The Buccaneers dropped their first preseason game to the Vikings on Saturday losing 26-16. Below are selected quotes from the Tampa Bay locker room following the loss.

(Opening statement)
“You always want the first game to be perfect. You want your football team to peak at the right time and normally it doesn’t work out that way. I thought starting off, Jameis did some typical things that a rookie would do. Things didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to early on but I thought he settled down and did some good things at the end and threw some good balls. The plan was to play him and the offensive line for a half, so we got the amount of reps that we wanted to get in. Defensively we didn’t play as well as we needed to early on. Had a couple big plays that really kind of hurt us. Defensive side of the football, I liked the takeaways, stripping the football, that was a positive that we had. Beyond that there were ups and downs in our game throughout but we’ll build off of this. Demar Dotson went down with a knee injury. Can’t give you a lot more besides that right now. He has a knee injury that we’ll continue to evaluate.”

(On Jameis Winston sliding)
“Again starting spot, everything that he did wrong we will correct it and hopefully he wont do it the next time. Again, we haven’t gone over a whole lot of slides for him, that’s the next step.”

(On the positives)
“He threw some good balls, you know at the end. Pretty good decisions. We like to have that one interception back, but I thought he threw some pretty good balls. That’s pretty much what you judge a QB on, decision making. For the most part, I thought he was pretty good.”

(On the negatives)
“As a football team, it’s the first game. So I’m going to say all phases, we’re not quite there yet. We have a game under our belt now to really evaluate from, first live action, so this is our starting spot and we’ll start working from here.”

(On Jameis Winston’s demeanor)
“I thought he seemed into the game, wasn’t rattled at anything. Disappointed when he didn’t do some things that he knows he can do better. Felt pretty good about the good things he did so I thought it was a typical Jameis Winston day.”

(On initial return hurting team’s field position)
“That affected it, yes. I mean all the things we did wrong with field position: We didn’t punt the ball as well as we needed to. Special teams and just all phases didn’t exactly gel the way we wanted it too. But, again, even our punter came out and had two good ones at the end so we saw improvement there at the end.”

(On Doug Martin’s versatility)
“I thought we did some good things, you know, backed up able to get the ball out and give us a little bit of breathing room, Doug was a big part of that. We’re committed to the run and there were flashes, signs tonight where you know we can get it going.”

(On playing against an actual opponent)
“Yeah, it was good to hit someone not wearing red. It was good to go out there and play against the Vikings, play another team, get our offense going and get some of our calls going. It’s pre-season and it was good to just be able to get the tradition down of traveling on the road as well.”

(On touchdown drive)
“I think it’s just part of the game. We were just trying to get our groove going. You know Jameis is a rookie, but I still think he played very well. It’s a pre-season game. It still early and we’ve got a long way to go. We’re going to check this film out on Monday and get back at it.”

(On Winston’s demeanor)
“Very confident. Very confident. No matter what he was encouraging the guys to keep going and keep pushing. When we were in there on that scoring drive he said hey lets go down and get 6 points and we went down there and did that. He was very confident and very poised. He wasn’t rattled or shaken at all. So it was good to see that.”

(On playing an opponent)

“It felt good just playing each other in training camp, but it felt good to get out there.”

(On making plays and getting in end zone)
“I think I did a good job and stuff like that, but it was just good getting out there against an opponent. “

(On Dirk Koetter’s offense)
“Everyone’s excited we’ve got Dirk. He’s got a balanced system, you know run game pass game. We’re just excited to have him and go out there and execute.”

(On playing different roles and positions)
“The more you can do. Especially in the NFL. Just being versatile and contribute to the team however you need to.”

(On getting Turnovers)

“It’s something that we stress every day. Coach Smith puts a slide up about the winning percentage of teams who force one, two, or three turnovers. Even though we didn’t get the victory today it’s like a 96.5% chance of victory with three turnovers. It’s something we stress every day. Every day we’re pursuing the ball and working on the getting the ball out. It’s just a mentality that we’re developing as a defense.”

(On how it feels as a defensive player to see the ball come loose)
“You got to get it. There’s a couple time’s I could think about today. We forced a turnover and it led to a touchdown. Khaseem Greene stripped the football as the running back was going to the end zone and it went out the back for a touchback. That was a key stop. Plays like that will continue to help our team.”

(On what they build on this year)
“We want to build on everything. We’re going to go back and watch the film and make the corrections. We want to be good in every aspect. Not only on defense but offense and special teams. We want to get this thing tightened up. When the season begins we’ll be firing on all cylinders and look good as a team.”

(On the first time playing an NFL game)

“Just thankful for the opportunity. Grateful to come out and play football tonight. Not many people get to say that as their job that they get to go out there and play football. I’m very thankful and excited.”

(On what you have to do well at returner)
“Run fast. You got to hit it. The guys in front of you are working their tails off to block for you. You can’t go back there and slow down. It makes their job harder. You’ve got to catch the rock and if you’re going then go.”

(On adjustment to an NFL offense)
“It’s been fun. It’s been very exciting and fun, but it’s also been difficult. It’s exciting and fun in the sense that it’s something new. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about my entire life so I love doing it. It’s also very difficult. The pace of things, how fast it is, and the talent level of everyone around me makes it extremely competitive.”

(On the moment he came to realization he was playing in NFL)
“I think it was the tackle I made at gunner on punt. When I made that tackle and came to the sideline everyone was really excited. That’s when I realized I got the shield on my chest and I’m playing for the Bucs. It’s a phenomenal organization that I love being around all the staff, the people, and the players. It kind of is just coming to a realization the whole night. It’s been phenomenal.”

(On playing in the first preseason game of the season)
“It feels good. Every time they keep score, you want to win the game. We’ve got a long ballgame in front of us, but we’re just happy to get out there, get our feet wet against somebody else, a new opponent. We’ve been beating up on each other for the last few weeks and all offseason, so it’s a good test for us. We’ve got to get some kinks worked out, but the preseason is about having those kinds of tests. We’ll read the film, grade the film tomorrow, make some corrections and get better.”

(On quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I have so much confidence in this kid. I think he’s going to have a great year. He’s just so smart. He’s picked up everything fast and he sees things on the field that a veteran sees. It’s a lot of fun playing with him. We work on a lot of things and communicate each and every day in practice and we are going to continue to make big plays. He’s an aggressive guy, he wants to stand there in the pocket. You can see he’s not scared to stand in there and deliver the ball down the field and that’s going to help us this year.”

(On his sack)

“It was what we felt out there. Clinton (McDonald) called up a little game and he made a lot of it happen for me. I came out scott free and had to wrap him up. It’s our first live action that we’ve had, so I’m excited for the year.”

(On the importance of the pass rush)
“It’s very important. A lot of the success on this defense comes from the d-line, so any chance we get that can help us get to the quarterbacks, we’re all about it.”

(On the Tampa Bay defense)
“You can definitely see that the defense is getting more comfortable. We still have some work to do, obviously, with a couple of drives that they had on us, but this is what we needed. We needed to see some action from another team. Minnesota is a good team, so it was good work out there. It was good just to hit somebody and see somebody else out there moving. So, definitely, it’s more comfortable overall as a defense out there.”

(On his play tonight)
“I lost some weight during the offseason, so just to go out here and make a couple tackles, a couple plays in that area, gave me a sense of a boost, feeling like I can still defend the ground but now I also feel that I can do a lot more in the passing game with the weight that I am now. So it was a good first start for me, but we still have to build and we have a long way to go.”





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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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, the beach and family time.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
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5 years ago

I think Coach summed it up pretty good. Obviously not a Coach; get Gilkey out of here because he’s wasting playing time for legit players, and please after watching Jameis Winston play every football game since college, have him loosen up with some throws on the sideline before going back in to play. He has that baseball mentality as a pitcher and he needs to warm up his throwing/passing arm.