Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quotes: Training Camp, August 3

Lovie Smith, Lavonte David, Evan Smith and Mike Evans spoke to the media on Monday.


(Opening statement)
"Good to get day two – day two, I guess day three. Good to get the first day in pads in I should say. We've been waiting for this for a while. The rain cooperated with us. I've talked a lot about being able to judge the linemen based on what they do in pads, so we were able to get some good work, run work, some one-on-one pass sets, so we know a little bit more about them: for our rookies (guard) Ali Marpet, (tackle) Donovan Smith, their first taste of a live guy coming off the edge running right over them. I thought they held up and did some good things while they were out there. That's encouraging. We need to be able to run the football to be able to get that running game going. Defensively, I am always talking about taking the ball away. We were able to do that today, so that's good. Other side of the ball, of course, too many turnovers."

(On the rules for the players regarding contact)
"What are the rules for the players? We have a couple. Blocking is live. Throughout camp we will never block below the waist and we don't normally put our running backs on the ground. We'll try to just thud up best we can. Some days, once we install our goal line and some of the short yardage, we'll go all out live then, but most of the time we won't. Blocking is always live and we'll go from there."

(On the offensive line when they were in the red zone)
"Yes, we opened up a few holes. There are a few things. You have to be careful when you see the end of a play, you have to get back to that video and see exactly how the guys did, but I would say right now they definitely did some good things."

(On the defense describing the offensive linemen as "nasty")
"Our defensive guys said that? Well, that's definitely a start. We would definitely like to be nasty and tough, physical when we describe our defensive and offensive line. That's the mentality, of course, that we are going to have. In our division that's a mentality we will have to have. I think we'll have it."

(On what he was specifically looking for from Donovan Smith and Marpet)
"Really, first time is just to see where they are as much as anything. We coached them up. They know what they are doing mentally. Now, we want to see them (in) live work. As I say it, the one-on-ones. It's one thing to go a group team period, but now it's one-on-one. Everyone is looking at you. They both had their moments today. I'm anxious, of course, to see the video. I was over there for part of the period. I didn't see it all, but I saw them doing some good things."

(On what guard Kadeem Edwards has showed him thus far)
"Just the same things we've talked about, pretty good in the running game. We liked some of the things he was doing last year, before he got hurt. It's kind of his time to get an opportunity to really show us what he can do. Just like we were talking about those young linemen, we were talking about him. We are going to try to get those young guys in as many good situations as we can. The young players, we are going to play them. Try to get them as many reps, I'm talking about in the preseason too, just try and get them game-ready."

(On if there is a time frame on deciding who will start at right guard and left tackle)
"We don't have time periods on making those decisions, but when it's obvious what we should do, when it's obvious that someone has moved ahead or they're definitely the starter or someone shouldn't be in that position, then we go with it, but it's going to be awhile. We don't make any decisions like that, number one, until we get in a position where we are blocking low and we're finishing plays, so until then we won't make any of those I think we can at least get the guys in the right position to get the reps."

(On if anyone surprised or impressed him today)
"Impressed? It's the first day in pads. You just want to get a first day in pads on record as much as anything. It's hard to really be impressed this early in camp on what any of us are really doing right now. Just the starting spot, we have a long ways to go. That's what we'll say right now. As much as anything, we just want tomorrow's practice, we would just like to see marked improvement."

(On if he expects quarterback Jameis Winston to have some good and bad days at Training Camp)
"No doubt. You can say just quarterbacks in general. For us, it's our defense and it's our offense. I would hope that we are going to have good offensive days and good defensive days. That's saying our team is going to be okay. Our goal is to get (quarterback) Jameis (Winston) ready. We're doing a lot of things that we normally don't do this early – defensively too – to try and give him as many looks as we possibly can. The blitz period is where he had the most trouble. That's how it should be for a young quarterback."

(On if you have to experience the speed of the league first hand to completely understand how fast it is)
"Yes, no doubt you do. In all positions, of course Ali coming from a Division III team. He can handle the speed, because for an offensive lineman, at the Combine I think he was the fastest lineman or something like that. I think what you see after a while is 'Okay, yes guys are a lot faster, but I have a little speed too.' I know I saw his first rep going against a pretty good football player in (defensive tackle) Henry Melton and he more than held his own. I think that's what Ali will see, that 'I can do this and I'm quick enough to handle what is on the other side."

(On what he is doing defensively to get Jameis up to speed)
"We're just, for the most part, giving him different looks, looks that he will possibly see. Not possibly see, he will see during the course of the year. We are not inventing a defense or anything like that with what we are doing on the other side right now. Jameis will tell you some of those plays he just can't make, but that's part of the process of becoming a good quarterback in the league; to go through some days like this. Keep in mind there are scholarship players on the other side of the ball that we feel pretty good about. I, with my glass being half full, I'm pretty fired-up about those takeaways we got on the defensive side of the ball today."

(On if there was something specific he was looking for from the players during their first practice in pads)
"The seven-on-seven. I've talked a lot about the one-on-one offensive and defensive line period that we had today. That was a focus of me today. I normally go with the seven-on-seven group. I wanted to see the linemen, their first reps, some of the young guys their first reps in a one-on-one situation. Beyond that, most of the group stuff. Normally I go with the group stuff, but today I really wanted to see the one-on-one stuff, the one-on-one pass drill that we had."

(On if running the ball is a high priority to ease the ball off a rookie quarterback)
"I said that last year and I believe that. That's just the base part of my philosophy on how I think you need to win football games, but yes with a rookie quarterback, that can ease some of the pressure. We can have a 10-year veteran and I would be saying the same thing. You need to be able to run the football period. For us to have a physical mentality, that comes with running the football, but of course it's even more important this year."

(On defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers)
"I don't know about you all, but most of us have been fired at least one time and it's a humbling experience. That's definitely the case. To know and to see how blessed you are to have a chance be an NFL football player, you would get a different player at most positions if a player was cut first and then had to come back. He would appreciate it a lot more and know that you only have so many opportunities. Da'Quan did some good things for us last year and I know right now, he came in, in-shape ready to go and I noticed him in a couple plays out there today. He can be a good football player."

(On if Bowers was brought in because of defensive tackle Akeem Spence's injury)
"We are paying more attention to it – and probably you are based on that – but no, we are trying to get the best 90 players here in camp. We had watched what was going on with him throughout. It just kind of seemed like the natural thing to do then."

(On Bowers' conditioning entering camp this season)
"Good shape? Yes. And again, last year, we weren't displeased. He did some things to knock himself out of playing time and things like that, but go back to the Pittsburgh game – he showed up. We're just basing it on the type of shape he's in right now, which is good shape. He has an opportunity to really show us what he can do. We're playing him a lot more inside right now, so he's having to really get used to that."

(On transitioning Winston from college to the pros and the learning curve at various positions)
"I think it's all relative to who you are. Rookies coming in, there's a learning curve, period. All positions – Kwon Alexander, you look at him, playing Mike linebacker, making calls, there is a big adjustment. He would tell you he has the hardest job in football right now, trying to make calls and then play. Cornerback, having to guard tough receivers right away, that's tough. Every positon is that way. As a coach, you just have to realize there is a period where you have a learning curve that you have to keep these guys on."

(On the tempo of practice and if there is an emphasis to get in as many plays as possible)
"That was an emphasis. I think, in the league, there's more and more up-tempo offenses. We at times will be up-tempo, so of course that's helping our offense, but our defense too – having to get calls in, the communication that goes into that. In turn, your practice is shorter, so that is definitely the case. You guys have probably noticed, every day we've kind of finished a little bit early, so we'll adjust our time now, knowing about how long it really takes us to get through a standard practice that we have."

(On a timetable for wide receiver Louis Murphy's return to practice)
"No. I wish I could. He's getting better. You guys know Louis, he's doing everything he possibly can, but it takes a little bit of time. In his absence, we are getting a chance to see some of the young receivers and we are taking notice."

(On using mistakes as teaching tools and controlling players' passion for the game)
"I don't stop any of the passion that anyone has. If any player, Jameis, anyone else, if they make a mistake, we're going to coach them up and try to get them to avoid that next time and just realize that that's going to be the case. If our quarterbacks aren't throwing any interceptions around here, that's not a good thing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sometimes. That's saying our defense is pretty bad – they should be intercepting some of them. We'll work with Jameis. Yesterday was a little bit better than today for him. He'll come back tomorrow."


(On how it felt to practice in pads for the first time this season)
"It was great, man. It looked like we haven't missed a beat. I think going through OTAs and getting a feel for everything, guys caught on real fast. We're a long ways from where we were at last year around this time. Guys just flying around, guys know what they're doing. It's looking real good; looking real promising."

(On the cohesion within the linebacking group)
"Pretty good. Like I said, I think us as a group, linebackers as a group, we're far along from where we were at last year. I think we've got a better understanding. I don't know if the coaches changed up their teaching style or whatever, but they've been doing a great job. Everybody's been catching on. You see rookies playing a lot. They're getting a lot of reps and they're capitalizing off it. That's what you like to see. A lot of depth is what we need, and we're getting it (in) a lot of those guys."

(On the position battle between linebackers Danny Lansanah and Kwon Alexander)
"Danny's going to be Danny, and then you have a young rook coming in doing what he's supposed to do, playing his role and trying to fly around and make plays. I mean, there's not just a position battle right there, there's a position battle between all of us. We don't have a clear-cut starter at (any) position. Everybody is coming out trying to perform at a high level to earn respect of the coaches."

(On whether it's easy to block out off-the-field storylines now that training camp has started)
"It's real easy, man. When you have a lot of time on your hands, you kind of lean toward what's going on outside, but once football (starts), you get to focusing and locking in on football. So it's been pretty good for me, it's been real calm for me, so I've got a chance to get back on the field, put some pads on, thump a little bit, since I haven't been thumping since December or whatever. But I'm feeling real good today."

(On finding a break in the weather in which to practice today)
"In the back of my mind, I'm always saying, 'We've got to find a way to get in a practice or something. We've got to do something football-wise.' Meetings all day can take a toll on you, you know? So getting out here as soon as we saw it was cleared up, I mean, it was a blessing. Everybody was ready to put their pads on. We were out here right away."

(On what stood out to him from today's practice session)
"What stood out to me? I mean, that last play in team period, when (wide receiver) Rob Herron caught that one-handed catch. The safety was back there waiting for the interception and Rob just stuck a hand out and just made the play. But the main thing was everybody is on the same page. There weren't a lot of mental busts, that I can tell, from the defense. The guys were on their jobs, doing what they are supposed to do, and that's real promising."

(On the offense line)
"Those guys are really physical, really aggressive. Once they get their hands on you – me as a linebacker, I know this – once they get their hands on you, there's no way you can get off of them. I had to play today with Dot (Demar Dotson) and I was kind of mad at him, because he got his hands on me and I couldn't fight to get off him, but that's just the way it is. Hopefully I'll get my payback."


(On the importance of having training camp practices)
"We want to practice and get the practices out of the way and work on our craft and get better so we can be ready for the 15th (the first preseason game, at Minnesota)."

(On if playing in pads simulates a more "game-like" experience)
"Absolutely it's more game-like. The DBs (defensive backs) get to put their hands on us, we get to put our hands on them when we block. It's real physical and it's been fun."

(On how he stays prepared when there are potential delays or schedule changes)
"It messes with your mind a little bit, but we do a good job of incorporating other things. So we'll get more meetings, things like that. We'll get a lift in or something like that – we do a good job of interchanging things."

(On if there is competition amongst the Tampa Bay receiving corps)
"We have a lot of explosive guys, playmakers, in that room. I think we're one of the best receiving corps in the league and I think we'll show it come the first game."


(On if he feels good about how the offensive line played today)
"Yeah. I think this year especially, we're a lot more comfortable with each other. The room is a lot better, guys are getting it a lot better. You can see the improvement on the field."

(On if he can get a better feel for how the front five can come together)
"I think when it's all said and done and the two spots up for grabs right now are going to get settled, we're going to have a good group out there. We're going to have a good five and it's going to be able to match the group that's opposite of us on our team."

(On how long it takes to create chemistry within the unit)
"I think the biggest thing right now is the fact that we actually all have a year under our belt. Besides the rookies, all the guys around us have a year under our belt. We had a lot of guys that came in late last year; this year we've really had a true offseason under Lovie. Everybody's had a year under Lovie; this is the second year. Everybody understands the program a lot better, what we want to do better and I think it's reflecting in (where we're) at now. Are we where we want to be, right now? I don't think we are, but we're definitely moving in the right direction, and that's what's exciting."

(On creating holes for the running backs during drills today)
"Definitely. We have a great, great group of backs. I put them up against any group in the league. We definitely have some special guys back there that can make things happen when we give them the opportunity. But, it definitely comes down to us giving them all the opportunities we can when we get called upon so that we can get (quarterback) Jameis (Winston) comfortable (and) we can get the receivers going. But when we start getting that running game going, especially down here in this heat, it's going to be big trouble for a lot of teams."

(On what one thing the line can do to get working in unison)
"We've just got to get reps – that's the biggest thing. You've got to get out here, you have to be able to make the mistakes, correct the mistakes and then fix them and not repeat them. You know, that will be the biggest thing to watch, is guys not making the same mistakes over and over again which, like I said, we had a whole year. You see the improvement from a lot of the guys and it's definitely coming and showing out here on the field and we've just got to keep taking those steps forward."

(On his relationship with Winston and what he's seeing out of him early on)
"I'm actually really impressed with his knowledge. He's obviously done a lot of hard work since the break. He's really on top of his game. He still turns to me for stuff. I always talk to him, I'm always talking to him making sure he's seeing the defense the way I see the defense, we're getting the protections the way we want it. But what he's doing right now, he has a real firm grasp on what we want to do and I'm not correcting him very much – let's put it that way."

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