By Leo Haggerty

The dog days of training camp are finally winding down for the Buccaneers.  It couldn’t be happening fast enough as you’ll hear in the commentary by HC Dirk Koetter along with TE Cameron Brate plus DT Gerald McCoy and DT Clinton McDonald.


(On how both teams handled the heat during practice)
“I’ve got to worry about how the Bucs handled it and not very good on the offensive side – but, it’s warm that’s for sure.”

(On the offense’s performance)
“No juice, no juice. No one wanted to practice today.”

(On the team being tired)
“I’m done talking about it. I’ve already said what I was going to say.”

(On if today’s practice was more the lack of the offensive performance rather than the heat)
“Absolutely, absolutely.”

(On the factors contributing to the lack of offensive performance during practice)
“We had balls tipped, we had poor throws and we had bad protection. Bad combination.”

(On the offensive line performing up to expectations thus far)
“It’s a bad day to ask me that. They’ve done fine, they’ve done fine. Sometimes you can be tainted by what your third group does and some of those guys aren’t going to be here so you’ve got to clarify it with that, but overall just a bad day on offense. I wasn’t on the defensive field – Coach [Mike] Smith said we did fine over there. These joint practices, when I only get to see half of it, I’m not going to know the rest until I get in and watch it.”

(On how the team handled the 3-4 defense)
“Not very good. Good thing that’s why today [was] a good example of why we want to work against the 3-4. I would that to be a game and be our first exposure of a 3-4.”

(On kicker Roberto Aguayo)
“Yeah he’s struggling – he’s struggling a little bit right now. He has to work his way through it. We’ve talked to him – he knows what he has to do, he’s working through it.”

(On if Aguayo’s missed field goals are mental)
“I think so and I think he believes that.”

(On adding another kicker to the roster)
“That would be a question you would need to talk to [General Manager] Jason [Lichts] about but, I wouldn’t think that’s an option, but that would be a question for Jason.”

(On the offensive line’s performance at Jacksonville)
“As far as our goals for the Jacksonville game, two of the things we did well on offense was run the ball and protect it well, so that part wasn’t an issue in the Jacksonville game. We had other issues but it wasn’t that.”

(On offensive line and its depth)
“Yeah, again you’ve got an idea who your first six or seven guys are and we’d like to develop more depth that’s why we’ve got guys here to look at them because once the season starts all these guys go away and you’re trying to figure out who’s going to be in those last couple spots.”

(On offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile filling in at left guard)
“Sure we said all along we’re never going to have a problem if Kevin is out there starting at any of the spots across the O-line.”

(On Joe Hawley and Evan Smith being interchangeable)
“Absolutely. I mean both those guys have alternated all through training camp.  They’ve both got starting experience in this league, those two guys are both solid players.”

(On the takeaway for the team after a less efficient practice day)
“Well again we’ve got to look at the tape. I can sometimes be irrational coming right off the field. We go in and we watch tape the players come back at 3:30 and we’ll see what the message is at. Again, I’m only talking about one side of the ball. If I were to be on the other field, I might be over here with a big smile on my face right now, so you just have to take it with a grain of salt, we’ll work it out and get back to work.”

(On the importance of the third preseason game)
“It’s the most important because you’re playing your starters the longest. Our starters will actually come out, warm up, and play into the third quarter. It’s the most important from that standpoint, yeah.”

(On the eighth offensive lineman position)
“We just went over that. We’re looking for that guy.”


(On if the extra reps Austin Seferian-Jenkins is getting are reps that he could benefit from instead)
“No, I think that we’re both going to play a lot for us this year. I’ve been getting a lot of those reps early in training camp and it’s good to even it out, both get some work. He looked really good on Saturday, had a good week of practice last week, so it’s going to be fun working with him.”

(On wanting to be the starter)
“Yeah, but Austin is a really good player too and I think with both of us on the field it’ll definitely be good for us.”

(On the offense struggling in practice today)
“Yeah, the offense struggled a little bit. Going against Cleveland, a 3-4 team is a little bit different, we haven’t really gone against that at all during camp so far. So it’s really good work for us. Cardinals, Week Two, they’re a very similar defense.  We struggled a little bit today, we’re going to watch the film, make some adjustments and hopefully do better tomorrow.”


(On the new additions to the defensive line)
“We brought in some guys. Robert Ayers is a vet and [has] got a lot of experience, really good player. He has a lot of nastiness to him, which helps us out a lot, when we’re preparing in meetings, individual and getting ready to go against other teams.  And then Noah Spence is coming along strong. Clinton McDonald is Clinton McDonald, we call him ‘The Hammer’ for a reason. So guys are developing: Will Gholston is really having a good camp, he really is. And Coach [Mike] Smith’s scheme is great man, it leaves opportunities for everybody to make plays.”

(On if it is nice to have other veterans on the team to lean on)
“With this being my seventh year, the only person who has been here longer than me is ‘Dot’ [Demar Dotson] and he’s on the offense, so I’m going to be the guy on defense regardless, just because of how long I’ve been here and my experience. But having more vets, instead of just being the one, having more people to go to – and even for me, because Daryl Smith is like 100 years old. So I can go to him, he’s got a lot of experience and he’s been in this defense before, so he’s really, really big for us.”

(On Robert Ayers having a bit of a different edge)
“We’ve got a lot of nice guys. Not saying ‘nice guys’, but we’ve just got guys who go about their business and that’s it. Rob, he’s from Jersey, so they kind of got a little [something]. When Coach is talking about make sure we don’t fight in practice, he’s like, ‘Right, Rob?’ And it’s not like he’s a mean guy, that’s what makes him and that’s what we need.”

(On how valuable Daryl Smith has been to the young linebackers on the team)
“A lot man, he’s been extremely valuable, simply because he’s been in this defense before. He has a lot of experience in this league. I was talking to him and I didn’t know when he got drafted, so I was like, ‘Hey man, when’d you get drafted?’ And he was like, ‘I was in [New York Giants quarterback] Eli Manning’s class’ I’m like, ‘Dang! You got drafted with Eli Manning? Why’re you still here?’ He’s got a lot of experience man, great guy, nice guy, carries himself like a vet, does everything like a vet and willing to help anybody who asks.”

(On Cleveland and former Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown noticing how much faster the defense is)
“Yeah, like I [was] just asked, that defense you [saw] with Denver last year and that 2002 Bucs defense, they were – let’s take away all of the Hall of Famers on the defense and just look at how 11 people, when the ball moved, 11 moved as fast as they could to wherever that ball is at. That’s where we’re trying to build ourselves on. If we’re out of place, it doesn’t matter if we’re out [of] our gap, if you get out [of] your gap, you turn and you go as fast as you can. Because we had a play against Jacksonville [where] Will Gholston got out of his gap, fell on the ground, popped up and made the play like 10 yards down the field. You ask what our identity [is], that’s what we have to be.”


(On how the defense played today against the Browns)
“I feel like we did an okay job. We’re never satisfied if we’re not on the field showing greatness. So we did okay in certain aspects, in certain aspects we have to straighten up and get our act right. But for the most part, I feel like every day’s a learning process, every day you’re either going to get better or get worse, so we’re striving every day to get better.”

(On if there is anything he does differently when going up against a different team in practice)
“Not really. You still have to get your keys down pat, you’ve still got to know what you’re going to get, you’ve got to know your opponent, you’ve got to know what to expect out of them. And pretty much game planning in a sense is more so playing on your specifics.”

(On how good it is for the defense to get a look at a zone read offense like Cleveland’s)
“It’s very important because we’ve got [Carolina Panthers quarterback] Cam Newton coming over, who’s pretty much going to run the same type of offense. It’s great to get a lot of work in early on what you’re going to see during the season, especially if somebody’s in your conference who’s been running the conference. So we’re trying to get it down pat so we can go ahead and take their place.”

(On the kind of adjustment the defense has to make against a zone read offense)
“Basically, assignment adjustment. We still want to go hard, we still want to strike and we still want to attack, but for the most part our assignment is going to change just a little bit as opposed to a quarterback that sits in the pocket, doesn’t have a running threat about him. So for the most part, different rules, different assignments that we have to adjust, but not too much.”

(On if he puts more focus on the third preseason game than the others)
“I wouldn’t put more importance on this one that I wouldn’t put on any other one.  All of them are dress rehearsals for the most part, all of them are in a sense a close battle, a close war that if you go out there half-slacking it, not giving your all, you can get embarrassed and you can get hurt out there. So for the most part, we take every game serious, regardless if it’s the first preseason game or the last
preseason game, or if it’s the regular season. You’ve got to approach them all the same and you’ve got to be good on your craft.”