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19 October 2016

Transcript: San Francisco Conference Calls with Tampa Bay Media (10/19/16)

HEAD COACH CHIP KELLY
 
(On the biggest challenges as head coach in the first year with a new team)
“I think it’s implementing your systems in all three phases of the game. Whether it’s offense, defense or special teams, it’s all new terminology and methodology for the guys. A lot of it’s similar that they have run at other stops in their career. The only part of it is – it’s learning a new language, so to speak. It may have been called this where you were before and now it’s called this. It’s just a matter of guys getting acclimated and being able to finish each other’s sentences because they have it down pat. It’s just part of really getting acclimated to the communication system and the methodology of how you do things.”
 
(On if there is anything specific that he can point to regarding troubles the past few weeks)
“Each game has its own identity in terms of what your positives you can take from it or the negatives you can take from it. The deal in this league is everything being so close, it’s in the details. It’s in the little tiny things that separate winning and losing in this game and winning and losing is extremely close. It’s about taking care of all the little things you have to take care of, winning the turnover battle, winning the response after turnover, being less penalized than your opponent, not hurting yourself with self-inflicted wounds, so that you can go out and play to the best of your ability.”
 
(On what he has seen from quarterback Jameis Winston in his second year versus his rookie season)
“I just think he feels a lot more comfortable in [head coach] Dirk’s [Koetter] term obviously. Dirk was a coordinator last year and he is the head coach this year, but the system is the same on the offensive side of the ball. The one thing everybody knows about Jameis is that he loves film study, he loves the preparation part of the game and if you’ve talked to anyone that has coached him whether it’s in college or whether it’s in the NFL, he’s that type of guy. So, you can see that he has spent a lot of time absorbing Dirk’s system and you can tell that he’s a second year player, which is a positive from his standpoint. He looks good.”
 
(On how well he knows head coach Dirk Koetter)
“I don’t know him very well. I have great respect for him and I know we both spent time at the same school, but I didn’t overlap. I did not coach with him. I know Dirk, I know people that have worked with Dirk and have great respect for him. I really enjoy watching his teams on tape offensively because they are always doing really good things.”
 
(On whether or not he went up against running back Jacquizz Rodgers when coaching at Oregon)
“Yep.”
 
(On running back Jacquizz Rodgers stepping up when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed him after injury issues)
“Yeah, he was just an unbelievable player in college and very, very difficult to defend. I think he doesn’t get enough credit for how physical he is just because he’s not the biggest back in the world, so you automatically think that he’s a nifty, nimble, make-you-miss type of guy. He can do that, but he’s also a very physical runner, very sturdy, has great balance, great vision. He’s a handful and we have to be very aware of him in their run game because really the run game sets up everything else up for them. So, I’m very familiar with Jacquizz. He had an outstanding career at Oregon State and he’s doing the same thing right now in the NFL that I saw him do in college, which is a credit to him.”
 
(On where he has seen the most improvement in Buccaneer’s defense over the course of the first five games under defensive coordinator Mike Smith)
“It is a different system and I think the same question that was asked earlier about implementation on things, you can see them getting – they are getting a lot more comfortable in Mike’s system. It’s very sound. Mike is an outstanding coach, had a great reputation not only as a great defensive model, I thought he did a hell of a job as a head coach in Atlanta. I think they are just getting more comfortable in the system. Once you learn it, then you know what hurts it, see how people are trying to attack you and you can make the necessary in-game adjustments and I think that’s what they’ve been doing.”
 
(On how quarterback Colin Kaepernick responded to getting his first start last week)
“I thought he did a really good job. We just need to build upon it. He hadn’t really played since the middle of last year. So, it’s an opportunity for him to just get better, knock the rust off a little bit, so to speak, but I thought there were some real positives from the Buffalo game that we can build upon.”
 
(On what is unique about being an NFL head coach that he enjoys versus being a head coach for a college team)
“One of the things I’ve always loved about the NFL is just the competition. In college, it’s not anybody can win any game. There’s certain inherent advantages that a lot of programs have where you win eight, nine, ten games on the signing date in February because you can just sign better players than some of the other teams that you are playing. So, you’re really getting ready for two or three big games a year, but in the National Football League, you have 16 big games a year. Every single team has the ability to beat every other team. It’s been since 1972 since there was an undefeated team in this league. So, just the competition, going against the best athletes in the world, going against the best coaches in the world. If you’re a competitor, that is the thing that excites you about it.”
 
(On whether or not the response towards quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s views has been a distraction over the past five games)
“No, if you’re here on a daily basis, you know that it is not a distraction. I think Colin handled it very well after the preseason game against the Packers. That was on a Friday. On Sunday, we had a team meeting and Colin spoke to the team – expressed what he was doing and the why of what he was doing and I think our players understood that. They recognized his right to do that. You don’t have to agree with him, but you do have to recognize his right to be able to express his feelings the way he wants to express his feelings. That’s what makes this country so great; the freedom that all of us have as individuals and we really haven’t had to address nor have we addressed it since then because I think our players recognize and understand his right to do what he is doing and it hasn’t been a distraction at all. It’s not a talk or discussion that goes on in our locker room. When our guys get here every day at 8 o’clock and they’re here until 6 o’clock, they’re all about who our next opponent is and preparing for our next opponent because that’s what our job is and everybody is doing their job. So, Colin has not made it a distraction and it is not a distraction.”
 
QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK
 
(On how much his daily life has changed over the past few weeks)
“Not too much. I continue to do the same things I’ve been doing. Right now we’re in season, so most of my day is spent at the facility working on football, things of that nature and then I work on some things in my spare time to try to make sure I’m involved in being part of the solution.”
 
(On whether or not he is receiving more fan mail than he did before)
“Yeah. I’ve gotten a lot of letters, a lot of emails, a lot of different people reaching out offering support, offering possible solutions, things to be involved in, a lot of different angles that have come in as far as possibilities, which was different than before when people didn’t necessarily know my stance on this.”
 
(On whether or not he has had people privately reach out to him supporting him who haven’t necessarily taken a public stance on the matter)
“I’ve had a lot of support like that. I think part of that is there is pressure from organizations that, players don’t know what it means for them if they do take that stance or if they do publicly support it and join the protest and that is understandable. They want to make sure they’re doing what is right for their families and providing in that way. For me, I just got to a point where I wasn’t concerned about myself or what would happen in my future. I got to a point where I knew this was the right thing to do, I knew I had to stand up for people who aren’t being treated fairly and I felt strongly enough about that to be willing to take that risk.”
 
(On if he has full support from his own family and if he believes there is progress being made regarding the dialogue on his stance)
“Yeah, as far as my family, my family has been supportive of me through this, my friends, everybody around me. As far as being a part of the solution, that’s something that is constantly being worked on, is constantly going to need to be worked on. It’s going to be a continual process, so the dialogue has opened that discussion and has gotten to the point where people are realizing what the issues are. There have been some small steps that I would say are progress, but we’re nowhere near what the final goal needs to be.”
 
(On whether or not he has become discouraged about the reaction he has received on the negative side)
“No, because the negative reaction isn’t – that’s expected. That’s not why I’m doing this. The people that are reacting negatively to this are the ones that are part of the issue and part of the perpetuation of oppression, of injustices. For me, that doesn’t discourage me because if that wasn’t a issue, there would be nothing to protest to begin with. So, I knew that would come along with it. That wasn’t anything that surprised me, but I’m very encouraged by the strength that people have shown in support and being willing to take a similar stand to the extent that a youth football team in Texas, the Beaumont Bulls, they took a knee, their coach got suspended and they continued to protest to the point where the league terminated their season on them. So, to see strength out of 11 and 12-year olds like that, that’s encouraging to me because it shows the strength of our youth, it shows their consciousness of what’s going on and that’s going to be the future moving forward.”
                                                                                                                       
(On why he thinks fans tend to not listen to what players have to say off the field, just care about their on-field performance)
“I think that goes very far back in our country’s history, where black people, people of color, are constantly dehumanized and only seen for their physical assets and their physical ability. So it’s not something that surprises me, when they tell athletes to, ‘Shut up and just play their sport,’ or, ‘Don’t bring politics into what you do.’ Like we aren’t capable of thinking and having an opinion of what’s going on in this country. Now that’s something that has gone on for a long time, so when it resurfaces, when someone does try to talk about these issues, it’s expected.”
 
(On if he thinks that his protest has hurt the NFL)
“I don’t understand how it would hurt the NFL to stand up against oppression and injustices. Especially in a league where, I want to say about 70% of the players are black. I would think this is something that the NFL would feel very strongly about that they would want to fight for it, considering that the majority of their employees come from backgrounds of color. So, I wouldn’t see this as anything that would hurt the NFL and as far as ratings, I don’t know how this would affect that, I don’t know the details of that.”
 
(On the problems that Tampa Bay’s defense presents and his performance last week)
“They have a talented defense. [Defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy is always someone you have to be aware of, a very talented football player. Secondary and linebacker level, they have talented players that have speed, have that athleticism that they can go and make plays. So we have to be able to account for that as well. As far as last week, it felt great to be back out on the field. Obviously, there’s always things to improve on, things to work on, but that’s what we look to do this week and continue to improve and hopefully get a win.”
 
(On Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I can’t say I’ve watched a whole lot of him. The highlights and some of the stuff that I’ve seen on him, he’s looked good. I think he’s really [taken] that leadership role of that team. From my perspective, it seems like the players are backing him, they have confidence in him and he’s been out there making plays. So it’s exciting to see that as a fellow quarterback and a fellow black quarterback.”
 
(On if he ‘sees a light at the end of the tunnel’ with the team moving forward)
“Yeah, I think as a whole we just need to clean up and execute better. We have opportunities to make plays that we’re just missing here and there, we have opportunities to get off the field where we’re just missing. Those are things that we have to be able to clean up and ultimately that will help lead us to more victories and that’s what we’re working on.”

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