Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On what makes Ryan Fitzpatrick well-suited for his current role at this stage in his career)
"Well, I just think Ryan's a good football player at any stage of his career. My first exposure to Ryan after high school was, I was in Jacksonville and we played them when he was in Cincinnati. I've just always watched him. I think he's just got the right moxie to play quarterback, and he's done it for a bunch of different teams. We're fortunate enough to have him. We saw what he could do when he was our starter last year for three games. There's no reason for us to be afraid of Ryan playing quarterback for us. He's going to play fine."
(On Fitzpatrick's arm strength)
"Did you see him throw that 60-yarder right there to DeSean [Jackson]? Number one, arm strength is relative. It's relative – can you complete the passes you're supposed to complete? That's arm strength. So his arm strength is fine."
(On Ronald Jones providing explosive plays)
"Every team's looking for a back who can hit a home run – you get the ball on the 25-yard line, a guy that can change it in one play. Again, when I was in Jacksonville, Fred Taylor had an unbelievable amount of runs over 50 yards my first year in the league. That's turning those two- and three-yard gains into explosive plays. You guys have well-publicized where we ranked in explosive runs last year, and it was low. Now, overall as a team I think we were seventh in the league in explosive plays, but all those came through the passing game. Ronald Jones, based on his college tape, is a very explosive player and that's why he's drafted where he is. When we get going in pads and in the preseason, that's the kind of thing we want him to bring to our team."
(On if the offense needs more balance)
"Well, of course. Of course you need more balance. In a perfect world, on run plays, first-and-10s and second-and-one to six, you've got some kind of a 50-50 balance. Every D-Coordinator in the league will tell you the toughest thing to defend is balance. But you can't beat your head against the wall. If one thing's not working we do have extremely talented guys in the pass game and then you've got to bring time and score in."
(On ‘Run Pass Option’ plays and if there is any adjustment with Fitzpatrick in the lineup)
"Yeah, I think RPOs will be a bigger part of the league this year. Whether it is in our offense or not remains to be seen. By the time we get down to the New Orleans game, everything we do in the New Orleans game we'll feel good about Ryan Fitzpatrick doing it."
(On the difference in leadership qualities between Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston)
"Well, Ryan's a really good leader, too. He's a different type of leader, alright? And if you've been around people at all, you know that not all leaders are the same. That goes throughout history. Jameis is a vocal leader and Ryan is a little bit less vocal leader but still a real good leader nonetheless. I think his style will show up. Again, when a backup quarterback is brought to a team, especially a veteran, the coaching staff tells him that he's there to be the backup, right? To be the backup, to support the starter. Well, that's not the case right now. I think we'll see and I think the players will feel what I saw way back many years ago, the type of leader Ryan is when it's his show."
(On Fitzpatrick starting games for the Buccaneers last season)
"Yeah, a lot. As I said yesterday, we're blessed to have three quarterbacks that know our system, so we're not trying to train a guy. And he's played games in our system. I mean, Ryan's played a ton of games in a lot of different systems, but he's played games in our system. We're not going to miss a beat with Ryan at quarterback. I don't know if everybody's worried about that or not, but I'm certainly not."
(On if the offense needs to spread the ball out between a lot of talented targets)
"You really can't do that because the defense controls who's getting the ball in the passing game. The only guy you can guarantee you're going to give it to is the running back. So, yeah, we're thrilled with the players that we have, and you'd like to be able to script how many touches everybody gets but you can't do that."
(On the talent at receiver)
"We have depth and we're also going to have competition, especially at the back end, at the back end of that roster. There's two or three guys sitting there on the back end that I'd love to have on our football team but right now I don't know how they're going to make it. Usually, through the course of preseason, that works itself out."
(On Winston leading from behind)
"As I mentioned yesterday, you guys see Jameis when he's out there being loud and talking in front of the team, but there's 24 hours in a day. Jameis is an incredible teammate in what he says to guys one-on-one. He's a motivating guy. He was already doing that. As we sit here right now, we have other leaders on the team – I mentioned that yesterday – and we need those guys to be a little bit more vocal and be a little bit more out front. We're going to need those guys to be the out-front guys those first games until things change."
(On the defensive line)
"We've got to wait for them to play together, but I've been watching a ton of Eagles film since we play them in the second game. So to see Vinny [Curry] and Beau [Allen] on tape in their Eagles uniforms and then JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul], we've played the Giants when he's been out there, and Vita [Vea] of course, college tape – how they work together and how that group meshes, that's going to take a little bit of time. And we've really got good depth, so different combinations of guys, that's going to take a little bit of time. But just talent-wise, depth-wise, skill-wise, we've got a good group right there."
(On tackle Demar Dotson)
"Dot's been cleared. Dot's been cleared to practice. Right now we're holding him out of 11-on-11, just as he eases back in – he missed OTAs – as he's easing back into on-the-field work. When we 11-on-11, even though we're trying to stay on our feet there's bodies on the ground. Part of coming back from an injury is just getting your confidence back. We expect everything to be fine with Dot, if there's no surprises."
(On rookie wide receiver Justin Watson and safety Jordan Whitehead)
"Both Justin Watson and Jordan Whitehead are two guys that we wanted to see more of in OTAs, and we didn't, so those two guys are behind right now. It would be unfair of me to comment just because I haven't seen them do enough right now. But we're glad there; they've just got some catching up to do."
(On being able to practice outside on Friday)
"Again, the space is the main thing, so we can spread out. If you're watching all those D-Line drills with all those heavy sleds, the O-Line drills with the sleds, we don't have room for those [in the indoor facility] and they're hard to move. The other thing is, with 90 players and all the support people and everything on one field it's tight, more risk of guys running into each other. It's great to be on the grass, we've got an awesome indoor facility, we're going to use both."
QUARTERBACK RYAN FITZPATRICK
(On how different this training camp is from otherd he’s participated in)
“I thought I had seen and been through it all, but another year, another different situation. I think the biggest thing in all of this is just we’re all professionals and we’re just communicating as well. In terms of the reps and what’s going on, I’m fortunate enough to have played in a lot of games, and sometimes playing in a lot of games where I didn’t get any preseason reps with the ones or training camp offseason reps with the ones. I can kind of go about it both ways. In terms of timing, there’s guys that are easier to throw to than others. Getting the reps in practice and in some of those preseason games will be good live reps to get with some of the receivers just to get the timing down.
(On his perspective of quarterback Jameis Winston)
“For me, everybody has a clean slate when I meet them. I judge people based off what I see. I couldn’t have been more impressed with Jameis last year in the way we hang out in the building, in the way he goes about his business in football, our interaction - he’s an amazing guy and that hasn’t changed. I haven’t seen anything different to change that.”
(On how being flexible throughout his career helps him prepare for this season)
“I always rely on that past experience and part of it, too, is that we’ve got some superstar receivers right here. I always try to, in my head, relate them to guys I’ve played with or combinations of guys I’ve played with and what has been successful for me with them. I think with all that, just as I eluded to before with the reps at quarterback and all that, open communication with those guys, that’s something over the years that I’ve really grown to love and learn to do really well. I think leaning on plenty of that past experience not just on the field, but in how you treat guys or how you deal with guys whether it’s up front or receivers or the different personalities, that’s some of the good experience I have and why I still love playing the game.”
(On his chemistry between with wide receiver DeSean Jackson and a deep completion during Friday’s practice)
“It’s early in camp. We’ve been two practices in. Probably going to go ice my arm after I threw that one. I think it went over 30 yards without a flutter, so that was a record for me [laughs]. He’s obviously a home run hitter and a guy that defenses have to account for and that are afraid of, so we’re going to try to give him as many opportunities as possible.”
(On if he feels like he has an opportunity to become the starting quarterback after Week Three)
“I’ve learned that you view it as a one-game-at-a-time opportunity. That’s just the way it is in this league, and in 2015 when I played with the [New York] Jets, I was a backup and ended up being the whole year with the situation there. In 2016 I was a starter and I ended up getting benched three times during the year. Every year is different. You have to take it game by game and just go from there.”
(On if he’s in this role to ‘save the season’)
“The season hasn’t even started yet, so it’s a cliché but it’s one game at a time. You have to look at it that way. Not even based off last year, talent wise, looking at the team we have out here, I’m in the huddle on offense and it’s a pretty exciting huddle to be in as a quarterback looking at some of those guys.”
(On his leadership style)
“I think leadership comes in all different forms, shapes and sizes. I think the biggest thing with it is that you have to be genuine and you have to be yourself. We are two different personalities. For me, I’m just genuine in myself and that seems to work for me. That’s the way that I do it, and everybody has a different style, but the most important thing is that guys want to follow you. They want you in that huddle with them and they have confidence when you’re in the huddle and up there on the line. That’s the most important thing, to gain the trust and the confidence of the guys you’re in the huddle with.”
(On the evolution of wide receiver Chris Godwin)
“Chris was such an impressive rookie last year. You don’t see a lot of rookies receivers that have success early. Chris was a guy that even early on if he wasn’t getting a lot of catches, some of the things he was doing in the run game where as a quarterback you feel good about him out there, he was so impressive, and I was glad to see at the end of the year his production pick up a little bit. He got a few more opportunities, and he was really a veteran presence as a young receiver which never happens in this league. That was great and he’s just got to continue to get better. He can make a 10-year career out of the way he played last year, but I don’t think he wants to settle for being a guy that’s going to be a role player that is going to be a good number two or three receiver. At some point in his career he’s got to strive to be that number one go-to guy, and he’s just going to continue to get better and better. I think I see that in him, too. His drive and his willingness, whether that’s in the film room or after practice, the way that he works out here it’s really impressive. We’re expecting big things out of him, so we’re hoping that he continues to improve.”
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
(On Jameis Winston’s suspension being a distraction)
“We’ve had two practices. In order to keep it from being a distraction we’re going to come out tomorrow, put on shoulder pads and practice. We are going to have meetings and we are going to have a walk-through. Then go to sleep and we are going to do it the next day, and the next day, and the next day until we play Miami. Then we are going to have off days, then we are going to do it again and again until we go to Tennessee. And we are just going to keep doing it, and keep doing it like we always have done. Regularly scheduled programing. This is the NFL man. We just got to keep playing. It’s a blessing to be here, alright. It’s a privilege, not a right. We just have to keep being the same. Regularly scheduled programing.”
(On how different this upcoming season is in relation to last season)
“Well we brought in four new guys that have all played in a Super Bowl, and three of them have won it. That’s a lot of experience. Guys who know what to do and how to do it; do it the right way. We have a new D-line coach who played in three I believe, and had numerous opportunities to go back as a coach. Just the room overall is different, a lot of experience, and a lot of knowledge. Guys bouncing ideas off of each other, things you’ve never heard before, I’m helping him, they’re helping me. Its only just going to make us great in the long run. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve had two days with no pads, tomorrow we’ll put shoulder pads on, and we’ll ramp it up a little bit, and then Sunday we really ramp it up and we’ll start to see what we got.”
(On his opinion about the receivers this year and if he is impressed)
“I am. I don’t get to go against them, but it looks good on paper. We all have a lot of work to do but you would have to talk to the DBs about that. I don’t go against those guys. They look good running. D-Jack (DeSean Jackson) is about 40 years old, but he’s still the fastest dude on our team. It’s hard for guys to run with him, and Mike is a monster; one of those aliens that was produced to somehow get drafted to the NFL. Chris Godwin- that dude is going to be good man. But you’d have to talk more to the DBs about that but they look good.”
(On having someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick being the QB right now and having all the experience he has)
“Oh it’s great man. He can help not just Jameis, but the team in many ways. He’s seen a lot of different teams, been on numerous different teams, had a lot of different opportunities, has had some failures and some successes, and he can help Jameis with his experience. He can help all of us with the things he’s seen. So it’s always great to have a guy like Fitz on the team.”