The Buccaneers held their fourth practice of the 2014 training camp on Monday afternoon, wearing full pads for the second day in a row. PewterReport.com compiled some quotes from head coach and Lovie Smith and select players talking about the Monday afternoon session.
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH(Opening statement)“The heat in Tampa is no joke. We’ll be playing at this time, so you have to practice on hot days like today when the heat index is up there. We’ll never put the players at risk, we’ll take as many water breaks as we need to and kind of watch them. But guys have been working hard getting used to this environment with the pads on. We’re better today. Each day we continue to get a little bit better, which we need to do in a lot of different areas. Not as many mistakes being made right now, which of course is a good thing. But we’re in pads so we want to continue to put the guys in situations where we can see who are tough football players are and which players know how to make plays. A few injuries are popping up, which happens at this time of the year normally. Alterraun Verner still nurses that hamstring a little bit. It’s always tough when new players come in and you don’t get a chance to practice as much, but it gives another guy an opportunity.”
(On wide receiver Tommy Streeter)“He has [taken advantage of opportunities]. And if you’re a receiver, you get a chance. Odds are you’re going to get balls thrown your way, and he has made a few plays. We have seen definite improvement from him.”
(On playing with three tight ends)“You just look at the full back position in general, you’re kind of limited with what you can do with a traditional full back. Normally their not great special teams players. And normally that tight end, if you’re that type of athlete, you can do a lot of different things. So in an ideal world, yes, you want an H tight end and occasionally trick the defense and put him in the backfield, where they have to defend two-back runs. It does give us flexibility, the more things a guy can do. That’s why Austin Seferian-Jenkins, he’s athletic enough. Of course he’s got great size and all that, but he’s not like a fish out of water when you split him out too. And it does make it harder for the defense.”
(On cornerback Anthony Gaitor being re-signed)“Putting a couple cornerbacks on the injury list, you can’t get in the hole, it puts too much pressure on the other guys. When we released Anthony I told him it was a numbers game and we may end up calling you back, stay ready. He never really got a true chance to show what he can do. He’s back, made a couple plays, of course a pick-six out there today. We’re taking notice.”
(On the competition at linebacker)“I think we do [have enough competition]. Dane Fletcher’s done a good job at the Mike linebacker, backing up Mason [Foster]. Danny Lansanah has done some good things. Ka’Lial Glaud has, and some other young players have too. So we have pretty good competition right now. They’re making plays so far. Once you put the pads on you want to look at the linebacker position right away, and I don’t see any guys that are shying away from contact or anything like that.”OFFENSIVE TACKLE DEMAR DOTSON(On the offensive line)“We’re jelling. We’ve got a lot of guys that are switching around, especially at the guard spots. But we’re jelling, we’re getting it done and we’re working hard. By the time we get to week one, I think we’ll be alright.”(On Gerald McCoy)“He’s a phenomenal leader because he leads by example. He comes out here to work every day and he makes the d-line better, and he makes the o-line better. If guys can block him, you can block anybody in this league. So if you get the chance to go against him, you’re getting the best.”
DEFENSIVE TACKLE CLINTON MCDONALD(On what grade he would give himself so far)“I would probably say a C-plus. [There’s] a lot of things we have to work on. It’s our second day in pads, we’re progressing pretty good and we’re all working as one unit as a defense and on the offense as well, trying to make that Super Bowl push. For myself, a C-plus. I would say as a team we’re a good B. There are a lot of things that we have to work on; our timing is the most important part. This is our second day in pads, and timing is most important when you’ve got your pads on. Everything isn’t as light as it used to be running around with your jersey and things like that. We’ve got to work on our timing both ways.”
(On playing with Gerald McCoy)“You see a guy like that, and All-Pro type guy, you would think most guys are selfish and don’t care. But he has a big heart and he cares for this program. He cares for this team and he cares for us. He wants to do great and he wants to us to do great. So he helps us on things he sees wrong, things he sees we can improve on. We just keep each other accountable.”
RUNNING BACK JEFF DEMPS(On if he’s found a role for this team)“Not really, I’m just kind of everywhere right now, just trying to get in where I fit in and whenever my number is called I’m just trying to get on the field and make something happen.”
(On his first training camp since college)“It’s coming along pretty good. Today I was able to get a lot of reps and I’m just trying to take advantage of it. Even if I’m gassed, I’m just trying to get out there and make something happen.”
CORNERBACK ALTERRAUN VERNER(On what brought him to Tampa)“There were many different factors, Lovie Smith being a big one. I remember when he joined on earlier in January for the team even before free agency and all of that stuff started. I just know his reputation and how he is as a coach, he was big. Just the potential of this team from [defensive end] Michael Johnson pretty much saying he was coming on board already to what they already had on the roster. I just think this is a team on the up-and-up and have a ton of potential to be very good. I knew I wanted to be a part of that and Coach Lovie showed that interest and thought I could be a big part of it. I just thought it was a great fit.” (On being compared to cornerback Darrelle Revis)“That’s what it’s going to seem like and that’s not the way I approach it or look at it. If people say it, that’s going to be kind of on them. I know how I am as a player and I know what I’m going to bring to the table and what I’m going to do. I’m going to work hard every week and put my best foot forward. I think that’s going to please a lot of people. It’s not something I’m overly caught up on. You should never be trying to replace somebody or try to play and be like somebody else, you have got to play within yourself and that’s something that I learned through the years.” (On cornerback Johnthan Banks)“He’s a competitor, I like Johnthan. He’s a student of the game, very humble, he’s willing to learn, and he’s a big long, tall guy. To be honest, I think he moves really well in being that size, he can match up with the big guys obviously, but I’m pretty sure he can match up with the shifty guys too because of just the type of work he’s putting in. Like I said, he’s trying to get better every day, he’s a competitor and he’s not going to give up without a fight, that’s what I like about him.”
– Haley Cornish and Mark Cook combined on this report
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