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22 October 2014

Week 8 Conference Call Transcripts: vs. Minnesota (10/26/14)

HEAD COACH MIKE ZIMMER
                                           
(On Tampa Bay defensive end Michael Johnson)
“I have a lot of admiration for Mike, that’s number one. He was a guy that we drafted in the third round, had tremendous ability, intelligence and unbelievable character and he was really one of the great success stories in my coaching career as far as where he was able to go and the things he was able to do. I know that he’s had that injury that’s nagging him, but I’m sure he’s much better and healthy this week with the time off that he had. He’s a good kid and he’ll continue to do what’s best, not for Mike, but what’s best for the team.”
 
(On Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s performance so far)
“Teddy has been a little bit up and down. I thought he came in against New Orleans, into a tough situation and played well. He played great against Atlanta and then he’s been a little bit up and down the last two weeks. Actually, in the ballgame last week against Buffalo, he started out and had a rough stretch and then composed himself and did much better in the end. He’s got a bunch of learning experiences, I really like this kid, his mentality, his toughness, really the way he throws the ball and the way he carries himself. We’re hoping that he continues on the track that we expect him to.”
 
(On playing against the Tampa-2 defense)
“It’s been a great defense for them for years and years – that’s why they’ve got it named after themselves – but they do a lot of things defensively and they’ve improved their corners with [Alterraun] Verner. I think their defensive line is excellent with Gerald McCoy could be the best three-technique in the NFL and obviously I like Michael Johnson a lot. Their linebackers are very fast, they’re very similar to that style of defense. They work at creating a lot turnovers and they’re physical.”
 
(On how to prepare to face a team that is dealing with injuries and multiple roster moves)
“Some of it is based off of our injuries and what we do as well. But some of it is – obviously, we have to kind of anticipate who’s going to be playing for them and then have a backup plan in place in case they don’t. I can name some guys I would like not to play.”
 
(On what has made defensive end Everson Griffen so effective this season)
“I think Everson has bought into what we’re preaching defensively. He’s a very emotional person, he tries real hard on everything, he’s got a little bit of an ‘out there’ personality sometimes – but in a good way. But he wants to please, he wants to do his very best, and he’s a very good athlete. So those things help, but he’s bought into I think what we’re trying to preach defensively.”
 
(On his health after his recent medical procedure)
“I’m doing better. I told the team today that I was going to have the video of my procedure and show it to them this morning, but I didn’t do it. To show them about toughness.”
 
(On running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata)
“Jerick has really been a – he’s keeps getting better each week. Things that we’re asking him to improve on – I think last week his pass protection improved quite a bit. He’s running with a little bit more physicality. Matt is a very, very dependable back that has a good change of pace to what we’re trying to do. He’s good in protections. I think these two guys have really stepped up in helping the offense and especially helping a young quarterback.”
 
QUARTERBACK TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
 
(On being able to get a chance to play as a rookie)
“I’ve been extremely blessed. Unfortunately I was called upon in a situation where it was a loss for the team – we lost our starting quarterback – but it was an opportunity for me to get a chance to showcase my talents.”
 
(On how the reality of NFL matches up with what he heard while preparing for the NFL Draft)
“It’s matched up to its hype and every week you’re going to get a team’s best. It’s very difficult to win in this league. We know that a majority of the games are going to come down to the wire and you have to put together drives to go in to kick a field goal or score a touchdown in the last minutes of the game. The speed of the game is very fast, guys are well-assigned and this is what they get paid to do.”
 
(On Minnesota’s offense)
“We’ve been on a tough stretch right now. I know that I could be playing better, as a team, we know that we could be playing better. For me, I just have to do a better job of not holding on to the football, losing field position and taking us out of field goal range and I have to do a better job of not hurting our defense by having them on the field for a long time. At the same time, it’s not all about me. We have a team here and a group of guys who are going to sacrifice for each player on every play. It’s going to take a team effort and pretty soon we’ll be back.”
 
(On being high school teammates with Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David and playing in the Miami area)
“I didn’t actually play on the team with him, I was a freshman and he was a senior. Each Friday night you’re playing against some of the best athletes in the state of Florida team and seeing a group of guys like Lavonte’s class set the example and lay a foundation for our school just meant a lot because in that area, you don’t see too many guys who were able to do some of the things that those guys were able to do on the high school level. I was able to sit back and watch those guys and it just helped me get to this point.”
 
(On the biggest adjustment he’s had to make in the NFL)
“For one it’s a business, but you’re talking about the guy next to you – he’s a guy with a family. This is a job and this isn’t college anymore where you’re going to sit around the locker room and joke around. Guys are now competing for a starting spot and there are only 53 guys on the rosters and it’s just very difficult.”
 
(On not being drafted as high as originally projected)
“I tried not to pay any attention to it, but at the same time I’m human. The things that I took away from it were that you can’t control what people say about you, only focus on the things that you can control. After going through that process, I just kept telling myself ‘No one else’s word matters but the coach that I’m going to play for and my teammates that are going to go to war with me each and every Sunday.”
 
(On how the team has handled the Adrian Peterson situation)
“We’ve handled it in a professional manner. We know that throughout the course of the season things are going to happen, there are going to be obstacles that we’ll have to overcome, but our coaching staff did a great job of preparing us and getting us through the situation.”
 
(On being a rookie quarterback and playing for a rookie head coach in Mike Zimmer)
“Coach Zimmer is a guy who’s going to get the best out of you. He’s going to push you until you go over the edge. He’s not satisfied with mediocrity, he wants the best for the team and he wants us to win. We understand his message we’re just going to continue to try and apply it throughout the rest of the season.”
 
(On what’s been the cause of the sacks he has taken)
“I would say that it’s just me holding on to the football whenever I’m in the pocket. I’m trying to look for the big plays, trying to win the game in one play when there are easy throws right in front of me. I have to understand that I need to continue to nickel-and-dime a team and eventually the big play is going to come.”
 
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