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17 September 2017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Postgame Quotes (9/17/17)

HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On his team’s defensive performance)
“Fantastic. Twenty yards rushing, four turnovers in the first half. You’re going to win a lot of games if you can do that every week.”
 
(On if he was concerned his team would look rusty after the Bye Week)
“Well, of course. Of course we were, we hadn’t played. There is a little bit of unknown every time you get to that first game. We knew the weather was going to affect both teams, which it did. So yeah, we were concerned about it, but the guys did a good job.”
 
(On if he could be more pleased with his team’s overall performance)
“Oh, yeah. I could be more pleased. I could be a lot more pleased than this. If we played a perfect game we wouldn’t have anything to work on, would we?”
 
(On if the defense can be a dominant unit)
“Well if you look at that second half of last year, they were a dominant defense. In my opinion, they just picked up where they left off. It wasn’t really that surprising to me because we see them every day in practice and I thought we did an awesome job. Smitty [defensive coordinator Mike Smith] and his staff had a great game plan. There are things to work on both sides, but like I said, the ‘D’ stole the show today.”
 
(On linebacker Kendall Beckwith)
“I can’t say it enough times, it’s an amazing story. The fact that the guy is even out there playing coming off that ACL [injury]. We’re so fortunate that we were able to get him where we got him and the fact that he can play multiple positions. Kwon [Alexander] had to come out there and Kendall stepped up and did a really nice job.”
 
(On if there was an update on linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“No.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans’ touchdown catch)
“Well since I saw one-on-one coverage, I figured that’s where Jameis [Winston] was going to go with the ball. That’s something we work on a lot and Mike and Jameis have put a lot of time in to that red zone fade ball. We don’t get single coverage on Mike very often. So when we do, we’re happy to see it.”
 
(On what he wasn’t pleased with)
“Well, we didn’t close it out very good. We just didn’t close it out very good. You’d like your offense to make some first downs there in the fourth quarter and not put the defense on the field. I would have been great to get a shutout. We had another drive going down there in the second half, where we turned it over on offense. You can’t let up, you got to stay on it. We had a chance to do that and we didn’t quite do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be where we are at then the other way. But, we have plenty of work to do.”
 
(On what he like most about the offense)
“They just took advantage of their opportunities in the first half. We took advantage. It wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t turn it over and we scored when we should have. We put points up.”
 
(On Bears’ quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I think Mike Glennon played pretty well today. I thought Mike put the ball on the money. I don’t know how many drops they had, but it was a lot. There was the two picks. I didn’t have a great look at Kwon’s exactly what happened. So, I’m not exactly sure what happened on that one. On Bobby Mac’s [safety Robert McClain], on the pick-six, that was on the other side of the field. I really didn’t have a great look at that one. I thought Mike from my vantage point played ok.”
 
(On only scoring three points in the second half)
“Whatever I say is going to be an excuse so I don’t know, I don’t know why.”
 
(On how his team responded on a personal level after Hurricane Irma)
“It was great, we have an awesome group of guys. We have the right guys over there, we have really good leadership. Proud of the way the guys handled that part.”
 
(On if he is relieved to win after high expectations in offseason)
“Well, we will take a win any way we can get it. They are hard to come by in the NFL. We got the first one, so that’s mission accomplished for Week One. Tomorrow we will make our corrections, we’ll put it to bed, and we’ll start working on Minnesota.”
 
(On play of offensive/defensive line)
“Again you guys are asking me stuff – you guys have a better seats than I do. You guys have a lot better seats in the game than I do. I’ll know a lot more when we talk tomorrow after I get a chance to look at the tape. But, I don’t really know right now.”
 
(On if team is healthy aside from Kwon Alexander)
“I think so, I think we’re pretty healthy. Many times, stuff doesn’t show up until later. We had a couple cramp issues, that’s what Lavonte [David]’s was. It was tough, 46 guys. It was hot down there. You could see on various drives, I think we had a 17-play drive on the one. If we could have punched it in for a 93-yard drive. Both sides were sucking gas there pretty good.”
 
(On running back Peyton Barber)
“Peyton, as we’ve said, is one of our most improved players. We trust Peyton to do anything we put him in there to do. It just didn’t seem, just with the way the game fell with the turnovers and everything, it just didn’t seem like we had the ball very much in the first half. It was great when we did get it. We wanted to get him in there earlier. It just seemed like we really didn’t get a chance. I thought Peyton did fine when he got in there. I thought he got a little bit tired, so that’s something we all have to work on is our conditioning a little bit.”
 
(On safety T.J. Ward)
“We went from not being deep at safety to being really deep at safety. It is sort of ironic that first or second play T.J. was in there, that was a flash play when he hit that toss sweep. T.J. is going to help our football team. We’ve got Chris [Conte] and Keith [Tandy] that we think are doing a really nice job as the starters and we’ve got Justin Evans who is coming up through the ranks. Safety has become a strength for us now.”
 
(On shots taken down field)
“The one that Jameis tried to throw to DeSean [Jackson], he had to step up once and then move to his right. He just didn’t have a chance to get his feet under him. The one to Chuck [Sims III], he just overthrew it. They played a little bit deeper with their safeties than we thought. I think their game plan was to make us go the long route, bend but don’t break. They didn’t pressure us very much today. Every game takes on its own personality and even though we plan it, we think we might know how it’s going to go, we really don’t. We just didn’t expect it to go how it went, to get four turnovers in the first half. But, that’s how it went. We did what we needed to do.”
 
(On DeSean Jackson’s affect of how teams cover Mike Evans)
“Maybe, maybe. They still rolled to Mike a little bit more than I thought they would today. They mixed coverages, they did a good job of mixing their coverages. DeSean was effective today and his three catches were underneath and then turning upfield after. I thought DeSean did a nice job. We weren’t able to get him over the top, but that’s coming. We’ll get it.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On the touchdown pass to Mike Evans and if he checked on that play)
“No sir, I just saw Mike Evans one-on-one, and I checked him at the end in the end zone.”
 
(On if he could’ve asked for a better win to start the season)
“It was great. Complimentary football at its finest. Defense played phenomenal, offense had great drives. Eliminate the three-and-outs, eliminate the turnovers and played a great football game.”
 
(On the team’s performance coming off of Hurricane Irma and its impact throughout the state)
“Like I said earlier in the week, we had kind of a chip on our shoulder because we took on the responsibility of the devastation that we had in the state. We wanted to be a pick-me-up for our fans, for definitely the cities around the Tampa Bay area. It was fun out there. The crowd was electric and we tried our best.”
 
(On spending time in St. Petersburg Friday night distributing meals to families recovering from the hurricane)
“It’s something that I just love to do. It’s out of the kindness of my heart. I want to give back, I want to serve the community as much as I can just like I want to serve my teammates every single day and that’s what we did as a team to help us get this victory. We served each other, we fought hard and that was a great game.”
 
(On taking some deep shots down the field and being ambitious)
“Absolutely, you know we have to take those shots. Obviously, we want to connect on those but at the end of the day that’s the great thing about football. After every great game you always have to go back to the film room and find something that you can get better at and definitely those two balls… three, especially. Four! Three to DeSean (laughs). We’ve got to get better at that.”
 
(On pouncing on Chicago’s mistakes and turning them into points)
“That is what you have to do in this league. Again, commending our defense for giving us those opportunities. When your defense gets you the ball back, your special teams gets you the ball back on your side of the field, you have to capitalize on those just so you can keep that good lead, keep that momentum going and we did that.”
 
(On the connection he has with Mike Evans)
“Any time that you have a high caliber guy like Mike Evans, you’ve got to give him the ball and it adds to it when you have DeSean Jackson playing a great game, when you’ve got Adam Humphries playing a great game, when you’ve got two tight ends playing great games. It actually makes Mike Evans even better. He’s going to do what he’s going to do no matter what, but definitely having those other guys – like I said, complementary football, having Jacquizz [Rodgers] and Peyton [Barber] toting that rock, it opens it up for Mike Evans.”
 
(On some of his new teammates having success today)
“That’s what football is all about – people stepping up, complementary football, team football and we make everyone feel comfortable. Everyone knows that their chance may be their last opportunity so they need to take advantage of it. I think we took advantage of our opportunities. Obviously, we have to continue to get better. Though, by [no] means was that our best game but we have to continue to get better. We are happy that we got a home victory and it feels good. We are happy for this city that we were able to bring some sort of excitement to this city today.”
 
(On if he is glad to not have to face the Buccaneers defense)
“Sir, I’ve been going against that defense for the past forever. Those guys are phenomenal and we’ve got to continue to get better. I know if you ask Rob Ayers that question he would be mad that they gave up a touchdown. Obviously, we saw the interception that we almost had but one thing he said to me in the shower, he was like, ‘Man, we have to step on their throat. That’s what we have to do. We’re up 26-0 at halftime and we only get 29 points. We’ve got to continue to get better, continue to dominate.’ Because when you dominate a team, when you put them in the ground, that’s when they start to give up, basically.”
 
(On the team had a little ‘giddy up’ heading into today’s game)
“Absolutely. The wait was over. Finally we had a chance to play football. If you talk to the guys they will tell you they were hungry to play week one. We were anxious to get out there, but it was a blessing in disguise because we got a chance to come back home and get a victory in front of our fans and that was great.”
 
(On if he thinks Tampa Bay’s defense wants to get a little more attention for their players and performance)
“If you look at last year, our defense, towards the end of the year they were lights out. That’s why our offense had success. Defense wins championships. When you’ve got a dominate defense it opens up every single thing. When you’ve got a defense that is literally stopping the offense and the offense feels like they have nowhere to go, that’s inspiring to the offense because we know we have to score points because our defense is out there playing their tails off. So, we’ve got to do something.”
 
(On who in the locker room stepped up in the face of adversity last week)
“I think everybody took it upon themselves, because when you have something that affects your family like the storms did, you get a chance to reflect on your life and what really matters and you learn to never take anything for granted. Fortunately, it did not hit Tampa as bad as it did other places but those men in that locker room, they had to focus on the game and then worry about getting their families safe. All those men were focused on their family being safe so they knew they had to step up, they knew what was coming next with us having not played a game in what – three-four weeks? They knew that so we rose up to the challenge. But like I said, we’ve got to continue to get better. This is only one game. We’ve got 15 more. Got to get better.”
 
(On if he ever heard in the huddle “I need the ball, I need the ball”)
“No, I don’t think I’ll ever hear that, unless I ask them. I don’t think [so.] We’ve got selfless guys.”
 
(On Coach Koetter’s decision to try to get more points at the end of the first half)
“It feels great. We wanted that two-minute opportunity. We got a chance to run a play that we have never run in a real game before with Mike Evans catching that ball then getting out of bounds so it was good to be able to work that and we saw how it did. I think that’s that happiest I’ve ever seen Coach Koetter – during that two-minute drive, on that final play – than I have since I’ve been here.”
 
(On how Ali Marpet performed at center)
“He did amazing, and the thing about me and Ali’s relationship is we came in together so that bond that we have, that true brotherhood, our ‘class’ coming in – Donovan [Smith] too – it was great for him to come back in Tampa and for us to get our first win as a duo. So it was great.”
 
(On his biggest takeaway from today’s game)
“The biggest takeaway is that there is a lot of room for improvement. We can’t just sit on one game. Me personally, I’ve just got that mentality that we’ve got to get better we’ve got to keep pushing each other because we’ve got next week. Now, this week is over now. The game is over now. We can’t do anything about that. All we can do is prepare for next week and keep this train rolling.”
 
LINEBACKER KENDELL BECKWITH
 
(On if stopping the run game was a focus coming into the game)
“As a defense, I think we have to do a good job all around. We know they are a running team, so we had to focus on that. But, all around we just wanted to play great defense and stop the pass.”
 
(On the team’s mentality going into this game following Hurricane Irma)
“We definitely are [on a high]. We are going to enjoy this one and then get back to work going towards Minnesota. We knew we couldn’t let the hurricane and all of the other outside noises distract us. We still had to come in and play good football and I think we did a pretty good job at that today.”
 
TIGHT END CAMERON BRATE
 
(On whether he believes there were points left out on the field today)
“Absolutely. We had a turnover in the red zone, which is never good. We missed out converting on a couple third downs, making us settle for field goals, which is a point of emphasis for us [converting when down close to the end zone]. So, it wasn’t a perfect game. We have some things to work on for next week.”
 
(On being able to talk to quarterback Mike Glennon again)
“Yeah, I actually saw him last night, so I was trying to extract some secrets from him, but he is pretty tight-lipped. But, it was great to see him. [It’s] probably the only time I’ll be rooting against him all year. We miss him here in Tampa, but our defense did a great job of getting after him. I think any quarterback would have struggled today against our [defense].”
 
(On the performance of the defense today)
“It was crazy during the second quarter. We got a take away, we scored the first play and then the defense got a pick-six. So, we had run one play in the second quarter and we were already up 23-0. So, it was a little weird because we really didn’t have to do too much to build that lead, but we were able to add a couple field goals out of the first half and second half. We want to score touchdowns in those situations and that’s something we can work on moving forward.”
 
(On how pumped the team was to get back on the field)
“Yeah. The first game every year, everyone’s really pumped up. Running out of the tunnel was awesome. The crowd was really into it. So, we did have to keep our emotions in track, play with passion over emotion, which is something we talk about. I thought we did come out to a strong start. We were able to get a field goal. But, like I said, moving forward, we are going to have to score touchdowns there.”
 
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
 
(On winning first regular season game after not being able to play in Week One)
“I think it was very special. With everything that went on and all the unfortunate things that happened that caused us to have to leave and then come back and refocus, start all over again and get ready for a new opponent. It was a blessing to finally get back on the field and play for the city of Tampa, play for the state of Florida. It was real humbling and real refreshing.”
 
(On if he thinks this first game was a sign of how good this team can be)
“With this football team, the sky is the limit. We’ve got great talent all around. We’ve got guys that were inching to get out on the field. Our expectations for ourselves, as an individual and as a football team are out of the roof. We know we’ve got talent, but we’ve just got to put it all together and so far so good.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER DESEAN JACKSON
 
(On playing a regular season game in the Tampa heat)
“It was a little tough. It was a little different from practice, getting out there and exerting a lot of energy out there running a lot of deep passes and things. So, I’ve just got to get acclimated. I think we’ll be all right though. It will probably take a couple games to get in full shape and be ready to go. But, it’s a work in progress and I’m happy about the game. We went out there and played good and got a victory in our home stadium. I just look forward to playing like that a lot more this season.”
 
(On how he thinks the offense performed against Chicago)
“I think we did pretty good. There’s a lot left out there still. We feel like we missed some plays down the field, but that’s just part of playing, that’s just part of getting acclimated. It’s the first game of the season. Things are going to happen of that nature. I’m just excited to get back and get back working on Wednesday. We’ve got a big game this week coming up, going [up] to Minnesota. Those boys are playing pretty good. It’s one game at a time and we’re going to do everything we can to set ourselves up for that.”
 
(On improving the red zone offense)
“It’s really just getting out there and getting the time down and getting your looks. The defense does a good job of throwing different looks and showing us different things that we probably watch during the week on film. We just take it one step at a time and just hope everybody is in the right spot at the right time to make plays in the red zone. Like I said, we are happy about the win, but we still have a lot more to work on.”
 
CORNERBACK ROBERT MCCLAIN
 
(On how good he believes this defense can be)
“We worked together from April until now, so we communicate a lot [and] we are around each other every single day. You kind of get a feel for how the players around you work and Coach [Koetter] did a great job in practice of rotating different players, so no matter what, you were comfortable in there. It’s fun when you are winning and you are playing how we played defensively, it’s fun. We still have a lot of plays to look at and execute better and we’ve got to get ready for next week.”
 
(On his pick-six)
“I just played my technique, the way I was coached to play. I didn’t really jump the route. I played my technique and did the right thing and the ball came my direction, so I made the play on the ball.”
 
(On how it felt to record his first NFL touchdown)
“It’s been a while, man. I’ve been thinking I’ve had like slight dreams of just getting my hands on the ball. The main thing is when you are on defense, a [defensive back], you just want to get your hands on the ball. It’s a good play if you get your hands on the ball. I’m happy I got that pick and made that play, but there is a lot of stuff I’ve still got to work on.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On stopping Chicago’s rushing game )
“Big emphasis with Coach [Mike] Smith was to stop the run. We didn’t do that well last year. For us, what we wanted to do – we talked about in the spring leading into OTAs, training camp, preseason and up until now – stop the run. You build off of that. We were able to do that today. They had like 20 yards rushing or something like that. That two-headed monster they have (Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard) – they’re going to hurt a lot of defenses – those two running backs they have. We knew we had to corral them – keep them in and gang tackle today.”
 
(On praying on the field after the game)
“I was just thankful. I just told God thank you. There’s a lot of stuff that has led up to this moment. A lot of people that still don’t have power. Not just Tampa, but the whole state of Florida was affected by the hurricane. I was just thanking God. Thank you for another opportunity. 2017, my eighth year [in the NFL]. I’ve been a Buc the whole time.”
 
(On staying focused this past week with the effects of Hurricane Irma)
“Once you go inside that building, everything else has to cease. My mind is always on my family, but I even have to put them to the side when we step in that building. I think everybody was able to do that. The crazy part is we didn’t have a great day Wednesday. Guys came back, practice did not go well on Wednesday. We knew we had to fix it and we just built off of that throughout the week and we came out and got a big win today.”
 
(On linebacker Kendall Beckwith stepping up when linebacker Kwon Alexander left the game)
“Well, he has been doing that since he got here – since he was able to practice. He got here and he was injured, but [he] rehabbed well. He is just one of those guys. You don’t have to worry about him being a rookie. Obviously he will have some rookie moments this year, but he just loves to play the game. He came from LSU. He kind of reminds me of somebody else that came from LSU (Kwon Alexander).”
 
(On if the defense expects to be dominant)
“Absolutely. This is our second year in this defense. I believe I’ve said this, but when we came back in the spring, we just wanted to build off what we did at the end of last season – just stack on top of that. We were able to do that today. What did we take the ball away like [four] times today I think? Yeah, four times and then we were able to stop the run today. [If you] stop the run [and] take the ball away it leads to wins. We’ve just got to keep it going. The formula doesn’t change – that’s for anybody. Any of the best defenses you’ve seen – the great defenses – it’s their formula: stop the run and take the ball away. That’s how it goes.”
 
(On what it takes to be a ball-hawking defense)
“Practice. You’ve got to do it in practice. Guys take the ball away in practice all the time. Guys are always punching at the ball and we always preach, ‘Take the ball away.’ Since guys have been doing it in practice all spring [and] all training camp leading up to today, you don’t expect it to be any different in the game. We were able to get the ball out.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE CLINTON MCDONALD
 
(On the performance of the defense during the game)
“I just know we needed to stop the run. They came down here last year and they started a good running game on us. That’s one of the things that Coach [Dirk Koetter] harped on. We knew we had to play complimentary football to get this win today. This is a team win and everybody contributed and did a great job. [We] had a pick-six on defense. [Linebacker] Kwon [Alexander] had an early pick in the game and then I think had four to six tackles, so he was on a great streak before he came out. Everything is going pretty good right now. We’ve just got to keep our head down to the grind. We’ve got Minnesota next week. Just like Coach Koetter said, “One game at a time.” We don’t have 15 more [games]. We’ve got one more next week.”
 
(On how the team felt physically after the time off)
“I think physically, everybody was just kind of itching to get out there. We got held back by the hurricane and I don’t think it was something that really hindered us, but it made us realize this is a blessing to be able to play this game and to be able to contribute to the NFL. We wanted to come out here and be physical on the field. They had a great offensive line that [was] physical last week, so we had to impose our will. We had to be the dominant team on the field.”
 
(On the pass rush)
“I think the pass rush went pretty good. We’ve still got a long way to go. We missed a lot of opportunities to get sacks and that’s one of the things that as a defensive lineman, you always want to take advantage of. When you’ve got an opportunity, when you’ve got blood in the water, you want to attack and you want to dominate and you want to close the game out. [There are] more things to work on for next week.”
 
(On the mentality of the team in regard to creating turnovers)
“One thing one of our coaches, [Assistant Defensive Line Coach Paul] Spicer harped on was the mindset. Things aren’t impossible, they are possible when you have a positive mindset. We knew we had to come in here and be plus three on turnovers if we wanted to win this game. Everybody is humble on this team. Everybody is kind of lowly in the sense that we want to do our jobs, execute and we’ve got a long way to go to do that. This is just one process, one game at a time, so we’ve got Minnesota next week and we’ve got to make the correct corrections that we need to go into this game because Minnesota is a good team.”
 
(On the play of rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“Kendell Beckwith is a rookie non-rookie. That means it is his first year, but he plays like he’. I really like Beckwith. I feel like the defense complements him well. He complements the defense well and everybody works well with Beck and the rest of the guys we’ve got out there.”
 
DEFENSIVE END NOAH SPENCE
 
(On if he saw the ball floating in mid-air on his forced fumble)
“I don’t know what happened, man. I was just trying to get [Chicago quarterback Mike] Glennon down.”
 
(On what it meant for the defense to come out and make a statement in the opening game)
“Honestly man, it’s just a blessing to be on this type of a defense. We came out [and] everybody was hungry. We came out there like savages and [we were] ball hungry.”
 
(On the energy level of the team after the Week One bye)
“We didn’t get to play in that first game, so [there] was a lot of built up energy. We had to come out here and let it loose.”
 
SAFETY T.J. WARD
 
(On his evaluation of his performance today being new in this defense)
“Based on how I feel right now, I think I got a good amount of reps today. Coach [Koetter] started me slow, he let me get in shape and learn the defense more, so it comes to me like the back of my hand and I don’t have to think about it when I’m out there. So, I think I’m coming along great, made a couple plays today and it was great to be out there. I haven’t been on the field since the first preseason game and the week before that when I hurt my hamstring. I know it was a good first day out for me”
 
(On getting a feel on how good this team can be)
“Oh yeah, we definitely can be number one. The talent we have in this room, they work hard and it is everything you need to be a championship defense. You have great players, great talent with their work ethic and then the energy and everything else feeds itself. So, we definitely have championship material in this locker room.”
             
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