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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quotes: Day 2 of Rookie Mini-Camp

Linebacker Kwon Alexander, wide receivers Kenny Bell and Kealin Clay, running back Joey Iosefa and Head Coach Lovie Smith spoke to the media following the second day of the Buccaneers' rookie mini-camp in Tampa.

Check out photos from Day 2 of Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rookie Camp on May 9, 2015.

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Rookie mini-camps are a staple around the NFL, offering a post-draft addendum to all the news generated by the previous weekend's activity. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie camp drew a little more attention than most thanks to the presence of first-overall selection Jameis Winston.

The Buccaneers didn't even generate the most significant piece of rookie-camp news in the state of Florida, however. Unfortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, that honor fell to them when third-overall pick Dante Fowler suffered a season-ending knee injury in his very first NFL practice. The Buccaneers are obviously relieved that nothing similar happened on their practice field over the weekend, but Head Coach Lovie Smith knows that the offseason contact rules should limit the sort of terrible misfortune the Jaguars experienced.

"I think injuries are just a part of our game," said Smith. "I kind of watched it briefly, I saw the play, but I noticed some things happen like that, you just try to guard against them as much as possible. We try not to do a lot of team work. Seven-on-seven is about the most we'll do, trying to not get as many bodies in there. Eventually, you're going to get 11-on-11 and you just hope that major injuries don't happen."

The difference between seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills is the presence of offensive and defensive linemen. Since no pads and no real contact are allowed until training camp, there isn't a huge difference in the offseason practice approach from one team to the next. For the Bucs, that approach means fewer full-team periods."In the last few years we've just kind of gone to just seven-on-seven and doing a lot of individual work with some of our d-linemen and o-linemen," said Smith.

Smith and several Buccaneer rookies discussed a variety of topics after practice on Saturday. Their thoughts are below.


(Opening Statement)
"Day 2, a whole lot better. Not 'Tennessee Titans-ready' or anything like that, but we did see improvement from the first day we were out there. Our mini-camp is a couple days long, so tomorrow we just have meetings, as much as anything. We've given the players an awful lot of material to digest, so we're going to try to catch them up as best we can. But we like a lot of things that we've seen so far."

(On which players stood out)
"After two days, that process is still going on. I can't really point anybody out. We're not going to cut Jameis Winston or anything like that. Again, in the next couple days, you'll see – there were a couple of guys that came in on a tryout basis. We have draft picks, we have free agents that we sign, then there's a group of players that came in the way Demar Dotson did, the way two defensive backs from the Chicago Bears did – and they ended up starting for us. We like a couple of tryout players. In a few days, you'll see the ones we're talking about."

(On cornerback Deshazor Everett's interception during one-on-one drills)
"That was a good interception by him. I'm thinking positive, that was a good interception. We still have a long ways to go at a lot of the positions."

(On how well Winston is learning up the playbook)
"He's getting better. As you talk about that starting spot, there's a lot to learn for all of the rookies, but for the quarterback, that's a big playbook. He's cramming like it's the final exam right now and doing a good job. We've seen marked improvement from the moment we gave him his playbook. Jameis is a bright guy. He'll be able to get it all."

(On where Winston's level of focus was on the second day of mini-camp)
"Like it always is. That's one thing you won't say about him, (that) he's not focused. He's into football and trying to get better, that's who he is. And we definitely saw that today, like we did yesterday."

(On former Buccaneers tight end Jimmie Giles attending practice and other former Buccaneers players being welcomed back at the facility)
"We have some guys that they just tell us when they're showing up for practice, they don't have to call and let us know. Jimmie of course is one of those – one of our all-time greats (and an) even better person. Whenever we can have guys like that around, it's a good thing. Shaun King (was here) yesterday. Warren Sapp came through the building the other day. Of course, Derrick (Brooks), all of the guys around. Whenever we can get Rondé Barber back here and if you can get John Lynch to fly down and hang out, we'll be all in favor of that too."

(On the countersuit that Winston is filing against his accuser)
"We do not think it will be a problem for Jameis to be focused on playing football here. Not at all. We all have things that we're dealing with off of the football field. Guys know when it's time for football here, it's about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and doing our work here."

(On if Winston told Smith about the suit)
"I'm going to keep our conversations (private). Nothing is surprising us."

(On the injury to Jaguars draft pick Dante Fowler and if the team has to be especially careful during offseason workouts)
"It's tough, as you mention, to go right in to really what is Phase Three of our workouts for us. Guys are trying to make the team on one weekend. I think injuries are just a part of our game too. I kind of watched it briefly, I saw the play, but I noticed some things happen like that, you just try to guard against them as much as possible. We try not to do a lot of team-work. Seven-on-seven is about the most we'll do, trying to not get as many bodies in there. Eventually, you're going to get 11-on-11 and you just hope that major injuries don't happen."

(On if the Buccaneers had 11-on-11 drills at mini-camp)
"No, we just tried to stay – in the last few years we've just kind of gone to just seven-on-seven and doing a lot of individual work with some of our d-linemen and o-linemen."

(On if it is harder to evaluate linemen without 11-on-11 drills)
"No, right now, without any pads, what can you really evaluate? You can't have really any contact. With linemen right now, it doesn't do any good for us. We're not going to be hitting or anything like that. We'll really find out about our linemen once we get the pads on."

(On what the linemen worked on during Rookie mini-camp)
"A lot of technique and trying to get the guys into football shape."


(On how practice felt)
"It felt great. I love to compete out here. I'm in love with Tampa."

(On whether there is any difference between the practice yesterday and today)
"No. Everybody just got better. It was the first day (yesterday), so everybody just got better. A lot of hard work, a lot of competing. Everybody just got better."

(On Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson's main focus during the rookie mini-camp)
"Nothing, really. He just wants us to play hard, give it all we got, just come out there and compete. Be confident, go out there, call the plays, and just be confident and play ball."

(On Nickerson as a coach)
"He's a great coach. These past couple days, I really enjoyed it. He's coaching me up well; he's coaching everyone up well. Everybody likes him, so we're all just having fun."

(On his confidence level with the defense)
"Very confident. I've got to have confidence to play ball. If you don't have confidence, you aren't going to do well. So I just come in and just have a lot of confidence and just have fun and do my job."

(On Head Coach Lovie Smith's belief about the importance of takeaways)
"It's defense. You want takeaways, you want interceptions, fumbles – forced fumbles. I'm used to that. I played at LSU so that's how we were coached: take the ball away. So I'm used to it already."

(On whether he has spoken to Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David)
"I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him. I think we all come together on Monday, so I guess I'll get to speak to him then."

(On meeting the rest of the team and what he's looking forward to)
"I can't wait. I can't wait to go out there and compete and meet (teammates), especially (David). He's one of the greatest, so I can't wait to go out there and compete with him."

(On whether he had watched film of David while in college)
"No, not really. I really didn't watch people; I just focused on college and doing what I had to do."


(On day two of rookie mini-camps)
"It was awesome, another day I get to play football. I can't ever complain about that."

(On chemistry with Jameis Winston)
"Jameis and I are I want to say good friends. It feels like we have been playing together for a while. He's a good dude. Obviously chemistry is something that takes a while to build, but when you have a quarterback with that much talent it makes your job a lot easier."

(On practice looking like he and Winston have been playing together for a while)
"When you have a quarterback with that much talent, he puts the ball on you. He threw another one today that I just dropped. He is making life easy to say the least."

(On his impression of working with wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker)
"Yeah, I didn't finish here at the end of practice. He had every right to get on me about that. As far as having Coach Stoke, it's an amazing experience. I loved my time in Nebraska, but it's a whole new level – the level of coaching, the meetings and the amount of correction you go through is unbelievable and I wouldn't want anyone else besides Coach Stoke doing it."

(On what has been the biggest adjustment for him)
"It's hard to say what has been the biggest adjustment for me because it has only been 48 hours. It's football right now. It's fast and it's furious and I'm learning a new offense. I think the level and the amount of information in the past 48 hours is the biggest difference. I was at Nebraska for five years with the same offense. It kind of made it easy going into my third, fourth, fifth years, but here it's been two days off install. It's been fast."

(On playbook terminology)
"Yeah, there are all types of words. They are definitely hard to keep track of."

(On how much pride he takes in his ability to block downfield)
"It's something I take great pride in. That's why I am so blessed to be here with a group like Vincent (Jackson) and Mike (Evans) who just dominate guys on the perimeter. It's something we took pride in when I was in college and it is something I will continue to take pride in now."

(On lining up in the slot)
"Honest to God, I just want to make the club. If that means lining up on the inside, if that means making plays on punt, returning kicks, I just want to play football. I'll do whatever it takes."


(On the second day of rookie mini-camp)
"I feel pretty good. It's just a blessing to be out here with all the other rookies, just trying to make the squad and trying to get better every day and try to help the team get better."

(On if there was a focus today that was different from yesterday)
"Yeah, better route running and just focusing on the small things; catching the ball, depth of routes, specific things - things for everyone to get better at."

(On if he was clicking better with Jameis Winston today)
"Yeah, most definitely they were. We came out here today and our focus was to get better from yesterday. Yesterday, the end of practice wasn't so good, so that was our focus – just to get better at practice today overall and I feel like today we did that."

(On Winston having a powerful arm)
"You guys don't even know. He threw one to me today and it ripped my glove. He has some power behind that arm."

(On hearing that the return job is his to lose)
"It says a lot, that they have a lot of confidence in me, but nothing is given. I still have to work for it. My approach to that is I'm going to come out here and work every day. I want to learn from the veterans, see what they do. Also, I want them to tell me what I do wrong, so I can contribute to the team and just help the team become a playoff contender and hopefully we are in California at the end of the season."

(On what it means to come to a team with such an emphasis on special teams)
"It means a lot, especially for me. I consider myself a special teams' guy. I love special teams. I think it is one of the most, if not the most important part of the game - the way you can flip the field and get closer to the end zone, the offense has a greater chance of scoring. For me, it's more so just coming in and just helping the team. I love special teams. That's what I'm here for. Also to play receiver, but in order for me to get on the field I'm going to play special teams. I know it's a need that we need, so I'm just trying to get better every day."

(On if he has a preference of lining up on the outside or inside)
"It really doesn't matter. It's best if you know everything. That's the only way you are going to get on the field is if you know everything, if you know the concepts. It doesn't really matter where I play at. Wherever the coaches fit me in, then that's where I'm going to play."


(On how he felt at practice today)
"Feel good. You know, second day coming out – excited. Right now, just keep learning the playbook and everything. So far so good."

(On Running Backs Coach Tim Spencer)
"So far, he's (been) a good coach. I understand he's a former player before, too. He prepared us before we got out on the field so it (wouldn't) be a problem. So far, he's been (showing) us the way (to have) success to make plays."

(On what it's been like so far away from home)
"It's pretty good. To me, I thought it was going to be bad, but weather-wise it's the same as Hawaii. Everything, the greens, it's pretty much the same. The only difference was the time difference – the six-hour difference – so that's the thing, but so far, I'm happy to be here. I'm blessed, so I'm ready to work."

(On if by 'bad' he was referring to the heat)
"Yeah. I was talking to Coach that it was going to be like 100-something. Most of the guys say not until summer, so I'll be ready for that."

(On what he has heard about former Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott)
"I heard he was a great player. I watched him. I cannot really compare myself to him because he has done so much over here – he's a legend. But I will do whatever to be part of the team and make us (successful).

(On the need for running backs to be versatile)
"When I was at Combine, most of the coaches asked me if I can catch the ball, so pretty much doing anything is a slow process. It's something I was really working hard on, running routes, catching the ball. I have the ability to catch the ball but to finally get to showcase in front of the coaches – I want to be more of a versatile back (that) can run the ball, block, and catch the ball from the backfield."

(On if he has a preference in running style)
"I think to me, personally, whatever it takes to make plays and make something happen. But for my type of running back, (I am) more like a downhill back, so now I'll use that (to) transition to fullback. It's pretty much not that big (of a) transition, it's more (just) without a ball. Now, I've got to help out my running back because I know how it feels to run the ball with a fullback in front."

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