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22 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (9/22/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay’s defense is limiting opponents to 3.02 yards per rush this season, the third-lowest mark in the NFL.
 
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On how practice has looked the last two days)
“We’re getting a little better these last two days, thanks for asking.”
 
(On being 32nd in the NFL in turnover differential)
“Not a good place to be in that category.”
 
(On if there is time for improvement in turnover differential over the course of the season)
“Sure, over the course of the season, but we’ve got to own it for two games, that’s where we’re at. We’ve got to do better, we’re 0-6 after two games, we’re going to [have a] hard time overcoming it, but every week’s new. Every week starts over. We can’t do anything about the six we’ve already had or the ones we haven’t taken away, all we can do is what we can take care of moving forward.”
 
(On if he is equally concerned about the giveaways as he the lack of turnovers on defense)
“Absolutely. Zero takeaways on the year and six turnovers. It’s too many giveaways, not enough takeaways.”
 
(On if the defense has been close to getting turnovers, like cornerback Brent Grimes’ dropped interception against Arizona)
“That would have been a tough play on that particular one, that would’ve been a tough play to make. But define close - we’ve got zero, that’s the bottom line.”
 
(On if you can practice getting interceptions)
“We do drills to practice it. You guys were all out there during training camp and saw [cornerback Vernon] Hargreaves get three in one day. If you have opportunities, you have to make the play when your play comes around.”
 
(On linebacker Devante Bond not practicing today)
“There will be an injury report coming out and this is going to be my answer every day: we’ll put out an injury report, just like the NFL requires us to do. I’m not going to talk about injures, not because I’m trying to deprive you folks of anything, but it does me no good to tell the world what our plans are. We’ll abide by the NFL’s policies, like all teams do.”
 
(On how much it helps having left tackle Donovan Smith back at practice today and having the whole offensive line healthy)
“Of course, you want you your best players on the field. Of course you do.”
 
(On how important it is to establish a home field advantage)
“Absolutely important. It’s fantastic to be at home, number one. As I said many times, we’re one of three teams to start the first two games on the road and we’d love to be 2-0, but we’re 1-1 and we’re really excited to be coming home. And it is very important that we defend Raymond James [Stadium] and that we make that a tough place for anybody to come in to play. But before you can put a streak together, you’ve got to get the first one.”
 
(On how the emotions of the fan base shift week-to-week in the NFL)
“Of course, well it’s a week-to-week league. We understand, heck, the fans, they want us to do great every week, just like we want to do great every week. The fans have frustrations, just like the players and the coaches have frustrations. So when we don’t live up to expectations – and we did not last week – of course the fans are going to be frustrated. We can only hope that on Sunday where we have to do our part, we hope the fans show up and do their part to help us win.”
 
(On Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken saying wide receiver Vincent Jackson played harder against Arizona)
“Well again, I’m not going to comment on what anybody else says about anybody. If you ask me a question, I’ll answer it in my opinion, but I’m not going to comment on anybody else’s opinion because I wasn’t at the conversation.”
 
(On if Jackson is playing at the same level he was last year before he got injured)
“I think if Vincent gets opportunities, if he gets good opportunities, he’ll be fine.”
 
(On how Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston can improve their precision)
“Well when you get to this point - after you get through training camp, you get through OTAs – most of your volume reps, that part of the season is gone. We did a little thing yesterday, for example, [wide receiver] Mike Evans and Jameis, over the course of an hour and 45 [minute] practice, or whatever we have, they had 16 routes that they worked together on. That goes from start of individual to pass skeleton, to one-on-one, to team. Probably very similar for Vince. On a normal Wednesday and Thursday practice, about 16 reps and then you do them out there, you go in, you watch them again in the film room and some combination of that. And then watching film of your opponents, that has to be where it can improve because it’s not going to come anywhere else.”
 
(On what could make Winston become more accurate as his career goes on)
“I think experience and playing more always is going to help. When you listen to veteran quarterbacks talk, they usually use a term like, ‘the game slows down’ for them. I think when you go back and look at game tape of younger quarterbacks - Jameis included in that group - often times when they make mistakes they’re maybe a little bit late and maybe they know, so they try to rush it a little bit and then they’re not quite as accurate. Or when they’re under duress and they don’t maybe have their balance where they need to and the ball might sail. Those are usually causes of interceptions.”
 
(On what he is noticing on tape about the run game)
“I think one thing about that is, when you are successful doing something and teams have all year to study it, they’re going to try to take something away from you in this league. You noticed over the course of these first two games, we’re not seeing a whole bunch of two-high safeties, we’re seeing a bunch of eight-man box with single-high safety, which you would expect on first and second down until you get into third down and then you’re seeing more multiple coverages. We still have to be able to run the ball against eight-man spacing. We have to do a better job of that and I think we’ll continue to get better at that. I’m not overly concerned, but we’ve got to do better than we have so far.”
 
(On if the amount of touchbacks the team has seen in the first two games has surprised him)
“Well as I’ve looked at some other tape, it’s surprised me how many teams are using mortar kicks. Some teams that have committed to that, they’re exclusive. Depending just on how much they trust the kicker, they’re trying to kick it between the five and the goal line and put it right in the corner and if you look, most of those teams are pinning teams further back than the 25 [yard line]. The danger of the closer you get to the sideline is you risk kicking out of bounds. But those two balls that Roberto [Aguayo] hit last week, they were right on the goal line, so now I think it comes down to teams, how much confidence do they have in their return game. The 25-yard line - I believe the stat is - the average or the leading – I can’t believe if it’s the average or the leading – was the 24-yard line. So taking it out on the 25, from an offensive standpoint, is kind of a juicy thought. But there are some teams that are going to try and bring it out. Atlanta brought that one out – I think it was eight or nine yards deep on that very first one.”
 
(On if he told his returners there is a specific distance in the end zone where they should take a touchback) 
“Yes, we have done that.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE SMITH
 
(On how to prevent explosive plays from opposing offenses)
“We’re giving up way too many explosive plays and really it’s about us, not necessarily about them. And again, probably could’ve been a different call and maybe put them in a better spot, but when we make the call we’ve got to go out and we’ve got to execute it. We haven’t executed in the first two games. We’ve had 12 plays that have gone for over 400 yards. Sometimes they’re missed tackles, sometimes they’re missed assignments and sometimes they’re bad calls by me. So we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to tackle better, we’ve got to execute better and I’ve got to make better calls.”
 
(On players still learning his defense)
“Well this is all new for them and I don’t think you can really say what kind of defense we’re going to be until we’ve got at least four games under our belt. We haven’t experienced a lot of things in the regular season. In the preseason you’re getting vanilla looks, we’re doing vanilla things, so it gets a little more complicated. The guys are working hard at it and I’ve got to find - and we’ve got to find as a staff - the fine line where we don’t put them in situations if they’re not ready for it.”
 
(On if the first four games will show how good Tampa Bay’s defense is or if it will offer a better idea of how to game plan against opposing offenses)
“Well I think both. I think we’ll have a pretty good idea about what type of team we’re going to be. I think through the first two games, I think we’ve played the run well. That’s something that we pride ourselves o, is being able to stop the run. I think also it’ll come to fruition about what we’re capable of doing and we’ll know as a coaching staff. There’s going to be growing pains. We’re playing some guys that have experience in the NFL, but they don’t have experience in our system that we’re trying to put together and have it evolve to be their system.”
 
(On if he already learned things about the defense)
“Absolutely, there’s no doubt. Every day, it’s a learning experience for us as a coaching staff and for our players. You have ideas that you think you want to do and then you get an opportunity to do them on the practice field and sometimes they go to the side, sometimes you say, ‘Yeah,’ and then they go to the game and maybe we’re not ready for that specific scheme that we’re trying to install.”
 
(On if there are any examples he can provide)
“Well there’s lots of examples, a couple of those long plays were on me, I’ll tell you that. We can try to pinpoint it on looking at, if you don’t know what the call [is], you really don’t know who’s responsible for it. So I’ll take responsibility for those long plays and we’ve got to do a much better job on the explosive plays.”
 
(On how he can compensate for limited padded practices)
“I think you can compensate. You’ve got to work your technique - closing with the right angles. We gave up a 60-yard play on a two or three yard completion and we just have to make sure that we’re taking the right angles and the proper angles and not playing like we’re the only guy on the field. There’s a structure that there’s a force defender that’s going to turn it back in to the pursuit defenders and when the ball gets outside of your force defender, everybody’s chasing inside-out. So we’ve got to do a better job with our pursuit. I do believe this: tackling in the NFL has become one of the lost arts. It’s something that you don’t get an opportunity to do. We’re trying, we tackle, you guys have been out there and seen. Every day in practice, we have all of our groups working on tackling. It’s just that you can’t take the guys to the ground. It’s like you’re going out and practicing something that you’re really not going to do in the game.”
 
(On how defensive end Noah Spence is adjusting to playing on the left side)
“He’s doing good. Noah is going to be a guy that we’re going to bring along and it’s going to get speeded up because of the situation that we’ve encountered here over the preseason, in terms of our depth at the defensive end position. So one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, that’s what we tell our guys and we also tell them that being a backup in the NFL is probably the most difficult job on the team. Because when the number one guy gets hurt, the second guy is expected to come in, play at the same level and everybody is looking at him saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to do the same job that the guy was doing before.’ And we’ve got a number of guys that had to do that. [Defensive lineman DaVonte] Lambert for example, last week, got I think over 30 snaps. This was a guy that we didn’t think was going to be dressing in Week One, but that’s the way it is at different times in the season.”
 
(On Lambert)
“I like that he’s a very good - in terms of technician - he understands what his job is. I don’t know that he understands the scheme, but he understands his job and he’s a guy that’s is going to have to play significant snaps for us.”
 
(On linebacker Lavonte David’s game against Arizona last week)
“We weren’t as efficient. There were some opportunities for Lavonte, but not many. The way that the plays were run, he didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities. We were not nearly as active, across the board. When you start to look at your tackle chart at the end of the game and you see that your defensive backs are leading, it’s not a good week for the defensive coaching staff. We want to see, in an ideal situation, we want to see our linebackers have a lot more production than we had in the game last week. I don’t think that there’s ever been a game that Lavonte’s been shut out, in terms of making a mark on the stats board. He was a little bit banged up and this time of the year it starts to happen, you see it with every team in the NFL. And we’ve got guys that are limited in practice and they don’t get an opportunity to go through the preparation.”
 
(On his one-on-one meeting with linebacker Kwon Alexander after the loss to Arizona)
“It wasn’t much different than any other. We wanted to address the things that he had issues with and one of the things that we had issues with was tackling, getting guys on the ground. So we went back, watched the specific plays and looked at the technique that was being used. It’s a learning experience for Kwon to have such a great game – in my mind, I was shocked he wasn’t Defensive Player of the Week, to put those types of numbers [up]. But he didn’t have the production that he did in Week One, but you’ve got to break it down, show him, talk to him. ‘What were you seeing? What were you thinking? This is the structure of the defense,’ so he can learn when he’s put in that position the next time, he’s going to make a play.”
 
(On what he has learned after watching Alexander)
“He’s a very aggressive football player and sometimes when you’re over-aggressive, you want to shoot your gun before it’s time to shoot your gun. You’ve got to run through the tackles and that’s something that we all have to do. I think you get to a point where you think you’re in phase to go ahead and roll your hips and you’re not in phase and that’s where you lead to missed tackles. I don’t think it was a lack of effort, I don’t think it was poor pursuit angles, I think it was just a little technique thing where we were just a little bit off and when you’re a little bit off in this league, it can make you look bad.”
 
(On the rush defense’s success through the first two games)
“I like the way that we’re fitting the run. This week is going to be a big challenge with the flash plays and the scheme that Coach [Paul] Boudreau, [Los Angeles’] Offensive Line Coach, runs, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us. But we’ve done a nice job fitting the run and what I mean by fitting the run is everyone’s taking the proper gap. And we’ve done a good job of capping off when it hasn’t been stopped at the line of scrimmage. We’ve been active with our safeties and that’s something that we’ll have to continue to do. But it’s going to be a bigger challenge, this is a football team that we’re getting ready to play that wants to run the football, they want to make it slowball, they want to make it – I know [Head Coach] Dirk [Koetter] has probably talked about it – they want to make it an eight-to-10 possession game. They want to play to their strength, which is the other side. So we know what’s coming, but we don’t know exactly how they’re going to attack us because they’re going to do some things that are a little non-traditional, in terms of what most teams do in the run game.”
 
(On Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum having a good game against Tampa Bay last year when the two teams played)
“Yes he did and so did [Los Angeles wide receiver Kenny] Britt. I think those were the two guys that probably made the big plays. Britt’s a big, strong receiver and when he’s on, he’s on. He’s hard to stop. He’s a big, physical receiver, creates a physical mismatch. I thought, watching the game last year, that their quarterback got the ball out of his hands and I think that’s something that they’ll continue to want to do, is get it out quick and get it into their playmakers’ [hands]. [Wide receiver Tavon] Austin is going to be a big challenge for us. They get the ball out, they do a good job with six-and seven-man protections, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.”
 
(On the non-traditional things the Rams do offensively)
“Just the blocking schemes. The first two weeks we saw traditional zone-blocking schemes. We’re going to see some misdirection – not necessarily with the running back, misdirection with their linemen and their tight ends. They do a very good job of putting window dressing around the exact same play. So they get really good at running it in the core, but they want to try to get everybody’s eyes going in the wrong places.”
 
(On if having a louder home crowd makes it harder for the defense to communicate)
“Absolutely it is and I hope that we have a hard time communicating, that means that the fans are going to be into the game. When you’re on the road, defensively you can communicate, you don’t have to really concern yourself about hand signals and code words. This is something that we’ve got to do a good job of because some of the explosive plays that we’ve given up in the first two ball games have been because we’ve not communicated as well as we need do. And this is going to be a challenge this week because we’re at home.”
 
(On the lack of takeaways on defense through the first two games)
“We preach, like every defensive staff, we preach ‘attack the ball.’ They haven’t come our way in the first two ball games. We have faced, I think, two outstanding quarterbacks in the first two ball games. But we’re going to continue to preach and usually my experiences have been they come in numbers. When you start getting them, they start coming and that’s something that we have to do. We’ve got to turn the ball over and we’ve got to put our offense on short fields and give them extra possessions.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER VINCENT JACKSON
 
(On if the team has had a higher intensity level during this week’s practices)
“Oh yeah. We’re back at it. Guys understand. It’s a wake-up call when you get kicked in the teeth like that. It’s something where we all have a role to play in bringing that energy level up. We’re moving forward. It’s behind us. Short weeks in this league – you don’t have time to really dote on that stuff.”
 
(On connecting with quarterback Jameis Winston on the field this season)
“It’s tough, as much time as we’ve put in – we’ve been going at this since April. We understand the league. Certain things, you might miss a few here or there, but we’re working at it. I think Jameis has all the confidence in getting the ball around to everybody, getting everybody involved. We’re going to make sure that we get that straightened out.”
 
(On if man-to-man coverage requires precision timing from the quarterback and receiver)
“You have to be [precise]. We’re going to play a lot of teams this year that give us that opportunity. Again, it’s timing routes, it’s basic stuff, it’s really fundamental stuff that you can’t take for granted. Every practice, every day is very important. Our coaches do a good job of giving us the opportunities to work on those plays, to make sure that when we do have the opportunity, we’re hitting it. That’s all we need to do is execute.”
 
(On how to improve the on-field chemistry)
“I don’t even know if it’s that. Our chemistry is fine, our relationship there is fine, it’s just that we have to hit them on Sundays. It starts with the protection, Jameis being able to sit in the pocket and seeing the same things that I’m seeing or other receivers are seeing, as far as the defense’s leverage and things like that – giving us an opportunity to catch the ball and obviously us securing it and finishing it.”
 
(On the importance of winning at home)
“It’s huge. In this league, you want to protect your house. You want to win every game, but you really put yourself in the situation and say, ‘Look, if we can win about half or a little bit more, steal some road games,’ – and take care of home, winning the majority of games at home, you’re going to have a record that makes you a playoff team. That’s very important for us. It’s exciting to play one in front of our fans, to get back in Tampa. I think [Head Coach] Dirk [Koetter] said we were one of three teams that started with two road games. That’s a tough start, but spinning it, 1-1 is ok. Obviously, we wanted to perform better last week and come away with a win, but that one’s gone. Now we’re at home and we’re excited about it. Those video boards and everything else out there – it’s going to be a great fan experience and it’s exciting for us as well.”
 
(On how much the offense has changed from last season)
“Not much at all. Having Dirk here, our offense is pretty consistent as far as the plays that we’re calling. Now we just have some different pieces, some different parts and players are plugging in. You try to put guys in positions where they can use their strengths and be successful. We’re dealing with some guys getting banged up and stuff like that. Other guys are going to have to step up and fill some roles, but that happens around the league. Every team’s dealing with that. Injuries happen in this game and that’s the reason and importance for depth.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On how much he goes back and looks at the game against the Rams last season when preparing for the game this week)
“If you look at anything, it just kind of depends on the defense you have. We had a completely different defense, completely different coordinator and it’s a new team. You can look at the plays they ran because their offense hasn’t changed. Personnel is pretty much the same, but guys change from year-to-year. So if you look at anything, it would kind of depend on if you still run the same defense. What they used against you last time, etc., etc.”
 
(On younger players getting an opportunity to step up with injuries along the defensive line)
“Yeah, DaVonte Lambert did great for us last week, he played like 30-plus snaps, in the second week of the season. You’ve got a guy like that, that if you were to ask, ‘Is he going to make the team?’ in the spring when he first got here – I’ve seen some write-ups, I don’t think [anybody] assumed he was going to be here. But he is and he played a lot and this week he’s going to play even more. It’s a next man up mentality and those guys are hungry.”
 
(On Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith’s defense)
“There’s a lot to it, it’s very complex. We have a lot of stuff we put in on this defense, but Coach Smith did a great job of minimizing it for the game plan. We just have to make sure we’re on point. We practiced it so long against our offense, then you have to take what we did and put it against somebody new. That’s why the joint practices [during training camp] were good for us. But like I said, just growing pains, just [have] to stay the course and we’ve got to put in the extra hours because we’re not going against our offense every day.”
 
(On Los Angeles only scoring nine points through two games)
“Don’t be fooled by that. They can put up numbers and they have a lot of playmakers. One of the best running backs in the league [Todd Gurley], [wide receiver] Tavon Austin is unhumanly fast and [wide receiver] Kenny Britt, when he’s on, he can pile up the numbers. And [quarterback] Case Keenum [isn’t a] joke either. He gets the ball out of his hands really quick. So don’t be fooled by what you’ve seen in the first two weeks - this is a week-to-week league, anything can happen. We can’t be going to the game [saying], ‘Oh, well they haven’t scored touchdowns,’ so what. They could score 10 on us, that’s what the NFL’s about. But we have to do our best not to allow that to happen.”
 
(On how the team handled winning last week)
“I don’t think we approached last week with arrogance or ‘We’ve arrived, we made it.’ I just don’t think we had as good a week of practice as we had the week before. That’s all it was. Last week’s Wednesday wasn’t good at all.”
 
(On if the Week One win affected their mindset)
“No. One thing we did is – I always say we have to learn how to win. So with winning, [Head] Coach [Dirk Koetter] believes in ‘Victory Mondays,’ you have to learn to get your body ready for Wednesday, even though you had two days off. So it could have been that, it could have been a number of different things, but it wasn’t our mindset. Guys were not arrogant on one win because it was Week One. 16 teams lost, so I don’t think that was it. We just didn’t prepare well enough last week, but that’s not been the case this week. We had a good practice yesterday.”
 
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