Press Pass: Jovan Haye

In this edition of "Press Pass," Bucs defensive tackle Jovan Haye talks about the improving defensive line, using the blitz to help create a four-man pass rush and the legacy of Warren Sapp. It's our premium player Q&A service.

In this edition of "Press Pass," Bucs defensive tackle Jovan Haye talks about the improving defensive line, using the blitz to help create a four-man pass rush and the legacy of Warren Sapp.

Matthew Postins: The coaching staff has been talking about the progress of the defensive line and the other day (Sunday vs. Atlanta) you guys had a really good day.

Jovan Haye: Yeah, you know, we're getting better. We've put a lot of emphasis on getting better during the week in practice and giving all you can and then on gameday it comes, not easier, but you recognize different things. We're getting better. Guys are flying around, guys are making plays and the last two weeks we've looked real good.

Matthew Postins: Was a lot of that just finding way to fit the different parts on this defensive line together? You came to camp and there was uncertainty as to who would start and how it would all fit. Did figuring that out just take time?

Jovan Haye: We had a couple of news guys like Pat(rick Chukwurah), Ryan Sims, Kevin Carter and we had young guys like Gaines (Adams), myself and Greg (White). So I guess it just took time to start gelling. But I think we're starting to turn the corner and I think if we continue doing what we're doing right now we'll be all right for the rest of the season.

Matthew Postins: How much does it help that you have six or seven guys and you have a rotation and you're able to keep fresh guys out on the field?

Jovan Haye: Oh it helps because we always say around here we don't have starters. Whoever plays the first snap doesn't mean a whole lot. Everyone is in the game and everyone gets to play. So it's critical that there's no dropoff. The guys are playing real well right now and I would say we have a good rotation going.

Matthew Postins: That's (Bucs defensive coordinator) Monte's (Kiffin) thing — if you're on the field, you're a starter.

Jovan Haye: Oh, yeah, that's the truth. You may start the game and not finish the game. So look at that. Once you're on the field, there are no starters, no second teamers. We're all one.

Matthew Postins: It looked like Sunday when one player made a play, it was almost like somebody else said, ‘Hey, it's my turn to make a play.' Then everybody was making plays. It kind of snowballed, didn't it?

Jovan Haye: I think it was a real good game by the defensive line and by the defense overall. But guys are realizing that there are plays to be made out there and guys are making them.

Matthew Postins: From your standpoint how much more comfortable are you now than you were, say, at the start of this year?

Jovan Haye: I'm very comfortable right now. At the beginning of the season I really didn't know what to expect. I hadn't played this many plays before. Last year I used to get 25 to 30 plays, and this year I could get 50 to 60. So, I'm more comfortable seeing things. The game is slowing down. But a lot of improvement can still be made. But I'm coming along real well.

Matthew Postins: Your position is one of the key positions on the defense. It's one of the positions that drives the engine of this defense. Are you embracing that role more?

Jovan Haye: A little. I don't think about it too much. I just believe that whatever I can bring to the table I'm going to bring. I know how critical that position is. But I don't sit around saying, ‘Oh, I'm the under tackle.' Whatever I have in me, that's what I'll bring. If it's not enough, then more needs to be done. There's a lot of responsibility, but I embrace it.

Matthew Postins: You're not hearing the comparisons to (Warren) Sapp?

Jovan Haye: (Laughing) Oh, I mean, I really don't listen to that. Warren is a great player, a future Hall of Famer and he was his own athlete. I'm my own athlete. Whatever I can bring, I'll bring.

Matthew Postins: Are you amazed that from that position Warren was able to get 16 sacks one season?

Jovan Haye: Oh, yeah. I was amazed when I saw that. I was like, ‘Wow! That's a lot!' If I have my opportunities, I might come close. I feel good about it right now. I wish my sacks were up a little bit more. But as long as we're winning, that's fine.

Matthew Postins: The sacks are pretty evenly distributed right now. You have four, Greg has four and a half, a couple of others have three. It's not just one guy you're depending on right now.

Jovan Haye: Like I said, right now we're getting better and it all starts in practice. As they say, we're selling out in practice and I think it's really, really going to get better as we finish up the season.

Matthew Postins: It seems like the defense blitzed a lot early in the game against Atlanta and that seemed to loosen things up. Later in the game you were getting pressure on the quarterback with four down linemen, right?

Jovan Haye: There are certain times you may have to use the blitz to open up a four-man rush. But if we can get pressure with four down guys, it makes the defense that much better. We don't have to worry about brining the linebackers and blitzing them. They can sit back and play coverage. We're focused on getting that four-man rush, and even a three-man rush, too.

Matthew Postins: One of those sacks on Sunday came with a three-man rush.

Jovan Haye: Yeah, it did. The more and more we get better with the four- and three-man rush, the better off this defense will be.


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