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04 November 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Per Stats Inc., this season, on pass attempts of 21+ Air Yards, Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston has the third-highest passer rating (120.8) among qualified quarterbacks (min. 10 attempts).
                 
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
Linebacker Kwon Alexander
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list: Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins, [Jacquies] Smith and Major Wright. Major Wright’s hamstring injury is getting better. You know how hamstring injuries are. Jacquies and the ankle, we’ll see kind of how it goes. [He] wasn’t able to do anything today. Logan Mankins, just kept him out, [veteran] day. Vincent Jackson continues to get a little bit better. Beyond that, some of the players that are on the injury list; Will Gholston was able to practice on a limited basis, as was Tony McDaniel. Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to make progress each day. In an ideal world we want to get in a position where we have everybody available and you have tough decisions to make on game day on who will be active. We are getting a little bit closer to that. The Giants are leading their division. They are the New York Giants so you know what that entails. [We] know what type of team, what type of effort we are going to get. [It’s going to be a] hard-fought game. For us, we have an opportunity to win two games in a row and then just to play another good game at home. [There are] a lot of things on the line this week, can’t wait to play.”
 
(On if this team has made a positive turn and how quarterback Jameis Winston’s leadership has contributed to that)
“Pregame speeches, I think they can only go so far. You follow by his play and that’s what Jameis is doing as much as anything. I think as a quarterback you get in a situation where it’s a tie or you’re behind and you need to go on a drive. For our team to see Jameis lead us on that did an awful lot. We talked about him moving more and more into that role. It’s a quarterback. Every quarterback on every team has to be one of the primary leaders and we’re seeing that. For our football team to have to fight through adversity, it’s one thing to fight through adversity, but to fight through adversity and win the game gives you a lot of confidence. For us it just made this game that much more important.”
 
(On the continuity of the offensive line)
“I try to be aware of it as much as possible. The continuity, that’s important, but it’s always about the best guys you think help you win. If that’s the same ones you had all along, great, but we look at the available guys and then we make decisions based on that. Continuity, that’s a part of it, but not the biggest part.”
 
(On what the players showed him in the way they rallied around linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“You just know a little bit that it is a close-knit group. Sometimes that’s kind of understood, but you have to go through being in circumstances like that for you to really see it and I think as much as anything, when guys – football players don’t let their true emotions come out and awful lot. That’s kind of against the code of being a football player, but in tough times they do and it’s good to see.”
 
(On if the team is gaining momentum at the right time)
“This is when good football teams start elevating, start trending upward. Our team is doing that and we need to and there is no reason for us not to. [We] talked about some of the players we are getting back too. Yes, that’s the way you want to set it up. You want to play your best ball the first game of the year, but you want to peak at a certain time and traditionally this is when the good teams really start showing that weekly.”
 
(On if this class of rookies has been the most impressive he has had as a head coach)
“It doesn’t happen an awful lot where you are relying on this many rookies. Half-full, half-empty, how you look at that, of course me being half-full, I just like the crop. As far as we are into the season, that rookie label, can’t really use that an awful lot. We have some young players though that are taking advantage of opportunities that they are getting, talented young players that are taking advantage of. We expect them, if we put them on the field to play like a 10-year vet.”
 
(On if running back Charles Sims is becoming the player they expected)
“Yes, we are. We’ve talked about needing more than one running back. We have a great number one running back in Doug Martin, but we don’t want Doug to carry it and [play all offensive plays]. You need someone to come in. Yes, Charles has [done] what we wanted him to be – relief help. We talked about him catching the ball out of the backfield and third down, different things like that, but he’s been a good first, second down running back. We’re pleased with what he’s done also.”
 
(On the impact of getting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins back)
“Just kind of look at how he played before he went down with the injury. He’s going to be a great player in the league, we really believe that. To be able to add another dimension to our offense like him, we can’t wait for it to happen and we’re getting closer to that happening.”
 
(On if Seferian-Jenkins was able to participate more in practice)
“Every day he’s gotten better and better, which we expect. Whether he’ll be ready this week or not, I don’t know that yet. We had pads on today. We have seen progress daily from him. I know he is feeling more and more confident with coming back on the football field. Keep in mind last Monday – a week ago Monday – he told me he was ready 100 percent, but that of course wasn’t the case.”
 
(On if wide receiver Donteea Dye is on the verge of making an impact in games)
“Yeah, that’s what I’m going to go back – I think he has made an impact. We didn’t bring him in to be Vincent Jackson right away or Mike Evans right away or anything like that. We brought him in in a supportive role, that’s what he’s done and when we called on him he’s answered the bell for the most part, whether it be special teams or whatever. I am very pleased with what he’s done and we’ll continue to do more with him.”
 
(On what New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul adds to their defense)
“He’s one of the best defensive players in the game when healthy, so what does he bring? A force. Every defense needs that true bell cow and just about any team he would go on, that would be the case. Rusher, talking about the pass, [he’s] a great rusher. [He’s] a big guy to play the run. He brings quite a bit. They are a better team. They definitely are a better defense with him on the football field.”
 
(On New York’s offense and quarterback Eli Manning)
“Yes, I talked about Eli earlier in the week. [I’ve] been a big fan of his since he came in the league. He’s got two Super Bowls. He’s a steady good football player. You can even say great, good probably isn’t strong enough for what he’s done. Greta players have games like that. When they are on top of their game he’s never rattled, he’s seen it all and we’ve had an opportunity to compete against him a lot of times, so we know what we are getting. We have to be on top of our game. It will be a big challenge. For our defense, whether it be the front rushing or the coverage part, it’s a potent passing attack coming in here and we need to play our best ball.”     
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DIRK KOETTER
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston’s poise and emotion affected the rest of team against Atlanta)
“It definitely affected our team, yes. I would actually say Jameis might have been a little too emotional at the start of the game. I thought Jameis got off to a little bit of a slow start and missed a couple throws that he can definitely make. But, with that said, Jameis’ competitive spirit showed up more so than it has. When we drafted Jameis, when we were doing our homework and talking to [Florida State Football Head Coach] Jimbo Fisher and the guys at Florida State they told us this was Jameis. Jameis drove us there in that overtime – those plays he was making on third down and throughout the game. Some of the plays he made with his feet, I mean we have to throw it better but they plays he made with his feet and the competitive plays were fantastic.”
 
(On how Winston has improved in during the second quarter of the season)
“Just in what you said, he’s not turning the ball over and that starts with not just randomly throwing the ball to where we might have designed the play to go that week. I think Jameis had a little bit of a tendency, earlier – the way we put a play in the way we practiced it – that’s exactly how it was going to be in the game and not really look at what the defense is doing. He’s just being smarter with the football, smarter with his decisions and, for the most part, getting the ball out of his hands quicker. Not always – we still have some work to do on that. The whole quarterback rating thing is if you don’ throw interceptions, your quarterback rating is going to be okay and he hasn’t been throwing interceptions.”
 
(On if Winston throwing balls too high is a mechanical or accuracy issue)
“Both, that’s both of those. A good example of that was in the very first drive when we had to kick a field goal. We had a little double move with Adam Humphries up the seam and we had him and [Winston] overthrew that one. That one sailed on him. That’s just back to mechanics. Jameis, we have to remember how young this guy is and played two years of college football. Jameis can get too spread out with his feet at times, he can get a little ‘whippy’ with his arm. He’ll be the first guy to tell you he’s got a little bit of a ‘whippy’ release. It’s not classic Dan Marino that we’re looking at right there. We’re going to be working on that. You just don’t fix that in five minutes. That’s something that takes a while. Some of that will be experience, but he’s making progress. Like anyone, when you are in the heat of competition you’re just surviving at that point and so we’re going to have some of that.”
 
(On how much of Winston’s pitch-fake touchdown run was improvised)
“100 percent, we were running a shovel pass right there, they brought a total blitz on us and except for one guy we handled it great – everybody made the proper adjustments, but unfortunately the one guy that didn’t handle it as good as he could’ve knocked off our pitch guy. We had it blocked good. We were going to score on it. For Jameis to react that fast and turn it into a run, that was a heck of a play by him.”
                            
(On if the same thing happened on Winston’s 21-yard run in the third quarter) 
“No, that was a pass play all the way and what happened several times in the game – we weren’t expecting this, but for whatever reason they took the rush outside and the pocket just opened like the Red Sea. We had guys opened on that, but Jameis just saw it part [and] made a really nice pump-fake. Heck his run, that’s the most athletic run Jameis has had. He looked great on that run.”
 
(On what those plays say about Winston’s decision making)
“Jameis has never lacked confidence. The best thing about Jameis, he’s a football player. When I say that, we go over things and nauseum – and I mean that, at nauseum with him. Sometimes as coaches [we] turn these guys into robots and Jameis is definitely not a robot. He’s playing football out there. There’s going to be times when we love what he does and there’s going to be other times when we don’t like it so much. We got to take the good with the bad and we have to continue to learn and he has been continuing to learn.”
 
(On Winston lead blocking for running back Doug Martin and if the play was designed that way)
“No, that was one, again, he’s trying to be a football player. Jameis wants to help. We would’ve been better off with him out the way, plus he’s going to be hurt doing that. It’s funny. It’s a good chuckle, it makes a good highlight on TV, but we don’t want Jameis lead blocking on linebackers.”
 
(On young quarterbacks handling success)
“Jameis has had success. We tend to forget this guy has won a Heisman Trophy, won a national championship [and has] been the first pick in the draft. I salute Jameis on his ability to handle [success]. None of us in this room [has had all the things thrown at them] that he has had thrown at him and he handles it good. Jameis is a super teammate. I think when you say handling stuff, one thing he’s done a great job of handling is crowd noise. I mean it was loud. It was very loud in that game and that’s another thing he is really improving on.”
 
(On the offensive line)
“They are all doing a consistent job. Starting on the left side: Donovan [Smith] rookie, proving every week, probably played his best game last week. We’ve been showing up downfield, getting guys down to the ball. Donovan has maybe been the least of the five. Donovan showed up the way he pushed the pile a couple of times. That one screen he was down there cleaning up the pile. That was great to see. Logan [Mankins] has been our bell cow, if you will, as an O-line. You would expect that. Logan is having a heck of a year. He’s our captain on offense with Vincent [Jackson] down. Joe [Hawley] has come in – Evan Smith was playing really good when he got hurt – Joe has come in and picked right up. They are different types of players, but Joe is doing a really nice job. People forget Joe is coming off of an ACL [injury] as well. Joe just told me the other day, he’s just now starting to feel 100 percent healthy. Ali [Marpet] right guard, rookie, outstanding run blocker, improving in pass blocking, tough, we can get movement running behind Ali, just playing good right now. [Gosder Cherilus] we signed late. [He’s] another vet, an awesome pro and great for Ali to have ‘Gos’ right next to him. The old man doesn’t even look like he can get in his stance half the time. [laughs] He has his little signals with the refs to make sure he’s on or off [the line of scrimmage]. I laugh at that. Every game he is over there having a conference with the ref. I think we talked about this in one of my initial [press conferences] is we’ve had five guys playing together now for a few weeks. There’s something to that. There’s more to that than you think. As a unit those guys are playing really good. George [Warhop] is doing a great job coaching them.”
 
(On running back Charles Sims being a complement to Doug Martin)
“We mentioned this before, we have a few plays tagged [for Charles] other than that I really don’t worry about who is in there. Tim Spencer our running backs coach handles that. Let’s not forget, we feel great about Bobby Rainey sitting there [as the third running back]. We can’t get him in the game right now. It’s just hard to play too many guys. We feel fantastic about our running back situation. Charles is an excellent complement to Doug. That was a really good run defense we played against. That’s probably the best run defense we played against so far and we were still able to run the ball, not quite as good as we have been, but we left a few things out there. We’ll get ready for next time we play them.”
 
(On finding a second running back who you have as much confidence in as your starter)
“I think the hardest thing is not having confidence in him, but just a lot of times it’s difficult because the second guy wants to be the first guy and everybody is [complaining] about their touches and that sort of thing. Right now we don’t have any of that – at least they don’t do it around me. Maybe they do it, they just don’t do it around me. Everybody is doing a good job of playing their role right now. There’s a lot of solid running backs in this league, there’s a lot of them.”
 
(On Winston being too emotional at the start of the game and if Koetter will try to change that)
“Maybe not too emotional, maybe just a little too overcharged. Jameis wanted to win bad in this game. We needed this win as a team and Jameis really wanted to win. He might’ve just been a little too worked up. I think that’s an experience thing. I usually don’t talk to players about that. I think that’s something players have to figure out on their own.”
 
(On if Winston has progressed to where Koetter feels comfortable with him throwing the ball more in close games)
“We threw it 29 times the other night. I was watching that Colts game and [Andrew] Luck threw it 31 times in the fourth quarter and I was going, ‘Man, can we throw it 31 times in a quarter? I don’t even think we have that many passes.’ We’ll see when we get there. I really don’t know the answer to that. Right now, I think every team you’re on, you develop an identity and we’re kind of finding our identity. We need to just kind of stick to our lane. Games go different ways and however the game goes we have to be ready to adjust.”
 
(On if the team is further along at this point than he originally anticipated, especially with three rookie starters)
“When we had three wide [receivers] in the game, we started five rookies against Atlanta. We had five rookies out there every time we ran three wides. I don’t ever look at it like that. I just look at it as what do we have to do this week to be successful. From a statistical standpoint or anything, I really don’t even really know where we rank on stuff. We’re not turning it over, that’s the head coach’s mantra – that’s every coach’s mantra. We’re not turning it over, we’re running the football which sets up our play action game and our guys are getting confidence in themselves and they’re believing in each other. That’s really, as a coach, all you can ask for.”
 
(On if he doesn’t watch New York’s film against New Orleans because it is not the norm for that defense)
“They’ve played eight games, so they got a ton of film and trust me they’ve played pretty well on defense at times. [New Orleans quarterback] Drew Brees had a crazy hot day. They blew a couple coverages, just mental stuff more than physically – a guy getting beat. Drew Brees gets hot down there in the [Mercedes-Benz Superdome] and had them rolling. I think that game was not the norm at all for the Giants’ defense and I’m sure we’ll have our hands full on Sunday.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans having an impact in the game on Sunday)
“Mike drew two [pass interference penalties] for us. We threw the ball up. Those go down as no plays in the official stat, but in real life I think it was a 39-yard gain and an 18-yard gain , something like that, so yeah, Mike has to step to the plate. He’s our only experienced guy to there right now. We had a lot of stuff for Mike. Mike has not hit his stride yet as far as how he can play. I will tell you this, Mike had, by far, his best week of practice last week and really practiced hard. He missed a lot of conditioning [earlier in the season]. Those wide outs, those guys should be on a track team. He’s getting in top shape. He’s running hard on his routes. Him and Jameis are getting closer, but we’ve got work to do.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On what areas he feels that he’s improved since the beginning of the year)
“Taking care of the football, making things simple. Obviously, I have tremendous help. Doug [Martin] has continued to power the football, punish defenses and the offensive line has just been playing amazing. I don’t look at it as me having success. I look at it as our team just having great chemistry and our offense just clicking. ”
 
(On if the offense has come further than anticipated)
“You never how you are going to be at the beginning of the season or how you are going to finish at the end of the season. The main goal is to get better every week, build as a team. Right now, we’ve been looking [good], but we have to keep it going. This league is about longevity.”
 
(On if Atlanta was the first game where he spoke to the entire team beforehand and what kind of affect it had)
“Yeah, I think there was just so must emotion in that game, whether it was for Kwon [Alexander], it was for his family, for Coach [Dirk] Koetter going back to Atlanta, Joe [Hawley] going back to Atlanta, with Andrew [Weidinger, offensive quality control coach] going back to Atlanta, with us getting beat by Atlanta last year bad. I think everyone just wanted that win so bad. When you look at that film and you look at the sheer want to, you look at the competitiveness, you see a team that is just really ready to play.”
 
(On his run style)
“(Laughing) I just compete. That’s what I do. I like to compete. I know people talk about the 40 [-yard dash] times, this is game speed is my deal. I just compete. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m going to try to do it.”
 
(On designing run plays for him)
“I’ve been trying to talk to Coach [Koetter] about putting some quick QB runs in, but I am by no means no [Carolina quarterback] Cam Newton. That guy is a beast. I’m going to stay in my area.”
 
(On running back Charles Sims)
“Every time I talk about Doug [Martin] I always have to put Chuck in because I think they kind of just help each other out with run-pass balance or anything like that. Chuck is electric. He’s always making plays, so is Doug. When you are able to put two different types of guys in there just to get the defense to never know what’s coming at you. It’s always great to have a guy like him.”
 
(On if Sims is quiet)
“He’s quiet around everybody, but when the lights come on and he steps between those white lines, he’s probably the loudest guy out there that you can see, play-wise.”
 
(On not having tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the lineup and what it would mean to get him back)
“Every time you lose somebody you get to see other people step up, like Cameron Brate. What an amazing game for him to have his first touchdown at Atlanta. That was big for him. Just having Austin back in the mix is important for our offense, because the first game he lead our team in receiving, touchdowns. It’s good to have your weapons back.”
 
(On Offensive Coordinator Dirk Kotter saying Winston may have overthrown a couple early balls because he was so hyped up)
“I was amped up for Coach Koetter because I knew he was going to call a great game, because we were playing against Atlanta, so I wanted to make the plays happen for him. But it’s always the balance you have to have as a quarterback of being calm and cool. I was calm, but at the same time starting off the game, that was a home game for me as well. I’m sorry, I know it was a home game for Coach Kotter, but I’m one hour away from there. My whole ‘hood was there. I was trying to play lights out too. It was good. I got to slow down some.”
 
(On what the team showed him in rallying around linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“It shows us what type of complete team we actually are and you always need that. Coach [George] Warhop said in the team meeting room today that this is the part of the season where teams either break away and start doing great or teams fall. I’m sad to say it, but Kwon’s situation kind of helped our team out because now we don’t focus on ourselves, we don’t focus on what we have to go through. We focus on our brother who’s hurting, but he just got Defensive Player of the Week honors so he’s probably not hurting as bad, but he’s in pain, so we have to tend to him and worry about him and how he’s feeling. Sometimes when you get a chance to step back and just look at how someone else is feeling you don’t want to be selfish anymore. All you want to do is fight for that man and make sure his day is good. You don’t care about your day. Sometimes being selfless is a good thing for a team.”
 
(On if New York’s game against New Orleans exposed weakness on their defense or if you have to look at the entire season to analyze the defense)
“You can see opportunities in so many things, but the Giants are a great football team. They are leading their division and like I always say, in the NFL you have to focus on the next game. That is [New Orleans quarterback] Drew Brees that did that. I’m no Drew Brees. You have to just go to the next game. They are coming with a different attitude because Drew Brees just did this to them. They are going to try and play even harder. They are going to rise up to the occasion and we have to be there to match their intensity.”
 
(On if New York has a good defense even though they had a poor performance against New Orleans)
“I don’t view them as no hit and miss. I just view them as a good defense. They played a good quarterback and a great offense last week. Every week you have to go in with the mentality that we have to beat this team. You can’t focus on what happened last week. We have to focus on what we have to do to beat this team.”
 
(On what his emotions where like when he saw Alexander collapse at the 50-yard line after the win in Atlanta)
“I knew after the game I was going to find Kwon, win or lose, because he palyed his tail off. I didn’t really care about the feeling in that. I just knew I had to find my brother, because he played his heart out. When somebody literally leaves everything they got on the field like that, I wanted to say thank you, because what he did, if little kids were watching and knew what Kwon did on that Sunday, Kwon would probably have some 30-for-30 stories. That was amazing what he did. It was really amazing.”
 
(On if the firing of Tennessee Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt is a wakeup call about the business of the NFL)
“I didn’t even know that happened. I think Mike Glennon told me the other day, but I don’t really focus on it. I was awoken [during] training camp here when one of my good friends got cut. The day after I was like, ‘He’s gone.’ This is a cutthroat business and me personally, I enjoyed my Tennessee visit. I don’t know what’s going on.”
 
LINEBACKER KWON ALEXANDER
 
(On having an opportunity to go home and spend time with his family)
“It was tough, but I was strong for my family. It was good to go see my dad, his sisters, my sister and my mother – just keeping them up. We are making it right now, we’re just trying to be strong.”
 
(On playing in honor of his brother and winning Defensive Player of the Week)
“I’m blessed. With [my brother] by my side I can do anything. That’s what I’m thinking now, with him by my side I can do anything. I’m not worry about anything, just dedicating this whole season to him, that’s it.”
 
(On the support he has had from his teammates)
“I’m happy out of disappointment. They’ve always been there for me since before this even happened and to see that they’re there for me even more when my brother passed, it meant so much to me that I got a lot of brothers, too, that are here. For them to be there for me means so much to me.”
 
(On who has been the biggest help in the locker room)
“Just everybody, the whole facility has just been a big help and I appreciate everybody for doing that.”
 
(On the moment when they won the game and he collapsed at the 50-yard line)
“I have no words for it. All I could think about was him when I did that. I don’t even have any other words.”
 
(On what he wants people to remember about his brother)
“He’s always wanted to make people laugh. He’s a goofy guy. He’s like 6’3”, so you just look at him and people think, ‘Nah, he ain’t no goofy guy,’ but he’s a person that will make anybody laugh.”
 
(On if he is dedicating the rest of the season to his brother)
“Yeah, the rest of my life is dedicated to him.”
 
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