Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top 10 Quotes of the Week, December 12

How will the defense respond to the loss of Kwon Alexander? What's the secret of the team's red zone success? Those topics and more in our top quotes from One Buc Place this week.

Between the end of their thrilling win over Atlanta last weekend and kickoff this coming Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had time to break down their most recent game tape, devise a game plan for the Saints and hone their plays on the practice field. They also found plenty of time to discuss the week's most pressing topics, from the return of Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the Buccaneers' playoff relevance.

Here are the top 10 things we heard from Buccaneers players and coaches in Week 14 of the 2015 season:

  1. "Just as you advance down your schedule each week ,yes, we're looking for the Jameis Winstons, the Doug Martins, the Lavonte Davids to step up and make bigger plays each week. That's the standard, that's what they expect to do down the stretch and Lavonte did step up. He stepped up quite a bit throughout this year. That play [Monday], we were really excited about our offense scoring, but [Atlanta] had a timeout and plenty of time. We had to get them stopped and, yes, special players step up in those situations."
    - Head Coach Lovie Smith on getting game-winning plays from the Bucs' established star players

  1. "I was just super excited to get out there and play. Football is what I love. I love to be around these guys, help support these guys in any way that I can. Being out on the football field was a big step to doing that. I was a little rusty out there, a little anxious, pressed a little too much, but I was very happy to be out there and very happy to do whatever I could to help."
    - TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins on returning to action after missing nine games with a shoulder injury

  1. "Towards the end of the year we're kind of picking it up as a group and starting to make more plays, and impact plays. So we've just got to pick it up even more and always have Kwon in back of our minds. He still texts us. We started a group chat today; he's texting asking us what we're doing and things like that. It's definitely giving us an added [thing] to play for."
    - LB Danny Lansanah on the need for the linebacking corps to continue producing in the absence of Kwon Alexander

  1. "Our goal is 55 percent touchdowns in the red zone. You want points every time. In the NFL, you get inside the 20-yard line, you should have a field goal in the bag. Fifty-five percent touchdown rate will usually put you top five in the NFL. I think part of it is you learn your players. Maybe we've calmed down our scheme a little bit. We're a running football team, so we are running it a little bit more. You learn your guys, everybody fits in their role. That's probably more something for me where we were maybe trying to do too many things in the red zone instead of – after kind of figuring out what our identity is – stay in our lane and do what we do and not necessarily do what we were trying to do in Atlanta or something like that."
    - Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter on the offense's improved results in the red zone

  1. "It just goes with how close this offense is and how Coach Koetter is just making things work. We want to play for him. We believe that in any given circumstance that we can play and we can win. We've been blessed that we always have Doug Martin and Charles Sims with us. Having those two guys is always a good thing. A lot of people have touched the football this year and that's a good thing. It makes everyone happy. The people that didn't necessarily think they were going to touch the ball, they love Coach Koetter even more because he gives them the ball."
    - QB Jameis Winston on many people being involved in the offense throughout the season

  1. "Last year we didn't have an offensive coordinator and this year we have one of the best in the game. It's helped us tremendously, obviously. We were the worst team in the league last year. This year we have a chance at the playoffs, so there's a big difference. He's just finding all the mismatches. There are mismatches in all sort of defenses. If they're running zone, man – he knows how to find the mismatches. He's been doing a great job at that."
    - WR Mike Evans on the difference Koetter has made this season

  1. "I think as you look at interceptions in general for us and our defense, it starts up front making the quarterback throw the ball before he wants to. I'd say it had a lot to do with that. We rushed them fairly well too. We're a zone defense for the most part. That's why we are – to have as many eyes on the ball as possible. It's about takeaways. As I said earlier, we lost the turnover ratio this past week. You can't win games like that. We need to win it again this week."
    - Smith on getting interceptions off New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees the last two seasons and the need to get more on Sunday

  1. "He's really come into his own. He had a pretty good rookie year, but you watch him, now he's a guy you have to contend with. You always respected the speed and quickness, but he's more than just a vertical threats. He can catch those short passes and turn those into big plays. He's a talented young receiver and we've got to try to control him a little bit on Sunday."
    - Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier on the Saints' leading receiver, Brandin Cooks

  1. "Not at all. A good player isn't playing for us for a while, but you do have to move on. We didn't have a great defensive lineman play for us last week in Gerald McCoy. Guys stepped up. Bruce Carter is a good football player. We brought him here to play good football for us. Normally if you keep doing things the right way you get an opportunity. He's getting his opportunity. Again, he's had a good week of practice, we're excited about what he's going to do."
    - Smith on if the team is worried about the defense without Alexander in the mix

  1. "For me, it's an opportunity that I don't want to let slip, but I approach every week the same, regardless of what the situation is. We haven't had a shot to get in the playoffs in, really, three straight years. I didn't care, I showed up to work the same every day. It's just this is an opportunity you done want to let slip. With me knowing that, me not being in the playoffs, you just try to spread that throughout the locker room and on the field."
    - DT Gerald McCoy on what it means to be in the playoff race in December
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