The Bucs took the practice field for the first time following their loss in Jacksonville in their first preseason game. The crowd was as big as any day under cloudy skies. The wind and rain picked up towards the end of practice, but there was no thunder to drive the team off the field. PewterReport.com compiled quotes from Head Coach Lovie Smith and select players on the field.
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH(Opening Statement)“It was good to get out on the practice field today. We only have a few more training camp practices so these are all important. We didn’t play as well as we need to. We realize we’re not first game of the season ready yet, but normally there’s a big improvement from game one to game two and that’s what we plan on doing. We realize we had problems with protection and just some of our offensive line play, but you have to get in a game situation to see these things. The depth chart hasn’t meant an awful lot until this past game, and now it does mean a little bit more because now we have something concrete to go off of at the starting spots, which we’ve done. We’ll continue to work different combinations for a lot of positions. There’s no position on the field where we were just totally satisfied and feel like we’re game-ready. Everyone can get a lot better. It was a game of opportunities and we didn’t seize any. Whenever you’re behind on turnover ratio, you’re going to normally lose. But it was good to get back out on the practice field today.”
(On guard Jace Daniels in the starting lineup at practice)“In order to eventually get to the first team, you have to play with the first team and become at the top of the list with the starting rotation. You have to do some good things at practice, Jace has been doing that throughout whether it be at center or guard. Jamon [Meredith] didn’t play as well as he needed to, so we realize he can play guard and tackle. We’re going to let him concentrate a little bit more at the tackle position, and give that next group of guards and opportunity, Jace is the next guy up.”
(On cornerback Alterraun Verner recovering from his injury)“He’s been making progress throughout. He’s not ready to be thrown out there full speed ahead, but he is in position to start getting some individual work, which we started with today. He needs work too just like everyone else, but hamstrings – you have to be careful with them. You can’t have a relapse or anything like that, but it was good to start the process of getting him back on the football field.”
(On what he’s seen from running back Charles Sims)“I saw flashes. When you have a limited amount of reps, that’s about all you will see is flashes. That’s what we’ve seen from Charles on the football field too, that’s what we saw at West Virginia, that type of play. In the open field he can make you miss, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. So it was good start for him to just get some NFL action, but he should only get better. He has a lot of potential to do some things in this league.”
(On what he hopes to see from defensive end Adrian Clayborn)“I’m anxious to see. It’s an important year for him. Playing opposite Michael, we have high hopes. You see the way the guys works out there. He’s a guy that’s put himself in a position to play well. I asked him to drop weight, change his body, lose some body fat. Everything we’ve asked Adrian to do, he’s done and been a model guy doing it. So I’m anxious to see how he plays. I have looked at him from afar for a lot of years. Once you get up close with him, you like what you see. But he’s an outside rusher and he needs to be able to rush the passer from the outside when he gets in one-on-one situations, and we think he can.”
GUARD ONIEL COUSINS(On Friday night’s game)“It obviously wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be on offense but we’re going to put the work in and personally I need to get better. We just all need to get better as a unit so we can play better and get better as a unit. That’s why we’re here.”
(On playing right and left guard)“It’s not a problem at all. I can play any position on the line to be honest with you. Like I said, we just have to continue to work to get better so we can all be on the same page and communicate better because that’s a key. We just have to continue to try and tighten up our technique and just go play.”
(On what he’s doing to get better)“I just have to continue to work my technique, whether it’s a run play or a pass play, communicate with my center. All across the line I just have to get better.”GUARD JACE DANIELSOn his first day in the starting lineup“I felt good out there. Anytime you’re going against Gerald McCoy it’s going to be a little different so that was good, but that’s only going to help me.”
(On the first preseason game)“The game really slows down compared to a practice. We were all hyped up out there and kind of flying around and we just had to settle down and get into it.”
DEFENSIVE END ADRIAN CLAYBORNOn grasping the new defense“It’s pretty much all about getting after the quarterback and stopping the run along the way. The job is to do that and use your natural ability to get to the ball.”
(On how he feels)“I feel like I’m back to my old self and I;m playing like my old self, like I used to play and I got the defense I used to play again. Looking back yuou could say (the injuries kept me from playing the way I wanted to), but when I was playing I felt like my old self so you never know.”CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER(On his progress recovering his hamstring)“Just doing some movements with the team. I did just individuals today. Taking it back slowly. We’re going to take it day-by-day. I know they want to re-evaluate me in the morning to see if I was sore. Tomorrow we’re going to look at what I did today and how I’m progressing. We’ll take it from there. No real timetable. We’re always gearing up for the season opener. I definitely want to get back sooner.”
(On the other cornerbacks)“I kind of like everything everybody’s been doing, but Johnthan Banks has been standing out to me. Regardless of whether I was hurt or not hurt, he was going to be out there playing. I’ve been real impressed by how coachable he is and everything he’s doing. Rashaan Melvin has been playing really well. He’s real coachable. Danny Gorrer and Anthony Gaitor are always making plays out there. Each person has been doing a little something that has been impressive to me. They are all taking advantage of their opportunities for more reps.”
(On how comfortable he is with the defense)“Yes, one thing that I’m able to do the last couple weeks is get a lot of mental reps and visualize what the offense will do and how I can play certain situations. For every snap during the preseason games or even here, I always just kind of run through what I’m doing, what the offense might be doing and how can they attack in that down and distance situation, so I’m getting a lot of mental reps like that, which I feel will help me out coming back, just visualizing what I can and can’t do in this defense.”
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