Quotes from Training Camp

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver <!--Default NodeId For Keenan McCardell is 791972,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:791972]>Keenan McCardell</A> comments during Tuesday's practice

(On if he has more pressure on him this year)
"He doesn't have to put the pressure on me. I put the pressure on myself. 50 catches for me is not a McCardell season, for me. But we won the Super Bowl, so I didn't gripe, didn't moan, didn't do that. My expectation level is a lot higher than what I had last year. I am looking forward to the start of the season. I was looking forward to the start of training camp because I started something in Jacksonville with the way I play, and I want to start something with the way I play here. I want to show people that I play at that level all of the time. I look in the mirror also and say I have to improve. I need to improve. I need to get back to the way I play football."

(On what is a ‘McCardell' season)
"My goal is 100 (receptions). That's just the way I feel. I've always felt that way from '96 on. Looking at the past. I don't like to bring up the past, but that's the kind of thought process that myself and Jimmy [Smith] had. We need 100 a piece. That's just the way I think. Maybe I should go up to 105, so I can get to 100. I've always been at 100 and get to 80, 90, 93. Something like that. Maybe I should go to 105 and 1,200, 1,300 yards. That's just the way I feel. That's the goal I set for myself. I am ready to get back at it. I think I put a lot of time in this offseason to know this offense a lot better than what I did coming in June 1. It's coming to me a lot easier than it did last year."

(On if 100 catches is possible in the Buccaneers' offense)
"If you look at it, Keyshawn (Johnson) had 77 catches in the first year of the offense. I had 60 something in the first year of the offense, and I missed two games. It's possible, but the main goal here is to win. Those are some things that I keep in my back pocket to grade myself. The main goal here is to repeat. Whatever it takes for me to help this team repeat, I will."

(On if it will be difficult to reach his 100 catches because the Buccaneers' offense spreads the ball around)
"It is. You just have to make the plays when they call them. When you get your opportunities, you have to make your plays and then you get more opportunities. The more plays you make, the more opportunities you get. That's the way I see it. That's not just in this system. That's in every system I've been in. If you made the plays, you got the ball regardless. In crunch time, your number was called."

(On if internal competition helps the team)
"It does. It should be internal competition but not competition that gets in the way of the progress of the team and progress of our offense."

(On if he is more comfortable with the Buccaneers' offense)
"No doubt. It's about a feel for the offense. It's about a feel being with Brad (Johnson), too. Brad has to get a good feel for you. I think we all just feel this offense a lot better. I think we think like Jon (Gruden) now. You have to think like Jon and understand what he wants to get done in this offense. It's a fun offense. For everybody to touch it, it's great."

(On the Buccaneer's mindset at training camp)
"The mindset is to get better than what we did last year, especially on offense. I think we want to start fast. I think we want to pick up where we left off in the playoffs, but we want to start just as fast as our defense started. They start super fast, we want to start super fast and maintain and play. Each week, we just have to get better. Each day of this training camp, we have to get better. We have to realize that when you step out on the field, you have to give a championship effort because you are the champions. You have to go beyond that championship effort sometimes to repeat. That's what we are going to have to do this year."

(On the competitiveness he brings to practice)
"That's me. It took me a while to really let it go last year. Coming in, I didn't want to ruffle any feathers for other vets that are here. You kind of take your place. But as the season went on, I kind of felt that I stepped forward as far as being a leader and people realize that. I can't wait. I think there are a lot of guys out there that want to show people that we can repeat. We are going to take the efforts and the strides to do that."

(On how much better the offense can be this year)
"It can be a lot better. We get the combination of the running game and the passing game together. We need to improve on both areas. By improving in both areas, it makes our team a lot better right off the bat. Then we have our special teams that are going to be a lot better. Then you look at the No. 1-ranked defense. They are going to play, regardless of what's going on Sunday. That's the type of attitude that we gotta have. We are going to play on Sunday's."

(On if Gruden is more comfortable with the offense this year)
"I think Jon is feeling a lot more comfortable with everybody that is in the system now. He brought in Terry Kirby that knows the offense, and he brought in Thomas Jones— People that he feels can make plays and be comfortable in our offense. The guys outside, myself, Joe (Jurevicius), Keyshawn (Johnson), we are all making plays and we feel comfortable. We realize that if we all make our plays, it will be a happy Sunday, happy Monday. Victory Monday's."

(On the critics of the speed of the Buccaneers' receivers)
"People have their own opinions. All we do is make plays. When you look up at the scoreboard and the three guys that they say don't have break-away speed, all they have done is make plays."

(On if making plays against the defense in practice gives the receivers more confidence)
"It does. You have to have confidence if you are making plays against our defense. Not just a play here and a play there. If you are making them on a consistent basis, you have to feel pretty good about yourself and feel you are headed in the right direction because these guys don't give up a lot of plays. We've been making some plays, and we realize that we have to make plays to make this offense move and make it click. I think Jon realizes that, and he's going to put the ball in playmakers' hands."

(On the offense's progress last year)
"From training camp, if you guys remember, if we just get better each week, we would be right where we wanted to be. We bought into it. I was the leader to kind of tell people that. We just kept buying into it. Each week, ‘just get better, just get better.' Even through a loss, ‘just get better.' At the end of the year, we started clicking. It wasn't a doubt in my mind because I'm the guy that was preaching to just get better."

(On if he believed what he was saying about the offense to be patient in improving)
"I believed it. I've been in some great offenses, and I realize that. I realize what Jon was trying to do in this offense. If we just kept kicking along, kept doing our thing, we were going be where we wanted to be at the end of the year. We were so fortunate that we had a great defense that could carry us a couple games early. We just made our plays here and there."

(On if the size of the Buccaneers' receivers helps them when lined up in the slot position)
"It does. I'm a slot guy. I've been a slot guy for a while. It's about match-ups, really. When you get a big guy inside, most of the time most teams put their smaller corners in and he's a third-down corner. A lot of the time, he is a little undersized and you get a good match-up. When you can get that match-up that you want, you have to take advantage of it. I think Joe (Jurevicius) has stepped into that role and played big. We all just foam at the mouth if we can get inside and get on a smaller guy because we realize we can use or size and use our strength to win on the routes."

(On the slot receiver getting one-on-one coverage)
"Right now, a lot of guys are rolling outside and giving Joe one-on-one (coverage) inside or whoever is inside. They get a little single coverage. It's a league of changes. You never know when you come to play."

(On Chris Simms)
"Chris is looking good. He's picking up the offense very well. He takes a little heat, but he is kind of like a duck. He lets it roll off his back. He realizes the mistake that he made and never makes the mistake again. He's understanding that, and he's understanding how to be a professional quarterback."

(On repeating as Super Bowl champions)
"I think we realize that it's a big task. No team has done it since the Broncos, so we want to try that. We want to try that. I think it's in the back of our minds, but we are going to take it one game at a time and let people see what we are about. There's still a lot of dollars out there."

(On the defense's intensity)
"That's why our defense is so good. They love to hit. Run and hit, run and hit, run and hit. If you're not ready for it, you'll be shocked. You'll be like, ‘hmm. These guys are for real.' But it's good to get that started because in a couple more weeks, it's going to be full go all the time. These preseason games are going to be coming in about a six to eight-day span, and you are going to have to get ready for it."

(On Dwight Smith practicing at safety)
"He flies around and he hits well. That's what football is all about. If you are a receiver looking for him, you're not looking for the ball. Your job is to catch the ball. That's the intimidation factor, too. I think he's going to put a lot of fear in a lot of guys because he runs well and he hits hard. He's been looking good back there, too. I mess with him a lot of times and say, ‘man, I don't even see you anymore.' He says, ‘I'm down there with the big boys now.' I said, ‘yeah, you are down there with the real big boys.'

(On leaving plays on the field)
"If you go back and look at it, you always feel that you've left something on the field. If you don't, you are not really judging yourself. You are not being a critic of yourself, and I'm probably my worst critic. I say a lot of things that I can and a lot of things that I'm going to do. Not can do, but I'm going to do."

(On his rapport with Brad Johnson)
"It's good. It's better than what it was (last year at this time) because we were on a short timetable last year getting to know each other. The whole offseason has been great."

(On Johnson being a quirky guy)
"The first time I saw the suitcase on the sideline, and I was kind of like, ‘what is this? What is this?' He has to have a different towel and different shoes. He changes his shoes in the middle of the game. I've never seen that before, but it works. After I saw it a couple of times, I'm like, ‘OK, It's just Brad.' I probably have some crazy things that I do too before games, so I understand him. I understand."

(On if Johnson surprises him)
"Always, always. He brings stuff out. It's good, it's fun. We both are vets. We laugh at it. Things we do to get our minds right."

(On Johnson's toughness)
"He's a tough, tough [quarterback]. Probably one of the toughest guys I've been around, especially at that position. It takes a lot to stand in there and get hit by 300-pounders play in and play out. He's very tough."

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