Less that 24 hours after the Buccaneers suffered their third straight defeat of the Lovie Smith era, the head coach stood at the podium and answered questions from the local media regarding the team’s 56-14 loss to the Falcons. Below is a full transcript of the press conference.

(Opening statement)
“Not much has changed since we talked yesterday. Very disappointing game by us. We said we were embarrassed and we were, nothing has changed on that. Watched the video, [it was] kind of a perfect storm for them. We did everything wrong and they played well in all areas, all three phases. Special teams, for the second week in a row, really hurt us. They had a great guy returning punts. Offensively, of course the turnovers really put us in a hole and then just not being able to get any production, getting points on the board. Defensively, we finally were able to get some takeaways, but still lost the turnover battle with them. Injury-wise, we had some injuries from the game. Josh McCown hurt his thumb, he’s getting an MRI today. We’ll keep evaluating him. Beyond that, Michael Johnson was able to get a few reps, but is not quite there yet. The good part about us losing is we lost on a Thursday and  we have a few more days to heal up, to get ready for Pittsburgh.”

(On if the team has shown its best ability through the first three weeks of the season)
“No, we definitely think we can play a lot better than that. We haven’t had all the pieces in place at the same time – don’t want to use that as an excuse, but let’s look at the last game. Terrible, everything went against us. I can see why you would say [we underperformed] if you’re just looking at [that game], but the first two games that we played, [the first] against the division leader, defending division champ, we had an opportunity to beat them. The following week we had a chance to win. This last game of course makes things look a lot worse than they really are, but this is where we are right now. We are getting some players back next time we play, which should help.”

(On making changes)
“Everything is on the table, not just one thing. As I said, we have a few more days to evaluate what we’re doing, but when that [last night’s game] happens, changes have to be made on what we’re doing. But at the same time, as I told the team, you have to draw on history a little bit too. Our history in Tampa, our [1999] NFC Championship team – team that lost in the Championship Game, I should say – lost 45-0 to Oakland. Beat Green Bay the following week and ended up playing in the Championship Game. As coaches, we’ve had games like this, so you can’t put too much into it, of it having a lingering effect on your season. We just played bad this one night.”

(On how the team comes back after losing a game in that manner)
“First, I don’t think you tear it apart and start all over. We had a bad performance. What we need to do individually – each one of those players needs to look themselves in the mirror and see what he did, play-by-play. That’s what we’re doing right now, we’re critiquing every play on what happened. Sometimes when you do that, you see that it’s not 20-million things that they did right, just a few things that we did wrong and that’s what we’re seeing. We’re not tearing everything down, anything like that. I believe in what we’re trying to do, but sometimes when you are new it takes a little longer.”

(On deferring the opening kickoff)
“The thinking behind it is that we’re going to defer most of the time because you want to get the crowd out of it right away. By playing defense, the crowd isn’t in the game, so that’s one of the reasons why we do that. Believe me that had very little – if it’s as simple as that, kicking off or returning and things are all peaches and cream, we’ll do that. That’s not the case though.”

(On the status of quarterback Josh McCown)
“Josh is our starter. We’re looking at one game right now. It would be simple if Josh was the only guy to play bad and it seems like that’s the only guy I’m asked about: ‘Is Josh your starter?’ You could ask that about quite a few people, starting with me: am I still the head coach based off of that effort? But a little bit more goes into it than that.”

(On McCown turning the ball over three consecutive games)
“You can say that about most of the quarterbacks in the league. We wouldn’t have any quarterbacks playing if you just went on that, so I think we can slow up a little bit on that. All of those we weren’t even his, to be truthful.”

(On the Cover 2 scheme causing issues)
“Cover 2, man, everything right now. A lot of tackles were missed. Just our overall play. But don’t blame Cover 2; it’s everything right now that we’re doing.”

(On long passes being completed by opponents)
When a pass is completed, normally, [it is because of] not a great pass rush and the coverage isn’t good, whether it is zone or man. That’s where we were at last night. We were in positions where we were one-on-one, couldn’t make a play with it. It’s a combination of a lot of things. When that happens, you have a game like that, and it did [happen] last night.”

(On whether he takes responsibility for the team’s performance)
“How am I supposed to answer that? I’m the head football coach, so you kind of said it all right there. I take it all. I’m the head coach, so the product we have on the football field – it isn’t just ‘Meet the media, head coach take the blame day,’ but it is. Our team wasn’t ready to play. We didn’t play our best ball. We played terrible football. When I talk about our team, I’m talking about the job – I put most of the things in place. We’re not satisfied with it by any means, but we’ll have a chance to make it right.”

(On what it meant for the team to be without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy)
“Gerald is a great player. He would definitely have helped the case, like all of our missing players – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Michael Johnson, all those guys will eventually help us. That’s why we’re optimistic that it’s going to change, because we don’t have those players out for the season. They will be coming back. Reinforcements are on the way.”

(On defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers’ role as both a defensive end and three-technique defensive tackle)
“I think Bowers can play both. He can of course play defensive end in run situations, but in passing situations we think he can give us some good help [inside]. You need a couple combination guys on your roster out of your seven or eight that you dress. He’s one of those. He did a few good things, but he had opportunities to make some plays and he wasn’t able to. But, again, he hasn’t played an awful lot and he’s still working himself into true shape [after] missing most of training camp.”

(On defensive end William Gholston stepping in)
“Same thing [as Bowers]. Both of those guys were injured for most of camp and both can play end and of course rush inside in passing situations. Both are getting better, both still have a long ways to go, like our football team.”

(On wide receiver Robert Herron seeing more playing time than wide receiver Chris Owusu)
“[Owusu] was limping a little bit during pregame warmups, and Robert of course was healthy and really ready to go, so that had a little to do with it. [Owusu] should be okay though.”

(On whether he has seen a loss like this one during his 10 years as a head coach)
“Unfortunately, I have. Cincinnati [Week 7 of the 2009 season]. As I told the team, it’s a scar that you have. Most times you ask a coach about a game like that. Yeah, Cincinnati. I think they scored the first seven times they had the ball. We came back normally. Every once in a while you have a game like that – you think you’re ready to go and the other team is just hot. Eventually we are going to be on the other end of that. We’ll be doing that to someone else. I can’t wait for that day to come.”

(On the schedule coming off of a Thursday game)
“First off, what you need to do is take advantage of – for us right now, we’re a beat up football team, so, as much as anything, we need to rest up. We won’t practice tomorrow or Sunday. Guys can watch the Pittsburgh game on Sunday, but we’ll get an extra day of practice in starting Monday. Monday we will follow a similar game week as we opened the football season. As much as anything, we need to get our best players on the field, and that can only happen resting up a little bit.”

(On the 11 penalties in last night’s game)
“If you look at our record, we were one of the least penalized teams in the league before that. That’s not who we are. But last night the wheels kind of fell off in a lot of different areas. We weren’t as disciplined as we need to be and as we have been, but that was a one-game happening that we don’t want to see again.”

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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 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, 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 mark@pewterreport.com
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warren
warren
6 years ago

At least Lovie pointed out the Bucs’ shortcomings: no offense, no defense, & bad special teams! I can’t remember a worse game since 1976, but even in the creamsicle days, they tried hard…didn’t even see any of that last night. Sports in Tampa have been horrendous for us with the Rays debacle, USF not being competitive, and now the Bucs 0-3. Even saw an article that Tampa is LAST in median income of major U. S. cities. Good news is that we can only go UP from here. Go Bucs, don’t give up.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

No need to say anything; Coach said it all. This is a evaluating year; so far we’re seeing a mess of past poor drafting.

JohnBuc06
JohnBuc06
6 years ago

Wasn’t too keen to hear he still “supports” McClown …but I’ll reserve judgement on that until we see who starts the next game.

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

Lovie is stubborn. I’ve seen enough of McClown too, and I don’t think too many other fans or analysts, etc think he should still be starting. time to see if Glennon has anything. We probably need to draft a QB.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Well that’s admirable I suppose that he fell on his sword…but that debacle was on all of them. You just can’t be that bad unless all 53 guys and the coaches are trying to be that bad. It’s really a conundrum though, I still look at the Failcons and the only place I think they’re better than us is at QB….is it possible for that difference to be enough to ignite a 42 point catastrophe….I guess so. So disappointing…can’t wait to see what the team has in the hat for us against Pitts…yrs I will watch….I am a gluten for… Read more »

heavye
heavye
6 years ago

Is are talent level, really that bad????

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports is reporting that the Josh McCown thumb is more serious than originally thought and will miss several weeks. Looks like Mike Glennon will get his chance to show that he belongs. We’ll see!

scubog
scubog
6 years ago