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07 October 2015

Week 5 Conference Call Trancripts: vs. Jacksonville (10/11/15)

HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY
 
(On losing close games and the state of his team this season)
“Yeah, we did, especially this past weekend. That was a real disappointing loss. We just felt like we had an opportunity and we missed it. The players are disappointed. We’re disappointed as a team and the fans are disappointed, but I think going back and going through it, it was really good teaching for our players and the improvement that needs to be made was really pointed out. That’s what I like about our team, I like about our locker room; players see the improvement that needs to take place and we feel like we have the guys that will do it. They’ll get it done. I think they’re back – it was tough the last couple of days, but they’re back and our focus has moved on. You’re right, the Carolina game, the Miami [game] was a heartbreaker right at the end, as far as a close game and then we pulled it off and then this one this past weekend.”
 
(On if he sees a lot of talent on Tampa Bay’s roster)
“I do. You look at them, offensively, it starts off with [Doug] Martin, it seems to me – looking at him – he’s back to his form. I know he had over 100 yards rushing [last week]. I think he is top 10 in rushing in the league, so it looks like he is back to his form. The two big receivers, different style receivers that we face and what they present. One game Vincent Jackson has been targeted multiple times. I think he had 10 receptions in that Carolina game, then [Mike] Evans was highly targeted in the Houston game, both over 100 yards for each of them. Yeah, you are right, on offense they have some talented personnel. It seems like they are the same conversations – the self-inflicted wounds. The turnovers, I think they’ve had 10. They’re minus-four overall and that’s the part I’m sure Lovie [Smith] is looking at and feels he needs to address. Defensively, when you look at them it’s what you expect. [They are] extremely well-coached, top 10 in total yards, second in passing yards, just very active, very athletic, fast. It starts with [Gerald] McCoy and the linebacking group. It’s a talented group, just the self-inflicted wounds, some of the same story.”
 
(On the key to coach a young quarterback to limit their mistakes)
“I can speak for how we handled it. We had great faith and have great faith in Blake [Bortles]. I think we knew some of that was going to be part of the learning curve. It’s a different game. It’s a faster game. Some different looks and it requires great decision making in minimal time period. I know they have great faith in [Jameis Winston] and they trust him and they know sometimes these things can happen. The biggest thing is to learn from them and quickly recover from your mistakes and move on. That’s kind of what we went through. We saw the great games and we saw the tough games and the inconsistency. I think it will eventually even out. He’s talented now. He’s talented. You look at some of the throws he makes, but he had close to 300 yards throwing in the Carolina game and [in] the New Orleans game [he had] no picks, good decision making. You see the flashes similar to what we went through.”
 
(On the similarities between retired linebacker Derrick Brooks and current Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David)
“It’s tough to compare, especially to Derrick Brooks. The impact he’s had on me. We’re still very close and I just knew what he was all about in the meeting room, what he brought to the team, what he brought on the practice field and what he brought on the game field. It’s a high, high standard. Lavonte, now, he’s a player maker. He’s made a lot of plays. You see his speed and his instincts and you see some similar traits without a doubt.”
 
(On how his time in Tampa helped mold him as a coach)
“I think that not only did I learn from the coaching staff – it was Jon Gruden, Monte Kiffin and really the whole staff – but the players, I think the players taught me a great deal as well. Having day-in and day-out working with guys like you were talking about – the Derrick Brooks’, the Ronde Barbers and the list goes on and on. If you just listen it would have a tremendous impact on you.”
 
(On the 2008 Buccaneer season)
“You know you try not to spend too much time looking in the past like that, but that’s right. That season still sticks with you, because we had things going. It was a disappointing end to the season, but I think when you look back at your career there’s moments like that that definitely have an impact, but you learn from them. I think some of the lessons you learn during that year are some of the lessons or experiences you bring on to future opportunities. It was a good run until we hit that wall.”
 
(On his thoughts on how injuries are reported)
“It’s a challenge. Now you are facing guys, they don’t look like they are going to be up and active, on Wednesday, and then because of the training methods and the high quality of care these players are getting you can see drastic improvement over a short period of time. I know sometimes that’s frustrating for everybody. It’s difficult and I think the league is doing things right, especially with the concussion protocol. I think, first and foremost, is the players safety. I think that’s how the system should be built. It’s challenging. We try to be as transparent as possible. We’ve kind of had that philosophy when we started, Dave Caldwell and I, and it extends from Shad Khan and we’re trying to stay true to that. At times it’s difficult, because of the competition part of it as well.”
 
(On playing young kickers and how volatile the position has become with extended extra points)  
“It is. It’s tough. I think if you look across the league. We decided to go with a younger kicker, you’re right. We signed him, we felt strongly, really we signed him and decided to go with him because of his body of work – his performance in training camp and mini-camps and OTAs and preseason. I think we also knew that with that there were going to be some ups and downs and that’s what we are facing. I think at one point in the season he was seven-for-eight in field goals and hit a game-winner against Miami. Then last week at the end of the game he was [zero]-for-two. It’s challenging and it’s gut-wrenching. We like his demeanor, we like his competitiveness and I think as a franchise we like everything about him and I think we anticipated there may be games like that. It’s just disappointing the way it finished, it highlighted it even more.”
 
(On what he is seeing from Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston’s interceptions)
“I think when you are defensive-minded and you look at things, you first look at the interceptions and why they are taking place. Is it because of pressure? Is it because of blitzing? Is it because of four-man pressure? We probably evaluated it just as much as their offense is evaluating it and Dirk [Koetter] is. You are trying to isolate weakness and maybe approaches. I think sometimes pressure, whether it’s four-man or five-man pressure speeds up the process. Like I said, the game is so fast it requires you to make split-second decisions and that’s where I think he’ll adjust. He’s so athletic and you can see flashes where he makes really really good plays and good decisions that I think you will see more consistency come, but it is tough. I know firsthand from our experiences with it and that was a big conversation we had was just the speed of the game. Teams are trying to confuse him and do different things coverage-wise. You can imagine as you are dropping back that you are trying to figure those things out. It’s tough. The quarterback position in the league, you can’t talk enough about how difficult a position it is to play.”
 
(On what impresses him about Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin)
“The way he runs, his style of runs. Each week we put together a tape to have a tackling plan on running backs. What seems to work. What’s our plan. He’s just tough. Tough when you watch him. I agree completely with you that he is back to form. Like I said, I think he’s eighth in the league in rushing. He just feels like as he goes more and more he gets stronger and stronger. [He’s] a different style of back. He has great strength, great speed and just puts a lot of pressure on a defense.”
 
(On Tampa Bay linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“I think he’s playing very well right now. That is a great get – both those linebackers, that combination, the speed and the instincts they have. As you are watching him, I think he is probably, it will speak for itself, he’s playing at a higher level than maybe some have anticipated. He really stands out – his instincts and overall speed. They’re both very similar in size, very similar in speed and how they play. They should feel very fortunate [to have] two linebackers like that.”
 
(On Jacksonville’s rush defense)
“I think when we put this thing together that was our objective to have a defense that initially could play very well against the run. With that, I think you can see we have some pretty good size up front. We have the ability to have size with [Jared] Odrick and Roy Miller and Tyson [Alualu], those three guys. What would sometimes could lack is our pass rush, but as far as being stout against the run, it starts up front with those guys. We have our rush end, that’s the guy that’s got to get pressure on the quarterback for us. I think it starts up front with those guys. I think the size and the style of play. You guys know Roy Miller very well and what he brings to the table. I think he’s been a great leader for us in that room and really on the defensive side. It’s a strong commitment starting with the run game and trying to make a team as one-dimensional as possible.”
 
(On Jacksonville defensive tackle Roy Miller)
“He’s unbelievable. I can’t speak enough about how much impact he’s had on our team and in that defensive room. He touches everybody now – the way he interacts with the defense, the offensive players. It’s not like he’s loud or boisterous or anything like that, but highly, highly respected individual in our locker room.”
 
(On comparing his current defensive line to the old Jaguars ‘Twin Towers’)
“I don’t know if we got that quite size. They did. I think it was a similar philosophy – guys up front that can do some good things versus the run and those guys are legends around here and the impact they have on this organization. Our guys are tough and they’re tough-minded and they play hard. We’re not there yet though. We’re not there yet, but we’re making good strides.”
 
(On his young wide receiver group)
“It’s a great question. They are some of our better play makers now to be honest with you. We have Marcedes [Lewis] and we like what he has done. He brings something to our offense. It’s kind of a youth – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, both second-year players, T.J. Yeldon first-year player, Blake Bortles second-year player. I’m very pleased with the progress they are making. I think even from game to game, from our first game I know the big conversation pieces was with our receiving group – the number of drops we had. I’ve seen them really come into their own the last couple games and just really have more of an attacking mentality and more of a confidence. I think they are playing with a great deal of confidence. They’re developing and that was our intention – to really utilize their strengths. They are different styles of players. What Allen Robinson brings compared to what Allen Hurns brings is different style. Both [are] highly competitive guys that are trying to learn to be good pros at a young age. The difference is we don’t have a veteran wide receiver in that group, so they of kind of learning as they go and they are learning on their own. They have influence from guys like Marcedes and some of our veteran guys on our team are really helping them.”
 
QUARTERBACK BLAKE BORTLES
 
(On what he has seen from Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I honestly haven’t seen a ton [of Winston]; really just focusing on the defense we’re playing, but I do catch some clips every now and then. It’s hard. After going through it last year, and even this year, it’s unbelievably hard to be successful as a rookie, seeing things for the first time. You’re seeing things you’ve never seen before, you’re doing things you’ve never done before, so I think it takes a lot of adaptation and time to get used to [it]. I definitely feel and know what he’s going through, and it does get better.”
 
(On the difficulty of losing an overtime game last week)
“It’s definitely difficult, because it was a game we felt we gave away on missed opportunities and stuff like that. But I think we have a good group of guys that is able to kind of forget and move on and learn from [it]  and move on to the next game plan. So I’m excited for that, we’re excited for another opportunity this week in Tampa and I think the guys have taken what they could from the game, learned from it and moved on.”
 
(On the difficulty of resisting temptation to try to do too much as a young quarterback)
“It is hard – there’s definitely a balance between being aggressive and being out of control. As a quarterback, you want to push the ball downfield, you want to make plays happen, especially when things aren’t going well, your record’s not what you want it to be and stuff like that. You want to be the guy that makes things happen and helps your team to victory. But you have to be smart with it and know and kind of trust that if you take it bit by bit, it’ll add up. Not every play has to be a touchdown. A checkdown can be your best friend at times. And I think being smart with the football and kind of just continuing like that.”
 
(On whether he feels it’s better for quarterbacks to start immediately or be able to sit behind a veteran for a period of time)
“I think both sides have pros and cons. You look back and [sitting] was kind of the thing to do years ago and now the thing is to play right away. So I think there’s good and bad to both of it. For me personally and my take on it is I think the faster or the sooner I can get live reps, the better. I think you learn quicker doing it in action, I think you get used to the speed of the game, I think you get more comfortable in the game the sooner you do it. You get [more quickly] adjusted I guess is what I’m trying to say. I know I enjoyed that. I was able to sit for two games and was able to learn, take some stuff from that, and then you try to implement that into your game. But you’re going to see things on the field that you’re not able to see on the sidelines, so it’s just I think how quickly can you adjust.”
 
(On UCF’s season and whether he has spoken to Head Coach George O’Leary)
“I haven’t [spoken to O’Leary]. It’s cool because Doug Marrone is here as our offensive line coach and him and O’Leary are real close and coached together for a long time back in the day, so we kind of talk about it – I know Doug talks to him every now and then. I haven’t talked to him since camp. I talked to him during camp. He came to practice and we went to lunch and stuff, but, yeah, I know they’re really struggling and they’re dying for their first win.”
 
(On being able to build around a young offensive group in Jacksonville)
“I think it’s definitely special. It was kind of cool last year to look around and you’re able to see guys getting better week-in and week-out, growing as a unit, like you said, with that core group of young guys and only adding to it every year. Obviously with this year’s draft class. But I think it’s definitely special. I think we’re trying to build something special and I think we’re on the track to doing it, so it’s cool to be a part of that.”
 
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