Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Was winning that first game against the Saints this season a confidence booster, after having a disappointing game the week before against Tennessee?
"It definitely helped our confidence after losing a tough one the way we did the week before (against the Titans). We thought we'd be a good football team this year just like all teams do, but you need to have something to validate it. To get that win, the first one of the season, was big for us at the time."
How has Jameis (Winston) grown from day one to now?
"It's a hard question to answer. It's a hard question to answer and it's easy too, I guess you can say. (He was) a typical rookie coming in. (In other words), he came in like all rookies. Everything's new to them and you have an idea on how they'll perform. We did a lot of research, obviously, on Jameis when he came out. We have seen so much improvement from the moment he stepped in the building, and it continues. He has everything that you're looking for in a great leader. He has everything that you're looking for in a franchise quarterback. It has all been positive for Jameis Winston since he has been here with us. We're excited about our future with him."
Lavonte David is so good in coverage; how much do you value that and look for it in linebackers?
"We value linebackers that can cover quite a bit. The day of Iso linebackers is over. You are looking for a guy that can line up in man coverage versus tight ends or running backs. He can do that. If we wanted to make Lavonte primarily a rush linebacker, he'd be one of the best of doing that. Of course, (he has great) coverage skills. We're pretty high on him and I am pretty high on him. I have seen a lot of good linebackers and he is definitely one of the best around. He can tackle and he can do it all. Everything that you are looking for in a great linebacker, he can do."
Who do you think was the first linebacker to be that type of player? Would it be Derrick Brooks?
"Yes, for us. We are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Derrick Brooks is the first real special linebacker that I had the chance to be around. He is very special and he is a Hall of Famer. The position that Lavonte is playing, Derrick is still around and he knows what's expected of that position. You don't want to start comparing anybody to a Derrick Brooks but Lavonte David's future is bright. As I said, he can do it all."
We talked to Doug Martin earlier and he said that the biggest factor as to why he is performing as he did in his rookie year is that he is healthy. Is that the biggest factor or are there other reasons why he has been so productive?
"I think that definitely helps. Last year, he was banged up and just did not get the type of start that he wanted. I think there are a couple of reasons for Doug having the type of year that he's having this year. Number one (is) offensive line play's been good all year for him. They like blocking for him. You have a guy that you know can do something if you just give him a chance. It makes you want to block for him even more. Then, it has just been his overall play. He has been that way all season long. He had a great offseason and a great training camp. Normally, that says that you are going to have an outstanding football season, which he is having."
On defense, how much do Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith play off each other? Do you expect them to be out there this weekend?
"Both are good players. As far as them playing with each other, if I am a defensive end, I love a guy like Gerald McCoy. Most teams have a game plan for him coming in. As a defensive end, you feel like you are going to get a couple of more singles, just being next to Gerald. Then, a player like Gerald needs a player like (Smith) too, who can win the one-on-ones. Both of those guys are pretty important to what we are trying to do. We are excited about their futures too."
Is this Saints offense a different type of offense or is it the same one that you are used to seeing?
"They are the same. Sean Payton is still running it and Sean has a basic philosophy that he believes in on how he thinks offensive football should be played. As far as the struggles, I do not see a whole lot of the struggles. Last week, there were not a whole lot of struggles. The Saints still have one of the best offenses in the league, like they have had each year. Drew Brees is still the quarterback right? Any time Drew is leading an offense, it will be productive. That is how we are looking at it. We know that it is a big challenge ahead of us. Whenever you play a Sean Payton team, you have to be at your best. Hopefully, we'll be at our best this weekend."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Doug Martin
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
How big was the last Saints game for the team?
"Yeah it was definitely an important game. We didn't have the start we wanted to, but began to get our momentum going and gained confidence which made us become successful in this season."
What do you think has been the difference this year?
"Just the attitude around here. The culture's definitely been changing around here. We have not been really relevant in the league and haven't been winning a lot of games, but we know now that we are capable of winning games and that we are going to do great things."
What's been the key for the running game this year?
"The big guys up front are working real hard up front. Two rookies in there and all across the board everyone has been working hard and we have some injured guys and people filled in for each other and everybody stepped their game up."
What have you seen from Jameis Winston since the beginning of the season?
"Jameis when he first got here he wasn't as good as he is now. He wanted to be the guy that could do the job and he has become a leader of the team. He has taken ahold of the leadership position and been very vocal and more confident than he was in the beginning of the season."
What do you see in the Saints run defense?
"They are a physical front and have athletic linebackers and just like any other game it will come down to whoever is the most physical and I can't wait to get out there."
Did you ever cross paths with Brandin Cooks in Stockton?
"No I haven't, I just know that we are from the same city of Stockton. I haven't come across him yet, but we represent Stockton."
What's been the major difference for you this season?
"Well I've been hurt and last year and the second year I had a torn labrum and after I dealt with a knee and ankle. It was injury here and there and I just make sure I'm healthy this year and definitely the line is doing better in our run game and it's an attitude thing."
How have you been able to stay healthy?
"Yeah it definitely can, but just have to heal and get back to what you're doing and I healed and wanted to come out and do my job and try to win games here and just trying to change the culture of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization."