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01 October 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: At Pittsburgh (9/28), QB Mike Glennon had his first career 300-yard passing game, including 245 yards in the second half, the fifth-highest second half total in franchise history.
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Quarterbacks Coach Marcus Arroyo
Quarterback Mike Glennon
Linebacker Lavonte David
Guard Logan Mankins
Running Back Doug Martin
Cornerback Alterraun Verner
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“How about the injury list first? Larry English is getting better with his hamstring. I don’t know exactly when he’ll be able to go full speed, but he’s getting better. Mike Evans, Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson, Josh McCown and Austin Seferian-Jenkins weren’t able to practice today. Josh’s thumb is getting better each day and didn’t have a whole lot of pain. The rest of them are just making daily progress, I’ll just put it like that. There were a few other guys that practiced on a limited basis, [including] Mark Barron. Mason Foster was able to do some things for the first time, it was good to get him back on the football field and Gerald [McCoy] was limited today, but that’s kind of part of his normal routine. New Orleans is a tough team, two 1-3 teams that need a win in the worst way, division road game for us, it’s need to be along with what happened last week.”
 
(On the production from the running game)
“It’s been hot and cold. Bobby Rainey having a big game a few games back, the next week we weren’t as productive. Losing Doug [Martin] and then him coming back last week I thought he gave us a spark and played pretty good. I know the numbers didn’t say a great rushing game, but Doug Martin played pretty good this past week. We didn’t have Mike James active last week, which is a change for us, we had some other injuries, but we would like to establish the run, dress three running backs and be able to use at least two each week. There’s a commitment to the run on our part.”
 
(On how the offensive line has performed so far this season)
We haven’t talked a whole lot about the offensive line, so that’s a good thing. They’ve been pretty consistent with their play. Logan [Mankins] has done wonders coming [here], getting a veteran guy in the group, he’s one of the guys now and we’ve had different guys that have taken turns playing their best ball I should say. I’ve been pleased with what they’ve done giving us an opportunity to run the football.”
 
(On how practicing at Tropicana Field prepares for New Orleans)
“It was a good practice for us and playing on the turf is a different feel. For a couple of reasons [we’re practicing at Tropicana Field], there’s a lot of rain here and our fields are drenched but it is a different feel inside. Catching the ball, looking in the lights, change of directions, all of those things were good and then it was just a change of pace to do something different for our players. It was a good productive day, no traffic issues, just an easy in-and-out day for us down there and I liked it so much that we’ll probably go back tomorrow.”
 
(On if he will practice more at Tropicana Field when they face dome teams)
“As a general rule, unless rain dictates us going there, we’ll practice on the grass, but we will keep that option open when we play inside. Not necessarily just when we play inside, but when we’re playing on an artificial surface.”
 
(On if weather was the biggest factor that they practiced at Tropicana Field)
“It pushed us in that direction.”
 
(On facing New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham)
“He can do it all. He’s a better blocker than he’s given credit for, if he wanted to be a good blocker people could use him that way. He’s a special athlete, big target with his size, can catch the ball and you never know where he’ll be on any play, outside or inside, they’re moving him around, but he’s a tough matchup one-on-one because of his size and who has to guard him. Size-wise you say ‘We need to put a bigger guy, a linebacker, on him or a safety on him,’ but that’s a tough match up for him them and most corners aren’t [big] enough. Again, he’s been a good player in this league for a long time. We’ve played against him and we know the challenges he presents.”
(On if tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins suffered a setback with his injury or was it a precaution to hold him out of practice today)
“It was a precaution. He should be good to go. Coming back last week he got some good reps in, but we’ll take our time with him.”
 
(On if defensive end Michael Johnson suffered a setback with his injury or was it a precaution to hold him out of practice today)
“No set back on Michael’s part either.”
 
(On if quarterback Josh McCown threw on Monday to test out his thumb)
“Josh isn’t ready to throw a football yet. He’s making progress. As you know, I’m not going to talk an awful lot about – he didn’t practice today, but he’s making progress.”
 
(On if he is surprised that the New Orleans defense has struggled early on this season)
“[It’s] early. Rob [Ryan], of course, is a very good football coach. They have good players. I’m surprised that we’re struggling early, but it’s early. [One quarter of a football season] hasn’t decided an awful lot during the season on who will end up where. Of course, it’s easy to be disappointed in a game – we know that. It kind of just comes out of nowhere. You look at their personnel; they have excellent personnel and we know some of them well. Jairus Byrd is as good a safety as there is out there. Good front, good linebackers, so it will be a big challenge for our guys this week.”
 
(On if making plays of at least 20 yards was part of the gameplan against Pittsburgh)
“I think you get into every game and you have a gameplan. Coming into that game, that was a part. That was something that we just got in the game and said, ‘Hey, let’s start.’ That was a part of the plan coming in. But as we grow, we’re a young team coming together figuring out exactly what we need to do as far as how we attack certain opponents. What you saw this past weekend is more [along] the lines [of what] we would like to be, using our different weapons. They were all on the field at the same time. There are a lot of things that came into that. We want to try and stretch the field as much as possible outside, inside, running game. Just want the defenses to have to defend it all.”
 
(On quarterback Drew Brees’ ability to escape pressure and make plays outside the pocket)
“I’ve heard a lot about getting him off the spot and ‘You want to keep him in the pocket,’ and ‘He’s not 6’4”.’ But I think when you’re a great quarterback like Drew Brees, he’s good in the pocket, he’s good out of the pocket, he can scramble around. He’s a better athlete than he’s given credit for. Quick feet to move around to get his throws off. [Brees and head coach Sean Payton] been together for a long time, and won. I think it’s always good when you can be in [one] system your entire time. Every year I’ve been in the league, defensively, we run the same system. In my latter years at my previous job, we had guys that had been in that system forever, and they just knew everything about it. That’s of course what Drew Brees has being in Sean Payton’s system all that time. There’s not a whole lot they haven’t seen. And for us, we’ve played the system quite a few times too. So we have a pretty good idea on how they’re going to attack us and, of course, that’s why we’re staying up late.”
 
(On New Orleans’ offensive line’s ability to buy time for Brees to make a play)
“They’re doing something right. I don’t think it’s any – they’re blocking up front, have a good pocket for him to throw the ball. I don’t know any other way to put it. They have different ways of doing it and have been pretty successful at it. We’re trying to find ways to get more pressure up the middle to get him off that spot.”
 
QUARTERBACKS COACH MARCUS ARROYO
 
(On how pleased he was with the offense’s performance in last week’s game)
“At the end, obviously I was excited about getting the win and the way we finished was really good. There were a lot of good things from a coach’s perspective and a growth perspective that, after a win, we were able to go ‘That felt really good and we did a lot really good things, but here’s some other stuff that needs to get cleaned up.’ There’s a lot of the little things [that needs to get cleaned up]. That’s exciting because you get a chance to find those finer tuned things, but you came away and finished. There’s pluses and definitely some things we need to clean up, which is good because it keeps us moving forward and keeps us learning and teaching.”
 
(On what impressed him the most about quarterback Mike Glennon’s performance)
“I was most impressed with the way he finished. The way he finished was a very nice way to finish that game. He was resilient throughout the game, got better as the game went on, overcame a harsh environment and a really good team and we finished well. I’m excited about the way he played.”
 
(On what dictated them throwing the ball downfield more)
“I think the coverage dictated a lot of it. They were going to play a single post safety and play those guys outside and we felt like we had some advantages and certain indications that we can utilize that and we did. It’s the same thing following up from statements in the past where it presented itself. It was a nice way for us to cut loose a little bit and let those guys play and they did a nice job. We missed them too, there were still some more chances out there. To build on that would be nice if the opportunity presents itself and Mike did a good job of putting the ball downfield  where it needed to be.”
 
(On what he wants to see Glennon improve on for this week)
“There’s a lot of little improvements, little things, but more than anything I just want to see him get better from that game to this game and doing that is all-around and that starts with me being detailed in the things that I ask him to do as far as protections and progressions, knowing where to go with the ball. Certain types of throws were good indicators of really how to fine tune your skills straight. Some of those balls, in the red zone territory, they have to be really tight, and those are some big time balls. Those balls need to be drove, some of them need to be touched and to continue to find ways to do that with the guys that we’re playing with and growing with and it just takes reps – like exactly where does guy want the ball on a back-shoulder [throw] or exactly where that seam-ball is on the 10-yard line with coverage under him. There are a lot little intricate things that we can continue to get better at that were there and it’s good because it’s on tape, we get to coach it and we’ve done that this week.”
 
(On the importance of the run game)
“I don’t think we’re going to approach it as ‘This week it’s got to be this or this week it’s got to be that.’ It’s been, since we’ve got here, the run game has got to be important and we’re continually trying to find ways to make that better and it has to present itself. It has to be something where ‘This is what we’re going to do and we’re going to get off the bus doing it and we’ve got to do it right.’ we’re confident that’s going to happen. That group is a really good group. We don’t approach it on our staff as saying that ‘Because of this, we have to do that.’ I don’t believe that’s the right way to do it. We have to do it as good as we can do it and focus on us doing things right before you start adding in who you’re playing. That has to come into consideration, but we really have to focus on us, especially in the early stage of who we are. I think there was progress overall. I think there were some things that we could obviously get better on, but overall as an offense there was definitely improvement and that’s the most important part because it’s going to take everyone, it going to take multiple ways to move the ball around and however we need to get that done to be effective is what we need to do.”
 
(On what the most important factors are in a two-minute drill)
“It’s just managing that situation and knowing the clock. We work on it every week. It’s just guys knowing what you want to get done, having that – everyone has their set, standard plays and situations that they go through every week and hopefully you’ve touched on them and you’ve covered them and fortunately we did. The things we did to win that game, we practiced, it wasn’t – one of them wasn’t repped a bunch, but it was repped, it was talked about and they did it exactly the way we talked about it and it worked out. I think more than anything it’s giving them a set of principles that they can be confident in doing in a clutch situation in a hostile environment and they did a really nice job of it. We have to continue to grow with that and build on it.”
 
(On if the holes are opening for running back Doug Martin)
“Doug did a great job of understanding our run game and our run lanes. The good part about Doug and our backs as we’ve put on tape is they’ll make one guy miss in the hole and I think that’s something in this league I think that good backs have to do because you’re going to get the ball sometimes and it’s going to be upside down on you and you have to make one [guy] miss. When you have guys that we’re fortunate enough to have, they’ll make one miss and then who knows what’s going to happen afterwards. I think that’s continuing to fuel our fire ‘There it is, it’s close and let’s get this right, let’s detail it, keep believing in it and something will give.’ All of those guys are doing a great job in that instance, Bobby [Rainey] made a bunch of guys miss on the checkdown and Doug made a guy miss in the hole and it was a big play and a good play in that situation, that will continue to show itself.”
 
(On the communication issues)
“That was a little bit two-part, the first of it was the mechanical thing in our helmets. We changed that in the second half, when we came out it was dead. I think it started to affect us in that second quarter when we were coming out. It was loud, it was hostile, not hearing it exactly, maybe I’m being too loud, I have to be louder and cleaning that stuff up is easy. Having that communication in the huddle, making sure guys can hear it, you’re in [shotgun], you’re in a silent cadence, there’s a lot of things that goes on with the communication and getting the ball snapped on time. They can be fixed whole-heartedly starting with me, starting with us and then moving towards the players and understanding certain situations. One of the instances that comes up is that when you get a penalty it goes from 40-second clock to a 25-second clock, you have to be on that, you have to be remember that happens because no one tells you, penalty backs you up it’s 25 not 40 and then you’re on it again and then it’s silent. Those things can’t happen because those are self-inflicted wounds and that was the first thing that we addressed. We’re excited about the way it happened and how it unfolded and did a lot of really good things, but here some stuff that would’ve put you feeling a little bit better and this stuff can’t happen because this stuff can be the setback to making a difference between a win and a loss in a lot of aspects and those things are the things that we’re most focused on. It’s the self-inflicted wounds, that’s part of our keys to victory is just don’t beat ourselves, don’t let the Bucs beat the Bucs. Take care of the ball, win the mental game, do those things and you’ll put yourself in position and fortunately those things happened and they didn’t cost us the game, but they could’ve easily and we need to fix them.”
 
(On if they’re going to try to simulate the crowd noise in New Orleans by practicing at Tropicana Field this week)
“We’re preparing for that. I have yet to be in the circumstances like we’ve got today, I don’t know exactly what’s expected – if there’s going to be four marching bands or things like that going on, but I hope it’s in that situation, you try to create it, but it’s hard to create. You’re not going to create New Orleans today, but you’re going to get close and you’re going to try to do some things that are subtle to make them think and lock in a little better, absolutely because it’s going to be that way.
 
(On his impressions of the New Orleans defense)
“Good defense, good coordinator, good team – they know how to win, tough place to play. It’s not going to be about what they’re giving up or what they’re ranked, we have to do things right or bad things can happen. It’s a short ride from being successful against the good teams or great teams and being bad against the teams that we think sometimes we’re going to go ahead – that’s a good team and they’re a good defense and they have a great coordinator  and they know how to do things right. They’re going to have a good scheme, but we’ve got to go and have a gameplan against what they do schematically and we’ve got to execute no matter what they’re ranked, bottom line. That’s how we have to approach it, there’s no way around it because if you go into it thinking what they’ve given up and all of that stuff, you’re already taking the back seat, we don’t believe in that.”
 
(On if there were communication issues because of the crowd Sunday)
“Yeah, there was communication issues that have to clean up. It’s more of things ideally that can happen and we’re addressing those.”
 
(On what tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins adds to the offense)
“He’s a tough matchup. He’s a big, big solid [player] and we’re excited about some of the things he does. He’s another element that we’re glad to have back. Tough matchup and we’ll continue to find ways to put him against guys in the middle to help us out.”
 
(On how quarterback Josh McCown is progressing)
“Good. I don’t know how much he’s done with the trainers in the last few days, we’ve been off him, but every day he’s in there getting that thing checked out and seeing how it feels and I’ll find out a little bit more today.”
 
QUARTERBACK MIKE GLENNON
 
(On what jumps out at him from Sunday's game tape)
"I think just the second half when we really came together as an offense and got a lot of yards, got some points. We probably should have come away with a little bit more than we did. We had those three red zone drives at the end and all we came away with was 10 points out of it. So we'd like to get more than that. But there were a lot of good things, and some things to work on as well. There's always good and bad, but the best part of it all is that we won, and when we needed it most, we scored a touchdown. That's the most important part of it."
 
(On what he remembers about the game winning drive)
“Probably just the big play by Louis Murphy, to get set up – we weren’t really trying to get to the four-yard line on that play or wherever we got to, we were just trying to get a chunk to get us to spike it and get the ball in the red zone for maybe two more throws to see what could happen, but he made a big play on it and got us down there and at that point it felt like we should score from the three-yard line if we get three tries at it. It was good to see happen, we practiced those scenarios all of the time, those end of game situations and to finally get one and then convert on it was a good feeling.”
 
(On wide receiver Louis Murphy being able to contribute after signing earlier in the week)
“I think that’s what we saw from him all of camp, that he’s a competitor and when the ball is in his area he’s going to go get it and that’s exactly what he did. He didn’t wait for the ball to come to him, he went and attacked it and with him attacking it, he kind of gained some speed and got separation from the defenders. He works so hard and it was great to see him step up in that situation, not even being here a week ago. I had seen it from him all of camp but it was good to see him do it in a real game in that situation.”
 
(On what he remembers from last year's game in New Orleans)
"It's a great place to play. Those fans have a lot of fun there. What I remember is that Drew Brees was just lighting us up. We couldn't really keep up with him. We hit some big plays and were kind of staying with him, but we'd score about every other possession and they were scoring on every possession. We know how good they are at home, we know how good we'll have to be in that atmosphere to leave there with a win."
 
(On communication issues in a loud stadium)
"I think any time you're in a loud environment, whenever you're on the road, that's something you want to focus on and make sure things go smoothly, especially in a dome with fans like theirs. We know we're going to have to work on it this week in practice and make sure there are no problems coming into it."
 
(On throwing more balls downfield)
"I think we knew there were going to be opportunities for it with our guys, and their one corner was taller but the other one was a little shorter.  So we knew that was going to be an opportunity for us to just throw it up there and make a play on it. We wanted to make it a point of emphasis that we threw the ball downfield a little bit more to give our guys a shot to make some big plays out of it. And we executed. We saw what Mike Evans can do with the ball in the air. We already knew what Vince can do; we've seen that in the past. Louis Murphy made some big plays as well, and you can go on and on with Austin Seferian-Jenkins as well.  We have a bunch of guys that help a lot when you can throw the ball down the field and get some big chunks.
 
(On what he would like to improve on)
“I think that I missed too many throws in the red zone. I think that’s the main thing, I could’ve hit more and then who knows if we would have needed that drive at the end or who knows what would’ve happened. There are some throws that I would definitely like to have back there, but I think with every quarterback there’s always some throws they would like to have back.”
 
(On the communication issues and how much responsibility he takes for it)
“The quarterback is always responsible, we’re the one that can see the play clock. We’ll get that straightened out, it’s already been addressed and we’ll make sure that’s not a problem going forward.”
 
(On his relationship with quarterback Josh McCown)
“I’ve said it from the get-go, from immediately meeting him, he genuinely wants to see the team succeed and genuinely wants to see me succeed. He was a huge help to me all week and I know as a team we’re lucky to have him and I’m lucky to have him be with me every day and help me develop as a player. It was an exciting time and I saw the pictures and it was pretty awesome.”
 
(On opportunities to get in the race in the NFC South)
"Yeah, it's wide open. Whoever wins our game could possibly be tied for first place in the division. So it's a big game for us. The NFC South is wide open and it's a long season. We just need to continue to build and continue to get better as a team and let everything play out."
 
(On if his throw-away on the play just before Louis Murphy's 41-yard catch was a key play)
"I think it's important because if we take a sack, chances are the game is over. If I don't throw it in the dirt and Bobby catches it, that's going to be 20 seconds left, at best, from the 40-yard line. There's a point in those situations to know [to do that]. When you have no timeouts in that situation, sometimes the best play is to live to see another down, and that's exactly what we did. We saw another down and hit a big play. That's something that we talk about, us quarterbacks, in those situations what's the best thing to do."
 
(On being able to be even-keeled in pressure situations)
“I think that I’ve always had the mentality that everything is going to be just alright. In that situation, I felt it was great situation lined up for us and that we just need to execute our offense and we’d be fine. I know it’s important as a quarterback to remain even-keeled and I’m sure as you guys can tell from my personality that’s kind of the way I am. To me, I just go out there and play, understanding the situation is no different. I mean, it is different, but from a standpoint of where your mind needs to be and your composure and all of that, you have to treat like anything else.”
 
(On him and center Evan Dietrich-Smith being able to correct their communication issues as they get more reps)
“We’ll get it straightened out. It’s a whole team effort and we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again. Like I said, it’s been addressed and we’ll be better at that going forward.”
 
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
 
(On the defense’s plan against New Orleans)
“We’ve just got to get right up to the football and make tackles when they throw the passes underneath. First guy there has got to get him down and everybody else has got to rally. When it’s time to throw the ball deep, hopefully our D-line can get there.”
 
(On how big it was to get the first week of the season out of the way)
“It’s big. It’s a confidence booster. It’s [another] week. Last week, we’ve got to move on. We’ve got to face a division opponent, a tough football team. It all starts today.”
 
GUARD LOGAN MANKINS
 
(On lining up with the special teams for field goals and extra points)
“Because of that injury in Week 1, I was kind of taken off there for a while. Everything is getting better now so I’m able to partake in that again.”
 
(On the differences for him between playing with quarterback Mike Glennon or quarterback Josh McCown)
“There’s not a big difference to me. All I hear is a voice. Both of those guys do a good job and whoever’s back there, I’m going to do my best for them.”
 
(On the performance of the offensive line as a unit)
“We’re striving to get better. We’re not where we want to be. It’s just a work in progress, but I feel we’re getting better every week though and we’re getting more cohesion. Guys are getting more comfortable. I think our techniques are getting better each week also. It’s just a work in progress and hopefully we continue to improve.”
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On how he feels physically)
“Physically, I feel pretty good. I don’t feel [pain in] my knee anymore – it all held up. I’m one hundred percent.”
 
(On what needs to be done to have a more consistent rushing attack)
“We definitely do need to get better in the running game. We watched film and we’ve actually dissected what we need to do to have a better running game and us just focusing on the details and everybody just doing their job on a consistent basis. If we do that, we’ll be more successful going forward.”
 
(On going into a hostile environment in New Orleans)
“Any time you travel away, that team is definitely going to have the home advantage with the crowd and that 12th man that they have. We’ve just got to start fast. That’s how you quiet down the crowd: you’ve got to start fast and make plays on all sides of the ball in order to be able to quiet that crowd down.”
 
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER
 
(On how the defense is preparing for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees)
“Same way that we go out. It’s more about what we’re doing. We’ve got to make sure that we’re assignment-sound and make sure that we know our responsibilities because he is a smart quarterback, a very good quarterback. So if we’re not doing our job, he’s going to exploit that. So that’s what we’re concentrating on – just building off of what we did last week and fix our mistakes.”
 
(On New Orleans’ offense)
“They’ve got weapons everywhere. The guy they drafted, Brandin Cooks, and obviously Jimmy Graham. Just a slew of weapons for Drew Brees. So it’s going to be imperative for us, like I kind of said, just do our job doing our responsibilities, and making it tough for him to get reads on us, and don’t make it comfortable for him to make throws down the field because if you just allow him to get into a rhythm, it’s going to be very, very tough with the playmakers they’ve got.”
 
(On Brees’ ability to escape tackles in the pocket)
“I think we got a good taste of that this past week with Ben Roethlisberger. You know that you’ve got to stay in your coverage. So just having that experience from this past game is going to help us in this game. You’ve got to assume that he’s going to find a way because he’s done it in the past plenty of times – get out of the pocket, find a way to get somewhere to try to throw the ball down the field to his guys. So it’s imperative we do our job and stay in our coverage.”
 
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