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21 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (9/21/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since entering the league in 2014, WR Mike Evans ranks 10th in the NFL in receiving yards (2,426), while his 25 catches of 25 or more yards stand as the ninth-most in the league during that time.
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 players that are injured this week)
“Ok, so here’s the thing, we have some guys that are banged up this week. As required by the league, we’re going to do an injury report. As I’m sure you can understand, my point of view is that I’m not going to sit up here and tell our opponents everything we’re going to do. We definitely have some guys that are going to be close on making it this week. As far as injuries go, you’re going to have to get the rest of it off of the injury report. That’s really all I can say on that.”
(On running backs Charles Sims III and Jacquizz Rodgers possibly getting more snaps if Doug Martin isn’t able to play)
“Next man up has got to play. What more do you want to say? Everybody that is up on game day is going to play. They did last week, too. We’ve got plenty of backs up [on the roster] – we’re going to have three running backs up [active on game day], ready to go. That’s what it’s going to be.”
(On Rams running back Todd Gurley and the Rams rushing attack)
“They do a really good job with their running game. First of all, he’s an outstanding back. They do a lot of what we call ‘flash plays,’ where they bring the tight end or fullback back across the backfield. They try to bluff you on the backside. They run a lot of reverses and fake reverses, so they’re trying to disguise their running game. They’re as good as anybody in the league at that style of running. It really requires your defensive front to be disciplined, maintain their gaps. If you get out of your gap, they’re going to hit a big one on you.”
(On if the game plan based just on what the Rams have done this year or if the team looks at previous years)
“Oh no, we go back a lot because their first two games this year – San Francisco in game one is kind of a spread team on offense and then Seattle last week is a lot different than we are on offense. The fact that we played them late last year, that’s a game that we can really rely on. That’s one of the hardest things about these early season games – there’s changeover on both teams and how that affects the game plan. One thing about the Rams from when we played them last year, they have three really good players – [T.J.] McDonald, the safety, [Alec] Ogletree, the linebacker and 94 [Robert Quinn], the defensive end – three really good football players that were injured when we played them last year. It gives them a little bit different look.”
(On the ‘snap and clear’ mentality that quarterback Jameis Winston has)
“He is pretty good at that. ‘Snap and clear,’ move on to the next play. He is really good at that.
(On if Winston is good at forgetting the previous game)
“Yeah, he has to be. We can’t play like we did the other night or it’s going to be a long season.”
(On the possibility of defensive end Noah Spence having to play more in place of defensive end Robert Ayers Jr., who was injured in last week’s game)
“Again, I’m going to say the same thing there. Everybody that’s up, everybody that’s active, their roles are changing based on who’s healthy and who’s not healthy. If you’re on the 53-man roster and you’re one of the 46 active, what I’ve seen or what I haven’t seen doesn’t matter. They’ve got to be able to play. If that means play all 64 plays, then that’s what it is. We drafted Noah in the second round. Just like we drafted [kicker Roberto] Aguayo to make kicks, we drafted Noah Spence to play defensive end. If that’s what he’s called on to do, he has to do it. You guys are asking me questions – our guys are our guys. We’re not going to trade them out. That’s what it is. Whoever’s up, they’re playing.”
(On the ‘target-to-catch’ ratio)
“We talked about this a lot last year when I was the coordinator. First off, I always look at that target thing on the stats at the end of the game and they’re fairly accurate, ok? But they’re not even close to 100 percent accurate. There’s balls that we’re throwing it to one place and the guy thought we were throwing it another. The other thing [about] that target thing – that’s where the ball goes. The quarterback might be trying to throw the ball over here, but something got him off of that. That can be misleading. Most teams, us included, your top guys that you’re trying to get the ball to are going to have the most targets. I believe on the sheet, Mike [Evans] had 17 [targets] and Vince [Jackson] had nine. It wasn’t 17 and nine, but they were our first two guys as far as targets.”
(On what the team is doing to build the chemistry between Winston and Vincent Jackson)
“We’re practicing. That’s why they call it practice. That’s just it – normal practice compared to what? This is professional football, the best players in the world. It should be precision, perfect practice. Are we perfect on game day? No. Have we been perfect in practice? No, but that’s what you’re working for. Practice, just going out there and tossing the ball around, like my son does, or like teams do in little league – this is professional football. We’re working on that every day.”
(On if he is surprised that Winston and Jackson haven’t fully clicked yet)
“Well, I guess I would just say that I have seen in my career where sometimes it can drift in and out and the smallest of things can get it off. If it was easy to just go in there and snap our fingers and fix it, trust me, we would have done it. Sometimes we don’t even know how it got off because it hasn’t always been that way. Has it been that way a little bit lately? Yes. We’ve got to figure out a way to fix it. I don’t know exactly what the reason is. We can talk about it, we can identify it, we can look at it on tape, we can go out there and try and correct it on the field – eventually it has to click or the elements have to change. Those are your options.”
(On the team not being penalized as heavily this season and what he is proud of in that regard)
“Just that - 11 penalties in two games. Our goal is to be six or less a game and we’ve made it. Obviously the number one goal every week is to win. We have several other tiered goals along the way, but the penalties thing is one. We have done a pretty good job in that area and we need to continue that.”
(On how the team looked at practice today compared to last Wednesday)
“It was much better today. Thank you for asking that because it feels good to say it. It was better. To use Jameis’ term, it didn’t suck.”
(On Jacquizz Rodgers)
“If you remember – maybe people out here didn’t follow Jacquizz and his brother James at Oregon State, but they were prolific college players. I mean, unbelievable stats at Oregon State. Jacquizz is an excellent zone runner. He’s short in stature, but he’s a muscled-up guy. He’s hard to see back there. He’s extremely hard to bring down. Really good quickness, really nice vision, can catch the ball out of the backfield and he’s got unbelievable pop in his pass protection. When you have an injury, whether it’s Doug Martin or X, Y, Z, guys are stacked on a depth chart for some kind of reason. Doug Martin is an elite player in this league. The next guys up, they’re not Doug Martin, or they’d be paid like Doug Martin. But those are the guys that we have. They’re going to go in there and they’re going to do a great job.”
(On how advantageous it is to pressure a quarterback through the interior of the offensive line)
“Very advantageous to the defense and disadvantageous to the offense. No quarterback likes that. No quarterback likes pressure in his face. There’s certain quarterbacks that don’t have as much mobility that you’re trying to push the pocket up the middle. Some quarterbacks hold the ball longer than others. In the case of the Rams, [quarterback] Case Keenum does a very nice job of getting the ball out quick. He is hard to get to.”
(On Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald)
“If you recall, when we played them last year, we played them on a Thursday night, so a short preparation week. But Donald and Gerald McCoy arguably could be the two best three-technique [defensive tackles] in the league. A little bit different in size, but in production? Wow. I’ve told you guys many times, when I was in Atlanta and we played the Bucs with Gerald, we doubled him every play. You try to do the same thing with Donald, but sometimes what the Rams do on defense makes it difficult. They play some fronts where they cover all three of your inside guys so it makes it difficult to get that double team unless you’re bringing it from the outside or bringing it from somewhere else besides the guy right next to him. Quinn, as I mentioned, number 94 coming off the injury and Donald – they have two really good pass rushers. But Donald is one of the best in the league. Him and Gerald are right up there.”
(On Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz taking big hits and Jameis Winston learning to slide after runs and if that comes with age)
“Hopefully. And I think [Philadelphia quarterback] Carson Wentz, they’re probably telling him the same thing we’re telling Jameis, because those hits are for real. They’re for real. It’s not colored jersey tag off like it is in practice. They’re hitting those guys for real. I was watching a little bit of that game when we were working and he definitely took some shots. We don’t want Jameis to take those shots. At the same time, you’re not coaching the competitiveness out of your quarterback.”
(On teaching Winston how to slide)
“Jameis is an old baseball player. I think he knows how [to slide]. Knowing how to do it and doing it are two different things.”
(On Winston blocking on a run play and if doing so affected his grade for the game)
“That’s off-limits too. He didn’t grade out well for the entire game. He did not have his best grade.”
(On reports that running back Doug Martin could miss up to three weeks)
“Well, we’re hopeful that we’ll get Doug back sooner than that. We’re hopeful that we can, but we feel good about the other two guys that carried the ball on Sunday. If Doug’s not available, then we’ll move forward with those two guys.”
(On running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims III)
“You know, Jacquizz has a background with Dirk, so I don’t think with him having to play, it’s not really that big of a deal in terms of understanding the offense. And really they’re similar in a number of ways. They’re good in pass pro, both good at catching the ball out of the backfield, can run with power when needed and we’re excited. I don’t see an issue with us being able to run the ball this week based on who our tailbacks are.”
(On concerns that neither Rodgers nor Sims have been ‘feature’ running backs in the NFL)
“Not particularly. Chuck has been here long enough and earned the opportunity to be the lead back. We expect him to play well, as we do Rodgers.”
(On how the running game has been through the first two weeks)
“Well, like a lot of things we do offensively, there’s room for improvement. There’s improvement needed in the passing game, there’s improvement needed in the running game. We’re not a finished product yet. The good news is that we still have 15 weeks to go until the end of the season. We’ve got good players, we’ve got good coaches. We’ve just got to continue to improve.”
(On how the potential absence of tight end Luke Stocker would affect the run game)
“Same as when you’re dealing with injury when you’re talking about Doug – there’s a reason he’s a starter. He’s a good football player for us. He does a number of things for us well. The other guys will have to step up. Having a guy like Brandon Myers, who has played a lot of football, will help. I think Cameron Brate has come a long way. Collectively, they’ll have to pick up the slack.”
(On the Rams defensive line and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald)
“They’re a good front. He’s a tough guy to leave singled. He’s stout, he’s powerful, he’s quick, he plays hard – he’s a handful. He’s one of the best in the league. They’ve got Quinn back on the edge. He’s probably still kicking off some of the rust that he from missing some of last year. He didn’t play a lot in the preseason, but he’s a good edge rusher. I don’t know what he has, 16 or 17 strip-fumbles in his career. They’re really good up front. They play hard and they’re athletic. They make it a one-on-one game, a lot like last week. They like to bring five, which puts you in one-on-one pass pro and they like to challenge you on the perimeter, playing man. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston struggling at Arizona after having success at Atlanta)
“I think collectively we didn’t play as well as we could have played and I think that it’s always going to show on the quarterback position. The week before, he did play well and we played better around him. That was a different opponent and different issues that were created. Happened this week and sometimes it just steamrolls and before you know it, you’re not playing as well as you’re capable of – you’re turning it over, miscommunication, errant throws, protection, those kind of things. The good news is it’s one [game]. With the personality that he has, the competitive nature, I anticipate a great practice today and a week of practice. And he did last week, it just didn’t go our way.”
(On the chemistry between Winston and wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“I think with all of your players, you’re constantly working to make sure that you’re on the same page with the quarterback and his anticipation of where you’re going to be. He’s the guy that’s under duress. That’s the precision that you’re looking for [that] isn’t there. And they would admit that. We’ve just got to continue to work at it and put Vince in those positions more often. It’s repetitions. It’s the looks we get during practice, it’s obviously Jameis’ anticipation and Vincent’s ability to get to the spots we expect him to get to.”
(On his comments in Week One that wide receiver Vincent Jackson needed to play better)
“He played better. Vincent played better. Now, again, all of our players – I said that in regard to him, but I think all of our players – we need to coach better, we need to play better. We’re continuing to grow as a team. We have a lot of young offensive players, Vincent not being one of them, but in terms of his rapport with Jameis, it’s still working. You don’t get a lot of practice reps. We’ve just got to continue to put Vincent in the spots where he’s going to get opportunities to catch it. Again, all those reps are so important to us continuing to move forward offensively. Some of those – it’s a handful of plays. Unfortunately, they’ve cost us a couple of turnovers. I would say the majority of the time they are on the same page. There’s just a few things we need to make sure we get them on the same page.”
(On Jackson)
“I thought he played harder and I thought he played more consistent. That’s the most important thing.”
(On if Jackson being in his 12th season has impacted his play, physically or mentally)
“I don’t see that. I’ve never looked at it that way. I understand the question, but he still has a lot left in the tank. He’s running fine, he’s catching the ball fine, he’s in the right spots. We just have to do a better job of all of us being on the same page. Which again, is a few plays. We’re not talking about the majority, we’re talking about 10 percent of the time, just making sure we’re in the right spot where he can anticipate and make a throw so we can be more successful offensively.”
(On Winston’s errant throws were a result of bad mechanics)
“I think that’s part of it. Again, it’s one week. From one week – like we talked about, from NFC [Offensive] Player of the Week to the next week. We’re all frustrated. He is more than any of us. Then again, at times it steamrolls and then it turns from maybe us being in the right spot – the first interception was a great play by a great player, did a great job of riding Mike out. And really, the last pick was the last play of the game, so we’re talking about the two plays in between there. Can frustration build? Sure. Could there be precision issues we’ve got to work on? You bet. Could there be protection issues that you need to continue to work on? Sure. Sometimes frustration leads to inconsistency. The emotions and dividing the emotion and the passion of a player. But I thought he warmed up great. I didn’t see any of that and didn’t anticipate any of it. We started off fast and all of sudden threw an interception. Obviously it wasn’t that fast, because we didn’t score, but I except us to bounce back. It’s a one-week league and we’ve got good players and good coaches.”
(On Winston’s ability to ‘snap and clear’ and put bad plays and games behind him)
“I don’t know that. This is the first time. So we’ll find out. I wasn’t here last year, so we’ll see. Do I think it’s easier to do once the game is over? You bet. Is it harder to do in the middle of a game? You bet. Who wasn’t frustrated? We don’t want to put that kind of product out there offensively, I know we don’t. Now, we’ve got good players and good coaches. Our job this week is to have a better Wednesday and a better Thursday because you’re game is going to show what you do every day in practice. We didn’t practice as well as we can last week. We can practice better this week and we anticipate playing better.”
(On why last week’s practices weren’t as good as they could have been)
“I don’t know. Do I think the first game was a big game? You bet. We talked about that – divisional game, going to Atlanta. Coming back off of that, I think human nature. How do you find that resolve? A week ago, people are asking the Arizona Cardinals, ‘How could you have a first game like you played in your opener?’ It’s human nature. It’s coming back and understanding you’re going on the road, long trip against a team that has their backs against the wall. They started off two games at home. We started off two games on the road. We don’t want to get too out front, but bottom line is we split, starting on the road. That’s not too bad. We can’t let one loss and the way we played lead to another loss and another loss. We’re not changing what we do. We are who we are. We believe in what we do. We’ve just got to do it better.”
(On if Charles Sims’ running style causes the team to plan the running game differently)
“There’s certainly things that Chuck does differently than Doug. Every running back does. There’s a few things we may have to do a little bit differently, but really we have to be what we believe in and continue to trust. I think he’s continued to work on getting his pad level down. We anticipate him well and we’ve got to play well around him.
(On where he learned the phrase ‘Snap and clear’)
“That phrase, I learned it from [Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Bajakian actually. It’s just a simple phrase and it goes with positive plays and negative plays. You have one play, then move on to the next play.”
(On how much that phrase applies to this week after last week’s game)
“I already snapped it, it happened and now I’m just clear of it. We’re looking forward to this game and starting off in Raymond James [Stadium] and getting us a win.”
(On if he think he bounces back well from poor games)
“I guess so. I just like – perseverance is one of my big things and I just want to keep persevering and get us a win.”
(On how much he is looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd)
“I’m very excited to get in ‘Ray Jay’ and have a good showdown with the L.A. Rams.”
(On how he keeps his composure during games after mistakes)
“Because it’s the NFL. Like I said last week when we were happy because we got the win, you’ve got to move on to the next week. It’s a week-to-week league and my job as a teammate to our guys is to put us in a situation to win. Last week I did not do that and my job, my individual goal, is to get better every week. So I know if I’m getting better, I should play better.”
(On if mistakes got to him a little bit more when he was younger)
“I don’t think a mistake will ever eat at me, just because of my confidence and it’s just my mentality that if I fall down, I’m going to get back up. I’m not going to just sit down and harp on it.”
(On what gives him confidence in the running game with the running back Doug Martin being injured in last week’s game)
“Just overall, trust in our guys. The offensive line has been playing outstanding. ‘Chuck’ [running back Charles Sims III] is a playmaker and [running back] Jacquizz [Rodgers], he made some great runs, so looking forward to seeing them in a full game atmosphere. We never know with Doug, but whatever happens, happens.”
(On if his chemistry with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans is more important because of Martin’s potential absence)
“I think just passing the ball is important anyway. Running or passing, it’s not more important than the other, you’ve just got to execute when their number’s called.”
(On what Martin means to this team)
“Doug Martin means a lot to this team. Doug is one of our best players, we love him tremendously. He had a great season [last year]. We just love having him on the team. It’s not like he went missing, he’s still here, still part of this team.”
(On if he senses the precision with Jackson is off and what he thinks the problem is)
“No, I don’t think it’s just, like you said, ‘Not where it needs to be’ – that’s everything right now, is not where it needs to be, not just me and Vincent. We’re going to get better, that’s the thing, you get better every single week. I put most of that on me. I have to be playing with better rhythm and better accuracy to help our team out.”
(On if he sensed that the team didn’t have great practices last week)
“Any time something negative happens, everyone wants to point fingers. But as an overall team, we lost. So we’ve got to find a way to fix that. Back to the ‘snap and clear’ mentality, last week is over. We’re not focused on last week. We’re focused on playing better this week and having better practices this week.”
(On the challenges that the Rams defense brings)
“Very similar to last week, a great front seven, They’ve got some great rushers and they’ve got some great linebacker and a good secondary. [They] do a lot of schemes where they play some man and try to match up their linemen one-on-one with our linemen, so it’s going to be another battle.”
(On what the 24 hours after last week’s loss were like)
“You’re not with me after a win either. They’re the same, the same 24 hours. I have to get ready for next week, I can’t focus on the last game, I have to get prepared for the next week. Obviously when you win, you’re happier, but at the end of the day, you’re never really satisfied because one game isn’t the end of the world and one win isn’t a Super Bowl, so you have to get ready every week.”
(On when he starts watching film from the last game)
“After every game I watch the game on my Surface [tablet].”
(On what time he’s at the facility the next day after a game)
“After every week, after every game, win or loss, I’m probably in the building – if we’re not playing a West Coast game – I’m in the building from 6:45 [a.m.] to 7:30 [p.m.].”
(On if his throwing accuracy is continuing to evolve)
“Absolutely. Those interceptions [against Arizona] were strictly about accuracy and that’s just, pardon me again, improving my game, just having to get better. Especially when you’re playing against man teams, you have to be pin-point accurate because the margin for error is not much, so you have to be on-point.”
(On much more comfortable he is playing the Rams this season than when he did last season)
“I’m happy to just be getting back on that football field to try to lead our team to a win. That’s what I’m focused on. I know we played the Rams, I don’t know how many more games [I have played since then], but I’m just really excited to get back on this practice field and go to work.”
(On if he learned more from the Week 2 loss than he did the Week 1 win)
“I think I’ve learned something from every game. My main thing after every game is, eliminating the negatives and building on the positives. We did have some positives in that game, at the beginning. Some third downs – compared to last week, our third downs were slightly better this week against a ‘man-heavy’ defense. Early we were on fire with third downs. So you always can take some positives form the game, but the main things is, eliminating those negatives and not making the same mistakes.”
(On how he can stop one turnover from turning into five)
“I just keep on going. There’s not enough time to be scared, to hold back, you’ve just got to keep playing, it’s the game of football. Things are going to happen your way or they’re not. Sometimes those tipped balls are going to go our way, it’s just the game.”
(On if he watched HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ this year, which featured the Rams)
“Yeah, I watched it. Just in support of [Los Angeles running back] Todd Gurley, just to see him, see if he was going to be the funny guy on there. I actually enjoyed [Rams center Eric] Kush, his character, because he actually was here with us a little bit last year and I loved his tank-top stories [laughter].”
(On what advice he has for Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff, a fellow first overall pick)
“Just do it for your teammates. Your preparation, everything you do, do it for your teammates. He’s going to be good, he’s a great quarterback. You see [Philadelphia Eagles quarterback] Carson Wentz is tearing it up.”
(On Florida State’s game against South Florida on Saturday)
“’Noles have to bounce back, just like I have to bounce back. Like I said, I’m focused on getting back out here on this practice field and taking care of us. I’ve had my years at Florida State. I’m trying to have my years here too.”

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