Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith took to the podium at One Buccaneer Place for the final time this regular season before Sunday’s finale against New Orleans.
“Injury list: Mason Foster did not practice again, but it’s not like he pulled his Achilles any more or anything like that – we just kind of kept him off of it all week to help the chances for him to play Sunday if we get to that point. Again, it is tough when you don’t practice all week. Everybody else should be available for us to play, which is good this late in the year to have that many options. We realize what’s at stake. We’ve been here a lot of different Fridays; down to the last one. One last chance to get a look at some of our players. One last chance to get a home win, to just kind of show up and play better.”
(On the team signing wide receiver Louis Murphy to a multi-year extension today)
“I should have kind of started off the press conference with that. He’s been a consistent performer from our offseason workouts – showing up every day, he’s done everything, he’s competed hard, he started at the bottom and worked himself up. Big performer during the game. Fought through that injury and [was] injured in training camp, not on the roster the first couple of weeks. But he’s just been one of our guys, and you want to reward players that take it a long way and earn it the right way. We like him. When he was healthy and ready to go as our third receiver, he did some positive things and [is] somebody that we want to keep building with.”
(On keeping players focused during a tough season)
“There are some things that you have to go through before you win I think, on the scoreboard. We’re deciding what our culture, what our locker room, what our team will look like and we’ve gotten a lot of those things done. Guys show up, they’ve stayed out of trouble, done what we’ve asked them to do, so we do take some things that won’t show up right now as we start building that are positive. We know that eventually those will lead to wins for us. That’s kind of where we are which is a great thing and I know those that can’t wait for those wins to start coming. I’m going to say it one more time, we have one more chance to let those guys give us one more look to let us know what they want to do in the future.”
(On how he spent Christmas)
”Great day, whenever you can be around family for me, being a granddad and all, these are great – someone asked me ‘Did you have a good Christmas yesterday?’ I said ‘No, I didn’t. I had a great Christmas yesterday.’ I hope we can finish it up with a great weekend too.”
Sounds like Lovie and Licht are starting the off-season evaluation process. I suspect nothing a player does a few plays on Sunday will change their minds. It won’t alter my opinions. That ship has sailed with many already on board.
Black Monday is right around the corner Boys!
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