BUC BIT OF THE DAY: The most recent meeting between the Falcons and the Buccaneers saw the two teams combine for 69 points in a 41-28 Tampa Bay victory. The 69 combined points are tied for the most ever scored in a single game between these two franchises (45-24, Atlanta, 1/1/12).
Below is a brief selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today's earlier media availability:
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"I think y'all have the list on guys that didn't practice: Mason Foster, Gerald McCoy and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Austin is getting better; the swelling is going down. His recovery is speeding up a little bit quicker than we thought. Gerald, we got him fitted in a cast today. He's feeling a lot better also. Mason wasn't able to do an awful lot today. Besides that, short week – had to change up the schedule a little bit. We have a Thursday game schedule that we're pretty comfortable with. As much as anything, of course, today you want to try to hit all of the situations. Tomorrow, we'll do a little bit more and then play the game. As much as anything, we want our players fresh; want them to know what they're doing. Excited about playing in front of a national TV audience, which is good. We haven't played our best ball. Here's a chance for a lot of people to kind of go and just look at what they see from us. So we need to play well. We lost a division home game and we need to steal one. Beyond that, Jeff Tedford was not in the building today. He's still working through some things."
(On the type of cast that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was wearing today)
"It's not a club. Today, of course, he had his thumb out, so we'll see. Eventually, that's what he'll end up playing with, with some protection while being able to use all of your fingers."
(On if offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford's absence today is in any way a setback)
"No, it's not a setback. To stop you from having to ask me every day: if he has a setback, I'll let you know. Beyond that, everything is going along smoothly, and that's about all I can give you right now."
(On if they are still planning on Tedford traveling to Atlanta)
"The plan hasn't changed."
(On if he remembers former defensive tackle Warren Sapp breaking his hand in 1999 and still winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year)
"Of course I do. But you can't say that all hand injuries are the same. Warren did have one – he was able to play with it. But there's different degrees on when you can [play]. For us, of course, Warren didn't play on a short week back then too. But we'll kind of see. We know that eventually he'll get back out there and he's trying to get out there as soon as he possibly can. But the Thursday night game is a little challenging."
(On how much McCoy's ability to use his left hand affects his pass rushing abilities)
"You can't really rush the passer and can't really play three technique with one arm, so you need to be able to use that. Gerald is a heck of a player, but I might have a chance against him if I made him put his hand behind his back and just played with one hand. So that's pretty hard to do. Eventually, he'll be able to use both and we'll get him out there. And that's not to say he can't do it; it's just a matter of time. Again, he's a quick healer. He was light on his feet out there today."
(On if he is pleased with what he has seen from defensive end Michael Johnson this week coming off an injury)
"Yes I am. Mike was, I think, out there early. Sped it up, ready to go. As much as anything for him, we need to get him out there to see what all he could take as far as soreness on the ankle. This isn't a long-term thing, but they take a little bit of time still. But we'll see. It's also challenging when you play on turf too. So hopefully he can go. Of course, playing against an offense like that, we'll need all of our pass rushers. At the same time, I was pleased with Da'Quan Bowers and Will Gholston – guys haven't played an awful lot – with what they were able to do coming off on injuries."
(On how he will be able to turn the team's attention quickly to Atlanta for Thursday after a tough loss this past Sunday)
"We just go with our same routine. If you have an injury, you're constantly getting treatment and trying to get as healthy as you can as soon as you possibly can. But everything else just kind of keeps moving on. We've known about this Thursday game, of course, for a while, so we've had a plan in place. And I mentioned earlier that we have a plan for getting ready for it with a short turnaround. They have a short turnaround too. Most of these games that I've been in have ended up being pretty good football games; it's not like they're sloppy games based on not having the normal allotted amount of time between the games. A lot of times, you can't put an awful lot in and guys are excited about getting out there right away."
(On how he thinks quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has handled calling plays on offense at such a young age)
"There's a lot of young guys making calls in the league and I think that our offensive staff has handled it well. Everyone wants to go just to Marcus, but it's a group effort, and I think we've done a pretty good job. As a football team, we're 0-2, so we haven't done a good enough job overall. I think we've lost an awful lot based on guys having to shuffle. It's like that on our football team: we've had players out and guys have stepped up, and we would like to see the next man up coaching or players to step up and do the job."
(On linebacker Dane Fletcher)
"He's a player that we went out to get, that kind of tells you. We watched him on video; he has excellent speed, he's good in space and he's been a good special teams player for us. As you look at our history, you talked about [Warren Sapp] a little while ago, as you look at our history, Shelton Quarles, Jeff Gooch, guys who have come in and had been special teams players, before they moved into a permanent role at the linebacker position. This is a normal progression for a Tampa Bay linebacker for me and he's a smart guy. He got plenty of time last week, so we feel really comfortable with him if Mason can't go."
(On McCown's turnovers)
"It's critical, you have to protect the football. We talk so much about ball security, you just look in the league, and not just Josh, but if you look in the league, I think except for, there were two quarterbacks out of 13 games last week, if your quarterback threw an interception, one you lost a football game. It's about protecting the football, it's about the turnover ratio, but if you talk about the quarterback, sometimes it's good to just bring the ball down and live to see another day or live to see another down."
(On Gholston playing both defensive end positions)
"We would like for our guys to be able to do both, we don't want to lock in a player at one position, but I think will can play on the right and left side. In an ideal world, probably more on the left, most teams have their tight ends on the right side, so having him as a big anchor point on the tight end is a pretty good situation for us to be in. Also I think we'll be able to move inside too. It's a big body in front of the quarterback, there are a couple of options that we have with him. I've been pleased with the amount of progress that he's made since training camp."
(On if facing an elite offense put pressure on the running game)
"Yes it does, but as a general rule we want to be able to run the football and keep drives going just in general. It does when you play a group like this, but for our football team we think it's to our advantage too, to be able to go on the turf where you can get good traction and for the defense, the crowd isn't into the game, it's a quiet environment and we need to be able to get pressure on him and get him off of his spot because [Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan] sitting back, seven-on-seven, it's tough duty for you."
(On whether Rainey will see more playing time following his big game last week)
"I think it's great that Bobby had that type of game and from probably the first time you asked that we want to play more than one running back, two maybe three, that's why we've had three up every time we could. No, that's just making our running back position stronger. We know what Doug [Martin] brings to the table, but that was a great game by Bobby Rainey and as Bobby will tell you 'It's not the first time I've carried the football and I can play in this league.' Of course it was a great job by our line giving him holes, but the plays after contact after he came in direct contact with the defender, that's what I was impressed with. The more the better, you can't have too many running backs."
(On if he's bothered by news of players in domestic violence instances)
"Very much so. I believe in the shield too and what it represents and what our players represent and who's looking at them. There is a lot being said right now. I was asked earlier if I have gone over with my players not to hit a woman, no I haven't. I don't have to, we all know right from wrong, it's pretty simple. There's some things that you just don't do and for us to continually have talk about it is terrible. For me, I have a wife, a mother, sisters and down the line, and there's just no place for it. That's how it's coming out and we're trying to do something about it, but it's just not an NFL problem, it's a societal problem as I see it. Yes, just like everybody else, moving away from my role, I'm disturbed by some of the things that we're having to deal with right now too."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LESLIE FRAZIER
"Short week for us, a lot of guys who are anxious to get back on the field. A short week can be a positive and we want to turn it into a positive. We're working as hard as we can and just focusing on this ball game – the Atlanta Falcons and their offense. Our guys are working hard to familiarize themselves with their offense. Today will be our first time on the field, so we'll get a chance to evaluate our scheme and what we're trying to get accomplished for this ball game."
(On linebacker Dane Fletcher stepping in to serve as the middle linebacker)
"Mason [Foster] has done a really good job for us and it was tough when we lost him the other day. He's done a really good job. But when Dane got in the ball game, he did some good things. It's a little bit tough when you don't get as many reps in practice on some of the things you're going to have to do in the game, but, for the most part, we were pleased with his work. This week being a short week, he still won't get as many reps, but he'll be able to get some film study and prepare and we think he'll go out and play well on Thursday night."
(On handling the Atlanta offense given the injuries to key defensive players)
"You'd like to have all hands on deck for sure, no question about it. [Atlanta] looks pretty good on offense. They struggled a little bit last week, but they definitely have the weapons to be explosive from anywhere on the field. That gives some other guys some opportunity to step up and play for us. We're going to need them to play well – on the road, in a tough environment to play. We have to see the best from those guys who have to step up."
(On injuries to the defense making the pass rush difficult)
"It's a little give-and-take. We found ourselves in that situation on Sunday. We had a crucial third-and-9 at the end of the game we kept debating can we rush with four or do we have to bring pressure. We made the decision to bring pressure and one step away from maybe making a play. You have to make that decision as the game is going on. If you find you aren't able to get that pressure with four, especially with the injuries that we have, you have to figure out other ways to try to do it. No matter which quarterback it is, they're NFL quarterbacks, and if you give them time, it becomes seven-on-seven for them. That's tough. You are conscious of what it does to our secondary. It puts them in peril's way at times. You have to try to have some type of mix as well."
Photos from Tuesday's practice at One Buc Place as the Buccaneers prepare to take on the Falcons on Thursday Night Football this week.
(On defensive tackle Clinton McDonald)
"That's one of the reasons we were so excited about signing Clinton in the offseason – the fact that he has that flexibility on the defensive line. It helped us on Sunday. We're going to need it again this Thursday night if Gerald's not able to go. That's one of the beauties of what [McDonald] does. He's an outstanding nose tackle, but he can slide over to the three technique and still hold his own."
(On defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers' performance as a starter on Sunday)
"He did some good things for us and he graded well overall. He got a little fatigued as the game went on, which we expected with all the time he had missed. Both he and William Gholston both were getting their first real opportunities for a while because of injuries. For the most part, they both did a good job. There are some things they will get better at this ball game after getting some game experience, and we're going to need it Thursday night."
(On producing turnovers)
"You know, those turnovers, they come in bunches. We got one on Sunday, so we're hoping we're getting ready to get it rolling now. We want to get it going. We got our first one and let's see them start coming now."
(On defensive end Michael Johnson and whether he will be able to play on Thursday)
"I'm hoping so. He's going to try to practice today. We'll have to see how he does and make a decision. It sure would help us if he's able to go."
(On which Atlanta player grabs his attention the most)
"It's hard to talk about their offense without talking about their quarterback. He's a pretty good player. I think it probably starts there. They have some outstanding wide receivers, and not just one receiver, but they have multiple receivers who can really make some plays. Steven Jackson is kind of rejuvenated. He's played well in these first couple ball games and is doing a good job. The offense line is coming together – depending on what happens with [Jake] Matthews and his injury – but they seem to be coming together. But to answer your question, it starts with the quarterback."
QUARTERBACKS COACH MARCUS ARROYO
(On quarterback Josh McCown's performance this season so far)
"Just the snafu's and decision making, you can't turn the ball over. Whether he's pressing or he starts out on fire and thinks he can complete every pass, again, we just can't have those happen, especially when we get that tight in the red zone and he starts off eight-for-eight and he's rolling and then just that one little snafu. Those few things are the things that'll help, but the success rate and the analytics that we're looking at as far as what we believe at that position, he's doing a lot really good things and we trust that it's only going to get better."
(On if he got the impression that McCown was a good decision-maker before he signed with the team)
"Based on the stuff that we had and we were going to go off of when I first took the job, just to go back and start your question: we didn't know who were getting. We didn't know, we had to go through every free agent in the league and that's what we did, we went through every single free agent quarterback there was in the league – and I don't know coming here, this was my first time going through free agency, who it is and how the whole thing works out, so I just went through them all with a fine tooth comb. [Because of] the relationship that [Head Coach Lovie Smith and McCown] had, I knew a lot of things about Josh. I watched all of his snaps in his 12 years – it's all over the place because he's been with a lot of teams and it's from starters to back-up who spell a few plays here and there. Then last year was, as many of us know, first of all it's the most recent and in our opinion it the most pertinent – 'What have you done recently?' There's a lot of really good things that we liked, a lot of really good decision making, a lot good things that come out on tape, a maturity that looked like it kicked in over the years and that's what we based it on."
(On why there hasn't been many jump-ball passes to the tall receivers)
"A lot like last week, those things present themselves. I don't think the times where – and it's hard to do because you don't know – you call a play and they want to play man and press, they have not been true to where they want to isolate those guys yet. We've thrown some balls up and we've gone and gotten them, we're throwing a lot balls in front of DBs because they won't come up and play Mike [Evans] and Vince [Jackson] in true press. The one time they did press last week, we were going double go and they brought the house. They know when to put pressure on you with those guys outside in man coverage. Those guys do their jobs too, they know that's a scary movie out there at 6-5, but opportunities will present themselves. We hope to continue and find ways to do that because those guys make plays right now, we know that, it's nothing we don't know. We have to continue to find ways and I'm optimistic that we will find ways to continue to do so."
(On how much the turnovers by McCown have affected the play calling)
"A couple of things, in that we're not interested in the passing yards and the number exactly, that's a nice thing that comes through just in the end result. It's more the success rate, the being efficient on the down-and-distance given. Him and turning the ball over on those instances, I trust Josh, I trust him with the calls, and I trust him with doing things and getting us out. He makes checks in games that only us back here would really know, it's hard to tell from your guys' vantage point because you don't know the packages, but he's done a lot of really good things that are a part of him making decisions and it may not just be when a broken play happens and not making the bad decision. The play calls are what we believe are best for us and they hold no bearing to what he's done at this point."
(On calling a run on third-and-seven)
"The only evidence there was to present that was that you want to make sure that you get points and the last time we were in there on third-and-five, Josh ran for a touchdown on that third-and-five because they dropped eight into coverage, so if they're going to drop eight, then they are not a lot of places to put the ball for fades or anything else. Based on the information that we had collected over the course of that game, he ran that first touchdown on what we called our endzone pass, which would have scored the week before, but Mike stepped out. It was the same type of concept, they dropped eight like they had shown and so third-and-seven from the nine, you should get points. It had nothing to do with anything else besides we believed that was the correct call at the time. We ended up – [running back] Bobby [Rainey] was close to hitting it."
(On if they have seen improvement from the offensive line)
"I think [offensive line coach George Warhop] is doing a great job with those guys. Those guys are doing a great job up front and we've put a lot on them and made that an absolute emphasis, starting from the top in Coach Smith. Running the ball is something that we want to hang our hat on. Those guys did a great job last week and they're getting better every week. We're going to continue to make that a part of who we are, we believe that's the mentality in who you are and what you believe in and they did a great job. We averaged, at one point over the course of that game about six yards a pop and at the end it was 5.2. Bobby did a good job running the ball and coming in – we believe the running back unit is a strength of ours and at this point I think last week was a very positive reflection of how good [tackle] Anthony [Collins], [center] Evan [Dietrich-Smith] and [guard] Logan [Mankins] and those guys are continually starting to gel. We're optimistic that we're going to build off that."
(On McCown's ability to make plays when everything around him breaks down)
"I think that I probably wouldn't be the only one to say that you factor in the ability for the 'escape dimension' – as you put it – in a quarterback and that's something that when you can find it and add it to what you already have in the evaluation of a quarterback, it's an added bonus. That's definitely on our checklist as far as [offensive coordinator Jeff] Tedford and myself. A guy with escape dimension adds pressure to a defense and when things break down we see that he can make some plays."
(On trying to establish the run on first down)
"I think we just decided that we have hang our hat on something. You can't get away from it, no matter how those first 13 [plays] turned out, at the end of the game we averaged 5.2 yards a rush, that's what you want. That's hard and I know that's hard in the NFL, I've only been here one year, but that's hard in college, to average five yards a pop, that's a winning element I think in a lot of cases. If you want to do that, I think that you have to stick with it and believe in those guys up front, believe in the guys in the back and give them a chance to prove it. You play two really good defenses in the first two weeks and you're going to continue to play guys that are good defenses and this is the NFL, it's tough. You run the ball, it's tough on first down, but you have to do it and I think we'll find ways to find out a little bit more of who we are in that evolution of what kind of runs, what comes off of them, all of that stuff. I'm optimistic that continues to take the right steps."
(On who will start at running back if Doug Martin is healthy)
"We're really fortunate to have both of those guys. I think to have a guy like Bobby come in and spell Doug when Doug comes back, we have Doug and Bobby. It's not a draft, we have both and they are here."
(On if they were surprised by how well Rainey played)
"All of the backs that we have, have displayed at one point or the other since we've been here that they can be starter backs and rush for 144."
(On if the offense looks close to what it will be when Tedford is calling the plays)
"That would be hard for me to say because I don't know what he would call. We know the system fairly [well], I've been with him for two years, I know the system, I know it as a quarterback, we're running it, we're running his system, but the play calls, I don't know what he would have called in certain situations. I don't know the answer to that, I don't know how to answer that, and I don't know what Jeff would have called. He may have a called a different call then, he may have called a different call on the quarterback keep for a touchdown, it's hard to tell. I don't know if that's really safe for me to answer."
(On how he feels calling plays in the NFL)
"Week 1 and Week 2 is probably pretty similar to any guy that would be in my position. You're trying to do what you can do to help in any regard and then trying to get a feel for how you can be better. I'm no different than the players in that regard, I'm trying to look myself in the mirror as coach says and [ask] 'how can I be better?' You can second-guess yourself as a play-caller and I've been fortunate to do it for 10 years now and call plays, you can second-guess all of the calls that you want and you can try and say 'Hey I wish I would've had that play there.' I think you can beat yourself up about it and then a lot of times you can look back and say 'What if I would have just done this?' Two weeks ago I called a pass play on the 30-yard line and got a sack putting us outside of field goal range, I wish I wouldn't have called that, I wish I would have called a run, but they dropped eight. It's one of those things, I've got a low ego when it comes to making the wrong call or making the right call because you just have to be the closest you can be to having your game plan and believing in it and putting it on your guys and I believe that's part of it. With our staff and our group, they know that we're going ride with what we put in there. What we put the work in, is what we're going to do and I think that's the only way you go when you're building it, personally."
(On if his faith in McCown has slipped)
(On how does Tedford advise him with calling the plays)
"He says 'That's a horrible call.' Just kidding, not at all. The ability to communicate is more effective when it's 'Do you see what I'm seeing on this next series?' or ' Hey did you see this?' or 'Hey that time on that was this, you thought it was that, but it was this.' It's just another set of eyes in the sky and it just helps to have that when you're down a guy and you're down a leader. Anything helps and he continues to do that."
(On if they look at the opponents' stats to game plan)
"Nope, we don't look at that. We look at how we can get better. We look at ourselves to see what can we do to be a better Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, to Tampa Bay, to Coach Smith and everyone involved in putting this things together. We have to do things better on our end and then the score will take care of itself and who we're playing is secondary to what we're looking at right now. It's too early to get that far ahead of ourselves, individually I know that."
QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN
(On not throwing fade routes to the tall receivers)
"It's obviously something that we want to – it's always a part of the game plan and things we want to take advantage of because of their height and stuff like that. The first week, Carolina did a good job of taking those things away then just kind of how the game flowed last week, especially with the running game picking up. Some of those times and opportunities when you want to take advantage of that, we were in runs that were good runs that we liked, but absolutely we want to always take advantage of that when it's there."
(On if they have to have the right look in order to throw the fade passes)
"At times you do, at times it doesn't matter. It still, to a degree, needs to be calculated. You don't want to throw caution to the wind and just start throwing the ball around everywhere, but at the same time we know that they're out there and we need to take advantage of it."
(On his performance these first two weeks of the season)
"At the end of the day, you hear quarterbacks being measured by wins and we're 0-2 and for me that's how I evaluate it. I say 'what could I have done better to help us win the ball game?' and look at it in both games as – it really felt like I did a lot of good things, except the three turnovers in those games and those have been critical, it's just eliminating those. As I evaluate myself, that's really what I focus on and not letting that happen. That will continue to be the focus as it is every week and make sure that doesn't happen. The other part is I'm pleased with how I'm playing and throwing the ball and those things. I feel like that part has been good, it's just gotten out of the pocket and making bad decisions with the ball and you can't do those things."
(On playing naturally and not thinking about turning the ball over)
"You have to correct it, you have to find a way to get out there. I feel like this last game I kind of got in a rhythm early and sometimes those things, you start feeling good, you get outside of the pocket and you can't be too confident with the ball and some of the choices we make, sometimes it's better to throw it away. It's definitely something that as I've watched tape and different things like that, when I watch a guy scramble, I just try to put myself in their shoes and go 'Ok what will I do? Throw the ball away?' Anyway to get a mental rep to train my mind because, again, those are the things that I have to eliminate and we can't have that happen. You look for every edge, every little thing that you can do to help eliminate that."
(On if he considers decision making one of his strengths)
"I think for me, especially those kind of mistakes, particularly the first pick in the first game and then this one in the last game, those are things that I look back on the tape last year and it's not there, it's not something that I was doing. That's what's frustrating to me and it's more of just taking a look at those things 'What was I thinking?' as I watched the tape and just re-evaluating when I leave the pocket, my thought process. Not every play has to be made and that's what I mean by I'm pleased by my decisions in the passing game, I'm pleased with those things, when I got outside of the pocket, I'm really frustrated with those, those aren't good. That's what has to change."
(On the offensive line)
"Those guys have done a great job. The offensive line, considering the circumstances from where we were at the start of training camp and now, they have really come on and have done a great job. Those things considered and where we were with the front sevens that we were playing the first two weeks, all of that goes into game planning and whether or not you're going to hold the ball a little longer to get something downfield. Some of those you calculate that risk and seeing how those guys have played will obviously for more opportunity to push the ball downfield a little further."
(On his chemistry with quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo)
"It's been good. Marcus and I have spent a lot of time in the offseason together and really all of the time just working on learning the system and how we want things to work in the system, especially pertaining to the quarterback. I think he has a good feel for me and I have a good feel for him. He's done a heck of a job considering the circumstances, for your first opportunity to coach in the NFL and then all of a sudden you're in that role, we're continuing to work through it and he and I are always bouncing ideas off of each other and talking through things and helping him get an understanding of what I like and vice versa, understanding things that he likes in different situations. That will get better as time goes on."
(On if he consults with his brother New Orleans quarterback Luke McCown)
"To a degree, but it's more – when we talk it's more about what he has seen on my tape, like how I'm playing and things like that. He gives me little tidbits on what I'm doing more than anything. We don't go too far across those lines as far as just what they're seeing and what they're doing. There are times, with different opponents where we'll say 'Who did you guys like to go after?' or different things like that, but they're so busy game planning and getting ready and so we especially in a short week, it's more texts than anything. Those kind of notes and things like that, it's a lot to go through on a text message. It's hard, but we get on the phone probably every couple of weeks, but it's more text messages than anything."
(On if they view Atlanta's defense as a chance to get the offense going)
"I look at this game as an opportunity to get a win for our team and that's it. We've got to continue to execute and grow as an offense and continue to get better. I feel like we've done that every week, and I've said this, along the way you keep doing that, hopefully sooner than later the wins will start showing up. I feel like we just have to continue to improve what we do as an offense and we did that last week and if we do that this week against this team, I think we'll be pleased with the outcome. It's in the [Georgia] Dome, it's going to be loud, it's a night game, Thursday night game and all of that stuff, there will be a lot of extra juice there and they'll be playing at a high level. You get into kind of where teams are rated and stuff like that, if you look too much into that – this is the National Football League and those guys are pros and you can't discount anything and we certainly don't."
(On the biggest challenge for a quarterback in a short week)
"The biggest challenge is just trying to get the film watched that you want to get watched and then squeezing all of the game planning into just a few days. It can be good and bad because you don't have enough time to chase every little play that you think might work, you really hone down on the things that you like, so that can be good, but at the same time, it's just making sure you're getting the tape watched and really finding enough time to study both the game plan and the tape. Usually over the course of the week you can kind of get the game plan then by the end of the week you can really kind of take that game plan and lay it over tape and dive into a lot of tape and in this instances it's kind of combined and you have to find a way to manage that."
(On if these past two weeks have been draining to him mentally)
"It's awfully frustrating and I'm not going to shy away from that. I'm very disappointed. I'm disappointed in myself, just this start it's not what anybody wants. There are a few other 0-2 teams in the league, my little brother, talking to him and they're disappointed, everybody is. It's trying to take a deep breath and seeing the big picture and realizing what we're doing here, but at the same time wanting to work with urgency because we want it to happen right now, we want to win right now. That, just for me, starts with correcting the things that I can correct that I've already mentioned and just working to do that."
(On playing on national T.V. this week)
"It's just a game. Like I said it's a night game, it's in a dome, there's going to be extra juice, but at the same time, you asked me about how I felt the last two weeks and we can play in the parking lot for all I care. My focus is improving us as a football team and getting better and improving myself as a player. I don't care where that takes place at to be honest with you, or what time of day, it's just about getting that done. That's my focus."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
(On if he thinks he'll be able to play on Thursday)
"We'll see. It's kind of a day-to-day thing. We'll see how it feels Thursday morning."
(On how he would bandage his hand if he were able to play in the game)
"Right now, we're trying to figure out what's the best decision, what's the best way to keep it protected. Obviously, it's better if I'm out there. But it's still a long season, so we're just going to take it day-by-day and see where it goes."
(On if doctors have told him the injury could get worse if he plays)
"There's always a risk you can make it worse. It's just been a couple of days, but I don't think it's a secret that it going to be hard to play with a broken hand after a couple of days. So it could always get worse. That's the risk of going out there on Thursday."
(On the excitement of playing in a nationally televised game)
"National TV is always fun – everybody is watching. I don't even think there's a college game [that night] , so all eyes on you Thursday night. So you've got to be amped for it and then, not only that, you're going into a hostile environment – you've got to enjoy that. It's a division opponent. I don't think there's a more exciting time than this."