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21 December 2014

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS POSTGAME QUOTES SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014

HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH

(Opening statement)
“We were beat by a great football team today. It’s one thing to be a great football team like they are, but we would have liked to have fought them a lot harder than we did. I think the guys tried to play hard. Defensively we hung in there and kept them out of the end zone a lot. It’s hard to win games when you put up that type of offensive production, which was very little.”
 
(On his thoughts about why he thinks the Tampa Bay offense is struggling)
“I think it’s a combination. You start up front first. We’re not playing good enough football up front, pass blocking or running. I don’t know how many yards we had rushing. It’s tough when you have less than 20 yards rushing. And of course when you pass, you can’t really protect. Quarterback-wise, there were some decisions we would like to have back. Maybe getting rid of the ball a little bit quicker. It’s a combination of it all right now. To just pin-point and just blame it on one particular area just wouldn’t be right.”
 
(On if not having an offensive coordinator all season is the reason for Tampa’s offensive struggles)
“I can only talk about where we are right now. So I’m not even going to go back down that road anymore. We need help on the offensive side. We’ve needed help for a while. I’m not talking about a coach, I’m just talking about our play overall. We’ve won a couple games. So we’ve been able to do something a few times this year. I don’t even know how to respond to that. This is where we are.”
 
(On if having an experienced offensive coordinator would have helped the offense this season)
“Well yeah, but we have an experienced staff, I’m just not going to blame it on that. The plays that we call, executed right, they can work. We can be second-guessed on everything. We did have a coordinator in place this year and we haven’t had a lot of offensive production. So we’re easy targets for that.”
 
(On if he believes playing quarterback Mike Glennon would be more beneficial than playing quarterback Josh McCown)
“When you say Josh, the offensive line did [struggle] too. I mean, who is it? Who’s the culprit? It’s all of the above. Just to put a guy in there, our quarterback play, when you can’t protect, you probably get the same type of results. When you can’t run the football - the quarterback didn’t have anything to do with that. Again, I’m going to say it was a great team on the other side. A team that has a chance to win the Super Bowl and they were a lot better than us.”
 
(On if he believes the indivudal play on Tampa Bay’s offensive line should have improved this far into the season)
“Based on today, again there’s not a whole lot I can say on that. Based on today, the worst offensive day we’ve had. We are open to all that type of criticism. Today, didn’t seem like we made a lot of progress, but we’ve played better than we played today. Last week if you talked to the Packers, if you just judged them on how they played offensive ball last week, you’d say ‘hey, have you made progress,’ it happens like that. Again we picked the worst possible time to play our worst game, period.”
 
(On his thoughts about Tampa Bay’s defense playing well enough to give them a chance to win)
“It just goes to prove you need more than just an okay defensive day. Defensively, when it’s a day like that, you have to do something to jumpstart the offense; a few more takeaways, something out of the special teams. Again, when one part is that bad, you need the others to step up their games even more. The defensive guys played hard, I don’t want to take that them away from them. I thought they played hard. They kept us in it. It was a 10-3 game for a long time with very little offensive production. This is where we are right now. We’re not always going to be down like this. With one game left, we can’t change it all over night and I can’t tell you exactly why we’re here. We are here, but we won’t be always.“
 
(On something positive to take away from this season)
“There’s a lot of positives. Individual play has improved with a lot of our players. Again, this is a very good football team. As I mentioned it was a 10-3 game, we were in there. We’ve been in so many games this year where we’re close. We’re not good enough yet. So with just saying one thing, there’s a lot of individual play that has improved throughout. We do see the light at the end of the tunnel. When we’re out there right now and you have a team show up, I’m going to say the majority of our guys fought their butts off today. There are a lot of positives. You can’t really talk about it until you start winning football games. That day will come. We’re not there now. “
 
(On if he believes running back Bobby Rainey should play more because he is the leading rusher on the team)
“I just don’t think you can go with yards-per-carry. You have to look at the individual games when they happen. There was one big game early in the year. We look at the guys each day. The guys we play are the ones that showed us the most, and that they deserve those carries. It’s as simple as that. It’s just not as simple as yards-per-carry. I think all of our running backs have gotten a chance to play. Where we’re at right now, there’s a few guys we want to see that have been doing a decent job. Charles Sims has been doing some decent things. Doug Martin, up until this day, has been doing some good things. They deserve it also.”
 
(On whether he would use the word ‘embarrassing’ to describe the number of Green Bay fans in the stands)
“I wouldn’t use that word. I look forward to the day, where we’re playing good enough football, where more of our fans want to come see up play. Right now we’re not. That’s what it is. Again, right now, we’re not playing good enough football. I’ve been in this situation, where they’ve [opposing team’s fans] taken it over before. We’ll have our day. But right now, we have to take it. That’s what happens.”
 
(On if he’s ever had a more frustrating offensive day in his career before)
“When you talk about a frustrating day, this was a frustrating day. I’ve had some bad ones. This was definitely one of them. This was a frustrating day. Very terrible on third downs, when you can’t keep any drives going. So if you just look at that, no, I haven’t had a lot. You know maybe, you look at the other side of the football. That’s just a great football team on the other side. We haven’t had many days like this. So maybe, we’ve ought to give them a little more credit also.”
 
QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN
 
(On the frustration of having a non-productive day offensively)
“It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because to see the defense play the way they played. I talked about this earlier this week to expect a lot from Aaron [Rodgers] and what kind of player he is and so for [our defense] to play the way they played – it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating and we can’t do that, man, we’ve [have] got to be better than that.”
 
(On trying to run the ball more often this game)
“We tried. It wasn’t bad. We had some runs we just didn’t convert on third downs and that killed us. They came out and played two-man [coverage] and stayed in it for a while. That’s a hard coverage to beat, but we’ve got to be able to utilize some different things underneath with double moves and things like that so it’s a combination of those things. We’ve got to be able to have time to work those double moves and [Green Bay did] a good job of stopping those things and then creating a pass rush that was effective so it was tough for us.”
 
(On the number of sacks today)
“I don’t know, man, I’ll have to look at the tape. That’s the thing – when you have breakdowns like that you’re left grabbing at things and trying to figure out what’s going on and at quarterback it changes your clock. We’ve got to be able to adjust and play better.”
 
(On if he wishes the season were already over)
“No, man, I’d line up and play them all again right now.  I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve been out and I know what it feels like to want to suit up again and want to play again. We’re talking about the National Football League and to get to play quarterback on a team with one of 32 jobs in the world is a privilege and it’s not something I take lightly. This has been a trying year no doubt about it. When you go through that stuff in your life, it’s easy to kind of hunker down and say, ‘I can’t wait until it’s over,’ or to shut your eyes and say, ‘When is it going to be over?’ If you do that, you miss what you can gain and what you can learn from later in your life. That’s as a team. We’re hunkering down right now and we’re fighting and we’re trying to get better and we’re pushing through some things, but when we go out and play the way that we did defensively against this team – this may happen next year when we’re playing against this team to go to the playoffs and hopefully we’ll be better offensively, but if those guys play like that we’ll have a chance. There’s things that you’re learning as you fight through this. It’s not fun and nobody would ever choose it, but you can’t just close your eyes to it and want it to be over with. It’s not in me to do that. You’ve got to be able to find the good in it somehow. I know you’ll say, ‘There is no good in it today.’ I know that. Offensively there was nothing. As a unit and as a team we’ve got to be able to find that [good] and let it help us move forward.”
 
(On moving the ball in the first half)
“We had a one-on-one opportunity with Vincent [Jackson] where we put the ball up to him and he made a play. We had a couple of screens to Charles [Sims] underneath. Mike [Evans] caught one and got going. I think they hopped out of two-man and played us in different coverages. That allowed us to take an advantage of some things so I think that was the main difference.”
 
(On having a turnaround next year)
“Absolutely, things can always turnaround when you get to the next season. There’s no question about it. I mean, if it can’t then what are we here for? It can certainly change. We’ve talked about it and it’s not excuses, but we lost our coordinator at the start of the season. We fought our way through that for 16 weeks now and almost 17 weeks. Just that in and of itself can help a team. Just another guy upstairs working with those guys can help. We don’t make excuses, but there are things that we can point to and say that alone can help us improve. Just another person can help. When everyone’s workload gets split, it makes it tough. Those guys have never made an excuse, but the reality is when that happens, it’s hard to be at your best. Yes, absolutely. We’re talking about having two receivers about to go over 1,000 yards and are right there at it. Those are things that you look at and say, “Man, they’re going to be here next year.” Absolutely there are things to be excited about for after, but right now we have to try and finish on a better note.”
 
(On playing without former offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford)
“You know what, that’s hard because I don’t know the ins and outs of everything that was going on with him. All I know is he wasn’t here and that’s all I can go off of. He wasn’t here, but I’ll say it again – there are no excuses, but there is a reason why 31 teams have an offensive coordinator. You know, and if you say there are no excuses and it doesn’t matter, people will start saying, ‘Hey, let’s just wing it and don’t go with a coordinator.’ So it does matter and it does make a difference. We’ve done the best that we could to pull ourselves out of it and like I said before, everyone has fought and fought hard to get it done, but we’ve just not been good enough to get ourselves out of it. I don’t know what happened. I just know what happened with us and the guys that were here.”
 
(On having his hand taped)
“No, I wear it on my thumb every week since the thumb injury.”
 
GUARD ONIEL COUSINS
 
(On the game)
“They played better than us. We didn’t play the way we wanted to up front. We didn’t execute the game plan as an offensive line, as a unit. It cost us the game, that’s the bottom line.”
 
(On the struggles that come with the changes to the offensive line)
“It’s tough, but it’s not an excuse. It’s what we get paid for. We got to be able to learn to adjust and go out there and play at the end of the day.”
 
(On Green Bay’s defensive front)
“They’ve got a good defense, but, like I said, we didn’t execute up front like we wanted to and it cost us the game. Those guys are great players, but at the end of the day, they’re human beings too. We just have to execute better and try to finish this thing out strong.”
 
CENTER EVAN DIETRICH-SMITH
 
(On the game)
“We have to be able to take advantage of what our defense gives us, and they gave us a lot of good opportunities. They got some takeaways. I think we looked positive in our takeaways
today. Especially against a good team like that, you have to do something with that, but we didn't do anything. At the end of the day against a playoff-caliber team, you have to take advantage of what your defense gives you, and we didn't do that at all. That’s probably the most disappointing part.”
 
(On Green Bay’s traveling fans)
“Being from that side, I know how they travel. Especially if it’s Florida, I wouldn't blame them for getting out of there this time of year. I’m sure if we put a better product on the field it might be a little bit different. We are a good football team, and we’re on the verge of turning it around. We have to stop getting in our own way, and that’s the one thing we need to figure out this last game.”
 
(On protecting the quarterback)
“I don’t know what’s going on sometimes down the field, but we’ve got to give him time. We have to do whatever we can do. We didn't do our job today. There were times when we were on schedule. We did some good things and it might not have been us. But when it’s us too many times, we’ve got to fix that trend. I’m sure the staff is looking at that and we’ll be
looking at that as players to correct it.”
 
LINEBACKER MASON FOSTER
 
(On tweaking his Achilles)
“I was just trying to get through it, but the pain wasn't going away — it stayed with me. I kept pushing, but it was making me limp. I feel like I was hobbling out there. It was one of those things where even if I pushed through it, I felt like wasn't helping the team being out there and not being 100 percent.”
 
(On the defensive line)
“The defense played well. We had a great game plan, the guys were executing, and we played hard. They [Green Bay] have a great offense and quarterback. They’ve put up a lot of points against a lot of people. To be right there and only a couple plays away is tough. We just have to make those plays, and we’ll be a great team.”
 
DEFENSIVE END MICHAEL JOHNSON
 
(On the goal-line stand)
“It was big; anytime you can stop their offense from scoring. We were able to stop them on downs after them being that close [to scoring]. It shows the heart that late in the season we still continue to fight and battle. It’s good to see. It would be easier to just mail it in right now but we are still fighting and just going out there and competing. That’s big ending the season and going into next.”
 
(On Green Bay’s offense)
“It’s like basketball on grass. They got guys going everywhere. They know what they are doing, it’s like a well-oiled machine. They do what they do well; they make adjustments well. They are a good offensive football team.”
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On the game)
“You’ve got to take your hats off to the defense, they played a heck of a game today. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to get the ball moving. Our plan going into the game was to keep the chains moving and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, but we couldn’t do that.”
 
(On trouble running the ball)
“If we’re not able to run the ball, it’s going to affect the offense. Something we came into the game with [was] to get five yards per carry, and we were unable to do that consistently today. In the future, we want to do that.”
 
(On if the changes to the offensive line are disrupting the play of the offense)
“You can’t really say , because in the last game Charles [Sims] and I had over 100 yards total. Those guys work hard. Moving Demar [Dotson] and Cousins is a hard worker. They all work hard and in the future, it’s all going to come together.”
 
(On the play of the defense)
“The defense did an awesome job. Held them out of the endzone when they we were on the goalline. There were a lot of fieldgoals that they were forced to quit. You’ve got to take your hats off to the defense. It’s good.”
 
(On how tough the season has been on him)
“It’s started out rough. I had the knee [injury], then the ankle. It’s getting back to my old self. It was a challenge and overall, just getting the run game going because it’s something that we’ll get to. It’ll take some time, but, in the future, we will get better in all phases of the game.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE AKEEM SPENCE
 
(On the performance of the defense)
“You just control what you can control. We got takeaways, we forced Aaron Rodgers to make some errant throws, slowed down their run game pretty much the whole game, and we just kept making stops when we needed to. They got the ball in the red zone, most of the time teams let offenses waltz in while we rose to the occasion. We played lights put on defense and gave our offense a chance. We just got to execute better, get the job done. Part of what we did on defense is keep working. We got New Orleans coming to town so we got to slow Drew Brees and that offense down.”
 
(On the goal-line stand)
“That is definitely big because if they get in [the end zone] they go ahead another seven points, instead they got no points. It gave our offense a chance and they got the ball moving a little bit. It helped us build on defense a little bit better. Our confidence is there, we slowed down a really good football team. Going into next week our confidence is still high. Obviously we want to get the win but we got to keep working.”
 
(On fatigue late in the game)
“Guys got worn down, but we had a good enough rotation up front. Guys kept rolling, giving it their all. Coming in three or four plays, giving it their all and coming out when you have no more left, I think that we did that today. We came up short but I felt like we still played a great game.”
 
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER
 
(On any positive takeaways from the game)
“It’s hard to take any loss as a positive. If there is any positive, it’s that we stayed pretty healthy and you saw that we competed and never gave up. But as long as you’re not getting the win, there’s really nothing positive. We still left plays on the field. We could have dominated this game.  A lot of people are probably like, ‘You did really really well,’ but [we] know [we] could’ve played better. You can take some positives in there but we still didn’t get the job done.”
 
(On not having won a home game this season)
“I’ve never had it happen before. This is something new to me, never winning a home game. Fortunately for us, we still have one more game at home to try and remedy that and at least get one going into next season. It’s tough; you want to have the fans to be excited to come to the games. You want them to be enthused knowing that we are going to show our A game when we played at home. Give them something to cheer about. It’s unfortunate we haven’t done that this year at all. I’ll tell the fans firstmost that we are going to get it going. This last week of the season we are going to play hard and start getting these wins at home.”
      
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