but they have a really good defense. They have a physical secondary. I think their best player, Sean Lee, might be hurt but he's a really good football player. Our hands are going to be full with those guys and we're going to go out here soon and get some work in."
 
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