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01 November 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (11/1/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since Week 5, Tampa Bay is tied for the league lead in takeaways (8) and the team’s +7 turnover differential is best in the NFL during that timeframe.
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Quarterback Jameis Winston
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(On what sparked the team’s commitment to the running game)
“I think every team has its own personality and you’re trying to find what that personality is and then I say it all the time, play to your strengths and disguise your weaknesses and we had two pretty good weeks in a row playing to that running game. It’s not going to be like that every single game. Oakland made a commitment to take away our run – every time we out ‘Gos’ [tackle Gosder Cherilus] in, they put an extra D-lineman in, that’s the first time we’ve seen that this year, that was a good move by them, so we had to adjust from there. I don’t know, that’s all just talk. We were talking about this yesterday, you’re trying to figure out the best way to give your team a chance to win every week, alright? If it’s run it every down, if it’s throw it every down, whatever it is, that’s what we’re trying to do and I don’t mind. We came up short.”
(On if he has enough confidence in the remaining running backs to stay committed to the run)
“Confidence, sure. If a guy’s here, he’s good enough. So, now it just comes down to game planning, how we look at Atlanta. And then when you get in the game, you don’t know what adjustments they’re making, either.”
(On how Atlanta is different from when they played them in Week One)
“I don’t think they’re a lot different, scheme-wise. I think they’re playing with more confidence and you would expect that, they won some big games. I think [linebacker Vic] Beasley has really come into his own as a pass rusher, on defense. They’re still rolling a lot of guys in there. They’re starting three rookies on defense. You can definitely see the improved speed on their defense with the two inside linebackers and [Keanu] Neal, at safety and now that’s helped their depth because they have [linebacker Paul] Worrilow in a backup role and Kemal Ishmael – who I think is a pretty good safety – in a backup role. Their offense has always been good. It looks like they’ve finally settled on who their second and third receivers are, they’ve kind of found their role. They’ve really developed the two running back system. The one second guy [Tevin Coleman] might be out – he was out last week – but what an explosive player that he’s turned into be, much more so than last year and [Devonta] Freeman’s been good the whole time.”
(On his confidence level in kicker Roberto Aguayo)
“He’s our kicker. This is NFL football, if a guy’s out there and he’s our kicker, then we get there, we get in the right spot on the field, we’re kicking it. And his job’s to make it. I’m fully confident that he will.”
(On how running back Antone Smith fits into what the team is trying to do offensively)
“For most of Antone’s career, he’s been – at one point, he was a special teams ace for us in Atlanta and we don’t need him to play that role for us here, but he is helping on special teams. We’re using him, I guess if we’re going to put guys in a box, we’re using him somewhat as a third-down back, but that’s not his only role right now. When you have three guys who have been here short-term – other than Peyton [Barber], the rookie – your roles aren’t very clearly defined right now. So, we’re trying to patch it together, one week at a time until we get some reinforcements back.”
(On if running back Mike James is on the roster)
“Has there been an announcement?”
(On if he can say what James would bring to the team, if he was on the roster)
“No, I can’t do that, I’m sorry.”
(On Antone Smith having only four carries as the most carries he’s ever gotten in an NFL game)
“What’s the most ‘Quizz’ [Jacquizz Rodgers] has had before two weeks ago? [18] So, yeah, just because a person hasn’t, doesn’t mean they can’t.”
(On what his confidence level is in Barber)
“Strong. He’s on our team. Everyone that’s on our team, I have full confidence in.”
(On if he has confidence in Barber getting a heavier workload than what he has been getting)
“It’s probably going to happen.”
(On if Barber will be the starting running back if Rodgers can’t play)
“Not sure about that, yet. But, we’ll be playing more than one halfback.”
(On if it will be a running back by committee)
“Very good.”
(On what quarterback Jameis Winston can learn from Matt Ryan)
“Probably that experience is the best teacher in the NFL. I think Matt Ryan’s gotten better every year since he’s been in the NFL. If you go back and look at Matt’s first two years in the league, they leaned heavy on their run game and won a lot of football games. And as time has gone on, they put more and more on Matt’s shoulders. When I was there, we put a lot on Matt’s shoulders and it looks to me like they’re continuing to put a lot on his shoulders.”
(On what has changed for Ryan in Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense)
“I would not be the right person to ask about what they’re asking him to do because I’m not there. He’s still a really good player and I think Kyle Shanahan’s had some fantastic game plans. We’ve been seeing a lot of their tape and crossover and they’re playing really good on offense, but I don’t know what’s changed for him.”
(On what Atlanta does so well to keep Ryan in the pocket)
“Well, he’s one of those guys that – you’ve got different classes of quarterbacks in this league, some guys that know they can get out of the pocket and go and some guys that know they can’t. And Matt’s usually in that latter group. He’s not trying to get outside, he’s trying to step up in the pocket. He knows that he doesn’t have great speed. They did score on a quarterback draw with him at Oakland this year, but he’s not going to go this way. He’s going to step up and try to go through his progressions.”
(On the biggest difference between the Falcons now versus Week One)
“I think that they’re playing a lot more efficiently. They’re one of the top – if not the best – offense in the NFL. They’re throwing it around the yard, I think [quarterback] Matt [Ryan] is doing a good job of distributing it and they also still give you the tough run game to defend. It’s going to be a big challenge for us. We’ve got to play our best game to get the outcome that we want on defense, that’s for sure.”
(On if it helps facing a team that they know well, given the short week of preparation)
“I think it does give you somewhat of an advantage. Again, this is a little bit different team than we played in Week One – they’ve got some injuries at the running back position, their number one tight end doesn’t look like he’s going to be playing. So, it’s going to be a little bit different. There’s a lot of unknowns in Week One. I think that [Atlanta Offensive Coordinator Kyle] Shanahan has done a very good job with them offensively, giving them lots of different looks and having a game plan for each week and we’re going to have to be able to adjust on the move.”
(On what is causing opponent’s to have explosive plays against them)
“I think it’s across the board. An explosive play is defined for us [as] about 18 yards for a pass. We had 10 for 342 in the ball game last week. Totally unacceptable, no doubt about it. Some of them are missed leverage and missed tackles, there were some that were short throws that we did not tackle well, there were some that we had miscommunication where we had the wrong guy hung on the receiver when he shouldn’t have been there. So, there’s a myriad of things that we have got to get better at. And I don’t think we should try to blame it on one player, one group. We work in tandem. This was a team I think that we played last week that only gave up five sacks, we sacked them twice – of course we were out there for 93 freaking plays, we almost played two games. But we’ve got to get better, I’ve got to do a better job ultimately. It’s not the players, it’s me as the coach. We’ve got to make sure that we have an understanding of what we’re trying to get done. And it was across the board in all three levels. We misfit a run, so it’s an 18-yarder right up the middle. I know going into this – I know this for a fact – this is a process that you go through. I don’t think you should ever be judged by one game. Last week we’re talking about holding somebody to 100-and-whatever yards passing, we turn around and we lay an egg. Unfortunately, we didn’t play fourth down very well. I’ll ask you guys this question: would you take 17 points against that offense with a minute and 43 seconds to go? Absolutely, but that’s the way this game is every single week. And that’s what makes it so much fun and so exciting. We did not play the type of defense that we need to play in that overtime period. Go back and look, 180 yards. We gave up way too many yards in the overtime period. But we’ve got to do a better job of getting off on third down, especially in the second half of the ball game.”
(On why the defense wasn’t able to make stops on third down against Oakland)
“Again, there was some miscommunication, there were some missed tackles, there were some calls that the coach would like to have back that’s sitting up in the box. Obviously, those all contribute. There’s one thing about this: this is a team game. You can’t look at one group, you can’t look at one guy. And I know people like to talk about one position, one group – it’s a team game. What happens up front is going to affect what happens in the back end. A guy miscovers, we’ve got a free runner back there, another guy tries to compensate, we get a PI [pass interference]. There’s all kinds of things. And by the way, up front, we didn’t have any pressure. It’s a complementary game. We all understand that and we know we’re all responsible. I told my guys after the game – I said, ‘When you miss a tackle, I miss a tackle. We’re all in this together.’ We’re saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do it better, but when you miss a tackle, I miss a tackle, you miss an assignment, I miss an assignment, we all do.’ We’re all in it together and that’s the one thing I think you’ll see, these guys are going to come out and play their tails off on Thursday Night.”
(On who is primarily responsible for communicating the defense)
“Everybody’s responsible. There’s three levels on our defense: we have up front, we have linebackers and we have the secondary and we’re all getting communication from each other. There are audibles that we have, based on formations, based on splits and we’re going to get better at it. We’re not mastering it the way I would’ve liked. Some games we are. The previous week, all good. This week, not so good. Again, totally unacceptable.”
(On what comes to mind when he hears the name John Lynch, who is being inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor on Thursday night)
“A hitter [laughter]. The scheme that he played in was perfect for him. He’s a guy that was a very active player, both in the run and the pass. But when you came in his area, you knew that you were going to get hit and it was going to be a physical, clean hit. That’s the one thing about watching John play and having coached against him.”
(On if there are any safeties in the league right now that invoke the same type of fear that Lynch did)
“Well, the rules have changed immensely, in terms of what is a legal hit and I don’t know that John would play and have the success that he had because of the rule change. I’m sure that he would adjust. It’s all for player safety, so the game is much different. I think in the last five or six years, it’s become much more difficult for defensive backs to defend because it’s their responsibility to make sure that they do not make contact in the head and neck area and when a player’s catching a pass, the head and neck area is moving at a very quick speed.”
(On if you can work on tackling technique in-season)
“Oh, absolutely and we work on it all the time and we’ve got to continue to work at it. There’s techniques that our guys have to do, sometimes it’s over-aggressiveness, sometimes it’s under-aggressiveness and there’s a fine line. And tackling is not just one person, it’s a system that’s put in place. There’s someone that’s responsible for turning the ball back to the pursuit and when we lose the person that’s supposed to turn the ball back, we’re chasing from inside out and that’s going to be hidden yards.”
(On what cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah is doing well)
“I think he has good length and sometimes that good length can get you in trouble. But he does a very nice job with his length. I think he’s cerebral. Again, he’s going through, like all of us guys – and I want to reiterate this – let’s not jump to conclusions on one football game, let’s wait until the season plays out and see where we’re at. I think we all are quick to react and we’re in one-week cycles and that’s the world that we live in. And we’re glad that this cycle is about five days, I can assure you.”
(On what has changed for cornerback Alterraun Verner to lead to less playing time)
“Well, I think that we’ve got two very good corners. There was an open competition [when] we started out and I think that there were two very good corners that are playing good football. Are they playing consistent football right now? No. Are we playing consistent across the board? Absolutely not. Are we coaching consistently? Absolutely not. But there was a competition, he had an opportunity to compete and our judgement, we’re going to put the best players out there. Ultimately, we’re about winning and that’s what we’ve got to do and we’re going to make decisions based on what we feel like gives us the best chance to win.”
(On if 93 plays for each starting cornerback, which is what they got against Oakland, give them the best chance to win)
“When you play 93 plays, it’s a long day. There’s certain positons that you do want to have a rotation. On the defensive line, there’s a rotation, at the wide receiver, there’s a rotation. Right now – and maybe if you have bigger rosters, you’re going to have an opportunity to potentially rotate guys. But yes, the wide receivers are rotating, they’re in a rotation and the ‘DBs’ [defensive backs] are not. And that’s something that I think is not a trend and it’s not being done in the NFL. If you look at play time, you’re going to see five or six DB’s, depending on what defensive personnel groups that you’re playing. But when you play 93 plays, you’re going to get worn down and we’ve got to do a better job of getting off the field, especially in the second half. In the first half, they were one of six on third down. In the second half, we were not very good.”
(On if he would consider subbing in backup cornerbacks for a couple of plays during the game)
“Not at this point, no.”
(On why he is not rotating Verner in at cornerback)
“I think when you’re playing out there at the corner position and the defensive back positon, there’s a lot of nuances in the game that are going on. They say that there’s no contact out there. You guys watch, there’s a lot of contact, a lot of hand fighting. And you get in a groove, it’s a one-on-one battle when you’re out there, especially the type of defense that we’re playing with our defensive backs. You want them to have a good feel for what they’re trying to defend because it is a one-on-one battle and you don’t want a guy that’s coming off the bench fresh, so to speak, but not have had the opportunity to get out there and know what the guy’s doing this week. How he’s escaping, what his game plan is and different receivers have different escape techniques.”
(On if cornerback Johnthan Banks can fit the defensive scheme)
“Again, I think that Johnthan Banks could fit this scheme and I think Alterraun Verner can fit this scheme. Again, we went through an open competition throughout the offseason and we’re going to play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win and I wish Johnthan Banks the absolute best. Great guy, great teammate and that’s what you’ve got to have in this league, is you’ve got to have great teammates. He did everything that we asked. And again, when you’re putting together a 53-man roster and you get into the season, decision have to be made.”
(On the threat Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones poses, if he is able to play)
“Julio Jones is going to play [laughter]. Is he going to play his normal snaps? I don’t know that, but we’re going to see Julio Jones and we’re looking forward to competing against him. He is obviously one of the top three receivers in the league, there’s no doubt about that. Maybe number one. I think he’s probably one of the toughest guys to defend and we’re going to see him, it’s just a matter of how many snaps we’re going to see him. I hope he plays every one of them.”
(On if it makes it more difficult that Matt Ryan has spread the ball around to several receivers, not just Jones)
“Matt’s doing a very good job and again, I think Coach Shanahan does a great job with the scheme, in terms of what they’re trying to get accomplished. [Wide receiver Mohamed] Sanu had a big game last week, was the most targeted player. You’ve got to try to pick your poison when you play a team that has got the weapons that they have. [Running back] Devonta Freeman, out of the backfield as a receiver, is going to be a mismatch as well. So, it’s going to be a challenge for us and I know our guys are looking forward to it.”
(On the difficulties of playing on Thursday Night)
“It’s very difficult. These guys are going through a whole lot, not only mentally, but physically. This is normally their day off that we’re talking about right now. We wouldn’t be seeing these guys for the first time until tomorrow, with the Victory Monday. So, it’s very difficult physically and it’s very difficult mentally too because they didn’t get a chance to process the last game. We haven’t even talked to them about the last game, haven’t talked one word about the last ball game, we’ve moved on to the next one because that’s the challenge that we have. We can’t do anything about the last one. So, I think the physical part of it, they’ve got to do a great job of resting, with the trainers, getting in the cryo, all the things that they can do. And the most important thing is to be rested. And I think the team that is most rested is going to have a step up on the other group.”
(On how hard it is to prepare for a Thursday Night game with a short week)
“Physically, it’s tough because the guys are banged up. We just played, basically, a five quarter football game and [we’ve] got to make that quick turnaround, but sometimes your physical soreness can also translate to how you mentally [prepare]. So, our main focus is to mentally be ready for this game and go out there and fight.”
(On if it helps having already seen the Falcons this season)
“As far as preparing for the game, yes, but always when you’ve got to put in that physical factor because practice makes perfect and guys are banged up and not able to get as many reps as they’re used to getting. Mentally, we have to be strong and make sure that we’re preparing ourselves mentally.”
(On if it is emotionally draining, coming back after a loss like the one to Oakland)
“Yeah, it can be, but it’s not about that. It’s about that we’ve got another chance to get a home win for our fans and that’s what’s exciting. It’s going to be a Thursday Night Football game and that’s exciting on it’s own. Playing against Atlanta, who’s up there at the top of the division, which is also exciting. This game has so many stakes to it, we have more things to be happy for and be grateful for than we have to just have excuses, I would say.”
(On if he thinks too much about not turning the ball over)
“Not at all. Protecting the football is always going to be the top priority for this team, I’ve just got to make those plays. I’ve made those plays before, I can make those plays. Protect the football is always going to be up there.”
(On how frustrating it is for him to not be able to close out games late)
“It can be frustrating, but I look at it as a positive because the next time I get an opportunity, I’m going to try to do even better. Never think about the negatives, always think about the positives and what I learn from those situations.”
(On if teams are game planning him better than they did his rookie season)
“No, I don’t think so. It’s the NFL, you play football. They’re going to do what they do, we’re going to do what we do.”
(On how he improves on being ‘more precise’ without as much time for practice this week)
“Just like I say, mental preparation. Going through my progressions, doing everything that I need to, to prepare for this game mentally. And that’s one of the things about my position and I use ‘precision’ instead of ‘accuracy’ because mentally, that’s how I have to think. I have to be precise. [Precision] is better than accuracy, so that’s already a step-forward attitude.”
(On if he has to cram things into a short week to prepare)
“No, it doesn’t change much. We just play an earlier game, but like I said, it’s more of the physical aspect of it is different, but mentally, we’re excited to play a game.”
(On if he likes Thursday Night games)
“I like to play football. So, anything that gives me football, something that God has blessed me to do, I’m going to enjoy it.”
(On if there is any division in football that has quarterbacks like the NFC South)
“My main thing – every time I step onto the field, I’m competing against every quarterback in the league. Sometimes I forget the great quarterbacks that we have in our division, I just think about, ‘Man, I’m competing against everybody every week.’ It doesn’t matter which quarterback it is, I just think this is all a big competition.”
(On if he is seeing more double teams on wide receiver Mike Evans, with Vincent Jackson being out)
“We see that every week.”
(On what it would mean if the team is able to go 2-0 against Atlanta on the year)
“It’s exciting. That’s why I say we’re looking at the opportunity that we have instead of all the negative excuses that we can’t think about. We’re thinking about, ‘Man, this is Atlanta,’ who’s a great team. Oakland last week was a great team, we played them well, we fell up short. This is our chance again to play against another great team and kind of make a statement. Just not really a statement, just to prove to ourselves that we are a good football team.”
(On if the team thinks that all of their goals for the season are still on the table because it is only halfway over)
“Yeah, it’s a week-to-week league. You’ve got to go into every game with the same mentality of wanting to win. The next game is your most important game, so yeah.”
(On preparing for a Thursday night game)
"The mental aspect, you have to double up on your game prep. There's not much sleep, especially for a married man with a lot of kids. You don't get much sleep. Halloween mixed in there – don't get much sleep. But you've got to manage, you've got to forget the last game whether you won or you lost, and you've got to double up on your prep mentally. Physically, you've just got to do the best you can. Some people will deal with it better than others. Younger guys are going to recover a lot better than us older guys.  You've just got to do what you can. I got a massage Monday morning, I came over here and did rehab and treatment right after the game Sunday. I doubled up today, got to do some after practice. It is what it is, the nature of the beast. Either you're going to complain about it or you're going to recover and get a win. That's how I look at it."
(On if they get an energy boost from the fact that it's a division game)
"The injury comes from the fact that it's the next game and we just lost at home. We haven't won at home yet. That's where the energy comes from. It's added incentive that it's Atlanta. They're on a roll, they got their mojo back. It's just a good team."
(On the Color Rush uniforms)
"I love red, so as long as we're wearing red I don't care what it looks like. Anything red, I'm good with it."
(On if they are motivated by some of the stats they allowed on Sunday)
"Okay, let's say that they did all that and we won. Would we care? I think we care more about the fact that we lost. The yards, it is what it is. I've seen teams throw for a whole bunch of yards and lose the game. We lost the game, that's what matters. We'll fix that. We've got to win. We need to get a win."
(On Atlanta's offense)
"Man, they're on fire. 'Matty Ice' [Matt Ryan] is 'Matty Ice.'  I love the guy. I know Bucs fans [will say], 'Oh there you go being a nice guy again.' I don't care how you guys feel, I like Matty Ice. So what? He's a nice guy, he's a great player, so what? I love football and I respect him. He's a great player and he makes you go play a lot harder. I'll shake his hand before and after the game and during the game I'll try to kill him. But Matty Ice is a great player and he's on fire right now. It is what it is, we've just got to stop him. It's okay to be nice. It's okay to be a nice guy."
(On how to defend Matt Ryan)
"One, we've got to push up front, and then we've got to cover on the back end. We've just got to work together. We've got to stop [Devonta] Freeman. He's similar to our guy, small guy, very strong, can make all the runs and he's a great route-runner. He's dangerous in the pass game. Initially, we've got to make them one-dimensional, we've got to stop the run and do our best in the pass game."
(On how much it helps to have Robert Ayers back)
"It's great. He's a vet, he's very talented, he's played a lot of football in this league and he's angry. He's very angry. He's a lot more angry than me, but we both love football."
(On if it helps to have an angry guy on the defensive line)
"There are a lot of different personalities that make up a team. I've always been this guy. On the field, off the field, it doesn't matter. But sometimes you need some of that. Kwon [Alexander] is like that. You need that on a team. That's what makes up a team. So it's great to have a guy like that."

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