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09 September 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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
Center Evan Smith
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
                         
(Opening Statement)
“[I’ll] hit the injury list first. Mike Evans is getting better, but he did not participate today. T.J. Fatinikun still nursing the shoulder injury. Those two players did not practice. Everybody else was able to do something, which is good. We’re fairly healthy. [We’ve] waited a long time to get this Wednesday here – when you get into a regular routine of game week. Need to get momentum early. There is nothing like playing at home. For our players it’s been a while since we’ve practiced in pads. Tennessee will see this right? Make sure they know that it’s going to be really hot when they come down here this week. Guys have to be ready to go. We plan on playing a lot of people. If someone has shown us that they can help us, whether they are starting or not, we want to play as many guys and get them involved in the game.”
 
(On if the first game is still special as a veteran head coach)
“Yes. It doesn’t seem like it has been that many. I can’t really remember all of them. I know you feel the same way. It’s like the first one, that’s not coach talk. You know this week is coming up, but once you get there – and now we’re less than a week away. We have a countdown clock. This is our only first and second down day we will have. We know that game day is coming around. They are all special. Can’t wait to see exactly how this football can become. We think pretty good.”
 
(On if he has a sense going into a year how good a team can be)
“Knowing me of course, with that glass being half full, I truly can’t think of year when I said, ‘Man, we’re not going to be any good this year.’ It’s been the complete opposite. I do think you can make comparisons. For me, as a head football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I can make that comparison from last year and how we felt then. We felt good. We feel better this year. Didn’t get off to a good start [last season]. That’s why we put so much of an emphasis – we put an emphasis last year on it, but – so much of an emphasis this year on getting momentum early. We’re going to be a good football team. That’s the feeling I have.”
 
(On how much Jacquies Smith has benefited from having a full offseason with the team)
“It’s benefited a lot. It has to once you’ve been around. Keep in mind Jack has missed a lot of time. It was just good to get him back out there today practicing full speed. He’s a good football player. He’s showed that, demonstrated that to us last year. We need his presence on the edge rushing the passer, not just rushing the passer but he’s a guy who plays hard every snap. Good to see him back out there.”
 
(On how tackle Donovan Smith looked after missing a few practices)
“Full speed ahead. Off the injury list, which is a good thing. The plan of course was to bring him back this day. He looked pretty good.”
 
(On the excitement of having a young player like Jameis Winston)
 “It’s just special having a player like Jameis Winston period. I think any head coach would say that. He is a good football player. It is fun to be around a player like that as he starts that climb to being considered one of the better quarterbacks in the league. I do like seeing young players with talent, not just Jameis Winston. I’m excited about our defensive play caller in Kwon Alexander and the excitement he has and what he is going to bring, too. When you are talking about young players like that, they have talent and, yes, it’s good to see young players with talent play.”

(On if Adam Humphries will handle kick and punt returns)
“That’s an option for us. He can. We have a few guys that can though. Of course Bobby Rainey can also. Mike James can. The more things you can do, of course it helps you a lot and we are excited about some of the things Adam should be able to help us with.”
 
(On if the team has selected captains for the season)
“Yes we did. On the offensive side – some years – will be – offensively, though, you kind of have an idea of who the captains will be – offensively though, Logan Mankins of course, he’s been in that role for a while and Vincent Jackson. Both guys lead every day. Defensively, of course Gerald McCoy. There’s a reason why he is the face of the franchise. Lavonte David, another easy choice. I normally go five captains, but this year the voting was so close. Clinton McDonald will also be one of our captains this year so we will have three defensive guys. Special teams-wise, to me that was an easy choice. The way Russell Shepard plays, he’ll be our special teams captain. This is all voted by the coaches and the players. I only have one vote just like the players do. It means an awful lot to get selected when they’ve seen what you’ve done. For our guys now the second year around, they’ve had a long time to really see players in that leadership role.”
 
(On if it is fair to assume rookie quarterbacks will face more from a defense than a veteran quarterback)
“I don’t know. There are two rookie quarterbacks this week that are playing. So much has been made of that. I just know what we are doing. I assume as you look at defensive football 101 – rookie quarterback, throw everything at him. You have to be careful about that sometimes. We’re going to play our defense. We’re going to play a lot of good quarterbacks this year. Of course this opening week is one of them.”
 
(On quarterback Marcus Mariota seems more unflappable than other rookie quarterbacks he might face)
“I don’t know that. Again, it’s short term for me. I can’t remember rookie quarterbacks we face to be truthful. I just know he has a calming presence about him, no doubt about that. We’re speculating on all these things. Our quarterbacks, they’re rookies. They never played. That’s why we need to get to this first game. A lot of questions will be answered after this weekend.”
 
(On being cautious with Mike Evans’ injury and if he is optimistic that he will play)
“Knowing how much I’ve talked about hamstrings, if there is one injury that I’ve always been cautious with it is that. They let you know. Mike is a fast healer. That’s coach talk again. He is ahead of schedule. That’s coach talk some more. We’ll never let a player go out there until he is ready. It’s about the big picture and the big picture is when they are ready they play. I’m not there talking to our trainers, ‘Hey, let’s get him out there.’ When he’s ready we’ll play him and I just know he is making a lot of progress.”
 
(On why Winston has the edge over Mariota this week)
“I can’t tell you a whole lot about Tennessee’s quarterback right now. I just know we love our quarterback. He’s done everything I, we’ve asked him to do. I’ve seen him grow from coming in and not knowing how to get to the facility. He’s not using a map right now. Veterans have done this to him. He’s moved into that. Even though he’s not a captain, the quarterback has to be in the leadership role. He’s moving into that. As you talk to him, he’s excited about playing along with his teammates. What he will tell you is, ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the team and me just playing my role with our football team.’ He’s ready to do that.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DIRK KOETTER
 
(On why as an organization the team liked quarterback Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota)
“I think Lovie [Smith] had a great point the other day. There’s nothing to say both these guys can be good. They got their quarterback. We got our quarterback. All that stuff is water under the bridge. How it all shook out really doesn’t matter at this point.”
 
(On what he is looking forward to seeing most on Sunday)
“To see it play out. We talked to the guys this morning in the meeting. You think about all the time you put in. It’s even less than it used to be, but with OTAs, your seven weeks, the summer, training camp – it’s finally real. It counts. That’s why players play and coaches coach, for this.”
 
(On how he feels the offensive line is good enough to allow the skill players to shine )
“When you are looking at it from a coach’s standpoint, we never look at it like that. Your guys are your guys. They are like your kids. Your kids get in trouble sometimes, they’re still your kids. Your kid isn’t the starting quarterback or isn’t first-chair on the tuba, that’s still your kid. The linemen we got, those are the linemen we got. Shoot I think all five are going to the Pro Bowl. How it shakes out, it shakes out. It doesn’t do you any good as a coach to lament over what we do and we don’t have. A coach’s job is to take the guys we got at every position and figure out how to give us a chance to win on Sunday. That’s our job.”
 
(On hinting that there were some things the offensive line didn’t do in the preseason that may help them in the regular season)
“Yeah, we got to break it out. Now is the time. That’s we were supposed to be doing with our game plan is giving our guys the best chance to win. They have two good edge rushers in [Brian Orakpo] and [Derrick Morgan], two good edge rushers. We have to figure out how to block them.”
 
(On if he is confident in the talent on the offensive line)
“Yes, absolutely. We’ll be fine. We have to be. We have no other choice. I already told you we’re going 16-0 so we better figure it out. We will. We’ll be fine.”
 
(On when he is watching a game as a fan how he determines if an offense is well-coordinated or not and how he thinks he should be judged)
“I never think that way as a fan, because I’ve seen so many football games in 33 years. I can easily separate my work from when I watch games for fun, and when I watch games for fun I never think about are they well-coordinated? I’m usually a player or watching a coach and just drinking a beer, something like that. I’m not thinking of it like that. You guys are going to judge me how you are going to judge me and that’s fine. The product we put out on the field – Bill Parcells – we are what our record says we are and that’s how we are going to be judged. I get that. That just comes with the territory. In this league you have to win games and that’s how we are going to be judged. We win games then we are doing good. If we lose games, then we’re not doing good. That’s just how it is.”
 
(On how well prepared he thinks Jameis Winston is to handle a Dick LeBeau defense)
“That’s going to be a good challenge, because between [Tennessee Assistant Head Coach/Defense] Dick LeBeau and [Tennessee Defensive Coordinator] Ray Horton they have two experienced defensive coordinators. They are blending that defense. They’ve worked together before. Like I told you last week, we are working on a lot of different pressures. Jameis, one of his strengths, he sees the field. Seeing it, knowing it’s coming and then he’s got to make the right play with the football.  That’s going to be part of, back to the first question, how it plays out.”
 
(On if LeBeau and Horton have the talent to do what they did before)
“Yeah, this is the NFL. Everyone has talent. Everybody has good players. The different between one and 32 in the NFL is not that much.”
 
(On what the difference is between what Winston has seen in the preseason and what he is going to start to see during the regular season)
“That’s going to depend on what team you are playing. Tennessee definitely did not show everything they have in the preseason. On these first couple of games, we usually do a three or four game breakdown on an opposing defense, so these first couple of games when you are first going off preseason – some teams have a new coordinator like Tennessee – it’s a little more difficult to predict. I’m sure there is going to be something that comes up that we haven’t seen before. We have a rookie quarterback. We may or may not be starting two rookie on the offensive line. We’re going to see some stuff that’s hard. That’s why we got to keep our game plan such that we should be able to handle it.”
 
(On his experience with young quarterbacks getting hit often and if he worries about that)
“Sure, any quarterback that gets hit, it’s not good. My own personal experience would be best with Blaine Gabbert when he was a rookie at Jacksonville. We definitely got him hit too much. I think Blaine got a rough rap because he got off to a bad start, maybe played before he was ready to play. That’s not his fault. That wasn’t his decision. Young quarterback, old quarterback let’s not try to get him hit too much.”
 
(On if there is a guy on the offense that could be an X-factor but doesn’t get a lot of attention)
“Doug Martin, easily Doug Martin. I can’t tell you when Vincent [Jackson] or Mike [Evans] is going to get the ball. I can’t tell you when Austin [Seferian-Jenkins is going to get the ball]. I know when Doug is going to get it. All we have to do is turn around and hand it to him. There’s a guy we can put it in his hand and he has the ability – he’s shown it in the preseason. Any player that has the ability to create explosive [plays] on his own – that guy is an X-factor. I also think the two guys behind him can do that as well.”
 
(On if he thinks Winston is ready to be the starting quarterback)
“Absolutely, yup. Jameis is ready to go and he is foaming at the mouth as you could imagine. You guys have spent time with him. Jameis is a football player, alright. He’s a football player. He’s going to continue to get better throughout [his] first year, second year. He’s going to improve, but Jameis wants to play. Jameis loves to compete and he wants to play. It’s exciting to see. He has a good track record. You look at what he did in college and he did pretty good.”
 
(On where Winston has made the most improvement)
“He’s improving on everything. We’re working on everything. I’d really have to think about that to narrow it down. He’s improved across the board and still has plenty of room to improve.”
 
(On who he thinks is his best pass-blocking running back)
“I think they all do a pretty good job. I think our backs do a good job. I’m not nervous about any of our backs being in there to pick up the blitz. I’m not nervous about those guys at all.”
 
(On what he learned from his time in Atlanta with an offensive line that struggled)
“We’ve hit that on various sessions in here. If you are having a hard time protecting in general, regardless of how old your offensive line is –  I’m back to watching those games as a fan again –  you either have to get the ball out of your hand quicker, so you go to quick drops or you bring more guys in to protect or you max protect on one side and free release on the other – maybe half field reads instead of full field reads. Shoot, I told you I wasn’t going to give you all of our stuff and there I am just shooting my mouth off.”
 
(On wide receiver Adam Humphries progression)
“I think Adam is a great example of – every year I’ve been in the NFL there has been a guy like that that has made it. That just goes to show that the head coach, the GM, the personnel staff- the head coach gets up in front of the team every day and says we are looking for the best 53. You guys were all at the preseason games. I don’t think there is any doubt Adam was one of our best 53 and he made the team. I think it sends a great message to all those guys that you bring in. From when we started, we’ve had over 90 guys in here and now we’re down to 53. I think it sends a great message and Adam is a guy that I never heard of before when he got here and he beat the odds. He’s a good football player. I’m glad he is on our team.”
 
(On if there is a part of him that thinks Winston may try to do too much during his first NFL regular season game)
“Yeah, I can see that. Jameis is eager to show everyone that he’s worthy of that No. 1 pick. His talent backs it up. I might be telling him to calm down a few times on Sunday. Those are good problems to have. You would way rather have a guy that you are trying to calm down than a guy that deep in your gut you’re going, ‘Man, he really doesn’t have the ability to make this play or that play’.”
 
(On the importance of tight end Austin Seferain-Jenkins)
“Having that tight end in the middle of the field and having that tight end that can operate against the safety or linebacker and having another big target like we already have with our wide outs is huge. I’ve been blessed in my time in the league not only to have Tony [Gonzalez], but to have Marcedes Lewis in Jacksonville. I think we have a good idea how to use him. We’ll look for the right matchups and try to get him involved.”
 
(On how complex the playbook he created for Winston is compared to that made for a veteran quarterback)
“Our playbook is not that complicated. Football is not that complicated. It’s not. It’s really not. I’m not very smart. I always try to tell our guys if I can’t explain something – I’m being really serious here – there’s plenty of people in that room that are smarter than me. I just look at it, since I’m the coordinator, if I’m not smart enough to figure it out I don’t know how I think they are going to figure it out. Our playbook is not that complicated. Football, again, is not that complicated.”
 
(On quarterback Ryan Griffin)
“Like any other position you are trying to build the depth of your team. Most teams only have two quarterbacks and then a third guy either on practice squad or you always want that third guy as somebody that can ascend to hopefully at least be a two someday and hopefully even be a starter. You are always wanting that guy in the pipeline. We’ve had our eye really hard on a couple of guys that we were hoping they would pop. Ryan was one of those guys. Even back to his days in college at Tulane and then his time with the Saints, he’s a guys we had our eye on. We’re happy to have him. He’s in a number three role right now. We haven’t had a chance to work with him enough. Coach [Mike] Bajakian has been meeting with him around the clock trying to catch him up. When you come out of the New Orleans system, he’s obviously been well-coached and his college numbers speak for themselves. We’re happy to have him there. We’re probably not going to get a great look at him until the offseason unless we have an injury situation.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On how he feels about starting his first regular season NFL game)
“I’m excited because this is a dream. As a little kid, I dreamed of playing college football. And now I get to play NFL football. This is important to me.”
 
(On his pregame routine)
“I just wake up, give thanks to the Lord. Then when I go to the field, me and Coach Bajakian, with the other quarterbacks, we throw routes and stuff. Go over the game plan. It’s nothing really intense – just gets our juices flowing.”
 
(On whether he shoots for a particular time to wake up on game day)
“I really don’t focus on the time. I’m trying to sleep in, try to get some rest that night because it’s a big game in the morning. I’m just trying to stay calm.”
 
(On his typical pregame meal)
“Whatever they feed us [laughing]. At Florida State, I had to eat green beans and I had to drink a purple PowerAde, because they don’t drink Gatorade. Other than that – that’s all. I just do my regular day.”
 
(On any pregame rituals)
“In college I was very superstitious. I haven’t had the chance to – during preseason [in the NFL], everything is so different. I haven’t had the chance to just find out what I’m going to be superstitious of this year [laughing]. So I just go, have fun and just eat, because I’m going to be starving.”
 
(On how aggressive he hopes to start the game on Sunday)
“I just want to take what they give me. I don’t want to be too overhyped, but I want to come ready, come ready to compete. I always think back to my first spring game at Florida State – the first play was a touchdown. Obviously that would be awesome, but, you know, I’m just going to take every play play-by-play.”
 
(On what the headline in papers should be regarding Jameis Winston versus Marcus Mariota)
“It’s not about us. It’s about our teams. It’s the Bucs versus the Titans. I’d rather the headline be the score than something about individual players.”
 
(On the difference between a ‘good’ and ‘average’ offensive coordinator)
“I’ve never been able to be with an average offensive coordinator. I can’t imagine it. Coaches in today’s world, they spend so much time with us, you think about their families and how much hard work they put into their jobs. I would never call a coach average, because the things that they sacrifice, not only for their families, but for us. I could never put a coach in that position.”
 
(On what he feels the better coaches have that others may not)
“I think all coaches are a blessing to this game. I can’t really judge a coach, because I’m not a coach. I’m supposed to listen to coaches.”
 
(On what aspect of his game he feels has improved the most)
“One thing was getting accustomed to the speed. One thing I always talk about is the rhythm of my drops, being able to set my feet and make a throw on time so I can help the offensive line out, help the running backs out, just help the whole team out. When you get in a rhythm and you’re able to make quick decisions and get the ball out of your hands into a playmaker’s hands, it’s fun.”
 
(On interacting with Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota)
“When I view Marcus, he’s just a great guy. We don’t really talk that much, but it’s like two horses at the racetrack. When the alpha sees another alpha, they just [snorting noise] and they go on about their business. He’s just a great person and you can’t take anything away from him. I’m always smiling and stuff, but he’s just a great guy.”
 
(On how he can block out the comparisons between himself and Mariota and focus on playing the game at hand)
“That’s all I do: I just focus on playing the best game. Of course the attention and stuff is going to be on two people, but me and him both know that it’s about the locker room.”
 
(On how much his final game in college, a loss, still affects him)
“Well, we lost a game in preseason, so I’ve been over that loss in college. Obviously we won our last preseason game, so that’s on my mind right now. I don’t stand on losses for a long time.”
 
(On whether starting his first regular season NFL game has added any additional butterflies)
“It’s the same and it stays the same because I want to do good. Your butterflies will never amp up because – I just want to do good; I’m having butterflies because I want to have a good game, that’s all.”
 
(On where this game ranks compared to the big games he played in college)
“It’s huge, because it’s the beginning. It’s the beginning of this new season and it’s the next game. That’s what Coach Lovie [Smith] is always talking about. We focus on our next game, and that’s what we’re doing.”
 
(On a recent conversation with Trent Dilfer)
“I don’t even remember the conversation, because I get so much wisdom from everybody. I asked him how do you be an NFL quarterback and tried to get a routine from him. He just explained the things to do: waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning, getting your workout in, going to watch extra film on coverages or their formation coverages. Just different things that it takes to be a quarterback. I know I look up to him and he is someone I can depend on to ask that question [to].”
 
(On being excited to play a full four quarters)
“Absolutely. It’s always good to play a full football game. I’m excited just to be on the football field anyway, but it’s good to have a full game.”
 
(On the night before a game)
“I just watch film and go to sleep. I don’t really stress. Now I’m going to be able to watch college football, because college football has started, so I’m going to have my mind on football at least. I really just cherish the opportunity that I get to go out there and play with my brothers. I think people take that so much for granted, but after going through training camp and seeing all these people get cut – it’s tough. There is always some time in everyone’s day, and they should just reflect, ‘I’m here, I’m living.’”
 
(On what music he listens to)
“I usually start off with some Lil Boosie, work my way to Drake. Listen to a little Mary Mary – that’s a gospel singer. All different types and varieties. I listen to Gucci Mane because he’s from Bessemer [Alabama]. Mainly Boosie, Drake, Gucci Mane, Mary Mary.”
 
(On any particular songs he enjoys)
“My song is Mind of a Maniac, that’s from Boosie. The other song, by Drake, is Stay Schemin’, because I always have to stay scheming.”
 
(On if he watched Florida State University and quarterback Everett Golson in the season opener)
“Absolutely. The Noles look great now. They’re ready. He looked great.”
 
(On whether he can understand Golson’s position, stepping in to fill the role Winston left behind, now that he’s stepping in to be the franchise quarterback for Tampa Bay)
“I’m just trying to get what he got his first game at Florida State. I want my first game [at Tampa Bay] to be like his [at Florida State]. I believe he played amazing.”
 
(On visualizing how a game will go)
“First of all, I visualize getting a win – just making the right decisions. I don’t really focus on the negatives that probably could happen. I’m just like, if the linebackers drop deep and I can’t hit a dig behind them, I’m just going to take the checkdown. I know it’s going to hurt me, because I know I want to make that throw in the second window, but I’m just going to take the checkdown and keep the chains moving. It’s all about trying to get my mind right and do the right thing.”
 
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
 
(On a new season)
"I'm very excited: new beginning, new teammates, whole new atmosphere. It's going to be great, man. Me and all the guys are excited to get out there and get this thing rolling today by practicing the way we play, then getting out there on Sunday and playing fast and playing hard."
 
(On the Titans offense)
"They're very versatile. They've got a lot of different backs they hand the ball off to, they've got a lot of weapons on the outside and they've got some great tight ends also. Obviously, they have Marcus Mariota and they do a great job of using him. He's been taking care of the football, so that's been really good for them."
 
(On quarterback Marcus Mariota)
"He's a great football player and a great athlete. All you can do is try to execute to the best of your abilities, make plays on the football and I guess try to get him out of his game. But it's about what we do."
 
(On if the Bucs have to play differently against a mobile quarterback like Mariota)
"No, not really, man. That's where accountability comes in. We count on everybody to do their jobs, and hopefully our guys doing their jobs will prevent him from being more mobile. We've got guys who can do their jobs and prevent all that."
 
(On the key to the defense getting better in 2015)
"I guess the personal goals for us are getting off the field on third downs, creating more turnovers, scoring on defense and creating chaos."
 
(On if the first game of the season can be a 'must-win')
"Yeah, it can be, it can be. Obviously, by the way we ended last year and the progress the defense showed last year, it showed we can come out fast on Sunday and basically have a fast start and try to get a win. The main thing is, our team goal is to win all our home games. We're starting out with a home game and our main goal is to win this football game."
 
(On if it's a game 'you can't lose')
"Yeah, every game we can't lose. That's everybody's mindset, not just ours. We're just going to try to go out there and dominate and end the game with a victory."
 
CENTER EVAN SMITH
 
(On how excited the team is to play their first gam

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