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Buccaneer Quotes, Nov. 6

Posted Nov 6, 2013

A collection of thoughts from the locker room and the media studio at team headquarters on Wednesday, including Donald Penn's take on the potential distractions facing the Dolphins

Given the many unexpected ways in which Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2013 season has unfolded, the final days leading up to their first Monday Night Football appearance in over two years are feeling strangely calm and quiet. This week, much of the NFL's attention is on the Buccaneers' upcoming opponent, the Miami Dolphins, thanks to the troubling issue involving offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

However, the Buccaneers are not counting on that weekk-long attention being a distraction for the Dolphins when the lights go on at Raymond James Stadium on Monday.

“At the end of the day, on Monday, when everybody lines up, all the distractions go out the window," said tackle Donald Penn. "That’s a time when you get your frustrations out and you really can’t think about the distractions. I think Monday they’re going to be out there with their best game. They’re going to be out there fired up, especially a Monday night game too. I know we are and I know they are, it’s going to be a tough battle. I think all that stuff that’s going on now, it’s not going to be a factor at all come game time, Monday night.”
-- T D. Penn expects Miami's best effort on Monday Night

Potential distractions weren't the only thing being discussed at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday. Here are some additional thoughts from Buccaneer coaches and players:

Head Coach Greg Schiano

(Opening statement)
“As I said to the team, Miami has a bonus on our bonus because they play Thursday so it really isn’t. But it was good, [safety] Dashon [Goldson] had did some stuff which was good to have him out there. Got a start on Miami which was good, [we] got a chance to get everything back and going without really cracking. Tomorrow we’ll put the pads on and then treat it like a regular week. Excited to keep it going, Monday night game back in our stadium, looking forward to it.”

(On guard Davin Joseph and running back Doug Martin’s absence in practice)
“By design, we wanted to rest them treat them, we kind of did a jog through and then we had a practice for the older guys with just the ball caps and kind of went through our paces that way. It was just strategically giving those guys treatment.”

(On if the personal foul penalties have changed the way the defense is playing)
“No, I don’t. Some of the stuff you can get personal fouls for later in the down when you don’t drive through a gap, they’re not going to call penalty fort you not getting to your gap in the interior line play, so I don’t believe that.”

(On rookie initiation)
“My policy is with everything – we talk about trust, belief and accountability and that kind of covers everything. Our guys, there’re some ritual things they do and my thing is ‘You don’t cross the line. That’s a man, you’re a man, make sure we do not cross the line.’ I think our guys have been good about that. If it’s skits or carrying pads or cleaning off trays, that’s ritual that guys go through. That’s kind of how we talk about it in that trust in that belief in that accountability to one another. That code of conduct kind of covers everything we do.”

(On if he has seen it go too far)
“I haven’t.”

(On quarterback Mike Glennon’s performance)
“I think taking care of the football, three games without an interception in a row, that would exceed any – I don’t think there’s a quarterback in the league who’s done that in the last three games – so that exceeds expectations for a veteran, rookie, whoever. You don’t ever want to do that at the risk of not trying to fit it into windows, though. I don’t want him to ever play apprehensive in any way, so we keep telling him, ‘You’ve made it here by drilling it in there’ and I think he’s done it very well. He’s drilled a few in there. I think back to three games ago, he put one right over the DBs head down the middle, the one he threw to [tight end] Timmy [Wright] against Seattle, knowing that the middle safety was coming over and he drilled it in there and Timmy made a great catch holding on to it after the hit. But those are windows that are pretty tight. The third down completion to Timmy Wright on the little out route, where the corner trapped and came back in, that was a tight, tight window and he was aware of it and fit it in there. I think he’s doing what we’re asking, not playing apprehensively, yet he’s been able to not turn the ball over so that’s going to be critical, we’ve got to continue doing that. Now, as I tell him, ‘You’re going to throw an interception, don’t fret that.’ But we want to be real prudent where we risk- reward it.”

(On what he constitutes as going over the line)
“I just think you live by the golden rule and that’s something we talk about as well. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I think when you start getting into having a thousand different things, you run out of time before you can define all of them. I think it’s a general over-all and I think TBA, trust, belief and accountability covers that all. Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it and be honest. Those two things cover almost 90 percent. Belief in yourself and the team, what we do then accountability, being accountable of each other, those three things are really what we hang our hat on and I think the golden rule is one you live by. Not just in football but in everything. I don’t try to get into ‘Don’t do this, do this, don’t do this.’ They get where I’m coming from.”

(On dealing with off field distractions)
“You hit it on the head, nobody cares about what’s going on. That’s the reality of it you’ve got to fight through it. That’s the job of the team and the coach. But the reality is, I talk about 1440 minutes every day, if you’re spending it on stuff other than game planning, evaluating, all those things – there’s a limited time, you do have to sleep a little bit. That’s where it becomes a factor, a tangible factor. Other than that; you can’t let it be, you can’t be distracted. It’s just when it takes time away from what you normally do, that’s where it becomes an issue.”

(On losing a lot of key players and moving forward)
“I think, as always, you want to mix it up. You don’t want to be predictable, but certainly when you lose people in your line, that gives us an opportunity. But we’ve done the same, we’ve lost [Guard] Carl Nicks, he’s a pretty big part of our line, so I think it all plays out. But we need to get to this quarterback and we need to keep him in the box. We’ve lost contain on two mobile quarterbacks, we’ve got another mobile quarterback this week and if we let him get out of there, he’s going to cause problems.”

(On the team’s pass rush and if defensive end Da’Quan Bower will get more snaps)
“Bowers may get more snaps but not as a case of remedy as if he deserves them. As I’ve said, [it’s] earning your piece of the pie. Sacks have dropped off because of things we did early in the year, we didn’t do in the last four games, we didn’t keep contain. We’ve had plenty of sacks, would’ve-been sacks that got out, so when we start doing that, we’ll get our sacks again. I have no concern about [that] other than the fact that we have to do that. If you’re the contain rusher, you’ve got to stay outside, you can’t get nosey and go back in because you want to make a play. That’s what we have to stop doing. We’ve got to play as a unit, play as a team, and when we do, we’ll start making sacks again."

(On safety Dashon Goldson’s health)
“He’s doing better. I think he’s improving; he’s got to keep improving that’s what we need out of him.”

(On Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill)
“I think he has experience in this system, so he gets rid of the ball fairly quickly. When he does not get rid of the ball fairly quickly, he takes off and extends plays. Whether he extends and throws or extends and runs, he extends, so we need to make sure we keep this guy in the pocket.”

(On wide receiver Mike Williams and his projected return time)
“We’ve had a few [guys get surgery] so I don’t want us to give you the wrong information. I think he will be back for OTA, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to go ahead and get it done.”

(On getting the team to continue to play aggressively given the numerous penalties)
“I just talk to them. I call them in and tell them ‘This is what we need from you.’ If he doesn’t do it, you play somebody else. The thing I learned a long time ago – it’s like raising your kids. You can threaten, you can yell, you can scream, but that may not work. Soon as their rear end meets bench, if they got it in them, they’re going to fight back and if they don’t they don’t. Then you know it’s time to move on.”

(On motivating the players to perform)
“I think players do that on their own, I think that’s something, because they hold each other accountable to play at a high level because it’s all of our careers on the line, I think that kind of takes care of itself, the level rises with the sea.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan

(On reasons the offense stalled in the second half against Seattle)
“One of them in the second half, unfortunately, was caused by a penalty; we had the second drive and started to have some success and, at about the 45-yard line, instead of second-and-5, it’s now first-and-20. Those are tough to make up against any opponent, let alone a great team in their place. That made it difficult. A couple other conversions that we had – really, I felt confident about the scheme. The scheme played itself out well with regard to getting guys open. We had guys open and unfortunately, on two occasions, weren’t able to hold up from a protection standpoint. So, it’s frustrating, but overall, one of the overall objectives we knew we had to try to do was match them for third down, and unfortunately their offense converted at a higher rate than we did. While on the surface 53 percent is a good number, as you mentioned, most of that was in the first half, at the critical junctures – second half, certainly the first series of the overtime – that’s when we needed to get the job done and unfortunately we didn’t.”

(On what has impressed him about quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I think there’s a poise and a steadiness that he has. I think that [in Seattle] was a very difficult and challenging environment and he never got rattled. I’ve seen people get frustrated out there, and he did a good job of keeping his head about him, even when you get some of the other issues – he got sacked early on and just continued to play. There was a steadiness in that he didn’t get overwhelmed by it all. I think that speaks well on his behalf. He’s really processed the information. He’s really got a good understanding of what we’re trying accomplish and an understanding of the offense and just being able to operate and make those subtle calls in that noise and change protections and change plays at the line of scrimmage, again, in that environment, against that team, I think really speaks highly about him. Now it’s just continuing to do some of the little things even better. We’ve said time and again he’s certainly not going to be confused with an RGIII [Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III] or some of those guys that are going to go ahead and score when he scrambles, but in terms of, if something does break down, having eyes downfield and seeing if we can hit some of the targets that might be there. We’ve made an emphasis, particularly today, that, from a scramble drill standpoint, [in case] it happens, [to] have a specific protocol of what we want guys to do, and we need to do a better job, I need to do a better job of reinforcing that so that, as he extends the play, he’s got a chance to go ahead and throw to an open receiver rather than having to scramble.”

(On what gives him confidence the offense will continue to improve)
“I think that, when you look back – and for me to be perfectly clear, [there are] absolutely no moral victories. We did not win the game, we did not do enough offensively to win that game. But, as a group, and being able to go out there and have the type of execution, at times, and being able to put the type of points that we put up, and yardage, if we can put all that together – and really that goes back to the preparation. There was a tremendous week of practice, there was great focus, and this is amidst all of the issues and frustrations and things that have made it difficult, [being] 0-7 at the time, getting ready to play those guys. I think the message that we talked about today at practice was that the things that enable us to play at a high level, although not high enough, but to get us our overall best performance of the year was the preparation and the type of intensity and focus that we had and guys buying into the plan. I think that, if we can build upon that and move forward and continue to do good things there in the run game and be able to have a consistency on our third downs and, late in the game, be able to have a consistency with which we’re converting on third down – not have the long drive and have to kick a field goal [but] to score the touchdown when we get it down in the green zone – I think there’s an awful lot that, if we can build upon that, I think, moving forward, we’ve got an excellent chance.”

(On at what point winning is needed to keep the players motivated)
“That’s hard to say; I really don’t know how to answer that. We all have our limits, everyone has a breaking point, I just know that we’re not there, here, as a team, and certainly speaking from our standpoint offensively. If anything, there’s an even greater resolve. There’s no question there’s disappointment, there’s frustration – frustrated for each other and for the organization and for our fans – but there, I think, is a sense of confidence that, if we can just keep working, we’re close to putting a few pieces of the puzzle together, we can do some good things and we can win some games. I don’t know what that point is, I just know that we’re not at it, fortunately.”

(On Glennon’s performance in Sunday’s game)
“I think, overall, it was his best performance. I don’t know if I could have a specific grade or number that I could give, but when you look at the three big things that we look for in a quarterback in terms of any quarterback, I think, in any system in any team, it’s the leadership, the decision-making, and the accuracy. Above all that, obviously, is being smart with the football, and that would come into play in terms of decision-making, and he did have a third consecutive game without throwing any interceptions and yet still had an aggressiveness to make some very tough throws, some accurate throws. I think his leadership, especially there, being in that environment, his steadiness – and a lot of players have commented upon how he is in the huddle, there’s no stuttering or stammering; he’s looking them all in the eye, he’s very positive and encouraging, and I think, as we looked back at the tape, the decisions that he made, there weren’t ones that we looked at where [we thought] it was a poor decision to check this run or in terms of trying to throw to this receiver. I think, moving forward, if we can just do, overall, a better job, particularly on third down or some of those end-of-game situations – that’s the biggie, if we can just get ourselves in a position to get over the hump there – but I think he is getting better and better and I think there’s a lot of room for optimism with, overall, how he’s performing.”

(On the performance of offensive lineman Jamon Meredith in Sunday’s game)
“Jamon played very hard. He played well. He’s a competitor. The whole group really bought in to the notion of, ‘Hey, we’re going to go up to the bully in the school yard and match him punch for punch.’ I think that that’s something that we just need to continue to build upon but then take some of that physicality and commitment and energy and also translate that into pass protection. That would really be the next step to put all the pieces of the puzzle [together]. You have your play-action-type passes, but, ultimately, in any tough game, any close game, which certainly that was, there may be a time when they know you have to throw and you have to be able to protect, and we’ve got to be able to do those things to put the whole puzzle together. I think, if we do that, we’ll be in good shape.”

(On claims that the offensive play-calling was more conservative in the second half of Sunday’s game)
“I think back to the second half, and when we were able to move it down – and we talked about earlier that we, unfortunately, weren’t able to punch it in. [We] had another, we were getting it rolling, and we were trying to mix in our shots down the field, got two defensive pass interference penalties and, again, got set back. And a couple of [plays], especially schematically, feeling like the mad scientist – having the bunch type of route and getting them off and guys are open and we’re not able to hold up. Then, really, you talk about conservative – the first play of the overtime, we actually went with what we thought would be a shot play, we thought we had a matchup of putting [wide receiver] Skye Dawson in the backfield on the WILL [weak side] linebacker, and so that’s kind of an aggressive thought process to say, ‘Hey, we can maybe end this thing in one play in the overtime.’ It’s hard to say, like with any call, every game, no matter how well things turn out or how poorly, I promise you I’m always going back and [saying], ‘Boy, I wish I had the time machine here, and, ‘Oh, crap.’ That happens, and I think, at the time, we make the best decisions we feel are going to help us win, and unfortunately, it wasn’t there, but I think, if we keep doing the things that we’re doing and build upon it, we’re going to be in good shape.”

QB Mike Glennon

(On his rookie initiation in Tampa Bay)
“Honestly, you hear all of these stories and there wasn’t anything I had to do that was bad at all. I had to run to Chipotle a few times to get some burritos for the quarterbacks, I had to sing one time in front of the team and I was the only person that had to do so, and that was it. I sang ‘Build Me Up Buttercup.’ It was all just me. Great vocals. I think people started clapping and joining along, so I hear that’s a good sign. It was before one of our meetings. That’s about as pure and innocent as it gets. Just a song that I felt everyone would kind of know and hopefully join along with. I just wanted more of karaoke-type song that would get everyone involved.”

(On the rookie talent show)
“That was what we did and we had our own little thing, but it was not much. There was no hazing here, no one cut their hair, no one had to shave their beards, there was none of that here.”

(On his progress as a quarterback)
“I think I’m learning each week, I’m working hard to learn from the good, learn from the bad, and that’s going to be my approach from here on out. There will be new things thrown at me every week, there was new things that they did that I hadn’t seen before, but those experiences are good to learn from, so I have them in the back of my head. We always talk about, me and coach, about being smart with taking the shots and [letting] those big plays come to me because what we always talk about is there’s about five or so plays that are going to decide the outcome of the game, so don’t try every play to be one of those five, let those five plays come to us, and that’s kind of the approach I’ve been taking. When it’s there, I’m going to take the shot, but if it’s not there, I’ll just check it down. Get it to second-and-six rather than second-and-10.”

(On if he’s been playing tentative)
“I haven’t been playing tentative, I’ve just been trying to take care of the football and just going through my reads. Go wherever my eyes take me and wherever that is, if I feel like it’s open, I’m just going to let it rip.”

(On how the offense can improve in the second half)
“We just have to keep getting into [favorable] situations, I don’t think there’s exactly one thing, we just have to execute better. We had two three-and-outs, I believe, towards the end of the game and that’s kind of what hurts us, but I don’t think there’s exactly one thing. It’s just continue to execute first through third down and not put ourselves in a bad situation. The first half I don’t think we had many third-and-longs at all, so if we could just get into third-and-manageable, I don’t know statistically if that matches up, but just execute each down and stay on schedule.”

(On his mobility and ability to extend plays)
“If I can just get out a few steps, I feel good about keeping my eyes down field and throwing on the run. I think both those instances [at Seattle] I had a great trust in [tight end] Timmy [Wright] just to put it up there and let him make a play. Then Ti [wide receiver Tiquan Underwood] just flashed on me, I mean really he’s the one that got open and just found him and he did a good job making a play on the ball. Honestly I’ve always felt like throwing on the run was one of my strengths. For whatever reason I’ve always been criticized on it, but I feel comfortable doing with it and I know our coaches have confidence in me doing it. I’ve always known that I can extend a play more than people give me credit for.”

(On his connection with Wright)
“I think he’s just doing a great job of getting open and catching the ball. He’s turned into a big part of our offense and I think it’s just a credit to his hard work. He’s one of the hardest workers on this team, always looking to get better, and I saw that from the day he got here, he kind of caught my eye right away. It’s great to see that the hard work is paying off for him, but he’s a talented player. He creates a lot of mismatches for this team – linebacker, safeties, he’s getting open against. It’s definitely nice to have a tight end that’s as much of a threat as he is.”

(On the team’s last drive against Seattle)
“I just went with my instinct at the time and I felt like my best play was to try and go around that blocker, maybe have him collide with him. Looking at the film I think it’s hard to say what would have happened one way or another, those guys are a little faster than I am, so I felt like that was the best thing to do and I’m not going to go back on my instinct.”

(On running back Mike James’ touchdown jump pass)
“It was pretty awesome. I could see his excitement, he was on the ground, got clocked to the ground, and he was squirming to get up and got to the sidelines and was like, ‘I can’t believe my first touchdown in the NFL is a passing touchdown.’ I saw [tight end Tom] Crabtree lying on the ground. When the play call came in I was excited about it, but at that point in the game it was a nice little wrinkle to throw in there that really worked out for us.”

(On his comfort with the offense and working with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan)
“He still is going to design the game plan along with all of our other offensive coaches, but I’ll tell him what I’m comfortable with and what I’m not as comfortable with and he does a great job. If I want to take something out, there’s no point in calling it if the quarterback doesn’t feel comfortable with it, so I think he’s getting a better understanding of my strengths as well and he’s done a great job. I think against that defense shows how good of game plan we had going into that game.”

T Donald Penn

(On what’s it going to take to get a win)
“It’s going to take a lot. That’s putting together a whole game, four quarters, not three quarters, not three-and-a-half quarters. maybe a whole game and overtime if it comes to that again, that’s what it is going to take. Doing all the little things right, I think that’s what it’s really going to take.”

(On quarterback Mike Glennon’s progress)
“Mike’s playing his butt off. I’m really proud of Mike. Mike’s really shown, he’s showing the football world he was a sleeper and he’s coming out and doing very good things. One thing you guys don’t know is his ability – he’s leading us, he’s pumping us up. I think in between almost every series and he’s chatting with offensive line in between every series and getting us going. His drive and his determination to want to win, you can see it in him while we’re playing. I think that really rubs off on us and I think he’s doing a great job of commanding the offense and my hat’s really off to him.”

(On if he questioned Glennon’s leadership coming in)
“My concerns didn’t really have anything to do with that, that’s really a plus and an extra. My concerns in being a left tackle, having a new quarterback in and not playing with him at all, not knowing where he’s going to be at, not having a feel for him. My first snap with Mike, was his first start. That was my worry there, this is all extra and it’s great. I think it’s something we needed. Now I can step back and focus on my game because Mike’s taking some the leadership role on the offense. I think [wide receiver] Vincent [Jackson] can step back and [guard] Davin [Joseph] can step back, we all can step back and start focusing on our game more. Mike’s doing what quarterback is supposed to be doing, he’s more part of that leadership and I think it’s helping us.”