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17 November 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (11/17/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since Week 5, the Buccaneers have 13 takeaways, the most in the NFL. The team’s +9 turnover margin during that span is the second-highest in the league.
 
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On what he likes about new defensive lineman Sealver Siliga)
“We were trying to get a little bit more size in the interior and Sealver played a lot of ball. We actually had him in for a workout a few weeks ago. He’s been back and forth with Seattle then with a couple of other teams and I think [General Manager] Jason [Licht] has been following him for a while and we kind of let it slip away last time, so when we got the opportunity this time, we jumped on it.”
 
(On if size on the defensive line is a factor on the long run plays Chicago had against them last week, or if it is just players out of their gaps)
“Both, yeah both those things. That’s always the case, guys out of the gaps is always the case, whether they get moved out of their gaps or whether they, assignment-wise, got out of their gaps. But that’s how any successful run play [happens] because to make yards in the NFL, you’ve either got to get someone out of their gap, or the back has to break a tackle, or you’ve got to trick them by cracking and getting outside, there’s only so many ways that you can do it, but that’s by far the most common.”
 
(On how running back Doug Martin has responded to the extra workload he’s been given the last couple of days)
“Really good. He looks really fine, you wouldn’t even know he’d been out, this week. He just didn’t get much last week. We didn’t really know until the end of the week [that he was going to play against Chicago], so we didn’t give him very much.”
 
(On if guard Kevin Pamphile is still in the concussion protocol)
“He is, yup.”
 
(On if Pamphile is practicing)
“Yeah, that’s part of the protocol and I’m not even sure how the parameters [work], but he is technically still in it.”
 
(On if Pamphile is comparable to where wide receiver Mike Evans was last week, in terms of health)
“I’m not qualified to even say that.”
 
(On what the loudest stadium is he’s ever played or coached in and where Arrowhead Stadium ranks)
“Arrowhead’s right up there, as far as outdoors, it’s right up there. All the domes can get loud, but as far as outdoors, Arrowhead’s right there.”
 
(On how many of the mistakes on defense are due to young players still learning how to play in the NFL)
“There’s some of that. There’s some of that with, say, a guy like [defensive end] Noah Spence. When we talked a day or two ago about him making progress against the run, I’d say that’s the case for him. But then, I think in other cases, it’s new coaches, new scheme, asking them to do different things, asking them to do multiple things and maybe sometimes we ask them to do too much and then – that’s the same thing on offense. As an offensive coach, I always tried to gauge if we were asking these guys to learn too much in a week and you can usually tell, based on how many mistakes you’re making, how many mental mistakes you’re making in practice.”
 
(On how much it would help to get injured wide receiver Russell Shepard back)
“We need to get back to five wideouts as soon as possible. The four wideout thing was out of necessity and that’s not a pretty picture because if somebody goes down and you’re down to three, you’re really holding on, or if someone just needs to rest. So, we’ll get back to five here as quick as we can.”
 
(On how common it is for players in the NFL to work themselves into becoming better players, like tight end Cameron Brate has done)
“I’d say it’s probably a little on the uncommon side, but it definitely happens. There are your guys that everybody knows about because they’re watching them all four years or three years in college and they [say], ‘Hey, that guy’s going to be in the NFL,’ but you’ve got to remember, just like us, we all mature at different times in our life. Some guys are grown men at 17, 18 and other guys aren’t until they’re 25. Just how they mature. Some of it’s just getting a chance. There’s plenty of basketball-playing tight ends that weren’t playing, or guys from smaller schools that maybe they were doubted because of the competition level and then some of them just lack confidence and Cam’s maybe an example of a lot of those things.”
 
(On if he finds that a lot with Ivy League players)
“Well, you just don’t find many Ivy League players. I just have been exposed to, probably in my time, I can’t think of more than maybe three or four that I’ve even had on a team that have been on other than training camp.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE SMITH
 
(On why the defense was able to get more pressure on the quarterback against Chicago)
“Well I think it was a combination of a number of things. I thought that when we ran four-man rushes, the guys did a nice job and we did a really good job there on the back end matching our coverages for the most part and it was very complementary. When we covered well, the quarterback had to hold the ball and had to move and when we got him on the move, we were able to either get him on the ground or we had a couple of turnovers in those situations. I do think that the guys had a much better understanding of what we were trying to get accomplished. Our communication was leaps and bounds better than what it’s been in the previous games. So, we’re starting to see some progress in that area.”
 
(On how the team’s mini-break after the Thursday Night Atlanta helped)
“I think it’s important when you get an opportunity to take a deep breath and evaluate and not always be focused on the next thing, the next thing. You get a chance to see what we’ve done well as a coaching staff, what we’ve done poorly as a coaching staff and what our players have done well and poorly. We’re trying to play to their strengths. We’ve got some guys back that are feeling better and healthier, so I think that helped us as well. But, we spent a lot of time evaluating across the board. When you had the two weeks or the nine days that we had, it was – you had to do some soul searching, there’s no doubt about that.”
 
(On if ‘suffocating’ on defense is a result of seeing there was too much space)
“I think so. Again, I think our guys have to have a very good understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish by each coverage and sometimes we have to match, sometimes we have to play off with eyes and have more zone awareness. I think our guys had a much better idea – when we asked them to match the receivers, they matched the receivers much closer and when you match the receivers closer, it gives your quarterback a little angst. He hold on to the ball, starts to get on the run and then it allows us to get pressure. We still have a long way to go, there’s no doubt about it. This is a group of men that they’re working hard, their effort has been outstanding; we just haven’t always been able to play to the level that we know we’re capable of playing.”
 
(On creating turnovers against the Kansas City offense)
“Oh gosh, [Kansas City Head Coach] Andy [Reid] and his staff have done a great job with that offense. They do a wonderful job, in terms of ball security. So, it’s going to be important for us to attack the ball. They have had the ball on the grounds a few times, but they’ve recovered it. So, we’ve got to continue to have the mindset that we’re going to attack the receivers and attack the ball carriers. But, their track record says it’s going to be tough to get the turnover production that we’ve had over the last four weeks, but we’re going to work at it and do everything we can.”
 
(On what kind of weapon defensive end Noah Spence has become in the pass rush)
“Well I think that Noah, his skill set is very good for being a good pass rusher. He’s strong handed, he’s quick off the ball, he can bend and I think we’re seeing the more opportunities he has to rush, the more success he’s going to have. I still believe that the ceiling’s a lot higher than what he’s performing right now, but he’s performing at a very good level for a first-year player.”
 
(On what he meant when he said the secondary is getting tighter: the type of coverage or the type of technique)
“Both. In terms of tighter coverage, there’s different types of zone coverages that allow you to matchup and there’s other that you’re dropping to spots on the field. And I think our guys are getting a clear view of what we’re trying to get accomplished, in terms of when we’re matching and when we’re zoning off. Sometimes it can be match on one side and zone on the other. So, it’s been a much steeper learning curve than we’d like, all of us. The thing we’ve been able to do is we’ve shown some resiliency. When things haven’t gone our way, we’ve been able to come back. But we still have a long way to go. This is a group of guys that works extremely hard and are up for the challenge each week.”
 
(On teams having success running the ball right at them)
“Absolutely they have. It’s been a concern over the last four weeks of the season and a lot of that has to do [with] playing complementary on the first and second and third level. Everybody’s responsible for a gap and when you misfit a run play and the ball carrier runs into that misfit gap, there’s going to be some yardage. And we misfit a handful of runs and they turned into seven-yard runs or a 12-yard run. When it gets to the second level and we don’t make the tackle, then we’re asking our free safety or someone to chase them from behind. We have got to get better in our run fits, especially when we’re playing eight-man spacing because there’s only one defender behind them.”
 
(On if that is a product of ‘guys going rogue’ or is it just ‘guys getting beat at the point of attack’)
“I think it’s a combination of a number of things. I don’t think guys go rogue, I think it’s just an understanding of where you fit based on the blocking scheme. It’s not just simple, ‘I’m blocking the guy the guy in front of me,’ there’s a lot of flash movements and there’s guys giving misdirection and our guys have to have a good understanding of their gap can move and when their gap moves, you’ve got to move with it. We’re getting a better feel for it, but it is a concern. We started out the season I thought playing much better against the run. We have not played nearly as well [since] and we’ve been very leaky. Our first down efficiency is completely opposite of our third down efficiency. We’re on the opposite ends of the spectrum. On first down, they’re averaging way too many yards and on third down, last week they were 18 percent, we’re top-five in the league. We’re going through this process and it’s a process that can be frustrating at times, but it’s also very rewarding to see the guys go out and have some success. Now, we can’t say that because we had success last week, we’re going to have success this week. We’ve got to go in and try to be a better football player tomorrow than we were today and that’s been our goal. We haven’t talked about what we’re going to do, we just want to be better than we were yesterday and continue to go through this process.”
 
(On the success of limiting explosive plays against Chicago and if that was something the team talked about during their mini-break after the Atlanta game)
“Oh, yes. Our explosive plays, I believe we are last in the league in the number of explosive plays. We gave up the Hail Mary there at the end of the first half and we gave up some leaky runs, but it’s something that we have to do a better job of. You cannot give up explosive plays in a drive. When you do, you’re going to give up points and that’s the thing that we’ve got to do a better job of. We’ve got to do a better job and it’s not just – sometimes you look out there and you think, oh it’s the DB, or you think it’s this guy or that guy. Unless you know what the call is and you’re in the huddle and know who’s responsible for what, it’s really hard to really pinpoint for the fan, when they don’t know who’s at fault or who’s the culprit. And we’ve all contributed. I’ve contributed a number of times by putting them in a bad situation.”
 
(On if it is gratifying that the defense only gave up two explosive plays against Chicago)
“Well, we’d like the give up zero, that would be our goal. It’s progress and that’s how we have to look at it. Again, I tell the guys and we talk about: every defense is designed to be a zero-yard gain. So, there’s very rarely that we have good defensive plays. If everybody does their job, in theory, it should be zero yards. But, those guys are good players on the other side. So, we’ve got to continue to work at being a better defensive football team and we’ve got to take steps every day.”
 
(On if he is seeing improvement in rush defense from Noah Spence)
“I am. I think at the beginning of the ball game last week on Sunday, he was a little juiced up and we got out of our gap, but you can see his ability to close. You can see his ability to shut off the gap when the ball goes away from him and I think he’s getting a better understanding. A lot of our young players are still trying to figure out the nuances, based on where the backs align, what the down and distance is and those are things that you learn as a professional football player through repetition. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, they’re all learning experiences. When you don’t close and they run the ball back and we give up seven or eight yards, next time it happens, he stays on the line of scrimmage and we have a two-yard gain. So, they’re learning experiences for Noah and all of our guys. But, Noah is not going to be just a DPR, a designated pass rusher. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be a guy that’s going to be in the rotation and be able to play on first and second down.”
 
(On Spence’s play against Chicago where he read a screen and caused Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler to pull the ball down, which resulted in a sack)
“Absolutely he did. He double-clutched on [defensive tackle] Clinton [McDonald’s] sack there. So, those are the ones that don’t show up in the stat books, that you as a coach, you go, ‘Wow, that’s a good play, you like that.’”
 
(On if Spence’s technique has gotten better)
“Oh, his technique’s gotten a lot better. And again, having the understanding of what’s happening formationally, what the splits are, those are things that young guys have to experience and some of them learn it quicker than others. A lot of times you’ve got to get burnt before you learn it and those are experiences that sometimes are tough to go through. But again, I think he’s going to be a fantastic football player.”
 
(On if Spence picked up the technique quick)
“Very quickly. [Defensive Line Coach] Jay [Hayes] does a great job with him and [Assistant Defensive Line Coach] Paul [Spicer], in terms of trying to make sure that they understand their techniques and he’s a quicker learner. I think he’s got very good FIB. What I mean by that is football intelligence.”
 
(On what defensive linemen Ryan Russell and Sealver Siliga bring to the defense)
“You always want to be as big and as fast as you can be, that’s the one thing on the defensive side [laughs]. Ryan Russell did a nice job. Ryan came in, he’s been doing a really good job in practice, working against our offense as a scout team defensive end. He’s got some pretty good size. He’s not your 240, he’s 265. So, he’s a guy that I think can grow into being an every down defensive end. He played in some of our specialty packages in the ball game on Sunday. We felt like we had an opportunity to add to our roster and improve our roster, so we made a move. And roster moves are always tough because when one’s coming in, one’s going out. [Former defensive end] Channing [Ward] did a great job for us, but I think we have to, as a staff and an organization, we always have to be trying to get the best players available.”
 
(On what was said during Chicago’s Hail Mary at the end of the first half)
“First thing I said [was], ‘Hey, that wasn’t a very good call because it didn’t work [laughter].’ When you see the quarterback break contain on a Hail Mary, you’re holding onto your tail. That’s just the way it is. But again, it was nobody’s fault but mine. I made the wrong call. We’ve just got to put them in better situations to make those plays. But, once he broke contain, all bets were off. There’s a better chance that there’s going to be some competition for the football. You’d like to keep him in the pocket.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On playing in Kansas City)
"It's going to be fun. We played in Arrowhead – well, we played there in preseason. It's a great stadium in general. I played there when I was in college; I haven't played a regular-season game against Kansas City in Kansas City. We played there in preseason in 2011 and it was still loud then. With them on this [run] – what are they, 17-2 in the last 19 regular-season games? They've got a good streak going and I don't think they want to end that, especially being at home. So it's going to be a tough one, but you all know me. It'll be fun. I love games like this."
 
(On if facing an offense that shows a high percentage of short passes changes your approach)
"No, you just play read-your-keys and play football. Not every offense is going to be the same. You just play your game according to what they're doing. If you get a reach-block, then reach-block. If the guard goes down, the guard goes down. If they give you a pass-set, you rush the passer."
 
(On if winning the mental battle means confidence or attitude)
"You've got to do it in the film room before you can do it on the field. Then you've got to take it to the practice field for walk-through, then you've got to take it to the real practice and then you do it on Sunday. But if you don't know what you're doing, if you're not all on the same page, if you don't visualize the win, you don't have a shot. And I think last week that was different for everybody. We were all on the same page. We just have to be consistent with that."
 
(On improvement in communication on defense)
"Definitely. That's what helped us make those plays. You could see, it was all over the field. It wasn't just one person and that's why you all have heard me say numerous times, in this defense there are plays out there for everybody and when we're on the same page you've seen what can happen on Sunday. Everybody has an opportunity to make a play."
 
(On problems in the run defense)
"It's just misfits. Just misfits. I know on some of those plays, the set I was getting from the guard was taking me upfield. I've got to squeeze those blocks more. So it's just misfits. We've got to correct it. We've already done better this week. We fixed it in the second half [last Sunday] actually, what we were getting beat on in the first half, with halftime adjustments. The first play of the second half was the same play they were getting all those yards on in the first half and we knocked it down immediately."
 
(On how much he's seen rookie defensive end Noah Spence grow)
"He's just preparing better. Like I said, it's a mental battle. Before it was just, 'I'll go to meetings when I have to go to meetings and practice when I have to practice,' but now he's watching film on his own, studying his opponent more and knowing what to expect and how to prepare. All the vets in the room are helping him out. He's asking more questions and he's more focused in practice. He's just becoming an NFL football player. It's different when you're in college. You still have to be a college football player, but you can still be immature and still get by. He's realizing you can't do that in the NFL. You're playing against grown men now who really know how to prepare and have different things at stake. Take a person like me, I've got four kids, so my preparation is very key. A lot of the linemen in the room have got kids and wives, so when you're preparing you're keeping your wife and kids and mine. Like, I can't mess up on this play because then I'm letting my kids down. He's starting to realize that and he's growing up fast. That's why you're seeing him play the way he is."
 
(On if Spence is figuring out that you have to hustle off the field, too)
"Absolutely, absolutely. He's getting it, he's understanding it and I think he's going to do nothing but get better."
 
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