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27 November 2016

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Postgame Quotes (11/27/16)

(On the emotion rallying around Alterraun Verner)
“Alterraun and Kevin Pamphile, who lost his mother in the preseason. Alterraun, who lost his father on Friday. Our guys, man, we’ve got some great guys in that locker room. It was emotional before game. It was emotional at the coin flip. Then we backed it up. It’s one thing to be emotional, but it’s another thing to back it up. The crowd was awesome. The fans were fantastic. That place was rocking. I was trying to talk to guys on the field and it was a waste of your breath because they couldn’t hear a word you were saying.’’
(On Verner’s play)
“That’s a power way above me when that kind of stuff happens. We had so many guys play big. But that pick that Alterraun got right before the half. He had beautiful pass breakup. There were so many big plays.’’
(On Mike Evans)
“Mike couldn’t have started any hotter than he did. He has 1,000 yards (receiving) three years in a row and we’re only 11 games in. We knew that was going to be a big matchup. [Richard] Sherman matched him. We have a ton of respect [for him]. We tried to do some things to get Mike on the other side with motion and whatnot. Mike came up big. The only disappointment is we just didn’t stay with it good enough in the second half.’’
(On the pass rush)
“Six [sacks] is the most we’ve had in a long time. We were worried about that all week because Russell Wilson is a tough quarterback to sack. He did get out a few times, but we hit him, we kept him in. Noah Spence was big tonight. Gerald (McCoy) had a sack and a half. Six sacks, we hit him a bunch of times, too. That also tells you that your coverage is good on the back end because he’s having to hold the ball a little bit.’’
(On the evolution of the defense)
“We’re playing good team football right now and playing really good team defense. Ever since the little mini-bye, the Thursday night game (against the Falcons), Smitty [Mike Smith] and the defensive coaches cut it back a little bit, simplified things, maybe doing a little bit less. Let these guys play faster and they’ve responded. We’ve got good depth. Jay [Hayes] is doing a really good job rotating those d-linemen. Chris Conte got banged up a little bit and Keith Tandy came in. Bradley McDougald comes up with a big play. Brent Grimes, not practicing much all week, coming in there, Vernon Hargreaves playing a different position, and of course Alterraun [Verner] didn’t really practice at all [after Thursday]. I think the defense is back. I saw Derrick Brooks down there on the sideline right before the game. I thought I was having flashbacks to Bucs past teams.’’
(On Mike Evans vs. Richard Sherman)
“Mike has been so steady for us all year. We’ve seen a totally different Mike Evans this year from a preparation standpoint and from a keeping his composure standpoint. Mike is just playing so much more under control and he’s just letting his talent do it. That first third-and-long where Jameis hit him on that deep crossing route, that was a great throw and catch. I don’t need to give Mike any advice. He knows what he’s doing.’’
(On what the last two wins does for team’s psyche)
“That’s a good question. It’s a week-to-week league. We’re all on a high right now. Obviously, a huge win and we beat two good teams back-to-back. I’m sure San Diego is going to present a whole new set of problems when we start looking at them tomorrow. We’re playing good football right now. We’re going to enjoy tonight. We’ll go into panic mode tomorrow as soon as we start watching Phillip Rivers’ tape.’’
(On the importance of character and overcoming adversity)
“I think it’s big. Again, saying it and backing it up are two different things and we did both tonight. We’ve got such great leadership starting with our quarterback. We did overcome adversity, not just lifetime adversity but game adversity. There were plenty of times when things didn’t go our way today and we were able to hang in there and keep playing. That’s something we’ve been working on hard for a long time. So that was great to see.’’
(On punter Bryan Anger)
“That one early in the fourth quarter, they tried to sneak those corners in on us late. We didn’t have time to readjust our protection. Keith Tandy, our [personal protector] held it. What a boot. Josh Robinson, if that guy doesn’t get voted in the Pro Bowl as a gunner, something’s wrong. That kid is just playing his tail off, what a play. We were very nervous about [Tyler] Lockett, their return guy, all week. Nate Kaczor, our special teams coach did an awesome job adjusting out scheme to make sure that we had him wrapped up. He’s a dangerous return guy. Our punt team has been solid all year.’’
(On Winston’s play)
“Jameis, he’s on a nice roll right now. He’s playing really well. The first couple of drives, you couldn’t script them any better. We went right down the field against one of the best defenses in the league. We just couldn’t seem to get in a rhythm [in the second half]. I couldn’t get him in the right mix of plays there in the second half. When we had that third-and-10 on the 10, when I saw the coverage they were playing I knew we were in good shape. We had the right thing on and Jameis had a beautiful shot to Cam [Brate]. Then they showed that replay [of the penalty], man. On the last one, I probably should’ve been more conservative with the call there. We ran a play designed for third-and-long in the red zone. We probably would’ve been better off being more conservative, running the ball right there and kicking a field goal. I probably made more mistakes tonight than any of the players did.’’
(On the third-down defense)
“I think they were 1-for-11. Our D is playing lights out. I’ll tip my hat to the crowd. When it’s loud like that on third down and they’ve having to go silent count, it’s tough. It’s tough on the road when it’s that loud.’’
(On if the team’s culture has shifted)
“That’s for you guys to judge.’’
(On the fans)
“We got that win for the fans. It was pretty good. We brought it today.’’
(On emotion of the team)
“When Alterraun’s [Verner] dad passed, it was just the first sign of motivation. We were already remembering that [linebacker] Lavonte David and [guard] Kevin Pamphile had spent their first Thanksgiving without their parents as well. It just comes to that concept of family. When you have a family, when you are a family, you always have your brother’s back and when he’s down, you lift him up.’’
(On wide receiver Mike Evans)
“I always throw Mike the ball and I always talk about he’s my superstar. Ya’ll always ask me why do you throw Mike the ball so much? I never understand those questions. He just played an amazing game today. That’s just the type of guy that he is and that’s the type of player he is. Thank God for Coach [Dirk] Koetter putting me in situations to get him the ball.’’
(On pregame)
“Kevin Pamphile, he was a captain. [Alterraun] Verner was a captain. So those were two big changes we made right there. Soon as the National Anthem started, we were like, “Kevin, you’re a captain.’’ ‘
(On the first two drives)
“That was good, but that’s what our offense is capable of. What was special was to see the way these guys just persevered, the way that we kept fighting and the way that we finished this game. The defense just played an amazing game. Gerald McCoy – we pray [before the game] –Gerald McCoy, he was in tears. I know he probably don’t want me to share this, but he was just explaining how he knows how it feels to not have his mother on Thanksgiving. He was so passionate. It was the first time I’ve really seen a man really share his emotions with the team. I really think the team fed off that. When you see one of your leaders get emotional and he’s speaking from his heart in tears, you know how much he wants it. I really believe him doing that really helped us out a lot.’’
(On when team became a family)
“We’re still coming together. It’s not a thing where you say, ‘We have arrived.’ It’s a week-to-week thing. Being a family, it can only help you. It can’t hurt you.’’
(On confidence provided by winning on road against Chiefs)
“We’re just playing with confidence in general. It’s just that belief. When you know you’ve got somebody that’s going to have your back every single time and you know when you fall down you’ve got somebody who’s going to lift you up, it’s easy to play free.’’
(On Mike Evans’ 1,000-yard season)
“Mike Evans is elite. I say that every week. He is a superstar. It’s just a testament that hard work pays off. We worked real hard this offseason. He in particular worked very hard this offseason. It’s really paying off. You just see how great he really is.”
(On thinking about what could be accomplished in the next five weeks)
“It is week to week. We’re going to keep it that way. Our next game is always our biggest game.’’
(On the defense’s improvement)
“I don’t even think about the negative stuff. Like you said, it’s a week-to-week thing. Our defense is getting better every single week. To give up three points to one of the best teams in the NFL, that’s pretty impressive. It shows the capabilities that we have.’’
(On six sacks of Russell Wilson)
“It’s just amazing. It’s a testament of what we are capable of. I keep saying the same thing and it seems like a broken record. But we got to get better. We got to go week to week. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to be thankful for what we have. We’ve got to make the best of it.’’
(On his end-zone interception)
“I’m just happy we won. That’s the main part. You’re trying to bring up negative stuff again. I want that back. I really want it back. I just wanted to put the nail in the coffin and throw a touchdown to Mike Evans. But I’ve got to be smart. Playing against one of the best cornerbacks in the game, you can’t give him that chance.’’
(On the offensive line)
“When I first stepped into that huddle, I said, ‘We’re doing this for Kevin [Pamphile]. We’re going to play just like Kevin’s mom loves him, we got to love Kevin today. We got to play for him.’ Kevin Pamphile stepped up and had a big game. Joe Hawley, he set the tempo every single time. Those guys hate playing against Joe. I love playing behind that offensive line. It was great. I’m just happy we got a win.’’
(On if he could imagine a 14-0 lead standing up)
“Yes, because it happened. Any way we can get a win, we can get it. Our defense, I have tremendous respect and trust in our defense. I’m the quarterback. I’ve got to be able to trust our defense. I know those guys are great. They’ve going to keep playing like that. Get used to it.’’
(On speaking to the team after Thursday night game)
“Just belief, man, just coming together. I think that’s the most important part. Being grateful, being thankful for every second we have. It’s really important. This can get taken away from us any second. One of our loved ones can get taken away from us any second. We got to cherish every moment and give our all every play.’’
(On not having experienced “meaningful football” in December until this year)
“I haven’t. That’s a great thing, hats off to this football team, hats off to this coaching staff, for everybody sticking together and playing Buc football the way we know how to play. You’ve got to tip your hat off to the Seattle Seahawks, you all know they’re a great football team and for us to go out there and put up a performance like that against a tremendous football team, it’s a great thing. But we’ve got to take this win and learn from it.”
(On how they were able to get the win)
“Our mentality now – everybody just playing on the same page, communicating, and everybody playing together. That’s the thing, every day we break it down on ‘family’ and playing great complementary football. Like I said, the offense complements us and we complement the offense, so that’s what we were going out there and doing to get our job done.”
(On his fumble recovery and return)
“It was just a great read, we were in a zone coverage, all eyes on the quarterback. It was a third-down play. When he threw the ball down – the check-down – it was basically to corral the ball carrier and everybody to the football. When you have that many guys to the football, the ball is bound to come out. Somebody’s going to, for sure, make the tackle and the next guy rip for the football and that’s what we were able to do. It actually bounced off my knee as I was able to scoop it and take it the distance.”
(On what the team was saying to each other in the fourth quarter)
“Just stay locked in, stay poised. They were getting big plays, but guys were just able to stay locked in, do our jobs. [Safety] Bradley [McDougald] is a testament to that. He was doing his job, he was back there at safety with the help and the ball went in the air and he was able to come over and get an interception and basically seal the football game.”
(On win over a challenging team such as Seattle)
“This is a great team, Seattle has been one of the best teams in the league for the past four or five years. I’m a big fan of [Seattle cornerback] Richard Sherman. He’s a great player. It’s just a good win overall for this team.”
(On the impressive start to the game)
“Our defense is playing amazing these past few weeks. They’re playing amazing and they balled out. [Cornerback] Alterraun Verner, that performance right there, that was up there with the [linebacker] Kwon Alexander performance. That was a great performance. We needed that and his pops is real proud of him.”
(On whether anything was said by the team to Alterraun Verner prior to the game regarding the recent passing of his father)
“When we do our prayer, [defensive tackle] Gerald [McCoy] had a great prayer. He was emotional because he’s been through that. He’s lost a parent, I’ve lost a parent. A lot of people go through their tragedies and we just went out there and fought for our brothers.”
(On becoming the fourth player in NFL history to have 1,000 receiving yards in first three seasons)
“That’s an all right accomplishment. I’m more about team accomplishments though.”
(On being above .500 for the first time since entering the league)
“It feels great. We’re on a win streak and hopefully we get to keep it going. We’ve got a west coast trip coming up and we’ve got to get everybody ready this week and have a great week of practice. Hopefully we can get a win in San Diego.”
(On if it is time to take the Buccaneers seriously)
“I don’t know. I’m going to let everybody decide what they want to do. We know who we are and we know where we’re working to be, so we’re just going to keep showing up every day, taking it one meeting at a time, one walk-through at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time. So, if people want to believe in us, that’s on them, if they don’t, they don’t. But we know who we are and we’re just going to keep working to get better.”
(On how confident he feels after beating Kansas City and Seattle)
“Obviously, every win you get you’re going to get more confident. So, we’ve just got to keep moving forward. But we’re just doing things now that we weren’t doing beforehand, like taking the ball away and not turning it over. We’ve got a pretty good record when we win the turnover margin, so we’ve just got keep taking the ball away on defense and getting it back in our offense’s hands because you see what they can do with the ball in their hands. So, just have to keep working together.”
(On if this is one of the best defensive performances he’s seen by the Buccaneers)
“Yeah, that’s a great game defensively, but our offense – I’d rather talk about our offense and how well they played. That first drive, even one of the refs came to me and was like, ‘Geez.’ I’ll take drives like that all game. It was very impressive. When we needed to make plays, they made plays and guys just worked together today. But that just goes to show the unity we have on this team and the family atmosphere we have.”
(On the day of cornerback Alterraun Verner)
“That’s my brother, man, and before the game when I broke it down, I told the team, ‘Do we break it down on family just to do it? Is it just something we say, or do we mean it?’ And they said, ‘No, we mean it.’ I said, Well, when you’ve got a family member that is down, what are you supposed to do for that family member?’ And everybody said, ‘Pick him up.’ So I told them, ‘Don’t be selfish today. Play for the man next to you. We’ve got a brother hurting – play for him. Go out and show him that he does have family and that when he’s hurting, he can lean on us.’ And the guys went out there and played like it today.”
(On if he saw that the team was playing for each other today)
“Absolutely. Even in Verner’s play. I’ve been there. I’ve lost a parent and I told him, ‘Hey, all you can do is just go play for your dad.’ And he did – he played his heart out and everybody around him played for him and we got a big win.”
(On his reaction to Verner’s interception)
“That was incredible. I looked up and it was almost like Atlanta last year, when you watched [linebacker] Kwon [Alexander] play when he lost a family member. It was almost the same thing and we’re just happy for him, that passion. You knew he was hurting but he played his heart out.”
(On what being up 14-0 in the first quarter does to the team’s mentality)
“We’ve just got to build off that. That’s offense and defense working together, playing for each other. But you know what? We talk so much about our offense and defense – did you see what our special teams did today? I never want that to go unnoticed. [Cornerback] Josh Robinson is incredible, he’s incredible, man. He just makes so many play on special teams and the special teams unit as a whole, it’s just fun to watch, really fun to watch.”
(On if this win put the team in position to start believing in themselves more)
“We’ve already been believing. Now it’s just starting to show, now we’re starting to get believers, now we’re starting to get followers and fans. But we have to stay true to ourselves, we have to keep doing the things that got us here, which is practice, preparation and stay on the top of our keys. We’re going to come back in on Wednesday, we’re going to watch it, we’re going to move on and we’re going to get ready for the next team.”
(On if a win against Seattle is sweeter because of the caliber of team they are)
“No sir. Chicago [win] was just as sweet. When we won, it felt just as good. But you can only relish in it for so long. Each team has a different component or a different level of difficulty that we’re going to have to overcome and Seattle definitely has their share. The quarterback, [tight end] Jimmy Graham, the running game, you name it. But we’re just going to have to come in and keep playing good ball.”
(On what the team is saying to each other in the fourth quarter)
“Just like we said before we went out there, do it for your family. We’re coming together as a family and you don’t play as hard for anybody else but your family, so that’s how I feel.”
(On what cornerback Alterraun Verner’s second quarter interception did to rally the team)
“It’s a blessing to be able to have a guy like that on our team, to go through that and still play. We rallied behind him and it just ended up being a great thing because it was like that coming out and playing. We just come together, closer.”
(On what it was like when the team congratulated and supported Verner after his interception)
“I can’t even describe it. To be able to do that for him and for him to make that type of play after what happened to him is just a blessing.”
(On when the team found about the passing of Verner’s father)
“We found out about it maybe a couple hours after it happened and we just came together and talked about it, prayed about it. We knew that we were going to come out here and do this for him.”
(On if playing the game for Verner was the team’s mindset throughout the game)
“Him and just coming together as a family. That’s one of the biggest things we wanted to do today as a defense and continue to do throughout the year.”
(On if the team felt like a family at the beginning of the year, or it’s starting to feel that way now)
“I think it’s starting to feel like it more now. The last couple of weeks, and even before last week, we started to make it our motto. It’s becoming a family and I think it’s starting to show by the way we practice.”
(On the defense’s pass rush today)
“Like I said, it’s a blessing to be with these dudes on the defensive line with me. Always telling me what to do and trying to teach me different things throughout the game. It’s helping me a lot. We’ve got great dudes on the line, get sacks when all of us can’t even get them.”
(On what the defensive line was doing today that gave them success)
“Rushing together. Like, one man goes up underneath and someone else helps to get the contain. And when one dude goes too high, the other guys come underneath. So, we’re rushing together.”
(On if he enjoys playing against mobile quarterbacks)
“Yeah, it’s always a good challenge to go against a dude that can run around and use feet and everything like that because I know they hold onto the ball a lot more than someone that can’t really use their feet. It was nice.”
(On his decision to play today after the recent passing of his father)
“My dad was my biggest fan. He made so many sacrifices for me to get to where I am today and I just know he wouldn’t want him to be the cause for me not to play, so that’s why I decided to play. I wanted to honor him knowing all that he did to try to get me to where I am today.”
(On if he could have scripted a better performance to honor his father today)
“I really didn’t have any thoughts on if I was going to play well or not. All he ever asked of me every game is just to play my hardest. I could give up three touchdowns or I could get three interceptions, he would still love me the same. So, it’s a blessing on how it happened for us to get the win and everything, but all he wanted was for me to play hard and that’s what I did for him.”
(On his thoughts while he was praying on the bench during the game)
“I just knew what his response would have been with some of the stuff that was going on out there. He just would have been smiling and been very, very proud. I was just thinking about how he was reacting, so I was definitely thinking about him.”
(On the speech defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gave to the team prior to the game)
“From Gerald to the whole team, the whole team was just so supportive; just sending texts and condolences to my family, flowers, everything, everybody just being so supportive. I could just tell that were just playing hard and motivated and it just felt great to know that they had my back and they were supportive of me. From that speech with Gerald to everybody, I’m just so appreciative and thankful for this team.”
(On the shirt he wore under his uniform today)
“It was something my wife made for me. It was one of my favorite pictures of me and my father when I was at UCLA. It was the one thing that I won’t ever forget about him was his smile and that was one of my favorite smiles of his. It’s just to show that he’s always with me and he’s always going to be with me in every game. Every step of the way, off the field or on the field because of the type of man that he was is what made me into the man I am today.”
(On what his father meant to him)
“Everything, everything. Like I said, he sacrificed so much for me to reach my goals. Not even just from a football sense, but just life sense and advice and just being there for me and just caring for me. He was everything for me and I’m just happy to continue to try to make him proud and I know he’s looking down on me.”
(On how he would describe his father as a man for those who did not know him personally)
“He was the most caring, loving person that you will ever know. I mean, he’ll talk to a stranger that’s standing next to him at a bus stop. He was just so caring and loving. He cared about everybody. He was willing to take his shirt off and give it to that person that he never knew. That’s the man I know and that I’m going to cherish forever, that love and support that he always gave me through the bad, the good, everything. That’s the type of man he was.”

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