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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quotes: OTA Practice, June 11

Head Coach Lovie Smith, linebacker Bruce Carter and guard Ali Marpet spoke to the media on Thursday.


(Opening statement)
"We finished up our 10th (Organized Team Activities) practice today. We are a lot better. We have gotten a lot better since the first couple of days. We got most of our situations in. New offensive coordinator got our new offensive system in place. Defensive guys, we have seen marked improvement every day. Really feel good about where we are right now. At the same time, we are excited about finishing it up next week. Our minicamp practices, the schedule won't change that much. We'll have three more good days, take a little break and then of course we'll get a chance to really evaluate some of our guys, like our linemen. You can't tell a lot about our linemen right now, so can't wait for training camp to be here."

(On defense making interceptions at today's practice)
"Yeah, part of the practice is seven-on-seven, the skeleton period. For us, it's about taking the ball away and we are able to get our hands on it quite a bit. It's a good thing if you are talking defense. Offensively of course, it's about ball protection, securing the football and we didn't do a great job with that today."

(On what quarterback Jameis Winston has had to learn during OTAs)
"Oh, just everything, the entire game. Football is football, but it is different. Coverages he's seeing, barking out the plays, the calls. Some of the calls are – we ask him to do things on the line of scrimmage – just the overall play of the quarterback. You have to go through that process, but he is handling that well."

(On if he is concerned about tackle Demar Dotson's absence)
"This is my approach to voluntary workouts: They are voluntary. I would like for everybody to be here every time we have an opportunity to, but if a guy chooses to not to, for whatever reason, that's them. Next week is mandatory. I'm concerned if someone doesn't show-up for mandatory work."

(On if Dotson's absence is contract-related)
"He's not here. There's no more. It doesn't really matter why he's not here for whatever reason. There is an opportunity to be here and he chose not to.

(On if he expects Dotson to be at practice next week)
"I assume. I don't get into guessing what guys are going to do. I assume the guys that were here this past week, today, will be there next week. I assume everybody will be here next week. Hopefully will."

(On why Patrick Omameh was moved from right guard to right tackle)
"We have a lot of guys that can play guard. It's kind of simple and we feel he has flexibility to be able to do that. When a player is missing, during a course of a season you have injuries and it's about the next guy up always. When there isn't a player here for whatever reason, you get a chance to take different looks at other players. By Demar not being here, some of the other players had an opportunity to step-up. It's like that. Football is going to go on long after all of us are gone, so take advantage of those situations."

(On what skills Omameh has that makes him a right tackle)
"He has the skills that we look for at the tackle position, without going into detail about all that."

(On what has stood out about the offensive scheme)
"What stood out? You hope quite a bit. As far as our system and what we would like to be able to do; we want to run the ball when we want to run it and be able to. I think we'll be able to do that. History says the system allows you to do that. And the passing game, you need playmakers as much as anything. We feel like we have skill guys that can run the football, skill guys that can make the play when we're passing the football. We had a chance to see some of that last year and I think we'll see more this year."

(On if he expects to see running back Doug Martin return to form this year)
"I hope so. We need to improve at the running back position, like all the positions, but he has done a good job, as had Charles Simms. We like some things Bobby Rainey, all of our guys, have been able to do."

(On if he takes it slow with a rookie quarterback or throws everything at him)
"We're not game planning. As far as defense is concerned, it's about the defense getting better. We are running our defense. It's as simple as that. By running a defense you are going to give the offense a lot of different looks, which we've been able to do. We feel like we have a multiple defensive package. Contrary to public opinion a little bit, we do do a few things around here, so we have been able to give him a couple different looks. Again, as I say it, we think they have handled it well. Today, you know our offense has had a lot of good days, today you want to see the defense have a few good days too. Today was one of those."

(On if there is anything the team has not been able to do thus far because of CBA restrictions)
"No, it's all the same. All the same, no pads. All offseason, once you come together – offense, defense – once phase three starts, which we are in right now, it's all basically the same. We have helmets, exactly what you see out here right now. That's what we'll be able to do."

(On if there are any players he would hold back next week's OTAs because of injuries)
"What I try not to do an awful lot is try to figure out what's happening next week. (Kenny Bell) is getting better. It's a little hamstring injury. Me being Dr. Smith right now, I just really don't know. There's nothing major. We don't have any major injuries right now on our football team. If guys are banged up a little bit with muscle injuries we'll take every precaution we can with them. We've seen Kenny do a lot of good things. Eventually he'll be back out there."

(On if wide receiver Mike Evans is back to full strength)
"Full strength, nobody is full strength right now. He practiced for the most part right now. Just as an overall description of our team, we have some bumps and bruises. No one is really 100 percent right now, but good enough to practice. You should be sore right now. We have three days left to go. We should have some bumps and bruises, which we have. Nothing major that is going to stop guys from missing significant time when we come back."

(On if he is a big hockey fan right now)
"I'm a huge Tampa Bay fan and of course our hockey team, baseball team doing great. They are kind of getting things started. Hopefully we can jump on this momentum a little bit, but excited about seeing our guys finish it out."

(On if middle linebacker Bruce Carter needs to develop into a leader on this defense)
"Yes he does. There is a lot we ask of our linebackers, starting with making the calls. Bruce has done that. He has good athletic ability. Just look at our history with Mike linebackers – any good defense, it's starts there. He is the quarterback of the defense. Bruce can handle all that, so we are excited about what we think he is going to bring to the table. I think he had about five interceptions, so he's a playmaker too. We need all that."

(On safety D.J. Swearinger)
"He's a very smart football player, staring off with that, good agility. We feel like we picked up a draft pick by getting a player like that. He can play the run. Again, good instincts, smart, everything you want to see a guy do, running around in underwear, he has been able to do well. His strong suit is supposed to be when he gets in pads, so we like him being on the team."

(On if anyone has stood out thus far)
"As a general rule, we try not to get too high when there is no rush. Again, we're not in pads and we play the game in pads. We're not disappointed in anyone based on what we've done right now is what I'd say."

(On wide receiver Adam Humphries)
"Good quickness, smart, start with that again. Our players have picked up an awful lot. Smart, good instincts, good quickness. I think there are about three players I have coached throughout my career that have started from tryout, without a contract walking in, proven that they deserve a contract, proven that they belong in camp, proven they belong on the roster and end up playing. He's done everything we asked him to do. At first I didn't know who he was. I know where he is from now."

(On right guard Ali Marpet)
"I think some of the same things we saw when we drafted him. He's athletic, he can run, strong, smart. I like it when I'm describing our guys and talking about how smart they are. That's the case with him. Body type. Again, judging linemen without pads in the offseason. We think he has a chance."


(On if he is relieved his contract is out of the way and he can concentrated just on football)
"Yeah, it's nice knowing that's done with and I can focus on football. I wasn't really involved much with the negotiation process to begin with. It's nice knowing that I can just do football now."

(On what it has been like trying to learn everything at this level)
"Yeah, they throw a lot at you quick. I think I have done a pretty nice job of learning from the older guys. They have a lot to teach you and (offensive line) Coach (George) Warhop an awesome coach. A lot of it has stuck and I still have a lot to learn."

(On practicing at right guard)
"Yeah, I've been working at right guard for most of the OTAs."

(On playing in a new place for a new team)
"It's a pretty big difference. Obviously we don't have pads on yet, so it's hard to get that physical aspect that's going to be that much different, but right now the mental side of it; there is a lot they are throwing at us."

(On adjusting to right guard after playing multiple positions in college)
"Yeah, I played mostly left tackle in college and now I'm playing right guard. There is a significant change, but I worked at right guard when I was in college and then working up through the Combine and Senior Bowl. I worked at guard, so it's something I have adjusted to. I've also tried to learn a little bit of center. So I have done some pre-practice snaps and things like that so I can be as versatile as I can."

(On what are some of the adjustments he has to make)
"Everything is a lot quicker. As a guard you have a 300 pound guy on you right away, where at tackle you have a little bit of space to work with and you have to be a little bit more patient."

(On if he can feel the quicker pace even without pads on)
"Absolutely, there are some freaks out here. They are extremely quick, but it's nice to get the first taste of it here at OTAs so that when camp rolls around I have had a little bit of practice against them."

(On how much help it has been going up against defensive tackle Gerald McCoy)
"Yeah, he's a guy that you want to learn from. I've particularly learned from Logan (Mankins) and Evan (Smith), both are offensive linemen that have been around the league for a while. Those are the guys you want to learn from."

(On what has been the biggest learning curve at right guard for him)
"One thing I need to learn how to do is see the defense more. Now at this level you need to be able to guess what is going to be happening based on what you see from the defense. So I need to start looking at safeties and that's stuff that I've talked to Evan and Logan about, just helping me out there."

(On if he has been doing anything specific to increase his strength as a right guard)
"Nothing in particular. The strength program here is awesome. I've been getting stronger even since I've been here and I'm going to continue to get stronger, but nothing in particular."


(On Danny Lansanah's play)
"Danny's been our interception master all OTAs. I think he had one today that he dropped. He's a great player, a guy that has a lot of experience on our team and a lot of leadership. I'm excited to play alongside him."

(On transitioning to a new team with a similar type of defense)
"I think it makes it a lot easier, just knowing the scheme overall. For me as an individual, a player learning a new position, especially middle linebacker, it takes some time to get used to it and working at it. [Linebackers] Coach Hardy [Nickerson] has been doing a great job of helping me out with my keys and reads."

(On where his strengths are as a middle linebacker)
"Just my athleticism, being able to cover large amounts of ground in our scheme. Being here and being there, knowing the scheme and helping guys out – it's been awesome."

(On the key to getting interceptions)
"Being able to be in position to make interceptions [is important] but the main thing is, when it's thrown to you, you've got to catch it. A lot of guys will have great jumps on balls, and some of them are gifts, but a lot of times guys think about the end zone before they catch it. So my tip for that is, make sure you catch it first and then do your thing."

(On rookie LB Kwon Alexander)
"Oh God, the kid's got a motor. He's running all day. He came in and he's very smart and intelligent as a player. I don't think he's really had any setbacks since he came in. He's done an awesome job."

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