Bucs Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith Calls New Defensive Line "Fun to Watch"

Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith spoke to the media about the new look defensive line and playing to the player's streng

(On quarterback Drew Brees)

Definitely a first ballot Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Knows how to run the offense with Sean Payton. Moves the ball around, gets it in different guys hands. I dont think you watch the tape and you still see a great player.

(On if Brees is playing at a high level, despite his age)

Theres not many. When you start talking about great quarterback, hed be in the discussion on the first hand you pull up. Hes really good. He understand Seans offense, and he know where to go with the football. I think that shows in last years percentage. Completing over 70 percent of your passes in the NFL its never been done before. Hes doing a really good job. I think theyve added some pieces to their offensive weaponry with Kamara last year, so I think that really helped him in this past game.

(On the difference between the two games against the Saints last year and how that will help this year)

Well, the difference in the two games was we had a stretch in the game in New Orleans of about 15 or 20 plays that was just horrid football defensively in terms of a 2-minute drive right before the half and then we came right back out and gave up a touchdown and then from that point it was tough. I thought that we hung in there prior to that two-minute drive where they hit the two-screen passes, but youve got to play a 60-minute game. I think we did some nice things here at home. Every time you play the Saints, its going to be a different game. Its going to have a different dynamic because Sean has such a big playbook hes one of the guys thats got a lot of weapons and he can attack you in so many different ways. Its always fun to prepare to play against a Sean Payton-coached team.

(On what is impressive about defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul)

Jasons got a real drive to be a good football player and hes got a real drive to understand what were trying to do on defense. Thats the thing thats been most impressive, and then the second thing is the guy doesnt want to come off the field. Hes a guy thats played whens hes been healthy 90-plus percent of the snaps on defense and that is unheard-of a lot of times in the NFL. Weve gone to rotations up front, hes a guy that doesnt want to come off the field.

(On safety Justin Evans progression as a player)

I think hes got a very high ceiling. Justin is a guy that is learning every day when he goes out there. I still believe he has a good understanding of what were trying to do. I think it was a good situation when we had to line up and play him for three or four days at the nickel position. It gives us flexibility. It also gives him a much better understanding of what the other guys are doing around him on the defense. Hes a safety thats got athleticism of a corner. Hes prepared himself to have a really good year this season a breakout season.

(On how much confidence he has in rookies Carlton Davis III and M.J. Stewart)

Theyve done a nice job. Ive got a lot of confidence in those guys because weve put them out there on the field when theyve been healthy. Carltons missed some time. M.J.s missed some time here of late. Both of these guys we drafted them to come in here and compete. Theyve done a great job of competing and theyve earned the playing time theyve gotten in the preseason. And we need to get these guys ready to play in a regular season game which as you guys know, the intensity in what happens in terms of preparation is completely different than what happens in a preseason game. No disrespect to our preseason football.

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