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23 December 2015

Week 16 Conference Call Transcripts: vs. Chicago Bears (12/27/15)

HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
 
(On Tampa Bay’s development of its rookie class)
“I think they’ve done a tremendous job. I know Jameis [Winston] was a very high pick, but, regardless, I think anytime a rookie at the quarterback position in this league has performed like he has – and I’m talking about the number of touchdowns to interceptions, some of the things that are imperative that you do to win at that position – I think they’ve put together a fine team, one that I think is just going to get better. Obviously everybody from personnel to coaching, how they’ve utilized [the players], has done a tremendous job.”
 
(On how rare it is to have four immediate starters from a single draft class)
“Obviously the selection process is important as far as the skillset and the demeanor of guys that mentally it takes to play in this league, and then, really, the coaching staff, to mold them and teach them and get them to execute. Obviously it’s an outstanding job [by Tampa Bay].”
 
(On if it can take time for a new coach to turn things around)
“No doubt. I think Lovie and his staff and the personnel side have done an outstanding job. What we do as coaches is look at a lot of tape, evaluate matchups and those types of things. It takes a little bit of good fortune as far as injuries or lack thereof. You change maybe the culture or just implementing what you want to be about – I think that takes a minute. You just look to make improvement, whether it’s week-to-week or season-to-season. Everybody wants it now; I understand that. That’s kind of the world we’re in today, but I think they’ve done an outstanding job.”
 
(On Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David)
“He’s really good. He’s a guy we were looking at in the second round when I was back in Denver, so I’m aware of him, both from the evaluation process coming out – he was a guy that we targeted that I know we liked. When [Tampa Bay] took him, I knew he was going to be an outstanding player. My experience with the Pro Bowl has been that usually it takes you a year or two to get in and sometimes a year or two to get out. The other thing that’s really big in the process and in my experience is that you’ve got really good team success. That’s kind of what I would talk to him about. I think when you do that, the odds move up.”
 
(On the Offensive Rookie of the Year race)
“I haven’t gotten to see everybody. I’ve seen Jameis enough to know that I think he’s a rookie at the quarterback position which is arguably one of the hardest positions in professional sports, let alone just football. Their coaching staff and he have done an outstanding job creating a very workable system for him and I think he’s doing an outstanding job. I doubt that I’m the first to say that I haven’t studied every offensive rookie in the league, but I know he’s in the conversation for sure.”
 
(On his experience turning around struggling franchises, first with Carolina, then Denver, now Chicago, and whether it gets easier each time)
“No, I think every situation is unique and yet many aspects of it are the same. It does take time. I think the two earlier ones are completely different even than this one. You kind of have a master picture and then it just takes a minute to get the pieces in place. I think we’ve made strides. Obviously we’re disappointed in our record at 5-9. We’ve been competitive in many, many games, ones we’ve fell a little bit short on. We’re just looking to finish strong, much like I’m sure Lovie is talking to Tampa Bay about.”
 
(On whether there is any common thread among Chicago’s losses)
“We lost our quarterback for a game-and-a-half early in the season, before halftime in our second game of the season, so starting 0-3, you’ve made it a little more difficult. I think we’ve fought back and had some creative, hard-fought wins and we’ve been on the short side of some very close losses. This last week against the Vikings was not one of our better performances, which does happen in this league. But we’ll see what we’re made of and how we’ll respond.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAY CUTLER
 
(On Chicago’s season thus far)
“There’s ups and downs – it happens every year. Unfortunately, we’ve been on the losing side a little bit too often. We’ve played tough games. We’ve had three overtime games, we lost some close battles kind of in the middle of the season. This last game, we kind of let it nag and let that one get away from us, but, overall, we’re playing tough football. We’ve got to find a way to finish games better.”
 
(On his familiarity with Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston)
“You know, I haven’t watched him much at all on tape. We haven’t had many crossover opponents, so I haven’t really been able to see him play. I know Dirk [Koetter] is down there – I’ve never worked with him, but I’ve always heard really good things about him. The numbers look pretty good for that offense. They’re moving the ball well, they run the ball well and have some big targets on the outside, so I’m assuming [Winston] is doing well.”
 
(On Tampa Bay’s defense)
“A lot of team speed. A lot of team speed. From the front four all the way to the back four, everyone can run. They’re being very disciplined. They don’t show a lot of different looks, but the looks that they do show, they are very good at. Third down they do some stuff to make some things, protection-wise, that puts you in a few binds, but, overall, it’s a pretty typical Lovie football team. It will be disciplined and really good at the coverages they’re playing and at re-routing the football.”
 
(On the loss of tight end Martellus Bennett and what he meant to the Chicago offense)
“That’s a big part of our offense. He had a lot of targets, but he was also pretty impactful in the run game and the pass game, whenever we needed him to block. So that’s a key guy that we lost, but we’ve had a lot of guys in and out of the roster each year. A lot of guys up and down on game day, so you just have to fill role with [inaudible].”
 
(On Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David)
“[He’s] a great player – tough to go against. I see him as like a Thomas Davis, a [Luke] Kuechly, kind of in that role. He flies all over the field, the pass, the run, they blitz him a little bit, he’s a problem for the backs, he’s covering the pass game. He’s a guy who in these zone defenses, you always have to have an eye on him, because you know he’s coming.”
 
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