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07 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (10/7/16)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
(On moving practice to Raymond James Stadium today due to weather)
“It’s no problem. Compared to what other people are facing, that’s nothing. Good job by everybody doing what they needed to do to get us – we went to the stadium [because] we couldn’t get our filmers up [at the practice facility], it was not safe to put our filmers up, so it was good that we could get in the stadium.”
(On if he is confident that the game will be played Monday night in Charlotte despite the threat of inclement weather)
“I’m not sure about that. The Commissioner [Roger Goodell] put that statement out yesterday and obviously we just got back [from the stadium], so you guys probably know more about that than me.”
(On NFC South defenses struggling and if it is due to the strong offenses in the division)
“I don’t think it’s probably the latter there, just because we haven’t all played the same teams. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t ever look at it right now as the stats of all four teams, I don’t look at it like that, I’ll just worry about the team we’re playing that week. Obviously Carolina was one of the best defenses in the league a year ago and you just look at their personnel, they still have really good personnel. Ourselves, Atlanta, New Orleans, we’re all teams that were trying to rebuild their defenses anyway, from a statistics standpoint – we’re talking from a statistic standpoint – so that part, numbers on a piece of paper. But Carolina [is] one of the best defenses in the league.”
(On if the defense took a step forward last week)
“Absolutely. Other than takeaways, that first half our defense did a great job. If you really look at it, probably should’ve been three points – would’ve, could’ve, should’ve – that they really gave up three points, but it is what it is. It’s a team game, the greatest team game in the world.”
(On cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III staying on the outside last game)
“I think he likes it better, where he’s not moving in and out. But every player that plays multiple positions – we have receivers that do that – they’ve got to do what’s best for the team and that’s sometimes based on the other guys that you have available. We’re fortunate right now, we’re heavy in the secondary, heavy with guys. We’re really light in some other areas, just on numbers.”
(On if the defense is creating opportunities for turnovers, they’re just not capitalizing on them)
“That’s a hard one. Again, we’ve said in here before, every turnover has its own story and I’m a believer that usually turnovers aren’t created, usually turnovers are gifts by the other side and that’s been the case for the most part on the giveaways that we’ve had [on offense]. For the most the part, it’s not like there have been a whole lot of fantastic plays made. Again, we’ve turned it over nine times, so I’d have to look at all nine of them back-to-back-to-back, but for the most part I look at them as mistakes we made. So as far as opportunities, it’s not like teams have been putting the ball on the ground a whole bunch. Every team at every level works on strip drills and tip drills and all that kind of stuff. We say we want to create, attack the ball, create turnovers. Sometimes those opportunities just don’t come up. As far as our turnover ratio goes, we’re not doing a good enough job on offense, we’re turning it over too much, we’re not getting it on the other side and we need to even that number up.”
(On how Hargreaves III graded out against Denver)
“He did fine. You’re not giving a whole lot of A’s when you get beat by three touchdowns on anybody. But he played fine.”
(On if there have been any plays by Hargreaves that shows he is comfortable at the outside corner spot)
“Oh yeah. They weren’t throwing a ton of balls out there. We had a couple plays where we were too loose in the secondary. When we had pressures on, we were playing zone coverage. I actually talked to Vernon during the game about, ‘You’ve got to trust yourself, get up in there. Those are great receivers that Denver had, but heck, that’s why you’re here. Get up there and challenge them a little bit.’ And I think that’ll come with time.”  
(On how much the outlook of Monday’s game will change if Carolina quarterback Cam Newton can’t play)
“Two totally different offenses. When Cam’s in, he’s been their featured running back as well as obviously their featured passer. When [Derek] Anderson is in there at quarterback, they’re not going to run their quarterback runs, they’re not going to run the option. They’re going to be more of a traditional NFL offense. And let’s face it, Cam’s the MVP of the league. Taking him out, that’s like to a lesser degree us taking [running back] Doug Martin out.”
(On he would like to get Carolina’s best shot with Newton in the game)
“I’d like to beat them, however possible, that’s what I’d like to do.”
(On how much the ‘next man up’ mentality is coming into their preparation for Carolina)
“A lot [laughter]. I know you [Tampa Bay Times writer Greg Auman] had your binoculars – you might not have needed your binoculars today because [the media] had a nice, close view [of practice]. You look over there where you guys were sitting and you see how many guys were sitting on the other side.”
(On if it was planned for defensive end Robert Ayers to sit out of practice today)
“Again, we’ll put an injury report out whenever [Senior Director of Communications] Nelson [Luis] does. Whenever time that happens, Nelson will put it out.”
(On what he liked about the defense’s performance against Denver)
“I liked the way that we played third down, we were very efficient in third down. I did not like the way that we played some first and second downs. The number of third downs, we’d like to get upwards of 14 or 15 if we could. We gave up some first downs on first down and we have up some first downs on second down, but I do believe that there was improvement in the game last week. We’ve got to tighten some things up, in terms of our aggressiveness in both coverage and in defending the run. There’s too many leaky runs, seven, eight-yard runs. Even though they were under three yards per carry, there was a period of time that we did not play our gaps and we weren’t as stout as we needed to be. One of the things I think our defense has to do, is they’ve got to learn the next play that the next play is the most important play. We can’t dwell on the previous snap, we’ve got to go out and we’ve got to stop them the next play. And it doesn’t matter where it happens on the field, where we start and that’s one of the things that we have not done well the last couple of weeks. We’ve not done a very good job of sudden change situations and good defenses show the backbone to come out and stop them in those types of situations.”
(On if cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was playing more aggressive during the preseason)
“I think we have to be a more aggressive team, not only in the play calling, but we’ve got to be aggressive in our mindset and be aware of where we are on the field, what the down and distance is and I think as a young player, sometimes you get overwhelmed as the game goes on. We’ve got to be focused on what we’re defending, what we’re defending formationally and there’s the right time to be aggressive and then there’s the right time to sit back and make sure that we are going to let them throw it in front of us. There was a couple of times that we were probably too aggressive and we missed some tackles, but overall I think as a unit we need to be more in-tune to when we can be aggressive and challenge. That’s the most important thing for us in the secondary right now.”
(On how challenged they are on the defensive line right now) 
“We’ve got some guys banged up, there’s no doubt about that. We are certainly hoping that we get some guys back for us then be ready to play. I don’t know who they’re going to be right now, but I’m sure as we get through this weekend, we’ll get some good news. It’s one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, as I’ve said. And guys are going to get opportunities to play some significant snaps this week that [they] probably weren’t going to play last week.”
(On if defensive lineman William Gholston proved last game that he could play every down)
“Oh absolutely, I thought Will had his best game that I’ve seen and I’ve watched all of his games from last season. He was very aggressive, not only in defending the run, but he was really getting off the ball and rushing the quarterback. I think he can be a force, he’s a big, strong man [and] when he understands how to use his leverage and use his long arms, he’s going to be a guy that can put pressure on the quarterback and I think he’s starting to realize, ‘Hey, I can be that kind of guy.’”
(On if Gholston’s progression is due to Defensive Line Coach Jay Hayes)
“Absolutely, anybody that’s watched practice and watched just Coach Hayes operate and what we do, we spend a lot of time on individuals and on the fine points of being a football player. And again, it’s all about leverage, it’s all about the low man wins, it’s all about getting on edges, especially when you’re rushing the passer and they are drilled on that every single day. Jay does a great job with those guys and it’s going to show dividends this week because we’re going to have some guys that are going to have to step up and play for us.”
(On if he would rather play against Carolina quarterback Cam Newton on Monday night)
“You always want to play their best, there’s no doubt about it. We are not discounting that Cam is not going to play, we’re preparing as if he is, you have to do that as a defense. [Carolina Quarterback] Derek Anderson has won games in this league, so he’s a very efficient quarterback as well. They have a different skill set, in terms of what we would see from them schematically, but he is a very good quarterback and when you’re a backup and you’ve had to step in and play, he’s won games. He’s a different set of issues than what you have with Cam Newton, there’s no doubt about that.”
(On what led to the decision to play cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III on the outside last week against Denver)
“We wanted to put Vernon out back outside. It was a decision that we made as a staff in just trying to mix and match and feel like what was going to give us the best opportunity to match up. I think we will continue to look at it each and every week. He has been trained both on the inside and on the outside, so it gives us a lot of flexibility. It can give us some things down the road, In terms of how we want to put more resources on a certain receiver, it gives us flexibility. But he took the majority of his snaps on the outside last week and did a good job. [Cornerback] Jude [Adjei-Barimah] came in and played the nickel position for us.”
(On if Hargreaves proved against Denver that he can handle playing on the outside)
“Oh there’s no doubt that he can handle it. He’s been put in a tougher situation when we’ve asked him to play inside because he’s so used to being the outside corner, that’s where he’s played the majority of his time there at the University of Florida. He’s got the skill set to be able to go inside and outside and again, as I think we progress and grow as a defensive football team, it’s going to give us some flexibility. We are not as flexible as we’d like to be, we’ve not gone on and advanced quite as well as I would’ve like and again, I’m learning these guys, they’re learning me and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do on Monday night.”
(On if he would rather one guy establish himself as the nickelback or if he would rather multiple players bouncing in and out)
“You want guys to get in the rhythm, especially in the secondary. You rotate your guys up front a lot more than you do in the secondary, so what we would do is based on how the week goes, how we’re putting together our game plan. We’re going to put them in the spots that they can give us the best chance to win.”
(On trying to keep the scheme simple for his players, but complex for the opposition)
“We want to keep it simple for one guy and we want to keep it complex and complicated for our opposing coaching staff and our opposing quarterback and that’s something that we’re continuing to work on. When you’re looking at disguises, you’ve got to get into certain down and distance situations before you can really disguise and we’ve got to do a better job on our third downs. We want to get into what we call the ‘third down and winnables,’ I think I mentioned it last week, it’s important for us. That gives you the ability to maybe align people that don’t look like they’re in a position to stop a certain play and they’re going to be in that position after the snap. So we’ve got to continue to work on that and again, I think we’re a team that’s growing together on the defensive side of the football, there’s no doubt about it. I do feel like we’re going to make steps in the right direction. We’ve got our markers that we look at and third down is one of them, stopping the run is one, I don’t think we gave up as many big plays. We did have a couple of explosive [plays], one in the run, one in the pass, one was a missed tackle and it was probably the opposite of what we mentioned earlier. We were probably too aggressive on a third down-and-10-plus. So we’ve got to go through this process together, learn in every opportunity that we get to really coach these guys in a football game. The preseason is one thing, a real football game when people are game planning and we’re game planning and it’s one of those 16 opportunities, we’ve got to continue to grow as a defense.”
(On if the NFL is an ‘allocation business’)
“There’s no doubt about it. The league is set up that way with a salary cap and each team tries to build around what they feel is going to give them the best chance to win. You only have so many dollars that you can spend and you’re going to allocate it when you’ve experienced going out and getting a good player on one side of the ball or the other, you’re going to try to build around that guy, you’ve got to do that. That’s the one thing about the NFL, often times the best 22 players don’t stay on your team from year to year. It’s a little bit different than collegiate football. You’ve got guys that move on that you would love to still have on your football team that can’t be on your team because you can’t afford them.”
(On the similarities between Carolina and Tampa Bay’s big receivers)
“There are a lot of similarities. [Carolina wide receiver Kelvin] Benjamin is a big, strong wide receiver, [Greg] Olsen, the tight end, is problematic as well. They do not attach him to the core very often, they move him around, they want to try to get him in a free-access situation. He’s very good and Ted Ginn can take the top off of the field. They do some things schematically – [Carolina Offensive Coordinator] Mike Shula I think is an outstanding offensive coordinator and it’s a chess match where he moves the people around. He moves them in different spots, so we have to do a very good job of understanding how they’re going to be distributed and I think they’re a good football team. They have not run the ball as well as they’d like. Cam Newton has been their running back the last three weeks. I know [running back] Jonathan Stewart has not practiced this week, we’re not expecting to see him, but I believe – I know [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera very well and I believe that they definitely want to be able to run the football, like all teams in this league.”

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