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18 November 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since returning from the team’s Week 6 Bye, WR Mike Evans has been one of the top receivers in the NFL ranking second in the league in receiving yards (488) and fourth in receptions (27), while tying for the second-most 25+ yard receptions (5) and posting three 100-yard receiving games (three), tied for the most in the league during that span.
                                                                       
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
Cornerback Sterling Moore
Tackle Donovan Smith
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list – the list is going down. Vincent Jackson and George Johnson weren’t able to practice. Everybody else was able to do at least a part of practice, which is a good thing. We have some guys that have been on the list for a while that still aren’t 100 percent. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of them. [He] has not been released for full contact yet. Ali Marpet, Evan Smith, [Jacquies] Smith were able to do a little bit. [We] realize what’s at stake. We haven’t won two games in a row, all that goes along with getting a win this weekend. Philly, just like us, searching for a win, needs a win in the worst way. We are making progress. We are improving, all of that. How can you not like practicing in Tampa this time of the year?”
 
(On how to prepare for the up-tempo style of Philadelphia’s offense)
“[We] use more of an up-tempo approach to our practices. You simulate it as best you can. You have to get there. It’s the first time I personally have been part of a group that has played them, so it will be a little bit new, but we want to get set and ready to go right away. If they have time to get set and get the play off, we should have time to do the same thing is how we are looking at it.”
 
(On the running game over the last two weeks and opposing defenses placing an emphasis on stopping the run)
“I think as a defense you can do that. You can keep committing players to stopping the run and you can slow it down. You have to give the defenses credit in the last couple of weeks. They have committed to doing that and they have done a good job, especially with Dallas last week. The defense is always trying to stop what we are doing so we have to stay committed to it. It’s just not about getting big gains every time. It wears you down a little bit too. They have down a good job against us, but we’ll keep fighting it out.”
 
(On cornerback Sterling Moore)
“Sterling, starting off, intelligent football player, knows how to get and keep himself in good position by playing nickel, by playing corner is saying a little bit too. You have to have a little bit of knowledge to be able to do that. Then it’s just how you are playing your position. We like him at the cornerback position, playing the ball. He has good hands. That’s it, whether it’s man coverage, zone coverage, he’s done a pretty good job with it, as has Jude [Adjei-Barimah].”
 
(On cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah)
“He’s come a long way since the tryout to get to training camp. As coaches you pay attention. Sometimes you see some potential with young players and they have to wait their turn. If you keep showing up and doing good things you eventually get your shot. That’s what he’s done and he’s put in two pretty good games. He’s still a young, green player. [He] has a lot to learn, but he’s coachable and he has ability.”
 
(On if there was a point in the year during practice that he saw something from Moore and Adjei-Barimah and showed they should start or if it was just their turn in the rotation at corner)
“I very seldom look back and say, ‘I wish I had done this.’ It’s all a part of the process to get to where you need to go. For them, I can’t say at one point. If you are in a backup role and you have someone ahead of you, that backup person probably isn’t going to get an opportunity unless you’re not totally satisfied with what’s going on with the guys above him. That’s kind of what happened a little bit. There was an opening there. Normally, it just works itself out when you have potential players that haven’t gotten an opportunity and you deserve a chance to see exactly what you have. That’s what happened with that.”
 
(On him stating that November is when real football starts)
“Normally November is at the half way point in your season. Just like in a game it matters an awful lot what you do the first half, but that push to the finish kind of starts the second half of the season and November ball. As a general rule, as you look back, teams that do well later on –playoffs, all that -  they’re playing their best football at the end of the season. I think very seldom you see a team that ends up winning it all or having a great year that starts out real strong and plays really bad at the end that can win something at the end. I think that’s what history has shown a little bit. For us, just going through a young football team, having to be in a lot of situations, learning from them, tough learning situations. We do want to play our best ball right now. We are 1-0 in the third quarter of our season and we need to get that second win.”
 
(On a young stringing together two consecutive wins and if it’s a matter of losing motivation after getting one win)
“I don’t necessarily believe that when you win you’re not as hungry. When you haven’t gotten two wins, you are still hungry for that second win and for us, we’ve been close a lot of times. We are hungry for that second win. I think you have to keep putting yourself in position. Until this year we haven’t won a home game. You have to keep trying. Eventually if you are doing things the right way, you get over that hurdle and that’s how we are looking at it. We’ve been close before. We have another great opportunity. This is the best ball we’ve played, so this should give us our best chance to win. That’s the only way we are looking at it.”
 
(On if Philadelphia is better than its 4-5 record)
“I do feel that same way about our football team, I think most 4-5 football teams are going to say that. You’re close, you’ve done enough to see that you can be a good football team, but there are something s you are doing that have really kept you from taking that next step. They are like that. I think 4-5 teams are all pretty much saying the same things. 4-5 teams are in position to go one way or the other. That’s what we want to be. We want to that team that’s doing this [improving], there are signs. I’ve talked about we’re a good football team with a bad record, all that. Now, the good football teams that have had a bad record, here’s your chance to be a good football team with a good record. That’s what we are trying to do.”
 
(On facing backup quarterbacks this season and the differences between Philadelphia quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez)
“I was trying to think back on those backup quarterbacks. I can remember some of those back-up quarterbacks. We’ve played a lot of regular quarterbacks. It doesn’t change much that we’re doing. You have to prepare for the quarterback position. If an offense has a certain philosophy and then is going to change completely, then it’s a big deal. When they’re running the same plays, I don’t think they are going to be much different with Sanchez as opposed to Bradford. That’s what we’re doing. We’re practicing the same plays that we believe they believe they should win with.”
 
(On wide receivers Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye and what it means to have players that will do whatever it takes to help the team win)
“I like everything about them. They are both undrafted players. I just kind of like undrafted players in general. They come in and earn everything that they’ve gotten. That’s what they’ve done. In order for them to have a prominent role in our offense, they come to work every day, they’re smart, they practice hard and then when they’ve had an opportunity to make plays they’ve made plays. Both guys had big plays this last game we played. There’s no reason for us not to believe in them, which we do. They’re rookies right? I think they’re rookies. We’re not treating them that way. [It’s] just always good to see guys that have fought their way through have a chance to really contribute like both of those guys are doing.”
 
(On the ability for this young team to be able to bounce back)
“It says, number one, we have great veteran leadership to keep the ship steady and for young players to see how they are handling it. They don’t know any different. Most of these guys that you’re talking about, the young players, have been in winning programs so they assume that eventually you keep doing things the right way you are going to win. Of course that’s been our approach. Our team, our organization, it’s about glass half full. You hope that everywhere they’re hearing something it’s about that. That we’re trending [up] and things will eventually get right.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy)
“Gerald’s position – the three-technique position – sometimes you’re just not going to see 10 sacks, two sacks, but you can still help your football team win [by] being in your gap. Gerald played sound football this past week. We’d like more splash plays out of everyone. We didn’t get a fumble recovery the other day, so there are a lot of plays we feel like we left on the field. Gerald played good ball. It allowed us to have our best defensive effort. You can’t do that without your three-technique being where he’s supposed to be the majority of the time.”
 
(On if he sets aside time every week to spend with quarterback Jameis Winston)
“Yes there is. It’s been that way since early on, I’ll just say that. At the same time, I spend time with Jameis every day. You try to spend a little bit with Kwon Alexander too. Both of our leaders on both sides of the ball a little bit. Again, I would hope every player says I’m spending some time with them almost daily.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DIRK KOETTER
 
(On how much emphasis he puts on clutch play when evaluating a quarterback)
“You would put credence in that. The hard part is when you are evaluating quarterbacks you don’t always get a whole lot of looks at that. Some guys might not be in that situation all year.  Their team’s either way ahead or way behind or their defense is out there. That’s something that I usually do put in my notes when we’re writing up quarterbacks, but it’s not always a prominent thing. It’s not like there are a hundred of them, there might be two or three of them.”
 
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s first comeback win and if it’s a big accomplishment)
“Sure, it is a big thing. At this point, now that they’re here, your quarterback is your quarterback so now you’re just trying to help them the best way you can.”
 
(On tackle Donovan Smith’s performance)
“Donovan, just throughout the whole year, for a rookie to be thrown in at left tackle in the NFL and he’s going against somebody good every single week, and this last week was no exception. Donovan – I think we said before – has exceeded expectations. We hit the jackpot – I’ve said that before – jackpot on he and Ali [Marpet]. [I] just couldn’t be happier with those guys. We talk about Jameis [Winston] in here all the time that we expect Jameis to play like a five-year veteran, well we expect Donovan to as well. He had three false starts, he had some penalties, but the good things he’s doing are far outweighing the negatives.”
 
(On what areas Donovan Smith has most improved most in)
“I would just say that just learning that he has to be on top of his game every week because at the position he plays, he’s always going against the most elite pass rusher they have. When you come in here and you come from college I don’t think you really realize the guys you are going to be going against every week how good they are.”
 
(On how losing tall receivers to injury affects his game plan)
“It takes away our pick-and-roll game, it takes away our alley-oops.  We’re going to have to start going four corners with all those little guys out there. Take the height out of it, we’re down some good players. Tall guys, skinny guys, whatever they are you want your best players out there and we’re down two really good players. The height thing, in my opinion, is a little too overblown. I want good players, first, and if they are good and tall that’s a benefit.”
 
(On how he feels when he sees Winston launch himself in the air into the end zone)
“I feel sick to my stomach.”
 
(On if plays like Winston jumping into the end zone excite him)
“There’s no question he’s willing to do anything. You can never question Jameis’ heart. From that standpoint, I tell Lovie [Smith] to talk to him about that, because he’s not listening to me. You can’t question his heart, but that’s a very dangerous play. It’s a dangerous – injury to him, number one, which would hurt our football team and second, as many times as you see guys do that, they fumble the ball a lot. I would rather see him go low and try to get it across [the goal line] that way. Again, you can’t coach every single thing out of these guys. Their instincts take over and they’re playing football. Like I say every week, Jameis is a football player. There’s no doubt about that.”
 
(On if Winston’s ability to run in the red zone gives Koetter more play-calling options)
“Maybe a little, but we’re not calling a bunch of runs for Jameis. Some of those are just happening. Either a scramble or if we are on a bootleg play where it’s a pass, run option – and I say pass, run – pass first, and that’s what that was on that play. We’re not dialing anything up for Jameis to be the runner right now. A lot of teams run a quarterback bootleg on the goal line or run run-pass, pass-run options on the goal line. You only have to make one yard.”
 
(On Philadelphia not worrying about time of possession and if knowing he will have a lot of possessions affects his game plan)
“Is that an analytics question? It sounded like you were headed down that road. We talked about that as a staff and that’s a tricky one because there are a couple teams in the league, Philadelphia being one, who really try to push the pace with their offense. Should that change the way your offense plays? I don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer to that. That’s going to be somewhat dictated by what Coach [Lovie] Smith wants us to do, but in my opinion you should probably stick to what you do best and not worry too much about that. That may or may not be a factor. That is sort of an unproven, is that a factor or not? Some people really believe in that, some people don’t.”
 
(On Winston hesitating on making passes and if Dallas was playing good coverage)
“First off, Dallas did a really nice job of mixing their defenses – man and zone, different types of man, different types of zone, different pressures. They did a good job and they have a good pass rush. With that said, Jameis was late a couple of times. That goes back to just being a rookie. When a team is not showing you exactly how we practiced it off the cards all week that could be an issue for any rookie. On top of that, he was just off on a couple of those throws. A couple of those balls he’s got to make better throws plain and simple.”
 
(On what he took away from Winston’s interceptions against Dallas)
“What did I take away from them? That we didn’t get any points, that’s what I took away from them. Can’t have it. There are going to be turnovers throughout the course of a season. There’s going to be tipped balls, there’s going to be bobbles, there’s going to be sack-fumbles, he’s going to be hit the ball is going to go up in the air. That’s going to happen, but when it’s just quarterback throwing to receiver, receiver open liked we practiced it, we have to make those plays every time. And we didn’t.”
 
(On what has impressed him about wide receiver Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye, and what it means to have players who will do whatever it takes)
“Love it. Love it. We can be criticized, offensively, for plenty. There is plenty that we need to do better, but for guys going out there and playing hard, competing hard and trying to do what the coaches are coaching them to do – I just told them in the meeting this morning, A-plus. These guys are doing a great job of that. Those two rookie receivers that you are referring to right there, [I] couldn’t be happier for them, couldn’t be prouder of those two guys. Two guys, undrafted, don’t even know if they are going to make the team and all of a sudden we put three [wide receivers] out there, we have five rookies on offense. [I’m] happy for them, love their attitude during the week and in the game. Having guys that are willing to try to do it how you want them to do it. If we screw it up then that’s my fault, if we don’t give them the right things. [I’m] just really happy for those two guys.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans’ performance with a short-handed receiving corps and how corners have to guard him knowing he can draw penalties)
“Coach [Lovie] Smith talks to the team all the time about when we have guys hurt everybody has to do a little more. Mike is a traditional X-receiver, who goes out there and gets single-covered. We’ve asked Mike to do a lot. We’re moving Mike. Mike is playing in the slot, he’s playing Z, he’s playing X. He’s had to do more in the injured players’ absence. He was also coming off maybe not his best game. [He has] a lot on his plate. Mike is a young player too. Mike is only in his second season, so hat’s off to him for a job well down last week. He is a tough match-up because of his size, number one, his power and he’s deceptively fast. He doesn’t burn it off the line of scrimmage like you think a real fast guy would, but when Mike gets going he can really run. He got in a good rhythm over there is in his last game against Dallas. He got in a good rhythm and he kind of got [Morris Claiborne] back on his heels a little bit and we kept going at it. We had a couple other chances. In the one drive where, I don’t know if we made that field goal or missed that field goal, but we went at him two times in a row and we had him. We just have to make those plays. That’s the difference between scoring another touchdown there.”
 
(On the running game over the past two weeks)
“We have not ran it as well the last two weeks as we had. In fact, that is one of the things we are addressing starting this morning. We hadn’t seen the players since the game. We have some clips we are going to show them after practice today when we watch the film. Coach [George] Warhop, our [offensive] line coach, all of our coaches, we have some things that we think are mainly in the details. It’s not that our running backs are running any differently. Again, these teams just don’t sit there in one defense. They’re changing their looks, they’re changing their pressures. They get paid too, they get coached too. We have not been quite as sharp. [We’ve] been very physical. [It’s] not a question at all of effort or physicality, we just have to iron out a few details. Like most plays, if we are all on the same page then we have a lot better chance to be successful.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On being more cautious when trying to get in the end zone)
“There are better ways to get in the end zone. I’m never going to stop trying to compete. I am going to develop some smarter habits, but as of now it’s still progress. It’s a process. I have to get better every day.”
 
(On scoring four rushing touchdowns and if it adds another dimension to the offense that the defense has to account for)
“I think it can be, just for the simple fact that as a defense they don’t know what’s coming. When you just have one or two yards to go, a split second can mean a lot.”
 
(On how important it is to be able to get a come-from-behind victory as a quarterback)
“I think that fits in persevering, being able to overcome adversity, it fits in that category. I think that’s huge, because when you have a team that’s depending on one guy in those situations the fans, the team, even the coaches look at one guy. You have to come through in those situations. When you have a great team and guys around you that are hungry to win games, it makes my job easier.”
 
(On if that is a trait he admires about great quarterbacks in the NFL)
“Absolutely. I admire every successful quarterback; every quarterback that has had success. I don’t judge quarterback even if they have bad games, because our position is just critiqued so much. The guys that can pull through when a situation is hard or even if a situation is easy, because sometimes when things are easy players tend to lack the passion and competitiveness to play harder.”
 
(On talking with Dallas quarterback Tony Romo after the game on Sunday)
“That is still a surreal moment for me. I was blessed to meet Tony Romo and even Matt Cassel after that game. It just went past me. I was just like, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Romo,’ and he was like, ‘Just keep doing what you do and stay healthy.’ I was like, ‘Yes, sir.’”
 
(On facing the Philadelphia Eagles, his favorite childhood team)
“It was always my dream to, if I’m not going to play for the Eagles, at least play against them or have a chance to go against them. One thing that is important about this week is I get to go against one of my hometown heroes in DeMeco Ryans. We’re from the same city, probably born in the same hospital. Playing against him and just seeing how he has impacted my life and many kids’ lives in Bessemer, Alabama, and now we get to play against him. He’s an old man now to many of us, but he’s still a great role model and a great person that I look up to. It’s bigger than the Eagles right now.”
 
(On how Philadelphia linebacker DeMeco Ryans impacted his life)
“Not only was he a great football player, he was also a great baseball player. Not only from the athletic standpoint – he was an academic scholar. That was one thing I always focused on was academics, academics. My mom always stayed on me. When you look at the model person that is good at sports and good in school, you see DeMeco Ryans if you are from the area I am from.”
 
(On his two interceptions from a mechanical standpoint)
“You have to protect the football. I can lower the ball down a little bit. [They were] two tipped picks. You just have to protect the ball. That’s all.”
 
(On the game-winning drive against Dallas and his thought process)
“One thing I heard a very cliché answer the other day. It says pressure makes diamonds. When you get that pressure, I just love it. I love the pressure, because I know I have teammates that are going to be with me at any given moment. I have so much confidence in the guys around me it makes my job a whole lot easier.”
 
(On tackle Donovan Smith)
“He’s playing amazing. One thing that Donovan does, he does like me: He snaps and clears. If he makes a mistake he forgets about it and bounces back. He rarely makes mistakes, especially lately. This guy is amazing, he’s strong. He’s my left-hand man.”
 
(On a recent experience with a child undergoing treatment for cancer)
“I was sitting at my house watching TV and people just starting texting me saying, ‘Jameis check your Twitter.’ I’m not on my Twitter during the season, but, ‘check this, check that,’ so I checked it and it was a little kid who has cancer. His mom was trying to get in contact with me. Some lady had reached out to me and she had sent me the information that I needed. I contacted [the child’s mother] and she didn’t have an iPhone, so I couldn’t FaceTime him at that time, so we just sat on the phone in pure silence for at least five minutes. I was like, ‘Well, we have to find an iPhone so I can FaceTime him. We’re just sitting here, can I talk to him?’ She said, ‘No, you can’t talk to him, his dad has an iPhone, he’ll be right back.’ So I’m waiting. Next thing you know, I hear a knock at the door and Kwon Alexander is coming in my house, and I was like, ‘This is great. This is going to make this kid’s day.’ I got me, Kwon, and we had Rannell Hall as well. It was like he was about to meet basically the Bucs’ team. He’s about to feel like one of us. Eventually I was like, ‘Ask the nurse if she has an iPhone.’ The nurse ended up having an iPhone. We ended up FaceTiming on the nurse’s iPhone. I talked to him. He’s a huge Florida State fan. It’s just some motivation. A kid is lying on his deathbed and all he wants to do is just talk to me, just say hey. He didn’t say much, but I could just feel the room just light up and I know he was happy and that’s all that mattered to me, that he was happy and he got what he wanted.”
 
(On his pre and postgame speeches to his teammates)
“That’s just coming straight form the heart – whatever I’m feeling at that given time. If I feel like I need to say something, if I feel like I need to dance. The dancing was just [me] having fun before the game. After the game, whatever is on my heart I just let it out, because we worked so hard to prepare for a whole week. We have so many distractions, so many people jabbing at us, so many people wanting to see us fail. We have people that support us and want to see us succeed, but when you get there with your teammates – even you all. You all are a part of that family – and you just see everybody come to work every day. I feel good to be able to speak up for my team.”
 
(On being a fan of retired NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham growing up)
“I liked him because he could punt. I’m just kidding. I liked Randall Cunningham [because] what he brought to the game [was] excitement. Two years ago one of my quarterbacks [to watch] was Johnny Manziel and Michael Vick, guys that bring excitement to the game. That’s why I admire Cam Newton. Randall Cunningham was one of those guys, especially back in those times, that he was one of the quarterbacks that brought excitement to the game, other than Steve Young. I just fell in love with him. Also, when I was coming up in high school, my rival [high school’s] page, like they had someone that you compare to and my comparison was Randall Cunningham so that made me even more of a fan. I was skinny back in those days.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On not having wide receiver Vincent Jackson or tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the lineup)
“Whenever those guys are ready I would love to have them back. As far as me, I’m just going to do what I’m asked to do and if that’s getting a lot of targets or a little bit of targets – whatever it is, I’m going to do it.”
 
(On who sticks out of Philadelphia’s defense)
“There are a lot of guys. They all take the ball away great. After we catch it, we have to protect it. Their corners jump a lot, so we’ve got to be on point and we have to protect the ball. Their whole team is really good at getting the ball out.”
 
(On how different this season has been compared to last year)
“It feels great to get more wins than last year and have a chance at the playoffs. Guys are just working hard. Last year Lovie [Smith] laid the foundation down and we’re building on that. We’re a young team. We could be good for a really long time.”
 
(On last week’s performance)
“I think I did okay. I could have played better. There were a couple of plays I could’ve had. [I] got some flags and that is good as well. I could’ve played a little better, but I went out there and made most of my plays.”
 
CORNERBACK STERLING MOORE
 
(On how motivated he was to play against his former team on Sunday)
"I was definitely motivated, but there was definitely a familiarity with what they do on offense and the guys that they have. So I definitely didn't put too much pressure on myself and kind of overthink what they do. I knew they wouldn't go out of their way to change their game plan."
 
(On if going against wide receiver Dez Bryant in practice in Dallas helped him defend Bryant on Sunday)
"I definitely think it did. I know the routes that make him comfortable, I know his releases, but he's still a big-time receiver. He's capable of making big-time catches even when you're in good position."
 
(On the key to slowing down Philadelphia's up-tempo offense)
"Just doing your thing, honestly. They're going to do what they do. They're not going to change much. They're kind of – I wouldn't say 'limited' in what they do but they repeat a lot of the same concepts but get to them a million different ways. So just being assignment-key and knowing what you have on each play [is important]."
 
(On if defenders got tired playing against Philadelphia's offense when he was with Dallas)
"Not necessarily. We had a game plan, if they come out in hurry-up we'd have two calls in at one time. In case they went back-to-back, you had two calls already in place. You just have to combat that with some things on defense."
 
(On Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez)
"He's a good quarterback, honestly. I think he came into Dallas and beat us on a Thursday night last year. He's more than capable of leading them, I think he showed that last year. You've definitely got to be aware of his capabilities."
 
(On if it has been difficult to adjust to a role that has changed several times this year)
"At times, but like I said when I first got here I don't want to be labeled as just a nickel. I know I can play inside, I know I can play outside and I know I can do them well. It's just about waiting for an opportunity."
 
(On not playing much on defense for several weeks)
"It was definitely hard, especially with the year I had last year and knowing what I can do on the field. I think any guy in the secondary wants to be on the field. And it was tough, to be honest with you. But I just went out there every day, I competed hard in practice and showed what I can do. When my time came I just wanted to capitalize on it."
 
(On having the coaches' trust)
"I kind of recognize it now, especially with the responsibility they gave me last week of following Dez around. But to me it was more so the guys in this locker room – they had a lot more confidence in me and my abilities. They said, 'This is a big test but you're up for it. Just go out there and play your game.' It meant a lot more to me that the guys in this locker room were confident in me."
 
(On if Bryant said anything to him after the game)
"He didn't say much. He just gave me a 'good game.' I'm surprised he didn't talk to me during the game, but he knows that's not me to get into a shouting match with him."
 
(On what he and cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah are doing to make a difference)
"You know, honestly, I'm not sure. I think we both have the attitude that we're both undrafted guys and we both weren't playing at one time, so we just want to go out there and ball. We've already not played. If you go back to not playing, we've already been there, so we're just going out there and being football players."
 
TACKLE DONOVAN SMITH
 
(On if Sunday’s game against Dallas was his best game to this point)
“I’m always hard on myself so it’s hard to say, but it could be. I just go out there and play.”
 
(On his progression playing against top-notch edge rushers)
“I feel like I am coming along well. Just getting in a grove, a rhythm, getting a good feel for the game, the speed of the game and everything. Just trying to stay with it.”
 
(On if he is starting to see things he has already faced in his first nine games)
“For the most part, but it is the NFL and it is a lot of stuff that I haven’t seen through these games, but it just comes with me playing and more experience on the field.”
 
(On if he sees improvements in himself)
“Yeah, definitely. There is always room for improvement, but you definitely see improvements each week on something, whether it’s a hand placement, a hat placement, your foot technique and stuff like that. I think I’m getting better each week.”
 
(On what it means to have Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter praise him)
“It’s always good, but that’s just the way our staff is. They have our backs to the fullest no matter what and we have their backs to the fullest. That’s why us as a team are comfortable and going into battle with them and trusting the process and trusting them. It does mean a lot to hear those words, but that’s just the type of coaching staff we have.”
 
(On Kotter’s message to the offensive line about improving the run game)
“Just focus on details. We go over things, make sure we do it when we get out there and execute it and just get it done. We’re physical, but it might be minor things that we are missing. We’re a hair away from splitting one or something like that so just focus on the details.” 
 
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