Bucs Central

Open Locker Room Quotes: Week 16

At the completion of practice on Wednesday, several Tampa Bay Buccaneers players spoke with the media. Starting quarterback Josh Freeman talked about the possibility of upsetting the Saints…the unorthodox coverages the Saints run behind there blitz packages…Tackle Donald Penn spoke about the Saints defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant…commitment to the running game…Receiver Maurice Stovall talked about whether or not the Saints have peaked.


(On what’s different since the last time the Bucs played the Saints)
“We’re playing faster as a defense. I can’t speak for those guys offensively, but as a defense we’re playing a bit faster than we were the last time we played them, but we’ve got to go out and show that.”

(On the Saints still playing for homefield advantage)
“Yeah they are, but this is still a division opponent. You want to go out and make sure you put on some good stuff versus a division opponent.”

(On if a win against the Saints would change the public perception of the Buccaneers)

“It would definitely be a step in the right direction. I don’t think it changes the total perception of the team but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s something that could be big and it could be good for the confidence of a young team right now heading into the offseason.”

(On if this game can have a playoff-type feel for the Bucs)
“I guess the question is really, the game definitely means something. It’s not like it’s a meaningless game. It means something for us to build heading into the offseason. It’s a game that could mean something to us, if that’s the question that’s kind of on the lips of everybody. It means a lot.”

(On if Derrick Ward’s talents have been lost in the shuffle this year)
“I think all of the running backs have kind of been lost a little bit, from the standpoint that it’s been unfortunate that we’ve been off-schedule on offense for the most part this year. The games themselves, we’ve put ourselves behind the eight ball so much that we haven’t been able to stick to the running game. Last week was a little bit of a taste of what our backs can do and what our offense can do when we don’t kill ourselves.”

(On a possibility of upsetting New Orleans)

“Every game we go into is with the mentality of it being a must win game. It would be great to get a win and try to string something together to finish out the season and kind of get the momentum going into the offseason. That’s a standard. We prepare and practice hard at trying to beat everybody. New Orleans is a divisional foe. They have had a great season. We plan on going out to try to execute our game plan as best we can and try to do whatever it takes to come out with a win.”

(On what he noticed about the defense from the first matchup this year)
“They have a lot of different blitzes. They run some unorthodox coverages that they run behind their blitzes. We just weren’t able to get to them. They ran a number of plays where we just didn’t execute. It would have been a different game if we would have made some plays right before half. We would have gone into the half with a tie ballgame or maybe even up a score. But, we weren’t able to capitalize and they were. I’m trying to think, a 17-point swing right before halftime leading into the second half. We just didn’t recover. We have to avoid those types of swings, the negative swings. We were turning the ball over and they were capitalizing every time. We have to avoid the turnovers and try to sustain drives because we know what type of quarterback and type of offense they are working with.”

(On the advantage of facing them twice)
“It’s an advantage for both teams. They’ve got to know us a little bit better playing us the first time. Obviously, we learned a lot more about them having played them. I definitely think that it’s going to be a better game than it was last time. Last time we started off, I had a good opening drive but didn’t have a whole lot to say the rest of the game. Being able to go back, watch the film and see what we made mistakes of in the previous game I think we will be a lot more competitive.”

(On taking a big stride on third down)
“There were a lot of different things that contributed to it. Guys were making plays. Sammie [Stroughter] had a great catch; Antonio Bryant had a great catch. We had them pegged. We knew what coverages they were going to be in. Coach Olson was calling some perfect plays to get guys open. It just worked out pretty well.”

(On the change of defense)

“There is no discredit to Jim Bates and the scheme he had but a lot of the players here are comfortable with [Raheem’s] scheme and it’s something that we are here to do.”

(On what they can do differently this time against the Saints)
“Go out and win. Go out and play them hard, play smart ball and do what we know we can do.”

(On this weekend’s game)

“We are going up against the best this weekend. It’s a challenge within itself. We want to find out where we are. We are not there to give New Orleans home field; we are not there to get a draft pick. That’s not a mentality. Our mentality is to just go out there and win and let the chips fall where they may.”

(On winning)
“It’s great to win. Winning is infectious. Just being in that locker room on Sunday after the game you could see that all the guys’ hard work paid off. You go into New Orleans, in a hostile environment, against a deadly team and to come out with a win says great amounts of our organization especially at this time of the year.”

(On the Saints’ defensive ends)

“It’s the same challenge we have week-in and week-out. They’re a good defensive group. They’re coming off a loss and they’re going to be looking to avenge that loss so it will be a big game.”

(On if the Bucs feel better about themselves after the Seattle game)
“We’re not thinking about the Seattle game anymore. It’s behind us. We’re looking at New Orleans. We’ve got a big enough matchup this weekend, so Seattle is behind us. We’ve got to worry about the New Orleans Saints.”

(On committing to the running game)
“We’re still looking to try to finish the season 2-0. That’s what we’re looking at right now. It felt good to finally get the run going. We don’t want to stay on the Seattle game; we want to move on because in the past we haven’t had a consistent back-to-back running game yet. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

(On how Cadillac Williams has looked)
“I think everybody’s looking good. Everything’s starting to come together more and more because of the work we’ve had together, more work we’ve done. It’s starting to come together and we’re looking better and better every week.”

(On how the Bucs are different this time around)
“We have a little bit of confidence. We’ve got two wins under our belt. We want to look to be spoilers, and everybody’s trying to put something on film or next year you won’t be here. That’s enough to play for right there, your job.”

(On if he’s proud that the Bucs are still playing hard at this point in the season)
“Oh yeah, we’ve done that all year. Even when we’re down and in the two-minute we’re still out there trying to score and going hard. We’ve done that all year. I think that’s something that Raheem [Morris] brings to this table. Everybody’s going to play hard for him no matter what.”

(On what the Saints did to stop the Bucs in the last game)
“I think it’s all year not having been what people have done to us, but it’s what we’ve done to ourselves. We started off real well on our first drive against them and we didn’t sustain, and that’s been the story of the season. Last week, we bounced back from a couple of mistakes and that shows we’re growing as a team. We get down and get behind early and we try to bounce back. We have to have a good offense in this game to keep [Drew] Brees off the field, plain and simple.

(On the last time they faced the Saints)

“They were able to dictate what we were doing defensively last time by relying on certain formations, the shift and certain things. They could get us into certain coverages. This time it will be a little bit better for us so they shouldn’t be able to do that this time. It’s going to be a different game. They will have to game plan a little bit differently and we will have to game plan differently too. We were playing some different coverages and different fronts. They will have some more to see. I think we are all excited. We have a new challenge ahead of us.”

(On their defensive scheme the last time they played the Saints)
“It just didn’t work well especially in that game. I think we are all excited to just go back down and face the number one offense in the NFL.”

(On if it’s ironic to be called back to the Bucs)

“Yeah, it is, but that’s just business. It’s ironic. You never know. Sometimes you end up coming back to where you started or you come to the same place twice. It’s just fun to be back to see familiar faces and just get to play ball.”

(On if his career is progressing as fast as he would like)
“I think it’s a steady process. Coming from playing quarterback into learning the [wide receiver] position, it’s been a great process. Would I like it to go faster? Yeah, but I think it’s a growing process and we’ve got two games to keep it going. Just take it from there, just take it a day at a time and a game at a time.”

(On if he might play some receiver and if the offense is different than it was when he was here)
“Well, I hope so. The offense is similar, just different wording. With the turnaround in the league, pretty much everything is about the wording or what you call this, so it’s just learning the words. The offense is pretty much the same; it’s just new formations and learning the wording of it. That’s pretty much it.”

(On if he thinks he’ll be returning punts and kickoffs)
“We will see. Whatever the coaches want me to do, that’s what I’ll do. It’s going to be a primary focus on special teams and then see where I fit in playing offense.”

(On getting the call from the Buccaneers)
“It was crazy, just looking at [the phone]. I’ve got people’s numbers saved from Florida and I was like, ‘I don’t know whose number this is.’ I pick up the phone and it’s Doug Williams and I just bust out laughing. I was like, ‘What’s up?’ and he was like, ‘What do you think about coming and signing with the Bucs?’ I’m like, ‘What do I need to do?’ Just to come back home – I always felt like this was home and me and my family loved it here. It’s just fun to be back.”

(On if the Saints have peaked)

“I don’t think the Saints have peaked. I really don’t look at it that way. Watching film on them this morning, so far they’re still running the same defenses, and special teams-wise they’re still running the same schemes. It’s just a matter of who’s going to play the best on Sunday. They’re at home and that’s an advantage for them but at the same time we won on the road last week and we plan on doing the same thing this week.”

(On how the Bucs have improved since the last time they played the Saints)
“I think we’ve improved in a lot of areas, definitely the run game as we demonstrated this past Sunday. Josh [Freeman] is more comfortable in the pocket and making adjustments to audibles on the line of scrimmage. Everyone is pretty much healthy; we have [Michael] Clayton coming back off his injury. We’re coming into this game with a lot of enthusiasm and momentum, we’re very excited and very confident this week in practice and we’re looking to play hard this week.”

(On if he likes the role of spoiler)
“We don’t look at it as far as them having homefield advantage or anything of that nature. We’re just looking to get a win, finish off the season strong and demonstrate to the coaching staff, to the organization and to the city of Tampa that the Buccaneers aren’t giving up. We want to finish off our season strong and do what we can to get a win.”

(On the biggest progress since facing them last time)

“Just us sticking together as a team. Offense, defense, special teams. All of us sticking together giving that we are a 2-12 team. If we believe in each other it’s going to pay off.”

(On what the team is doing better)
“Just being more consistent, trying to finish games, putting ourselves in better position to pass rush and being in better position on third downs.”

Courtesy of the Buccaneers Public Relations Department.

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