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19 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (10/19/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans is the only player in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in receptions per game (6.4), receiving yards per game (89.8) and receiving touchdowns (4).
 
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Quarterback Jameis Winston
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On young players having to ‘pick up the slack’ in place of injured wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“I don’t think you ever really know – I could stand up here and say whatever I want, but we’re not a whole lot more experienced than we were, other than [wide receiver] Adam [Humphries]. Adam’s the same as [quarterback] Jameis [Winston], he’s a year and a third into his career. But first just going back to Vincent: of course when you lose a guy like Vincent to your team, he means a lot to our team because of the kind of pro he is, the kind of player he is and the kind of man he is. What’s really amazing about that is Vincent himself doesn’t even really know when he got hurt in that game. He finished that game and was a big part of that final drive in the Carolina game. So how we absorb what Vincent does will be a little bit of a work in progress. We’re working on that this week. We made a couple moves, there might be some more moves to be made. I can’t give you a great answer to that other than, as in all injures, even though injuries are horrible, the show goes on. So yeah, we have to.”
 
(On if injured running back Doug Martin has had any setbacks)
“He has, yup. Doug, unfortunately, did suffer a setback a week ago Sunday and we’ll just have to see when he can make it back. There’s no timetable on that right now, again, that’s not my department. There will be an injury report, just like [the reporter] said there would be, but Doug did suffer a little setback. And just that whole thing on injures, nobody’s at fault when somebody gets hurt. Injuries are the worst part of this game on all teams. Just look around the league. A lot of teams have injuries and we don’t like it, but trust me, no one feels worse about it than the player. The player feels bad and injuries make it tough on our team, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to keep rolling.”
 
(On preparing against an up-tempo offense like San Francisco)
“It’s hard to, it is hard to. My experience with that – of course we played against [San Francisco Head Coach Chip Kelly] up at Philly – is that usually you have to get into the game and sometimes takes a couple series before the defensive players can really fully adjust. Obviously we try to duplicate it in practice, but it’s not easy to duplicate that tempo.”
 
(On if there are similarities between Chip Kelly’s offense he ran when he was coaching Philadelphia to the one he’s running now in San Francisco)
“Oh yeah, there’s definitely – you watch the tape, you can see a lot of the same plays. We have some players here that played on defense against their offense last year up in Philly. We have a different defensive coaching staff, number one, so a different approach in that respect. And they’re not playing the same defense that they played in Philly. He brought a few coaches with him [to San Francisco], a couple on defense, but not his coordinator. So, there’s maybe a little bit, but not anything to give us any big advantage.”
 
(On the status of injured defensive linemen Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald)
“We’re going to beat a dead horse here, but all those guys – you guys read the injury report, just like I do for both teams. It doesn’t say under their name – it just says what practice status is – it doesn’t say, ‘Out for a day,’ ‘Out for a week,’ ‘Out for two weeks.’ And I’m not a doctor either, so I go by what our doctors tell us and it’s our job as coaches to get the team ready to play and not give out a whole bunch of information about how we’re going to do it, that all comes up on Sunday. We’d love to be at full strength. [Following the] Bye Week, we are definitely going to get some of the guys back that haven’t played. We’ve already talked about Doug, had a little bit of a setback. I wish I could give you more. I hope you guys can understand. I know it’s your job to ask me this every day, but it’s my job to protect our football team.”
 
(On how the passing offense changes with Jackson out)
“Vincent usually is out ‘Z’, Mike [Evans] is usually our ‘X’ – although we have plays where we move them – and someone else will be playing ‘Z’.”
 
(On if Jackson’s absence will make it harder on Evans)
“I wouldn’t say harder. Again, if you’re on the 53-[man roster], you’re on the practice squad, you get up on the 46-[man roster] on game day, shoot, you’ve got to be ready to play. [Running back] Jacquizz Rodgers is a good example of that last week, when we played Carolina in the Monday Night game. No one knew anything about Jacquizz, he went in there and got 30 touches in one game. No, I don’t think there’s a receiver that’s going to get 30 touches, but whoever’s out there has got to step up and play.”
 
(On bringing in wide receiver Donteea Dye Jr., who is already familiar with the offense)
“Just like when you bring in a Jacquizz Rodgers or an Antone Smith, when you bring a guy back in midseason – bring him back or bring him in, either one – you can’t go back and duplicate the five million reps you’ve taken up to that point. So the fact that you’re not totally teaching a guy new what to do – I’ve had that a few times in my career. We had a time in Jacksonville, we brought in a guard on Wednesday, he started on Sunday. That happens more than you’d think around the league. Just guys [having] the familiarity with knowing what the terms mean, knowing where to line up, knowing what all those numbers and words mean, that is important. You want to get the best players you can when you’re adding guys at the middle of the season, but once again, look around the league, every team has injuries, every team is reaching into this reserve pool of players that are out there and there’s not a lot of Pro Bowl players out on the street right now. Guys that are on the street are on the street for a reason. Now, some of those guys come in and do a fantastic job – Jacquizz, last week. So going directly to your question, his knowing what to do is a good starting point.”
 
(On Winston struggling more against 3-4 defenses)
“I would just say that on the scoreboard, your statement right there is correct. Fronts usually don’t dictate how a quarterback plays, that usually is more protection and run-game oriented. Coverage is usually more dictated on how the quarterback plays. So, I personally would not make that statement, but you can throw it right back in my face and point to the scoreboards and I would have a hard time arguing with that.”
 
(On what is different about San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick form when Koetter last saw him in 2013, to now)
“He hasn’t played much, that’s the main thing. He’s playing in a little bit different system, although there’s some elements of the system that are the same, [former San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s] system and now Coach Kelly’s. We actually played in the game to go to the Super Bowl, we played him at the end of that season in Atlanta. It was a great game, we had a big lead, he brought them back and he was at the top of his profession, he was playing really good football. Like any player that doesn’t play for a while, it’s hard to come back and initially play up to that same level. Obviously, he’s got it in him. Once a player’s shown they can do it, they can do it again.”
 
(On if he reminds his players not to do certain things during games, like taking their helmet off after touchdowns, as New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did last week)
“I didn’t see that particular play, but the league puts out a tape every week on key, hot issues of the week. I go through that tape, pull out things I think our guys need to see [and] we show it every Friday. That is one of the things – it wasn’t that instance, but an instance like that was on the tape within the last two weeks. The league does a good job of providing us with that type of thing and I think we do a decent job of reinforcing it.”
 
(On what the offense needs to do to run the ball more consistently)
“We’ve got to be more consistent, you are exactly right. What do we’ve got to do? If it was that easy to just snap our fingers and do it, we would certainly be doing it. I’ve said many times, your run game gets better if you run it more. Alright Coach, well run it more – hell, I’m calling the plays. You’ve got to make yards, you’ve got to have efficient runs and you’ve got to be moving the chains. If you’re doing that and you’re running it more and you’re repeating runs, your line and your backs both have a tendency to get stronger as you go. But if you’re going three and out, if it’s first-and-10, second-and-nine, third-and-eight, punt and then you fall behind in the scoreboard, it’s hard to keep running it. That’s just a reality.”
 
(On if Winston used the Bye Week as a “reset”)
“I would just say, you’ve got to ask Jameis about that. I think Jameis took a trip and saw some sights, but as far as the reset, you would have to ask him. I know this: on Monday morning when they came back to work, I rolled in at 5:42 [a.m] and Jameis’ car was in the parking lot.”
 
(On if it is normal for Winston to be at the facility so early)
“Yes. An everyday occurrence.”
 
(On why it is so hard for East Coast teams to win on the West Coast)
“Three hour time change, again, I’m not a body clock expert, but it’s hard. I don’t know why, but I know if you do those flights, three hours, you usually don’t hop out of bed at the crack of dawn and feel like 100 percent of yourself. I can’t explain why. There’s a lot of stuff in the universe I cannot explain.”
 
(On if he likes to look and see what is working for other teams during the Bye Week)
“Oh yeah, I love watching other teams, you just don’t have enough time during the week. That’s something I enjoy doing a lot, is picking out games I’ve heard about in different places of this offense doing well and seeing, what are they doing? Sometimes you’re disappointed that they’re not doing anything great, or it’s just they’re good players making good plays. But other times, you’re going, ‘Oh man, that is cool. They’re doing something a little bit different there.’ There’s teams that actually are ahead of the curve and this is an unbelievable copycat league. If somebody gets something, it takes about two weeks and everybody else is trying to do it.”
 
(On how defensive tackle Gerald McCoy looked at practice)
“He was out there, Gerald did have full participation today. I’ll be honest with you, we go up right now and watch the tape. During practice I really don’t focus too much on any individual players, other than the quarterback.”
 
(On if fatigue is a factor for the offense as much as the defense when playing against an up-tempo offense)
“Only if you get off the field. A lot of it had been made of that point, on both sides of the coin. In our own no-huddle offense, our own no-huddle offense works best when we’re moving the chains. The no-huddle is no good if you’re not making any first downs because all you’re doing – I think [a reporter] said we got off the field in 17 seconds. So if you’re stopping the clock and you’re off in 17 seconds, your D is back out there. We’ve been on the other end of that. That’s everybody’s no-huddle, you’ve got to be productive and make first downs.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On how the offense changes without wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“I don’t know if we’ll differ very much, you are who you are. Now, is it going to be more by committee and getting some guys back healthy and some guys in the mix? Sure, but we have to be who we are and continue to improve in that area.”
 
(On if wide receiver Donteea Dye Jr. brings speed to the offense)
“Sure and he knows our system, being here all last year and all the way through the summer in training camp, so we’re excited to get him back. We got a little bit of a look of him on Monday, so we’re excited to get back out there today and see where he’s at.”
 
(On how Dye looked in practice on Monday)
“Looked fine. There’s some things that we’ve changed or added, so we’ve got to get him up to speed, but he looked fine. It was a shorter go, so we’ll see today, he’s going to get a number of reps today.”
 
(On if wide receiver Russell Shepard’s role will increase with the absence of Jackson)
“Sure, I think you’ll see his role increase. He’s had a role in every game offensively. Sometimes he’s been more of a focal point than others, but he’s a good football player and we expect him to pick up some of that.”
 
(On what the offense needs to do to get the running game going)
“If it was that easy, it’d be fixed. If it was that easy [and] it was just one thing [it would be fixed]. I thought we took a step forward Monday night, in terms of our physicality, in terms of the way our running backs ran the ball. Realistically, it was similar to some of the games last year, we just didn’t have any longer runs. I think that was probably the biggest thing is, we’ve got to continue to do a great job on the perimeter blocking, we’ve got to continue to find a way to finish runs. You’re only going to rush for the 150-yard mark if you get a couple explosive runs, which we didn’t get some of those. But I do think it was a good sign and we need to continue to play complementary football and run the ball and run the ball efficiently.”
 
(On if the offense needs to commit to the run more)
“Sure, I think that’s part of it. I think the score dictates that. I think it’s easier to run the football when the game dictates that, but I think it’s also just that that’s who we have to be, that’s who you should be. You have to be able to run the football to win and that allows us to get our explosives down the field when we can run the football.”
 
(On how the offensive line has performed in run blocking)
“Good and I think, again, it’s week to week. I think that’s one thing about this league, is you try to compare whoever you’re playing to yourself and yet, in my mind, it’s still a small sample size. You can’t carry over stats, whether it’s good or bad. This week’s a new week. What they pose to us defensively and vice-versa. So I think that’s the biggest thing, is just identifying who we are. We [had] a week off to kind of do some self-scouting, think about where we need to improve and what we need to emphasize more and then you have a week to get back at it and get after San Francisco.”
 
(On how to prevent the offense from taking a step back after losing Vincent Jackson to injury)
“I think first and foremost, the guys that end up taking Vincent’s place have to be as consistent as he’s been. And that’s the biggest thing with Vincent – playing as long as he has, he doesn’t always have to have the reps on the field to be able to take it to the field. He can take it from the meeting room. He does a lot of things in the run game, so we have to have some guys step up, be able to do that. But I’m confident in the guys that we have that we’ll be just fine.”
 
(On offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile)
“I think he had a great offseason, he had a great training camp. He’s starting to evolve as a player, I think his confidence level has raised. And so I think that that’s probably been more of anything, just continuing to play, continuing to practice and then when the opportunity came – sometimes it’s opportunity. When [guard] J.R. [Sweezy] was down at the beginning [of training camp], I think that gave him an opportunity, he’s taken advantage of that.”
 
(On if Pamphile is doing anything that jumps out on film)
I wouldn’t say it’s anything in particular, other than he’s playing at a really high level, a real efficient level. He’s a really good athlete and he’s smart and he’s tough. Like any player, we want him to be really good now and I think at times – some guys, they’re on a different path than others. Some guys right away show that and other guys need a little bit of time and obviously he’s continued to grow and develop and [Offensive Line Coach George Warhop] has done a great job with him.”
 
(On if he anticipates running back Doug Martin to be back this week)
“I’ll leave anything injury-wise to [Head] Coach [Dirk Koetter] to address that.”
 
(On if he has confidence in running back Jacquizz Rodgers, in whatever role he is put in)
“I think so. But again, we brought him in here because he’s a good football player and it’s week to week. I thought he had a good Monday, I thought he had a good week of practice leading up to that and our guys have embraced that the reality is, nobody cares. Nobody cares who’s playing, they want you to figure it out, that’s part of what we do as coaches, is figure out the puzzle. I really don’t care what San Francisco’s problems are, they don’t care about ours. Their fans don’t care, our fans don’t care. We have to figure it out, that’s our job.”
 
(On how running back Antone Smith fits into the offense)
“We’ll have to see. He’s coming to us and I know he’s got some familiarity with Coach Koetter being in the Falcons, but we anticipate giving him opportunities.”
 
(On if he is most impressed by wide receiver Mike Evans’ consistency)
“I probably would say so. I’ve mentioned a number of times, just him being healthy and competing, he wants to soak it all in. He’s a young man that hasn’t played a lot of football. Starting with high school and then college and here and so I just think he’s made a commitment to himself in continuing to get better and it’s a byproduct of what you see on the field.”
 
(On what quarterback Jameis Winston did differently against Carolina that he wasn’t doing in previous games)
“I don’t know, again, it’s so hard to tell because again, the quarterback position is so reliant on everybody else around them playing well. We ran the ball better, I think that was it. And we were in the game, we were within one score, so there was nothing that had to happen right now. We hit some explosive plays when we got down 14-6. I think we had a three-play drive. We got a stop, we get an explosive and then another explosive to Mike and all of a sudden, okay. That’s what it’s about, in some of those other games, we didn’t hit those explosives. We weren’t in the game to feel like, ‘Okay, we can play complementary football,’ and you have to be able to do that.”
 
(On running back Peyton Barber’s progress)
“I think Peyton’s going to be a good football player, he is a good football player. He just needs more, he needs more seasoning, in terms of protections. And it’s hard when you get a young player in that what they need is reps and the least thing you can get him is reps, if that makes sense. You get young, developmental players and yet, they come in and before you know it, the season gets here and it’s over. You’ve got to go with guys that understand the system and that are ready to function. So do I think that he’s going to continue to develop? Yes, because he has a good skill set, he’s competitive. And I think he’s going to be a good football player, just a matter of time and just continuing to play. And when his opportunities come, taking advantage of that.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On what he did during his Bye Week)
“I got the chance to go home and see my little brother play football for the first time. It was amazing. He had four touchdowns. He’s a beast. He’s a quarterback. He ran three in and threw one. Also had an interception [on defense]. First year of playing football – that’s pretty impressive. I was holding the chains [laughs].”
 
(On not having wide receiver Vincent Jackson and how the offense will change)
“Every time with these injuries, guys just keep stepping up. We really depend on these guys and we lean on them. As a quarterback room, we try to spend more time with the guys – most of the guys that are coming back, they’re not really new, [but] they’ve got to adjust some stuff. Obviously man, we’re going to miss Vince, but the thing about Vince, he’s that veteran so his presence is what we really are used to, with Vincent anyways. If Vince was back in San Diego, we still would feel that presence and his leadership in that locker room.”
 
(On having receivers that are familiar with the system)
“Now, really it just starts back to that same point that we were last year, when Vincent got injured. We have ‘DD’ [Donteea Dye] back, we have ‘Hump’ [Adam Humphries] and Hump is playing amazing right now. Obviously Donteea is going to have to step up. This is the moment he’s been waiting for. He had a couple of big catches in the game when Vincent got hurt [in 2015], so you know, we trust those guys and we’re depending on them. And they know that.”
 
(On what he has focused on improving from the first five weeks)
“My main concentration was, ‘Continue to do whatever you can do to lead your team to a win.’ This team is so talented, so we’re just trying to do everything we can do to make winning a habit around here. Trying to get on some type of roll, because that feeling just feels good and we want to feel like that more often.”
 
(On what he liked best about his performance against Carolina)
“[I] protected the football.”
 
(On how he protected the football)
“I just was cautious of protecting the football, that was just the main thing. That’s what I set my mind to and if you put your mind to it, you can do it.”
 
(On the importance of earning a big win by protecting the football)
“Every win is a big victory to me. No matter what the circumstance, it doesn’t matter. If I threw one pass – every victory is a huge win to me. I cherish those.”
 
(On if the team has confidence despite the loss of Jackson)
“Mentally, as an NFL player, we can’t even focus [on it] – because we can’t control that. It’s something that we can’t control. Luckily, we’re blessed to have a leader like ‘V-Jack’ [Vincent Jackson] who is that person that can help guide these people that are replacing him.”
 
(On San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem and the issues that he is trying to bring awareness to)
“I haven’t talked to Colin on the issue at all, but whatever he stands for, he’s [made] a strong stand for it. He’s a man, so he’s entitled to his own opinion, but me, I’m just focusing on the Bucs and football and nothing else.”
 
(On if Kaepernick’s actions are a distraction for Tampa Bay)
“No, because I’m not playing against him. We’re playing against the 49ers defense, so I’m not going to be watching any film or hearing about him. I’m going to be focused on what we can do as a team to get a team victory.”
 
(On other players around the league having similar actions as Kaepernick and if Winston is surprised that no Buccaneers players have done anything similar)
“I’m not surprised because I believe it’s a team choice. If someone really felt strongly about that on our team and decided to take a stand, I’m pretty sure a lot of people would be with them. That’s how I feel with Colin. A lot of people are really supporting him, just because he’s somebody that shows strength, he’s somebody that shows perseverance and he’s doing this alone. So you have to respect that and you’ve got to just say hat’s off to him, he’s a great man.”
 
(On what getting running back Doug Martin back would mean to this offense)
“It’s going to be very exciting. The way that our offensive line has been playing, the whole year, I know Doug is excited to get behind those guys again. We’re patiently waiting. We never know when that day might come.”
 
(On if the team is getting closer to having Martin back)
“I feel like we’re getting very close. I feel like it’s very close.”
 
(On San Francisco’s defense)
“A lot of different looks. They have guys flying around everywhere and they’re very long up front. It’s going to be a challenge. We’ve got to come to every game with the mindset that, ‘This team wants to beat us. What do we need to do to beat them?’”
 
(On what the next step is for Tampa Bay)
“The next step is the next week. Every day we can come to this facility – blessed as we are to have this opportunity to play – our main focus has to be getting a win for that week because one, that keeps us here and two, it just feels good. It feels good to win and smile the whole week.”
 
(On the team’s second trip to the West Coast and if the travel is an obstacle)
“I don’t really look too much into that, but it can be an obstacle. We have so many obstacles that we face every day. We have to overcome them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the travel, it doesn’t matter if it’s sitting out an hour and then coming back and playing the game – it just doesn’t matter. Stuff that we can’t control, we can’t control.”
 
(On running back Peyton Barber)
“You’ve got to love Peyton Barber. One reason is because he’s an Auburn Tiger and I can mess with him all the time. He’s just a great guy. He’s a very sound guy. He’s a great young man and when you sit there and just talk to him, you see how his love for the game, his love for just living life all in all is big. He’s a great teammate to me and he’s a great teammate to us and you just know his journey from coming to Auburn to being here now, he’s very thankful for that.”
 
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