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12 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day-After-Game Media Availability (9/12/16)

(On how the team came out of the game injury-wise)
“You’re always going to be banged up and that’s still being formulated, guys are still coming in today. Obviously the most serious injury was [defensive end] Jacquies Smith, he wasn’t able to return [to the game]. [He] had an MRI today and I think there will be an announcement coming pretty soon on that. That was very unfortunate, a non-contact injury to Jacquies and that’s an unfortunate part of this game. Sometimes you get things like that, that you can’t see coming and one of the few unfortunate parts of the game.”
(On if he likes to game plan so the wide receivers have 10 catches, running backs have eight and the tight ends have five catches)
“I never think of it that way, ever. It’s great when it works out, I like the fact that the ball gets moved around. But to be honest with you, at halftime when the offensive coaches were meeting I said, ‘We’ve got to get the ball to [wide receiver] Mike Evans more.’ We didn’t target Mike enough in the first half, we did a lot better job in the second half, that’s my fault, not anybody else’s. A lot of times when we game plan, we go in and we want the game plan, how we plan to attack them, and then the ball is going to go based on coverage, where it goes, how [quarterback] Jameis [Winston] reads it. But sometimes when you have your superstar-type players – your big-name players – you’ve got to try to get the ball to them a little more and we didn’t do a good enough job. Again, all on me as far as Mike, but I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can contribute and they did. We tell the guys all the time, ‘You’ve got to make your plays. You’ve got to make your plays when they come up.’ So the guys did a good job of that.”
(On if Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith’s defense allows linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander to run a little more free)
“I would just say that those two guys are downhill a little bit faster right now, they let them go downhill a little bit faster. Those two guys are really fast, that’s one thing that jumped off of me, just from going against them in practice and then watching the tape. Wow. There were some plays when both those two guys were flying downhill. That’s kind of become a little bit more in vogue with zone blocking. When you’re doing zone blocking schemes, you’re trying to double the down lineman up to the linebacker. So what these defenses try to do, they run that linebacker downhill fast to try and take the double-teams off. So now instead of a double to a linebacker, you’ve got two singles. Atlanta tried to do that a couple times to us yesterday as well, but those two guys can really go. And while we’re on that subject, Kwon and [defensive tackle] Gerald [McCoy], wow. Two really big games. If we didn’t already give too many game balls out we’d give those guys another one.”
(On if David and Alexander’s coverage responsibilities are different in this system)
“It’s same. It depends on the coverage call. They’re in man some, they’re in zone – depending on what zone they’re in. We’re in fire zone where we’re zone pressuring, combination man coverage, they’ve got coverages where they’re bracketing a back, they call it a ‘Reggie’ or a ‘Banjo’. That all just depends on the call, but the coverage is the same. And both those guys are really good at coverage.”
(On if he has noticed that Alexander’s game preparations are paying off)
“I didn’t particularly notice that, that would be more for Kwon and for ‘Smitty’. I’ll be honest with you, during the game - those three hours that those games are - they are just flying by. I’m not noticing that kind of stuff, maybe when you watch the film. I’m worrying about what we’re going to do and making corrections and talking to Jameis, talking to the coaches, listening to Mike [Smith] in the headset so I can be paying attention to the situation if we need to do something that way. But that would be a better question for Kwon when he gets at it from Mike later in the week.”
(On what is different about Alexander from a year ago)
“You already mentioned it, what’s different is Kwon’s not a rookie and he wants to take more ownership of the defense, which is great. You want that from all your guys. We already have talked at other press conferences where Kwon spent all that time in training camp up there meeting with ‘Smitty’ every single morning. Last night in the plane, I walked to the back of the plane, players were laughing and messing around; Kwon was watching the game on his Surface [tablet]. I walked through the locker room pregame, when some guys are stretching, some guys are seeing how cool they look in their uniform; Kwon was watching tape on his Surface. That’s preparation and he’s doing a good job of that. I think guys that want to be great, they find ways as they go from rookies into how they become better pros. And when you’re a pro, you find ways to get better.”
(On if Alexander still has the daily morning with Mike Smith)
“I don’t think so, but I’m not 100% sure.”
(On how pleased he was with the team’s tackling in the game)
“Overall we tackled pretty well. We missed a couple tackles, we missed one on a third and medium that could’ve stopped them for a first down. When you talk about missed tackles, again, these are the best players in the world. Atlanta’s a good tackling team and [Atlanta Head Coach] Dan Quinn knows how to teach tacking as good as anybody and look what [running back] Charles Sims did on the play right before the half. So, were we pleased with our tackling? Absolutely. Will our defensive coaches ever admit it? Probably not.”
(On if safety Chris Conte is one of the unsung heroes of the game)
“Yeah, I think he really is. Chris is one of those guys that doesn’t say much, doesn’t get a whole lot of publicity because you’ve got other superstar-type guys on defense. Chris does his job. I thought him and [safety] Bradley McDougald both were really solid yesterday. We’ve been talking to these guys a lot about, ‘Make your plays, make your plays. When it’s your time to make a play, make it.’ And for the most part, we did a pretty good job of that yesterday.”
(On if Conte is one of the team’s better athletes)
“Chris is a really good athlete. When you guys were out there in training camp and you watch one-on-one [drills], if you just didn’t have jerseys on there and body types, Chris covers like a corner. He really is a fluid athlete.”
(On if the team will have wide receiver Cecil Shorts III back returning kicks again)
“Yeah, I think we will. We had a feeling there was probably going to be a lot of touchbacks, [Atlanta punter Matt] Bosher is a good kickoff guy in a domed stadium. They brought a couple out from pretty deep – that first one, I don’t know how deep that was, eight yards maybe. We have a set point of where we’re going to bring it out or not bring it out. But Cecil is an explosive guy, he’s done it before. We want to split it up between him and [wide receiver] Adam [Humphries], Cecil can do both, Adam can do both and that’s where we’re at right now. He just didn’t get any shots at it, but I’m sure that’s coming.”
(On how big of a loss is Jacquies Smith’s injury)
“It’s big. Heck, he’s a guy that [is] a starter in our nickel package and a key contributor. It’s going to be tough, we’ve got to pick up the slack in other areas like I mentioned before. Some guys had to play more snaps than they might’ve played before. We’re going to be tested on our depth, we’ve been saying that we thought we had depth at the defensive line and this is going to test us right off the bat.”
(On cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III’s game)
“For his first game in the NFL, going against a guy like Julio Jones, Vernon did a nice job. First game in the NFL, road game, loud crowd, Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, playing nickel and playing outside, he had a lot on his plate yesterday. He had a couple plays that got away from him, but we’re really encouraged with Vernon and glad we’ve got him.”
(On the way the offense was able to respond after a “shaky first quarter”)
“I’m pleased, but let’s remember now, here’s how the game really started. Everyone’s talking about how bad of a start we got, here’s how the game started: We deferred, our defense held them, they hit a bad punt, we got right in field goal range, then we had a six yard loss on a running play, so it was second-and- 16. Jameis overthrew a wheel route on second-and-16, then he overthrow Mike on the pump on third-and- 16, then we kicked a field goal. So for the next 15 weeks, if that happened and we got up 3-0, is that a fast start or a slow start? That’s an okay start, right? It might not be lightning, but it’s not horrible. I’m not saying we played perfect, but. I know Jameis was two of his first six, but I think he hit eight in a row after that and 12 out of 13.”
(On the difference in statistics between the first and second half)
“In numbers there are, but the game’s not played on a piece of paper.”
(On if he wants more from the running game)
“In a perfect game, we go out there and we’re going to run for 200 and throw for 200, but again these games aren’t perfect. And other teams try to take stuff away from you. Especially when they were in their base defense, Atlanta committed a lot of guys to stopping our run game. They’ve been game planning for months and we’ve been game planning for months. These are the best players and the best coaches in the world and it’s just not going to always be perfect. [Running back] Doug [Martin] ran the ball pretty effectively, a little bit better against the nickel than we did against base. They’re a team that subs big guys in when they’ve got base and small, quicker guys when they go into their nickel package. So yeah, would we like to run it better? Yeah, but we’d also like to score every possession and stop them every possession, convert every third down, stop them every third down. Yeah, you’d like to do all that stuff, but it’s just not realistic.”
(On if defensive end Howard Jones will get more playing time with Smith’s injury)
“We’ll have to see about that. Howard is a guy, he only got a couple plays at defensive end, I think he played somewhere in the teens on special teams yesterday. He’s one of the guys in the mix there, but any time you lose a key guy like that, it’s going to be some mixing and matching.”
(On if he was disappointed that the offense couldn’t end the game on their final drive)
“Yeah, I was disappointed. There’s nothing better - I think we got it back with 4:59 [remaining in the game], and it is so cool when you can break a team, take it all the way down, make them burn their timeouts and then take a knee. That’s a great way to win it, from an offensive side. It’s not like after we got the lead that we tried to shut it down, it’s just we were backed up a lot. We had bad field position and I was maybe a little bit leery about calling some of our down-the-field plays. We did an adequate job in the four-minute. Every game has situations. We did a really good job in the two-minute at the end of the first half, we did an adequate job in the four-minute. As you mentioned, probably the best thing we did [is] we made two first downs and made them use all their timeouts. So after they got that first completion, it was great to see our defense close it out. On that last third down, we came up just a half a yard short. If we would’ve made one more first down, one first down, no timeouts at the two minute warning, it’s over. So we were close. That’s something we’ll have to continue to work on.”
(On the defense’s resiliency in holding Atlanta to field goals in the red zone)
“We put them in a horrible positon on the interception, but any time you get down in the red zone and you force an NFL team to kick a field goal versus a touchdown, that’s a win. You’re saving four points every time you do that and I think we were 75% defense efficiency in the red zone, so we met our goal there. We’ll take that every week.”
(On Humphries)
“Adam Humphries is just a shifty player, he’s quicker than people give him credit for, he’s stronger than people give him credit for and he knows how to run routes.”
(On what impressed him the most about Winston yesterday)
“Jameis yesterday did what Jameis does best and that’s play football. Jameis is a football player and it’s not always pretty, it’s not always how we draw it up - I’d like every play to go exactly like we draw it up - but that guy, he has a unique ability to make [plays]. He’s going to make some plays you don’t expect him to make, he’s going to miss some plays that I’m going, ‘Jameis, you’ve got to make that play.’ And he’s the same all the time. He’s focused on winning, he’s focusing on leading our team and he’s tough as nails. Boy, he will stand in that pocket and that rush bearing down on him, he’ll stand right in there. He’s a lot better moving in the pocket than people might think.”
(On the miscommunication between Winston and wide receiver Vincent Jackson on Winston’s interception)
“Yeah, we had a miscommunication on the interception.”
(On if he has ever been around a quarterback like Winston who is able to move on from mistakes so quickly)
“No I haven’t, that’s a really good point. Most guys go into a funk or go into a pout and Jameis, he’s great about that. I don’t like yelling at the quarterback on game day and Jameis will sometimes say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to coach me harder!’ Again, I go back to his training with his father and then with [Florida State Head Coach] Jimbo Fisher, they both trained him very well.”

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