Bucs coach Smith not getting discouraged
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Lovie Smith is not discouraged. He just wants his players to play smarter.
''Discouraged? No, disappointed, very disappointed,'' Smith said Monday, a day after a 27-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons dropped his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 1-8. ''Eventually we're going to get over the hump. We're not there yet.''
After the latest loss in which the Bucs squandered a fourth-quarter lead with penalties and turnovers, the reactions of several players was stronger than Smith's disappointment.
Quarterback Josh McCown's voice choked up during his post-game media session. Gerald McCoy and LaVonte David, All-Pro defensive players in 2013, called out teammates for their lack of discipline and maturity. And rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins apologized for an embarrassing mistake.
''This is a very undisciplined team,'' McCoy said, ''probably the worst I've ever been on as a unit.''
The Bucs were penalized 10 times Sunday, including three killer penalties in the fourth quarter. The most notorious was an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Seferian-Jenkins for ''using the ball as a prop'' after catching a touchdown pass.
The rookie tight end compounded his mistake by posting an Instagram of himself posing with his foot on the football in the end zone.
Asked if he was OK with that, Smith said: ''You know what I'm going to say about that: No. And when guys make mistakes, I confront them immediately, which is what happened this time.''
Seferian-Jenkins knew he'd messed up.
''I shouldn't have posted it,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. ''We're in the middle of a 1-8 season and I can see why people were upset with it for multiple reasons, and the last thing I want to do is put myself in front of the team in any way. I want to let my play do the talking and not anything after we score. At the end of the day we got seven points, but it gave them 15 yards which led to a game-winning score.''
Smith chalked it up as a ''teaching moment,'' but would not go along with a suggestion it indicated some of the Bucs are not angry enough about losing.
''First off, I think we have to be careful about how we say people feel. It doesn't hurt enough? I've been in all those locker rooms afterwards, and for people who don't think they're hurting, they're hurting,'' Smith said. ''I think it hurts really bad right now, and I don't think it needs to hurt any more, but that naturally happens when you keep losing games.''
Nobody appeared to take the latest defeat worse than McCown, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract in March and did not expect to be in the cellar at this point.
''I understand where I'm at in my career,'' McCown said, fighting back tears after the game. ''As you get older the opportunities are less and less. No matter if you're a franchise quarterback or not, when you're 35 years old you know that the clock is ticking, and you don't want to let these moments get away. That's why I think it hurts because (the game) got away.''
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