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25 September 2014

Buccaneers Quotes: Thursday, September 25, 2014

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay’s matchup against Pittsburgh this weekend will mark the 600th regular season game in franchise history.
 
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
               
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Running Back Doug Martin
Quarterback Josh McCown
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“Sometimes you go through a practice and, injury-wise, some guys can make it through and you don’t know about until a little bit later on. Larry English tweaked his hamstring a little bit yesterday. He was able to make it through practice but wasn’t able to do anything today. Besides that, Mason Foster is getting better, [so is] Josh McCown. And the rest of our players, the players that practiced on a limited basis – I’m talking about Gerald [McCoy], Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Johnson. So it’s good, as I said yesterday, to get some of our players out there. Beyond that, can’t wait to play. Need to play. Get this bad taste out of our mouth. Need to get a win. So Pittsburgh is up next. Guys are doing everything we’re asking them to do.”
 
(On if promoting quarterback Mike Kafka to the active roster is a sign that quarterback Josh McCown will not play on Sunday)
“That’s accurate. Mike’s been around here a long time too. Been with us I think from day one. So it’s good to have a player like that on your practice squad. You kind of set up your roster that way. As we tell all the guys on the practice squad, odds are you will end up coming up sometime during the course of the year. Now, these things are happening a little bit quicker than we planned, but Mike, of course, has been signaling, so he has a full grasp of the offense. And as I said, Josh is getting better, but this is probably the way we’ll go.”
 
(On what it means to him to see McCown giving pointers to players during practice despite being out with an injury)
“Your roles change, as I’ve said, throughout the season. Of course, quite a few of our players – coaches too, matter of fact – their roles have changed. But that’s just a part of it. That’s why you have different things kind of set up. Injuries are going to happen. And then if you’re a veteran like Josh, you can say, ‘OK, I’m probably not playing this week, so what can I do?’ So he has been coaching the players up. Energy, all those good things you expect from a veteran captain on your football team.”
 
(On how important he thinks the running game is to Pittsburgh having faced them once as the head coach of Chicago)
“I think they go hand-in-hand. Doesn’t matter – you go back through the years – no matter who the head football coach is, there’s a commitment to the run. There was a commitment that day to the run, and we expect the same thing. You fast forward to Sunday night and there was a commitment to the run. Whenever you have two big backs that can pound it like that, that can make you miss in the open field, why should you do anything else other than commit to the run? So it’ll be a big challenge to our guys to be disciplined in their gaps and just play good ball.”
 
(On if one big play can turn everything around for the team in a game)
“I don’t think there’s any doubt you could say that. You can look at our football season – you can’t say that for our last game – you can point to one play in our two earlier games. And it normally comes down to that. Even if it’s not one play that didn’t actually win it or lose it for you, one play that shifted momentum that led a team to win. So yes. As coaches, you play every down like it’s your last one, and every play matters and you try to put together one positive play at a time. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s the goal and eventually we’ll get there.”
 
(On how big of a boost it would be to have defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and running back Doug Martin back in action)
“Big boost. That’s our team that we came with that we expected to put on the field every week. So the more of our players that we get back, it’s a better football team we’re going to be; simple as that. All football teams need to have their best players on the field. There’s too much parity in the league. We’re getting closer. And as I’ve said earlier, this happens sometime during the year, and for us, hopefully we’ve gotten it out of the way, and those players have been out a while, they’re rested up and ready to go; anxious to help our team win.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
 
(Opening statement)
“I think we’re all looking forward to playing this football game and moving on. I think our guys – looking at the way they practiced yesterday with a good practice and we need to have another good practice today. We’re looking at our third down defense, our two-minute defense as well and we just need to keep working to improve. We’re anxious to get back on the field and working to improve.”
 
(On his experiences with how a team bounces back after terrible loss)
“You would like to see the team bounce back. I was looking at some Pittsburgh tape and I saw where they had a 55 point game a season ago and they bounced back real well against Buffalo the following week. I think we have the guys in the room to take a look at things and see the big picture and keep working to improve and you would like to bounce back.”
 
(On making Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger one-dimensional by stopping their running game)
“Yes, they’re running the football very well, evidenced by their game against Carolina on Sunday night, they’re really clicking in the run game, but Ben is more than capable of throwing the football down the field. We’re going to be challenged in the run game, but we have to be able to find a way to stop the run and put it in the quarterback’s hands and go from there.”
 
(On Roethlisberger being an unconventional quarterback)
“He puts a lot of pressure on your defense that way, moving around, if the protection breaks down or if guys aren’t getting open, he moves around and buys time and makes a lot of big plays out of the pocket and he’s not an easy guy to get on the ground, even when you have a free guy sometimes to hopefully get a sack. He does a great job of just shedding defenders, he creates some issues for any defense, but we have to rise to the task. It’s obviously a big game for our team and a big game for our defense.”
 
(On not being able to contest passes)
“It’s still a little too early. Last week we were talking about turnovers and getting turnovers. We’re going to have some opportunities this Sunday to get our hands on some balls just like we did as far as takeaways were concerned a week ago, but with the guys that we have we expect them to get their hands on some balls and make some plays for us on the back end. This is a great week to see that happen.”
 
(On how many issues there were with players not being where they were supposed to after watching film)
“We had an issue on a couple of plays on the edge of our defense where we could have fitted it up a little bit better. The one long run at the end of the ball game, we could’ve done something different in the way we were fitting up the run in that situation, but I think we made that we’ve made that correction and we just have to keep working at it and keep moving forward and get a little bit better on some of things that we’re doing. I think that we’ll get better at some of things that happened on Thursday night.”
 
(On how close linebacker Lavonte David is to making big plays)
“We were hoping that the play he made causing the fumble and the recovered the fumble after Dashon [Goldson] kept it from going out of bounds, would be one of those type of plays to get us jump-started. He’s in position to make plays and when he does, he makes plays and he’ll keep getting better as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable with the defensive scheme. He’s been doing everything that we’ve asked him to do and we just have to continue to put him out there and keep putting him in positions to make plays.”
(On linebacker Dane Fletcher)
“There were definitely some challenging moments to get your first start on a short week, but for the most part he handled things relatively well. There some things that he’ll learn from in that ball game. We’re asking a lot out of our Mike linebacker, you really have to be the quarterback of our defense and to his credit, he got through some tough times during that evening, but he’ll get better as he gets more time. He’s in an entirely new situation compared to what he has done throughout his pro career and we ask a lot of that position, but he’ll get better.”
 
(On linebacker Danny Lansanah)
“Throughout the preseason, we saw him making progress and he’s gotten some playing time here in these early ball games we had. The second ball game we began to rotate him a little bit more, he showed flashes and then in this last ball game against Atlanta if there was a bright spot, Danny’s play was the bright spot. He did some good things for us in that ball game. The interception that he made and he scored on, that was a very instinctive play and he had some good tackles as well. He had shown some of that in the preseason and in the couple of games that we’ve had and we’re going to give him an opportunity to continue to grow.”
 
(On how critical defensive Gerald McCoy’s return would be for the pass rush)
“Any time that you done have a guy of Gerald’s caliber, it definitely makes a difference. To have him back, not just his play on the field, but the emotion that he plays with and the confidence that he brings to the defense and the entire team, it would be great for our defense and great for our team if he’s able to make it back, but we’ll see. He’s a disruptive guy who is hard to block with one person, which helps other players on the defense it would be great to have him back if we were able to have him back.”
 
(On how Lovie is reacting to the adversity of injuries and losing the offensive coordinator)
“I know that you’ll have a chance to talk to him about that, but he’s been strong throughout the early part of the season. I know that you have to be able to see that big picture and not feel as if the season is over after three ball games and you have to stay the course and he’s been doing that. He’s been a pillar for our staff. To his credit, he’s pushing forward, definitely dealing with a lot of different things for sure in the role that he’s in, but he’s been strong throughout.”
 
(On if he still holds the defensive line to a high standard despite the injuries)
“Hopefully we’ll get some of the guys back. We’re not going to get Adrian Clayborn back, but maybe Gerald, maybe Michael [Johnson] we’re hoping, so we’ll find out a little bit more today, but if those guys aren’t able to play then we still expect the guys that are playing to rush the passer, get off of blocks and make tackles. Those expectations aren’t lowered because your name is not Gerald McCoy or Michael Johnson. We still need those players that are playing to play well for us in order to have a chance. They’re not Michael, they’re Gerald and they’re not Adrian Clayborn.”
 
(On if the defensive backs were giving too much cushion to receivers against Atlanta)
“We played some man [coverage] late because some of the things they were doing and we didn’t match up as well and they were able to get behind us. [Julio] Jones made a spectacular catch on one of the touchdowns and there are some things that we could do better technique wise which we’re working on this week. We’re playing another very good receiver in Antonio Brown who’s an outstanding receiver. We’ll have to improve on some of things we’re doing technique-wise and I think we have the guys that will be able to do that and we’ve got to be able to get a rush going as well.”
 
(On how the safeties have performed through the first three games of the season)
“If you look at the totality of it, they’ve done some positive things, but we haven’t as a whole made enough plays on the back end when the ball is in the air. We look forward to getting that done starting this week. Dashon has had his hands on a couple of balls, I think he ended up getting a fumble, but we have to get more plays and we’ll have an opportunity this week. They’re going to throw the football, we have to stop the run first, but they’re going to pass the ball and we’ve got to make some plays on the back end.”
 
(On if defensive end Michael Johnson is getting close to 100 percent)
“He’s making progress. He’s walking better, he’s moving a little bit better and he’s going to try to do some things today and we’ll have a better gauge of where he is. We all have our fingers crossed. We definitely need him, but we’ll see where he is at the end of this day.”
 
(On Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell)
“He’s a very shifty guy, his ability to make people miss in the hole – he’s been very impressive on tape. Had an outstanding collegiate career and he seems as if he’s found his niche in the NFL his second season, but his ability to make people miss and then his ability to outrun the secondary, he had an 80-yard run on Sunday night that showed his speed and his elusiveness as well. He’s a talented guy and we have to get a lot of people around him, it’s hard to bring him down with one guy, but he’s a good back, a very good back.”
 
(On Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller)
“He’s been kind of a go-to guy in his career along with Ben, he’s the guy that he’s found in tough spots, but they’ve grown their receiving core now and Heath has still been the reliable player. He’s a very good blocker, he can run routes, and he’s one of those guys that’s real steady at the tight end position and an all-around good tight end. They have more than the tight end position when it comes to their receiving core. He’ll be one piece of the puzzle, but we have to contend with some of the other guys that they have to catch the ball as well and run good routes. Heath is still a very good receiving tight end and good blocking tight end.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER VINCENT JACKSON
 
(On any issues with catching the ball due to his wrist injury)
“This is something that we’re going to work through. The training staff is doing a great job of giving me the brace and the support I can get from it, but it’s something that I’m going to have to deal with for a few weeks, so I’m ready for that.”
 
(On quarterback Mike Glennon starting if Josh McCown can’t go)
“We’re hoping and we’re pulling for Josh. He’s doing everything that he can do and getting all of the extra treatment that he can and preparing mentally as well. If Mike has to step in and go this week, he’s been ready to do it since we started in the offseason. He’s taken all of the reps, taken all of the mental reps, getting in there and he’s been preparing well this week. I know he won’t miss a beat.”
 
(On how Glennon has progressed since last season)
“You see that a lot. A rookie quarterback gets that one year under their belt, experience, a lot of live bullets flying at you, if feels a lot better the second year. You’re a lot more composed, a lot more comfortable in the system, the speed of the game and you can that he’s comfortable out there and everything that’s being asked of him. He sits back in that pocket, makes his reads quickly and he’s looking good.”
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On how frustrating it’s been to not be able to help the team because of his injury)
“It’s just hard being out in general, especially with an injury. You want to get out there with the guys and you have to let your body heal so you don’t put yourself in a better risk of further injury, but it was a little tough.”
 
(On how quarterback Mike Glennon has progressed since last season)
“It’s kind of like the situation that happened last year and it was around the same time. He’s been in this position for a while and I can tell he’s picking up the offense pretty well, he’s also been a better leader out there and he’s going to do just fine.”
 
(On having to prove himself again)
“That’s how it is every year. It’s a business of ‘what have you done for me lately’ and I just want to go out there and just prove that I’m the same back that I was my rookie year. There’s no need to rush, I know what I’m capable of and the coaches and players know what I’m capable of and I have to just go out and do it.”
 
QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN
 
(On if it’s been frustrating so far with the team’s start and his injury)
“I’ve said it from the start that the whole thing is – any team that finds itself at 0-3, it’s frustrating and any player on that team that’s not frustrated you would probably question their existence on the team. For me, absolutely I’m frustrated and to add injury to insult so to be speak, it’s a bummer, but the big picture and how I operate in life is understanding that there’s a bigger process going on here. For me, it’s to find ways within this to grow and at this state right now, whatever the case is to help the team as much as I can and that’s why I’m trying to get healthy and get ready to go and be available.”
 
(On his relationship with Mike Glennon)
“We have a great relationship as I said back in the spring. You know how I feel about him [as a person] and how I feel about him as a player and for me it’s always about the team first and foremost. As a player, when you experience an injury or something like that, what’s the next thing you can do to help the team? A. is to get heathy and get back on the field and available and then B. is to be an extra set of eyes and voice in that room to help that position. With me and Mike it’s no different and we’ll work that way. For me, it’s to help Mike be as prepared as he can be every week, regardless. I did that the last three weeks too and make sure he is ready to go and help him. Like I said from the beginning, we want that room to be great and we want that room to function at a high level and that’s the situation every week, but especially when you deal with an injury and you want to be able to help that way.”
 
(On being a coach on the field while he’s injured)
“At the end of the day, I believe every person in organization has to bring value to their job. You have to try and find a way that you can help us every weekend win football games and this has been as tough of three weeks for me as I’ve had in my career, just from a disappointment standpoint and all of that and injury and all of those things. It’s not my makeup to sit and sulk. We have 13 games left, there’s a lot of football left to play and as frustrating as this start is for us, there’s nobody that’s going to hang their head. For me, it’s what can I do to help us and help Mike be ready to go.”
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