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09 December 2015

Week 14 Conference Call Transcripts: vs. New Orleans (12/13/15)

(On the development of Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston since the first time that New Orleans faced him in Week 2)
“Our media asked me the same question this morning. For a first-year quarterback, obviously getting into games, starting games and playing, you see [development] in each week, really. Sometimes it comes maybe more noticeably to the fans in a certain game, but I think he’s operating their offense well. He’s getting the ball down the field well. His deep ball, even in college and throughout the workout process – he can get the ball outside and wide if he needs it, in the middle of the field if he needs it, and I think that there’s a comfort level and a confidence level he’s playing with.”
(On Winston’s efficiency inside the red zone and if that is a difficult thing to teach a young quarterback)
“I think especially for him in his rookie year, the big point of emphasis we talk about all the time is no minus plays. That includes false starts, penalties, sacks, obviously turnovers, with the assumption that you’re in scoring zone already. I think they’ve done a great job. They’re balanced there. They can throw it, they can run it in, and you see him at the line with packages where he’s doing either.”
(On how his team has handled injuries to many defensive players)
“We’ve got a lot of young guys playing, and yet it’s kind of the nature of our league. We’ve had some injuries at inside linebacker, we’ve had them outside in the perimeter. Last week – you know, Delvin Breaux has been playing real well for us and his hamstring injury came early in that game where he had been really doing a good job. I think the preparation for the next player is our job as coaches and the positive is that there are a lot of young guys getting playing time.”
(On where he feels Tampa Bay has made the biggest steps forward in improving from last season)
“Well, I don’t know that you point to one specific area and I certainly don’t want to speak for Lovie [Smith]. From an opponent and from watching them, they’re really doing a good job on defense with regards to taking the ball away [and] their run fits. It’s been something that I think, over the years, Lovie has done a great job with. His defenses have really been gap-sound and on point. Offensively, you’re watching a running game and you’re seeing the quarterback grow and all of a sudden now you’ve got the receivers outside, the tight end, Doug Martin is having a fantastic year. So when you’re stopping the run as effectively as they are and running the ball as effectively as they are, that’s a good starting point.”
(On linebacker Stephone Anthony)
“He’s played a ton of snaps for us. He’s in the base, he’s in the nickel each week. There are things he’s learning. The one thing he doesn’t do is repeat mistakes. There’s a lot that goes into playing that position. He’s the signal-caller. So for a young player, at times, with some of the formations that you get, some of the different offensive sets that you get, the communication is key. He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s strong, and I think each week it’s up to us to continue to see him improve. And I think much like the discussion that we had with Jameis, in that position, as the signal-caller, getting the plays communicated, you see growth each week.”
(On whether the speed of Tampa Bay linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David makes the difference in the run fits)
“Yeah, and I would say this, though – I think they’re forcing it on the back end very well. Up front, it’s how you’re taking on blocks. Certainly Kwon is a young player that we’re familiar with that can run well. Bruce Carter is another player that we’ve seen and played against. But, overall, the team speed, their effort to the ball, how the safeties are playing – all of those things contribute to the lack of leaky yards or the lack of big-play runs against their defense.”
(On the status of running back Mark Ingram)
“I think we’ll have more [on that] as we go throughout this week.”
(On the Tampa Bay defense now as compared to the first meeting with New Orleans in Week 2)
“The defense is always formidable. I think that’s one of their strengths, playing defense, moving up front, penetrating D-line so the linebackers can really run. It’s incumbent upon us, obviously, to be able to handle that. When we look back at that [Week 2], they got some pressure here and there, so we definitely have respect for them, for what they’re doing defensively. I feel like we really need to execute our game plan in order to be successful.”
(On Tampa Bay Offensive Line Coach George Warhop and whether Watson worked with him in Cleveland)
“I did. He’s a good friend of mine, definitely. I just think the O-line really respects him. I remember when I first met him in Cleveland in 2010, he was there and, you know, O-line coaches are always the coaches that they always protect their guys. Nobody can talk about their guy (laughing). They might yell at their guys, the offensive line, but nobody else better do it. So that’s kind of how he is. I remember even being a tight end and him coaching me up on different things on blocking and stuff like that. There’s definitely a trust over there, so I think the guys really respond to him because they feel like he really cares about them as people but also as football players.”
(On the relationship between New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees and how that affects the offense as a whole)
“Anytime you have a relationship between a quarterback and a head coach the way that Drew and Sean have – they’ve been together for so long and have had a lot of success together. There’s sort of this relationship where they can feed off of each other. It becomes a coach-player relationship, but also kind of a friendship sort of thing on the field. You can even see in practices where they kind of have different ideas about how to run a certain play and they’ll have a conversation and we’ll run something again and they’ll look at it. They just have a really good understanding of each other and what each other wants. There’s definitely a high level of respect there. Football is about relationships, like anything else is, and anytime you are in a relationship with someone for a  very long time, you feed off of that. So that kind of permeates the offense. That trickles down. There’s obviously a lot of confidence in both of them, so that breeds confidence with us when we see the confidence that Coach has in Drew and that Drew has in the rest of us.”
(On how New Orleans’ fan base has reacted to the tough season)
“There are ebbs and flows for any NFL franchise. When you look at any franchise, there are going to be periods of plenty and periods of not so much and it’s no different here. Fans love the team and one thing about being here in New Orleans, you understand that the team is kind of an extension of the people here. They really care about the players on the team and about the team. They obviously really want to win. This season has been tough for them and it’s been really tough for us. Everybody that’s in the business [knows] it’s a winning business and we all want to win. But we have no doubt that the fans will continue to support us, because they always do.”
(On Tampa Bay’s record last year as compared to this year and whether they have more talent than the records show)
“There are a couple things there. It’s about putting it together on Sundays. You can look across the league and see teams that maybe on paper, individually, they may not be as talented as another team, but they seem to win. And you have some teams that may be more talented on paper, but they don’t seem to win. So when you have those teams, like you mentioned last year, a lot of great talent on that team. There was a new coach, things like that. It takes time to get things going sometimes. Obviously now they’re playing much better football than last year and it’s manifesting itself in winning more games. They’re a very talented team. I mean, it’s the NFL, everybody has talent, but when you look across the board at some of the individual players that they have, there’s a respect level there for them. They have good players on that team and they’re obviously getting into their groove and starting to understand each other a little bit more, being that Lovie has been there for a little while longer.”

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