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28 May 2015

TRANSCRIPT: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 2015 OTA MEDIA AVAILABILITY: THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier post-practice media availability:
 
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Quarterback Mike Glennon
Running Back Doug Martin
Cornerback Alterraun Verner
 
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
 
(Opening statement)
“You can’t really get a lot done; some basic things. But once you get to phase three, once (organized team activities) start and you get some offense versus defense it’s always good. We had a couple good days, so far. Of course followed it up with a good practice today. We have a long ways to go. We are not Tennessee Titans-ready or anything like that yet. We’re getting guys into position. Some players we haven’t seen. Some of our rookies we don’t know about. There’s new players. We are making progress. Guys need to show us something on the practice field. We are trying to hit as many situations as we can - new offense, some new things we are doing on the defensive side. Good start for the first week. I’ll take your questions.”
 
(On if the team was prepared for quarterback Jameis Winston to attend the Rookie Premiere and miss OTAs )
“It’s a part of it. The Rookie Premiere that the rookies go to every year is a part of it. We have it built in. We doubled up on his plays yesterday, so he got pretty much the same amount of (repetitions) he would normally get.”
 
(On Winston’s progress)
“We are seeing marked improvement, like it should be. Going from the minicamp to now, he is feeling more and more comfort in the pocket. There is a lot you ask a rookie to do, but Jameis is picking it all up just like we thought he would right on schedule.”
 
(On if Winston has done anything surprising since coming to Tampa)
“You don’t want to be surprised as much as anything. You think you have something and you get something else. No he’s been everything. He’s a football junkie. We knew that beforehand. We have to kind of tell him when to leave, which we expected to have to do. He takes coaching well. Yesterday was his best day. For him, it has been a lot of individual work, but having a chance this week for the first time to go against our best defense and things that. Again, we have a long ways to go, but we like where he is right now.”
 
(On what made yesterday Winston’s best day)
“For a quarterback, completing passes and knowing what to do. We ask the guys to do a lot, some things on the line of scrimmage. He didn’t have his training wheels on or anything like that. We kind of threw him out there and he’s handled just about everything we have asked him to.”
 
(On the progress of implementing offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s offense)
“It’s coming along. Offense can get a lot more done in phase one and two. A lot of times you are kind of running plays on air a little bit, but the guys are picking it up. You have to change the terminology, but it’s not like we are inventing some new type of ball or anything like that. I like what we are doing offensively.”
 
(On offensive linemen Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards getting first team reps)
“First off, being here their second year and they are next up on the depth chart to get an opportunity, so that is a part of it. We’ve seen things we liked from them, way back. That’s the reason why we drafted them. We thought it would take a while, they would take some developing, which is happening. Opportunity for them, both are talented players and we are expecting big things from both of them.”
 
(On if there is optimism around the organization for the upcoming season)
“Well there is. There are 32 places and we are all the same in the offseason. We are excited. We didn’t perform the way we needed to last year, that’s obvious, but I don’t feel like that’s who we are. We have brought in some more talent and made some changes. It’s just natural progression too, from our guys who were here last year. We are talking a lot about the new guys, but I like what our veterans are doing. I’m talking Logan Mankins, the Gerald McCoys. Those are the guys that are really taking ownership with our football team.”
 
(On if he can see intensity from the players)
“You can, but I’m a cop, I guess you can say, to stop all of that. That’s one thing that goes against everything you teach is that, especially with the linemen. We don’t want a lot of contact and that’s not natural to do. You have to concentrate on other things. For a lineman, it’s more about drills and things like that. Once we come together for team, it’s about alignments and for us, which is good, just running to the football and some of those things. We are still getting good work.”
 
(On defensive end George Johnson)
“He’s been about what we thought he would be also. What we thought he would be is, we brought him in to be one of our defensive ends, to be able to rush the passer, to be a good run support player. He’s a guy that plays with a motor. All those things we have seen. Again, for the linemen, defensive linemen or offensive linemen, there is only so much you can see, but he’s bright, he shows up every day and he works the same way. He’ll be one of our guys this year. We’ve seen enough to know that.”
 
(On Johnson saying he’s going to get double-digit sacks)
“If you talk to a defensive end and he says, ‘You know, I’m not going to be a double-digit sack guy,’ he can’t play for us. To get on the map, you need to be a double-digit sack guy, period as a defensive lineman. We hope he is thinking that way.”
 
(On how important it is to get linebacker Lavonte David re-signed)
“It’s very important. You know how important he is. Everything that has come out of my mouth about Lavonte David is the same. He’s a great player and we need him. He is one of the foundational guys we have. He shows up every day the same way. I’m anxious to see him take another step in his second year in the system in one of the marquee positions in our defense. I’m anxious to see what he’ll do this year.”
 
(On why the team did not pick up running back Doug Martin’s fifth year option)
“As a player, I mean there is a business part off the field and then when it’s time to work on the field, you do that. The business part, I can’t get into that, but we like Doug. He’s on the first team like he has always been. He’s one of our guys, he’s our running back. He’s showing up and he is getting good work. I think it is just as simple as that.”
 
(On if George Johnson will play on the right or left side)
“Right, right now. Keep in mind, without one-on-ones, there is a long way we have to go, but if we bring in a defensive end, we aren’t going to bring in a defensive end that can just play on the left side; in your run support six-technique defensive end, no. We want a guy that we feel like can be a right end. When we say right end, a guy that can be an edge rusher, that can do both, just like we don’t bring in a lot of MIKE linebackers. We want skilled, athletic linebackers that can play in space. The guy that is maybe the slowest will play inside. The guy that maybe is not as quick as we want him to be off the edge on the right side will play our left end position. George can do both.”
 
(On what happened with wide receiver Mike Evans during practice)
“Yeah, we got all kinds of information, but we’re not going to tell. I can’t go into any of that right now. In the offseason there are tweaks. My hamstring is even a little sore right now. You said he tweaked it last year right? How did he do this past year? Pretty well, so it’s not something we are concerned about at all. He tweaked it a little bit. He’ll eventually be fine.”
 
(On if guard Ali Marpet is out for any reason)
“He tweaked his hamstring a little bit also. Again, offseason, every day I’m going to talk about a little tweak. That’s about all it is. Eventually they will get back.”
 
(On if free agent signings with familiarity in his defensive system are getting comfortable quickly)
“They know a lot more about what we expect from them right now, but we’re not there by any means yet. We’re getting there. It takes a while. People assume you just come here and anybody can pick it up in one day. There is a little more to our defense than that. And it kind of helped a little bit that some of the guys we brought in are familiar with the defense. I’m pleased with where all of those guys are.” 
 
(On how confident he is with the offensive line going into OTAs compared to at the end of last season)
“I think all of us would say we are better on the offensive line now, so a lot more confident in what we are going to do and what we are going to be. We have a legitimate competition going into training camp. Maybe we don’t know exactly who is going to end up on the roster, maybe the starting lineup, exactly who it will be. That’s always good. All we’re trying to get right now is competition and let the cream come to the top. We feel very good about quite a few players on that offensive line.”
 
(On what he is seeing from Charles Sims)
“Some of the same things we talked about last year. He is a complement to some of our other running backs. He can make you miss in the open field. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. Right now, we are working a lot of different combinations. We don’t really have a depth chart per say. We just want the players we think can play, we want them to get reps and show us exactly how they stack-up on the depth chart. And what role we will have for them this season. Believe me, I can say right now Charles will have a big role for us.”
 
(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I think the same thing I saw last year. Mike is a professional. Whatever we have asked him to do, whatever role we have asked him to play, he’s done that. You saw today. It’s about the quarterback position. We want to be as strong as ever and I feel like we have that with Jameis and Mike. Again, right now we feel like we can win with either player, and they will show us exactly how they stack-up on the depth chart and all that.”
 
(On how good he thinks the defensive line can be after defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said they could be best in the league)
“Leslie said that? We have a lot of confidence in our group. Just look at the guys that we added. We’re pretty good if you just look at front four sacks last year, we were up there pretty good. Now you throw in George. You throw in a Henry Melton, you know, a couple players we feel like can really improve that.  We have confidence in our group, but we are never done with our defensive line. We are always trying to improve it a little bit more. We dress seven guys, maybe eight. We want seven, maybe eight guys that we feel when we get in third down situations or just in general, rush the passer and also play the run, and we feel like we have that. We like our line an awful lot.”
 
(On George Johnson being a rotation guy if the team has ruled him out as a starter)
“No, not by any means. We haven’t established any starting lineups or anything like that. When George did play for an extended period of time against us; he played most of the game against us, we saw what type of football player he can be. George is good enough to be a starter in this league and be a good starter in this league.”
 
QUARTERBACK MIKE GLENNON
 
(On how he is adapting to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s offense)
“My third (offense) in three years and so far I’d say I think it’s the best one I’ve been part of, it fits me really well. We have great direction under Dirk. It’s been really nice having him, he’s got a lot of knowledge. What he’s done in this division, the past three years he’s been in Atlanta, they’ve been one of, if not the best in our division and the top of the league (on offense). He knows our division. He is a great coach. He has a great system. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m still getting used to it out on the field, but I feel like the more I’m with him and the more he is around the offense, the better we are going to be.”
 
(On being compared to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan)
“Yeah, it’s kind of ironic. Ever since I was a 17-year-old, I had that comparison. Then I went to NC State and my coaches had been at Boston College with Matt. I’ve been watching Matt Ryan film for almost a decade now. I think we have similar games and I think Dirk sees that. Hopefully we can have the same success that Matt has had in Atlanta we can have here.”
 
(On his mental approach as OTAs start)
“Same as always; to improve as much as I can, grasp this offense as much as I can. Like I said, this is my third offense in three years so I have to take my prior experiences, put it on this one and continue to grow as a player. I want to be a much better player come the end of June than I am right now.  I want to have a better understanding and excel better in this offense.
 
(On if he approaches the situation like he's competing for the starting job)
"I think that's all there is to do as a quarterback. You want to be the guy, work like you're going to be the guy, be the best player you can be, take it one day at a time, and that's really all you can do."
 
(On if his experiences of the last two seasons galvanizes that approach)
"Yeah, I think in the NFL you have to always be ready. No matter what it is, you're being evaluated at all times, whether you start the first game, the third game or the 16th game. Every game is important in the NFL. Every game you're playing for a lot – for your team, for yourself, for your future. It's about winning games, and I'm going to do whatever I can to prepare to help this team win, to be the guy to help this team win."
 
(On the importance of being prepared)
"Anything can happen at any given time. I'm always going to approach it like I'm going to be the guy. If that's the way you approach it, when that time comes, whether it's the first game or the 16th game, you'll be ready."
 
(On if he was hoping for a trade)
"I love it here in Tampa. This has been my home for the past two years and I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to have [Offensive Coordinator] Dirk [Koetter] around; I feel like I'm going to learn a lot from him and continue to grow as a player. I've always wanted to be here in Tampa."
 
(On his early impressions of Jameis Winston)
"He's a sharp kid. He's intelligent, throws the ball well. And he's young, so he's got a bright future ahead of him."
 
(On if Glennon and Winston can help each other be better)
"I think you can always, from the group…everyone brings something different to the table. Some people are better at different areas than the others, so you can watch each other's games and learn from that. Every rep I'm out there, he can take from me; every rep he's out there, I can learn from him. It's about getting those mental reps. Every play, just kind of do that, and I think we can help each other."
 
(On if he's done anything different to prepare this year)
"I wouldn't say it's anything different. It's the same kind of schedule, just working out, throwing, learning a new offense. For me, it's been the same thing every year, learning a new offense, diving into that and trying to be as ready as I can for OTAs."
 
RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN
 
(On how today’s practice went)
“Everybody did good. We have a very competitive team. I like the way our team competes. That’s what we do out here and that’s the way we get better.”
 
(On if he enjoys OTAs)
“Oh yeah, the vibe around the organization is awesome. The players all love each other. You want to come to work and you love coming to work here.”
 
(On how much excitement there is for quarterback Jameis Winston)
“A lot of excitement, (with) him coming out of the first round. He comes with a lot of knowledge of the game. He’s full of energy, he’s definitely a people person and we enjoy having him out here.”
 
(On the immediate impact that Winston could have on the Buccaneers)
“The type of energy that he brings out here is contagious. The energy that he provides for the team and for the offense and how he gets the energy up for us, that’s definitely something that’s going to help us out.”
 
(On how he is going to approach this season after the Buccaneers did not pick up the fifth-year option on his contract)
“I believe it’s like every other year. I’m playing for the team. I love this team, I love the players around here and I love playing for the city of Tampa. I’m just going to go out there and play the game that I love.”
 
(On if he feels like he has pressure to prove soemthing this season)’
“Not at all. If I take care of everything in my control and stay healthy, I know everything will come into place for me. Right now, I feel awesome, feel great, body feels good, mind is right where it needs to be and I’m ready for the season.”
 
(On if he was disappointed when the team did not pick up his fifth-year option)
“No, I wasn’t (disappointed). That’s something that upstairs takes care of. I’m just going to go out and play the game.”
 
(On his first impressions of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and the team’s new offense)
“Him being a former Boise State coach, we definitely hit it off pretty good. Always talk about Idaho and things like that. With the offense, he’s very hands-on, very knowledgeable. He’s someone who’s easy to talk to and we all love the guy.”
 
(On if he and Koetter’s Boise State ties will help him fit into the offense)
“The way I think of it is that everybody out here gets a chance. Everybody does have to prove themselves out here on the practice field and show the coaches what they’re able to do. That’s what everybody’s doing.”
 
(On not having his fifth-year option picked up)
“It didn’t surprise me and it’s – I don’t want to say it’s ‘whatever,’ but it’s something that comes along with the business and if I just do everything in my control, everything else will fall into place.”
 
(On if not having his fifth-year option picked up motivated him)
“It’s just a part of the business. If I play to what I know I can do, everything else will fall into place.”
 
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER
 
(On his first season with the Buccaneers)
"It was a learning experience. That's what I took from it. You never try to dwell on a negative, but you just look at the mistakes, the growing pains, learn from them and try to build chemistry and camaraderie with everybody. I just look at it as a big learning experience and that's what I'm taking into this year, just learning from those mistakes."
 
(On if he can put together another Pro Bowl-caliber season)
"I'm going to do my best. Whatever they call for me to do in this defense, whether that's a Pro Bowl year or not, that's not really my concern. I'm just trying to get more wins, and all of that stuff will come."
 
(On cornerback depth and Mike Jenkins returning)
"It's good. Mike Jenkins is definitely an X-factor. He brings a lot of intensity. He brings a lot of passion for the game. He's somebody that's been playing for eight years – he's going to bring that [experience] to you. It's been good to have him back, competing. Johnthan [Banks] is growing as a player, as you saw last year. I like the depth and we're just all pushing each other because at the end of the day he's going to put the best people out there. Nobody's job is secure or safe, so I love it. I love competition and I love us all being out there competing."
 
(On returning to the practice field)
"I loved it. I loved every second. When you're done so early, like we were, being 2-14, you haven't played a lot of football in a way. Even though this isn't really football, per se, at least you're getting cleats on and having a chance to go make plays on the ball. So I loved every second of it, and I didn't care if I was making a mistake here or there. Just being out there, getting your feet wet again…I was just loving it."
 
(On if getting back to football has been in the back of his mind)
"Oh yeah, because we know that we have to get better. Every single person on this team has to get better. Two-and-14 is not going to cut it. That's why it's a motivation tool, just to know we can do a lot better. People are still doubting us and I love it. I love playing the underdog role, I love when people are sleeping on you. So I use it as a motivation. It definitely is in the back of my mind but I'm not letting that override or overrule the way I play. I still have the same mindset of getting better every day and trying to help this team as much as I can."
 
(On if he takes more of an active teaching role with the rookies or lets the coaches handle that)
"I try to let the coaches handle it because sometimes they don't like if you're stepping on their toes. But if I can interject here or there, or if I just let them know, 'If you have something you feel more comfortable talking to me about, you definitely can do that.' That's what I did when I was younger. I clung to the older guys, the veteran guys, and just picked their brains, just watched what they did. I'm definitely here to do that because, at the end of the day, you're only as strong as your weakest link. If you're weakest link is as strong as your strongest, then you're going to be pretty good, like you said with the depth. I'm definitely trying to do that, even at different positions, even receivers. If somebody runs a route on me and I didn't think it was convincing, I'll go and tell him, 'Hey, you've got to sell it more,' or something like that. And I hope they do the same to me, saying that they see something that I'm doing so we can all get better out here."
 
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