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04 June 2015

TRANSCRIPT: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 2015 OTA MEDIA AVAILABILITY: THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2015

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier post-practice media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Quarterback Jameis Winston
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“It’s been about a week since we talked. We are making progress. There is nothing like OTAs. Phase 1 for our offseason programs now is really good. Phase 2, you don’t get a lot done. Phase 3, once you can get offense, defense, we are able to get a lot of situations in. For some of our young players, they need to have looks. You know, see competition, see a different color jersey on the other side and that’s what we are getting. So we are getting better each day like most teams are.”
 
(On if players look more comfortable with the offense)
“No doubt. Every rep of course is important and we take advantage of all of them. There’s marked improvement that we have seen, of course, in the first week to this one and are excited about this last one coming up next week.”
 
(On if he is happy moving and excited heading into this season)
“Very much so. After last year you mean? I can’t wait to get to it. Of course we didn’t meet our expectations or anybody else’s last year, but we get to start over just like everybody else. Some of the things we felt like we didn’t do well last year, we are addressing. The talent level is better. We are going to do a better job of coaching. So yes, there is a lot of excitement and with every day we get a little bit closer to training camp.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston splitting reps between first and second team is a message that he has to earn the starting quarterback position)
“Jameis and everybody else is going to earn their position, yeah. But Jameis is getting his first team reps. You guys are here on Thursday. There’s Wednesday and he was with the first group then. Don’t look too much into that. We just want the guys that we think can play to get reps and we want them to work with a lot of different combinations, not just the quarterback position, but throughout. Jameis is right on schedule. Like we said, I’m not disappointed or anything like that in him or our football team right now. So, on schedule.”
 
(On wide receiver Vincent Jackson saying Winston has been shy and bashful in the locker room)
“I think it is all relative to what the expectations were. You assume he is going to come in in a limousine or something like that. That’s just not the case. That’s just not who he is. He is one of the other rookies. When you are rookie, you’re supposed to be in the background until it’s your turn to step up. It’s not Jameis’ time yet. It will come though, soon.”
 
(On if the absence of cornerback Johnthan Banks and offensive tackle Demar Dotson is injury related)
“No. It’s voluntary work. I know where both of the players are. Both of them are out and I know where they are so we’ll get them back before long.”
 
(On if anyone has stood out thus far)
“Defensive side, you can’t have any press coverage. There is no contact so standing out, I’ll just say that everybody is about where they should be for offseason work. We’re winning right now. We are getting in the things we need and seeing some of the players just get the mental part as much as anything. I start really pointing guys out once we get to training camp and the depth chart really means something. Right now, we just want players we think can play to get reps, and that’s what we are doing.”
 
(On offensive tackle Donovan Smith)
“Can’t see an awful lot from him. As I talk about the rest of the team, with our linemen I know we are getting really good at the drills. Really good at that; our footwork and things like that. Donovan is bright. He’s got talent, he has the size, everything you are looking for. I’m anxious to see him at training camp to see what he can do, but right on schedule. It’s good to get (offensive lineman) Ali Marpet out there too. He hurt his hamstring a little bit awhile back. It’s good to get him back into the mix also.”
 
(On what he wants to see from his running backs, especially Mike James, during OTAs)
“I think you can see more from the skill guys. Throughout the course, we have had one-on-one drills with the linebackers, of course. Anytime they are running plays, catching the ball just in the open field, having to make plays. You can see a lot more from the running backs and we have seen that from ours. Mike James, Bobby Rainey, Doug Martin and Charles Sims, we like all those guys. There is a reason why they have been on our roster and we’ll need that entire group before the season is over.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
 
(On practice today)
“We are getting the hang of it. It’s a new offense. Our rookies are looking nice. It felt good. My injury, my little light injury, feels real good. I feel close to 100 percent and it was a good week of practice for us.”
 
(On quarterback Jameis Winston throwing to him)
“It’s a good ball. He throws a good ball. He goes through his reads and makes the right decisions.”
 
(On quarterback Mike Glennon being on the heels of Winston)
“I guess most people can say that. They are both making great throws, one after another. So it looks like they are competing. They are just making good throws. They split the first team reps from time to time, so I guess most people would think it’s a competition.”
 
(On what he likes in the offense the most compared to last year)
“I like both, but this year I moved to the X and I like the matchups, the mismatches that I get put in. I’m always a single most of the time. I like being on an island, one-on-one, so I like that more.”
 
(On his first impression of Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter and his offense)
“He’s a smooth guy. He knows what he is doing. If you look at the Falcons’ receivers last year they had some of the best stats. He gets his receivers the ball and on this team we have some really good playmakers at the receiver’s position. I like the way he gets the receivers the ball, so hopefully we’ll have a great year.”
 
(On what receivers have impressed him through OTAs)
“I like all of them, man. I like all of them. They are real nice. They bring something different to the table. Kenny (Bell) has been really smooth. He seems like a veteran. He knows the offense just as good as anybody. (Donteea Dye), we have our free agents, DD is fast. Adam (Humphries) is fast. He runs good routes. (Rannell Hall), he’s nice. All our rookie receivers have impressed me.”
 
(On learning a new offense in his second season)
“It’s a little difficult getting a new offense. Most offenses are the same, it’s just different terminology. It’s just hard to pick up on the terminology. It’s been hard, but it’s what we get paid to do so it hasn’t been too bad.”  
 
WIDE RECEIVER VINCENT JACKSON
 
(On the offseason thus far)
“It’s been great, man. It’s been great for our offense, plugging a lot of different guys in – obviously a lot of new faces around here, starting with the coaching staff and such. But it’s been a good spring for us. I’m excited about it. I think we’re going to finish up here in the next couple of weeks with these OTAs and then have a good foot up going into training camp, and that’s exciting. Jameis (Winston) has done well. Everything we’re throwing at him – this new system, it puts a lot on the quarterback and expects them to make plays and make calls at the line of scrimmage and adapt to defenses. He’s handling it well and that’s exciting to see from a young guy (when) putting a lot on his plate right away.”
 
(On Winston having a “soft touch” when throwing)
“Yeah, he’s very dynamic. He puts touch on it when he needs to, but he will sling it, he will fire it across you there when he knows it’s a tight window. We’ve seen that both, where he knows how to put his foot in the ground but he does throw a great deep ball as well, soft, and puts it away from the defensive guys. (He’s) a very sound quarterback and he’s only going to continue to get better because you see his competitiveness. He doesn’t want to miss a throw. He comes out here each and every day and he works on his craft.”
 
(On any adjustments he may have to make with the new system)
“It’s been fun for me. I’ve just been able to – obviously the way I’ve worked in the past was being very dynamic where they can play me in multiple places and (Offensive Coordinator) Dirk (Koetter) is having fun with that and he’s putting me in a lot of different areas. It’s fun to play inside, outside, stretch the field, cross the field, and that’s what’s good about this offensive system is that we’re going to put the ball all over the place. Backs, tight ends, everybody’s going to be involved and that’s exciting because we’ve got playmakers. Obviously I think now that we’re going to shake some things up with our system and scheme and it should be a fun fall for us.”
 
(On whether Koetter’s offense is difficult to learn)
“I don’t know if I would say it’s any more difficult than any other offense is. Everything is obviously a different language, you know what I mean? Most offenses carry a lot of the same schemes as far as route goes. Route concepts, spacing on the field, those things are very similar. But, again, you have a new language you have to learn, and sometimes the terminology will get you when you have to do a lot of stuff on the fly, and a lot of hand signals are being used as well. So I wouldn’t say it’s super difficult; we’re picking it up pretty well. I’m very pleased with the amount of progress we’ve made in this amount of OTAs, and, like I said, it’s exciting going into training camp feeling confident that we’re not starting to build something, we’re just going to polish up in training camp.”
 
(On Winston in the locker room)
“He’s been great. He’s still a rookie and despite being the quarterback position, a rookie is a rookie. They’re going to be a little bashful, a little quiet and learn their way around, how things operate. He’s done a good job. He has a great sense of humor and a great demeanor about him and he comes out here on the field and he takes command of the huddle, and that’s the most important thing. He’s a great guy in the locker room, he gets along with everybody on the field and I think he brings a good energy for us.”
 
(On whether Winston has actually been “bashful” or “quiet” in the locker room)
“He’s been a little bit quiet. He knows to pick and choose his times, every now and then. But for the most part he just comes and does his work and we really appreciate that.”
 
(On whether the team is allowed to play pranks on the rookie players)
“(Laughing) We got a couple weeks, a couple months before we get to do that fun stuff. But, no, I think we’ve got a good group. That’s what’s fun about this team is the fact that everybody comes to work. We don’t have any guys trying to stand out or be individuals. (Head Coach) Lovie (Smith) has really built that type of team around here along with (General Manager) Jason (Licht). That’s what’s going to make us different and help us take that next step this year.”
 
(On players, including Winston, having to earn starting roles and how that helps the team)
“It’s going to help us all. We all understand the fact that we still have to go out there and earn our job and earn our position. Lovie makes that very clear each and every meeting. When we started out, when we started the OTAs, he said, ‘Don’t worry about the lineups, where we’re starting. There’s a lot of time left before we decide who’s going to be on that field.’ The fact that they’re putting Jameis back there I think is great for him to learn, because Mike (Glennon) is a great quarterback. He’s going to learn a lot from Mike in the way Mike prepares himself. So he gets to see a lot of things and I think that’s very helpful. But at the same time, he’s been rotating a little bit with the ones (first-team players) as well, so I think they’re just trying to give him a little bit of both, a little bit of mix, and see how he handles it. So far it’s been good for him.”
 
(On the biggest differences to him in the new offense)
“Just the fact that we have a little more chemistry. We’re doing more up-tempo stuff, we’re changing some speeds of the plays and we’re putting some dictation – dictating a little bit more to the defense. That’s exciting. That’s fun for me as an offense because we know we’re in control of the drive and we’re in control of the game and I think that really makes it harder on defenses.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On OTAs thus far)
“It’s been great just being back out here on the field with the teammates. Now it’s getting a little more, not physical, but it’s amping up a little bit.”
 
(On how it has helped him getting first and second-team repetitions and watching quarterback Mike Glennon with the first team)
“Being able to develop a relationship is important. Just watching Mike, seeing some of the things he does. I’ve been trying to pick everything he has, because he has been doing great. I look up to him and the things he does are magnificent. I try to always compete. It’s always good to have a great guy in front of you and it’s just helps you push yourself.”
 
(On having to earn the starting quarterback position)
“Never was given anything in my life, so the way I brought up I always have to earn everything. The main thing is to earn the respect of all these players out there.”
 
(On if his throws got better after watching Glennon because of his competitive nature)
“Absolutely. We are always competing. When Mike starts making good plays, the intensity of the whole team starts getting up. Once that train gets rolling, it’s hard to stop it.”
 
(On learning offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s offense and getting told to go home from coaches)
“Preparing for this game is easier than preparing for a Harvard business degree, but one thing about it is I love it. I’m going to do anything I can to try and perfect this offense. This offense is amazing. The concepts are similar to the ones at Florida State, but definitely the terminology is crazy.”
 
(On what makes the terminology so crazy)
“Different wordage.”
 
(On what is the most exciting part of the offense for him)
“The most exciting part is the explosive plays and definitely getting to throw to all these big-time wide receivers we have. That’s the fun part of everything.”
 
(On what it mean to have someone like wide receiver Vincent Jackson say good things about him)
“It means a great deal to me, because he is definitely one of the guys that’s a captain of this team. When he says something is going good, it’s going really good. Like I said, I have to get better every day. I’m out here trying to earn a job. I’m out here trying to earn everyone’s respect. It’s very important that I got that from him.”
 
(On if there is a wide receiver he is building chemistry with, similar to what he had with former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin)
“I have two (Kelvin Benjamins) this year with Vincent being the veteran and Mike (Evans) being an outstanding young guy, just like me, one year older than me. It’s definitely a blessing to have two of those guys, but other guys like Louis Murphy, Russell Shepard and even Kenny Bell, who is a rookie this year; those guys are doing great.”
 
(On tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
“Austin is probably one of my closet friends here. We hang out a lot. Nick (O’Leary) was good at Florida State and that’s hard to beat, but Austin is bigger, longer so it’s a blessing. I have three guys that are above 6’3”. That is amazing That is every quarterback’s dream and I got it.”
 
(On if he prefers height over speed for his receivers)
“I just want someone to throw the ball to. I don’t have, really, any choice because all guys are good in their way, but I’m happy I got tall guys.”
 
(On if he is satisfied with the progress he is making)
“I am never satisfied. You have to get better every day.”
 
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