Bucs Central

Open Locker Room Quotes: Wednesday

Wilkerson leads the Bucs with five sacks and 10 in 21 games since signing as a free agent

Wilkerson leads the Bucs with five sacks and 10 in 21 games since signing as a free agent

Several players addressed the media after practice today with newly acquired DE Michael Bennett talking about the teams plan to switch him to defensive tackle. Jeff Faine who returned to practice for the first time since being sidelined with a  torn triceps injury talked about what he expects to see from the Panthers defensive and playing through pain. Starting signal caller Josh Johnson spoke about the identity of the offense. Johnson also talked about the game slowing down for him. Veteran defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson the team leader in sacks spoke about getting pressure of Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.

(On this being a good opportunity for him)

“Yeah, it’s really good. They’re looking for pass rushers and I’m glad they took me and gave me a chance to go out there and play.”

(On making a transition to defensive tackle)
“I played both so it’s not really different. I’m getting used to learning how to play end and tackle. When you play tackle, it’s really physical and then you take that out there with you to end. You take on a lot of double teams when you’re inside, and then come out and play end and you can take on multiple blockers.”

(On if the first division game is like a fresh start to the season)

“That’s a good way to put it. Every game is important, especially in the NFC because at the end of the day that’s how you get in the playoffs. It’s just a matter of not even worrying about the record or anything that’s going on around us but just going out there and getting a win.”

(On if he is eager to practice)
“Most definitely, because the only time I get to be me is on Sunday. That’s the only time I can move, run or do anything. I want to go out there and practice because that’s important to me. I’m a practice person. I work hard in order to get the results on Sunday. I don’t think I’m doing my team or myself justice by not practicing. It’s just a matter of going out there.”

(On if it would be fitting to end the losing streak against Carolina)
“When you play those division games, at the end of the day it’s always a playoff-type of environment. A lot of guys that have been doing well are going to be challenged because everybody is hunting these types of wins. They’re very important if you want to make it to the postseason.”

(On what to expect from the Panthers)

“They showed last week that they’re looking to stop the run against Washington. They stacked the box pretty well and they’ve got some good talent there up front, with Hollis Thomas and [Damione] Lewis. It’s just all the usual suspects. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

(On if he’ll get a feel for his readiness at practice on Wednesday)
“Yeah, I think I’ll get a pretty good feel for it today and we’ll basically see where I’m at after practice. Right now it’s feeling pretty good and hopefully I’ll just keep taking steps forward.”

(On how much of his playing is a matter of pain toleration)
“There is going to be some pain, that’s just part of it. I think the smart part about it is realizing that I got an okay from the doctors that it won’t tear again, unless it’s another injury. There’s no more risk there than anywhere else on my body, so that is why they gave me the okay to go. But there is going to be some pain there that I’ve just got to deal with.”

(On his tryout)

“I was running routes and doing different things. I really didn’t know [if I did well]. I just went out there and did my best and let them decide if they liked it or not.”

(On if he’s familiar with the offense)
“Basically, offense is universal. It’s just getting used to the terminology, putting it into words that I know how to use. I’m in the playbook now and I’m trying to be in there the whole time.”

(On the season)

“It’s tough right now being 0-5. At the same time, we have to think of it right now as an 11-week schedule. We have to start fresh, we have to go, especially against Carolina. They are a heated division opponent. It’s going to be a tough matchup this weekend, physical game.”

(On how tough it is to reset after the losses)
“It is tough mentally. You have to put yourself in a position to win. We have made our bed, we lost five games. So be it. Now, we get to start over. We get to start up at Raymond James against Carolina. We have to put the past behind us, move on, go forward and get our first victory.”

(On what adjustments need to be made)
“I think first and foremost, just being ourselves. Right now with certain parts of the game and on defense, we are giving up the big play, we aren’t doing this, we aren’t doing that. We are just beating ourselves. I think once we hone in and know what our responsibilities are, or assignments and getting to the ball, we will play so much faster. The key for this weekend is to just be physical and not beat ourselves.”

(On the identity of the offense)

“I wouldn’t say it is more so different. A lot of times so far we haven’t really had the opportunity in the fourth quarter to stick with the run game. In the Washington game we were able to do that because it was a much closer game. In the Philly game last week, the score kind of got out of hand and it is tough to really keep trying to grind the run when you are down by a lot of points. You try to come back all at one time. I feel like it’s still a good balance. On Sunday when the game was closer, we tried to keep a balance with run and pass. They did a good job with stopping our run game. We had a couple of heavy set play actions where I was able to hit Antonio Bryant on one of them. We had a couple of more opportunities but the pressure they were bringing kind of allowed us to get out of it. I had to make the audible check because it wouldn’t have worked out as well. We still are the same thing but the circumstances aren’t allowing us to do it.”

(On Johnson talking to his team on the sidelines at the Eagles)
“I felt the need to do that. I am more so a reserved guy. It being my second year you kind of try to play a role a little bit. On Sunday, I feel like it is my team. It’s my job. You try to go into that, just having that leadership role so those guys know that they can depend on me. It felt like at that time we needed that. We needed that push. It was obvious. I was trying to get everyone to play football like we know how and put some points up on the board.”

(On the difference with Jeff Faine being back)
“Jeff is a great center. Mahan did a good job while Jeff was out, but Jeff is back now. That’s just another good thing for the offense, getting some guys back because he is really one of the most important players on the offensive side of the ball.”

(On if the receivers are getting open enough for the team to progress)
“I think so. We have a lot of open guys. We are getting open, we are getting opportunities to make the plays and as an offense, we have to do that. Once we start doing that I feel like we can do some good things on this side of the ball.”

(On Kellen Winslow being the most productive guy)
“With Kellen, you can do a lot of things. You get certain matchups and situations where you can use him to our advantage. That’s kind of what happens when Kellen has a big game. Teams let him be one-on-one which is a bad matchup for a linebacker or when you have him in the slot, a nickel guy. It’s an added advantage to our offense. You can move him around and play him in different places to try to get him the ball and when he is getting the opportunities, he is making great plays.”

(On if the games slowed down for him)
“I just knew from the first week that I was too fast. I had to slow myself down and that’s what I was doing last week in practice. I had a better feel with the timing with the guys so that when I am getting ready and set up to throw, they are getting out of their routes. We got more in sync last week and hopefully we can improve upon that this week.”

(On the Panthers’ offense)

“They run that ball and they do it well. They do a great job with blocking. The running backs do a great job of hitting the hole. They can throw it too, they’ve got great receivers out there.”

(On how to approach the Panthers’ offense)
“Just like any week, go in there and watch tape and try to see what you can do. We’ve just got to be us, get better, stop the run and try to find a way to get after the pass. There’s no telling what we can do.”

(On if he’s thinking of moving to receiver after his catch-and-run last weekend)

“No, I’m going to stick with left tackle. That will probably never happen again. I always dreamed about that happening; I wish I would have scored. I’m just trying to be a left tackle.”

(On if teams will be able to continue to blitz the Buccaneers’ offense)
“I think they aren’t going to be able to blitz as much because we’re learning and building on all the other stuff that we’ve got the last couple weeks. When we see something similar, we’ll be ready to pick it up, so I think it’s going to help us. That’s going to open up a couple holes.”

(On if the team is seeing signs that things are close to clicking)
“You can’t really talk about signs. We’ve been seeing signs. We know what we can do; we just have to go out there and do it. We have all the talent in the world. We’ve just got to put it all together and go do it.”

(On Carolina DE Julius Peppers)
“He’s a different breed, if he would have caught that pass last week he would have taken it to the house. That’s Peppers, he is a great athlete.”

(On how many times he has faced Peppers)
“This will be my fourth time. My first year playing he was predominantly on the other side. We have been back and forth battling. He is a good battler. We have mutual respect for each other.”

(On what the team is doing to get a win)

“We are working hard in the weight room and working hard on the practice field. The coaches are coaching us harder. We are going to be professional, correct the things that need to be corrected and get ready for Carolina.”

(On the dropped balls)
“You have to realize that you are going to have dropped balls. When you do have dropped balls you are going to be exploited. When you lose a game, it is easy to point a finger and say that’s the reason why we lost. We have a great group of guys, guys that are able to make plays and if we feel as though they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be here on the team or in this organization. All we can do is dust that off. We have to take a loss like we take a win. Enjoy or suffer from it for 12 hours and come Monday, get ready for the week of practice and prepare for the next team.”

(On what needs to be corrected)

“Obviously, there are some things that need to be addressed internally and fixed, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to approach this week like we do every other week. You can’t go in there with any other mindset than doing the best you can do and doing your job. When you do your job, if everyone does their job and you don’t have to do anybody else’s job, then everything will be fine.”

(On if this game is like a fresh start)
“It works for me. It has to. This is a division game, a big game. Carolina is a rival so they’re going to come in here ready. We really just need to prepare like we have every other week and just do your job.”

(On dropped passes)
“I’ve never once looked at any of the receivers after they dropped a ball and said, ‘Come on.’ Because 80 times in a game I’m asked to block, and truthfully I’m not going to make every block properly. I’m going to try to my hardest but I’m not going to. You guys don’t see that every time. You don’t see on a running play on the back side if I miss a block, but you see if someone drops the ball. Those guys are asked to do a lot of things, and all of them are some of the best blocking wide receivers in the whole game. If they’re going to bring that to the table and then drop a few balls…it’s not acceptable but I’m not going to get on them about it. They don’t get on me about missing blocks so I’m not going to get on them.”

(On how much it would mean to get a win after last year’s loss to Carolina)

“That and it’s a division game. We have to play them twice this year. We did well against them in the first game last year and later on we didn’t. This is a division game that we must win, like any other game.”

(On what he took out of last year’s Monday Night game in Carolina)
“They were a better team that day. They kept doing well and we just didn’t. They came to play, they beat us, it is what it is. We watched that film and use it as motivation.”

(On the rest of the line putting up similar numbers as his last week)

“It would be nice and we are capable of doing things like that. I think our rushes are coming along. We are playing the run better than what we were doing earlier on in the season. We are really ready to go against Carolina.”

(On QB Jake Delhomme)
“Pressure can help with any quarterback out there. We just have to stay consistent with our pressure and our rushing. We have to give the defensive backs and linebackers enough time to cover their guys. It works the same way. They cover their guys and you can get to the quarterback. If we get to the quarterback then they can get picks or batted balls, stuff like that.”

Courtesy of Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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