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06 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (10/6/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: QB Jameis Winston has seven career rushing scores, the second-most in team history and the second-most among NFL quarterbacks since 2015.
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
Tackle Demar Dotson
(On if he will need to remind quarterback Jameis Winston to not be ‘too excited’ for his first game on Monday Night Football)
“Yeah, I’m sure that’s something more guys than just Jameis need to hear, but these guys are pros. The know how to get ready for games. But that’s something Jameis probably needs to hear.”
(On how defensive tackles Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence played, filling in for Gerald McCoy)
“Very good job. The other guy that did a heck of a job in there was [defensive lineman] Will Gholston. Will and Clinton really did a nice job and then Akeem, in a little bit more of a limited role. When Gerald went out after 14 or 15 plays, those guys stepped up, did a nice job.”
(On if he gained confidence in his defensive line depth after the last game)
“Well whether I feel good about it or not, whoever’s out there, we feel good about. Those are the guys on the team, that’s pro football, they’ve got to step up and do it. So of course, I feel great about whoever’s out there.”
(On if Carolina is a good team that has just lost to better teams)
“Carolina’s a good football team, I’m not sure about the other teams, I don’t know about that part, but you don’t go from 15-1 and losing in the Super Bowl to being a bad team overnight. Every team has chances in the offseason, but you just look at the number of Pro Bowl players Carolina has on both sides of the ball and I don’t think they turned into a bad team overnight.”
(On what running back Jacquizz Rodgers has shown him so far and if the team is confident in him, were he to get the ball more)
“I’m confident in whoever we’ve got out there. If they’re on our team, I’m going to be confident that they’re out there. I have three years of experience with Jacquizz and he’s just a good, solid all-around player. If he’s the guy that’s called on to be out there, then I expect him to do the job.”
(On if Hurricane Matthew will change their travel plans at all)
“It could. The weather’s changing a lot of our plans right now on a daily basis. It seems like every time I get a weather report, it’s different. First off, what’s going on with the weather is a lot more serious than what’s going on with the football game. This is a really serious matter. Obviously like everybody, we have to be on-call to change plans as it’s called for.”
(On the team’s lack of production on first down this season)
“We talk about efficient plays, efficient plays on first down that’ll be four yards or more. When we say, ‘Staying ahead of the chains,’ we did a horrible job and I think somebody in here asked me, on the one good drive that we had, we had a lot of second-and-nines, but we did well on second-and-long. But the longer the down and distance, the more your percentages go down, if you’re playing percentage football. Whether we were running it or we were throwing it, we were not good enough on first down. We call those ‘run downs,’ first-and-10s and second-and-one-to-six and we’ve got to be more efficient.”
(On punter Bryan Anger)
“He’s done fantastic. It’s not often that you’re fired up to come up here and talk about your punter doing a good job because the perfect game is him not being out there except to hold and Bryan has flipped the field multiple times. Our gunners are also doing an excellent job. We’ve got some young guys in the protection unit that they came after some of our punts and they’re being protected well. The snapper, ‘DePo’ [Andrew DePaola] and Bryan, being able to flips the field, he’s been a very pleasant, welcomed addition to our football team.”
(On who the team’s backup kicker is)
“Bryan Anger.”
(On what he can do to help linebacker Lavonte David make more of an impact)
“I think you could say that several members of our team – the fact that they think they’re off to a slow start by their own standards, I’d say that’s a positive sign. We want to have higher standards for ourselves than other people have for us. Lavonte was voted to his first Pro Bowl of course last year by the players and I would probably say that he’s not playing as bad as maybe you’re saying he thinks he is. Again, I don’t like getting into those conversations that I wasn’t a part of, but I don’t think Lavonte is playing bad. There’s playing bad and then there’s production, those are two different things. I think Lavonte David could probably start for almost every team in this league.”
(On if snaps between Jude Adjei-Barimah and Alterraun Verner at nickelback are still being worked out)
“Sure. We’re carrying a lot of DBs [defensive backs] right now, we’re actually a little bit heavy on that end, we’re a little bit light on some other positions. We have the luxury of having DBs, so [Special Teams Coordinator] Nate [Kaczor] is using those guys in various special teams roles. We have been rolling those guys at the nickel a little bit and we also want to see if Vernon Hargreaves is better staying outside at corner all the time than having to go back and forth between nickel and corner. We’re four games in, I’d say that’s still a work in progress, but Jude did a good job when he was in there at nickel. He only played four plays the week before so it was almost entirely Verner in and Hargreaves inside. And then Hargreaves got to stay outside last week when Jude comes in at the nickel and both of those guys did a good job last week.”
(On how hard it is to prepare for two different quarterbacks, not knowing who is going to play for Carolina)
“It’s really hard in this case because they’re two totally different offenses. Cam Newton is the reigning MVP, he can beat you both ways. He can beat you throwing it and obviously their run game, with [running back Jonathan] Stewart having been out the last couple of weeks, their run game has revolved around Cam. Cam is also their leading ball carrier. Now when Derek Anderson comes in, we’ve got a history with him going back to Oregon-Oregon State days and Derek is more prototype, he’s not going to beat you running the read-option, but he’s led several comebacks and several wins when he was a starter. [He is] one of those guys that can sit back there, very sharp guy and will pick you apart out of the pocket.”
(On what Atlanta did well against Carolina last week)
“Atlanta was on fire, I’ll tell you what. That was impressive what they did. In the run game, they matched Carolina. Carolina’s a very physical front and Atlanta matched them. You could really see how the addition of [Atlanta center] Alex Mack to the center of Atlanta’s line and then both of Atlanta’s backs had strong days in the running game. And then they hit a ton of big plays, [Atlanta quarterback] Matt [Ryan] and [Atlanta wide receiver] Julio [Jones] were both at the top of their game. The 500 [passing yards], 300 [receiving yards] game, I’ve never seen that in my time, that was impressive to watch.”
(On if the number of hits Winston has taken is due to being behind in games and the need to throw the ball)
“We played good teams and I’m not sure if it’s a function of who we’ve played, but definitely if we’re throwing in the 50s, he’s going to take more hits. And then the fact that Jameis is maybe holding onto it too long in some instances. We’ve said many times, the perfect game, we’ll run it in the 30s and throw in the 30s. We were on track a lot better for that in the first half last week, but when it gets away from you and you [get behind] two scores – which hopefully we’re not in that situation very often – then it’s going to get flip-flopped.”
(On the opportunity to move to 2-0 in the division with a win on Monday night)
“Exactly like Week One. We would be the only undefeated team in the division if we could get the victory and also having two road wins in the division would be huge. Right now, Atlanta has jumped out, they won at New Orleans and then they beat Carolina. Of course we got the win there, so Atlanta is 2-1 in the division, the rest of the teams are sitting there at 1-3. There’s a long way left, there’s a lot of division games coming up, but a chance for us to be 2-0, it’s like a double win, we talked about it in the meeting this morning.”
(On if he can tell how much Carolina misses cornerback Josh Norman by looking at film)
“That’s hard to judge exactly, how much anybody misses anybody, but when you take a Pro Bowl player away [at] any position, whether it’s [running back] Doug Martin to injury for us, or a Pro Bowl corner like Josh Norman. There’s not many teams that replace Pro Bowl guys with guys that are better than them.”  
(On the lack of production on first down this season)
“The way you win in terms of explosive plays, turnovers, third-down conversions, touchdowns in the red zone and lost yardage plays, but your third down’s ability to convert is a byproduct of your first down. So we’ve obviously got to do a better job and it wasn’t all just runs. We weren’t as efficient as we’d like to be on first downs and that’s the style of defense we were playing. When you face a team that plays predominantly man coverage, your check-downs are taken away and the game can be choppy. You’re not going to throw for 70 percent completions, it’s going to be a lower completion percentage, but you’ve got to hit explosive plays. We just didn’t hit enough of them and we didn’t run the ball like we hoped we’d be able to.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s first quarter against Denver)
“Well first of all, we put a lot on a young player. As coaches, as fans, an organization because we need him to be great now, we certainly do. And he is capable of that, we’ve seen that. Him playing at his best, he’s a tremendous football player, as in Week One and times last year. What do we need to do? We need to play better around him. We need to be able to run the ball better, we need to be able to run routes with better precision, we need to protect him better, we need to be up in the game. He’s a very competitive young man, he’s going to always try to make plays that help you win. So with that being said, I think that’s a great trait because the very first touchdown we score, we don’t get a blitzer blocked and he makes him miss and he runs it in, that’s pretty good.”
(On Winston’s interceptions)
“If you take the full body of work – have there been some bad decisions? Yes, but the very first interception of the year, we run the wrong route. Here against the Rams, the ball gets in Chuck’s (running back Charles Sims III) hands and it bounces in someone’s hands. One of the interceptions at Arizona, it was the last play of the game. Does that matter? No, he’s throwing it in the end zone. So sure, we have to be better, collectively as a staff to not put him in those situations because one things he’s going to do is compete. But I knew this was going to come up and I just want to – if you talked about, and I mean this, the three quarterbacks in our division, their first two years [as a starter]: [Carolina quarterback] Cam Newton, 40 [touchdowns] and 29 [interceptions]. [New Orleans quarterback] Drew Brees, 28 and 31. [Atlanta quarterback] Matt Ryan, 38 and 25. That’s their first two years in this league, three pretty good quarterbacks. One that’s an MVP, one that’s been doing it for years and Matt Ryan, [the Falcons] are leading the NFL in yards. [Former NFL quarterback] Peyton Manning, 52 and 43. [Former NFL quarterback] Brett Favre, 37 and [37]. [Former NFL quarterback] John Elway, 25 and 29, it happens. As they develop, touchdown to interception ratio, it happens. Now, am I completely comparing him to them? No, all I’m saying is, I love that kid. You talk about a competitive spirit and a will to want to compete and make every play, that’s who you want to build your team around. Is he there yet? No. Are we there yet, collectively? No, but you’d rather have to try to reel a guy back in than try to develop some sort of toughness or will to win in competitive spirit. That’s what we have at quarterback and we need to embrace that and continue to mold that and develop that. That’s coaching, that’s playing, that’s run the football better and him taking care of it better.”
(On how he balances Winston’s tendency to want to ‘do things that aren’t there’)
“Keep playing. Keep talking about it, keep coaching him and keep building him up because the beat down’s not going to help. But the experience will and to keep playing for us to keep getting better and keep doing it in practice. And when he gets in those scenarios again, hopefully we don’t make those same mistakes.”
(On how he can help Winston, who’s been hit 39 times this season, protect himself)
“We’ve hit it earlier, we’ve got to be able to run the ball better. We’ve got to be more precise in the way we run routes and come open quicker and I’m sure there’s some of those things he can be better at. So collectively, we’ve got to do a better job of that. Like you said, nothing’s good when you get your quarterback hit that often, but we’re ready to move on, we’re ready for the Panthers on Monday night and we’re expecting their best and they’re certainly going to get ours.”
(On the dynamic between running backs Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers in the running game)
“I think they’re both good players and I’m not going to get into exactly how we’re going to rotate them and what their roles will be, but we’re expecting as we move forward, until we get Doug [Martin] back, that they’ll both play a major role in us moving the ball.”
(On wide receiver Jeremy Butler)
“Before we acquired him, we’d seen him play last year for the Ravens and [do] some good things. I think he’s a big-body receiver with range, ball skills and capable of playing physical. So I’m excited to get a chance to see him play this Monday.”
(On if the holes are there for Sims to run through)
“I think that, again our sample size is really small, in terms of this year. I know over time – Charles is a very versatile player, he really is and a good football player. And we try to do a number of things with him and we expect him to continue to improve. We’ve got to do some things that schematically favors the things he can do and we’ve got to do some things probably better that take advantage of ‘Quizz’s’ talent.”
(On if he has shown Winston the touchdown-interception ratio of the three other NFC South quarterbacks through their first two years)
“No. I was waiting for today, I was prepping for [the media].”
(On if Winston needs to be reassured)
“Everybody needs to be reassured, everybody does. Even the toughest need to be reassured that he’s our guy and we believe in him and we’ve got to play better around him. He’s got to play better, I’ve got to coach better, that’s what we do.”
(On what he is doing to prevent Winston from forcing passes)
“All you do is you go back and practice, that’s all you do. To me, that’s  - you show him the film, you go to the practice field, you continue to develop. We talked about it today in the receiver room, about how do you develop a well-orchestrated passing offense. That is effort and precision in your route running every day with the few reps you get. Now, what hinders that? Really good defenses that can take advantage of that and our inability to run the football and keep ourselves in manageable down and distances and putting a lot on a young player, that’s going to happen. There’s been a lot of really good players that force plays and try to make plays and that’s a good thing to have. How do you reel that back in? That’s our job and his job and collectively. We’ve just got to do it better, got to do it better than they do it.”
(On if he needs to take the ball out of Winston’s hands)
“I don’t think we want to take it out of his hands, I don’t think that’s what we want to do. I think what we’ve got to do is do it better. It was only three weeks ago he was the NFC Player of the Week. It’s week-to-week, one week it’s this, it’s just is what it is. He’s a really good football player and we’ve got to play better around him, he’s got to take care of the football, we’ve got to run the ball better. That’s really what you’ve got to do and we’ve got to continue to do the things that we need to do to be successful and not turn it over, that’s really it. If it was that simple, we’d have it fixed.”
(On if Winston making aggressive throws is who he is, like Brett Favre, and he just has to accept it)
“I don’t know if you ever want to accept it, but I do think that that’s something to build around. I’ve always believed that guys that are smart, competitive, an unbelievable will to win, I think that’s something to build around and something we should build around. And then keep continuing to play better around him, shrink our mistakes and we’ll take off.”
(On what’s different this year from last year regarding interceptions)
"You’ve just got to take care of the football. Nothing is really different. I’m going to be the quarterback that I think I need to be to win games here and one part of that is just protecting the football. I have to be better at doing that.”
(On what he has to do to protect the football better)
“Like I always say, I get better every single day. This is not the end of the world, but we do know that we need to start protecting the football and that’s on me.”
(On if he needs to be better at taking what the defense gives him)
“Just keeping everything simple and just making sure that you don’t give the other team the ball.”
(On playing on Monday Night Football)
“It’s going to be exciting. We’re playing against the 2015 NFC Champions at their place, so they’re going to be ready. That’s what I’m really focused about, I’m focused about this game, getting a good team win before our bye week, and just changing our whole season around.”
(On Carolina quarterback Cam Newton)
“I know Cam, his passion and his love for this game. He’s going to do everything in his power to play, so that’s none of my concern. My concern is what I can do to protect this football and go against the Panthers’ defense.”
(On if he has a relationship with Newton)
“I know Cam.”
(On if Newton is someone he has sought advice from)
“Yeah. I’ve had a lot of advice from Cam just about being myself and going there and playing the game that we love. Just because it’s Cam, you know, you can get advice from anyone that’s very valuable.”
(On what he learned about Carolina from their two games versus the Panthers in 2015)
“Just learned that they have an excellent head man in 59 [linebacker Luke Keuchly], they have a very strong defense and they do everything in their power to create turnovers. And that’s what I’m really focused on this week, just protecting the football.”
(On if he’s going to try and do some of the same things this year that he did last year following Tampa’s Week Four loss to the Panthers, in regards to limiting turnovers)
“That’s the main thing, just keeping everything simple and being myself. Just worrying about self-development, worrying about my techniques, my mechanics – just going back to the basics.”
(On if it was like he “flipped a switch” last year when reducing his interceptions and how he can apply that now)
“Yeah. Just going back to the basics, worrying more about self-development and techniques and mechanics. Doing whatever I could to make sure the ball did not go to the other team.”
(On what he means by “self-development”)
“Growing in the aspect of protecting the football.”
(On if protecting the football is more of a mindset than anything else)
“Everything is a mindset on the football field. But it’s a choice – I’ve got a lot of decisions to make out there so my choice is I have to protect the football.”
(On if he feels that he’s improved on his ability to complete passes under pressure)
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot from my first year to my second year. I just have to protect the football – that’s the main thing. Just put us in better situations to win football games.”
(On if he feels like teams are dropping more players in coverage than attacking him in the pocket)
“Teams usually come with whatever gameplan that they have and they’re typically pretty good. Like I say, it’s more about me protecting the football. Teams aren’t doing things in particular to create turnovers – just me being careless with the ball at times.”
(On if it’s been difficult not having running back Doug Martin in the lineup)
“Well, I addressed the earlier [in the season] – just losing Doug, it meant a lot to us having him back there with us. But this is the NFL – it’s always a case where the next man is up. But as an overall team, we’ve supported our backs. Our backs have been doing well, our backs haven’t turned the football over as much as me so I think that’s the main thing. Doug, I can’t wait until we have him back. I’m excited for him to come back, but I just think overall, as an offense, protecting the football is the main thing.”
(On if he has to protect himself and try to avoid more hits)
“I would rather take those hits and protect the football than any other thing. I just want to keep protecting the football – that’s just all in my mind right now. That’s all. Hits, that’s football. We do that every day.”
(On what makes Carolina so good at creating takeaways)
“Like I say, no. 59, Keuchly, he’s the best middle linebacker in the league. He’s their quarterback for that defense. He puts them in a lot of situations that they’re able to create turnovers.”
(On if there’s any particular lesson he has learned from watching Newton)
“Be yourself. His consistency, being himself has turned him into the 2015 MVP. He never let anyone change him, he never let anyone change his ways – he only changed for the better – and that’s how I’m going to be. I’m going to be myself, I’m going to go out there and compete and I’m going to get better every year.”
(On if he thinks that as a leader, he might press a little too much when things aren’t going the team’s way)
“No. Actually, when things aren’t going good I actually get happier because I’m able to actually calm down and relax. I probably do better in chaos than I do just regularly, so I embrace that. Adversity is something that I always looked at as being one of my best attributes.”
(On his mindset watching film from Atlanta’s win last week over the Carolina)
“My mindset is just finding ways that we can do that and just finding ways to have success against them. I know one sure way that will help us have success is protecting that football.”
(On Carolina LB Luke Kuechly)
"I think he's probably the best linebacker in the NFL. He's great and he plays the game with a lot of effort. I don't think there's anything different we've got to do to keep him off the quarterback. We've just got to do what it is that we do and it will be okay. The guy is a tremendous player but I don't think we have to change anything that we do to stop him."
(On the importance of getting a Monday night win before the bye week)
"I'm excited. I think this whole football team is excited to go out there on prime-time TV and play. We don't have a great record right now, and [neither] does Carolina. It's a chance to go out there and show the whole nation that we're a better football team than what our record says. That's going to start with a hard week of practice and preparation and determination so we can go out there and not get ourselves embarrassed on national TV."
(On Jameis Winston's interceptions)
"He's the quarterback. They're always going to take the brunt [of it] because of all the attention on them and they're the ones that have the ball. When you throw an interception, people don't realize that you could have had pressure in your face or the receiver could have run the wrong route. There are a lot of things that go into it, but he's going to take [the blame]. All of the interceptions that he has weren't all his fault. It's a team game. It's a crying shame that he's got to take all that pressure."
(On Winston extending plays)
"Especially at the end of the game, that last game, he's just out there competing and holding onto the ball and almost trying to make a 20-point touchdown. You just wish you'd get out of there and live to fight another day. But that's his tenacity, that's his will, that's who he is. He's going to fight to the end, so you've got to appreciate that."
(On Winston handling pressure)
"He doesn't like to get sacked. He's not a guy that's just going to sit there and take it. When pressure comes, he's going to try to move and he's still going to try to get the ball downfield. It's a good thing to have. One thing we know about number three is he's going to fight to the finish and he's going to always be out there, he's going to have our back. We've just got to do a good job of having his back."
(On winning games in the division)
"It's another division road game. We beat Atlanta. We always talk about these division road games, it's almost like winning two. It's one we've got to get and I think we've got a good opportunity to get it. I think we're going to put together a good game plan; we've just got to come out here and execute it. If you can't get excited about playing on Monday Night Football, I don't know what to say."

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