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01 August 2018

Training Camp Quotes: Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability. Full video of press conferences can be found on
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
(On balancing the practice reps for quarterback Jameis Winston)
“Yeah, well there’s no formula written down in the coach’s handbook for that, so we’re trying to get Jameis reps with all three groups. Obviously, we’ve got to give Fitz work. One of the advantages of having a 27-year veteran quarterback is he doesn’t need quite as many reps, so we can still get Jameis some work with the first group. But, Jameis is also getting more reps with the twos and threes. If you just counted them up every day, Jameis is getting the most reps everyday - barely - in camp. Also, we can’t forget about Ryan Griffin. He needs his reps because he’s one play away from being in there.”
(On the depth of the roster)
“Yeah, I think we have good depth. Of course, you’ve got 90 - there are actually 91 guys on our roster right now. It’s not going to stay that way, obviously. You know, we’ll get to that point after practicing in pads for a few days where guys have to sit out for various reasons. We’re going to get into some preseason games and eventually we’re going to cut it down. I think the depth is good right now, but it’s still in that time of year where you’re projecting some guys too. You’re projecting especially new guys that you haven’t seen. You’re projecting where their going to be and that’s a tricky subject.
(On the depth of the 53-man roster being in better shape last season)
“Well, we should be. We should be, but again we have to get through a bunch of stuff before we get there, so you just never know. I mean, all of a sudden, Vita [Vea] gets taken off one day and all of a sudden Brent Grimes isn’t practicing, Leonard Wester’s not practicing. Again, Jason and I get together we try to project what it’s going to look like, but at the same time we really don’t know yet.”
(On how the rookies are working with the veterans)
“They’re doing well. I don’t know if you noticed, but M.J. Stewart made a beautiful interception. I mean not just that he caught the ball and made it some interceptions, the ball bounces right to the guy. I mean he broke on the ball, cut the receiver off. That was nice to see, and then Carlton [Davis] is giving those guys everything they want with his length and it’s great for our receivers to go against a corner like that because it’s something that we really don’t have. A work in progress though. They still have to be – those guys always [have] a coach back there behind them whispering in their ear and slowly but surely, they have to wean off that.”
(On offensive lineman Alex Cappa working with the ones)
“That was his first day doing that and really we’re just trying to create some competition with him and Caleb [Benenoch] at right guard. You know you guys are out here every day at this time of year. We’re rotating guys, a lot of guys, with a lot of different groups, so don’t read too much into that right now. A. Competition and the B. Guys banged up and then C. Some of our veteran guys get some reps cut based on the day. A combination of all those things, but Alex like the corners we just talked about is a guy that is smart and tough. You know, he’s getting corrected on things by Coach Warhop every day and he deserves a chance to get in there and compete a little bit we feel like.”
(On the D-Line is looking to help the O-Line)
“They are, they are. In all the one-on-one drills, we have two different periods where it’s either one-on-one or two-on-one and there’s really no easy match up when you’re way down the line. There’s good matchup across the board and that hasn’t always been the case. There’s times when maybe – just as an example – the left guard maybe he’s not going against quite as talented a player and those first two groups of D-Line, they’re pretty talented guys. All guys who have started games in the NFL.”
(On if he is surprised by the plays rookie cornerback M.J. Stewart has made during training camp)
“I wouldn’t say surprised. I mean, he’s a second-round draft pick, so I wouldn’t say surprised. That’s one of the reasons Jason made that move – he traded back, still got Vita and picked up those extra draft picks and we needed a big corner and a versatile guy that could play corner or nickel and we were able to get both. So I wouldn’t say surprised. I think the one thing you really don’t know is how quick guys will adjust and pick it up. I would say he’s a little ahead of the learning curve in that respect.”
(On the chemistry developing between quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson)
“That’s just the way – you know DeSean is definitely going to be scripted in as a deep ball guy. That’s what he does. So it’s not like he looks for him, but have they connected? Yes. On all pass plays, the defense dictates where the ball goes. The quarterback doesn’t go up there and say, ‘Hey I think I want to throw it to DeSean this time.’ The defense dictates that, but they have connected fairly often. And they had a couple good ones today.”
(On linebacker Jack Cichy’s progression)
“Today is actually the first day in pads that Jack’s come out and not worn his knee brace. He missed all last year. You know, there’s a – I don’t know if it’s an old wive’s tale or whatever it is that a guy it takes two years for a guy to come back from a knee. And I think with a lot of injured players part of coming back into full contact is just the confidence. You’ve got bodies on the ground and you’ve got people flying at your feet. Jack definitely plays with a burst. He’s a smart player. I think he’s still adjusting to life getting back to full health.”
(On the work ethic of the players and putting in extra work after practice)
“I just say the main thing there is when we talked about Jameis the first day, I just think that our leadership is emerging through the ranks of our team. We’ve been – since I’ve been here, even before I was a head coach – we’ve been mostly a really young team. Those guys that Jason [Licht] drafted in that first draft – those four guys, the four starters – those guys are now not the young guys any more. They’re the vets and I think as you get more veteran leadership on your team or you bring in guys from other teams that have seen that work, that’s going to increase. And it is great to see because none of these guys are required to stay out. Peyton [Barber] is over there working on pass blocking right now. The receivers who don’t normally get reps with Jameis, of course they’re dying to stay out here and get extra reps. I think it doesn’t hurt that a lot guys have seen the success Cam (Cameron Brate) has had as a guy who’s really stayed after and developed a chemistry with Jameis.”
(On how Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen have worked together)
“A work in progress I would say – just a work in progress. It’s not where it needs to be yet, but that’s what training camp is. You’re still working out your combinations and getting used to each other. Ali goes from a guy who was making all the calls a year ago to now is helping Ryan adjust because Ali knows the verbiage of our system better that Ryan does right now. I would just say a work in progress is the best way to describe it.”
(On tomorrow’s practice being a ‘mock game’)
“Don’t read too much into the term mock game. We are going to be indoors. This is the only week of training camp that we practice five straight days. We were looking for something to break up the padded days – two full pad days. Tomorrow we’re going to be like a Friday practice they would have in the season where they just have spider pads on. We said how can we give these guys a little break on their legs and then still get something out of it, since we have a preseason game coming up next week. It’s going to be a lot of situational work with all the players on the sideline going through a lot of special teams – a lot of special plays that are designed for certain situations. There are going to be some non-scripted periods where the coaches have to get used to calling it and subbing. Then like I said – plays to end the game, last play of the half, taking a safety. A lot of plays that we work on usually at night in the walkthroughs, but we’ll be doing them at a little faster tempo.”
(On if there is a possibility for a rotation at right guard between Caleb Benenoch and Alex Cappa)
“Well, everything is on the table; at every position.”
(On how tight end O.J. Howard is playing so far during training camp)
“He was fantastic today. I don’t know if you were watching close he had about five out of sight plays today. I think O.J is far, far ahead of where he was at any point last year. Really off to a fast start. Looks really good.”
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
(On how the defense this year is different than last year)
“Well we definitely have different players out there on our defense right now. The moves that we made in free agency, trades, and the draft have brought a lot of new guys in our room. I’ve been impressed with the work ethic and I think it breeds a lot of competition and when you have that competition I think it brings out the best in all of you.”
(On having depth on the roster)
“Absolutely we have more depth. Again when you had three in free agency, trade for one, and your first round pick is a defensive lineman, you have definitely upgraded in that area. So we like where we are at. We know that there are guys that are going to get hurt and when one gets hurt another one is going to have to step up. The most important thing for us right now is to get a good feel of who we are going to put out there on the field in certain situations because we do have a lot of options.”
(On the three new rookie defensive backs)
“I’ve been very impressed with all three of them. Carlton [Davis] has had an opportunity to work with the first group in the first couple of days at times. He’s got great length. He’s a very competitive guy. I’ve been impressed with him. I think M.J. Stewart, the play that he made today, talks volumes about him. I think he has flexibility, in terms of playing inside and outside. We’ve put a lot of his plate. He’s handled it well. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it in the preseason games when the coach isn’t out there hollering at him. And then [Jordan] Whitehead is a guy who has missed most of our offseason work but he has gotten in there and had some opportunities as well. So again, those new guys are giving us a completely different look.”
(On having such a large rotation on defensive lineman managing their playing time)
“It is and it’s us learning about what they can do. And it’s very important that through the preseason we find out what these guys can handle in terms of what we can put into the playbook, and then also what we think they are going to be able to play in terms of numbers of snaps. We’re going to have a rotation. There are too many good guys up front that deserve an opportunity to play and they’re going to be able to help us.”
(On if it will take three or four games to figure out the defensive line situation)
“No I don’t think it will take three or four games. I think we’ll have an opportunity to evaluate these guys in the preseason. Each and every week is a completely different dynamic about who you’re lining up against, what they’re going to run, how we’re going to try to defend it. It’s going to be something that I think it is going to be fluid throughout the season. The great thing that these guys know is that it’s an open competition. There’s nobody that’s guaranteed a starting role on this defense.”
(On cornerback Javien Elliot progressing from last season)
“Javien is a guy that just casually goes along and makes plays and he’s been very productive in our offseason. Everybody says he undersized and doesn’t run fast enough, but when he gets an opportunity to go out there and play he produces. So, he is kind of the lost guy in terms of who is going to be in that mix in making our 53-man roster.”
(On the competition to make the roster at defensive back)
“It’s tough when you draft three defensive backs. It’s tough, but I wouldn’t count Javien Elliot out. He’s a guy that does a whole bunch of good things on the football field.”
(On how Vita Vea’s injury could hinder his development)
“Dirk talked about his injury, and Vita is a big strong athlete. He’s everything we’ve expected and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”
(On Noah Spence working as a designated pass rusher
“Well, he won’t have to play as many snaps that’s for sure. Adding Jason (Pierre-Paul) and Vinny (Curry), both of those guys, they’ve got a very good motor. They play hard. I’ve been very impressed with both of those guys’ work ethic. It just makes everyone around them better. It’s fun to watch those guys compete on a day-to-day basis. Even though it’s still the beginning, you can see that they have a competitive drive.”
(On determining the defensive line rotation
“We’ll make that decision as a staff and each week it will change in terms of how we want to have that rotation go. Again, the number of snaps we are going to have a guy play is going to be based on who we are playing. Certain teams that can run the ball better than other teams. We’ve got to stop the run, so we’ll have a different group in there. We definitely have to do a better job of getting at the passer. That’s probably what we’ve added with JPP and Vinny, the two guys that you’re asking about. Both of those guys are very capable of defending and playing the run.”
(On the young players at linebacker)
“That’s going to be interesting. Our draft pick [Jack] Cichy has done a very nice job. I was very pleased to see that he didn’t wear a knee brace, his first day. So that’s a positive step to go through mentally, that you’re going to be able to go out there and play without a brace. I’m interested to have a discussion to see how it went for him. He’s done a nice job. I think [Devante] Bond has done some nice things thus far and again, it’s really early, but that group, we didn’t really add anybody except Jack. That group is pretty much the same group we had last year. And we hope that this year, knock on wood that they stay a lot healthier.”
(On what it has been like working with Coach Brentson Buckner)
“Buck is passionate man. He’s played this game for a long time and he’s young in his coaching career. He demands a lot and he’s brought a different look and a different perspective which is good for me and is good for our coaching staff.”
(On if the physicality at practice is at the level he is looking for))
“For the most part, these guys have done a good job I think what we have to do is be a little bit more resilient and be able to finish practices, finish games and I think that’s one of the things that I believe that our guys understand. That’s going to be important because more games in this league come down to one score than people realize.”

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