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Buccaneer Players Quotes, Dec. 18

Posted Dec 18, 2013

Tampa Bay’s offense has done a very good job of protecting the football in 2013, and continuing that will be critically important Sunday in St. Louis...And other discussions at One Buc Place on Wednesday

In last Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost one fumble and threw an interception without grabbing any takeaways on defense. That meant, for just the second time all season, the Buccaneers lost the turnover battle, and for the first time they lost it by more than one.

Even on that unsuccessful afternoon, however, the Buccaneers weren’t exactly loose with the football. The fumble came with just over four minutes left in regulation when Tampa Bay tried a trick play on a kickoff return, down by two scores, and saw it go dreadfully awry. The interception occurred a few minutes later, on a desperation fourth-and-26 pass into traffic, and it was tipped into the air before being hauled in by the 49ers’ Ed Reid. Neither giveaway really contradicted the notion that Tampa Bay’s offense, whatever its faults in 2013, has done a good job of protecting the football.

- QB M. Glennon has an impressive 17-8 TD-INT ratio in his rookie season
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who has a very un-rookie-like 17-8 touchdown-interception ratio, says his crew hasn’t lost sight of how important turnover ratio is to securing victories in the NFL. The Buccaneers remain tied for third in the NFL with an excellent TO ratio of 11, and they know that they will have to maintain that edge if they want to come away with victories in a pair of tough road venues to end the season. The Buccaneers play at St. Louis in Week 16, facing one of the NFL’s best pass rushes, and finish at New Orleans in Week 17 against the league’s fifth-ranked defense.

“Every week we always make a big emphasis on how important playing turnover-free as an offense is,” said Glennon. “Really the whole season we’ve done a pretty good job of being turnover-free and again that will be a big point of this game is to win the turnover battle. Our defense has done a tremendous job all year of getting us the ball and this week we know with those pass-rushers and that secondary how important it is to keep the ball in our hands and get a lot of yards and score touchdowns.”

Protecting the football wasn’t the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday. Below are some additional thoughts from Glennon and two of his teammates.

QB Mike Glennon

(On third down difficulties)
“I think the biggest problem is first and second down, and it’s kind of getting in those third-and-longs. In the NFL when you get into third-and-long situations, it’s almost impossible to get that first down. I think the biggest thing for us is to stay on schedule and get in third-and-four or less and situations where statistically the percentages are much higher and the probability of it [is greater]. I think the biggest thing for us is just staying on schedule and not going backwards on first and second downs.”

(On his statistical drop off over the last three weeks)
“There’s a lot that goes into everything, but it’s not really all about statistics and we’ve also – I can play better, but we’re playing very good defenses as well. I think two of the last three defenses are two of the top three defenses in the NFL. We’re just continuing to try and improve as an offense and execute better. I think that’s the challenge every week and playing the Rams, it’s about winning and playing at a good enough level to win the game. Ultimately that’s what it’s always about at the quarterback position.”

(On facing an elite pass rusher like St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn)
“We have to - one as an offensive game plan take account for him, because he’s such a good player. Both of those ends [Quinn and Jake Long] have caused a lot of problems for quarterbacks and he’s – whatever 15 sacks I believe, seven forced fumbles and when you hear those numbers that’s pretty alarming. Just from a game plan standpoint we’ll have to account for him and then me just knowing to squeeze the ball in a little tighter and step up in the pocket or whatever it may be. I also have great confidence in our offensive line that they’re going to do a great job against both of those ends.”

(On if he knew about Quinn while in college)
“Yeah he played before me. I believe he only played two years there. I had heard the name but as far as – obviously he’s doing a great job this year and playing at as high of a level as anybody is from that position.”

(On the balance between being aggressive and conservative)
“As a quarterback you have to know when it’s right to take the chances and when it’s right to protect the ball. It’s kind of just the feel thing, trusting your eyes, trusting where you’re eyes take you, when it’s time to let one rip and when it’s time to kind of move on to the next read or throw the ball away.”

(On being aware of defensive ends trying to get the ball out of his hands)
“I think, from watching him, it seems like he’s just not satisfied with getting the sack, he wants to get the sack fumble. Half of his sacks he’s done that, so whatever he’s doing, he’s doing it really well. I know it, our offensive line knows it, and our running backs know how important it is for us to account for him so he doesn’t have those opportunities.”

(On how not being able to run the ball has affected the passing game)
“I think every week we want to establish a run game and this week is going to be no different. The base of our offense is to run the ball well, run it effectively and we’re going to continue to run the ball. This is a new week, we’re just focused on this week and with the way our offensive line has shown that we’re able to block and the way our running backs can run the ball we have confidence that we’ll be able to do that.”

S Dashon Goldson

(On facing a backup quarterback like St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens)
“We approach it like he’s the starter. He is the starter for them right now. He’s doing some good things. They’ve got a pretty talented football team. They do a good job in the run game. They’ve got some explosive players in the passing game. The tight ends [are] pretty good. It’s no slack. We’ve just got to go there and still prepare like we would against anybody. He’s a crafty guy. He’s been in the league for a few years and there’s a reason why: He’s still good at what he does.”

(On what he takes most pride in as a defender)
“For me, it’s more takeaways. Turnovers are always good. You always want to get the ball back and get an opportunity to score, give your offense the opportunity to get back on the field and put points on the board. A lot of people ask me about those big hits – the big hits will come. When the time comes, you take your shots, but if you can get the ball, I’d rather get the ball than anything.”

(On new players meshing in the secondary this season)
“Early on, we were all trying to learn. It was rough. But I think as the year progressed, we started to mesh a little better; guys started understanding weaknesses and strengths and we started playing well. We got some hands on balls, we started communicating a lot better. We had some breakdowns, but I think that comes with [the] first year guys [are] together. I think next year will be a whole lot better, but right now we’ve still got two more games left. We’re focusing on this week with the Rams, [trying to] get communication down, try to get turnovers still and just keep building.”

T Donald Penn

(On St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn)
“He’s playing great football this year. Compared to last year, he’s really come into his own, putting himself in that elite category. He’s playing good football. It’s good to go against this matchup after playing probably one of my worst games of the season last week against the 49ers. It’s good to kind of bounce back and try to redeem myself against a great pass rusher.”

(On how Quinn has improved from last year)
“I think he’s becoming a much smarter player. Last year, I think he was just going in and playing. This year, you can tell, I think he’s putting in some film work, a lot of film work and studying the guys he’s going against and using what they do wrong to his advantage. He’s playing consistently. He’s playing great football. He’s really playing his butt off this year.”

(On offensive production on third down)
“It definitely needs to get better, but what would help us is we’ve got to do better on first and second down so we won’t be in such a long third down. We’re not doing a good job of chipping away and making it a manageable third down, so it puts us in a bad position. When you’re in a third-and-long, everybody in the world knows you’re passing the ball, especially the guys you’re trying to block. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to do a better job of blocking. It goes back to the same thing that we were doing when we were 0-8: we show good signs of it then we show signs where we look like crap doing it. We’ve got to get more consistent at it. That’s been our problem. These last two games are going to be important – get some good momentum going into this offseason. If it’s third-and-whatever, we’ve got to block it up and we’ve got to find a way to get it done no matter what it is. The bottom line is we haven’t and we’ve got to do a better job of that, and we’ve addressed that. We’re going to do some different things to try to get that fixed, but one of the biggest things, I think, that could fix that is being more productive on first and second down.”