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17 April 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Offseason Program Media Availability (4/17/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
General Manager Jason Licht
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On the type of player you can get with the 19th pick in the NFL Draft)
“You can get a good player at 50, you can get a player throughout the draft. A lot of times when you’re picking high, if you go back and study it, there’s a lot of high-ceiling, but also low-floor players up there, a little boom or bust. That’s the case throughout the draft, but a lot of times when you’re picking later in the first round, you’re getting sometimes a safe player that may not have the flash, but ends up being a very solid player. So, it’s a little trickier picking at 19 with all the scenarios that happen in front of you. We can’t pinpoint who’s going to be there yet because crazy things happen, but we’re excited about where we’re picking. No matter where you’re picking, you wish you could figure out who’s going to be there and you wish that you were a little bit higher at that point. At the end of the season you don’t wish you were higher, but it’s just so you can minimize or predict a little bit more of who you’re picking from. Wherever we’re picking, we think we’re getting a solid player.”
(On whether he believes he will have to let this draft ‘come to him’ a little bit considering the team is picking later than in the past years)
“You have to be prepared for a lot of different scenarios, so you have to really work at it a little bit more this time of year. [For example,] if this guy is available, we haven’t talked much about him here in the last few weeks. All these players we’ve talked and spent many, many hours and days on, but this time of year, you don’t want to get caught in a scenario where, ‘Oh, shoot, we didn’t know that he was going to be there.’ So, you want to play out all of those scenarios with your staff.”
(On whether he believes there will be any ‘game-wreckers’ on the board at 19)
“I’d like to think that we have quite a few players that we think could be ‘game-wreckers’. I don’t want to get into the number. Like I said, you never know what can happen. One domino can fall and people move up for a certain position. This is a good draft, this is a deep draft, we’re excited about what we think might be there at 19 if we stay there.”
(On whether he anticipates this being a draft where people are more inclined to move up or try to move back)
“There have been drafts when I thought that it would be a draft that teams are going to be, your pick wherever you’re at is going to be coveted because you think teams are going to move up, but it’s just the opposite. So, I don’t want to, it’s a deep draft, that’s been said throughout the process here by not just me, but my colleagues around the league. If you get your eyes set on one player, one position, a position in need, teams tend to go after it, which isn’t a bad thing if you know what you want. If you want to go get it, go get it. So, I could see it going both ways.”
(On unique characteristics of players available in this year’s draft)
“Well, there’s a lot of players that check all the boxes in terms of being a productive football player, being a good teammate, having the height/weight/speed, check all the boxes that we say are safe from a character standpoint as well as their ability on the field. Those players kind of transcend across all positions. It’s deeper in some positions more than others, like all drafts, but there’s quite a few clean players in this year’s draft”
(On running back Doug Martin’s presence in the building today)
“Doug was back. [Head Coach] Dirk [Koetter] and I very recently had a sit down with him, conversation with him. He looks great. Right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him since I’ve been here from a physical standpoint. He seemed to be in very good spirits and I’m excited to have him. I’m excited to see how he does out here in the OTA’s.”
(On how Martin’s presence back at the facility effects his approach to the draft in terms of the running back position)
“It’s good to see him. It’s good to see him looking good physically and like I said, in good spirits. Seems like everything, the trajectory is going up. We’ve got 10 days here before the draft. You can’t answer all questions in 10 days, but like I said, it’s just good to see him here. It’s good to see that he’s been working his butt off.”
(On whether he believes these next 10 days are critical for Martin)
“I think it’s a critical 10 days for all the players, but you could say that. You could say that about any player here.”
(On whether he had the scouts doing anything differently to filter through the deep running back class in this year’s draft)
“No, our scouts do an incredible amount of work on all the players regardless. We could’ve had two future Hall of Fame players at a certain position, but we are still going to do our work on that position. Our scouts, I’ve got to give a shout-out to them. It’s in the back of my head at all times how hard they work. They spend anywhere from 120 to 150 days on the road. They’re fully committed to this, their families are fully committed to this and hats off to them. They are the real experts. That word gets thrown out there a lot with draft analysts and I have a lot of respect for those guys that do the work on TV and in the media, but the real expert are those scouts and the scouting department and the coaches that are doing the work right now. So, we don’t get 10 mocks to get it right, we get one. We don’t have the luxury of doing multiple mocks and then end up some point you can say, you were right. We only get one chance and those guys have done an incredible job starting with [Director of Player Personnel] John Spytek, [Director of College Scouting] Mike Biehl, [National Scout] Andy Speyer, the list goes on and on, [Director of Pro Scouting] Rob McCartney. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of them.”
(On whether he considers fan appeal of players when conducting the draft process)
“I can promise you that we love our fans, I think we have the best fans in the NFL, but we are not going to pick a player just based on how we think our fans are going to react and how we think we are going to sell tickets in the short term. It’s going to be the best player to make this team better to win championships down the road.”
(On whether quarterback Jameis Winston wanting a player affects the way he conducts his draft process)
“I do talk to Jameis about players at Florida State. He was recently there, so he’s got a little feel for them. I’ve talked to [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy about what he knows about Oklahoma Players and [defensive end] Robert Ayers [Jr.] and [linebacker] Lavonte David and the list goes on and on. So, any kind of tidbit we can get from players that have a little bit of a better bead on the program than most, we’ll take it. But, Jameis can tell me as much as he wants that we should draft a certain player, but we’re still going to make, Dirk and I and our staff are going to make the best decisions for the Bucs.”
(On how much input he gets from players on the roster about who to add to the team)
“Not as much as you’d probably think. It’s moreso after we sign a player or draft a player, you get, ‘Hey, I’m glad you did this. He’s going to be a heck of a player.’ Our players, the family thing gets thrown out there a lot, but it truly is. They know that if I have a question about a player and they have a relationship with that player, they know that I will ask them. They don’t throw that out there, if they do, then it’s usually, they feel very strongly about it, but they’re not coming in unsolicited all the time.”
(On the safety position)
“We feel better about it and that’s another position just like all positions, I hate to sound vanilla here, but we’re going to continually look to upgrade whether it’s a starter or depth. We have a lot of places where we can do that, a lot of holes that we can fill. We could be coming off of a Super Bowl championship and we’d probably be saying the same thing. But, that’s one position that we’ll continually look for depth or for starters. We’ve got a good group right now that we feel a combination of; Keith [Tandy], J.J. [Wilcox], Chris [Conte], we’ve got Cody Riggs, Isaiah Johnson. So, two guys are going to shake out as starters and competition is great. So, if we can add to that competition, it would be even better.”
(On how close he believes the team is to being complete and having a solid core)
“Well, that’s a good question. We feel great about the fact that we’re young and have very good, young, core players. We are always looking to add more, like you said, but we finished 9-7 last year. I think at one point - it changes every day - but we had the fifth-youngest roster and that’s a good sign that we’re going to where we want to go. We could sit here with 20 draft picks, picking all of them in the top three rounds, but we still have a long way to go until the season starts and it’s how that team comes together and that’s where the majority of the work comes from now until September. You can have a team full of talented players, I keep saying the right 53, so we have a long way to go.”
(On whether he thinks the team’s need tends to lean towards the defensive side of the ball)
“You could say that, but we’re still not going to go too far off of our board. We feel good, based off of the team we have right now, we could line up and play and we feel pretty good about it. We’re in a position right now where we still can take the best player available. A lot of times you take the player that may look like, why are they taking him? They are loaded at that position or they have bigger needs at another position, but that player usually at some point, you look back and you say, ‘I don’t know where we would be without that player.’ So, I’m not trying to tip our hat or anything. We have multiple places on this roster that we can add talent to.”
(On what a player would have to prove in the first round to convince him to move up from the 19th pick)
“You’d have to feel very confident that he’s going to come in and make an immediate impact. You’d have to feel - no player is safe in this draft. All players, it doesn’t matter who it is, how clean they are, they all come with a risk, but you want to be as risk free as you can possibly get in order to mortgage your future and give up those assets; your draft picks. It also depends on whose there and how high you have them on your board to justify moving up. So, if you had him slotted around the 19 pick and you’re picking 19, you probably don’t want to move up, but if you had him slotted a lot higher, you’d be tempted to do that.”
(On how his evaluation of players has changed since his first draft)
“I would say it’s continually evolving for me and for a lot of other people. I think every year, you can get better and better at judging a player, talking to him and spending time with him. You can have him in for a visit. You get a little bit out of it, you feel good about him or you feel bad about him when he leaves. But, it basically comes down to all the work that our scouts, myself, our directors, John [Spytek] and Mike [Biehl] do throughout the fall talking to all the other people around the player in the program, his hometown, things like that.  A player can put on a façade in an interview, a person interviewing for any job can, but you get the right people asking the right questions. I think we tailor our questions a little bit more every year. I think we feel better and better every year.”
(On Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon)
“We had him in here. We’ve spent more time with him than just the visit that he had here. I don’t typically like to say who we take off our board and who we leave on our board. We have a handful of players that we’ve already taken off our board and not all of it for criminal matters, but also just from a perspective of getting along with the team and being a worker and being a team-first guy. That’s the type of person we want here. So, I won’t say whether we took him off or not. I felt like the time spent with him was valuable.”
(On whether he would have to run a player by ownership first that has a character issue in his past)
“I like to advise with ownership continually. I tell them throughout the process kind of what we’re thinking of doing and where we have certain players. They just like to know. They own the team, they have the right. But, they have never told me whether or not I can take a player or not. They tell me to, ‘Use your judgement. That is the position you are in and your staff.’ I respect that. I would also respect it if they gave me their opinion one way or the other, but they haven’t, but I do run everything by them.”
(On whether he has to tailor his roster choices from a matchup standpoint within the division)
“A little bit, but it moreso comes up with when we do a player, we start naming off the positives this player brings and that might be one of the things, he matches up well with so and so without naming any names. We have a lot of very talented players in our division. But, we aren’t going to go in our meetings and say that we have to get this type of player because the Falcons have this player. We would ideally like to dictate what we do offensively and defensively and moreso a fit to what [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Smith is doing or what Dirk is trying to do offensively.”
(On Doug Martin’s mental state from talking to him)
“Yeah, he seemed very focused. We had a great conversation. He seemed very focused and we had a great conversation. I don’t want to get into details of it, but we had a great conversation. I know Dirk and I were very happy with the way it went and we don’t have to make a decision right now, but we are very pleased with where Doug is right now.”
(On the decision of Martin’s future with the Bucs)
“We have until then to make the decision, so we will see. We have a lot of time between now and then. We have a lot of things we need to see and we want to see and we want to hear. We have in the back of our minds kind of a little bit of a time table, but that time table is until the fourth week of the season.”
(On how many running backs he believes could go in the first round this year and whether he believes teams shy away from drafting them in the first round believing that they can pick them up later on)
“I think that’s on an individual basis. While each draft is a separate entity, but then the players too. I think you hear a lot that you don’t draft a running back in the first round. Well, that’s the case in a lot of drafts where most running backs aren’t considered first round guys, every down backs or dominant on first and second down. In terms of the number of backs that could go this year in the first round, that’s going to play out here. We’ll find out next Thursday. There could be three, there could be one, there could be four. Even the experts that are upstairs, we know where we would take them, but it’s the other 32 teams.”
(On the future of wide receiver Mike Evans with the Bucs)
“Yeah, we picked up his fifth-year option today. Mike, in terms of his future here, I know I can speak for myself and I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everybody here, well I know I am that I hope Mike is a Buc for life. So, today we picked up his option. That wasn’t a very tough decision. So, we will take it from there. I can promise you at some point, I can’t tell you when, but we’ll be contacting his agent to try to make him an offer that will make him a Buc long-term.”
(On the way him re-signing the players he drafted to long-term deals makes him reevaluate the progress of players on the roster)
“First of all, there are a lot of good people working with me here on these drafts, so I’d like to say we’d all take ownership in these drafts. If a player is not working out, we’re not going to be afraid to move on. We’re going to try to look at very subjectively, just because we drafted him doesn’t mean we need to sign him just to put a feather in our cap. That would be the worst thing that we could do. That’s where you make the worst mistake is not moving on when the time is to move on. Fortunately, we have some very good players, young players that I foresee us making offers to here in the next few years that have been developed very well by our staff here and that’s the key to the development. I think our coaching staff is doing an outstanding job of developing these young players.”
(On whether finances are factored into the Doug Martin decision)
“We’ve done a fantastic job starting, with [Director of Football Administration] Mike Greenberg with our contract situation, our salary cap situation where we don’t have to make a decision based on finance. So, we’re making a decision based on, ‘What’s the best fit for the Bucs?’
(On whether he has had conversations with Doug Martin’s agent)
“Those are things that we’ll keep internal and not talk about publicly.”
(On whether he believes ‘Hard Knocks’ would be a distraction if the team is picked for the show this season)
“I know that the decision hasn’t been made yet. I’ve said it before, I feel good about our team and the maturity, especially for being a young group. I know we have some great personalities on our team starting with Jameis [Winston], Gerald [McCoy], the list goes on and on, [linebacker] Kwon [Alexander]. I think it would be, the fans would get an inside look at how our team really is. I know that you guys get a better feel than most, but I think the fans would get a real inside look at how we operate, how the players are. In terms of being a distraction, I think we’re wired to where we would be able to minimize that. Dirk [Koetter] has been through it. Mike Smith has been through it and I’ve heard positive things from them.”
(On whether he thinks ‘Hard Knocks’ could be a positive thing)
“Sure, it can. We will see how it goes. We will see if that’s the case. I don’t know. May be a moot point, but we will see how it goes.”
(On whether the team has discussed how they would handle the Doug Martin situation if picked for ‘Hard Knocks’)
“Well, the first step would be us knowing that we are on Hard Knocks, so we’ll have those discussions if that comes up on players.”
(On urgency of addressing the strong-side linebacker position compared to what is present on the roster as of now)
“Well, it depends. It depends on if that strong-side linebacker that you’re looking at has value as a pass rusher or some kind of value as a fifth rusher or in coverage, your different combinations that you can use. We try to put the best 11 players out there and if we think that that guy has a role somehow, some way, then his value would increase a little bit. It’s once again, on a case-by-case basis of the player. If he’s just strictly a two-down player, he’s probably not going to be as high on his board.”
(On whether he believes the team is a contender this year)
“The way that we finished last year and the chemistry of this team and then our coaching staff that we have, I think we are a better team than we were last year. So, I think that we are closer.”
(On whether he believes some youth is needed on the defensive line)
“Ideally, we would like to inject some youth into that position, yeah. Once again, we feel comfortable with our players that we have there. We have some very good players along that D-line and they are going to get better too. They are going to be better than they were last year this year with development of some of the younger guys like [defensive end] Noah [Spence].So, we feel good about it, but yeah, you’re always trying to inject youth.”
(On whether defensive end Jacquies Smith signed a workout addendum in order to workout this week for the team)
“Yeah, Friday is the last day that RFAs can get offers, be signed offer sheet. ‘Jack’ is here and that’s a testament to him. He still wants to workout with his teammates. Those players, not just ‘Jack’, but any player around the league would sign a waiver to workout with the team.”
(On the team adding defensive tackle Chris Baker in free agency)
“Any time that you have an opportunity to bring in a vet, it’s always big for your team, especially for us, to try and go where we want to be. He’s got a lot of experience, not just playing-wise, but just his knowledge, being around the league, playing with a lot of different teams, being around different coaches. Very talented, very gifted and he’s going to be a huge piece for us – literally. He’s a big dude. When I say huge piece, I mean that.”
(On the team possibly drafting a defensive tackle)
“I’m on the field. I’m in the locker room, in the weight room. I don’t make those decisions. I play with whoever they bring in. Of course I would always like to add another brother in our room, but I’ll leave that to the guys upstairs. I’ll play with whoever they draft.”
(On the potential for the Buccaneers to be on Hard Knocks and if it would be a distraction)
“Yeah, I’ve watched it. Some years it’s entertaining, some years it’s like ‘whatever.’ We don’t pick them, they pick us. If they pick us, let’s be professionals about it and move forward. We’ve still got a season to prepare for, whether there’s a camera watching or not. We play the games on Sunday’s with cameras watching, so if you think you can’t go out to practice and practice with a camera on you, then you’re probably in the wrong profession. If we get picked, it is what it is, let’s be professionals and go to work.”
(On if anything short of a playoff run would be a disappointment)
“That’s any year. That’s always the goal, to win. We watched a video just a little bit ago about Bill Belichick and he said ‘The name of the game is winning.’ We don’t play a game where you get a medal for participation. You want to win. In order to get to the playoffs, you’ve got to win. Anything short of an opportunity to win the Super Bowl is a disappointment.”
(On his leadership)
“I had the opportunity to talk to three very credible people this offseason. This was at the Pro Bowl. All at different times. And they all told me the exact same thing about myself. Not about the team. It wasn’t even about my play. It was just about me as a man, as a leader, and what I need to do, moving forward. It hit home. To the point to where I reevaluated myself, my whole career up to this point. It wasn’t devastating, but it was a reality check. I wouldn’t have listened to them if they were not very credible sources and very successful in the things that they’ve done. I’m going to keep them nameless because it was a private conversation that happened between me and those individuals. The gist of what it is is that I haven’t done enough to lead this team. Simple as that. This team goes to the next level – as much as you need a franchise quarterback, those things are great, [but] this organization, this team winning Super Bowls is built on defense. That guy in the middle is what makes everything roll. Of course they brought up 99 [Warren Sapp] to me numerous times. Any dominant defense had a dominant guy in the middle. Basically, I just haven’t been enough for my team. They went into details, but I kind of take that personally. It’s something I need to address, moving forward. My approach to everything will be different. Media, my workouts, practice, meeting room, games, it’s just – something has to change. I was just always taught when more than one person is seeing the same thing, there’s got to be some truth to it. Especially if what they’re saying is very credible. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and self-evaluating – me, personally. Moving forward, something’s got to give. I don’t what it’s going to be, how I’m going to do it, but if this team is going to go to the next level, I’ve got to fix a lot of things. 
(On if McCoy’s desire to change is due to a lack of postseason appearances)
“It doesn’t matter. Like I said a minute ago, great players want to be told the truth. They told me the truth and I accepted it. I didn’t blow them off. I wrote it down and I’ve been thinking about it since they said it. And they said it in the midst of being around the best players in the NFL, while I was at the Pro Bowl. So, for them to say that to me at that time and then I’m around all of these other great players, it really hit home. Like, ‘You’re here, but…’ Going into my eighth year, let me just say this – it’s a blessing to be on one team for eight years… it’s a blessing to be here for eight years, on one team. But going into my eighth year, I’ve never been in the playoffs. For me, I’m not one to point fingers, I’m not one to make excuses. I’m one to, after they said to go look at all of my fourth quarters over the past two years – the great ones make the plays in the fourth quarter. The great ones make those big shots. The great ones make the plays when it’s necessary. If I want to be considered one of those guys when my career is over, that’s what has to be done. I haven’t been watching games or my film. I’ve been watching all of my fourth quarters. Where’s my energy level in the fourth quarter? Is my technique dropping in the fourth quarter? Am I making the plays that I need to make in the fourth quarter? Then I’ve been going to specific games to watch games that, if we win, if I make certain plays, we may be in the playoffs. You never know. I’ve never been one to shy away from carrying the load. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. It doesn’t phase me.  This is what I’m here for. This is what I truly believe God has made me to be, is to carry the load. I just have to figure out how to do it. All of the great ones do. And if I want to be considered one of those guys when my career is over, I have to figure it out. My knees hurt. I’ve played a lot of snaps, taken a lot double teams. Time is ticking. I’ve got a lot of work to do in a short period of time.”
(On how to combat fatigue)
“You just have to make some adjustments in your training, in your diet. Moving forward, it’s all mental. You never want to pace yourself, but you’ve got to learn how to push your body to its limit when it’s time to. I talked to Derrick Brooks, because our kids go to the same school. We were sitting at a recital – we were supposed to be watching the recital, but we were talking football. He told me he would watch [Warren] Sapp and he knew [Sapp’s] mannerisms, his time clock, everything. And [Brooks] would say ‘I knew in the first quarter and in the fourth quarter, it was Sapp time.’ He knew that starting the game, it was time to go. He knew coming out in the second half, it always took him a second to get back going. But he always knew when he could take chances and when he couldn’t because he knew ‘All right, 99 is about to turn it on,’ because it was the fourth quarter. So, however he got to that point, he got there how he got there. Sapp always teaches me there’s only one way and it’s your way. Whatever it takes for you to be at your best. I don’t know what that is yet and how I can get to that point, but I have to. Will I get there? I plan to. I don’t plan to let anything get in my way. My purpose in Tampa is much bigger than football. In order for me to fulfill that purpose, I have to do everything that I can in my career to move forward and do what I’m really supposed to be in Tampa to do. I’ll figure it out.”
(On if today marks the beginning of the 2017 season for him)
"It’s just amazing seeing the smiles on the guys’ faces, seeing pure joy. I’m just ready, I’m excited. I’m excited for this year, as everyone is. It’s just time to get to work.”
(On where he thinks this team is)
“I think we’ve just got to keep getting better day by day. Obviously, we had a season where we didn’t make it to the playoffs and we fell short of our ultimate goal – making it to the playoffs, winning our division and ultimately, winning the Super Bowl. So, I think we’ve just got to continue to get better.”
(On if the team feels like this year could be special)
“Every year, even in my rookie year, I felt like it was going to be a special year. That’s just the passion that I have for this game. But yeah, I guess you can sense it, but you really can tell it in the fans. You can tell in the people that support us that they’re really looking forward to this being an amazing year and I believe it will.”
(On the additions to the roster)
“Getting an early Christmas present in [wide receiver] DeSean Jackson in March, it was amazing. So we’re just looking forward to working more with him. Don’t know yet who we’re going to take in the draft but I know it’s going to be somebody good. [There will] be some good additions, so we’re just excited, man. I’m ready to get this team finalized, even though you never know in the NFL, so [I’m] just excited.”
(On if anyone can expect more from him than he can of himself)
“I’m just going to do my job – that’s what I have to do. I have to do what it takes to help us win games, and nothing more. We have great players on this team who help me out, so I’ve just got to do my job, focus on what I have to do, lead here and there and win some football games.”
(On how much he’s been talking up former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook to GM Jason Licht)
“I’m just excited for Dalvin and following him in his draft process. Nineteen is our pick – I honestly think he’s more of a top 15 guy so I’m just excited for him. But, like I said, I’m excited for this team. I’m happy to be back in the building. Walking around, seeing everybody, it’s amazing.”
(On the Buccaneers exercising the fifth-year option on wide receiver Mike Evans and what that means)
“Well as long as I’m around here, you know I want Mike Evans here. That’s definitely a big thing for Mike. He’s a great asset to this team. He’s probably one of our most valuable players so I’m excited for him. Definitely him and DeSean Jackson on the same team is going to be amazing. Just looking forward to what Mike’s going to bring this year.”
(On what he learned from training with free agent running back Adrian Peterson this offseason)
“Just being able to be in the presence of who many consider one of the greatest backs – especially of his generation. Just being able to learn and see his work ethic and see the way that he works, man. You really know why he’s great, you know why he’s been able to play at a high level in this league for so long – which helps me because I want to be great. I want to be considered one of the best players in the league and to see 10 years, man, this man is still out-working everybody at his own facility. It’s amazing. It’s very eye-opening to me and it’s very motivating.”
(On what struck him most about re-watching some of his turnovers from last year)
“What struck me most was that they’ve got to stop, but that comes with improvement. So many [factors] create a turnover so you can’t really hit a specific thing because there are a lot of situations that we may encounter here and there. But the main thing is to limit them and stop hurting ourselves.”
(On if there’s anything in particular he focused on improving this offseason)
“Not really. When you have a great trainer in Tim Grover, he makes sure you hit everything. He not only works on your core, not only works on your lower body, he really works on your central nervous system. [He’s] got me actually making decisions when I’m working exercises so I’m doing a lot of great things. So, I’m not really focused on one specific thing, but I would say this offseason I’ve focused a lot on my drops, as far as field work. But as far as working out, I mean, hard work pays off so I just put my head down and start working, baby.”
(On the prospect of the Buccaneers drafting a high-profile player from Florida State for the third year in a row and if there’s any fan appeal to that)
“I mean, we like winning around here so we draft winners. I don’t think you can beat that. But every year you’re going to have an addition to your team that’s going to make a difference, hopefully. That’s what they want upstairs. But like I said, my job is just to play. I’ve got to do my job. I can’t really focus on the outside things, but it would be great to have another Seminole.”
(On the uncertainty surrounding running back Doug Martin, how great it was to see him and what Martin means to the team)
“I’m very certain of Doug Martin. He’s an amazing player. [He] battled some injuries last year but to this team, he means the world. We love Doug and seeing Doug be Doug – I just remember sending out a group text last year and Doug sent back a picture of a guy with the image of Doug just waving, like, ‘Doug.’ I was like, ‘This is Doug!’[laughing]. It was just good to see him out there, good to see his spirits up and I know he’s going to have a great year for us.”
(On if he’s just begun to scratch the surface of who he can be as an NFL quarterback)
“My goal is to get better every year and as long as I’m getting better every year, I’m improving. As long as I’m improving, the whole team is getting better. Scratching the surface – I just want to do my job. I want to win football games and I want to be playing for the Bucs for a long time just like Mike’s going to be playing here for a long time.”
(On the prospect of guard Ali Marpet moving to center)
“Well you know, I think versatility is a big thing. When you have different linemen that can play guard, tackle and center, I think that’s huge. But Ali, I trust him. You think about the road that this guy’s [taken] – a Division III athlete to starting guard in the NFL – there’s no obstacle too big for Ali. So I’m excited for him and I know he’s excited, so I’m looking forward to it.”
(On if he would embrace the opportunity to be on Hard Knocks if the Buccaneers were selected)
“I know I’d embrace it. You’ve got to cherish the opportunity that you’ve got. The whole world gets to see how great of an organization this is and see the great people that we have within the organization. But our job is the play football. They add the glitz and the glamour and all that comes with it. It’s an amazing show, but we’ve got to play football. We’re out there doing it for the fans, we’re out there doing it for the city, and Hard Knocks – they’ll just show the whole world.”
(On the last two NFL MVP’s being from the NFC South, both of whom led their teams to the Super Bowl, the expectations with that, and if the Buccaneers draw a lot of confidence from having beaten those teams)
“It’s just a personal goal for me just to know what we’re playing against. I’m really competing against these quarterbacks in this division so I definitely have to step up and, just like you said, there’s a lot of expectations. When you’re facing guys like Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, week to week, you’ve got to elevate your game or you’re going to get left in the dust.”
(On his favorite moment from this offseason out of the many community events he participated in)
“One of my favorite moments was actually two weeks ago, I got a chance to run the 5K in a JDRF [event] for Juvenile Diabetes. My grandmother, she passed [three Sundays] before that and we buried her [two] Saturdays before I ran and she had Type 2 Diabetes, not Juvenile Diabetes, but I ran in it for her, and I won. But just being able to run for her and all the kids, even Ben Milsom, our Chief Ticketing Officer, has Type 1 Diabetes, really hit me here because I have a true passion for helping turn Type 1 into type none. So that was just an amazing experience. I had so much passion behind that that was way bigger than me. I felt like I was running for my family and I was definitely running for the people struggling with Type 1 diabetes.”
(On if having an indoor practice facility can help)
“Absolutely. I know those linemen will really love it, just staying out of this Tampa sun, it’s going to be amazing. The more we can add to our facilities, it’s great. But at the end of the day we’ve got to line up against other men and play football. That can help us play better football, that can help us keep our bodies at ease and it can help lead to our advantage so when we do play those long seasons we can stay fresh.”
(On his feelings about DeSean Jackson)
“Let me just talk about DeSean Jackson for one brief second. I had the opportunity in Houston – he came out there in Houston when I was out there working with him – and the guy’s like a Bentley with a Ferrari engine. You know what I’m saying? The guy can fly, but he’s a cruiser, man. He’s a cruiser so I can’t really explain how excited I am about him right now because I’ll probably go over my time but I am excited to have DeSean Jackson as a Buccaneer.”
(On if he set up the session in Houston with his teammates)
“Absolutely. Why not? That’s what you should’ve asked, but why not? We actually have five guys that are in the Houston area, that was why I went out there. Mike Evans was out there, Derel Walker was out there, Josh Huff, he lives out there in Houston. D-Jack, he came out there. Freddie Martino and Bernard Reedy, they were out there working – and that’s all it was, it was just strictly work out there in good old Houston. We actually had good weather out there in Houston, so that was pretty good. And getting them around greatness. You know, AP [Adrian Peterson] was able to work with us some and just for them to be able to see what greatness is, it helps us. It helps build us, it helps motivate us to see a man that’s Adrian Peterson and to let our players get around him and just kind of feel his presence and grow.”
(On if he’d like to play with running back Adrian Peterson)
“Absolutely, I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t. But again, that’s out of my league. I can only talk about what I learned from him and how he helped me this offseason.”
(On if he can overthrow DeSean Jackson)
“I probably can’t, I probably can’t. I’m going to be excited, man. I’m dreaming right now.”

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