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26 August 2015

Buccaneers Quotes: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter
Quarterback Jameis Winston
Linebacker Bruce Carter
Guard Logan Mankins
Running Back Doug Martin
Wide Receiver Russell Shepard
Tackle Donovan Smith
Center Evan Smith
(Opening statement)
“It was good to get back out on the practice field. Seems like it was a long time since we played. Less than 48 hours since we played (so) guys are still a little sore, but we are getting back. We start our preparation for the Browns this week. A little bit lighter practice. Normally on a Wednesday we’ll probably go in pads, of course we didn’t go in pads today. [We are] starting to get some of our injured players back: TJ Fatinikun, Kevin Pamphile, Chris Conte was able to get a few reps back. They’re not ready to go full speed or anything like that right now, but we’re getting them back into the mix.”
(On defensive end Jacquies Smith’s status)
“He’s stretching and that’s a step. But he’s not quite ready. We’re starting to let him do a little bit of work running, but not quite there yet.”
(On whether preparing for the third preseason game typically mirrors an in-season game week schedule)
“Well that’s if that’s the case. For us, we don’t have a normal game-week routine that we’re doing. We played on Monday night, so this isn’t a regular week for us. We’re getting a little combination of what we would do. During the course of the year, of course, we have a Wednesday schedule and normally that’s a padded practice and it’s first and second downs that we work on. Thursday, for us,  normally when we work on some of our third-down situations, two-minute (situations). And then Friday is a full game plan, short-yardage, goal-line type day for us. We’ll get a combination of that this week since we have a short turnaround.”
(On Bruce Carter pushing Danny Lansansah for the starting strongside linebacker position)
“We have completion at every position right now. As far as pushing, if you’re here, you’re getting reps, you’re in the competition. So it’s really no more than that. We like Bruce, of course. Danny Lansanash really played well in the game Monday night. But, again, as a coach you want to talk about at least a couple players at every position, and we have good competition. During the course of the year we are going to have to have a starting team, but if a guy we feel like we can win with is playing that way, we’ll let him play also.”
(On the improvements he wants to see this week)
“We want to see improvement, period. As far as what you do traditionally in the third game – it’s been a different approach we’ve taken throughout all this training camp. We played our guys more the first game, and the second game, of course, a lot of our players, the plan was to play them into the second quarter. But traditionally, as you prepare for the season, you want a team to go through a half and come out – you know, go into halftime and have to come out and play your best ball after a break. So that’s what you’re trying to get this third game, as much as anything. And back to the game plan part, you do do a few more things. Everything we do, though, is still geared toward Tennessee (in Week 1). There’s only so much we’re going to do. Just want to put the guys in the situations and let them go.”
(On playing starters in the final week of preseason)
“We’ll check out (Preseason Week) 4 a little bit later. The philosophy in the past is to play the guys a little bit more in the third preseason game, and the fourth preseason game, traditionally, we won’t play the guys an awful lot. As far as how much, though, we will wait and see how things play out in the third game before we get to that.”
(On defensive tackle Henry Melton playing at defensive end)
“That’s kind of game-plan stuff if we go through that. It’s getting a little bit deep into what I like to go through now. Henry can play inside, he can play outside. And sometimes injuries dictate how much he plays inside (and) outside. That was the case this past week. But once we get all the guys back, he’ll probably be more inside than outside.”
(On whether he has discussed with quarterback Jameis Winston the need to have discretion when choosing to run)
“I think he has that (discretion), but I just don’t think you can ever tell a quarterback not to run, period. There are some situations that you’re in that you do. We would like for him not to, but sometimes you can’t help that. Situation the other night, they (defenders) are on you. But we’ve talked to him about those situations, but, as far as running, we don’t run option football. We want to protect our quarterback. Sometimes the play calls for you to get what you can and get down. We need to work on him getting down, but sometimes you have to (run). We’re not going put him at risk an awful lot, but, it’s football. You’re going to be at risk a little bit. Believe me, we know who we have there. We want to keep him protected and go from there.”
(On signing punter Jacob Schum today and whether he is pleased with the current punting performance)
“We weren’t pleased with the job the head coach did last year or anything else, so we’re looking at a lot of different people at a lot of different spots. We see that there’s a guy that’s available that we think we need to take a long hard look (at). We brought Jacob in last year, too, so we like him. He was available, we had a spot, so why not take a look at him. We’ll continue to do that. That’s what we’ve done since Jason (Licht) and I got here. We want competition at all spots, so you’ll continue to see us doing that.”
(On the offensive line starting to come together)
“We are working on our starting unit right now. We’re looking at different combinations right now. Where are we right now? We’re where you should be going into your third preseason game. We’ve made progress from Game 1 to Game 2, which you like to see. We got a chance to look at a lot of young players, which was good, that was our plan. We’re coming along, just like we are as a football team. Offensive line, of course, is a big part of that. For the most part, young players stepped up to the plate last week, so that’s where we are offensively, especially on the offensive line.”
(On wide receiver Russell Shepard’s ability to play special teams and offense)
“It’s very valuable to have a player like that. Of course, as I got here – Russell Shepard, great special teams player, plays hard every down. We saw that right away. I saw that right away. Normally if you’re good there and you give players more reps, they show you they can get the job done at other positions too and that’s what he’s done. He’s still playing as hard as ever on special teams, but the more things you can do, that gives us flexibility on game day, when we’re trying to decide exactly how many receivers to dress. Right now, you can make a case for Russell Shepard being in a position to get some wide receiver reps during the course of the year. We will continue to let that play out also. You let guys play, they’ll tell you a lot of things and we listen.”
(On if he likes seeing players that have ‘bounced around’ in the NFL still having a passion for the game)
“Yes I do, you have to feel good and like a player when you love the game that much. There are a lot of guys out there like that though, that want to play. Take Danny Lansanah. Danny’s been to a few different teams. We have a few players like that. Henry Melton has been to a few different teams. George Johnson has been to a few different teams. We have players like that and we tell them – first off, if we bring you here, we like something that you’ve done and now we’re going to put you in the mix, put you in the pot, we like to stir it up as much as possible. If you can play, we’ll play you. Our record says that. We have guys that have taken the long road. Jeremiah Warren right now – it’s always good to see a local guy take advantage of an opportunity. That’s what it’s always about.”
(On the longer extra point and if he expects to see more two-point attempts)
“Well we missed an extra point the other day and that’s not a good thing. When you move it back, it’s not automatic, we (saw) that firsthand. It’s always tempting to go for two. It’s always tempting to go for two, I’ll just say that. For us, that’s a good option for us to have. We have a plan on what we’re going to do during the regular season. The preseason, you’ll probably see us doing both. Got into the game Monday night and we didn’t kick as well as I thought we should. We wanted to finish on a high note, so we’ll just keep working on it.”
(On if he plans on attempting more two-point conversions against Cleveland)
“You have options always. We’ll kind of decide, see how the game goes a little bit. But as far as going for two, we know where the ball will be placed. There’s only so many plays you’ll have that can be successful down there, so you don’t want to use all those up. Whether we go for it during the season or not, that could happen. It’s not necessary to practice it [in a game]. I think it’s more important for us to let – (if) we get an opportunity – to let our guys kick field goals, that operation [in the preseason]. This past week too it’s not just the kicker or just not the snapper. It’s the holder. Mike Glennon held for us early last week. (We are) looking at a lot of different combinations right now.”
(On the penalties against Cincinnati game)
“We just weren’t disciplined enough. It’s not like they were bad calls and the officials are trying to get us. We should have been penalized. Most of them were legit. You can’t do that. And a lot of them you don’t have to do. That’s not something that we – we’re embarrassed by that. Believe me, we’re going to correct it.”
(On if the defense played with more intensity against Cincinnati)
“I think it’s increased quite a bit for a period of time. I think we’re in a pretty good place. The expectation that what you have to do to become a football team – guys came out ready to play. We were playing a good football team – a playoff-caliber team – and you need to play that way. But for us to see exactly what we can be, you get confidence once you start having some success against (an opponent). We’re not Tennessee-ready yet, but guys are starting to get it.”
(On defensive end Larry English sitting out of today’s practice)
“Nothing long-term. Again, with this quick turnaround, some guys were sore. Some guys had a little bit of soreness and kind of worked through it. Tomorrow should be a better indication of where we are right now, physically.”
(On what quarterback Jameis Winston needs to improve)
“Jameis is getting better every day. I anticipate that he will continue to get better, not just through the preseason, but throughout the season. Jameis just needs to see more looks. When we go against other teams, we’ve practiced against our own defense several times, it’s great for him to go against other defenses with other looks. We don’t see everything we are going to see during the season from our own defense. The different looks and different coverages – that sort of thing. That’s one of Jameis’ strengths though. Jameis is a football player. I think he is leading us in rushing touchdowns and not leading us in touchdown passes. That guy is a football player. He (needs to) just see more looks.”
(On analysts saying Winston will lock onto receivers)
“I don’t agree with that. I’ll just say I don’t agree with that evaluation. Everybody has their own opinion. I don’t agree with that.”
(On how Winston is developing)
“He’s definitely developing as a quarterback, no doubt about it.”
(On the competition at wide receiver and cutting the roster down to 53 players)
“I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions. That’s somebody above me making that. We are excited about our young guys. Obviously we have some proven guys and we have a lot of young guys. The great thing is we have a lot of competition and I know (Head) Coach (Lovie Smith) and (General Manager) Jason (Licht) – you want to make your football team better, you increase competition. That’s one position where we’ve got it. That’s going to be a tough call at the end. That rookie class of guys has come in and done a nice job and there are some veterans. Take a look at (Russell) Shepard. That guy had three explosive (plays) in the game. He played very well as a guy that had primarily been a special teams player in the past. We’re developing our depth. We are continuing to develop it. There are a lot of guys. I mean, there’s really nobody we have counted out there.”
(On the improved play of running back Doug Martin and what Koetter contributes that to)
“You would have to ask him. A lot of people are saying that. You have to remember I was in this division when Doug was a rookie. To me, that’s the Doug Martin I know. Plus, I’m a huge Boise State fan. That’s the Doug Martin I know and he’s been that way since Day 1. One of our coaches said it the other day in a meeting, ‘What Doug did the other night in the game, that’s how Doug has been practicing every day.’ So that was not surprising that he did that. He’s been practicing like that. Doug definitely has a pep in his step and a smile on his face, but you would have to ask him more on that.”
(On Martin saying he came to camp with a purpose)
“Contract year. It’s a contract year. Hey, we’ve all been there. It’s a contract year.”
(On his experience with young offensive linemen and how that affects his game plan)
“Working with young offensive linemen – that’s here to stay in the NFL. With the salary cap like it is, everyone wants to get that franchise quarterback and after you get that franchise quarterback and you’ve got that franchise receiver. Just look at Atlanta’s salary cap, where I just came from. I’m not a cap guy but between (quarterback) Matt (Ryan) and (wide receiver) Julio (Jones), that was a lot of millions (money). On offense, teams have to decide where they are going to go, how they are going to build it. You are always going to be working with young O-linemen and this year here is no exception. We’re really excited about those two guys we drafted and there are some other guys fighting for spots in there as well. Those young guys are both going to be good football players for us. Now, when we get into the real season, based on match-ups – (guard) Ali (Marpet) has gone against some pretty good guys right off the bat here in his match-ups but as we get into the season based on the match-ups we might have to do some stuff to help them. We don’t worry a whole lot about that in the preseason because we are just trying to learn a system. We want to see them play. We want to see them compete. There’s a lot of things you can do. We have to help this guy, we have to help that guy. There’s a bunch of stuff and that’s stuff I don’t care to get into right now, but we will have to try and get some guys some help. Young guys, old guys – we have to try to stop their best pass rusher. We can’t get the game wrecked by whoever that guy is.”
(On how he determined how much information to give Winston this early)
“I’ve said before, we’re trying to teach Jameis everything. We haven’t held back one thing. We’re going full speed ahead. We’ve installed enough for 10 game plans. We would shrink it way back for a normal game. And we’ve been shrinking it back a little bit for these games, but we still continue to add, add, add. We knew through the draft process that Jameis could handle a lot. Florida State, it’s well publicized when I went to Florida State I was just going, ‘Wow , these guys got a lot.’ For a college team – impressive how much. (Florida State Football Head Coach) Jimbo (Fisher) had already told me. We knew Jameis could handle a lot. Now how much would he be able to transfer over – he’s had his stumbles, but we’re really happy with where he is at. He has made a couple mistakes on things, but that’s something a rookie is going to do. You can always trim it back. It’s like your wife’s spending. You can always trim it back, but you can’t increase the budget, right?”
(On Winston tripping on Monday night and Winston’s footwork)
“Yeah, obviously it hurt us. The thing you guys have to remember is sometimes the quarterback and it’s not his fault. The quarterback gets too much credit when things go well and he usually gets too much blame when they don’t. Sometimes has that been a problem? Yes. Sometimes is that somebody else’s fault? Absolutely. That was the case again the other night. He got stepped on a couple of times. From Peyton Manning on down there are some ugly football plays out there when you get stepped on. At the same time, we’ve also seen Jameis run for two touchdowns and those were the same guy. The same guy that tripped was the same guy that ran those two touchdowns in. Basic footwork is a constant process and we are working on it.”
(On quarterbacks knowing when to hold back in order to avoid possible injuries)
“The way we say it – ‘Know when the journey is over,’ that’s too far over my head. I grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and when I was old enough I used to drive to Jackpot, Nevada to play blackjack. I say know when to cut your losses. Jameis is such a competitor he has a hard time cutting his losses. He doesn’t ever want to cut our losses. That’s good and bad. That’s well documented. He’s going to make some plays and we are going to love him and then there are going to be other times that we are going to be saying ‘Get down, get down.’ That’s just how it’s going to be so get used to it. We’re working on it, but get used to it.”
(On what Martin is doing to help create big plays)
“Number one, he got his weight where he wanted it. I think he came in in the mid-220s and he came back at 208. When we had Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, Maurice could bulk up as high as 235 (pounds) in the offseason. But Maurice’s prime playing weight was between 208 and 212. Doug is a powerful guy to begin with, but he got his quickness back. He has unbelievable confidence right now. The other thing is if you watch a guy practice out there, he’s finishing every play like a wild man. I mean, we’re constantly telling our guys finish, finish, finish. That’s coach speak. Watch the practice tape of Doug Martin. We do these comment sheets, that look something like this, after every practice where the coaches are grading it. I’m going, ‘nice finish 22, nice finish 22.’ That’s on my sheet about 50 times a day. From little league through pro football we tell guys you play like you practice. I think the weight loss, being top shape, having the right attitude, being positive and then the way he’s practicing, I think barring injury, Doug is in for an excellent year, which is good for the Bucs.”   
(On learning how to play safely)
“It’s something that I’ve got to learn quickly. It’s going to take time for me to adjust, but I know I’ve got to protect my body and I’ve got to protect this team by staying injury-free.”
(On his toughness and if he wanted to see more playing time against Cincinnati)
“I can’t go against the coach, so I can’t do that. We had a great night. I enjoyed my time out there.”
(On having an experienced backup quarterback like Mike Glennon)
“I always give props to our quarterback room. The way (Quarterbacks) Coach Bajakian and the way Coach Koetter prepare us together. It’s like we’re going through school together and all of us are so similar, so that’s the great thing about this team. If anything happens, we’ve got two guys that can handle the job.”
(On what he likes about working with Glennon)
“He’s just a professional. He’s been in the league for (several) years. He knows how to handle things. He’s great, he’s a great quarterback.”
(On where he is in his development and how he can improve)
“I just look forward every single day, so I’m trying to get better in every aspect of my game. There’s so much that I have to work on. I can’t really tell you where I am on my development because it’s a process. Every day I’ve got to work on something specific, whether it’s my drops one day, whether it’s my release the next day, whether it’s viewing this coverage a different way – I can’t really tell you about (specific improvements).”
(On the area he feels he has improved the most)
“Definitely my footwork – just my drops, being on rhythm with the receivers. I’ve definitely improved on that.”
(On how he balances making a great play and playing safely)
“You know, I’ve got to learn. I love to compete, I love to be competitive, but at the end of the day, just like Coach Koetter said, you’ve got to know when to just leave it alone. I’m young right now and I love the action – as quarterbacks, we don’t get hit at practice. I want to go ahead in the preseason and get it out of the way.”
(On if seeing playing time and getting repetitions are keys in his development)
“Absolutely. You’ve got to give the whole Bucs program a compliment for the virtual reality thing. Any way that you can just try to enhance our ability to know what’s going to be – we get our pre-snap reads, but any way that we can actually know what the defense is going to be doing, it’s a plus for us.”
(On how well he feels that he is seeing the field)
“I feel like it’s coming on smoothly. As a quarterback, you’ve got to be able to have the ability to anticipate throws and sometimes throw your guys open. I believe that we have guys that if it’s man (coverage), they’re going to get open for me. If it’s zone, that’s the hardest thing to see because people are playing their areas. The way that we read our coverages, sometimes it’s pure progression, sometimes we are picking sides. Obviously it just depends on the concept how I’m going to be reading and seeing the field.”
(On wide receiver Russell Shepard’s development)
“Russell, he works hard. He works hard every day. I had some time with him in the offseason, just seeing the way he grinds. Success is obviously going to come when you work hard. That guy, he’s a baller, he’s out there on special teams, going all out, he’s making plays at wide receiver, he’s even getting reverses and taking them for first downs. That guy, he’s an amazing player.”
(On what he liked about Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel when Manziel was in college)
“He was electrifying. He’s very exciting to watch, (but) it’s about the Bucs (laughs).”
(On how he can learn to protect himself by watching other quarterbacks)
“When you think about quarterbacks the first (people) you think about are Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, how they are able to know when to get down. Sometimes you might see us, ‘Oh, he took a hit right there,’ but there’s different ways we can dive on the ground or tuck our shoulder where it may look like we’re getting hit, but at the end of the day we are protecting ourselves. I think Johnny (Manziel) does a great job of that.”
(On if the Bucs are deep at linebacker)
"Yeah, definitely. I think in our room alone we've got a lot of talent. I think guys are starting to compete versus one another and that's ultimately making everybody better, all the way from the last guy to Lavonte [David], our leader. Everybody's competing, everybody's getting better and ultimately that's really what you want."
(On pressure up front making things easier for the linebackers on Monday night)
"It definitely makes it easier for the back end, not just the linebackers but the secondary also. They don't have to cover as long, which makes it great. Any time you get pressure on the quarterback it messes up their timing and whatnot, so it's always great any time you get a pass-rush. I know Gerald [McCoy] is down there taking up two blocks at a time and you get a lot of one-on-ones. You've really got to execute and take advantage of that."
(On competing at a different position than the one he began the offseason at)
"You really don't have a choice. You just want to control what you can control and keep working. That's all you can do."
(On the running game looking much improved from last year)
“Yeah definitely, it was good to see (running back) Doug (Martin) get some space. When you give him space he is going to make some good runs and he did a good job. We would like to see him get going.”
(On if the young players and rookies are making a difference)
“Yeah definitely. They are all good players. They just need to be caught up to speed, which they are (doing). None of us are ready for Game 1 yet, so we are all working toward that and they are working toward that too.”
(On rookie linemen experiencing their first game)
“It just comes with experience. The more you play, the more you’ve seen and the more you are accustomed to what is going to happen. (Rookie guard Ali Marpet) is doing a great job though. We are very impressed and we are happy to have him. He’s going to do a good job.”
(On if the team needs to know who the starting five offensive linemen will be)
“I wouldn’t say so yet. We are still rotating a lot in practice and moving guys around. We still have quite a few practices and two more games before we have to know for sure.”
(On how much more comfortable he is compared to last season)
“Much more with the whole offense and the guys around me. It seems like we are actually building a trust between the guys on the field right now and that’s a good thing.”
(On what is the most important thing to get from the third preseason game)
“Just play good football. As an offensive line we need to open up holes, throw up a wall for Jameis (Winston) and cut down on our penalties, so we’ll see if we can do that.”
(On the negative things they need to improve)
“It’s just from us not concentrating on those plays I guess. We had too many penalties – false starts and holdings.  A few too many mental errors still. Those are things we can control ourselves, so we just have to get those tings fixed.”
(On the importance of the preseason to a team with so many young players)
“It’s important for everyone. Sure you want to get through it, but I feel we still have a lot to work on. We are nowhere close to where we want to be. We’re grinding away trying to get better.”
(On offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren playing center)
“Jeremiah has done good this year. I was actually with Jerry his rookie year and he has come a long way since then. He’s improved a lot mentally, physically, his work habits, everything.”
(On if he’s noticed better quickness or burst at a lighter weight)
“I don’t know if it’s more than playing lighter, I’m leaner. It’s only like four pounds but the four pounds does make a difference. It’s just a mindset going into this season and around here in the organization and the vibe that’s going on around here and the fire to win and to (know) you can win, so that’s what it is. And we wanted to start fast last game and Coach Lovie challenged us, challenged the line and the offense to start fast and finish stronger and that’s something that we wanted to do during our game and we did.”
(On what finishing runs in practice means to him as a running back)
“That gets you ready for the game, finish 10 yards past the last defender or finish in the end zone on some plays. It also gets you ready for your conditioning during the game and gets your legs ready for the game so that’s something that I try to do.”
(On if he feels quicker or more agile because he’s lost weight)
“Yeah, I do feel a little quicker. Yeah, I do. Like I said, four or five pounds has made a difference so yeah, I do.”
(On Dirk Koetter referencing former NFL running back Maurice Jones Drew’s success playing at a lighter weight and if he tracks the progress of other running backs playing at different weights)
“Yeah, I can definitely see why he would say that. You know, I can’t run as fast when I have more weight and I got a little leaner and I got a little faster.”
(On if he changed his diet or routine)
“I did have to watch my diet. I couldn’t eat the foods that I wanted to eat – Chinese, pizza, all that stuff. But I did (eat) high protein and carbs for energy, so I did change my diet a little bit. I definitely wanted to shed the weight but also keep my power as well, so that was something I kept in mind.”
(On if losing weight was inspired by the team not picking up the fifth-year option on his contract, and if that was a wake-up call)
“I wouldn’t say a wake-up call. I’m not going to lie, it’s in the back of my mind but that’s something that you can’t let it creep up to the front because that’s just going to distract me and I’m just going to go out there and do my job and get these Ws.”
(On what this third preseason game means to him)
“The more workload is what I want. First game I had six carries or seven carries and I played a quarter for the next one. I’ll hopefully be able to play three quarters for this next game, and it’ll be interesting to see where we are as an offense and what we can do.”
(On if he feels like a rookie all over again)
“A rookie all over again? I wouldn’t say a rookie all over again exactly, but a little smarter – definitely smarter and aware of what I need to do to keep myself healthy. Just being in the NFL, I’m just smarter in that way.
(On taking advantage of opportunities in the Cincinnati game)
"That’s what [Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter] kind of pushed the whole week: Do your job. I had the opportunity to go in and make a play for our offense and I've just got to take that opportunity. Our offensive line, my fellow receivers, Dirk, the QBs, they're doing a great job – the running backs, too – of running the offense. As a player here you're just asked to go in and do your job as needed."
(On if special teams play bought him his current opportunity on offense)
"It's bought me my whole NFL career. I came in as a guy that was kind of raw at the position, and a lot of NFL teams didn't know which position I would play, whether it was on the offensive or defensive side let alone just [where on] offense. Special teams has given me an opportunity to kind of find my niche, find what I do good in this league. I'm just going to continue to keep growing and do my part to make a play for this team."
(On if there was a point in time he first thought he could play receiver in the NFL)
"Once I got in, I made my mind up I was going to do receiver. Prior to that, pre-draft, it was kind of 50-50 whether it was going to be defensive back or receiver. I had a lot of teams…actually, Jason [Licht], the [Buccaneers'] G.M. recruited me as a DB when he was in Arizona. I had several teams, probably more teams than not, recruit me as a DB rather than a receiver coming out in the draft."
(On the last time he played defense)
"You know what, probably high school. I played it a little bit at LSU in spring ball in practice, and it was something I actually thought about doing my senior year. But based on the talent on defense that LSU had I decided to stay on that side."
(On what he first played in the NFL with the Eagles)
"I was a receiver. Coach [Chip] Kelly brought me in strictly as a receiver. He actually brought me in more so as a receiver rather than a special teams guy or a defensive guy. Being there and developing with them actually gave me an opportunity to fast-forward my development process."
(On what he wants to accomplish in Game Three)
"Just continue to do what's needed of me, whether it's making tackles on kickoff or blocking on kickoff return as a front line guy or whether it's coming in and blocking as a receiver on offense. I'm just going to do whatever it takes to be here. I'm very thankful. I think we've got a great thing going here and I'm just excited about it. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do."
(On if he exhaled after his first play in the preseason opener in Minnesota)
"I really don't know. I think it was just an exhale in general, as soon as you step on the field. It's football. [Everson Griffen] is a great player. He did a great move, and you just go from there."
(On where he feels he's improved the most)
"Just knowing my assignments, technical things, I've been coming along. And just jelling with the older guys and the veterans on the line and just being able to click."
(On how important it is to be able to see what's going on around you when blocking another player)
"A lot, but that's a credit to the coaches and film study, to be able to see things and anticipate it coming. You've just got to pretty much trust your technique and your film study."
(On the emphasis on finishing plays)
"A lot. Coach [George] Warhop preaches it to us consistently. So does Coach [Lovie] Smith. It's very important. It's just the demeanor of the offensive line – you want to finish your blocks whether it's downfield or finish on the man. It's very important."
(On continuing a block against a Bengals player in which the running back was already well past them)
"It's just the mentality. You've got to be able to finish on the man, finish the play, block to the whistle. That's back to pee-wee football: Block to the whistle."
(On how much more confident he is becoming)
"Just more and more. It comes with reps. It's just like anything else. You do something the first time and you're just like, 'Eh.' Once you get the rhythm of it your confidence goes up and you can just go out there and play. My confidence is going up."

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