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15 September 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Monday, September 15, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: RB Bobby Rainey’s 144 rushing yards against St. Louis (9/14) are the second-most in the NFL this season and his 174 scrimmage yards rank as the third-highest mark in the league thus far.
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Tackle Anthony Collins
Running Back Bobby Rainey
(Opening statement)
“I brought the injury list first; we’ll just kind of jump right into it. If we practiced today, Mason Foster has a shoulder injury, he would not be able to practice today; Gerald McCoy has a hand injury; and Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ ankle is getting better, but he would not be able to practice today also. Back to the game real quick: disappointing. We split our season into four quarters. This first quarter, we’re 0-2. That wasn’t a part of the master plan. But as much as anything, if we can just get to 1-2, get that first win – we weren’t able to get it done at home and that’s disappointing. First time we’re going on the road. Hostile environment, another division game. We’ve lost a division game at home, so it’s a chance for us to steal one on the road. Watching the video, a lot of disappointing things. Of course, you know about all those disappointing things, which were quite a few as I said: not being able to finish the game well at the end, the turnovers that we had from the blocks, to, of course, the interception. All those things really put us in a bind. But as we go forward, we have to highlight some of the positive things we did in the game, starting off offensively with our running game. Whenever you can average over five yards a carry, it’s a good thing. And when we wanted to pass the football, I thought we were able to do some things in the passing game. We had pretty good balance. Third downs, we continue to do well with that; we just need to get into more of them. And defensively, just disappointing the amount of times we’ve taken the ball away. We hung in there, but we had a quarterback that hasn’t played an awful lot, and we let them keep drives going, especially late. In the second half, they had about three long drives, and that really hurt us. Talked a lot last week about special teams and what we did well. As we’ve mentioned, [the blocked] field goal taking points off the board for us, and, of course, that [blocked] punt really hurt us. But that’s where we are for our football team. We watched the video this morning quickly and made the corrections. And now, as far as our team is concerned, they’ve moved on to Atlanta.”
(On the injury status of defensive end Michael Johnson)
“He’s getting better. Those three guys [Foster, McCoy and Seferian-Jenkins] definitely would not have been able to [practice]. The rest of the players are all in play.”
(On why St. Louis was able to get through the line and block the field goal)
“We just missed a block on that one; simple. Same thing with the punt return. I don’t like singling guys out when things happen, but you can watch the video. Same thing on the field goal: we had an unblocked man coming through. As far as the ball, the ball normally starts off low and then rises, but [they] had a clean guy. Normally, you’re going to get those blocked.”
(On if the defensive game plan will change if defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Mason Foster are unable to play on Thursday)
“We probably did that a little bit in the game. Getting back, now having the chance to watch the video, you still can’t get too far away from who you are. The next guy up has to do a better job rushing. We’ll never get too far away from the Tampa 2 in certain situations. Losing Gerald McCoy, of course it hurt an awful lot; but other teams in the league lost good players too. And Mason Foster, the Mike linebacker – just picture your quarterback on the [defensive side of the ball]. But we have guys; it’s why you have a 53-man roster – we need other players to step up in those two key roles.”
(On the performance of McCoy and Foster’s replacements in the game)
“I think OK. As a team, we didn’t play well enough. So to highlight anyone defensively, it would be a stretch for me to do that. But we’re able to function. And now, if those players can’t go, we have a little bit more time to get other players ready.”
(On if it’s possible for McCoy to heavily wrap his hand in bandages and play on Thursday)
“That is an option. Some positions, you can get by with that a little bit. But on the defensive line, that’s a lot harder to do. You need to be able to grip and hold. So yes, that’s an option. But hopefully, we won’t have to go that far down the road with it, but we’ll see.”
(On if he anticipates offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford to make the trip to Atlanta)
“Yes, we anticipate that. Jeff is still working through some things. Of course, he was at the game the other day, but he’s not back full-time yet. Again, we’re day-to-day with him.”
(On if takes any positives away from the defensive performance)
“I think as we talk about – when we start winning football games, you can look to some of those things like that, we are making progress. The guys are fighting hard, it’s next man up and doing a lot of things behind the scenes that is good for our locker room as we talk to our football team, but it’s about getting a product good enough to win football games on the field. A lot is being said about our offense and what we’re doing in certain situations, but we’re really not performing well enough right now on the defensive side. From long drives to taking the ball away to third downs and our first goal on the defensive side is to score and we haven’t come close to any of those things right now, at this stage of our season we haven’t. They will come.”
(On the message to the team about the first road game)
“Well just that, we’ll go crowd noise and do all of those kind of things, but we have to get in that environment. A lot of our players have been there. Being a division team, they know what it’s like to go on the road in our division and they play a lot better at home like most teams. For most teams, I hope that’s not the case for us, the way that we’ve played at home so far, but it’s a dome and we know what it’s like over there. But in the end, it’s the same field and they’re going to have somebody on the other side of the ball and we need to win those one-on-one battles.”
(On dealing with multiple injuries early in the season)
“Just don’t talk a lot about them and just go to the next guy. When players go down, I tell them ‘Hey, coach them up, you’re on the sideline – Gerald help out as much as you possibly can, Mason help out as much as you can.’ But beyond that it’s just – guys know when we started the season, there’s a reason why we need a 63-man roster now, everybody, eventually will have to step up and play for us. No, we didn’t expect it to happen this soon, but normally you have a few games like that, and then you don’t have anymore. We’re getting ours out of the way early, that’s how we’re looking at it.”
(On if the secondary is doing enough to create takeaways)
“I think to a man we’re not pleased with how we’re playing. That’s starting with yes, breaking on the ball, yes, stripping of the ball and taking the ball away. Our entire game right now, we’re not pleased with, even tackling. It’s all of the above right now and we have to see marked improvements. That’s an area for our football team and if we can just do that, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.
(On the improvements with the offensive line and running back Bobby Rainey)
Offensive line, I think just about every time I’ve come in here someone has asked about the offensive line. I don’t hear any questions now and that’s a good thing. Our offensive line, that’s a good front that we played against. Bobby Rainey, talking about my glass half full as it is, the job Bobby Rainey did stepping up and the offensive line put him a position to do those things. Those are the things that we will build on.”
(On taking advantage of their tall receivers in the red zone)
“I say we need to use them more in our future, yes. Make no mistake, yesterday’s game plan and what we did there – I know that everybody would like for us to become the run-and-shoot Houston [Oilers], but we’re not going to be that. We are going to have balance and we did get the ball to our receivers a few times yesterday, but our plan was to be balanced and that’s what we were. We were a balanced attack, we had a critical interception on first and goal on the nine, we missed a field goal where we should’ve gotten points and that’s a decent day on the offensive side of the ball, if we can take care of the ball. Without just slinging it and how many times have we thrown it to the receivers, we’re not measuring our success just on that. I think they’re involved right now.”
(On how defensive ends Will Gholston and Da’Quan Bowers performed)
“Ok for the first time out. Again, they’ll tell you that they both made it through, number one, and it’s hard to keep your endurance up. We thought they did some good things, more in the run than the passing game, but I was pleased with how both of them started. We need to get more from them and they’re a part of that, we’re not getting enough. We’ve had two quarterbacks come in here and we haven’t pressured them enough and have gotten ourselves in a position we feel like we had to blitz more just to be able to get some pressure.”
(On how they will rotate the interior defensive lineman if McCoy can’t play)
“We have a couple of options; of course Bowers is one inside. You still have Akeem Spence, Clinton McDonald – we’ll have a three-man rotation for the most part unless we were to bring somebody else up, but that’s not the plan and right now Gerald wouldn’t practice today, we’re going to let that play out. It’s a quick week and I think I said earlier ‘When you have this bad taste in your mouth that you really can’t wait to get to that next opponent. Sunday doesn’t get here soon enough.’ We don’t have as many days to wait this time, but that would be our three-man rotation today.”
(On the status of cornerback Rashaan Melvin)
“What is his status? Undecided right now is what his status will be with the football team. He’s been injured a long time and we have a lot of injuries right now, that’s kind of where it is.”
(On what clicked for the offense in the game)
“Our effort. We came out there knowing that [they] were going to be in the dime. It’s hot down here in Tampa. So we knew once we put that body on them and that effort on them, I knew we were going to be able to run the ball.”
(On if the team has started game planning for Atlanta)
“Oh yeah. St. Louis is over with as soon as we left the stadium. We watched film yesterday. There’s no time to wait. We’ve got to go straight to Atlanta. Short week.”
(On the challenges of a short week)
“Recovering, getting your body back right. Short week, Thursday night football: you don’t have that many days to recover, so you’ve got to make sure you get off your feet and no clowning around this week.”
(On how anxious he is to get back out there following a loss)
“Very anxious. That hurt. The first game hurt, but the second game, how we lost, that hurt us. So I’m ready to get this taste out of my mouth, man. Seriously.”
(On the offensive line’s chemistry)
“It’s coming along. I’ve got my All-Pro [Logan Mankins] next to me, and the center [Evan Dietrich-Smith], he’s getting it down. We’ve got a good right tackle: [Patrick Omameh] is playing very, very well. I’ve just got to take care of my business. And the chemistry is going to be there with the tight ends: it’s coming.”
(On if he has moved on and gotten over Sunday’s loss)
“I can say I’m over the game, but until I get dressed for the next game…we can’t let that happen anymore. I just took time to myself…I had to get away in my mind. It’s not easy playing who I played against the last two weeks. Going into that Atlanta battle, I’m just ready to get the taste out of my mouth and come out with a W instead of an L.”
(On what clicked in the running game)
“We’re going to run the ball first anyway and that’s our focus, that’s what we do is run the ball and the offensive line did a great job that game. We look forward to having the same thing going forward with this game.”
(On when he knew that he belonged in the NFL)
“That’s the hardest thing for a player is knowing that you belong and you’re capable of doing the things that you see other guys do. It’s being patient waiting for the right opportunity, the right team to put you in that right fit for you. I think that’s just key, is just being patient.”
(On what it’s going to take for the team to turn around)
“Everybody is going to have to do a little bit more, apparently just do a little bit more. Like coach has said, everybody has to look at themselves in the mirror and see what else you can do to help the team win.”

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