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06 December 2015

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Postgame Quotes - Sunday, December 6, 2015

(Opening statement)
“We talk a lot about finishing and what an exciting game. Of course they played hard and our guys just kind of refused to lose. We had some injuries especially on our defensive line. Guys really stepped up. Offensively, how about the run by Jameis [Winston]. Thought he was down there for a while, guys just kept believing on the sideline. When you are playing a good football team like that – a division opponent – you expect it to go right down to the end. Only fitting that Lavonte David would have a big interception to end the football game. Just team effort throughout. Special teams played well. Offense did about what it needed to. Big catch by Mike Evans down at the end. Again, we’re pretty excited right now. We finished up the third quarter of our season with a 3-1 record and we have a big four-game stretch coming up. As we see it, the playoffs started and we feel like we have to win out. To have an opportunity later on is about getting this win.”
(On explosive plays giving the team confidence to win the remaining regular season games)
“There’s no doubt in that locker room we believe we can do it, but we got to believe we can beat our next opponent. Yeah, there’s confidence and good reason. We’ve been saying for a while we’re getting better, we’re a good football team, we haven’t played our best always but that’s how life is in the NFL. Yes we can do it.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I think he’s a ball player. I think can throw the ball. When you say the look you would like for the quarterback throwing the ball – to me, Jameis. Tell me a better running quarterback in the league right now than Jameis Winston right now. After that run, I’d say he’s a pretty good runner too. I think he fits the profile. Right up until the end there was confidence that he had that we can go down and score again even after that fumble that we can’t do.”
(On if Winston’s run at the end of the game shows his will to win)
“For you that know him, it’s not like we are totally surprised that he would come through with a big play like that. He seems to surprise us daily with some of the things he can do. In times like that we needed one of our best players to step up and make a big play. He did it.”
(On the defense without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Jacquies Smith playing due to injuries)
“Great job by [the defensive line]. I think last Wednesday, I looked over and our entire starting defensive line that we started the season with was standing on the sideline. It’s an opportunity for some of the younger players to step up, whether it be Howard Jones, Will Gholston – we’ve talked a lot about how he’s improved. They kept answering the bell, is what they did.”
(On the team’s growth)
“There’s so much we’ve gone through this year and they’re learning experiences. In the end you kind of judge – especially quarterbacks – how do you play at the end of the game? For our football team, we’re down, time was running out, we needed to make a play. Offense needed to score a touchdown and then defense needed to show up. They had plenty of time to go down and score after that. Yeah, we are growing as a team.”
(On the team’s run defense)
“It’s about gap control. We put an awful lot of time into stopping the run like most teams do though. We have done a good job of that. In order for you to have success, you need to be able to eliminate one of the – I’m talking about you can’t let a team have balance and be able to run and pass the ball. They had some passing yards today, but if you can make them a one-dimensional team normally you have a chance [to win].”
(On having tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the game)
“First game back in a long time. I thought he did some good things. One of our best players that we are getting [back]. Another good offensive weapon getting into the mix. We’ll need him for this stretch run.”
(On if his message to the team is that the playoffs have already begun for them)
“That is the message for us. Yes, we don’t shy away from that at all. In order for us to have a chance, we need to win out. Simple as that. Winning-out means winning your next game. We have a one-game season coming up. This big win allowed us to have another one-game season. There’s a lot on the line for next week.”
(On the offense overcoming mistakes)
“That’s good that we overcame those mistakes, but talking about things we still need to improve going forward – too many pre-snap penalties. We have to eliminate that. You have those. You talk about that the day after. Being able to overcome them and still be productive, which we were able to do is good to see.”
(On if he thought he would be talking about Winston’s running ability as much as he is)
“I guess I could say yeah I knew that, but, of course, no. You draft quarterbacks because they can throw the football and make good decisions doing that. We’re not interested in an option quarterback or a running quarterback. They get hurt fairly [often]. There are times when your team needs you to do whatever. It called for Jameis to run a couple times today. We won’t stop him from doing that, but just limit the amount of times he does.”
(On if Winston’s ability seems greater now than when he was in college)
“I think he is building a resume with us. You come in with a history. His history said that he would have some special plays like this. To see him do it as soon as he has, it’s been fun to watch to say the least.”
(On Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones)
“I think Julio Jones is as good a player as there is in the league, number one and everybody he plays against is going to be tough duty. The guys buckled down. It’s hard to control or eliminate a player like that completely, but the second half yeah, the guys competed more, good rush, pressure and all that. We were able to contain him a lot more and that’s about all you can normally do with him.”
(On wide receiver Mike Evans gaining confidence with his game-winning touchdown)    
“It has to give you confidence. First off, he’s a great player. Great players, you go through some adversity, some struggles, but if you keep fighting the way Mike has you get out of it. To have a game-winning touchdown like  that has to boost your confidence a little bit and we need Mike and all of our guys on that side [of the ball] to be up next week.”
(On the coverage linebacker Lavonte David was in when he made the game-winning interception)
“What are we known for? Tampa-2. That’s what it was, our signature coverage.”
(On going for the two-point conversion in the third quarter)
“I threw you off a little bit on that one. We just felt like we needed points, to score. That was the mindset. We’ve had that mindset. The situation hasn’t come up an awful lot. It’s not going to stay strictly by the book. We had an opportunity to get two points. That’s how we looked at it and we went for it.”
(On players saying this is the most fun they have had on this team in a long time and if he feels the same)
“We haven’t had six wins in a long time. We should feel a lot better. We’ve come a long way. We have a long ways to go, but it’s fun to watch the guys grow each day. You should get confidence when you can finish a game like that. We see that in practice though. We’ve been getting better, but again, it’s good to see it show up on Sundays though.”
(On if he thought the play was over and was ready to send in the field goal team when Winston made the long run at the end of the game)
“I looked up, I thought he was stopped and then I looked and I didn’t hear a whistle, and I saw him continue to run. I was excited as everyone else was.”
(On his 20-yard scramble to convert on third-and-19 in the fourth quarter)
“God is good. When guys want it, when guys are out there, fighting and battling together, that’s what we’re here for. That’s what we play football for. That’s what y’all come to see. God is good, man.”
(On whether he thinks of himself as a quarterback or a football player)
“I’m a football player. I play quarterback, but I’m a football player.”
(On what he saw on the 20-yard scramble and if he thought he was about to hit the ground)
“That’s why I kept running [laughter]. I just, like I said, it was a blessing. To see Logan Mankins and Donovan Smith running down the field, throwing blocks – I cannot go down, I can’t go down. Guys just [kept] blocking and they pushed me to work.”
(On his touchdown pass to Mike Evans)
“This is the story that everybody needs to talk about. I go into the huddle – after that long drive, guys are tired – I said, ‘Who wants a touchdown?’ I smiled and said, ‘Who wants a touchdown?’ Mike said, ‘Me, me me!’ [laughter]. I said, ‘All right.’ And that’s the honest to God truth. That’s what literally happened. I said, ‘Who wants the touchdown?’ I wish the center was mic’d up, but Mike said, ‘Me, me, me!’ There were a couple other guys who said, ‘Me,’ too, but Mike was like a kid – ‘Me, me, me!’ – and I got him the ball.”
(On what he would’ve said if Logan Mankins had said, ‘Me, me, me!’ in the huddle)
“I would’ve found a way to get him the ball [laughter].”
(On how much fun he is having with the team)
“The fun is just being able to come to work with my brothers, to see us fight. You look at the guys that were here last year, and when we get down you look in their eyes and they’re still like, ‘We’re about to win this game.’ Because we believe. And when you believe and when you have that want-to and you have that mentality that you will always persevere, you’re hard to beat. It’s hard to beat somebody like that.”
(On his emotions when linebacker Lavonte David sealed the victory with an interception)
“I knew it was going to happen, because they did last time. The defense played an amazing game. I kept telling them, every time they got off, ‘Great job stopping them to get a field goal.’ That’s a great offense. Look at Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, and a guy I played with [at Florida State], Devonta Freeman in the backfield. That’s a great offense, and for our defense to continue to stop them to just get three points, that’s amazing.”
(On the return of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and how it affected the team)
“It’s amazing [to have Seferian-Jenkins back]. It was amazing, you see what he did. It was great to have him back. Cam [Brate], we’re still going to use him. He’s an amazing player as well. You look at our personnel, you look at our guys, we’ve got a bunch of football players. We don’t have athletes, we don’t have, necessarily – well, we have some guys who are the best players [at their positions] in this league, but we don’t have, necessarily, super stars. We have football players who want to fight for their coach and want to win football games.”
(On what he meant by saying he’s a football player)
“I just admire people that want to go out day-in and day-out and fight. When I said I’m a football player, I don’t say that that’s who I am, a football player. When I’m out there on the field, there’s a difference between an athlete and a football player. So when I say I’m a football player, that means that I’ll do anything that I possibly can do to help my team win in a football way. I just admire guys who want to go out there and do anything to put their team in a winning position like the greats. That’s what Tom Brady does, that’s what Peyton Manning does, that’s what Cam Newton is doing right now – he’s going out there and putting his team in a winning position.”
(On what he saw on his touchdown run that was originally a pass play)
“No. 55 [Paul Worrilow] on the other side is a great player. During that drive, he called out at least five our plays. He’s that smart. On that play, we heard him call out the play and it was like, ‘They got us,’ but we didn’t stop. And those guys, we kept blocking, [Demar Dotson] sealed the edge and I got around and we scored. That’s the thing about this team, if you get us, we don’t care. We’re going to keep fighting. And that’s how we’ve been playing it. And you see when things go our way, we get wins.”
(On if he had a chance to speak to Doug Williams this week)
“Yes, I was talking to him this whole week. He played and didn’t want to talk to me during the week because of the preparation. But I’m pretty sure we’ll probably have dinner tonight.”
(On what he says to those who predicted he would be a bust)
“Thank you. And God is good.”
(On if today felt like what he imagines a playoff game would feel like)
“Every game, to me, is the most important game. Those guys, we go out there and fight. We are battling to get into the playoffs right now, so we are just going to keep battling. Every game is a must-win game for us from here on out.”
(On his performance and whether he feels the game is coming more easily to him now)
“I don’t like judging myself on my individual things, but, as a team, we’re coming around. And that’s a good thing and it’s because we fight. It’s a living testimony that you can do anything you put your mind to. If you want it badly enough, you can get it.”
(On whether the victory came down to one team wanting it more than another)
“Absolutely. And I think that’s what this team did. I feel like that offense – I wish every one of y’all could just be in the huddle and just see the look on those guys’ faces, how exhausted they are, but when they put their hand in that dirt, when Doug Martin just got the ball five times in a row and he gets back there and I look and check to see if he’s okay, you just see his eyes just lit up with fire, because he wants to play. And that’s the thing with football players. We want to play; we want to go out there and play. And that’s important to me. Me being young, I like playing, man. I like going out there and playing.”
(On where his heart comes from)
“God, man. It’s a blessing. Like I said, it’s a living testimony. You can do anything you put your mind to. And when you have guys like Demar, who hasn’t played the whole year – hasn’t played the whole year, got hurt during the preseason – and he comes out there and fights his tail off, that makes a young guy want to go out there and fight for him. That’s what drives me – the guys in the locker room that keep fighting and don’t give up. Because if they don’t give up, I’m definitely not going to give up. And when they do give up, I’m going to be the first one to pick them up, put them on my shoulder and take them the way.”
(On the defense’s performance today)
“They were putting together long drives and we got to find a way to stop that, but the good thing about it is we were able to hold them to field goals, they weren’t getting any touchdowns. That last drive, basically first and foremost this defense, we had that mentality [of] they don’t score on us, so when we go out there with that mentality, great things happen. They were able to get that go ahead touchdown, but we knew we were going to have another opportunity to get back on the field and make a statement, and we were able to do that. Quick three and out, got the offense the football, and they were able to drive. Jameis, I can’t say enough about that kid, his passion, his drive, his competitiveness, it’s everything you need in a starting quarterback, especially in a rookie. It was a great game by everyone all along, everybody who had a part of this game came in and played their butts off.”
(On his game-sealing interception)
“It couldn’t have come at a bigger moment. Very first play coming out of the two-minute warning, great read, great defensive call. When it’s down to that situation, it all comes down to technique time, just do your job, do what you’re supposed to do, and I was able to do that.”
(On if he knew they were going to look for Julio Jones)
“Yeah, obviously. Every time in film study, coming out of the two minute they were gonna try to get a chunk play. The chunk play always goes to 11 (Julio Jones). I was just playing deep and short and got in the throwing lane, and got an interception.”
(On how big his eyes were when ball was thrown)
“They were big. I didn’t expect him (Matt Ryan) to throw it, because I was right there. I didn’t move and I didn’t budge. He threw it and when the ball was in the air, I had my hands all ready. I knew I had to make this play to win the game for this football team. Great team, great win, couldn’t be prouder of these guys.”
(On how guys up front stepped up)
“It means a lot. I think this is the first time all year that our starting four D-linemen that we started at the start of the year, all were out, Clint [McDonald], Gerald [McCoy], George [Johnson], and Jacq [Smith], big key parts of this defense, but the young guys stepped up. Will (William Gholston) had two sacks, if I’m not mistaken. Howard Jones and everybody else doing their jobs. Those guys stepped up in a big way and you got to tip your hat off to Coach Joe Cullen for preparing those guys.”
(On his level of stamina)
“Obviously, being out for nine weeks, stamina is not going to be in top-tier position it’s going to be, but I’m in the best shape I could be in, and we won, and that’s all I care about.”
(On how it felt to contribute)
“It felt good to contribute. I just want to win. It feels good to win.”
(On feeling of returning to the field)
“It comes down to, when you’re out – and unfortunately I’ve been out with injuries so far in my career – but you just miss the game. As a kid, you just think about it. You’re not thinking about fans, you’re not thinking about anything else but going out there and playing football with your best friends. The guys on this team are some of my best friends, and to come out here and play the game was fun. It was fun as hell and I enjoyed it. I just wanted to get out there and enjoy the game. Cameron Brate is one of my good friends as well.”
(On staying in football shape while sidelined)
“I mean, just being as strict as I can with my diet, running as hard as I could in practice, and doing everything I can while I’m out there on the field to try and self-condition myself. I’m just happy to be out here. I think my stamina went up because I was just out there.”
(On how quarterback Jameis Winston was like in the huddle on final drive)
“He just said, ‘Let’s go man, let’s go!’ He was just motivating on every play. Even when we would get a penalty or something, he’s still, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go! We’re gonna get it!’ He’s just always upbeat.”
(On if Winston motivates him)
“No doubt. Even when we’re tired and I got my hands on my knees - I haven’t played the game in so long, I didn’t think I was going to make it - but when I look at that guy there, he’s motivating me.”
(On Winston’s third-down run)
“You can’t say enough about it. I’m looking up saying whoa. I’m barely jogging trying to get a blow and he’s out there fighting his behind off. I just can’t say enough about him.”
(On what that run meant to the offense)
“It just says what kind of leader he is in a young quarterback. He’s a guy that we can get on his shoulders, and he’s willing to fight his way to the end. That’s a guy who can lead, and I’ll follow a guy like that.”
(On if the team approached this game as if it was a playoff game)
“We were. I think that’s what Coach [Lovie Smith] emphasized at the beginning of the week. We got a five game season, every game is like a playoff game, so we have to approach every game like a playoff game if we want to get into the playoffs. We got to win every one of them if we want to control our destiny.”
(On the change of the game in the last 10 minutes)
“We dealt with adversity. I had the fumble and I have mixed emotions about the game, but it was an important game that we won.  It was a team effort and we got over the hump, that’s something we emphasize, getting over the hump, this team can overcome and I’m proud of everyone.”
(On Jameis Winston’s 20-yard run)
“Yeah that type of effort, that play was amazing. I thought he was down, but that type of effort is contagious and that’s the type of effort that we need on this team. That was an awesome play.”
(On if he was surprised at Winston’s effort even though he’s played with him for 12 games)
“That play was an amazing play. That type of effort and that type of passion Winston brings to this team is exactly what we need.”
(On if the confidence has ever been higher since he’s been on this team)
“No this the most confident this team has been and I’m happy to be a part of it and we still have four games going [forward], so we’re going to go to practice and keep working.”
(On the game-winning drive)
“Guys were gassed, our o-line was gassed, and they played great. Everybody was dying and that two-minute [warning] was so clutch. We got our breath and we wanted to score a touchdown, not a field goal, and we did that. We kept fighting. Jameis [Winston] made the play of the year on our team. We just kept fighting and we won.”
(On if going for a touchdown in that situation is the mentality of a playoff-caliber team)
“Yeah, if that was us last year, we probably would have done something to probably [make a mistake], but this year is a new team and we are all staying strong together and we overcame the adversity”
(On what the dialogue was like when they were in the huddle before the winning touchdown)
“Jameis asked, ‘Who wanted to score a touchdown?’ And I said, ‘Me.’ I raised my hand first and it’s crazy we spoke into existence. Jameis is always doing crazy fun stuff in the huddle so it worked out.”
(On if Winston is always like that in the huddle)
“Yeah we have a lot of fun guys, not guys that are too serious, so if you have guys like that, it’s fun to play with guys like that.”
(On if the game felt like a playoff game)
“Yes, coach said it was a must-win for us and we came out and kept fighting until the end. Games like this, this is December football in the NFL and I’m just so happy we got the win.
(On how they played today)
“I thought we ran the ball pretty good, controlled the ball, we had two turnovers that hurt us but other than that I thought we did a good job.”
(On how he felt after he saw Jameis Winston continue to drive and if that made him think this team can do anything for the playoffs)
“Yeah, if we look at some of the drives even the first touchdown today, we had two penalties that we had to overcome. That’s always tough but we just have to find a way when we need to get it done. We see that run tonight, most quarterbacks would have tripped on their self and fell down but he’s out there bouncing off defensive linemen and linebackers, breaking tackles just to get a first down and give us a chance and it’s pretty special. “
(On if he sees that same will to win in Winston that he saw in Tom Brady)
“Definitely, that’s all that matters to Tom is winning and that’s what we get from Jameis, he just wants to win whether it’s handing it off or him scrambling or him throwing a touchdown pass to win, whatever it takes to win he’s going to do it.”
(On how the guys on this team believe they can do anything)
“Yeah that’s the great thing about this team, compared to what we had last year, we believe in each other, we play for each other, we fight for each other so it’s a fun team to be a part of.”

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