HEAD COACH RAHEEM MORRIS
"Today we had the ability to add to what we've done in terms of establishing our responsibility and establishing our team. We got bigger and faster today. We had the ability to go out there and really get some character guys that our community can rally around and be proud of. We can bring some people into the building that will make us proud and more successful here. That was what the goal was in the Draft and we accomplished that."
(On the improvement to the team through the 2010 Draft)
"What I really feel we did this weekend is establish our up-front rush, where it starts, and establish our push. We were able to do that today and yesterday-we were able to get that accomplished. We were able to get faster and get some speedy receivers on the outside. We were able to get a bunch of young guys in here who will be able to run around and play for us for a long time. We got guys here that we'll want to resign, guys that we'll want to get back and guys that we'll want to keep here in this building [to] make you guys proud of us. We feel we accomplished some big-time things today and over the last couple of days."
(On the concerns surrounding WR Mike Williams)
"Yes, of course. I'd be telling you a story if I told you we didn't have any concerns. We brought him in and did our due diligence and work. We were able to see him at the Combine and here at our facility. We were able to take him out and have dinner with him, sit down and talk to a bunch of people that he knows, that he is close to, and talk to all the people that we could from [Syracuse]. We were able to go through all our due diligence and work on how we would feel about him. At the end of the day we were very comfortable about taking Mike and we were able to get him. He's going to come in here and make you guys proud. He's got another opportunity and a fresh start around some good young people and we're going to get him in here and get him acclimated to how we do things and how we operate."
(On the outside pass rush and having speed on the outside)
"We established a push in this draft, there's no doubt about that, the push in the middle. What we did with having Stylez G. White on the outside and having the ability to go and get a hustle man like Erik Lorig and a guy that plays as hard as he does on tape. There's some young guys right now in the hopper who are going to shock us as well. Having the ability to go out last year and move up to get Kyle Moore-he's really blossomed. He's really come on halfway through the season to right now, to where he's looking great in workouts and looking great in what he's been able to do on the outside. We were able to go steal Tim Crowder last year. He was a second-round pick and we were able to steal him from [the Denver Broncos]. We're ready to let these guys go meet and go out there and hopefully get to the quarterback. The guys in the middle, that push, that's what's going to help those guys get better. We talked about it yesterday. Those three guys in the middle are really the guys who establish everything for this defense. Those are the guys who make everyone around them better and those are the guys who make everyone behind them better."
(On who is behind Stylez G. White at the right end position)
"We've got Kyle Moore over there as well. He can do swing duties. We have Maurice Evans, who we got from the [New York] Giants last year. You guys know a little about him and about how sad they were to lose him last year. We stole him off their practice squad. [It was a] great job by our scouting department. And [Tim] Crowder also goes over there in part-time duties-we've seen him over there before. We'll have the opportunity to maybe put Lorig over there, too. He rushed off both sides at Stanford and we're going to go out there and see what he can do."
(On the possibility of LB Dekoda Watson playing safety)
"No. Dekoda played linebacker out [at Florida State]. You're talking about a 6-1, 240-pound man-kind of a clone of Quincy [Black], but he has put his hand down and rushed off the edge a little bit. He's a potential speed rusher as well. All the different packages that we could put in to potentially get some faster guys on the outside along with that push and just making people better. We're fired up about that guy, but we won't put him at safety. I kind of like him as a rusher. I like him as a linebacker and I like him in the box. I'm not going to tell you that I'm not going to have him in a package where he may be acting more like a safety, but you're not going to know because he'll be acting like a linebacker."
(On looking to add competition on the offensive side of the ball through free agency)
"We're always looking to get better. Whatever we think can help us [as] we look to move forward in the next couple of months getting ready for the season, we will try to do. But we're building through the draft. We tried to build as much as we can through the draft. [It] is no secret that you can't get everything you want in every draft. If that was the case it would be called recruiting. Right now we're doing the recruiting as far as free agents [are concerned]. Hopefully it will put some people that we got and that we like, because of the depth of this draft. This year all the sixth rounders are really fifth rounders, all the seventh rounders are really sixth rounders. It just goes on and on. There are some free agents out there right now that could have been drafted in any other year. That's going to be another important way for us [to address needs]."
(On if offensive free agents are being pursued)
"That's got to be one of the key establishments of what we try to do as we try to get better."
(On the decision to draft a punter over a running back or other position)
"When you talk about getting a punter, you're talking about establishing field position. You're talking about that guy being the main cog for your defense and getting you out of a lot of trouble. We played a lot of teams this year where we were able to kick the ball away and reestablish field position. That's a weapon if it's used right and we put a lot of quality into that. A lot of people don't like to give punters or kickers credit until they don't do their job. We value [those jobs] highly and we think it's a great pick up for us. We can't wait to get him in here and let him start kicking some balls and changing some field position for us."
(On the strengths seen in P Brent Bowden)
"You're talking about a guy with a strong leg who can get out there and punt the ball and change field position for us. He has the ability of direction and he showed us some explosive movements and things of that nature-things that will help us out on special teams. I've got a great special teams coach and we lost some core special teams players last year due to injury, free agency or whatever the case may be. We filled some of those roles today with some of the guys we were able to pick up. We probably play more starters than just about any team with [our] special teams and that punter is key for us. He's vital and a core element of the success we've had in special teams over the last couple of years. When you're talking about [Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator] Rich Bisaccia you're talking about one of the best and we were able to go out there and add to his development."
(On Watson fitting into the type of linebacker the Buccaneers look for)
"[Watson] is a fast speed [linebacker], I'd compare him more to Quincy Black. You're talking about a 6-1, 240-pound guy and I think Quincy is somewhere around that. You're talking about a guy who runs and hits and who is excited about football. [He's one of the] people we want to bring into our building with great character. You're talking about one heck of a leader down there at Florida State. You do your homework there, too, and find out what kind of leaders they are and what they do to drive their team on. If you ask a bunch of people they'll tell you that he became that Bobby Bowden-like voice out there at Florida State. Those are the people you want in your program and we're excited to have him."
(On what position Cody Grimm will play)
"He played the 4-2-4 at Virginia Tech and he plays the outside position, which, for most NFL football teams, usually translates over to a safety position. So he's going to be a safety. He may just be a box guy, he may be a guy who will play some deep-throw coverage, some half-throw stuff, but he certainly has the athleticism, toughness and pedigree. We're really fired up to get him. I'm laughing now because I'm thinking of how excited he was on the phone when we called him and were talking with him-his excitement to come down here to Tampa and be a part of this. Those are the kind of people you want to be around. All of my phone conversations today and yesterday have been positive. It's about bringing this town together, bringing this team together, uniting and going over there and taking pictures in front of those fans and having people that you guys can rally around, grow with and [watch] develop."
(On the ability of the later picks to play special teams)
"You never want to limit anybody and say they're [just] a special teams guy, but for us, we play starters on special teams. Quincy Black plays four phases of special teams and he is the starting Sam [linebacker]. It's no different today, when you get a Dekoda Watson and you have the ability to run down on kickoff, to hold up a punt, block a punt and do all those different things. It's the same thing with a Cody Grimm. He brings that excitement. We also lost a great special teams player in Will Allen-the free agency and he got injured through the season and went to IR, but [when] you pick up a guy like Cody Grimm with that kind of character and pedigree, that type of hunger and desire, you're fired up about that. And all the guys we picked up throughout the draft-the Myron Lewis' of the world, a big, long hold-up guy. They'll all be expected to play special teams. Rich [Bisaccia] will be beating down my door if I put up a sign that tells him who not to play, so I don't think you have to worry about that."
(On QB Josh Freeman's improvement with the addition of WR Arrelious Benn and WR Mike Williams)
"Josh is an exciting young man. Josh is excited about whatever we do, he's very confident. He got a lot better [today]. He got some more bodies, some more guys to run around for him, some more guys to catch balls and more guys to make him look better when they catch balls and make plays. As a quarterback, that's what you look at."
(On what the large number of young players means for veterans on the team)
"If you're a veteran, you've got a chance to establish your leadership role and go out there and lead these young men and go win Super Bowls. That's what you have to do. The [New Orleans] Saints were a young football team last year and they won the Super Bowl. But their veterans, their Drew Brees' of the world and Marques Colston's, those guys all stood up and grabbed the young guys, the Tracy Porters, and went out there and made plays in the biggest games. That's what you have to do right now."
(On the possibility that veterans in doubled-up drafted positions should expect their roster spots to be overtaken)
"The problem when you start talking about ‘the writing on the wall' in this league is that you're already in trouble. We are building competition. This is a competition-driven league and it will always be competitively driven, every year. Next year, the guys we drafted today [will face] another 250 players that come in the draft. It's going to be competitive and people are going to double-up at positions and you have to fight them off. We like to call the idea taking them out to deep water and drown. Somebody's not going to come back. That's basically the life we live in. There are coaches stacked up behind me on the board. That's the nature of our game. That's the nature of the beast. Fortunately, most of the time veterans understand that and that's why they understand how to prepare, why they understand how to come to work and that's why they understand the importance of everything we do from the offseason to the meeting rooms and classrooms. I don't want to give you a bunch of lists of what's important, but those are just the things you have to do in this league."
GENERAL MANAGER MARK DOMINIK
"I certainly feel great about this [draft] class we've put together. We're busy upstairs right now, signing between 10 and 12 college free agents that were undrafted, and that speaks to the volume of this draft and what we like it about."
(On if the talent held up throughout the draft like he thought it would heading in)
"Yes. Again, Rome wasn't built in a day. The truth is this draft class provided us with the depth I believed it had, certainly I think we took advantage of our picks and where we had them. I think we added quality teammates, quality kids. If you have a chance to see who they are on and off the football field, that was a big element to us again for this year as well. I'm excited for the group that we have, I actually really looking forward to you all [media] meeting them and letting Tampa meet them. But, at the same point we didn't underestimate the football ability of those players. We are not just going to sign great kids and not worry about football. Football is important to us and the love for the game was big and I think we attacked that at the end of the draft."
(On what the fans can expect to see from draft picks)
"I think you're going to see a passionate football team, a passionate group of young rookies that walks in here and really want to grab the bull by the horns and take advantage of the situations in front of them. Again, we went after team captains in the second day, especially in the seventh round we took a [Cody] Grimm, [Dekoda] Watson, we took a kid named [Erik] Lorig, those guys are team captains, aggressive special teams players, or guys that can rush the quarterback. That was really important to us and again to attack the seventh-round like we did last year with E.J. Biggers, I think he's got a great opportunity to make this football team and contribute this year. Certainly we all saw what Sammie Stroughter did last year and tie that into this year's seventh round. The draft doesn't end until it ends, and that's why we're going to go upstairs to work on finalizing some college free agent contracts."
(On if he can confirm the signings of Jevan Snead and Rico McCoy)
"I can confirm that we have spoken to the both of those players and I can confirm that I have not received any fax papers back."
(On the interest of LeGarrette Blount)
"No, and that's to not disrespect the player. We obviously brought LeGarrette Blount in here as one of our 30-people visit and we got to spend some time with him. I think he's a great kid. We just made a decision as an organization as to what we were going to do. With that I would say that LeGarrette Blount is going to sign in the National Football League and he's going to play. And good for him, but we made the decision with this football team and we drafted some guys in the seventh round there, the sixth round, the fifth round and fourth round that we're really excited about being a part of this football team."
(On how he feels offensively with the addition of the two receivers)
"I feel good, but make no mistake this draft was certainly prepared to be better on defense and I think I spoke to you [media] guys about that before. I wanted to take advantage of the defensive side of the ball here and that's what we did, specifically in the seventh round with Cody Grimm, Dekoda Watson and Lorig, all defensive players, all guy we were real excited about, and that spoke to the depth of the draft, I was going to take advantage of the depth of the draft. Upstairs, we signed a couple of offensive linemen, I believe, we've worked on the offensive side of the ball a little bit more with the college free agents, I would agree with that statement because we feel like we did a good job of filling a lot of needs defensively in this draft. Again, the point is and I think everyone saw it going into this draft, offense was good, defense was where the talent was, and I was going to take advantage of that."
(On selecting a punter in the sixth round)
"That's easy for me. I'm a special team's fundamentalist, I think you saw that in the seventh round as well with Cody Grimm and Dekoda Watson, two guys that are not only going to make our football team as specialist players in terms of their position, but also in terms of what they do on fourth down. I'm a big believer in fourth down, and punters I think a lot of times they go overlooked in this league, I think a lot of people take it for granted. Certainly, we went through three punters last year. I was very excited about this young man [Brent Bowden], he's got a good leg and really controls the ball, he's got great get-off time, he's able to move the ball around the field. Again, it's one of those positions that creates field position and in the sixth round I thought we had a chance to select a guy that I think has the opportunity to be here for 10 years, and in the sixth round if you can draft a guy that has a chance to be here long term than you should take advantage of that. We felt like Bowden was the only other punter that was draft-able in this draft."
(On WR Mike Williams)
"We spent a lot of time with Mike. We spent a lot of time with him here in the facility, we spent a lot of time with him at the combine, and spent a lot of time speaking to people with Mike Williams in terms of outside of this organization, such as his head coach [Doug Morrone]. Mike Williams is a great kid, hopefully you guys [media] got the chance to talk to him a little bit on the phone today. I think you'll hear a kid that's really passionate about football, who loves it and that's not a quitter. We wouldn't have taken him if I was concerned about who he is. The kids you saw in this draft are passionate football players, I think you'll see that as you get to know them, as Tampa get to know them, they're going to love this draft class because they're going to love these types of kids and the type of mentality we're bringing to Tampa, and he's one of them."
(On if enough was done at the wide receiver position)
"I don't see us going out in free agency and doing anything more with the wide receiver position. Right now, were upstairs talking to a couple of wide receivers maybe to sign as college free agents and see if they can compete and earn a roster spot on this team. But, I'm excited about the two young guys [Benn, Williams], I'm certainly excited about Sammie Stroughter being a nickel receiver for us, or slot receiver for us, [Maurice] Stovall is a good special team's player for us, but he also played his best ball [at receiver] towards the end of the season. Obviously, it was a position we were concerned about heading into the draft a little bit or we wouldn't have addressed it the way we did. But, taking a second and fourth-round pick to get two guys we think could be potential starters, that we believe are potential starters, that made a lot of sense to me. Therefore, I see us being out of the receiver mix in terms of free agency from this point forward."
(On Dekoda Watson's position)
"He could be a Sam or a Will, I see him more of a Sam-Backer, he's athletic, a great tackler, he's a big time team captain there [Florida State], and that was a big part of it. I see him really contributing on special teams his first year, and let him earn himself all the way through. Much like Shelton Quarles did here, much like a lot of our linebackers have done here, Alshermond Singleton, the guys that are really a part of that old Buccaneer family that earned their way through. Geno Hayes did that also, so they got to earn their way through fourth down and I believe that he'll do the same."
(On if the writing is on the wall of some of the veterans)
"No, I wouldn't say that just yet. I think that after we get through this draft Coach [Raheem] Morris and I will sit down and talk about not only who we drafted, but also talk a little bit more about the college free agents we brought in, and we'll make some decisions if we need to."
Quotes Courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers