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08 October 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Thursday, October 8, 2015

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay WR Vincent Jackson caught 10 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown against Carolina, his third game as a Buccaneer with at least 10 catches, 100 yards and one touchdown. He is the only player in franchise history with more than one such game.
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(Opening Statement)
“We added Logan Mankins to the injury list. [He] hurt his groin a little bit yesterday, so we held him out of practice today. Besides that the same guys as yesterday; Johnthan Banks, Austin [Seferian-Jenkins], Russell [Shepard] and Evan [Smith] weren’t able to practice.”
(On if kicker Connor Barth will kick off)
“Connor will kick off for us this week.”
(On Barth’s ability to kick off)
“I feel pretty good. He’s the one guy we have on there that’s done it. I feel good about him kicking off.”
(On his confidence in the kickoff team)
“We like our personnel. [We] feel like we upgraded our special teams personnel. We feel pretty confident with it – our coverage units in general. Of course, we’re not as strong when we don’t have Russell Shepard, but the rest of our group, a lot of times you have to cover kicks. As you put your kickoff team together, you are putting it together to cover kicks, so we feel good about it.”
(On Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles)
“Of course we didn’t watch an awful lot of him last year. I just know from a little bit we did [watch], he had a lot of upside, a lot of talent, good strong arm, make all the throws. As we see him right now, he looks like a good NFL quarterback that can make all throws, making good decision for the most part. He’s still young, second-year guy. [He still has] a lot to learn, but he has really shown mobility in the pocket to scramble around to buy a little bit of time to make the throws. [I’ve] been very impressed  with what he’s done. He’s a good player.”
(On Jacksonville rookie running back T.J. Yeldon)
“I think probably the one position where a guy can come in and really be pretty much what he was in college is at the running back position. That’s what we’ve seen from Yeldon. He can make you miss in the open field. He’s run well between the tackles. He has decent size, catches the ball. He’s doing some of the same things in the NFL that he did in college. We’ll have to be on top of our gaps, gap-sound to try to keep that running game down.”
(On tackle Kevin Pamphile taking reps at guard)
“Pamphile had reps out at tight end, our wing. He gets reps at a lot of different places. I wouldn’t put too much on where. We would never even talk about where one of our players is going to play that hasn’t played there. We like him as a player.
(Opening Statement)
“[It’s] a big game for us. [We] got to get that elusive win at home playing the Jacksonville Jaguars. [It’s] a great opportunity for us and got to figure out a way to get us a win this Sunday.”
(On Jacksonville rookie running back T.J. Yeldon)
“He had a big game last week. He carried the ball and did a good job of making people miss. He showed some power, too, to be able to run through some tackles. We saw that when he was in college and now he is displaying it here at our level as well. He has a chance to be a very good back in our league. He’s a good blocker also. They leave him in for protection. He does a good job there. He has the ability to catch the ball, he can run the ball well and he’s a good blocker. Those are three ingredients in a back that you would like to have and he’s displayed that in his short time in the league.”
(On if defensive end William Gholston’s performance against Carolina justified the decision to make him the starter)
“I think so. He did a good job. Some of the things he did were things we had seen him practice. He’s played with a great deal of intensity throughout. [He] had a great training camp for us and he’s been coming all along. He got in that game and he was a disrupter at the defensive end position. There wasn’t a tight end that got any movement on him at the line of scrimmage and he was able to get a couple of pressures too on the quarterback. I think he justified our decision to start him in that ball game.”
(On why the defense is doing well against passing games this season)
“I think our rush has been a little bit more consistent, especially the guys inside; Gerald [McCoy] in particular. He’s doing a good job there, but also you can’t discount the talent on the back end. I think our free safety position with Chris Conte has really upgraded our defense. Then having Tim [Jennings] out there also, a guy who is capable of making plays and taking some throws away. A healthy Mike Jenkins definitely helps, but [it’s] a combination of our rush and coverage working together. Hopefully we can keep improving as the year goes on.”
(On his role and duties compared to last year)
“Like I said a few weeks ago now, in a lot of ways it hasn’t changed that much. [Lovie Smith] has always had a great deal of input in this defense. It’s his defense. It’s the defense that we installed that they ran in Chicago. The biggest difference is probably gameday – not so much what we do in the week. I’m still presenting the defense to our players during the week and doing the things we ordinarily do, but the things that happen on gameday are probably the biggest difference. It’s been seamless. He knows this defense inside and out. He’s one of the originators. I think it’s good for our guys and good for him as well.”
(On linebacker Lavonte David missing some big play opportunities and if he might be pressing)
“I know it’s possible. I don’t know if that’s the case with him. There are some plays that we all know he can make that he didn’t quite make those plays. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but we’re hoping that this week he is making some of those plays that we know he’s capable of making and that consistency that we have seen throughout his career will show up again this weekend. He is doing a lot of good things. There are certain plays that you expect him to make that he has come up a little short on, but we feel like that will get corrected. He’s working as hard as anybody in practice and in meetings. He’s a playmaker and we’re hoping he’s going to make some of those plays this weekend.”
(On what the defense is doing in the red zone on passing touchdowns)
“We were actually a little bit better in this ball game than we had been in some of the others. I think we’re addressing some things that we need to address schematically and making some adjustments and we’ll need to do it again this week as well. Once you put some things on tape people kind of get a beat on you and they come up with ways to defend what you do in certain parts of the field. We’ve got to play some things a little bit better. We have to adjust some things on our end and we’re trying to get that done. If we can play a little bit better and give people different looks it should help our red zone pass defense.”
(On his impressions of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles)
“Just watching his tape now and just remembering our first preseason game a year ago, you would expect him to make a jump, but he has come quite far in his second year, which you would expect him to. He should just get better and better. He’s a strong-arm quarterback who is pretty accurate with the football. The one thing that kind of stands out is his mobility. He’s more mobile than [most] probably thought. We have to have a handle on that when we play him on Sunday. He has all the tools to be a very good quarterback in our league for a long time. Hopefully we can contain him and not let him get going on Sunday.”  
(On his performance against Carolina)
“I just think we executed well. We went in with a good game plan as far as what their defense was giving us and just executing. Jameis [Winston] obviously gave me some opportunities and any time I get those I’m going to do my best to compete and go out there and make plays for our offense.”
(On how important the passing game will be against Jacksonville)
“That’s what it’s about. Dirk [Koetter] talks about that all the time. We just have to pitch and catch – make basic, on-time, routine timing routes. Hit those, keep the chains moving. We want to be balanced as well. Even though they are going to stack the box, we are going to go in the game plan ready to run the ball as well. We know it might be a grind out fist fight down there in the trenches, but our guys are prepared for that and on the outside we’ll be ready to make plays as well.”
(On telling quarterback Jameis Winston where to throw it and the number of opportunities for jump balls)
“We haven’t had as many. The game just hasn’t dictated that. I’m never going to go in the huddle and tell him exactly where to put the ball. He has to make his reads and I’m going to do my best to just create separation and create windows where he feels comfortable putting the ball up there. I think he understands and has a lot of confidence in all of our guys, not just myself but a big guy like Mike [Evans] and [Louis] Murphy. Anytime we get one-on-one matchups on the outside it might be one of those chances where it’s just us or an incompletion, he’s going to take those chances.”
(On the offense being able to win games if they don’t get behind early in games)
“I agree. I think this year we’ve been playing all of our opponents and the Buccaneers most of our games. As soon as we can get out of our own way and cut down on penalties, cut down on the turnovers – that’s the biggest one – we’ll definitely be fine. I think there are big signs and flashes of us just marching down the field – 80-yard, 90-yard drives. We can do that. Our defense is doing a good job a lot of times giving us the ball in good field position, starting at our own 30 or 40-yard line. That is something we have to take advantage of. We have to get down to the red zone and come away with points.”
(On the offensive line)
“I think those questions have been answered. I think moving forward we’re very confident in all those guys. We were at the beginning of the season, but the fact that we have the live shots now and they’ve gone out there and proved it on Sundays, it’s been a big confidence boost for them as well. We’ll continue to go on our game plan to be as balanced as possible, knowing that we are going to continue to try and run the ball. We believe we can. We’ve already proved we can against tough defenses. In the pass game, again, it’s going to be about execution – making sure we’re seeing the blitzes, seeing pressure, getting the ball out on time and making sure everybody knows where they need to be.”
(On if he remembers much from the last time the Buccaneers won a home)
“It was a while ago. It’s always fun to win at home. It’s fun to win any football game. In the NFL it’s tough. It’s been a while. It’s been a drought here. We definitely need to do it for ourselves, do it for our fans, do it for this organization and get back to a tradition of protecting this place. Raymond James [Stadium] needs to be a tough place to play and know that we’re going to come in and give everybody our best shot.”
(On wide receiver Donteea Dye)
“Donteea has just been a grinder. Donteea is a hard working kid. He’s smart. He’s picked up our playbook. Anything we’ve asked him to do, he’s been able to do. He’s going to be a great utility guy for us – be able to come in and give a different look. Teams don’t know much about him. We’re going to bounce him around, move him in different positions. He’s just a hard working football player. He has great talent, great ability and he’s earned his position and an opportunity.”
(On if Dye’s speed makes him unique)
“He brings some burst, some juice. Obviously he’s not the biggest guy, but everybody should have one of those little, dynamic guys that maybe can catch a reverse or do something like that. It’s nice to have him suiting up with us and maybe giving a different aspect to our offense.”
(On Jacksonville’s interior offensive linemen)
“They’ve got a vet in [Zane] Beadles and a rookie guard [A.J. Cann], I think he held his own last week in Indy. I honestly think he was on the left side, I believe, before they moved him into right guard. To play like he did – no penalties – I think he played pretty well. The center [Stefan Wisniewski], we brought him in here on a visit, so obviously he’s got some skill to him. He’s a vet. I think that those three guys in the middle, they can do a good job for Bortles, that gives him a lot of time, being a big guy, [that] makes it a lot easier on him.”
(On Jacksonville running back T.J. Yeldon)
“He looked like a smaller version of Le’Veon Bell to me. Has a little power to him, but he can make you miss. You can be standing right in front of him and you’ll miss. Still a little raw though, got a lot to learn, but he’s a good back.”
(On Tampa Bay’s last home win and what his favorite memory of that day was)
“We won. We won at home.”
(On Jacksonville defensive tackle Roy Miller, a former teammate of McCoy’s)
“That’s like my brother. I’ve known Roy since high school. Once I saw that he got the new contract, I don’t think anybody besides his family was happier for him than me, knowing more about him than just football. That was big for him. He holds down the middle, always has. Wherever he goes, he always gives it his all. I’m rooting for my team, but I know they’ve got a lot to deal with, dealing with Roy.”
(On Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles)
“He’s grown up a lot. He definitely is comfortable. He’s one of those ‘run-pass option’ guys. He would rather throw first, but I think last week, he had like 47 [rushing] yards, something like that. And that was with a hurt ankle. We’ve got to keep him in the pocket. He’s a big guy, not easy to bring down. If we rush him the right way, I think we can have a big day.”
(On if Tampa Bay will try to take advantage of Bortles’ ankle injury)
“You always want to get a quarterback off the spot. You never want them to get comfortable. With him being a young guy still, he’s still trying to learn, so you can throw a little bit at him, get him thinking a little bit, that helps. But really, our four-man rush has to come alive. I think that should be enough.”
(On defensive end William Gholston)
“Akeem Spence calls him ‘The Equalizer,’ because he plays end, noseguard, three-technique, he can drop – he does everything. He comes to work, gives it his all every day. It’s crazy, you watch how hard he practices, then he plays [and] it’s like, you wouldn’t think he could go any harder than how he goes at practice, but he does. It’s incredible to watch. That’s going to keep him in the league for a long time.”
(On the difference in Gholston this season versus previous seasons)
“He grew up. Will wasn’t in college long. Left college early, still a kid when he left college, he’s just growing up. That’s it.”
(On what Gholston can do that makes him stand out)
“I feel bad for any tight end that has to face Will in run blocking. Will is 6-7, 280-90 pound super-athlete. Good luck. I’m glad he’s next to me and I’m not a tight end, because he’s just punishing people. It’s fun to watch. I feel bad for the guys, like, ‘Dang, you just got to take that beating all day?’ Whatever, good luck to you, have a good day.”
(On the fumble recovery for a touchdown by Carolina tight end Ed Dickson last week)
“You just want to catch a break, have one of those go your way, but when they did in New Orleans, we got a win. That great tackle by [Chris] Conte, by hitting the ball, it just bouncing up, [Dickson] didn’t even break stride. Whatever (laughs). The opportunities we get, we have to take advantage of. There were plenty of times where we could have gotten off the field, we just didn’t take advantage. That’s how it goes sometimes.”
(On if the team feels more confident in going against a team with a losing record)
“It’s the NFL, I don’t care who we play. You can get beat on any given Sunday. It’s the NFL, that’s how it goes. [Jacksonville] almost beat Indy, in Indy. It’s any given Sunday. You never know what can happen. I guarantee you nobody expected Buffalo to beat Indy on opening day. I know I didn’t, but it happened. It doesn’t matter, it’s the National Football League, the best players in the world – anything can happen so you’ve got to bring it every day.

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