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19 November 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Thursday, November 19, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: This season, Tampa Bay is one of only three teams in the NFL to rank in the Top 10 in yards per play (ninth – 5.66) and yards per play allowed (eighth – 5.22), joining the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots.
                                                        
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Linebacker Kwon Alexander
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening Statement)
“Injury list – we only had one player, George Johnson wasn’t able to practice today so we are getting a little bit better with that. Some of the guys, Vincent Jackson, Ali Marpet, Evan Smith – I think he might have done a little bit yesterday. It’s always good to get the guys back there at least doing something. We want as many options as possible on game day. The weather cooperated with us today, good practice. Talking about Philly a little bit, [they are an] up-tempo offense, which is new for us. [They] run a lot of plays. I feel like we are a team that is in pretty good shape defensively. We normally play a lot of guys anyway. We’ll have to be on top of our game with that. Up-tempo offense is like that. If you can knock them off their rhythm a little bit and get a stop, and your offense is able to hold the ball a little bit, definitely would help a little bit with this. [It’s] a big game for us as I said yesterday.”
 
(On how much was wide receiver Vincent Jackson able to practice today)
“He was limited today. Yesterday [he] didn’t do anything. Today he was able to get a few reps, able to run around a little bit, which is a step in the right direction.”
 
(On if he and Philadelphia Head Coach Chip Kelly have crossed paths in the past)
“No, I don’t really know Chip an awful lot. As a coach, of course, I like what he’s done, what he did at Oregon and what he’s done with the Eagles. Whenever you can be productive like that and doing it in a little bit different fashion is always interesting.”
 
(On how much spread-option does Philadelphia do with their quarterbacks)
“As far as how much, when you say read-option, not a lot. I think it’s an offense that can lean heavily on the read-option if you had quarterbacks that were more suited for that type. I wouldn’t say their quarterbacks now are exactly like that. At any given time you can put in some read-option plays, so we have to be ready for that. They’re having success based on them running the football, their tailback running the ball, up-tempo and when you commit to the run, of course, they have a typical drop-back, NFL passing game. That’s what we’re defending.”
 
(On if he was against the spread-option working in the NFL when it first came to the league)
“I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it, really, to be truthful. We weren’t running it. I kind of keep my head straight ahead a little bit, not trying to figure out why other people do certain things. We all do what we feel comfortable doing and what we believe in. Chip believes in that. We believe in a certain [system]. All coaches get that option.”
 
(On Philadelphia’s defense getting a lot of turnovers)
“Of course that helps. It doesn’t matter what type of offense you have. Any team that’s getting a lot of takeaways is a good thing – more opportunities to score. They’ve done a great job with that. Ball security is always important, but this week, when a team is on record, not talking about it but actually doing it, we have to be careful.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
                         
(Opening Statement)
“Good afternoon everyone. [This is] a chance for us to go on the road and get two wins in a row. I think our guys are excited about it. Defensively, we had a good day yesterday and need to have a good day today. It’s a high-powered offense that we are going up against and I think our guys are looking forward to the challenge. Big challenge this week going to Philadelphia.”
 
(On the play of cornerbacks Sterling Moore and Jude Adjei-Barimah)
“They’re definitely playing man-to-man coverage a little bit better than we have in the past. It definitely makes a difference when you are trying to stop some of these high-powered offenses that we face in the National Football League. Just to be able to play a little bit more man-to-man has probably helped us and credit to those two guys.”
 
(On Adjei-Barimah)
“It’s quite a story when you consider how he made our team. He was one of those guys that we had conversations about all throughout training camp because he kept catching your eye with some of the things that he was doing. Just his mannerisms, his poise throughout training camp and then when he got in ball games in the preseason we said, ‘Boy, this guy has a chance. As time has gone on the game has never been too big for him. He finally got his opportunity and he’s played pretty well up to this point.”
 
(On Moore performing well after a slow start to the season)
“He and I had a lot of conversations over the last eight or nine weeks, believe me. It was on those terms as you mentioned. It’s great for him. He’s been patient. He’s been waiting for an opportunity and he has taken advantage of it to his credit as opposed to moping and having a bad attitude. When his number got called he has played well, so hopefully he can continue.”
 
(On the difficulty of substituting players on the defensive side of the ball due to the tempo of Philadelphia’s offense)
“It can be a challenge. You look at the tape and you see teams getting caught with 12 [players] on the field or not being able to match up and not getting calls in, guys turning around and looking for a call. It’s something we’ve talked about. We worked on it yesterday in practice, we’ll work on it again today. That up-tempo can create some problems when you are talking about substitutions, getting the calls in to the defense. All those things are important and we need to keep our composure. Hopefully we’ll have a good enough plan where our guys can go out and play fast.”
 
(On the contributing factors that allowed the defense to play well against Dallas)
“I think we had a good game plan obviously. Just the guys rising up. It was a great opportunity for us to play at home in front of our fans and get a win. We felt like we had to play really, really well on defense in order for that to happen. I think it’s a combination of what has happened over the first eight weeks leading up to that ball game with our run defense, with our pass defense, the pressures we’ve been trying to run, just guys getting a little more in sync. You can’t discount the play of our corners. That makes all the difference in the world in our league when you have to match up with some of these really good receivers. You have to be able to defend the passing game. It’s a combination of things, but I would point to our secondary as much as anything.”
 
(On Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense and how physical exhaustion can cause mental fatigue)
“It seems that way. It’s not just some of the things you’re trying to get done, but it’s the temp that makes you feel like you are under more pressure than you actually are. We talked about that with trying to simulate it, as I mentioned. They’re not running a lot of plays, they’re not giving you a lot of personnel groups, so you just have to hold your composure, keep playing and if you are out there and you get a little fatigue you have to play through it until we get an opportunity or stoppage, whether it be a incompletion or whatever it may be. You just don’t want to lose your poise. That’s what tends to happen with teams we’ve seen. You get out of sorts and things that seem simple and what you do scheme-wise all of a sudden become complicated because mentally you’ve given in to the tempo. [It’s] something we have to guard against and just keep playing.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and if facing constant double-teams can affect a player mentally)
“I think for some guys it could, but for Gerald this is the way it’s been. He’s faced this type of attention throughout his career. I know in our time here it’s been the case. It’s nothing new for him. He’s made plays despite people turning their protection to him, keeping a [running] back in to chip on him. He’s still been able to make plays. It’s been a little bit tougher this year, but those plays are still going to be there. He’s still effective in what he does, just hasn’t come up with some of the splash plays. This is par for the course for him. It’s nothing new.”
 
(On Tampa Bay’s linebackers’ pass rushing and run stopping ability)
“We’ve seen it with Lavonte [David] time and again. He’s able to win on backs and even on some offensive linemen. He did a great job for us on Sunday. Kwon [Alexander] we’re seeing that he has the quickness and ability to close once he gets there. Both of those guys are very good blitzing linebackers. Ideally, you would like to get it with your front four so we can play a little bit more zone [coverage], but I think prior to the game on Sunday we hadn’t gotten a sack in a couple of games, so we needed to find a way to get more pressure and our linebackers helped us in doing that and that tends to open up some other things. They can both blitz well, but we’d like to consistently do it with four.”
 
(On linebacker Lavonte David’s performance against Dallas)
“I don’t think there was any one particular thing. He has been playing some pretty good football for us, just maybe not coming up with those plays that everybody goes, ‘Ah, wow.’ He’s been pretty consistent and it just so happens that Sunday some of the things they did we were able to exploit through his play, but he’s been pretty consistent for us. We need those splash plays, those sacks, interceptions. We need that from him, but we’ve been getting that from the guy that stands next to him as well, so it’s not – I think I mentioned this a week ago – it’s not so much what he’s not doing, a lot of it has to do with Kwon [Alexander], what he’s doing at the middle linebacker position that we haven’t had in the past.”
 
(On if Philadelphia’s offense revolves around running the football)
“That’s a good observation. We’ve talked about that and we talk about it with our guys. If you go into it just thinking you are going to pin your ears back and rush the passer you are in for a big surprise. They want to run the ball. When they have had great success in this offense over the last three years now, it’s because they’ve been able to run the ball well and aren’t one-dimensional. We have to be able to do a good job against their run game in order for us to be successful. They want to run the ball. They gave DeMarco Murray a pretty good contract. They want to run the football and the pass comes off of that, but we have to be able to defend the run and handle the passing game.”
 
(On if safety Bradley McDougald is as good a tackler as Frazier has been around)
“I’ll tell you, he is doing some good things throughout. His ability to be able to play close to the line of scrimmage and you saw the play that he made on the back end. He’s a good all-around safety and we matched him up on some good tight ends. You go back and look at what he did against [Carolina tight end Greg] Olsen when we played a lot of man [coverage] in that ball game and he was matched up. He’s a very versatile guy who is a pretty talented player.”
 
(On if David making sure Alexander is in the right position has affected David’s play)
“It’s possible. I know early on that was a little bit of it. We talked about that just really focusing on his responsibilities and not worrying about if Kwon was lined up right or if he understood what the call was. Early on that did have something to do with it. I don’t know if he’d admit that, but now he realizes and is confident, like we all are, that Kwon is going to do his job, [he] just has to take care of [his] job. The plays will come for Lavonte. He’s too good of an athlete for it not to happen.”
 
(On comparing Philadelphia quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez)
“Well Sanchez, of course, has more experience in the offense. He started some games for them a season ago. His familiarity really helps them in that way. Sam Bradford is an outstanding quarterback. He’s had some injury problems over the course of his career, but Mark is more than capable of running their offense. Just going back and looking at some of the tape from a year ago, you can see how well the offense functions under his guidance. They signed Sam in the offseason and Sam has been the guy, but Mark is more than capable. He’s good in this offense.”
 
(On clarifying that if the offense doesn’t substitute they can go as fast as they want to, but if they do substitute a player then the referee has to allow the defense to do the same)
“Yeah, if they substitute they have to allow us to substitute as well otherwise we’re spotting the football and we’re going. Now, you do have incompletions and other things that happen – guys going out of bounds, that helps you as well. If they’re not substituting they can get to the line run their plays.”
 
(On playing an offense that is going to push the pace of the game)
“We think we are in pretty good shape as well. If they are going fast, we think we can match their tempo because we think we are a well-conditioned team. It’s not so much that as it is what we were talking about earlier – not feeling so much pressure as far as getting the call communicated to everybody because they are standing at the line of scrimmage as opposed to huddling and running their plays. It’s not something you see every week where a team is standing at the line of scrimmage calling their plays and doing it at an up-tempo fashion. It’s more of keeping your composure, knowing that their quarterback has to communicate to the offensive line, the receivers, the running backs what the play is and we can get our communication done as well.”
 
(On if Philadelphia pushing the tempo allows the defense to shadow certain receivers more effectively)
“To a degree it does, but we can find a guy that we want to shadow. He is going to line up somewhere, but it could shrink your menu on defense. You don’t want to have a lot of calls, because you don’t want to have a lot of guys looking around trying to figure out where to line up at. That is one of the things it does with no-huddle. You don’t want to have a big menu. You want to shrink it down and let guys play fast. That’s something we are conscious of as well.”
 
(On how proud he is of how well the run defense played last week versus Dallas)
“[I’m] extremely proud of the way our run defense played. To hold a team in our league to two yards a carry with an offensive line that most are saying, arguably, is the best in the National Football League, that’s a big deal, so [I’m] very, very proud of our run defense for sure.”
 
(On Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp saying the key to beating a double-team is ‘just fight one guy’ and if that still applies to today’s NFL)
“That’s a Hall of Famer saying that who got double-teamed often. It’s really what we kind of teach with our defensive linemen as well. To try to defeat both guys is pretty hard to do. Both are close to 600 pounds combined, so we do, we want to attack one of those players depending on what defense we are in and try to split that double-team if we can. We’re not trying to take on both guys, it’s not wise.”
 
LINEBACKER KWON ALEXANDER
 
(On the confidence level of the defense and possibly facing a back-up quarterback)
“We’re going to get after it every week. That’s our mindset, get after it every week. Go out there, have fun, ball. We’re not worrying about the quarterback. He’s a good quarterback too, so you never know. He could come out there and throw passes on you too, so just got out there, do what we’re supposed to do and do our responsibilities.”
 
(On if he is used to Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense from his college days)
“I haven’t played against Philly. I’ve talked to Lavonte Davivd, he said they go pretty fast. Probably they fast team played against was Texas A&M or Auburn, they did the fast pace.”
 
(On if his emphasis is on studying film)
“You really got to key down and with them going fast and I’m the Mike [linebacker] so I have to make all the calls. I might have to run 50 yards down field and come all the way back they [will] already be set. For me, it’s just to key down and make sure everybody gets the calls and just go out there and have fun.”
 
(On the adjustments he’s making in practice because of the faster pace)
“It’s really the same thing it’s just going even faster. Everybody has to be in the right spot at the right time and do their job and we’ll be good.”
 
(On if he blitzed at LSU)
“I did some blitzing at LSU. Sometimes I put my hand in the ground so I did a couple of blitzes. I love blitzing. We blitzing more now, so I can’t wait. I really can’t.”
 
(On linebacker Lavonte David’s blitzing ability)
“He’s been doing good. He’s getting better and better every week. That’s what I like. I look up to him. He’s my big brother, so I’m just picking his brain and I’m just trying to do what he’s been doing these last couple of years.”
 
(On if it’s fun for him to be able to rush the passer)
“Yeah, I was happy to make the sack. I made the big play for the team. Whatever they need me to do I’ll do it.”
 
(On if his sack was drawn up that way)
“Everybody did what they were supposed to do. When we do what we’re supposed to do that’s what we’re going to do, make plays.”
 
(On what he is doing to hold on to interceptions)
“Things happen. I’m getting better and better every week and my hands are going to get better and I’m going to catch some more picks.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On what he has seen from Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense)
“We have to drill it in practice and just make sure that we do our best to get lined up, because what they’re going to try and do is out-tempo you. But we have to do our best to out-tempo them. They practice at pace all the time, but we practice at a pretty fast pace too. [The] weather down here is hot, a lot more draining than Philadelphia. We should have a pretty good shot at being able to go with them.”
 
(On Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez)
“He’s got a history of winning. You don’t take him lightly, of course. I’m not saying we’re taking him lightly, but the system is the system. We’ll see it ran fast – it doesn’t matter who runs it faster. Sam [Bradford] runs it well, so does Sanchez. Just have to be ready for it.”
 
(On what it would mean to get back to .500)
“I don’t think we’ve been .500 since 2012. That would be huge for us. We haven’t had back-to-back wins since 2013, so that’s another opportunity. Everything’s close and within reach. We just have to make sure we’re steady moving forwards. Don’t want to take a step backwards with this game.”
 
(On if he thinks the defense has turned a corner and what is still missing)
“No. [We are still missing] a lot. Just have to be better.”
 
(On if facing an up-tempo team is more of a physical challenge or a mental challenge)
“They have a good offensive line. If you count Darren Sproles making the Pro Bowl last year, they’ve got three Pro Bowl running backs, a quarterback who has won before – the system works. If they get you running, you’ll be in trouble. Definitely have to be physical with them. You don’t want to get into the thinking game with them because then you’ll see all these moving pieces and you’ll start thinking too much. Just have to get off the ball and read your keys.”
 
(On if facing double teams wears him down mentally)
“You get tired. It’s the NFL though, [that’s] what comes with it.”
 
(On facing the read option)
“Make the tackle.”
 
(On being ready to win)
“We’ve got a chance to win big this week. We’ve got to get it done.”
 
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