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31 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (10/31/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay has scored a touchdown on all eight of the team’s goal-to-go possession this season. They are one of only two teams to have scored a touchdown on every goal-to-go possession (also Pittsburgh).
 
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
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On the challenges of playing a Thursday Night game)
“The main hurdle, by far, is the players’ bodies recovering and being ready to play. The NFL is front-end loaded – or middle of the week loaded. Front-end loaded for the coaches and the preparation and then middle of the week where Wednesday and Thursday are your heavy work days. So typically, they don’t do much on Monday, don’t do much on Tuesday, one of those days is their day off, heavy practice on Wednesday, little bit lighter on Thursday, taper down Friday-Saturday. So, that’s all out the window for Thursday Night Football. Basically, this is a week with no practice. You’ve got to still get your game plan reps in, which we start tonight and especially with the type of game we played yesterday, we’ve got a laundry list of guys with bumps and bruises. You’re going to have that every week. The number one thing by far is the turnaround on the players’ bodies and then number two is the preparation by the coaches. You’re just working on a couple days shorter, so you’ve got to – in that respect, it’s probably a plus, if there is a plus to it, to play a division opponent who you know well.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston is ‘rushing the ball’ too much when he overthrows receivers)
“He did miss some balls high yesterday and there are fixes for that fundamentally, but that’s not always the case. There’s multiple things: sometimes pressure has something to do with it, having to reset because of the rush, trying to throw it over a defender, something like that. There’s various reasons for it.”
 
(On the rumors that the team is bringing in running back Mike James)
“I can just stop you right there, I don’t have any comment on that because there’s no roster move as of right now, so I can’t comment on that.”
 
(On the defense’s performance against Oakland)
“We didn’t tackle very well. We missed tackles, so sometimes we made it look worse by them [not] making tackles. I was really impressed with their wide receivers and their quarterback, I think they’re three really good players right there. The tackling and then [Oakland quarterback Derek] Carr, he gets the ball out quickly and we didn’t have much of a pass rush. When you throw it 59 times and we just didn’t get enough of a rush on him and as I said yesterday, our defense was on the field too long. The number seems weird because it doesn’t add up to 60 [minutes], but when you see the time of possession, 44 and change, to 29 and change, that’s just a bad recipe right there.”
 
(On if there is ever any thought to giving the starting cornerbacks plays off to avoid fatigue)
“No, there’s no thought about that. They play.”
 
(On why there is no thought to that)
“Because they play. They’re your best players, your best players play.”
 
(On if it would help the cornerbacks to have more plays off)
“I’m not a scientist, I’m a football coach. As a football coach, you play your best players. Would it help them? Maybe, I don’t know. We’re not doing it.”
 
(On how tacking can be corrected at the professional level)
“These guys know how to tackle and we just have to do a better job of it. You’re not going to work on it during the season, that’s for sure. We only have a couple, I’m not sure exactly the number, of padded practices left and we’re not tackling in practice anyway, but that’s – these guys all know how to tackle.”
 
(On if he was surprised that defensive end Robert Ayers played so many snaps in his first game back from injury)
“I wouldn’t say surprising. We had eight D-lineman up, they all had to rotate through there. Again, there was a ton of plays being played, so they all rotated through there.”
 
(On if kicker Roberto Aguayo kicking from the right hash is a matter of comfort)
“Yes. There’s plenty of kickers in the league that put it on their favorite [hash] because they either are guys that have a hook or they push it. It’s like a golfer teeing off on the tee box, it’s what they’re comfortable with.”
 
(On if he anticipates the team making any trades with the trade deadline approaching)
“I’m not sure on that, that would be a question for [General Manager] Jason [Licht]. But I’m not sure on that, I’ve been knee-deep in Atlanta since last night.”
 
(On punter Bryan Anger)
“He’s doing a great job and as [it was] pointed out, we didn’t turn the ball over yesterday, which was a good thing, but we had five three-and-outs on the day. And so when you’re not holding onto the ball and making first downs, at least we were able to flip field position and that – our punter, Bryan, and those two gunners [Russell Shepard and Josh Robinson], those guys are just playing lights out right now. Could not be happier. Bryan, [Special Teams Coordinator Nate] Kaczor has asked him to work hard on matching his hang time to his distance, he’s done that. His placement has been good. And then [cornerback Josh] Robinson and ‘Shep’ [wide receiver Russell Shepard], those guys as gunners are really doing a great job getting down there, even when they’re doubled.”
 
(On if at any point during the game he felt their chance to win ‘slipping away’)
“Slipping away, I wouldn’t say it like that. There’s ebbs and flows of every game. When you’re up 10-0, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. When they score 17 straight points, you’re going, ‘When’s it going to stop?’ We come back, take the lead, get the two-point conversion, we’re back up, feeling pretty good. Seven point lead with a minute and 40 something to go, that’s not bad. You see that fourth-down pass in the red zone sail out of bounds, feeling good. See the yellow hankie, not so good. And then in the overtime, they get the ball, defense holds them. We get pretty field position that first time, good opportunity to go down there, score, don’t do it. So yeah, my heart was up and down multiple times in that game.”
 
(On what Oakland did in the second half to get wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree going)
“They were getting a lot of chances. Carr was having time. They did a good job with their formations, being able to identify if we were in man or zone coverage and then when they did get completions, they broke tackles.”
 
(On if he feels Winston gets a too ‘amped up’ during critical points late in games)
“Amped up is hard to measure, so I’m not sure about that. I know there’s been talk about it, not by me, but there’s been talk about it and that’s a hard thing to measure. Is that possible that that has happened in his career at some point? Yes. Is that something that I necessarily notice? No.”
 
(On if the defense can get pressure on Carr when he is lining up in the shotgun, with his quick release)
“It’s tough. We zero-blitzed them a couple of times where we actually had numbers and we still didn’t get home. So we had one more rusher than they had blockers, at least twice.”
 
(On if there is too much emphasis to get the ball to wide receiver Mike Evans and Winston needs to use the check-down more)
“Well a check-down depends on if they’re playing man or zone. We’ve talked about this before – there are no check-downs in man-coverage. A check-down in man, somebody’s got to beat their man. In zone, there are check-downs. I don’t know that you can have too much emphasis on getting the ball to your best player, I don’t know if that’s possible. Oakland did a good job of that yesterday, getting the ball to their best players. There’s progressions on every play so, yeah we can there’s good and bad examples. The 42-yard pass to [wide receiver] Adam Humphries, that was Jameis’s third guy in his progression. He did a nice job working back across the field. He looked for Mike, then he looked for [tight end] Cam [Brate] – it’s the same play we’d hit Cam over the middle in the first half – and then he found Adam on the backside. Adam then broke a tackle for us and made a big play out of it. On the very last time we had the ball, we ran it – I think we had third-and-three – and we tried to throw a check-down to [running back] Antone [Smith]. They were playing zone, he was looking for Adam, he read it out and it was a little bit high and a little bit hot, it had a little too much on it. So, there was an example when he tried to check it down and we still didn’t get it. There’s examples of a lot of different things that we did wrong in that game. We did plenty of things wrong, we did some good things too. We got a 10-point lead, we came back from down and we just couldn’t make enough plays, on either side of the ball.”
 
(On Antone Smith getting 22 snaps and Peyton Barber getting 3)
“Well, Antone’s been in this offense before and then we have certain things for certain guys and the type of plays that Antone was in on, we had some more plays tagged for him in this game than we did for Peyton. And then when ‘Quizz’ [running back Jacquizz Rodgers] got hurt, that threw our rotation into a little bit of a disarray.”
 
(On if he feels the defense has regressed)
“I don’t look at it that way. We’re week-to-week. Who’s playing this week? Who are we playing against? So whether I think that or not, I wouldn’t say that right now just because my job right now is to get our team ready to play Thursday Night against Atlanta.”
 
(On the result of the game being different if a defensive holding penalty in the end zone isn’t called on Tampa Bay on the Oakland fourth-down at the end of regulation)
“Sure, but you can pick out a whole bunch of different plays. We ran Mike on an out-and-up and he was five yards behind the defense, would be a 70-yard touchdown, we didn’t hit it, we would’ve had a two-score lead. So, pick your plays. We gave up a ton of passing yards, we gave up over 500 yards. Is that good? No, that’s not. We let them throw one over our head to Cooper. Threw another one over our head, we can’t do that. We had a long PI [pass interference] penalty that might’ve been another touchdown had we not gotten the penalty. Those are all things that come up in a game and you’ve got to – it’s a team game. Our coaches, our coaching staff, our job is to try to put our guys in a position to get a win that week against that team and we can say we played terrible, we can say we played okay, we can say we played good. The bottom line is, we had chances to win that game and we didn’t and that’s the bottom line. We didn’t win the game, so we’ve got to, more than ever this week, we have a very short amount of time to figure out how we’re going to have a chance to win a game this week.”
 
(On if Atlanta is similar to Oakland, with their ability to score)
“I think Atlanta, if I’m not mistaken, within the last week or two, they were the leading offense in the NFL, if I’m not mistaken. Going back to your point on explosives, I’m a huge believer in explosives being the number two stat behind turnovers in winning football. And just along those lines, you pointed out the number of explosives they had, I was just looking at it this afternoon, we picked up our sixth explosive of the game on our offense on the first play of the second quarter on that touchdown pass to Shep. So, one quarter plus one play, we’ve got six explosives, we only got one the rest of the game. Again, they didn’t hardly get any in the first half, they got all theirs in the second half. We got most of ours in the first quarter and that first play and for some reason, we couldn’t hit ours and I thought we had some good chances.”
 
(On if Oakland changed their defense throughout the game)
“No, they were doing the same stuff.”  
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On putting together a game plan on a short week)
“It’s difficult, but being an opponent in our division and someone we’ve already played, I think that benefits both of us. Just some recall, playing three times over the last 20-something games. It shouldn’t be a problem coming up with a plan. Now, getting guys back, I think the health of your team and who’s the healthiest and who recovers the best has the best chance.”
 
(On having one position that deals with a number of injuries)
“Sure, it’s difficult to lose guys at the same position. It just is. You can only carry so many players. Even in college, when you have 85 scholarships, if you lost that many guys – it’s just difficult. That’s the way it is. No one really cares. You’ve got to figure it out, figure out who we have and then continue to figure out ways to score points, which the last couple of weeks we’ve been OK. We’ve come up with decent plans. We’ve just got to continue to do that.”
 
(On if Oakland made defensive adjustments that caused issues for Tampa Bay’s offense)
“Not really. We just didn’t play as well and they played better. And that’s usually the way it is. I think we had some opportunities to make some plays. We got a little choppy. We didn’t get the explosive runs that we got the week before. We didn’t hit Mike [Evans] on some explosive plays. We had a number of explosive plays early in the game and I think we had one the rest of the game. That’s the tell-tale sign.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston’s accuracy suffers at the end of games due to excitement)
“I haven’t seen that. It takes so much more than just him. I’ve said that every time I stand up here. It takes everybody. It takes protection, it takes guys running the right routes and you’ve got people that are getting paid to stop it. At times, you’re just not playing as well, collectively, and it felt like that at the end of the game. We’ve got to coach better, we’ve got to play better, find ways to – when we need to be able to move the ball and give ourselves a chance to win the game, which we did late. We went down and scored and gave ourselves a chance offensively. Then in the overtime, we just couldn’t get it going. We took a shot here, we had a misread here, we had a protection breakdown – just somebody always taking their turn. We didn’t get it done.”
 
(On if the absence of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and his height changes the offense)
“Not much. I mean, we miss Vincent, we miss his leadership, we miss his consistency. I thought he was starting to play his best football, but we’ve been fine. Really, the last couple of games, in terms of how we’ve moved the football, our game-planning wise – I think Russell [Shepard] has done a nice job filling in and Cecil [Shorts III] and those guys. We’ll know in a few weeks where that ends up. We use Mike [Evans] in that role. Mike was used a lot more his size. We play him at ‘X’ into the boundary, where Vince was more to the field. There weren’t a lot plays by size that were Vincent’s that became an issue.”
 
(On the ‘acceptable percentage’ of deep passes that need to be completed)
“I think the wind played a factor. I think it was windy yesterday – it feels like a couple of days ago, but yesterday, less than 24 hours ago. It’s a work in progress, not only with the consistency of our players, but also with Jameis – it’s a consistency issue with all of us. We’ll continue to work on it because you only get so many opportunities for those explosive plays and you want to be able to hit them. We’ll just keep moving on down there, working on it.”
 
(On handling short weeks as a college head coach and preparing players)
“Well you always talk about a ‘mental sweat.’ The guys have really got to dial in. From our instance, we have to let it go. It’s hard because you try to come in and put the game to bed, look at your mistakes, correct it and move on. That’s part of what you do in coaching or parenting or whatever it is. ‘OK, what did we do well, what didn’t we do well, how do we fix it? What’s the puzzle, how do we fix it?’ Well now you’ve got to move on and we’ve got to get our guys’ bodies back and we’ve got to get their minds back. It does us no good if we go today, in less than an hour, if we go into meetings and we go out and do our walkthroughs and do those things, if half of our mind is still on the mistakes we made, the things we could have done better yesterday – that’s over. It’s done. Now everything is about the Falcons. A divisional game to put us 3-0 in the division and have a tie-breaker against the Falcons. What do they pose to us that we have to be ready for? They’re not a complicated defense. They do the same things well and they’ve been doing it better and better as their young players have gotten better and better. So we have to be ready for that and turn the page and be ready to go to them. That’s hard, that’s not easy, but we’ve got to find a way. That’s our job as coaches, to get them in that mindset, ‘Divisional opponent, [Oakland] game is over, how do we move forward?’”
 
(On Atlanta’s defense)
“They’re playing from ahead, so they’re scoring points. [Vic] Beasley has come along as an edge rusher. [Adrian] Clayborn has come along. So those guys in the last few weeks have had about 10 sacks. Playing on turf, they’re fast off the edge. Their two young linebackers that they drafted are athletic. They’re gaining more confidence and making fewer and fewer mistakes. They’ve got their safety back that we didn’t play against, from [Florida]. They’ve got some young talent that has continued to improve. They’re awfully athletic. You’ve got to stay ahead of the chains. That’s one thing that they’ve been able to do, is put teams in long-yardage situations.”
 
(On linebacker Vic Beasley being moved around in Atlanta’s defense)
“They are using him – they took him with a high pick and he is athletic. He’s an edge rusher for them. He creates issues for your tackles, so we’ve got to be aware of where he’s at. More importantly is our ability to run the football, our ability to stay ahead of the chains and not get in those long-yardage situations.”
 
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