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30 September 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: At Houston, the Buccaneers offensive line held the Texans without a sack. It was the first time that Tampa Bay has held an opponent since Week 17 of the 2012 season (12/30/12 at Atlanta) and only the eighth time the Texans have not recorded a sack since 2010.
                 
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 Lavonte David
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Center Joe Hawley
Linebacker Danny Lansanah
Guard Ali Marpet
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list first, we had five players that did not practice today: Johnthan Banks, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Donovan Smith, Evan Smith and Luke Stocker. You have to have a pretty significant injury to not practice. Everybody else at least practiced on a limited basis. Good hot day to get some work in in Tampa.”
 
(On Donovan Smith’s injury)
“He has a knee injury and he wasn’t able to practice today. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll be a lot better and might be able to practice tomorrow.”
 
(On if Gosder Cherilus has been moved from right tackle to left tackle while Smith is out with injury)
“Of course you know I can’t talk about things like that. You understand why. I like the group we did work out there today.”
 
(On rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander and the challenge of facing Carolina quarterback Cam Newton)
“I’m on record, I think Cam Newton is as good a quarterback as there is around. I think what he can do in the pocket. I think if he just stayed in the pocket he could be a real good drop-back quarterback, so, yes, for a rookie linebacker facing a guy like that. He’s facing a few other good quarterbacks too. I think it will be that way for him just about every week. Again, Cam Newton is a challenge with his mobility along with being able to throw the ball.”
 
(On Carolina tight end Greg Olsen)
“He does present quite a few challenges. He has excellent speed, great hands. He’s been playing at a high level in this league for a long time so all the ins and outs of playing tight end, whether it be inline, in the backfield or split out wide, he’s got it down. He’s had good games against us in the past. Of course, I know him personally, and of course they have some good weapons, but he is definitely one of their weapons. If I was them I would try to get him the ball as much as possible, which I’m sure they will try to do and we need to be ready for that.”
 
(On Carolina cornerback Charles Tillman)
“I just know he is about as good as there is. Of course as good as I’ve ever seen to be able to get the ball out. It’s a trait, something that is acquired and all that. Whatever it is he has it. He’s done it consistently. For us, on the other side of the ball, we are constantly harping about ball security with whoever has the football. Our guys know how important it is this week. On the other hand, that’s what we need to be able to do too. It’s normally going to come down to that turnover ratio and we need to take the ball away more than we have and more, of course, than we did this weekend.”
 
(On Carolina adding defensive end Jared Allen and possibly returning linebacker Luke Kuechly)
“Jared Allen, of course, many years - seems like every year I was [in Chicago] we had to have a plan for him. There are some outside pass rushers in the league. He’s rushed the passer well for many years. He has a nonstop motor, so it’s tough duty going against a player like that. They are a better defense with him out there. [It’s a] similar scheme so he should be able to pick it up rather quick and we assume we are going to see quite a bit of him this weekend. Luke Kuechly is as good a mike linebacker as there is playing the game, if he is able to go. I know he has been out with an injury. You want to see great players in the league not be out because of injury. If he chooses to not play this weekend, we’ll be alright with that too [laughs]. As we talk about Kwon Alexander, this is the standard. As Kwon starts climbing the charts of being recognized as one of the best linebackers around he needs to catch guys like Kuechly. If he’s not there, they filled in well last week with some good young players and they should be okay still.”
 
(On similarities between Carolina when drafting quarterback Cam Newton and Tampa Bay drafting quarterback Jameis Winston)
“No I’m not surprised, as you mention, he was a great player in college and you knew it would transfer right into the league. Of course you want it to happen right away, but sometimes it doesn’t happen right away. Both of them are great quarterbacks that are going to help their teams win a lot of games. We talked about what all Cam has been able to do. For a player like Jameis Winston, as I talked about Kwon Alexander looking at Luke Kuechly, for a player like Jameis seeing the guy he’s going against on the other side, that has to get your blood flowing a little bit. You would look forward to that. I know he is. This is a big game for all of our team. I know how much he is into it.”
 
(On a quarterback needs to win when having a good individual game)
“I think every quarterback, first, you can’t lose it by turning the ball over, as much as anything. You start with that. You don’t want to make a whole lot of bad decisions to really put your team in the hole. I think as a quarterback, we draft quarterbacks and everybody is looking for a quarterback when things aren’t going well you need somebody to take the team on their shoulders and go with it. As you talk about great quarterbacks, that’s what they do. There will come a time when Jameis will be doing that for us. Maybe it’s this weekend, but there will come a time when he’ll be doing that. He has that kind of talent.”
 
(On getting another division win and snapping a losing streak against Carolina)
“it’s huge for us. I know we talked about finishing up the quarter 2-2, but what I’m talking to our team about is – and we understand what our record is – we have a chance to be 2-0 in the division and that’s what it’s about. To defeat the team that’s held that title, yes they’ve beaten us – they swept us both times – they are at the top. They are the defending champions in our division. In order for you to say you are ready to make a move, you’ve got to knock out the champ. That’s where we are.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DIRK KOETTER
 
(On issues on third down in last week’s game)
“We just didn’t throw and catch on third down. Protection was outstanding. Houston’s game plan was to take us out of our run game and see if they could get there with their pass rush – I’m talking first and second down. We did a really nice job on first and second down. We hit our passes, we hit a bunch of explosive (plays), we protected. We got to third down and we still protected good, we just didn’t throw and catch. We either threw it on target and dropped it or we had the guy wide open and missed it. We were 1-for-12 on third down. If you really look at all those third downs back-to-back-to-back, if we just do what we’re supposed to, we could be 9-for-12 on third down. And, you know, we got a couple calls there – that was a third down on the sluggo route to Vince [Jackson], that was a bang-bang play – stuff like that is going to happen once in a while, but just unacceptable. We have to pitch and catch. An NFL team’s got to make those plays.”
 
(On his evaluation of wide receiver Mike Evans and dropped balls last week)
“Mike didn’t have his best [game]; he’d be the first guy to tell you that. He missed a lot of time the last few weeks [being injured]. That’s what happens when you have a guy that – Mike’s still a young player, he’s still in his second year. He missed a lot of time. You want to get him back in there, he’s one of your marquee players. They were challenging us to throw jump balls to him. Jameis threw a lot of really good balls, jump balls. Again, I’m not telling you anything that Mike wouldn’t tell you himself. Mike is paid to make those catches.”
 
(On whether he felt that Evans had ‘rust’ due to coming back from injury)
“You pick your own word. Pick whatever word you want, but we have to make those plays. You’ve got to be able to throw and catch. Again, you want to be a big-time receiver, you want to be a big-time quarterback, the protection’s there, the route’s there, we have to make the plays. Now, there’s times that the route won’t be there and then that’s my fault – I’ve got to give them better and that’s fine. We’re not pinning it on anybody. It is what it is; we’ve got to do better.”
 
(On the consistency of rookie guard Ali Marpet)
“Ali had a good game. He didn’t have the highest grade on the o-line, but he was up there. Other than maybe one game in preseason, Ali has been pretty consistent. He’s gone against some good players, both in the preseason and in the [regular season]. He’s off to a good start. He is off to a good start.”
 
(On how many dropped passes there were in last week’s game and whether he charts such passes)
“Too many, that’s how many I had. Charting dropped passes is an inexact science for sure. I mean, how many is too many? Probably one is too many – it depends on how tough the catch is. I always just try to judge should the guy have made that catch? There was – [Jonathan] Joseph, 24 for them, I thought he did a nice job three different times in the game where the ball was on the money, we had our hands on the ball, and he poked it out. That’s a veteran corner, that’s a good player. That’s hard to say is that a drop or not. But there were some flat-out drops. You’re going to have some over the course of the year. I’m not one of those guys who’s sitting there beating the drum over, ‘Catch the damn ball.’ That’s just not – you think those guys don’t know that? That’s the most obvious coaching thing in America. I don’t ever really talk to them [about it]. It’s a fact. It’s a fact. You guys know it, I know it. All we’re doing is stating a fact. We’re not going to beat them up, we’re not going to say quit doing it, it’s just, we’ve got to catch the ball.”
 
(On how heavily running back Doug Martin must be involved with a game plan)
“That’s definitely the game plan, to have him involved. But the definition of insanity is to keep doing something that doesn’t work. Houston’s game plan on first and second down, 3-4 team, they were bringing their backers – there was one series where they went total blitz, zero [coverage], both on first down and second down back-to-back. You hardly ever see that in the NFL. At some point, I mean, the easiest thing [for] a rookie quarterback is turn around and hand it to Doug Martin. But if we’re making one or two yards, or in some cases minus-two yards [per rush], what [are we doing]? We have those two wideouts out there playing [against] single-high coverage and they’re challenging us to throw it. We’ve got to throw the ball there. That has nothing to do with – Doug ran hard. Doug ran hard, had some nice runs. We only ran it 20 times or something like that. We’d like to run it more, but it just wasn’t that kind of a game. When I look at like the game before, against New Orleans, I look at run downs as first-and-10, second-and-1 to 6. I think we ran it 18 out of 21 times or something like that. This game, it was a lot more balanced. It was more balanced than you’d think. But we were way more successful – I just look at the efficiency. What was our run efficiency, what was our pass efficiency and, in both, what was our explosive efficiency. It wasn’t even close. Our pass efficiency was through the roof and I think of our seven completions on run downs, I think six of them were explosive. Explosive is how you win games. So we want to work Doug; Doug is a workhorse. It just wasn’t meant to be in that game.”
 
(On where he sees Martin in the passing game)
“Down the pecking order. I mean, we’re not going to throw Doug 20 passes when you’ve got the other guys that we have.”
 
(On the number of penalties)
“Too many. Too many, to be sure. But we’ve played in two domes and if you really look at the offensive penalties, we had three penalties in the first drive. After that, we had one penalty the rest of the game. It was legit; they called Joe [Hawley] for a hold on the screen. Of those first three, two of them were crowd-noise related. Jameis lost track of the clock, we were trying to check in a noisy stadium and we got a delay, Logan had a false start on the very first play of the game, and then there was the offensive OPI they called on Mike [Evans]. Take a look at that one on tape and then you be the judge.”
 
(On where quarterback Jameis Winston struggled in the passing game)
“First of all, let’s talk about the positives. Jameis did a great job of getting the ball out on time in this game. A great job. We had zero sacks against one of the best rush teams in the NFL, with two elite – two elite – pass rushers. Very few teams have that. And what’s strange about the game is, on first and second down, Jameis was as accurate as could be. He threw some beautiful balls. Unfortunately, on third down, he wasn’t as accurate as he needs to be. Two of them that just come to my mind right off the bat, he didn’t set his feet good enough. He got his base a little bit too wide. Get your base wide and the ball tends to sail on you. So we had two of those. But Jameis threw some great balls in that game. That just shows what he can do. We have to remember that it’s his third game. I think plenty of people out there were wondering if a team did shut down our running game and force us to throw, could we do it? It wasn’t good enough, but we made progress.”
 
(On Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and whether his status for Sunday affects game planning)
“I think he’ll be good to go. It sounds like he’ll be good to go. He’s one of the top players in the NFL. He’s the Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers of defense. When he’s in there, the offense checks, he’s checking the defense, he’s sliding the front. Guy’s an impressive player. They’ve been a lot more vanilla the last two-and-a-half games with him out. I’m sure as soon as he gets back, they’ll crank it up again and do more things than they’ve been doing.”
 
(On the progress shown by the offensive line)
“They did a nice job. Those guys are playing hard. What we told them is, all right, we lost a game from our standpoint – I’m sure Houston feels like they deserved to win – we felt like that was a winnable game from our standpoint. But the standard of how hard our guys are playing has been set. Our guys are playing hard. That starts, that always starts, with the o-line. Those guys are playing tough. You guys have been asking me since the first day I got up here about do we have ways we can help the pass protection. Well, they did a nice job in that game. Now, that’s three of 16. We’ve got to keep going.”
 
(On how the tight ends performed and how the absence of Austin Seferian-Jenkins affected the game plan)
“The tight ends were fine. But how it changed the game plan is that they just weren’t targeted as much. Now, we didn’t go into the game thinking we were going to target Mike [Evans] 17 times. It worked out that way. One thing about that, we have to balance that up between Mike and Vince. There’s nothing wrong with Mike Evans having 17 targets, but if Mike has 17, Vince should probably have 16.34. It just changes [the game plan]; we didn’t target them as much. But they played fine.”
 
(On whether he believes opposing teams will focus on stopping the run forcing a rookie quarterback to throw, or if Winston has put enough on tape that there might be hesitation there)
“Think of it this way: some teams are all single-high oriented, some teams are going to mix more two-high safeties in there. That’s just different d-coordinators. Some d-coordinators, they’re going to load the box on you every play and say, ‘I don’t care who you’re quarterback is, you can’t run it.’ Other coordinators are going to mix it up, they’re going to try to disguise more. So that’s how your game plan is set, based on what you expect – now, you don’t always get what you expect – but what you expect from coordinators. I think for the most part we’ll see people challenge Jameis all year. We know that. There’s ways – you have to be able to run it against a stacked box, too.”
 
(On the challenges presented by Carolina this week)
“They’re a top-notch defense. Look at the stats, where they’re ranked. Very well-coached. Those two linebackers [Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis] are at the top of the league. [Josh Norman] has made two game-winning plays for them – the Jacksonville game, a pick-six, [and] that was a beautiful play against New Orleans last week. That was a nice throw; what a play he made. They have depth on the defensive line. You know, losing [Charles] Johnson, they lose a good rusher, and then they trade for another good rusher [Jared Allen]. But all those guys in their front, they can push the pocket, they have good depth. Linebackers, they have depth. Now that they’ve had to play [A.J.] Klein more, they’ve got their first-round pick [Shaq Thompson], they traded for another corner to go opposite 24, 31 [Charles Tillman] comes over from Chicago. He’s had an excellent career. So this is a real solid defense and we’ll have our hands full for sure.”
 
(On how close Winston is to the point of doing his own in-game adjustments)
“Jameis is good with that. I think it’s still real, real early. In a perfect world, you’ve got Mike [Evans], Vince [Jackson] and Austin [Seferian-Jenkins] out there all the time. We really haven’t had that. That comes from playing with the same guys, that also comes from playing in the same system for several years. I mean, look at what Aaron Rodgers is doing right now. He’s the best example. But Aaron Rodgers sat on the bench for four years. You guys are wanting Jameis to do it in Week 4 of his rookie year [laughter].”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On what he learned on third down situations during the game against Houston)
“Situational football wins and loses the game. We have to have a better percentage there.”
 
(On what he needs to do better in those situations)
“That’s just pitch and catch in that situation – make a throw to the open guy. Do the right thing.”
 
(On if he spoke with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton while going through the draft process)
“I’ve talked to Cam numerous times. He’s just a great person for me to look up to and kind of model my style off what he’s been through. We’ve basically been through the same thing – the Heisman, then going to the league. He’s definitely a great person to try and seek things to do to better myself.”
 
(On what he learned from Newton)
“What I learned from most of the guys that mentored me, just be yourself. We were blessed to play this great game of football. He loves football. He exaggerates how blessed he is to be playing. That’s what I do – bring energy. He’s a very enthusiastic person, so just bring energy to the field and be yourself.”
 
(On the emotional aspect of the NFL and handling the highs and lows throughout the season)
“I just go to the next game. The way my mind works, I don’t focus on wins and losses. Of course I want to win games, but it’s about this team’s development.  I know when we start jelling and everything starts clicking right, I know we are going to have some success.”
 
(On if he is becoming more of a leader in the locker room)
“Any chance I have the opportunity to the outspoken leader of this team, I step right in and I do it. That’s just my character. That’s who I am. I can’t be the guy to just be quiet and allow stuff to happen. I speak up positively. Eventually, I’m going to get my way into being the big leader on this team, but for now I’m playing my role, playing quarterback. When an opportunity presents itself I do step in and take that role.”
 
(On if he has a touchdown celebration)
“I don’t have a touchdown celebration at all. I just go out there and play. When I score a touchdown I’m happy so whatever comes over me, man, I’m going to express it.”
 
(On if he has thought about developing one)
“No, I haven’t Right now I’m working on third downs and scoring in the red zone.”
 
(On winning a home game)
“It would be great just for this city to have some wins behind it. Unfortunately our only win was on the road this year, but it would be big for the city. We need that. We need to bring that winning atmosphere back into Raymond James. Get it electric in there. It’s a big win for us – division game, help us toward our record of winning in the division. They are the defending champs, but it will be very important to get a win here this week.”
 
(On if the players talk about not being able to win at home and how much of a priority it is)
“I don’t really hear it around the locker room. We just want to win. We’re not worried about where we won at or where we lost at. We want to win and want to get better and win some games, so we can smile after the games.”
 
(On the offensive line doing well against a good defensive front in Houston)
“It has to be a confidence booster. Ali Marpet and Donovan [Smith], and Logan Mankins he’s leading those guys. He’s guiding those guys. He’s the veteran on that line and those guys are the young guys. You think about Joe [Hawley], his second week being in a Bucs uniform he’s out there producing and [Gosder Cherilus], he’s a veteran as well. It’s a big confidence booster for those guys. They deserve that. They deserve to feel that way, because that’s how good they are. People may criticize them all the time, but we have a good offensive line and now people can finally see that, because against the best defensive line probably in the NFL, they produced – no sacks. It has a lot to do with me as well. People look at sack situations – it’s not all about them missing a block. It’s about how long I hold the ball and people getting open. All the sacks I blame on me, but it’s definitely a confidence booster for them.”
 
(On how quickly he got the ball out and if he was in a rhythm)
“It’s just rhythm, man. Every week, I just try to get better and better with my footwork – speeding up the rhythm of my drops. Some times on third downs I got wide, too extended – just trying to get everything with my body right so we can make plays and produce.”
 
(On if he believes as a leader he has to take the blame even if it’s not always his fault)
“Absolutely, when you win it’s about us, when you lose technically it’s about us, but there’s someone that control that during the meeting time. The great players, they are able to make the difference and help you get a win when you are in a losing situation.”
 
(On Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly)
“Another great player. One of the best players in the league. They have a lot of great players on their team with the addition of Jared Allen – they added to the team, a vet – Thomas Davis, a vet, Charles Tillman, a vet and a cornerback, Josh Norman, that’s playing his tail off and Roman Harper. They have a great, solid defense that it’s going to be exciting to play against, but we have to play our football game. We have to go out there compete and play.”   
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On his performance in Houston)
"I played terrible. This team needs better from me and I will get better. But it's in the past; the game's behind us. We should have definitely won if I make one or two more plays. I'll work hard in practice this week and hopefully I'll make those plays come Sunday."
 
(On where he's seeing progress in the offense)
"We could be dangerous. Jameis played great, the O-line played great, everybody played great except for myself. If I pick that up we could be dangerous."
 
(On if he was shaking off rust in the Houston game after not playing much the first two weeks)
"Maybe so. I don't know what it was. I just didn't feel as comfortable as I have been in the past, but I guess that comes with more reps."
 
(On how anxious he is to get to the next game in order to put the last one behind)
"I put it behind me. I'm very, very anxious. We have a good defense coming into town and it should be fun."
 
(On the Carolina defense)
"They're sound everywhere. They're very disciplined; they don't make mistakes. Their front seven is great and they have a really good secondary as well. We're going to have our hands full with those guys. We've got a good week to prepare so we should be ready."
 
(On Carolina CB Josh Norman)
"He's been making a lot of plays. I remember last year, he talks a lot. He's a fun guy to play against."
 
(On how the receivers can help the Bucs' rushing attack do better)
"We play a big part, especially if we can get some early passes in. That will open the lanes for the running backs. It takes us to spring the big run. We've been working on that in practice and we're a big part of big runs. We've got to get in there and block."
 
(On handling the up and down emotions of the NFL)
"You've just got to go through it. It happens. But if things don't go your way you've got to come back to work the next week. It's another great team coming in and we've got to move forward."
 
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
 
(On getting better results in the run defense)
"Really, you don't have to do anything different. It's just going to be another opponent we're going against. We're going to have the same preparation, if not better, against a team that's on a hot streak right now. Whatever you've been doing the past couple weeks, you have to do that but better."
 
(On if the issues on run defense can be corrected)
"Yeah, that's correctable. It's just something that we have to fix on our behalf. It's all about beating the man in front of you and getting to the ballcarrier. Nobody's been out-scheming us or anything. It's a matter of us doing what we're supposed to do."
 
CENTER JOE HAWLEY
 
(On the offensive line wanting to run the football and how the team plans to do so against Carolina)
“An offensive line always wants to run the football, it helps everything out. It starts today – Wednesday is game-planning, getting the right scheme together to attack those guys [Carolina]. That’s what we spend all week practicing.”
 
(On running back Doug Martin)
“He’s an amazing runner. He makes a lot of guys miss and he keeps fighting after first contact. If we give him just a little bit of a hole, he can make stuff happen. It’s nice having a guy like that back there.”
 
(On Carolina’s defense and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly)
“They’re a whole different defense with him out there. He’s very smart, he gets them in the right looks. He’s good at checking defenses to what he sees. You can tell he watches a lot of film. He’s just a step quicker than most linebackers. He gets to the ball quicker. We need to make sure we know where he’s at the whole time.”
 
(On not giving up any sacks against Houston)
“It’s definitely a positive. It’s a very good defensive line and being able to protect Jameis like that, it give him confidence in us, being able to do that. We’ve just got to continue to improve. Jameis was still hit too many times. Even though he wasn’t sacked, he was still getting hit a little bit. We just need to continue to work and improve each week.”
 
LINEBACKER DANNY LANSANAH
 
(On stopping the run)
"[We're] trying to stop the run. That's the big thing. If a team is running for a lot of yards on you, you're usually getting your butt kicked. A team can throw for 500 yards and still lose a ballgame, but when a team rushes for 150, 200 yards [against you], you're going to lose the game."
                            
(On dealing with Cam Newton)
"He's a good athlete. He can run the ball. They do a good job scheme-wise, using him to the best of his abilities. We've just got do what the coaches teach us, do our scheme and I think we'll be fine."
 
(On how to make TE Greg Olsen less of a factor)
"We've just got to contain him. He's a great player. He's going to get his yards and completions, but we can't let him get out of hand. We've got to shut him down, hold him to a low number and do the best we can."
 
GUARD ALI MARPET
 
(On adjusting to the NFL)
“I’ve think I’ve done a pretty good job. I came in, I struggled a little bit, but I think I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time and I think I’m going to get better. But I’m getting my routine down, I’m starting to sort of figure it out a little bit.”
 
(On the offensive line’s performance against Houston)
“We’re a good offensive line. There’s no reason why we can’t continue to do it. I think sometimes you don’t execute as well as you can. Last week we executed.”
 
(On how he can improve)
“Protection – I need to be more sound, technique-wise. In the run game, I need to be more aggressive.”
 
(On Carolina’s defense)
“They’re a physical front, a good front. We believe, I think, that we can get after it a little bit, but they’re definitely a physical front.”
 
(On getting a division win)
“That’s huge. Obviously we’re putting a lot of emphasis on this game, this being a division game. We also want to win at home. We haven’t won at home in a while. That’s definitely a big focus for us.”
 
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