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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quotes: Winston, McCoy, Smith, Cherilus

Quotes from the Buccaneers' training camp practice on August 18.


"I thought we were able to get a lot of good work in. It's kind of Tampa. You have to deal with the elements from time to time. We missed some of our team stuff. We'll just add it to tomorrow's practice. Beyond that it was good to get guys, (tackle Gosder) Cherilus out at the tackle position. It looked like he has been working out as he told me a little bit. That's all good."

(On if he watched Cherilus during pass-rush drills)
"No, I was in on seven-on-seven. I haven't seen him there yet. He's been out of ball for a while. There will be a grace period, but he's a veteran. He's played against the good pass rushers throughout his career. He should be able to get back into the flow of things failry quick."

(On Cherilus' knee)
"Everything is fine. If there was an issue we wouldn't have him out there. We feel good about it."

(On if he remembers coaching against Cherilus in Chicago)
"Of course I do. I remember when he came out of Boston College. Did a lot of work on him then. I really liked him. After he went to the Lions and playing against him twice a year – tough, physical football player, good guy. We drafted one of his teammates on our team in Chicago, so we know quite a bit about him."

(On if Cherilus is expected to be the starting right tackle at some point in the near future)
"That's up for grabs, but you don't bring a player in like that unless you plan on him helping you out in some kind of way fairly soon. Again, after one practice we'll kind of see, but we wouldn't bring him in unless we thought he could help us this year."

(On tackle Reid Fragel)
"Of course (offensive coordinator) Dirk (Koetter) has a history with him. We knew quite a bit about him, but (he has a) big body and has been doing good things. When guys do everything you ask them to do you want to get them in the game and he did a good job in the game. That's warranted more time. We have a couple guys down right now and it's an opportunity for guys like that to show us that they belong. We'll be watching."

(On the amount of time between the team's first two preseason games)
"In an ideal world we like to play a week in between games. In an ideal world we wanted to probably start our first preseason game on Thursday, but it never works like that. In an ideal world it would be sunny outside and we would be able to practice. You just go with it. You adjust. That's why for me, I like dealing with adversity in training camp and different things you have to do. No issue really."

(On defensive end Lawrence Sidbury Jr.)
"He did some good things. He caused a fumble and recovered a fumble so you take notice.  You know how we are with takeaways, so we have taken notice on that. In practice he has done some good things too. He's a guy that's played some special teams for us, but he's a defensive end and iwe want our defensive ends to be able to rush the passer. We'll continue to evaluate  him on that."

(On linebacker Kaseem Greene)
"We think his strong suit is playing against the run. That's why we played him. He has played the WILL linebacker – the outside position. Now we have worked him at the MIKE position, which we feel like is his best position. He's a physical and that was a great play on the goal line. As much as we preach, strip the ball, tackle the ball – that was a perfect example where it was a violent takeaway and that's what we are looking for."

(On takeaways at practice today)
"That's what we want to do. That's what we preach. As long as we get the guys to buy in to attacking the football that way always, some of the balls will come out. We will get our share of balls coming out. Of course helping our running backs too. They know that they have to run through there and secure the football or you will get embarrassed with the ball coming out. It's helping both sides of the ball."

(On linebacker Kwon Alexander in his second day working with the first team)
"He's there because we feel like he can make plans like that. He has warranted some time in this role in this position. I think every day you are going to see him doing something better. He has big play ability like that. He will strike you. That's what he is supposed to do."

(On whether he prefers to play veterans over rookies)
"We would all prefer a veteran, but I prefer the best player and a lot of times he's young. It seems like more and more are younger. I have no problems, my history has been that. I have no problems playing young players. It's just left to us as coaches to stimulate that process of catching them up. That's what we are doing with some of our young players – quite a few of them. For young guys coming in, we let them know early on this is what our history has said. If you are the best guy, it doesn't matter if you are a rookie or whatever. We'll play you right away, but you have to do that a little bit for people to believe it. I think the guys believe it around here."

(On what linebacker Bruce Carter has to do to keep the competition open at the MIKE position)
"It's not like we are displeased with what Bruce is doing. We just really like what Kwon has done. Bruce now, if you have seen him practice, he's working at the SAM linebacker position and he's fighting for a starting position there. We need all of our linebackers. For us, we have to get to the game to see exactly what everybody's best position is. For Bruce, that's it. Bruce is working hard just as he always has been. He's a big part of what we are going to do this year."

(On wide receiver Mike Evans and what the next level for him is)
"The next level, of course, is becoming one of the best receivers in the league. When everyone talks about the receiver position – that's what we are talking about Mike as. Mike set a pretty high bar in that first year. A player like Mike has set the bar higher and higher most of his career. With more production from our offense, getting a running game going, where Mike has more opportunities in one-on-one situations, we are not setting any limits to what he can do. We just want to see improvement. Improvement for Mike can take him in a place that we are going to be pretty happy about."

(On tackle Demar Dotson's status)
"No, nothing new. He's back here. He started the process. Every day he gets a little closer to returning to our football team. That's our approach."

(On Chris Conte's injury status)
"It's day-to-day. As we go forward, hamstring, now I may not be an expert on a lot of things but I feel like I know those hamstring injuries. Since junior in high school I know about hamstring injuries. Normally when you hear somebody tell you 'OK, it's not that bad. All of the soreness is gone.' You wait another week and then they may be ready to go. If I'm told  a guy has a hamstring injury I'm going to say week-to-week instead of day-to-day. That's probably where it is."

(On how important is it to play well at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night after last season's home record)
"It's important, but I don't live in the past an awful lot. We are trying to go past that. I know this year we haven't lost a game there and that's what I'm talking to our football team. Just opening home game is important. Fans have been great here. Soon we are going to have a pretty good crowd for a preseason game there Monday night. We are excited about that. We need to eventually have a great home field advantage and that's based on our play, starting off with that. We realize that. I know the guys can't wait to play."

(On if he has seen gradual progression each day from quarterback Jameis Winston)
"I can't give you the details. Everybody that goes out to the practice field, I think gets better each day, if you take coaching. There is different things you see from day to day. We keep a running total on how many passes and things like that. Just trust me, every day when you are a rookie and you get reps, you get better and that's what is happening with Jameis. I can't break it all down to you. There are going to be some balls we would like to have back each day, but again as I said, those days I'm talking more to the defense about being able to take the ball away. I feel like we are going to be decent on that side of the ball. There are going to be some ups and downs, but all this is what we have to go through."     


(On deciding to sign with Tampa and what he expects moving forward)
"We got the phone call…I've always wanted to be here in a way. I'm good friends with Davin Joseph [and] Jeremy Trueblood. We go way back to when [Jon] Gruden was here. I know they were trying to draft me back then. I had a chance to be here and I told my agent, 'Hey, I've been home for a couple of weeks, I know we're still going back and forth with a couple of teams.' I come here and it's my first time where I have a chance to play for a hot-weather team and play on grass the whole year. I told him, 'Hey, find a way to get it done,' and he got it done."

(On if he was looking at Tampa in 2013 when he signed with Indianapolis)
"Well, I know we talked briefly and I think once everything kind of got to the next level they dropped out."

(On being happy to be in Tampa now)
"Yeah, I'm glad to be here. It's a young team, a great team, an up-and-coming team, you can tell – hard workers and great coaches so I'm excited to be a part of this."

(On his health)
"I'm good, feeling good. You know…yeah, I'm feeling good. I was out there today, feeling pretty good except for the heat a little bit. It was a rude awakening but hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. I'm still a little bit under the weather."

(On what he has done to stay in shape while he was a free agent)
"At the end, my  job is to be a pro athlete, so every day, every morning I wake up, I'm still training with my trainer back home in Boston where I was training, Mike Boyle. I still do some cardio. I like boxing, which I do a lot of, and when I can I get some yoga in. Whatever I can do to stay in shape."

(On adapting to the Buccaneers' offense)
"It's a different offense. It takes people probably years to master an offense like this. I'm just trying as hard as I can to learn as much as I can as soon as I can so I can be a part of this."

(On how he feels about his former team, the Colts, being on the Bucs' schedule)
"To be honest, when I signed here I didn't realize the Colts were on the schedule. It was when I was walking into the locker room and they had the big board and I saw them. I mean, at the end of the day, our focus right now is on Tennessee, or even our next team [in the preseason], which is Cincinnati. You just want to take everything day by day, team by team. Hopefully when we get there that week we'll talk about it, but right now there's no need for it. They're doing some great things over there in Indiana and we're doing what we're doing here. This early in the season you can only worry about yourself. You don't have to worry about what other guys on other teams are doing. We just have to worry about ourselves in Tampa."

(On if he thought the Bucs might draft him in 2008)
"Yeah, I remember I spoke to Coach Gruden. He brought me in for a visit and he said, 'Hey, we understand there's a small chance you might…" – they had pick 20 at the time – "…you might not be around when we get to pick but I can promise you one thing.' They were like the safe net: 'If you're still there, guaranteed we'll grab you.' I was kind of selfishly hoping I was still kind of there, in a way, but you know how it goes. It wasn't my decision, it wasn't Coach Gruden's, so I was glad to get drafted where I got drafted. I went to Detroit, everything worked out fine. And I'm still here, so it's still working out fine."

(On his impressions of Jameis Winston)
"I was doing offensive linemen stuff, but from what I saw he's extremely talented. The kid's young, great arm and everyone that I talked to had nothing but great things to say about the kid. First one in the building, last one to leave. They always talked about his work ethic and everything he's doing to help us win ballgames. I can only repeat what I'm hearing, but from what I'm seeing I think he has a chance to be pretty special."

(On if Winston's presence was a factor in his decision to sign with Tampa)
"Oh yeah, definitely. When I came here I spoke to Coach [Lovie] Smith and the O-Line Coach [George Warhop] and it starts with the quarterback. Especially when you're an O-Lineman it's good to know who you're blocking for and everything, knowing there's a young guy and can come here and help out. I don't know how yet, but if it's just by me doing what I'm supposed to do, then why not?"

(On watching Andrew Luck develop)
"I think Andrew's just a great person. It starts way back with his upbringing. We both lived downtown when I was in Indy, we went out to dinner a lot, we talked a lot, and we talked more than just football. I'm into real estate development, he's into architecture, so we had a lot to talk about. When you think what a typical NFL guy [is] you'd probably say Andrew's not involved based on how he lives his life, how he does things. But once you take all of that away and put up his numbers you're like, 'Yeah, he belongs.' He's a great kid, a great leader, an even better friend and great teammate. I have nothing but great things to say about Andrew."

(On if he can pick things up quickly enough to play on Monday)
"It's not my choice. I'm here to help out. It's up to the coaches, and it's my job to show up and spend extra time, even if I have to stay here late or come in early, like this morning showing up and spending as much time as I can with Coach Warhop trying to pick up the playbook as soon as I can."


(On linebacker Kwon Alexander working with the starting defense and what he has shown)
"I told him the other day, in 2012, we were in the spring and we were watching film and I just kept seeing this guy just go 'phew, phew, phew' (moving quickly). I said 'Who is this kid? I don't know who this guy is.' So I start calling this kid 'The Flash." Well it ended up being Lavonte David. I told (Kwon) I haven't seen anybody run like that since when Lavonte first got here. (Kwon) just loves the game. He's doing all of the right things to be where he's at and he's rightly earned his opportunity to be with the 'ones' (first-team defense). What he does with it from here is kind of on him, but he's definitely – when you talk about in terms of getting downhill or getting to the ball, he's at the top of the list."

(On the Buccaneers not having an individual 10-sack season since 2005)
"You kind of want to stop hearing about it. Somebody has to do something about it, otherwise you're just going to keep hearing about it. They always say to be in that elite group (of defensive tackles), a 10-sack season is it. I believe we have a couple of guys who are capable of doing it on our front, but it's just going to take us working together. Not one guy on our front can do it by himself. We're just going to have to come together as a unit and somebody will get there."

(On rookie quarterback Jameis Winston's confidence and how that can help him)
"He's not fazed by anything. A mistake doesn't bother him, an interception doesn't bother him. He has something that is rare for a rookie to have and that's the 'next-play' mentality. A lot of rookies who come in the league are so frustrated after making mistakes – especially rookie quarterbacks – he just doesn't do that. All his focus is 'I have to be better I have to get better.' So when he makes a mistake and he gets to go back in, in his mind, it's just another opportunity to get better. That's going to take him a long way. Not just him, but us as a whole team, because – an example of that is what Russel Wilson did to get his team to the Super Bowl (last season). He didn't play his best game, but when the game was on the line, you would have never known that he threw four interceptions. It didn't faze him. It's the 'next-play' mentality. Jameis has the same thing."

(On what improvement he has seen from second-year wide receiver Mike Evans)
"He's got that tag on him, of being one of those special players. He doesn't even know how to play football yet. He's so gifted. It's kind of scary how gifted he is. He has the mentality, in his mind already, 'Just throw the ball up and I'll go get it.' He doesn't feel like there's anybody who can stay in front of him. That's where it all starts, a confidence in yourself. His God-given ability is going to take him a long way, but one thing I will say about him is he's trying to learn the game. I watch a lot a film, so I'm up here at random times during the day or when we're on break, I'm in the film room. I was walking through the receivers room one day and Mike was in there by himself, watching Dez Bryant. One thing I told him is, what I did is I looked around the best players in history and the best players in the NFL (currently) and tried to take a little bit from each person. I think if he does that, he'll easily take over this league."

(On who he watches film to model his game after)
"A lot of people. Nintey-nine (Warren Sapp) told me to chase the ghosts of the game, so I watch all of the retired d-tackles, I watch nowadays d-tackles, I even watch d-ends. I watch everybody. I don't even just watch football. I watch basketball. I watch people who are great at what they do. I watch (Muhammad) Ali train, I watch Floyd Mayweather train – people who are just great at what they did, you can take a little bit from, whether it's their mentality, how they prepared, even how they performed. I get old film from the old Bucs and I'll watch a whole game. People always talk about Warren Sapp's numbers, but I always like to see how he progressed in a game. Whether he started fast and then maybe he went down. Whether he started slow and picked it up. How he fought through adversity, all the different things – I'm a different guy. I find any way I can to try and get better."

(On if he kept his self-confidence during his first two seasons when he dealt with injuries)
"Always. I never was worried about whether I could play the game or not. It was just about getting it done. I'm one of those guys, it takes (me) a while to get going. Even in camp, as far as my technique goes, it takes me a while to get my technique back, but once it comes back, it's there. When I'm learning something, it takes me a second, but once I get it, I get it going. I never was really worried about my injuries, I just needed to make sure once I was on the field, learn how to play the game and just go play.

(On if he feels unstoppable when he is at the peak of his game)
"I know when I go out on the field, my confidence level comes from the fact that I know God is carrying me. It's not me that my confidence is in, it's the fact that I know that God is the one carrying me throughout the games, carrying me throughout the games, carrying me throughout practice, carrying me throughout my career. That's where my confidence comes from. I don't know where everybody else's confidence comes from, but that's where my confidence comes from."

(On his impressions of defensive tackle Tony McDaniel)
"He's definitely a vet (veteran player). He has a vet's mentality. In the film room, even how he carries himself throughout the building, but he can play. To be that big, he can move. He's going to be great for us in the run game and even in the pass (game), somebody to help up the middle to push that pocket so the quarterback doesn't have a step-up lane. I think he's going to be great for us."

(On tackle Demar Dotson's injury and how Dotson is doing)
"You never want to see, not just one of your vets or one of your best players, but just anybody on your team – or anybody in general. We play this game because we love it. There's a lot of different motivations for why people play the game, but you never want to see an injury. You hate to see an injury, period, especially when it's one of your brothers. He's definitely motivated to get back. His spirits are high. He's still been the same guy and he's going to do everything in his power to get back as soon as possible."

(On how having a family has changed his life and if it has changed his focus)
"Yeah, I had to grow up early. I had my daughter when I was 17, so it forced me to grow up, because I always told myself I'm going to be the best parent I can be, but definitely. I've got a lot of kids, man. I've got a lot of kids – a lot of kids (laughs). I love them all though. We want more, so to try and balance being who I am to this team and then go home and try and give my family the same energy or even more, it's tough, but you have to mature. You have to grow up in order to be able to do it."

(On where the defense is at this point)
"We're not there yet. The difference in college and the NFL (is) the little things. The little things you can not get away with in the NFL and those are the things we have to get better at, the little things. Whether it's a fit here, whether it's a rush lane here, whether it's a disguise here, just little things you have to work on, but we'll get there. We're not there yet. It's the first preseason game. A lot of guys are just going out there just wanting to hit somebody else. When you go out there that first preseason game, sometimes you lose sight of the fact that you still have to play in the scheme. A lot of guys just go out there like 'I can't wait to hit somebody else,' and they just go. Things just do like this (scatter). That's the joy of the first preseason game. You get all the cobwebs off. You get your first taste of hitting somebody else. Now you come back, the second preseason game, you fix those things you did wrong in the first one. You just try to build off of them."

(On how excited he is to play in front of the home fans)
"I can't wait. I love Tampa, man. More than just the fans, I just love the city. I love it here. It's perfect for my family and I. There's no better feeling than running out on the field and your home crowd screaming for you. Even before the games – we have some loyal fans, man. That weather has been terrible. These fans, you'd think when we go in and we come back out, they're going to be gone. You come back out on the field, the stands are empty, then five minutes later they're back, full again. It's like man, we've got some loyal fans. You can't beat that. You want to win for fans like that."


(On his feelings about his first preseason game after evaluating the tape)
"The most positive thing was definitely the first drive that we had to get three points. The tempo was good; we moved the ball up and down the field, converted on third down. So it was just a big turnover for us. It was some good things and some bad things, but, you know, you build on the positives and eliminate the negatives."

(On some of the positives to build on from his first game)
"Just our tempo. When we have a fast-paced tempo, we play fast, we play good. Things (are) happening faster, but they kind of slow down, in a sense, for our offense, because we're so used to playing fast."

(On what he can do to start out more quickly, even in practices)
"You know, it's not how you start, it's how you finish, for the most part. But, early in practice you can't really judge that, because we have so many different situations that happen on that day in practice. It might be a bad decision here or somebody might make a good play. So you can't really judge (practice) play."

(On Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter's offense)
"The way Coach Koetter runs his offense is the way he runs it, and it's amazing. Right now I'm just adjusting to everything. It's just great to play a football game in his offense. We see the explosiveness that we can have and we see the good things we can do. But, like I said, it's the first game. You can't judge off of just a first game. You've got a long season."

(On adjusting to the NFL in his first game experience)
"It was good. It was football. The main thing was being able to feel a true rush. Getting the defensive ends actually being able to sack you, (rather) than these guys (at practice) saying that they got a sack when it probably wasn't really a sack. You got to feel the real rush, and that was important."

(On if he enjoyed playing against a defense in a game situation)
"Yeah, absolutely. We're playing real football. Any chance I get to play real football, I love it. I enjoy it."

(On if the speed of the game surprised him at all)
"Not really at all. I was just excited to be out there playing football. I had high expectations for our offense and we went out there and I exceeded my (expectations) of playing, just being able to be a quarterback for an NFL team and go out there and play against another team. So I was happy at that fact. But, you know, there is always room for improvement and we are going to get better every week."

(On new right tackle, veteran Gosder Cherilus)
"I met him briefly. We haven't really sat down and had a full conversation. This is training camp, so everybody is on their own little thing. But we definitely welcome him to the Buccaneer family and I can't wait to get out there on the field and have him blocking for me."

(On if there is a particular area where he feels he is most improving)
"I have to say the tempo of my drops. Coach (Mike) Bajakian and Coach Koetter have been hammering down on me with just my foot quickness and just being able to get in the rhythm with my drops so I can be in sync with the routes."

(On his relationship with wide receiver Mike Evans)
"I'm a big dreamer and I always tell Mike, 'Mike: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice,' just things like that, building our heads up. That was one of the best duos of all time. But I love this game of football so much, so I try to relate me and a great receiver like him to other players that have done it before. But we have so many great guys, man. I can't speak enough how much Vincent (Jackson) helps me out, just being able to have that guy that I know he's going to be right there every single time. That's one thing about being the quarterback, being able to feed everybody the rock. It makes players like Mike much more dynamic when you have other players around like Kenny Bell, Louis Murphy had an outstanding game, and guys like Russell Shepard, who's going to be at the right place at the right time all the time. When you have guys around who can open up big guys like Mike and Vincent, and even our tight ends, to make big plays for us."

(On if he is excited to play in his first home game with Tampa Bay)
"I don't even know how much of my family is going to be attending this game. I can't speak of how excited and anxious I am to get out there in Raymond James (Stadium) and play. That's one thing me and Kenny Bell discussed before the game: we have one profession where we can actually say we aren't going to do a job today; we get to go out there and play. Play and have fun and play the game of football that we've been playing since we were young."

(On growing up in Alabama where fellow Tampa Bay rookie Kwon Alexander was also a highly rated player)
"Me and Kwon have known each other since our sophomore year, just because Alabama kids know each other. That's definitely a football state. Kwon's just, he's an amazing player. Back then, he was a little skinnier just like me, but he always was able to fly to the ball and make great plays."

(On his relationship with quarterback Mike Glennon and how Glennon helped him during his first game)
"We helped each other out, because both of us, all three of us, were charting and keeping up with the pictures and stuff. I think we just have a good relationship in the quarterback room where we just don't focus on ourselves, we focus on the whole team."

(On if he feels his offseason work with wide receiver Louis Murphy has made a difference)
"I feel any chance that you get to put in extra work with these guys, it does make a difference, because whether it's just you being two seconds late here, or two seconds early, you know, he doesn't get his head around and make the play. This game is about anticipating where people are going to be and them making plays."

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