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14 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (9/14/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: QB Jameis Winston was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week One. Through the first week of the season, Winston is tied for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns, the first time a Buccaneers quarterback has held or tied for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns since Brad Johnson in Week 12 of 2003.
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
(On if coaching quarterback Jameis Winston is ‘fun’)
“Some days, yeah. Some days - other days not so fun. But most days he’s pretty fun, yeah.”
(On if there are ever confrontations between himself and Winston)
“Every coach is going to coach their own style. [Arizona Cardinals Head Coach] Bruce Arians, a very successful quarterback coach who knows what he’s talking about. [Florida State Head Coach] Jimbo Fisher, extremely successful quarterback coach, coaches his own style. So I’m not going to compare my style to anyone else’s. The play will speak for itself, but Jameis is a heck of a quarterback no matter who’s coaching him.”
(On bringing in running back Jacquizz Rodgers and what he likes about him)
“He was actually our number two in Atlanta both behind Michael Turner and then later behind Steven Jackson. So he’s got a lot of experience in this system and as you know, we like versatile guys. [He is] a really good zone runner, really good inside runner. Even though he’s a smaller in stature guy in height, he’s a really good receiver out of the backfield, I think he [had] 50-something catches for us one year and he’s an excellent special teams player. So he’s going to make our football team better.”
(On if he feels more comfortable with the team’s depth at wide receiver and running back after bringing in Cecil Shorts III and Rodgers)
“You’ve got to remember, on both those positions, injuries to other plays dictated that. Hats off to [General Manager] Jason [Licht], he did a good job. We got decimated a little bit there at the back end of that wide receiver group. We had four, five guys go down that were with us all through training camp and then we had a guy go down at the halfback spot as well. I think we’re fortunate that the guys that Jason was able to bring in were available and I think they’re good football players on top of that. Like all moves that Jason makes, we’re trying to make our football team better.”
(On if he has started doing anything different in practice to deal with the heat)
“Well practice-wise, when you’re in the season like this, you don’t have a whole lot of options with your schedule because you have to have your install meetings. So you can’t just show up at eight o’clock in the morning and practice after the players have been off for a day, that won’t work. So the main thing that we’re doing different right now is we’re doing our walkthroughs out in the tent. So that 30 minutes that you’d normally be out just like this in the sun and then the guys come in for lunch, we’re doing it in the tent. You’re all aware of what we did in preseason in training camp, but that’s the main thing right now. The other change that we’ll make to try and help our guys acclimate a little better is on all three of these west coast trips, we’ll leave on Friday. We’ll practice here in the morning a little bit earlier, then we’ll travel on Friday.”
(On if it is too early to tell if doing the walkthroughs in the tent is starting to pay off)
“Yeah, it’s way too early. I think that’s a cumulative thing that – if you remember last year December, it was either the 26th or the 28th, I can’t remember which day, one of those two days, it was 96 degrees out there when we went out for walkthrough. So I think that’s a cumulative thing that builds up on you over the course of the year, I don’t think that we would necessarily see that right now.”
(On if he has seen an improvement in wide receiver Mike Evans with controlling his emotions on the field)
“Yeah, very much so. Mike has really worked hard on that, all through training camp. Even the ball early in the game that Jameis overthrew him in the end zone in that first drive, Mike wasn’t demonstrative in any way, he hustled back to the huddle. Mike’s worked on it, it definitely showed up and I think it’ll pay off for him.”
(On if there is a benefit to Evans hanging out with Winston, who prides himself in moving on quickly from mistakes)
“Yeah, there could be. Jameis, that’s one of his strengths and I think Mike’s trying to do better at that. As we said in here before, Mike’s very hard on himself, he’s harder on himself than he should be sometimes. Benefit? I’m not quite qualified to measure that, but there could be.”
(On how difficult it is to leave the last game behind when the whole town is still talking about it)
“It’s hard. It is hard, but we have to do it. We have no choice because this is a week-to-week league and as much as nobody wants to hear this – there’s four teams in the league that have their first two games at home. Arizona is one of them and they got beat at home. There’s three teams in the league that have their first two games on the road. We’re one of them and we were fortunate to win last week. Think about what Arizona is telling their team. 2-0 at home, this is a must [win] game for Arizona, so if we’re not ready to go, we’re going to go in there and get our tails kicked. Sure, the guys are happy, they should be. 24 hour rule, they got an extra day off, they got Victory Monday, but today is a work day, their work starts anew. Arizona is an excellent football team, many people picking them to go all the way. They got off to a slower start than they wanted to, that doesn’t diminish that they’ve got a lot of really good players [and] they’re very well coached. So we have to do that because if we don’t we’ll suffer for it on Sunday.”
(On if he has talked to his players at all about how big it would be to start the season 2-0)
“Sure, of course. We’re going to paint both sides of the picture, that’s what we try to do in preparation, we try to cover our bases. We’re going to make mistakes along the way, but we try to cover our bases on that.”
(On if it being a ‘must-win’ game for Arizona bumps up the team’s focus even more)
“They’re definitely going to give us everything they have, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. Again, we’re just saying the same stuff in different ways. It’s a week-to-week league and for a team like us that’s trying to climb up into the upper echelon, every week’s a championship game. There are no teams [where] we’re going to walk out there and they’re going to be shaking in their boots because the Bucs are coming to town, that’s not going to happen.”
(On if he sees a different confidence in the players this week after coming off of a win)
“[Laughter] No.”
(On if Evans’ basketball background helps him as a receiver)
“Maybe sometimes the way he approaches the ball. I think I’d notice that on some other guys more than Mike. To be honest with you, I really wouldn’t have known that Mike [played basketball]. It doesn’t surprise me, but I look at Mike as just a football player. Mike’s a football player to me.”
(On the celebration penalty that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy received versus Atlanta)
“Again, the intent of that rule was to eliminate pre-determined celebrations. That’s not what that was, it did look like it. Right when that happened, I said, ‘We’re going to get flagged.’ Gerald was celebrating a sack and a couple other guys started imitating him. Not preconceived at all, but by what they’re calling the rule – look, I don’t make the rules, whether I agree with it or not doesn’t matter. They called it, they’re going to call it. Arizona I believe had one call on them as well, there was one in that game. It could’ve hurt us a lot more than it did, we talked to the guys about it today.”
(On if he was okay with the amount of times Winston got hit against Atlanta)
“I don’t chart the ratio. I think it’s easy for us to say at the end, ‘He got hit too much’ or ‘He didn’t get hit very much.’ But when you’re playing the game, you’re playing the game to win and I could tell Jameis to go out there and taka a knee and that wouldn’t matter what I tell him. Jameis is going to do what he thinks he needs to do to win, that’s just how he plays. Not all quarterbacks are like that. He did take a couple shots, but as we said the other day, he stood in there and delivered a couple excellent throws in the pocket too and the great ones do that.”
(On third downs against Atlanta)
“Yeah, we weren’t good in that area. That’s an area that we have to get better at and I know that’s something that Arizona will be focusing on as well because that probably won the game for New England. Their third down conversion rate, they were excellent on third down. They got the third-and-mediums and they converted. We were not good enough in that area. Our defense was spectacular, 23 percent, but our offense was terrible. Our number on that is 45 percent and we were what, three for ten or something, 30 percent, we were not even close to our number. We’ve got to do better. We ran the ball two times on third down there at the end and another time. We had some opportunities and we have to do better.”
(On if he notices any differences linebacker Kwon Alexander’s second season compared to his first)
“I think there’s a lot of similarities to what Jameis is going through. I think any time you play the game, the more you play it, the more it slows down for you. I know Kwon has mentioned to some of you that [linebackers] Daryl Smith and Lavonte [David] have helped him. Daryl Smith is one of those guys that looks like he’s always in semi-slow motion, but he’s not. I think he’s helped Kwon to slow it down. A lot of times when you hear people talk about ‘run-and-hit’ linebackers, they’re just guys that are somewhat out of control and they over pursue at time, I think that’s what Kwon’s referring to. And the other thing, he’s learned how to study. He’s put so much more time in. He told me he could see the plays getting ready to happen before [they did]. Just today in practice – here we are only on Wednesday and I was listening to Lavonte David, just by formation and backfield splits calling out almost every play that our scout offense was getting ready to run. That’s just being a pro and playing time.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his game against the Falcons)
“I think it’s a credit to him and the offseason that he had, preparing himself for the start of the season. And even the improvement he made, the strides he made from OTAs until now. I think it’s a credit to the players around him. I think it takes everybody: you need protection, you need guys catching the ball, you need to be able to run the ball when you want to run it. So I think it’s a group award obviously that Jameis earned and he played a heck of a game.”
(On what were some of the strides that Winston has made since OTAs)
“I just think that it just seems as though we had collectively and I think our group made collective strides. In terms of just his accuracy, his command of the offense, I just think that those were the things that you could see a difference in.”
(On the offense’s first quarter against Atlanta)
“We were just a hair off the first drive, we ended up settling for a field goal but we were just a hair off from a couple big plays, one to ‘Hump’ [wide receiver Adam Humphries] and [one] to [wide receiver] Mike [Evans]. And then the interception was a miscommunication, we ran the wrong route. If you run the wrong route, you’re going to have turnovers, so we’ve got to do a better job there of communicating. You’re backed up, so it’s a little louder back there to make sure that all of us collectively hear the call, so we’re on the same page.”
(On the challenges that going up against a 3-4 defense presents)
“We have to do what we do and do it better than they do it. That’s what this business is about, playing to your strengths and then being able to do it better than they do it. Obviously it’s going to be another challenge being on the road – a domed stadium – we’re going to have to do a great job of communicating, weathering that storm. Obviously we expect their best and they should expect ours.”
(On Winston not getting sacked at all against Atlanta)
“If you can keep him upright, I think there’s a number of pictures on there where you can see – and we talked it earlier, a fast start and a quarterback’s accuracy if he can stay upright. Our O-line did a great job, our backs did a great job of chipping in protection, so that’s a big part of having success throwing the ball and throwing it downfield.”
(On how often Winston changed the play at the line against Atlanta)
“I couldn’t tell you exactly how many times he plays he changed at the line, I think we give him a lot of freedom. [Head] Coach [Dirk] Koetter and [Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Bajakian do a great job with him and he does a great job of getting us in the right place, but I couldn’t tell you how many that is.”
(On wide receiver Mike Evans’ maturation as a player)
“I talked about it last week, he’s just done a really good job in the offseason, he really has. And he did a good job preparing during the week, so I expected him to play well. He didn’t do anything that I didn’t expect him to do on Sunday.”
(On if the coaching staff goes into games saying they have to find ways to get Evans the ball)
“I think so. I think [we] are always trying to find ways to get it to our playmakers, he happens to be one of them. He wasn’t frustrated at all at halftime. I had actually talked to him about it and he was great. I thought Coach [Koetter] did a great job at halftime [saying], ‘How are the ways we can get it to Mike?’ And sometimes coverage dictates [if] you can and you can’t. We got in a two-minute situation and there were a lot of check-downs. I thought Coach did a great job of finding ways to get it to Mike and calling it.”
(On what it says about Koetter that he values his coordinators’ input so much on game day)
“I think that’s a testament of a great leader. He’s a great listener, a much better listener than I am. He’s tremendous at taking input and filtering it. He’s really good at that part. Information is good, then he has to decide and filter through all of it, but the information is what’s important I think in everything you do in life.”
(On how much of a problem Arizona’s big defensive tackles creates for creating windows to throw to)
“You talking about [Calais] Campbell? I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy, he’s been around a long time, played really good football for a number of years and he’s got a real knack for batting balls down. You’ve got to do a great job up front and you’ve got to do a great job of finding windows, you hit it on the head. It’s not that easy, but you’ve got to do a great job of it.”
(On how important it is for receivers to catch ‘50-50’ balls)
“If you look at the number of opportunities both teams had, both teams had five opportunities. We scored four touchdowns and a field goal, they kicked three field goals, two touchdowns. So how do you make the most out of your opportunities? We hit deep balls [when] last year there were times when we didn’t hit those. When you hit those, then you give yourself a chance to be explosive and score touchdowns, I said earlier, and not kick field goals. Our guys understand that, trying to put themselves in positon to make contested catches because the windows are so much smaller. That’s the biggest thing we continually work on.”
(On if Winston is throwing better deep balls in practice and what’s the difference from last year)
“I think so. I think just routine, comfort in the offense, our receivers playing better, being in the right spots, giving him windows to throw it. I think that’s the biggest thing is just how much longer they play together and will work at their craft. You’ll continue to see that improvement. Years ago when [quarterback] Brandon Weeden went to go work the Manning Camp and he asked [former NFL quarterback] Peyton Manning, ‘How do you get such great report with [former Indianapolis Colts wide receivers Marvin] Harrison and Reggie Wayne?’ He says, ‘Never get tired of running the same routes over and over and over again. Never get tired of doing the same things, the offense isn’t going to change. How do we do it better than they do it?’ That’s really what it comes down to, and those guys have bought into, so we continue to improve and when those opportunities come, take advantage of it.”
(On in more comfortable throwing ‘50-50’ balls to his receivers compared to last season)
“I think it just worked out, that’s one week. Two weeks from now you may be asking the same question, ‘Why doesn’t he trust them and throw it to them more?’ So I think that’s just one week. Do I think he trusts our big receivers to go make plays? Yes. And we’ve got athletic tight ends. So I do think he trusts them, but it’s a week to week thing.”
(On how much of the offense is unscripted)
“When the ball’s snapped, it’s all scripted. There’s no improv, there is no gray. But what happens is with a guy like Jameis - we did a study and Coach talked about it and I looked at it like, ‘Okay, our number one pass play last year was scramble. 90 times Jameis scrambled.’ Okay, well that’s not uncommon for an athletic quarterback, you watch those guys scramble. So we continue to work on it, it’s going to make a difference in games if you get explosive plays and extend plays and have your guys react to it, so that’s really where that comes about. Everything we do is about eliminating the gray so when we come Sunday, we can play fast.”
(On wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s game against Atlanta)
“Well he’s had a good camp, he had a great week of practice last week. We can do a better job of getting him the ball early and getting him involved. But he’s got to play better, I’ve got to coach him better, he’s got to play better. He knows that. That’s like all of our players, it’s not just him. I’ve got to find a way to get him to play better and he’s capable. He’s a darn good football player, he’s got a lot left in his tank and we count on him this week to have a big game. I expect him to rebound.”
(On how difficult Evans’ touchdown catch was against Atlanta)
“That’s very difficult. And indoors and someone on your shoulder and then actually, the most difficult thing was how did he hold on to it with one hand? His ball security was terrible. How he did that, that was probably more difficult than anything. But Mike’s capable of that and it’s just a matter of doing it and re-routine every week and giving yourself those opportunities.”
(On what kind of role he expects running back Jacquizz Rodgers to have this week against Arizona)
“We’ll see, we’ll see as his role develops. Today was his first day out there, he does have some familiarity with Coach Koetter in being with the Falcons, so his transition should be smoother, but we’ll see as the week goes on.”
(On how important it is for Winston to tell him early in the game what he sees in the defense)
“Yeah, he’s very good at communicating, not only with the coaches but with the players, of what he’s seeing. And I think that’s the maturation that when you talk about as a player from year one [to year two] to just making sure that the call’s right, to make sure the guys are lined up right. To then seeing the bigger picture, which he has really evolved. And as he evolves and we play better around him, the better we’ll be offensively.”
(On how important a Week One victory is)
“I know it’s not really a funny question, but being on the road, starting your first two on the road – let alone going back to Atlanta, I’ll leave it at that for a number of reasons. A divisional game that really counts as two. A conference opponent, someone that we’ll both very familiar with, very important. But it’s one, it doesn’t define you. I don’t think last year’s first game defined the team, they put themselves in an opportunity, so it’s just one. You’ve got to avoid the noise, that’s what our job is, to avoid the noise. You’re really, really good or you’re really, really not very good. And that’s the noise that comes from outside of the building. We know we’re pretty good, now it’s on to Week Two and what the Arizona Cardinals present to us defensively.”
(On how important it is to score first)
“It’s very important, obviously the statistics bare it out. Sometimes that works out, the team that scores first is better. They got the ball and they’re better, so sometimes that’s a little bit skewed. But bottom line is, we scored first - I don’t know what the statistic is if they come back and take the lead, I don’t know. I just know you’ve got to find a way to battle back, whatever the scenario. I thought our guys did a great job of that, I thought they did a great job of not panicking, even after the miscommunication, the turnover. They took the lead at home and how our guys reacted I think is a real credit to our coaches and our players. I think that’s probably more important than anything at the beginning of a field goal here or there, sure you want to start fast, you want to get points. You want to then flip the field and I thought our guys did a great job really, because you’re going to have moments in the game of adversary and I thought they did a great job of overcoming that. They were great on the sideline. That’s a great sign with our players and how they were reacting to those moments.”
(On the challenge of game planning for Arizona defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson)
“Well I think you’ve got to be leery of where they’re at at all times. They’re two tremendous football players, worthy of all the accolades they’ve gotten. So you’ve got to be conscious of where they’re at, but you can’t be afraid to go after them. We’ve got good players, they’re good players. So I think that’s the most important thing, is to understand we’re in the NFL, everybody’s got good players. But you’ve got to be conscientious of where they’re at, then you’ve got to attack them, you’ve got to go after them.”
(On if the Cardinals are a better measuring stick to see where they’re at as a team)
“I don’t know, I think it’s week to week. Last week we found a way to get a win. I think as you guys looked at the games [around the league last week] and how close they were, it’s doing the little things well, it’s not turning it over. It’s converting those big plays, we need to be better on third downs, we scored touchdowns when we had opportunities, defensively we got sacks. We did a lot of things well as a team that allows you to win and overcome the turnover margin. So those are things, this is just game two. Whether it’s the Arizona Cardinals or whoever the next opponent might be. But do I think they’re a good football team? Yes.”
(On being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week One)
“It’s an honor, but I couldn’t do it without those other [52] guys out there. The defense played an amazing game, no sacks [given up]. I mean, when the quarterback’s not even getting touched back there, you’ve got to have fun back there in the pocket and everybody’s just making plays so it’s definitely a team thing.”
(On keeping the team hungry and focused amidst success)
“This is a new week. We’re happy that we won, but that’s the thing about the NFL – it’s a week-to-week thing. We’re trying to be undefeated this week. I believe every week we’re trying to be 1-0, so we can’t really focus on last week’s game.”
(On where he has made the biggest strides from his first year to his second year)
“Just giving the guys chances. Obviously, I’ve got to keep getting better. Just being a better quarterback, I’m just growing. It’s different out there, I’m more comfortable in the offense, but I have so many more areas of improvement so when you talk about strides, I’m still striving to one day be the best.”
(On if he’s seeing the field differently in his second year)
“No, it’s just processing the information quickly because I’m more comfortable with the playbook. And it’s my second year, I’m more comfortable with all of the guys that are around me. You know, we worked hard this offseason. It’s not by chance that I magically got better. We just put work in and we’ve just got to keep getting better.”
(On referring to wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as “superstars” after the win at Atlanta)
“Yeah, because that’s what [the media] asked me about. I was just happy that we won. Deep balls are part of the game – I missed a lot of those last year – so we’ve just got to keep getting better. It [stinks] that we can’t celebrate one victory for the whole year but we’ve got to keep getting better.”
(On how he knows Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians and what he learned from him)
“Bruce used to hold local camps in Birmingham that I used to attend. Met him a couple times and one thing I just remember is him showing me those Super Bowl rings and I still haven’t gotten one yet, so I’m shooting for that. He really motivated me to go after a Super Bowl. He showed me that Pittsburgh one and it was gorgeous, so he really inspired me to go after a Super Bowl.”
(On if Arians gave him any advice back then)
“Yeah, I mean, I think I was like 12 [years old]. I don’t remember. I’m pretty sure he gave me some great advice.”
(On Arians calling Winston a ‘legend’ back in Birmingham)
“He’s probably just saying that. I don’t believe that, but it’s about us playing against them. The past is the past. I’m pretty sure after the game I’ll give him a big hug, but we’re playing against the Arizona Cardinals. We’ve got to get ready to play these guys. These guys are a good team.”
(On Arizona’s secondary)
“They have playmakers, but we’ve got playmakers on offense. I definitely trust my guys. This is definitely going to be a matchup game so we’re just looking forward to actually competing and having a chance. We’re blessed with the opportunity to be on the road again and just make a name for ourselves.”
(On if any preparation in the offseason for playing a 3-4 defense, including training camp practices with Cleveland, gives him more confidence this week)
“What gives me confidence is those guys, week in and week out, working hard. We’re blessed that we have coaches that think about our schedule and think about what looks we need to see and it was good. Cleveland and Arizona have some [defensive] similarities, but at the end of the day it’s different personnel, it’s a different team and it’s the NFL. You never know what you can expect, you can only hope that they do what you prepared for.”
(On the fine line between checking the ball down and attempting big gains)
“[Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Bajakian and Coach Koetter, they try to just squeeze it out of my mind, ‘Check it down,’ but Coach Bajakian really emphasizes just completing the football. Whether it’s a check down, whether it’s a deep ball, or whether it’s an intermediate route, the more times we’re accurate completing the football, we’re going to have success.”
(On Adam Humphries being his security blanket on third down and if he has developed a rapport with him)
“I have, but we’ve got so much talent out there, security blankets – I don’t even know what that is anymore because I trust every one of those guys out there that are running routes. I’m just blessed to have a great team. My security blanket is the offensive line because not getting sacked on third downs, now that’s true security.”
(On doing national radio interviews this week and if he enjoys the attention)
“I just believe when you get the opportunity to make your team look good you take advantage of it. A lot of people looked down on us, but again, it’s just one game. The same people that are praising us right now, if we lose by one point they’re going to be saying how bad we [stunk], so we’ve just got to keep getting better and we’ve got to keep improving because that’s NFL football. It’s a week-to-week thing. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. We just hope that we win more than we lose.”
(On how losing a game on a last second field goal impacts him)
“I trust [kicker] Roberto [Aguayo]. I’ve seen him make last-second kicks for the past four years so what I can do, what we can do as a team, is try not to make it get down to that situation. Even though it’s the NFL and those situations happen, we’ve just got to execute and not put the pressure on our kicker like that.”
(On what happens to him when he loses a game on a last second field goal)
“It doesn’t matter if I lost the game by a last-second kickoff, if we got [blown] out, or if I lost the game by fumbling – a loss is a loss and I just don’t like losing. So it doesn’t matter which way we lose.”
(On the importance and technique of completing 50-50 balls, particularly in the red zone)
“Just put the ball in their area. Like I said, those guys are superstars. They were paid to go up there and catch the football. I just have to give them a chance. That’s what Coach Koetter always talks about, ‘Just give them a chance,’ because those guys make some great plays. Like we see with Chuck [running back Charles Sims III], that’s a three-yard pass that turned into a 25-yard run. When you put the ball in guys’ [hands] that actually run for a living, catch for a living, when you put it in their hands, crazy things happen.”
(On if he’s going to be able to watch the Florida State-Louisville game and how much he’s looking forward to it)
“I don’t know, but it’s going to be an exciting game. I know FSU is going to pull it through, but I hear they’ve got a very exciting quarterback. I hope I can see it because I know we’ve got a really good quarterback at Florida State. It’s going to be a good competition.”
(On if he knows a lot about Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson)
“Not really. I’ve seen the highlights and stuff and he’s having a pretty great year.”
(On Florida State’s 21-point comeback win over Louisville in 2014)
“I’m just trying to win this Arizona game. I’m happy that we won [that game] – a win is a win, that’s all I care about. I’m trying to get a win this week [in Arizona].
(On if Arizona is a better measuring stick for Tampa Bay)
“For us, team-wise, we just want to execute and play our best ball. We don’t care who we’re really playing against. I mean, you all can put us on a measuring stick but we just want to play. We’re having fun, we feel confident. We just want to get out there and have some more fun and win some football games and just compete. That’s what we do for a living, we just want to compete. We’re not really worried about the attention or anything like that. We just want to play football – the game that we were blessed to have an opportunity to play. We play a game for a living.”
(On if he sees a change in the team from this year to last year)
“One thing I saw was just excitement on that sideline when we’re winning, and that becomes contagious. It wasn’t one of those games where we make a mistake and we just go in the tank for a couple drives. No – we competed. Like I said, we’re battling out there and you’ve got to love that. You’ve got to love competitiveness. That’s what Coach Koetter teaches: compete. You’re never out of the fight as long as you’re competing.”

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