HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH(Opening statement)“With the [first preseason] game getting a little bit closer, there’s some special situations we still have to get in. We were able to add a couple more today. At the end of the game, of course if you have the lead, you want to run the clock out, use time up, and keep the ball. The defense is trying to get the ball at all costs. We got some good work with that today. Finished up with a good two-minute drive. Most games come down to that two-minute drive at the end, so we’ll work this quite a bit every day. Continuing to get good work. Guys are getting better – simple as that. It’s a grind; over a week into camp, it’s a little tougher, everybody is sore. Each day, it gets a little bit more heated, which isn’t always a bad thing, as long as you don’t take it too far. Again, we’re getting better.” (On the status of the players that sat out today)“Alterraun Verner is running. I think I said that yesterday. But we’re going to take our time with him. He’s had trouble with that hamstring on a couple of occasions. He’s making progress. Trying to think of the other guys we have out. [Luke] Stocker, Da’Quan Bowers we kept out. Nothing major – both of them should be good to go this weekend. Again, this time of camp, normally you need a day here and there off.” (On the turnovers forced by the defense today)“Speaking from the defensive point of view, it’s about taking the ball away – simple as that. If you hold an opponent to one hundred yards and don’t take the ball away, it’s an okay defensive game. [You have] got to take the ball away some kind of way. Every day, I go over with our team the turnover ratio and how important that is. When the ball is in the air, you’ve got to come up with it. And we did come up with a few today.” (On the offensive line, specifically the guards)“We like the prospects. We don’t have a lot of players at the positions that have started a lot of games. We have young talent at the line. You guys see them down there. You go against Gerald McCoy every day, you get better. We’re getting better. We don’t do a lot of live work on the football field. These preseason games will be so important for those guys. But we have a group of guys working there. We don’t have any starting lineups or anything like that right now. But it will continue to clear up for us on who our guards will be.” (On how quickly the chemistry builds between the offensive linemen)“I think it comes. We’ve been together for awhile now. I don’t think you have to play together five years to get that chemistry. We’ve had a lot of practices together, a lot of time together in the meeting rooms. Green Bay is a distant memory for Evan [Dietrich-Smith]. Cincinnati is a distant memory for Anthony [Collins]. They’re coming.” (On how he plans to sub players during the preseason)“I haven’t talked to the players about that. I have a history on what we do. I feel comfortable with how we lead up to peaking at the right time, getting everyone ready for Carolina [in Week 1]. Again, we’ll ease our way into it. We’ll increase it each game.” (On safety Mark Barron)“Does the system play to his strength? Absolutely. I’ve heard [the media] talk a lot about Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy being compared to two Hall of Famers. But we had another great safety here in John Lynch also. Mark Barron – he looks the part. Very pleased with him. I really like what he did at Alabama when he came out. He had a good season last year. But it’s ahead of him. What we need: we need a big, strong safety. He’ll be down into the box. He went three days and had interceptions on three days. He has good hands for a big guy. I could talk about Mark for quite a while, as you can see, but we like the direction he’s going.” (On if he is surprised at how quickly the team has bought into the new system)“I’m not surprised. Initially when I met the players, I got that, ‘What are we going to need to do to get it back?’ Everything we’ve asked them to do along the way, they’ve done it and haven’t questioned anything. So no, it hasn’t surprised me. It’s early in the game still for us. So far to go. Pleased with where we are, but we have so far to go. And that’s why we need to get to this preseason game to see.” (On defensive end Adrian Clayborn taking snaps at defensive tackle)“He’s been taking reps there all throughout. Most of all, we want to see what players can do. Sometimes you’re a defensive end. Defensive ends are a lot quicker; you put them inside, you could get a couple of plays when they go against some of the bigger, slower interior linemen. We’re a new staff and we want to give guys an opportunity to prove what they can do at as many positions as possible. Can he do it? Yeah, it’s not a big difference in playing.” (On if running back Charles Sims has what it takes to be an NFL running back)“I think you can tell, especially at skill positions, does a guy have it. Charles Sims, I would say, has it. Again, he hasn’t played a game and right now we’re not live an awful lot. Yesterday was the only day we’ve really taken guys down to the ground. But you can see enough in him to like his future with us. Just talking about it, that’s the last thing. He can carry the ball or he can catch the ball. Protections for any young back, that’s the thing that they will have the most trouble with early on. But he’s picked things up fairly well quickly.” (On the depth at running back)“Just look at how many backs they kept on the roster last year and just throughout. That’s what you need. We want to be in position where we have five or six running backs and we get a chance to choose. As far as exactly how many, there are some spots. We know for sure you need three running backs on your roster. But from there, there’s some flexible numbers. If it’s a good football player and we think he’s one of our best 53 [players], we’ll keep him on and find something for him to do. The more the better. Again, that’s practicing out there when we’re not taking guys to the ground. Can’t wait to see what they can do live.” TACKLE ANTHONY COLLINS(On the offensive line being a critical position)“It’s critical, very critical, people consider the left tackle the dollar sign. The most important part on the field is to protect the quarterback, but it’s the whole line. It starts with both of the tackles, [extending] to the guards and the center. The center has to know everything, the guards have to be powerful and the tackles have to know how pass set. If we get all five of those categories right then we’ll be a good team.” (On how long it takes for an offensive line to come together)“It doesn’t take long, but the chemistry takes a while. The good thing about the offseason and training camp is that’s when the o-line needs to be together. We don’t need any holdouts, we don’t need any injuries, we don’t need any problems, all of the chemistry is what matters to get to the Super Bowl.” (On where he sees the offensive line right now)“I see this line as what [offensive line coach George Warhop] wants it and whoever is playing next to me and whoever is playing next to [tackle Demar Dotson] are going to get the job done and that’s all I look forward to.” RUNNING BACK CHARLES SIMS(On the RB corps)“Everybody brings something to the table. We all compete. I think we have a great group of backs. We’re just hard working. If one guy makes a play, we all want to make a play. That’s how we work, we all push each other.”
TACKLE DEMAR DOTSON (On what it will take for the offensive line to be successful)“I think getting to know each other and just working through tough times, through injuries and coming out here no matter what’s wrong with you because fingers are going hurt, you’re going to have problems, but last year those group of guys played through pain and injury or whatever was wrong – you had to have something seriously wrong with you not to come out here.” (On if was tough personally losing his teammates this offseason)“Not personally because you realize that’s part of the game, guys come and go, but I was with those guys for all those years and when you see them go, it just brings it to a reality that my day is coming one day too, but those guys were so great and were so good for this team for many years and can’t anybody say one bad thing about them.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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