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Transcript: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike SmithOpening Statement:

"I thought that we had a good team win yesterday. I thought that the guys played hard and we made the plays when we had to. Our goal was to finish the week 1-0, and we got that accomplished. Now we have the same goal for this week, and that's to finish this week 1-0. With that, I'll open it up for questions.

On the blocking of Gabe Carimi, Levin Toilolo and Patrick DiMarco out of the big formations:

"Well, I thought we did a very good job. We had a good plan, the coaching staff, in terms of how we were going to run the football. Probably one of our most efficient run games that we had this season. We got Steven (Jackson) rolling. We wanted to do it with bigger bodies in the game. It was not a thought of trying to spread them out. It was more about putting some big bodies in there and winning the line of scrimmage, and I thought we did a very good job. The guys that you mentioned are integral part of the success we had in running the ball yesterday."

On having a 3-1 record when rushing for over 100 yards, and if that's something they can build on:

"Well, I really believe if you can stop the run on the other side of the ball, on the defensive side of the ball, and keep the games close you're going to have a better opportunity to run the ball offensively. You want to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Yes, it's key for us to get ahead of the sticks to make sure we're able to run the ball efficiently. We were much more efficient on first down than we have been the previous games."

On the mixed play calling on first downs:

"Of course you know you can't always just go out there and run the ball on first down. You got to have balance. You want to really be balanced on first and 10. I think all offenses strive to do that. They want to be a balanced team on first and 10 because when you start getting in the other down and distances it's pretty standard how it's going to be skewed one way or another."

On Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai's role in stopping the run:

"Well we've gotten steadily better against the run. Yesterday they rushed for 93 yards, but 40 of those yards were quarterback scrambles. We didn't do a good job with our rush lanes. We were putting lots of pressure on the quarterback, but our numbers have been going down. We were really not where we wanted to be at the beginning of the season, and we've slowly started to play better. It's a group effort. It starts with being able to occupy blockers with your front, and then having the linebackers and the safeties making sure they fit it well. It's good to see us play the run much better here, especially the last three or four weeks."

On Kroy Biermann's game yesterday:

"Kroy probably had his most productive game of the season. Of course, anytime when you win you have players that are recognized, and he was one of the players that was recognized with his performance. Not only against the run, he set the edge a couple of times and didn't allow the ball to get outside. He put some pressure on the quarterback. He had a nice sack there in the fourth quarter. It's very important, if you going to get sacks you want to get them in the fourth quarter of games. You don't remember about the sacks that happen in the first quarter of games. When you get them in the fourth quarter, especially in the last three or four minutes, the clock's going to continue to run. There's a lot of positives from getting a sack in the fourth quarter."

On having fewer penalties and being able to take advantage of the Buccaneers penalties:

"It was very good to be able to put the penalty report up with the players today, and talk about some of the importance of playing smart football. When we did have a penalty we weren't able to overcome it. We had early in the game, in the second drive, we had the holding penalty; the drive stalled down. Then, we had the ball first and 10 on the 10-yard line; we had a penalty, illegal procedure. Then, we ended up having a sack. Then, we ended up having a dropped ball, and then we ended up having to kick a field goal. The great thing about us yesterday was we only had five penalties, none in the fourth quarter. You want to make sure that you limit those in the fourth quarter, and we had none of third down. Those are things you really try to focus on with your players."

On what was done differently this week once the Buccaneers took the lead in the fourth quarter:

"Well, our playmakers made some plays. I thought that we responded; we came back, we scored. Then, we also had the two-point conversion to get us where we needed to be. It's really about making plays. I thought that it was a group effort. I thought that offense, defense, and special teams stepped up in different points in the game. Unfortunately, we had the long punt return that put us on a short field, and put the defense in a bad place, but we all stepped up and we made plays there in the fourth quarter of the game. We had the two turnovers that were big turnovers. We had the Dwight Lowery interception was a fantastic individual effort, and it was a big play in the ball game."

On whether he'll watch the Monday Night Football game between Carolina and Philadelphia:

"No. We'll probably catch the end of the game. We'll be working here late tonight. When it's a Monday night game, you get a lot more productivity from watching the game tape, and we'll catch up on that game tomorrow. Soon as it's over it'll be in the system; we'll have it within an hour, and when we get an opportunity to watch it first thing in the morning we will. We're not big TV watchers of games; we more like the all-22."

On being ready to turn the page and getting back on the field Wednesday to prepare for next Sunday and whether he expects the players to be more upbeat after a win:

"We've been working extremely hard all season long. We just haven't been able to take it to the field. We've not really come off the field and felt like, 'Man, that was a bad practice, or that was a tough one.' I think we've got a mindset of we know where we're at right now, and the thing we can control is our preparation for the Carolina Panthers. They'll come out and we'll put together the game plan and do it like we normally do. Then, we'll be excited about another division game. We'd like to continue playing with some confidence and playing with the efficiency that we played with last week."

On whether he saw guys playing looser yesterday:

"I thought that the coaches and the players did a really good job yesterday, in terms of the game plan. We were fresh. I thought that the bye week came at a good time for the players. We got some guys healthier. We had a couple of guys that didn't get as many snaps as they normally would get because they were still a little bit banged up, but we're hoping that they'll be ready to go this week. Last week we probably would've stated we didn't want to have a bye-week, we want to get back out there and play and compete. We fought through that week as a group and as an organization. We're very fortunate to come away with a win this past week, and finish the game off the way we know we're capable of finishing."

On whether it's crazy to tell your players that with a win next week and a loss from New Orleans you'll be on top of your division:

"We can't concern ourselves with what other teams are doing. We know what we've done thus far, and it's not to the standards that we want. We can't change that, but the thing that we can control is that we can control being 1-0 this week. I think that is our mantra at this point in time. We can't concern ourselves with anything that we can do today, and when the day's done we move on to the next day. That's how we tried to approach last week, and that's how we'll approach again this week."

On whether it's difficult for young players not to look ahead:

"I think they're hearing it not only from me, but from the coaching staff and from some of our mentors in our locker room. They understand the only thing that we can control right now is our effort and we're going to attack our next opponent. We can't worry about what other teams are doing. I think through the first 10 weeks of the season we see that you never know what's going to happen. The old adage of on 'Any Given Sunday,' probably more so this year than any other year than I've been in the NFL."

On whether it's conscious decision to be more aggressive on the defense:

"I thought that the defensive staff put together a really good plan, in terms of how we wanted to attack Tampa Bay's offense. I thought it was executed fairly efficiently for the most part. We gave up some explosive plays. We gave up three explosive passes, and the difference in the game yesterday is those drives in which there were explosive plays we created turnovers and we didn't give up points on those. That's something that usually doesn't happen when you start talking about the percentages, so we did a very good job. I thought we were attacking on defense. That was a key to ball game on the defensive side."

On the pass rush yesterday:

"I thought we did a very good job of getting on edges of blockers. There were a number of opportunities; we had the four sacks and the 11 hits, but we left some meat on the bones, so-to-speak. There were other opportunities, and we have to continue to improve in the area of rushing the quarterback. One of the things that happens sometimes when you are rushing the quarterback is that you have to be good with your lane integrity, as we saw yesterday as I've already mentioned. The 40 of the 90 yards that we gave up were the quarterback scrambles. That's an area that we've got to concern ourselves with, but it was good to see the pressure that we were able to apply on the quarterback yesterday."

On whether Jonathan Massaquoi was one of the guys whose snaps were limited:

"Again, we had some guys, not going to talk about specific guys, but we some guys that were – as you guys follow – that were banged up a little bit coming off the bye week. We wanted to put the best the guys that we possibly could, and the healthiest guys out there. Jonathan has done some really good things over the last couple of weeks, and we look forward to having him improving health and getting an opportunity to get back out there and play more than he played this past week."

On Ryan Schraeder and James Stone being CFA's and playing pretty good the past couple of weeks:

"I think James Stone is a very interesting guy, in terms of watching his development through the offseason in May and June, him earning a roster spot, and then the way that he's played. The center position is probably the most cerebral position of all the positions on the offensive line, and he's stepped in and I think he's improved every time he's gone out there. Again, Ryan Schraeder's another really good story, in terms of talking about resiliency. At the beginning of the season he was not someone that we were counting on, but we had him on our 53-man roster. He hung strong with his attitude, and he's done a very good job, and now he's had an opportunity to go in there and play. The one thing about Ryan is that he's a battler, and he's an athletic guy that can recover from being in a bad position. He's an athletic guy, and he's a tough guy. It's a different looking group from what we started the season with, and we know that they're going to continue to get better. We felt like there was improvement this week from the previous week. There was a defensive lineman that we felt we had to slow down, and I thought that we did a very good job. I don't know the exact numbers, but I did not feel like he was a guy that disrupted like he is capable of doing. I think a lot that had to do with the play of our center and two guards."

On dropped passes and leaving points off the board:

"It's been an issue in a couple of games, and as I mentioned in that sequence where we had first and 10 on the 10, it starts off with the illegal procedure penalty, and then a sack, and then we get an a third and 19. We have an opportunity to make a play in the end zone and we don't get it done. That's the thing that we can really stress with our players is, we left a lot out there. We got the outcome that we wanted, but we still didn't play up to the ability that we know we're capable of playing. I think the guys know that leaving out here from their meetings this morning. We had meetings earlier today on a victory Monday."

On the undrafted lineman fighting back:

"I think when you're an undrafted guy you're going to get tested, and we knew coming into this game that there were was going to be some extra motivation from the game that we played back here on Thursday night. It felt that way in pregame warmup. It didn't feel like it was two teams that weren't playing the type of football that you anticipated; it was two teams that were very focused. I think Lovie (Smith) had his team focused to go out and play, and I'm sure that he had the guys ready to go, and our guys were ready. Nobody was backing down. I think there was a line drawn in the sand, and we weren't going to let them step over it, and they were trying to do the same thing. It was a typical NFC South game that maybe some people thought didn't have a whole lot of bearing on what was going on, but for the two teams it was very important."

Update on William Moore and Drew Davis:

"Drew Davis, we got him through his first week, and I thought he went through it very well. He's close to a full load, and it'll be interesting to see how he'll play this week. Then, of course, there's a return to play from the designated-IR list, but there's also a couple of weeks that you have to go through before you can get William back on the field. So we're still a few weeks away. William is progressing well, and we're anticipating and looking forward to getting him back on the field with us as soon as he can."

On when William Moore can return:

"I think it might be six (weeks) and two (weeks). It's six and then you got to go two weeks before you can activate him. It's eight total. We should be able to start working him here very soon, and then he's still a few weeks away from being eligible to go out and participate in a game."

On getting another win on the road:

"Yes, playing on the rough is tough. It was good to have some success this past week. Carolina plays tonight, the Monday night game. They're going to be on a short week. They're playing on the road, so those are things that'll all be in play. Anytime the Panthers, with our proximity, anytime we get together it's usually a dang barn-burner, and I anticipate it will be. We're looking forward to trying to continue playing well in our division because we know in the long haul that's what we've got to do; we've got to take care of our division first."

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