Transcripts: Smith, Ryan Press Interviews

Head coach Mike SmithOn how Drew Davis looked in his first practice back:

"Thought he looked very good. He's been working with our AP department and running and have been able to put consecutive days together. We gave him probably about half of his normal load today, see how he handles it, and make a decision as we get further in the week. We have 21 days, but I wouldn't discount anything with Drew Davis."

On being able to make a decision on any point regarding Drew Davis:

"That's correct. We've got 21 days to activate him and put him on the 53-man roster, then you have the next option is getting him on the 46-man roster."

On Josh McCown starting for the Buccaneers this week:

"He was the starter at the beginning of the season. He came with Lovie (Smith) from Chicago. He was injured in our game earlier on, but he's a very savvy veteran that actually, for 35-years old runs pretty good. He can move around, and extend some plays. Our preparation, we had an opportunity to see his two games prior to our game. He's healthy now, and they're going to move him back into the starting lineup."

On 22-18 road record during his first five years in Atlanta:

"When you're above .500 it's where you want to be."

On whether anything has changed on the road since:

"We've made some subtle changes. When things aren't going your way you got to try to address what the issue may be, and we have not played as good of football, and we haven't finished games on the road like we need to. I say that's probably the thing that stands out over the span that you're talking about."

On whether the confidence level and the preparation has stayed the same:

"These guys have worked extremely hard. Their preparation during the week, what we're asking them to do they're doing. The thing that's not happening is, it's not transferring for 60 minutes in a football game. That comes down to consistency. We've got to be a more consistent football team, and we've got to help them as coaches. We've got to go out and play for 60 minutes. I think you can look at almost every game that we've played this season and there's been spurts of the type of football that you want to be played. Unfortunately, they keep score and we haven't had one more point at the end."

On Jonathan's Babineaux's status:

"He was a limited participant today, but I would imagine that he would be a full participant tomorrow. We just wanted to ease him back in. He practiced limited on Monday. He didn't take his normal snaps today, but he looked good when he was out there."

On whether he sees improvement in the pass rush:

"It's not where we need it to be. Again, we're 32nd in the League in sacks. I think we have shown some improvement. It hasn't necessarily shown up on the sack tally, but I do feel that we've shown some improvement. It's not the improvement that we need; we need to have more. We're looking for to an opportunity to get some pressure on the quarterback. We're going to have to be disciplined in our rush lanes because he can move around."

Quarterback Matt RyanOn trying to get ready for the last eight games of the season and what the offense has to do to make things right:

"Obviously, the bye week is a great time to kind of self-scout, to take a look at areas we need to improve in the second half. It's no surprise, we got to play better in the fourth quarter than what we have up until this point this season. I think everybody kind of had a chance to get away from it, to disconnect a little bit, and hopefully recharge the batteries. I think we've had good energy the beginning of this week, and we've got specific things that Smitty (Coach Smith) has laid out for us that we've got to work on, and I think guys are focusing on that. We've got to translate, take what we're doing on the practice field and make that translate into success on Sundays."

On the offense missing that one play to put the game away:

"I think across the board we've done some things well. We've done some things well on the offensive side of the ball, but we're missing a play here, or a play there and it's kind of a different thing each week. It's not one thing you can kind of point your finger at and say, 'If we can just do this one thing better that will be the solution to the problem.' But it's kind of across the board we've made mistakes. We've looked at it; I think guys have had the chance to really look in the mirror, take a good hard look at themselves, self-evaluate. I think guys have the right mindset, I really do. We can't change what happened in the first eight weeks of the season, we'd love to, but you can't go back. We've got to focus on what's in front of us, and that's taking care of business this week."

On what they have to do better in the second half of the season:

"Well, I think just making plays when they're there, specifically in the fourth quarter when there's opportunities that present themselves you've got to hit them. It's not revolutionary, or anything crazy, it is what it is. When the plays are there we've got to make them. For me that's one of the things I think a theme for us has to be being opportunistic. There's different points throughout a game where opportunities present themselves and we've got good enough players we've got to make the plays when they present themselves. That's kind of going to be my focus heading into this week."

On it being a distraction seeing the speculation around Coach Smith:

"I think everybody understands the nature of our business. Steven Jackson, a veteran guy who's been around here a couple of years, but been in the League a long time, says it all the time to the guys in the locker room, 'We rent the lockers. We don't own them, and you've got to work every day to make sure that you still have that space.' You can't worry about it; you can't worry about all the things that are being said outside this building. You can't worry about next week, or two weeks from now; you've got to be focused on this week. I think guys have bought into that, and I think Smitty has done a great job of getting that message across."

On looking at the big picture and saying we're still only two games out of first place in the division:

"We understand big picture where we're at. As ugly as it has been, we are where we are, and that is two games out. We've got to claw away at it one game at a time. I think guys really need to do a good job of focusing on this week, and not worrying about everything else that can happen, or everything else that's being said. I think guys need to focus on this week. If we can do that then we can play the way that we're capable of. I think that's our best bet."

On taking inspiration from seeing teams playing poorly and then turning it around:

"Absolutely. That's kind of the nature, there's so much parity across the NFL, and the difference between wins and losses is very small. We know that every time you're facing a new opponent going up for a new week what you've done up until this point in the season has no bearing on what's going to happen on Sunday. I think there is a sense of we are where we are; we've played the way that we have played, but we've got eight more opportunities in front of us and we've got to focus on this one this week. We feel like we're capable of going out there and playing really well."

On what they're expecting from the Buccaneers this Sunday after the blow-out win on Thursday night football:

"That kind of goes back to the last question, it's a week-to-week League. They, the following week went out and beat Pittsburgh. This a good football team; the record is what it is, our record is what is, but they play with great effort and they're very well-coached. I know going into it it's going to be a four quarter game, tough and physical and that's what you expect when you're in division."

On facing Gerald McCoy:

"Gerald McCoy, I have a ton of respect for him as a player. To me he's one of the catalysts for their defense. He kind of gets them going. They missed him when he was out; there's no getting around it. We've got to account for where he's at every snap, and try and get our protection set, and get our run game going and ty to get hats on him because he's a guy that can disrupt a game."

On Steven Jackson getting 18 carries last week and the team trying to get the run game going this week:

"I think it's one of those things you try to get that running game going every chance you get. I thought Steven's done a great job for us all year. When he's had his opportunity to go in there and run the football, I think he's taken advantage of it. He's been physical for us. I thought he ran the ball effectively against them the first game, so we'll see. We'll see how it shakes out. I think across the board at that running back position it's probably our deepest position, one of the deepest positions on our team, and I think all four of those guys have done a great job in their own roles the entire year."

On what he's seen out of Ryan Schraeder and James Stone:

"Ryan Schraeder's done a great job for us. I think his playing experience last year really helped him out coming into this season, just the comfort level of being able to go out there and know what you're doing and know the offense. I think James Stone at center, you ask a lot of those guys, and for a rookie I think he's done a really, really good job. Had an opportunity to play extended time against Baltimore, then gets his first start against a really good Detroit front four. I thought James did great job and held his own. I think he's only going to continue to improve as the year goes on."

On him switching his hands whenever he snaps the ball in the shotgun and whether it affects anything:

"I don't even notice it. Under center he snaps it with his right hand the same way that I've always got it my entire career. In the gun it doesn't make much of a difference."

On penalties in the fourth quarter and playing behind the sticks being the difference of this offense not achieving:

"I think it's two things: playing behind the chains is always tough; it makes it difficult on you. A lot of the reason that we are behind the chains is because of self-inflicted wounds, mistakes, or penalties that put you behind the sticks. But also in the fourth quarter, playing behind in games, being two scores out in multiple fourth quarters, I think, changes what you do offensively. I think a big point of emphasis for us is let's start fast, let's get ahead of the chains, let's get ahead in the game, so we can open up our entire playbook."

On the timing of the bye week:

"I think it was good. I think it came at a good time for us. Obviously, the middle of the season is pretty ideal timing. You get half way through, you get a chance to rest and then you got eight more to go. I thought it was good. I thought guys got rest, and I think everybody's had really good energy. I thought practice on Monday was exactly what we needed."

On whether simplifying things will help the team:

"Well, I think that kind of depends on week-to-week. It depends on who you have up in your own locker room, which guys are healthy, and it also depends on who you're going against. Some weeks simplifying what you're doing and going fast is great; some weeks kind of giving them some different looks and making them communicate is really good. I think it's a situational and week-to-week kind of thing."

On his assessment of his numbers at the halfway mark:

"I don't worry too much about statistics. From my standpoint it's, we haven't won enough games. Ultimately that's what it boils down too. You have to play winning football week in and week out and we haven't done a good enough job of that."

On how he keeps his head when his team has the second most dropped passes in the League:

"That's one of the things, physical mistakes they're going to happen. The thing I try to constantly harp on is that we know our plan, and we don't make mental mistakes. I think that's probably the thing that's a little bit more frustrating than the physical ones, but you got to keep going out there and trusting guys to make plays and I'm confident our guys will."

On getting Devin Hester back involved in the offense:

"I think Devin's a part of our plan every week. Obviously, he's showcased this year what he's capable of doing, how explosive of a player he is. I think it's important for us to try and get all our playmakers the ball in space and see what happens."

On Harry Douglas coming back and how he's helped the offense:

"I think it's big. Having those four guys out on the field at the same time creates some mismatch problems for defenses to go against. We've got confidence in all four of those guys to be able to step up and run any route and to make a play at any time, so I think that's huge for us."

On the national media saying there's no leadership in the locker room:

"I think we do. I think we've got good leadership. Obviously, when things aren't going your way and you're not winning games there's going to be criticism. We understand that, but I think that one of the things in tough times when you don't have the finger pointing, and you don't have guys calling each other out and kind of turmoil within the locker room I think that showcases what kind of leadership we have. We're going to try and get this thing turned around, can't do it all in one week, we've got to focus on this week, but I like the guys that we have. Coaching staff and players included."

On taking inspiration from the Navy Seals:

"It was just something I saw on TV. Pretty cool stuff. It was a training exercise for Seals where they were climbing, and one of the guys kind of panicked as they were climbing and the instructor kind of climbed his way over. They were a couple of hundred feet up, and had a couple hundred feet to go, but the guy said, 'Worry about the three feet around you. Don't focus on anything else.' I think that kind of our apropos to where we're at. You can't worry about 200 we have to go; you can't worry about the 200 feet that we've already gone. We've got to focus on the immediate three feet around us, and control what we can control. If we kind of do have that zoom focus, that laser focus, that they were talking about I think that can really help us."

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