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Coach Bruce Arians, Buccaneers players talk about Saints game

Quotes from the Tampa Bay locker room

HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS

(Opening statement)

"Too many mistakes to beat a good team and obviously when we drop passes and the quarterback gets an interception because we dropped the ball. Then, the one before the half was huge because we had a chance for a double score if we come out and score. Big, big, big plays. [We] didn't get off the field defensively. They were over 54 percent on third down, which was huge. Their time of possession, I think they had the ball the entire first quarter. But, we held them to six points. Then, the interception. Which wasn't [quarterback] Jameis [Winston'ss] fault. Other than that, it's very disappointing because we had such a great week of practice. Knew we were ready to play, just still isn't showing up quite enough on Sundays against good teams."

(On if he thought about pulling Jameis Winston in the fourth quarter due to injury)

"Yeah, we actually had [quarterback Ryan] Griff[in] ready. [Winston] said, 'I can defend myself, I'm going back,' and he went back in."

(On the officiating) 

"I have no comments on the officiating. They already wrote up the letter for my fine. You guys saw it. You write what you saw. I'm not saying [anything] about the officials."

(On cornerback Jamel Dean seeing less playing time today)

"Yeah, we went with a different nickel package with [safety] Mike Edwards inside. We played a lot more zone. [Dean] was more in the man-to-man group. We'll fix that. He needs to be out there on the field more."

(On New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara)

"You pick your poison with these guys. We had a lot of coverages where we were trying to double 13 (wide receiver Michael Thomas). Then 41 (Kamara), or 87 (tight end Jared Cook) gets involved. It's a really good offensive football team, and Kamara is really tough to cover for a linebacker."

(On difficulty of defeating Saints without getting pressure on quarterback Drew Brees)

"No doubt, no doubt. We were close on some, but not enough."

(On if he feels the team lost the battle at the line of scrimmage)

"I wouldn't say offensively. We got out of the running game because of the score, but I think [New Orleans] only had one sack. I don't think our offensive line played poorly. Defensively, we were playing a lot of zone. A lot of two-deep zone. Thought we could stop the run, but Kamara is a heck of a back and we didn't do a good enough job."

(On challenging possible fumble recovery by defense in the first half)

"It was a challengable play, but [linebacker] Lavonte [David's] foot was on the line."

(On what is causing the struggles of tight end O.J. Howard)

"It's hard to say. He's a talented, talented guy, but it's not showing up on Sundays."

(On New Orleans taking away threat of wide receiver Mike Evans)

"It's never one-on-one, he's never one-on-one against these guys. It's a matter of finding ways to get him balls, creating ways to get him balls. We did a better job in the second half."

(On Mike Evans leaving the field after a catch)

"Just got the wind knocked out of him."

(On offensive balance)

"We ended up in a situation where we're behind and we're throwing the ball and we're throwing it successfully. So, it's like, 'abort the running game.' [Running back] Dare [Ogunbowale], I still can't believe that wasn't a touchdown there at the end for him. So, we had our best blitz pick-up guy in there. They had a bunch of exotic blitzes, and he does the best job."

(On Jameis Winston having 18 interceptions on the season)

"I would say he has 10. Guys dropping balls and getting them to the other team, how many have we seen? I don't count those. He got hit low in the ankle [and] that last one flies out of his hand high. He probably should have come out of the game. He was probably too tough for his own good there."

(On the injury to Winston's ankle)

"It's a medial [ankle ligament], we'll see how bad it is tomorrow and we'll go from there."

(On the difficulty of playing New Orleans)

"A very good football team. We knew it coming in that we didn't have to play perfect, but we couldn't make mistakes like third-and-16 and jumping offside twice. We still held them, but still, those are the kind of mistakes we just have to eliminate. Missed tackles. We did not tackle very well today and we had been tackling well."

(On playing against New Orleans' rushing attack)

"We were playing a lot of two-deep stuff to try and double their guys to see if we could stop the run with six in the box."

(On the balance of the play calling)

"We get two long drives, but we hold them to six [points]. Then, we drop a ball and give it to them and now we're down 13. I thought we stayed within the plan. The touchdown was big. Then, right before the half, that crazy interception that bounces their way. I mean, we got a field goal. That's a double score [if] we come out and we get another field goal. Now, the game's a whole lot different. That play and the fourth-and-one, to me, were the two deciding plays for us."

(On if he were surprised if New Orleans makes it to the Super Bowl)

"No, that's a very well coached, very talented team. If they stay healthy."

QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON

(On what part of his body was bothering him toward the end of the game)

"My ankle – I'm going to be fine." 

(On if he got hit low on the play that caused the pain in his ankle)

"I believe so."

(On how much his ankle impacted his ability to step into his throws)

"I don't really know. I've just got to make them, no matter what." 

(On if his ankle injury is causing him any pain)

"I'm going to be fine." 

(On his first interception of the game)

"Yeah, those are unfortunate plays, but all we can do is learn from it and get better – that's it. I made my mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. We have to stay together as a team and get better." 

(On the throw to WR Mike Evans in the end zone that was intercepted, and if he thought the play was blown dead)

"It probably should've been dead – just unfortunate. [It] has to be our ball or nobody's ball in that situation."

(On if he noticed if the Saints were doing anything different today compared to previous matchups) 

"Surprisingly, they did nothing new. We scouted for it. We prepared for it. They just did it better than us at times."

(On if it is frustrating to have a good game plan and then to get out-executed) 

"Again, we just have to look at the film. But, deep down you just look at how you played individually and everybody's going to look at themselves and they're going to feel like they could've played better. I know I could've played better at times. So, that's it." 

(On Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen's blitz schemes)

"We had plans for it. We just have to be more sound. It's a cumulative thing – I have to get the ball on time, we have to protect [and] the running back has to be at the right place at the right time. For the most part we did that. But, he dialed them up at some good times. So, I just have to find a way to get the ball out of my hand."  

(On if he thinks the team should've been more balanced between run and pass)

"Whatever we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win is what we will do. But obviously we never want to be behind like that, so we can't put ourselves in that hole." 

(On the 48-yard pass to WR Scotty Miller)

"I was excited for him. [I] wish we could've got in the end zone right there with him, but eventually Peyton Barber made a great pitch to get in the end zone." 

(On the offensive pass interference call on fourth-and-1)

"It's next play football. Obviously, we want that one back. I can't criticize anybody. I only can look at myself, but I don't believe it was pass interference within one yard. This is the league that we play in. They jam us up, we should be able to at least give them a move at the line of scrimmage. So, we just have to look at it. They made their decision and we just have to live with it."

(On the positives the team can take from this game and apply moving forward)

"You can always take positives from any game and I believe we did some good things. We just didn't do enough good things to beat this good team and that's what we have to do. We have to – I say it all the time – eliminate the negatives and build on the positives. When you're playing against a good team, you can't make any mistakes. That's just how it is." 

(On Head Coach Bruce Arians saying he would have taken him out of the game if he had known how much pain Winston was in, and if he would've came out of the game)

"No, I wouldn't have. I'm fine. I just have to give our team a better chance to win the game. I'm going to continue to work my tail off. We're not going to be discouraged. We're going to come in next week and work harder than ever. So, that's really it." 

WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS

(On what he was told after his pass interference penalty wasn't overturned) 

"They didn't tell me anything. It was one yard – one-yard rule. Just a simple release. I was trying to make up for my third down drop in the previous quarter. I wanted the ball on the fourth down, and I got it. Jameis [Winston] threw a good ball – a good physical release, and then the back judge just said I pushed off, but the ball wasn't even in the air yet. It's just a B-release. What every receiver in the NFL does, but it cost us pretty big."

(On his thoughts on the call)

"It was one yard. So, I was told since I stepped into the league that at one yard you can pretty much get away with anything on both sides. The DB gets five yards to do whatever they want to us, and we get one yard – and I use that one yard. I'm a big physical receiver and I thought I made a good play."

(On how frustrating it is to lose)

"It's very frustrating. We've got the players, and it's never been about the players since I've been here. We've been very very inconsistent since I've been here. I don't know what we've got to do to overturn it, but we've got to do something because this feeling is awful."

(On how the Saints played against him today)

"They did the exact same coverages they did last time they played us – a lot of two-man and cover-two, almost every single snap."

(On it is frustrating that the Saints were able to limit him for the second time this season)

"Yeah, it is. They did the exact same thing they did last time, even with one of their best defenders out. The exact same thing. If I'm out outside, it's pretty much a double team on me."

(On if other teams usually use the same coverage on him)

"At times, but it isn't as big a dose. If you look up the stats, it's probably they're in two-high at least ninety percent."

(On how good the Saints are)

"They're a really good team. Sean Peyton is an awesome coach and a great play caller. And they always give us a tough time whenever we game plan."

(On how he feels about the season so far) 

"I mean, obviously I don't like losing. Nobody likes losing, but I'll never stop fighting, ever. This is obviously my job, and I love doing what I do. My teammates do as well. The season's not over quite yet. We're going to fight until the end and live with the results."

(On Jameis Winston going back in the game after he appeared to be hobbled)

"Nobody has ever questioned Jameis' toughness. He's one of the toughest guys in the league – battles through injuries year in and year out. And he's just trying to be the teammate he can be and the best player he can be. We've just got to help him out a little bit more. I've got to help him."

INSIDE LINEBACKER DEVIN WHITE

(On what led to the early scoring drives for the Saints)

"Lack of communication – that's what I think – just everybody not being on the same page. We held them to three the first two drives, which was really great. We just have to keep doing that or give them nothing and get the scoring down." 

(On whether a lack of communication has been a theme this year)

"No, it's just everybody has got to overemphasize it. We're talking, but we have to overtalk, that's all it is. We got a lot of young guys and everybody's antsy, so we've just got to keep communicating." 

(On giving up a touchdown on a one-play drive for the Saints due to a short field)

"I mean we had the perfect call for it, but one guy was not on the same page, so we give something up. Any day we should be able to lock it down, so that was probably the worst part. You can't do [anything] about it though, you just have go play the next play."

(On how White sees his game progressing and if it's slowing down for him)

"I mean the game's been slowing down for me it's just all about being healthy. It's not a visual thing for me. I just try to go out there and help my team get a win, that's all. I've got great coaches, that's all I can say. All the credit goes to those guys, the training staff and the weight room. AP [Anthony Piroli] just does a great job, so it allows me to be at my best out there."

(On going up against Drew Brees and seeing what he was able to do)

"It was a great feeling playing against the hometown hero, growing up and watching him play. At the end of the day, he's the enemy on the field against us. I like the rivalry, but I feel like we could've played better as a collective group on defense. We got after him and we did some great things and we had some great spurts. But, we have to eliminate the minor things that we didn't do well. We just can't shoot ourselves in the foot and that just comes with more experience and more communication and just fighting all the way until the end. That's one thing about this defense we've got to keep fighting."

Check out photos of the Saints locker room celebration presented by Mercedes-Benz following the Week 11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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