The Buccaneers practiced on Wednesday afternoon in a closed session at One Buc Place, working on some game situation drills and spending a good portion of the practice on special teams as they prepare for their first preseason game which will take place Friday night when they travel to Jacksonville to face rookie QB Blake Bortles and the Jaguars.
Find out what Smith and quarterback Josh McCown had to say following their Wednesday practice when asked about Friday night’s game.HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH(Opening statement)“There’s nothing really I can give you today. We’ve been hitting pretty hard. Weather, all that. We have a game coming up, of course, so we want the guys to be fresh, so we took the pads off today. Just went in shells and got some good, crisp work done. We’re anxious to play. You can only hit your teammate so hard. I’m anxious to let our defensive linemen go. You haven’t seen us with any live blocks below the waist and just being able to finish plays. We have a depth chart and we think we kind of know, but you need to get to this next step. For us, everything we do in training camp is to prepare for the season. First game, but first road game [against Jacksonville on Friday] – how we travel and different things like that. Jacksonville is coming up.” (On wide receiver Skye Dawson)“He’s had a couple [of catches] throughout. He can return punts. Of course, good quickness, good speed. Another one of those players that hasn’t played a lot, but has some ability that we like and we want to see him in a game situation.” (On the details of his gameday setup)“We had one of our walkthroughs Monday at the stadium. We haven’t used headphones – communication from the press box down to the sideline. Just our routine. Defense on the left on the bench, offense on the right. There’s so many things you have to go over when it’s your first time together and that’s what we’re all going through right now. So this is all important, again, to prepare us for Carolina [in Week 1].” (On where the offensive and defensive coordinators will be situated during games)“One will be in the booth, one will be on the sideline. Jeff Tedford will be up top, Leslie Frazier will be down on the sideline.” (On quarterback Mike Glennon)“We ask guys to play different roles throughout. Sometimes you have one role and we ask you to play another. You want to see how guys respond and how they act. You want to be a pro about it – a real pro about it. A professional, and that’s what Mike has been. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He wants to be a starting quarterback in the league – someday he will. But right now, we’re asking him to move into a different role and he has accepted that role. Quarterback room is a tight room. Of course [quarterbacks coach] Marcus [Arroyo] does a great job with them. They’re all helping each other. Mike will have a role on our team. The backup quarterback plays an important [role]. Not only that, Mike will also be our second holder. Little things like that that we’ll ask him to do. But whatever we ask him to do, he’ll do it well.” (On what would be a good preseason performance for Glennon)“I don’t think you can put it just like that. What we want him to do, first game, we’re going to set the bar – see exactly where we are. And then from there, we want improvement the next game, leading up to our best ball when we play Carolina. That’s all we’re asking the players to do.” (On what he liked about Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles leading up to the draft)“I liked everything about him. Starting off, I liked the way he played in his last game of football in the Fiesta Bowl against a good Baylor team. He performed well. I was out last year – did I tell y’all that? I was out last year and I watched him quite a bit. Just being a football fan, he played good ball. When we worked him out, he had a great workout. When you meet him, great guy. Was a sponge hungry to get to the next level and we liked him an awful lot, of course just like Jacksonville did. I think he has a bright future ahead of him to say the least.” (On if he has any concerns at offensive line)“To me right now, I have concerns about every position on the team. I haven’t seen anyone in any live action with our football team. So I’m anxious to see what we have. I know we’ve looked good in drills. Gerald McCoy is a dominant defensive lineman inside. We’ve been judging our guards based on going against him and Clinton McDonald and players like that. And they’ve held their own. Evan [Dietrich-Smith] has been a great addition. [He is] bright. You need someone like that at the center position.” (On tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and if he has seen improvement from him)“He has [been improving]. Normally you don’t talk a lot about a rookie until they play their first game. But just talking about a rookie coming in that missed all of the offseason work with an injury, he hasn’t missed a rep. Every day, you could have asked a question about him – he’s done something on the football field. Great size. Off the field, he’s been a student of the game. Pretty impressed with what he has done so far and I will be surprised if he doesn’t play well.” (On if he has already determined how much the starters will play in the preseason)“As a general rule, if you’re one of the starters, [you play] about a quarter or so. Somewhere around there. Third preseason game, we’ll play our guys into the third quarter – I’m talking about our starters. The rest of the time, we’ll look at the reps, see how the game is going. Again, we have a chart already figured out right now. We’re going to go over that with the players tonight and they’ll know tomorrow exactly how much they’ll play. But for them, we’re going to ask all the guys to stay in the game the entire time because you just never know.” QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN(On what he wants to get out of the first preseason game)“I think for us it’s a whole new situation for everybody, it’s a new system, new players and all of that. I think it’s just going out and executing and being clean with things procedurally No.1, I think you want to break the huddle and do the things that you normally do in a game and feel like the communication is clean and all of that. Execution-wise you want to be clean on that as best you can. In these games you don’t gameplan for people and obviously you’re not rolling out your best stuff, but within the rules and within the framework of your system, you want to try and execute it as best as possible – that’s the key for us Friday.” (On how much he wants to play)“I think everybody, obviously it’s preseason, but when you get out there you just want to keep playing because it’s fun. Coach will dictate that, our job is to go out there and do what I just said execute, get good reps for us and then we’ll go as long as coach tells us to, but up until that point, it’s staying focused, it’s [getting] in and out of the huddle, no procedure penalties and none of those things. It’s just about playing good and efficient football.” (On being excited to face a different defense and playing in a different environment)“I think it’ll be fun. When you practice against the defense as much as we do, in training camp when teams do that, there’s give-and-take and a back-and-forth and they’ve seen so many plays so many times and you’ve seen their defense so many times, there’s this Jedi-mind game that’s going on. It will be fun just lining up against a different opponent and just back to playing the defense that you see, working out your rules and things like that and not trying to out think yourself when you’re playing against somebody that sees you every day. I think we’re all looking forward to that.”
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@example.com
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