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Buccaneer Quotes, Nov. 25

Posted Nov 25, 2013

When S Kelcie McCray saw the biggest play of the game unfolding near his goal line Sunday, all he could do was move, and hope he arrived on time…And other thoughts on the Bucs' win in Detroit

The play that unleashed jubilation on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sideline Sunday in Detroit – out of so many big plays for the Buccaneers, the one that finally extinguished the Lions' last hope – was very nearly a back-breaker for the visiting team.

For a fraction of a second, in fact, it looked very much like a 25-yard completion to wide receiver Calvin Johnson down to the Buccaneers' three-yard line with a minute to play. Trailing 24-21, the Lions almost surely would have converted that into at least the game-tying points, if not a winning touchdown. And the best receiver in the NFL had the ball in his hands…until Kelcie McCray arrived.

McCray, an early-October waiver claim from the Miami Dolphins, was seeing a significant amount of playing time in the Buccaneers' third-down packages because starting free safety Dashon Goldson was serving a one-game suspension. Keith Tandy also played extensively with Goldson out, and turned in a critical goal-line interception in the third quarter on another pass attempt to Johnson. In this case, however, it was McCray patrolling the edge of the end zone as Johnson locked up in man-to-man coverage with rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks. Banks was on Johnson when Matthew Stafford's pass arrived but couldn't keep it from getting to the receiver. Fortunately, McCray delivered a jarring hit before Johnson could fully tuck it away, and the ball flew out of his grasp.

-- S K. McCray's hit on WR Calvin Johnson led to the game-sealing INT for Johnthan Banks
McCray was relieved to have timed his arrival well enough to dislodge the ball.

“Actually, I didn’t know if I was going to make it in time to knock the ball down, but once I saw him catch it I was like, 'Oh my God,'" recalled McCray. "The thing that was going through my mind then was, 'I’ve got to get this ball, I’ve got to do whatever I’ve got to do to get this ball out.' I just tried to hit him as hard as I could and in some kind of way jar the ball loose.”

Even better for the Buccaneers, Banks was able to alertly snatch the deflected football from the air with his right hand for the game-sealing interception. It happened so fast that it was more instinct than anything else for Banks, and McCray wasn't quite sure what had occurred.

“I didn’t know he picked the ball up until I looked up and he was running down the sidelines and then the only thing on my mind was, ‘Get down, please get down. Just don’t fumble or nothing.’ It took a couple of seconds before I saw him running down the sidelines.”

McCray's big hit wasn't the only topic being discussed at One Buccaneer Place the day after Tampa Bay's win in the Motor City. Below are some additional thoughts from Buccaneer coaches and players.

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening Statement)
“We lost [tight end] Tom Crabtree for the year. [He has] a torn bicep, so he’ll have surgery this week, have it repaired. [Cornerback] Darrelle [Revis], [we’re] not sure [how severe the injury is]. He’s getting an MRI to see where we stand, so we’ll have more for you on Wednesday. Other than that, a very physical game played on the turf, but I think we’re going to come out of it okay, other than those two major things. We don’t know what Darrelle[’s injury] is. We do know what Tom[’s injury] is. I thought, overall, the guys played a tremendous team football game – playing off each other, all three phases. None of the three were perfect, that’s for sure, but we were playing a very good football team in their stadium, a very tough environment. What they did is they hung together as a group and made plays when they needed to. Certainly the takeaways were a big part of the game. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us in Carolina. You don’t even realize it until you take a step back, but, with 13 guys on the injured reserve now, with Tom being added there, I’m really proud of our coaches and our players for just continuing to battle on [and] step up. One thing about this staff is they’re really good teachers and they continue to just teach whoever it is. We’ve learned a lot, I can say, in the last two years, making the jump from college football to the National Football League. We’ve learned a lot about coaching pro athletes. We’ve learned a lot about being in this league. One of the things that I think helps, coming from college, is the fact that you do have graduation, you do have kids leaving early, you do have academic things that come up where, hey, you’ve got coach the next guy. As we move forward, I think there’s a foundation here. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to take advantage of some momentum right now, because we’re going to face a team that has tremendous momentum. As we’ve said every week, [we’re] truly excited about doing it, and I know our football team is.”

(On Revis’ injury)
“It’s a groin [injury], don’t know the severity of it. I was severe enough that he – I know he wanted to play in that game, desperately. That was a great matchup. The first half felt like two championship fighters just feeling each other out a little bit – mostly jabs. It was going to be an interesting second half. The flipside to that is I’m really proud of [cornerback] Johnthan Banks. We weren’t sure how we were going to do it. Were we going to totally go away from the plan? Were we going to adjust the plan? We ended up adjusting it a little bit, but Johnthan stepped into Darrelle’s role – and against one of the greatest players to ever play that position [Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson] – and really did a good job.”

(On his expectations for Revis’ injury)
“I’m hopeful it’s short-term, but I couldn’t tell you that. My hopes really don’t matter, probably. We’ll see what the doctor says.”

(On if Revis walking around on the sideline after his injury is a good sign)
“Again, that’s probably out of my realm. Certainly he didn’t have to go to the hospital, so I guess that’s a positive, but I don’t know. That would be speculation on my part right now.”

(On forcing turnovers)
“I think what it is, reaping what you sow. We’re out there every day in practice, we do a takeaway circuit every day. We practice that way; if the ball’s on the ground, it doesn’t matter where, who, we’re scooping it up and trying to score with the football. I think that’s more of the mentality that you develop, that it’s an all-the-time thing. The same thing with ball security – if there’s one thing we’re fanatical about around here, it’s that. I’ve learned you’ve never got it. The minute you think you’ve got it, you’re got, if that makes sense. You’ve just got to keep coaching it, emphasizing it in the players. You know it’s working when they joke around about it. That’s what we want. We want them to be that aware of the football, because, like we said from the day we got here, that’s the number one statistic tied to winning in the National Football League.”

(On scheme changes if Revis can’t play Sunday)
“It’s not a whole new scheme. It’s kind of like, when you have Darrelle Revis, you just kind of tinker with it a little bit, and you can kind of take your resources and dedicate them away from him. You say, ‘He’s going to take care of his guy, and then we can use the rest to take care of the rest,’ so if we don’t have him, that’ll present some things. Tomorrow’s the big game-plan day. Today, we kind of study them, and then early tomorrow morning, we get to game planning, so hopefully we’ll have a little bit better understanding of what the odds are for Darrelle to play this weekend, and then we’ll just go from there.”

(On wide receiver Tiquan Underwood)
“I think Tiquan is an incredible story – an unselfish, humble guy who just [has] persistence. We let him go twice, he battles back. [He was released from] Jacksonville, New England. Some of the stuff that’s happened to this kid – not a kid anymore, I’m used to calling him a kid, we recruited him – this young man, [getting cut by New England] the night before the Super Bowl. It’s all part of the business. There’s nothing bad about it. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. But this guy just keeps coming back. That I’m really proud of, because I’ve known him since he was probably 14 years old. [He’s] just an incredible person.”

(On tight end Tim Wright)
“Timmy Wright is quickly becoming a really tough tight end to cover in this league. The thing that we’ve said all along we’ve just got to keep working on is he’s got to continue to be an adequate blocker. He’s never going to knock the point and just be a third tackle in there, that’s for sure, but as long as he can adequately do what we ask him to do, then you’re going to get favorable matchups, and that’s what we have to continue to get, because he and [quarterback] Mike Glennon have a really good feel for each other.”

(On if playing with a depleted roster puts a chip on his shoulder)
“I can’t speak for the coaches because, to us, they’re our players. We have a saying: ‘They’re our guys,’ and we coach them. Maybe the players do. I heard [running back] Bobby [Rainey] say, ‘I’m not trying to prove it to anybody else, I’m trying to prove it to myself.’ I read that somewhere. I think guys understand the blessing it is to be in this league and they’re trying to take advantage of their opportunity. We always talk about one guy’s misfortune is another guy’s opportunity. The other thing we often say around here is, ‘There’s no such thing as missed opportunities in the National Football League, because someone’s there, they’re going to take it, so let it be you.’ Some of these guys have done that.”

(On who will get playing time at tight end in place of Crabtree)
“We’re working as we speak – certainly outside the building, inside the building. We’re trying to figure out the best way. It’s always about getting the best 11, and then it’s different packages, trying to get 12, 13. I’m not sure what that answer is yet. We’ll probably have some more information by Wednesday.”

(On the performance of special teams)
“Let me clarify one thing with [wide receiver] Eric [Page]: Eric’s made some rookie errors, which we have to get corrected, but he’s also done some really good things as a returner. I think [Special Teams] Coach [Dave] Wannstedt has done a great job, he and [Assistant Special Teams Coach] Phil Galiano, with the group. Yesterday, he kept coming up to me, ‘Okay, Greg, you understand we’re missing [certain players],’ because, as one guy gets promoted up, and now another guy, it’s a chain reaction. At the end, there were some things we were doing a little more simply just because we weren’t sure everybody was exactly on point with every detail. Even though we didn’t score of that blocked punt, it was like a heavy weight fight, and at the end, we were making sure that we won the decision, if you know what I mean. We didn’t have it to go for the knockout, but we wanted to make sure we won the decision. That blocked punt helped us get to the decision. So, yeah, special teams has done some really good things. We just have to keep battling. We have some guys that are really good special teams players. We’ve got to make sure that we have them. With [linebacker Adam] Hayward playing almost every snap on defense, he’s not conditioned to do that and do all his special teams responsibilities, so we had to sub there. There were a lot of different guys playing and helping out, but again, that’s something that, when they said it’s a team victory, it really was a team victory.”

(On chances linebacker Mason Foster plays Sunday)
“Hopeful, but when you deal with a head injury, like I said last week, you really just have to wait and see how he feels. We’re always going to err on the side of caution when it comes to those.”

(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I know this about Mike: he is a rookie quarterback, for sure, and there’s still some rookie things he says and does that make you remember, ‘Oh yeah, this guy’s a rookie.’ But I think he has accelerated his progress by, from the day he got here, how hard he’s prepared and worked. If there’s such a thing, I think he’s kind of taken a rookie season and kind of condensed it into eight or so games, if that makes sense, because he’s playing at a higher level than you would expect a rookie [to]. The things that are hard for rookies [are] to let a bad play die and don’t get greedy. That’s what Mike does the best job of. In six games, he’s thrown one interception. He’s now throwing the ball down the field, I think, with more confidence, because he’s always been able to do it, just pulling the trigger. That is the development or the maturation of a quarterback. I think we’re all seeing it right in front of our eyes. I think this is a guy that certainly, as long as he continues on this trajectory, you’d love to have as your quarterback for a long time.”

(On defensive end Adrian Clayborn)
“Adrian plays with a tremendous motor. He just doesn’t take the foot off the gas. That’s how he’s made a living. That’s how he did it in college. I remember studying Adrian when we studied Iowa’s defense, and you said, ‘Man, that 94’s something.’ He continues to play that way. I worry at times that he’s in there too many plays and getting gassed, when you play as hard as he plays, so that’s why I’m encouraged with Dekoda being able to play some, because Dekoda got in there, and resting Adrian, he made some plays. If we can kind of ham-and-egg it that way, that’s going to be a good thing for us.”

DT Gerald McCoy

(On the flight home from Detroit)
“Honestly, it was kind of chill. You would think that we would be on the plane just really going crazy and just really enjoying it. I think we put so much effort into winning that game that we were just worn out. We kind of were just relaxing and everybody was kind of quiet on the way back. I don’t think we weren’t happy, but that was a hard fought physical game and Detroit’s a really physical, good team. I think we all were kind of worn out.”

(On back-up players in the secondary stepping up and making plays)
“[Cornerback Darrelle] Revis got paid to do what he did, but he can only do it if he’s on the field. If he’s not on the field then it’s the next man up mentality and those guys know that, that’s kind of who we are and how we are. They made that known with how hard they played yesterday. You never would have known we had a Darrelle Revis by how our secondary played. It kind of wasn’t that much of a drop off, if a drop off at all, and they all stepped up and made some big plays for us.”

(On what Revis has brought to the defense and how much of a loss will he be if misses significant time)
“He’s that guy where you can say ‘Revis you’ve got that half of the field and the other 10 got this half of the field.’ He’s that good. If that’s taken from you, you just go back to your original game plan, as if he wasn’t there. His physicality, his leadership, and his work ethic is very known to us and we feed off of him, but we’ve got a lot of other leaders on the team and on the defense to feed off of. Not having a Darrelle Revis, you will definitely be able to notice it.”

(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“He’s one of the most poised rookies I’ve seen at quarterback. He doesn’t get rattled much. There were times yesterday where he got hit and he could’ve just went down but he just – because guys were just bouncing off of him and he was just extending the play. There were times where I talked to some of the offensive lineman yesterday and I said “I think that was a bad time for him to take a sack,’ and they [said] ‘Would you rather him take the sack or make an impulse throw or make a bad throw and turn the ball over?’ I was like ‘I guess that makes sense.’ He’s smart with his decisions and he studies constantly and I think he’s starting to understand the game a lot more.”

(On the team showing perseverance with a three-game winning streak after a difficult start)
“I’ll honestly go out on the limb and say I don’t think anybody practices harder than us on Wednesdays. I don’t think anybody has a training camp harder than ours. I just think that’s how hard we practice and prepare and train on Wednesdays when we put on the pads and in training camp. It’s kind of one of those things, if you can make it through those days and you can make through training camp, then you can make it through a hard fought game. We prepare mentally throughout all this stuff for games like that, just fighting all the way to the end. Coach puts the hardest stuff we’ll face in practice at the end of practice for times like that. You’re tired, you’ve been running all day and did all this stuff, now we’ve got a two-minute drill at the end of practice. He’s prepared us for times like that. I think it’s just starting to show up at the end of these games, how hard we prepare.”

(On the lessons he has taken from this season)
“Just keep on pushing, don’t ever give up, don’t listen to the naysayers, and stay away from the dream killers I like to call it. People will tell you can’t do it, you don’t have it, or this team isn’t this, this team isn’t that, that’s all from the outside looking in. Us on the inside of those four walls, we’ve never stopped believing and we haven’t stopped believing. We kept preparing the same every week and we just persevered and it all starts with our head coach. He came in every day, worked his butt off and we fed off him and we kept on going and now we’re getting some wins, hopefully we can keep it going.”

S Kelcie McCray

(On stepping up in Sunday’s game and playing in an increased capacity)
“I knew I was going to play more because obviously ‘Hawk’ [safety Dashon Goldson] wasn’t playing. I knew I had an opportunity to get more snaps. I just wanted to go in there and make the best of my opportunity. One of my coaches told me three weeks ago ‘Whenever your number is called, be ready,’ and that’s the approach I took, practicing every day like I was going to be the guy.”

(On what play surprised him the most his hit or his fumble recovery)
“Definitely the last play of the game because I think that was an impact play. I’m not saying that the fumble wasn’t but if [Detroit wide receiver] Calvin Johnson catches that ball on the two or three yard line, then it’s tough trying to stop them going in [to the end zone] right there. I think that play is definitely the biggest play of my professional career.”

(On if the defense knew they had to make key stops in the fourth quarter)
“I think that’s the approach our defense always takes. Not only that game, but every game that I’ve been here, the defense always takes that approach of ‘We’ve got to stop them from scoring, we can’t let them score.’ That’s the approach we always take every game, going into a game.”

(On overcoming cornerback Darrelle Revis’ absence in the second half)
“It is tough, but at the same time you’ve got guys that stepped up. When one guy goes down such as ‘Hawk’ or Darrelle Revis, you’ve got guys that are biting at the opportunity. We don’t wish for anybody to get hurt or be out, but we’ve got guys that look for those opportunities to go in and make a play such as Banks, or [cornerback Danny] Gorrer, or myself.”

(On what the flight was like back home)
“It’s always good after a win. The flight is always better after a win.”

(On how much of them practicing getting forcing fumbles is paying off in games)
“It’s definitely paying off; we work it every week at practice. Drills, turn the ball over and it’s definitely good to see it showing up in games now.”

(On safety Keith Tandy’s development)
“Keith is a great teammate. He’s one of the guys that knows every position on the field. With me being newer here, that’s one of the guys I go to a lot for plays or techniques or whatever. He’s definitely one of the smartest players that that I’ve ever played with.”

(On having a roster full of players fighting for playing time)
“I think it’s – I know I did – a lot of those guys have sort of a chip on their shoulders. They always feel like they have something to prove. Not only me, but a lot of guys felt like they should’ve been drafted or drafted higher or whatever. So when they do get an opportunity, it’s like they’ve got something to prove. I want to prove all these coaches and all these players wrong. I think that’s why a lot of guys are excelling that were undrafted.”

(On if he feels a sense of confidence after making big plays in Sunday’s win)
“Yeah, definitely, I’m not going to lie and say it’s the same. Of course everybody – as a little kid, guys dream about making big plays to win a game. At the same time I’m not saying that it’s going to change me, I’m still the same guy, I’m still in here working out on the off-day. I’m still the same guy, but it definitely feels a little better, especially after a win.”

WR Tiquan Underwood

(On his 85-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Mike Glennon)
“First off, great call by coach [offensive coordinator] Mike Sullivan. They gave us the courage that we were looking for. The offensive line gave Mike [Glennon] time, especially with that front four we were facing, and Mike put it right on the money.”

(On making the most of his opportunities)
“In this league we all know you don’t get a lot of opportunities and some guys on this team have been given opportunities due to injury or whatever the reason has been, and guys are really stepping up. That’s the best way to make a name for yourself in this league. I speak to [wide receiver] Vincent Jackson a lot and not a lot of people know that he started on special teams and [was] not getting a lot of reps, and he just continued to work hard and persevere, and guys on this team are doing that. When you have [running back] Mike James who stepped up, [running back] Bobby Rainey stepped up after him, it’s happening a lot on this team due to injury – which is part of this game – but guys are really embracing opportunity.”

(On having success despite being cut numerous times)
“When you’re cut, it’s part of this business. You can either lie down or continue to work hard and fight. The way I was raised, I just continued to work. I trust in God and I trust in the abilities that he’s blessed me with and to finally get an opportunity – I called my uncle right after that game, I said, ‘Man, I’ve waited five years to have a performance like that, I haven’t played like that since college,’ and for it to finally happen, it just helps your confidence, it gives confidence to the coaches and also the quarterback. He’s a young guy still finding his way, so you want to be a guy that he can count on.”

(On his seven-yard touchdown reception against Detroit defensive back Rashean Mathis)
“The first read was actually Vince on the pop play [who was doubled], which tends to happen a lot because he’s such a great player, and I was the next read. It was the first time I was lined up on Rashean Mathis, who I played with a lot in Jacksonville. He’s a strong, longer guy, so once he gets his hands off you, you’ve got to continue to fight and fortunately I did that and Mike, once again, put it on the money.”

(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“Man, he’s playing great right now and for him to be a rookie, the way he comes into the facility early, leaves late, he’s doing all the things necessary to be successful on Sundays and the way he’s been playing, you can see that.”

(On Glennon’s accuracy and its impact on him as a receiver)
“Whenever you run a route and you know the ball is going to be placed where it needs to be, or he always puts it away from the defender which helps us as well, that goes a long way. As a receiver, you’re very confident in running your route and knowing where the ball will be and Mike’s doing a great job of that. Honestly, he’s doing a great job of leading our offense; whenever we’re doing well or it’s not going too well, he just stays very consistent and just even-keeled.”