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Bucs' Smith: Gerald McCoy is Great, But He Has to Learn Our Defense

Lovie Smith Rookie Day One
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coach Lovie Smith spoke to the media today following team OTA's. Here's what he had to say:

(Opening Statement)

Great Memorial Day weekend. The team had a chance to get away, we had a good practice on Thursday though, got a chance to grade the players, and they can kind of see how well be doing it. Everything were doing right now is to get them ready for the fall, of course to be game-ready versus Carolina, get great work each day. We get a few injuries every day also which is a little discouraging, we would like to have our entire football team out there, but some of the younger players are getting valuable reps out there on the football field.

(On if they will be doing inter-squad scrimmages during training camp)

Dont plan on doing it, Im not one that buys into that. When we go against someone else, we want officials out there, well go through our routine and well use those four preseason games to get ready for the season.

(On quarterback Alex Tanney)

Were always looking to improve our ball club and each week well be bringing players in. If we feel like theyre better than what we have on the roster at that time, well make a move. Alex came in and did a good job. Im told hes a YouTube sensation or something like that, Im behind the times on a lot of that, but on the football field he did some good things and were going to go to camp with four quarterbacks and hes our fourth one.

(On his quarterback plans during the season)

We all have a record, you look at my record, our record a little bit, its tough to keep three guys but if you feel like that third guy is one of the best 53 [players] that you have, but for the most part on game day well suit up two quarterbacks. You can kind of look at that on what direction were going to go.

(On what hes seeing from the defense so far)

I see we have a long ways to go just like on the offensive side of the football. Its just so much to put in, so many little fine details that you have to get ironed out by practice, but I see improvement each day. Theyre getting more and more comfortable in their roles. Im talking [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy is a great player, but he has to get to know our defense, whats expected of him and in every situation, same thing for [linebacker] Lavonte David and across the board. We have excellent coaches on our staff and I see it coming though, were going to be a good football team and in order to be a good football team we have to play great, not good, but great defense and I think we will.

(On McCoy becoming comfortable in the defense)

Gerald has been just the perfect student, number one, to just buy into the coaching that hes getting. Hes a great player, thats established, hes a great player, but what do you do from there? And he comes out every day, hes the first guy in every drill, hes running to the football, you cant ask for anything more in a defensive lineman than what Gerald McCoy is doing.

(On injuries to wide receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson)

The hamstring is getting better, but Im not an expert on a lot of things, but the hamstrings Im an expert on Dr. Smith talking here. It is getting better, but you dont come back right away from a hamstring injury and were not getting ready to play right away, we want Mike to get well and all of our hamstring injuries, Vincent Jackson has had one. Well take our time with them. Theres so much Mike Evans can learn besides getting on the football field running, I mean the mental part of the game and hes doing that, hes doing everything that were asking him to do and in time hell be back out there.

(On the injuries allowing other players the chance to step up)

You to prepare for [injuries] its not if, we are going to have injuries during the year and its always about the next guy stepping up. Its safe to say Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are going to be on the team playing for us this year. We do need to learn about the third, fourth, fifth receiver, sixth if we decide to go that direction or seven, so you dont know exactly how many were going to keep, Ive got to throw that in there and well see how they work.

(On how valuable the offseason program has been)

Its critical, and every rep and every minute. The CBA [collective bargaining agreement] rules allows two hours on the football field and we take every second, we try to at least and then nowadays everything a player does we video. Its just a great way for them to see you tell them as a coach you need to do this, but for them to be able to see it every day and again were getting great work and this work is definitely helping.

(On what the offense will look like)

Lets establish a few things, its the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense and yeah Im excited to see it, like Im excited to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers special teams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers edition of our defense too, all of those things, but theyre coming into place. Again youll see a little bit of what were going to do, but we can go a lot of different ways, Ill just say that, with our offense.

(On which receivers have stood out)

Im going to say that, granted its in shorts, all of the guys theyre having their moments right now. Chris Owusu though hes been pretty good from day one. Hes a guy thats been around here, all of the players have been around, but hes one thats caught my attention from the first minicamp all the way through. I hate to point out guys this early in camp. Were running around in underwear right now, you cant see an awful lot from that, but when you talk receivers you can at least go on the guys thats catching the ball and running good routes and all of that. [Wide receivers coach] Andrew Hayes-Stoker is doing a great job with them and theyre getting better.

(On what hes seen from tight end Cameron Brate and his experience with players from the Ivy League)

Ivy League, I try not to get into too much detail of where theyre from, but you expect a guy from Harvard not to make a lot of mental mistakes. He hasnt, but it was more than that, he came in and we saw athletic ability. We saw a tight end that could run, caught the ball well and made some plays. When youre coming in behind the eight-ball a little bit, youve got to come in and make the coaches take notice. He did that, catching the ball and knowing what to do.

(On guard Carl Nicks)

No update, hes not here. Hes not here for voluntary work.

(On center Evan Dietrich-Smith suggestion that Tampa Bay could have a top 10 defense)

Do I like that talk of us being a top 10 defense? Or top 10 offense for that matter? Evan has been around a long time, hes seen a lot of defenses, and I think were going to be a good football team, offense, defense and special teams. I would hope our players see the same thing.

(On the competition at cornerback)

I see good competition. Alterraun Verner will be one of our guys of course, we didnt bring him here to sit on the bench. Theres good competition, I would say there are six cornerbacks that I like on our football team right now and it will be interesting to see how they grow. We have guys like Rashaan Melvin, Deveron Carr, guys with size and speed that we see daily improvement from. Again I just cant wait to keep going through the process to get to the preseason games to see exactly how theyll be.

(On if cornerback Johnthan Banks fits the scheme)

Banks is a great fit for our scheme. I was talking with Johnthan a little bit today. Were not the only wide receiving group in the division thats gotten taller, there are others that have done the same thing. Were going to need a couple of six feet corners now, at least six [feet]-plus corners, of course thats Johnthan and I like what he did last year as a young player playing. Coachable guy, who has talent, Im excited about coaching him.

(On controlling the ball on offense)

We dont look at it that way. Offensively what we talk about is just ball security. The plays that we have, not turning the football over, you guys know the biggest reason why teams win or lose each week is the turnover ratio, so offensively ball security. Im talking about from the quarterback position and the plays that we run, of course to the guys that are actually carrying the ball, its that as much as anything and just being smart with the plays that we run, ball control and everyone is a part of that.

SOURCE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media


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