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28 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (9/28/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans has three touchdown receptions this season. He is the first Buccaneers player to record a touchdown reception in each of the team’s first three games of the season in team history. His three touchdown catches are tied for the second-most in the NFL this season, while his 21 catches are the fourth-most and his 301 receiving yards are the fifth-most.
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
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
(On how quarterback Jameis Winston has handled throwing 142 passes through the first three games)
“To start off, in the last two games we’ve thrown too much. We’ve got to quit getting behind by two scores and we need to run the ball better and when I say run it better – I’ve told you guys this many times, we’ve got to run it more. The more you run it, the better you get with repeat runs. Now as far as Jameis handling volume, heck, I’m sure he’d throw every time if he could. But for our team to be successful, we can’t be throwing in the 50s and we can’t be running in the 20s.”
(On if the team didn’t run it more against the Rams because it wasn’t being effective or they got off schedule)
“A combination of both and you’ve got a good point there, I’m the play caller, I guess I’m the one that can change it.”
(On how much of Winston and Evans’ effectiveness has been due to the chemistry they built during the offseason)
“That’s hard to measure, that’s a hard thing to measure. You’d like to think that that was a part of it, but I also think that Mike Evans is on a mission right now. We’ve mentioned this in the past, I think Mike’s on a mission, I think his concentration and his ability to play through being tired – he got tired on the field, for all those guys that were out there 60-70 plays in that heat and humidity. I thought Mike, since I’ve been here, I thought that was the best game he’s had, as far as pushing through endurance issues. I just think Mike is playing really well and as far as the level of those two guys working together, that’s hard to measure, but I would hope that that had something to do with it.”
(On if wide receiver Adam Humphries validated his choice to make him the slot receiver)
“I didn’t come in with a question mark at slot, you guys all came in with a question mark at slot. There was never any question in my mind about who is going to be the slot.”
(On his confidence in Humphries)
“It has nothing to do with my confidence, he’s validated based on his play. Adam is playing well right now. There’s other slot receivers in the league that you can draw comparisons to, but what Adam’s doing – not only playing in the slot, but as our punt return guy – he’s playing at a good level right now, right where we want him.”
(On how Humphries has done on screens)
“He’s done really good on it, to the point where we probably need to stop using him because about three times the other night they were calling it out looking for it in certain formations. So any time that starts happening, that means you’re overusing it and you’ve got to figure out a different way.”
(On what challenges Denver cornerback Aqib Talib presents)
“He’s long, he’s fast, he’s tough and he’s got great ball skills. Denver is a team that is blessed with a plethora of good cover corners, they are loaded. They’re one of the best coverage teams – they play dime when go sub, they don’t have a nickel package, they have a dime package where they put six [defensive backs] on the field at one time and they have some really good pass rushers up front. But as far a combination of six [defensive backs] on the field at one time, in my 10 years in the NFL I’m not sure, number one through number six, I’ve seen a better group. Usually when you’ve got six defensive backs out there, two or three of them you’re going, ‘We can really pick on that guy,’ but these guys are good and I think Talib is exceptional.”
(On if he wants Winston to be aware of where Talib is during the game)
“Yes, that’s the stuff we work on during the week. Sometimes you’re going to go at him, sometimes you’re going to – all corners have weaknesses and we study the film. [Quarterbacks Coach] Mike Bajakian and Jameis, Mike Glennon, ‘Griff’ [Ryan Griffin], those guys are working on that all the time. You can’t just totally stay away from him. You can move your guys, try to stack them, give them different splits, move your guys in motion, get them in the slot. There’s a lot of things you can do, but there are other instances where we do try to avoid certain guys.”
(On what the Buccaneers defense is doing well against the run)
“I think they’re mixing their looks, between eight-man spacing and seven-man spacing. And when it’s seven-man spacing, getting the safeties involved in the run fits. I think we have really good pursuit, I think our defensive linemen are getting off blocks and then anytime you’ve got a guy like [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy, who can be disruptive like he was on that third-and-one last week, when he beat the guy along the line of scrimmage. Any time you get penetration against zone-running teams, it can get them off track. Even in the Arizona game, there was one series – I think in the third quarter – when they kind of ran it on us and then the same thing in this Rams game, it was right towards the end of the third quarter. But other than those two drive in the last two games and then in the first game – shoot, when I was watching that Atlanta game on T.V., I thought Atlanta ran the ball great the other night on Monday Night Football. But our D, other than a couple of instances, has done a good job against the run.”
(On if you have to account for Denver linebacker Von Miller on every play)
“Oh yeah. Absolutely.”
(On how difficult it is to part ways with a talented player)
“First off, ultimately that’s [General Manager] Jason [Licht’s] call and ownership has a play in there. But I think we just have to remember, every situation involving that across the league is different. There’s circumstances that – when we’re looking at other teams making a decision – we don’t know all the details of it. Just like I have no idea of any of the details about when guys prior to what happened last week left. I think every case is different, every case has got to be handled separately and you’ve got to remember, only a certain few people know all the facts.”
(On how defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert played against the Rams)
“He did fine again. For getting as much play time – I think he was in the 50s as far as his snaps. And then I think [defensive lineman] Channing Ward was in the low-teens, as far as his snaps. So our depth on the D-line is definitely being tested early [with] the guys that we’ve lost, unfortunately. So those two young guys are getting to play a lot, [I am] encouraged by their effort and they are getting better.”
(On if Lambert and Ward are getting more snaps than defensive lineman Noah Spence because they are more sound against the run)
“Not more sound, just stouter. They can hold a point better.”
(On how he would evaluate Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian)
“Again, it’s not my place to evaluate Trevor Siemian, that’s somebody else’s job, but he’s 3-0 as a starter and the one thing [that] I think is a very unique case – how many times do you see a guy that went from third on the depth chart to first? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that, I’ve seen a guy go from third to second or second to first, but third to first and then start off the year 3-0 and probably played his game last week against Cincinnati. So off to a good start, for sure.”
(On if he gets more involved on the defensive game plan this week, having coached young quarterbacks in the past)
“No. [Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith] and the defensive staff, they know what they’re doing. If I go in there, I’ll just screw them up. Those aren’t the type of things we talk about, we talk more about communication issues, strategy-type things, but as far as scheme, those guys know what they’re doing.”
(On if he is pleased with how Spence is playing right now)
“He’s not behind the eight ball, no. I think what we need to do as a defensive team is, if we do a better job of winning on first and second down, Spence is going to show up more as a third down player. And I think last week, we had four third-and-ones and third-and-twos and normally that third-and-one is only going to come up once a game, so if you have four of them in a game, you’re not having as many third-and-tens. So we need to get teams in third-and-six-plus and that’s when he’s going to have a chance to shine.”
(On Denver linebacker Shane Ray)
“He’s playing awesome. [Denver linebacker Demarcus] Ware’s been out, had a great career in this league, been out the last two weeks and Shane Ray has looked fantastic. Three sacks last week, a really strong motor. When you’re looking at the tape, because one’s 56 and one’s 58, sometimes I find myself clicking it back going, ‘Which one’s which?’ They’re both impressive.”
(On Winston’s fumble against the Rams)
“The main issue on that was he was too deep in his drop. When you get a little too deep in your drop – [left tackle] Donovan [Smith] happened to be on the left side - or ‘Dot’ [right tackle Demar Dotson] if it was on the right side – they’re protecting a spot and those guys, they’ve got that down to a science, exactly what angle they can kick to. And then [Los Angeles defensive end Robert] Quinn – I think going into the game it was, I don’t know the exact number – 14 strip sacks in his career, something like that. That’s his signature move, is coming around the backside and defenses call that ‘tomahawking the ball.’ James was maybe a foot and a half deeper than he should’ve been and if you step up on time, it’s okay, but right as Jameis went to step up, that’s when he got tomahawked.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston throwing 142 passes through the first three games)
“I think that the first week’s probably more indicative of who we want to be. Last year, being balanced. Obviously being down at Arizona tends itself to – and we end up in our no-huddle stuff. And then really this past week if you look at statistically, I think the first half we had 33 snaps, we were pretty balanced. And then obviously in the second half, we ended up with a drive, they got the strip-fumble, so now when you get behind two scores and the time’s running down. But I don’t think anybody would say [that] you want to be a team that’s throwing it as much as we’ve had to throw it. But I have been proud of our guys and I’ve been proud of Jameis and how he’s responded and kept competing.”
(On Winston’s chemistry with wide receiver Mike Evans)
“I think they both worked awfully hard in the offseason, I think that’s the number one thing. I think Mike’s been able to practice and compete every day and I think that just comes with reps, experience working together. I think that’s just a byproduct of that.”
(On tight end Cameron Brate’s game against the Rams)
“I think Cam’s a really good athlete, obviously a former receiver, so I’ve felt that since I’ve been here that there’s been a great rapport between Cam and Jameis and that showed up. It showed up in a number of games, just sometimes previously he didn’t get as many reps, but that’s one thing he can do well. He does a number of things well, that’s probably unfair to say, but I do think that he’s very athletic, he can make difficult catches and Jameis has real confidence in him.”
(On the biggest challenges when going against the Denver defense)
“I think first off, last week it was about the guys we didn’t have, now this week it’s about the guys they have and it’s about who we have going forward, it always will be. Last week, who we had available to us put together a great plan of the things they can do well, that’s our challenge this week. Not always so much - we know they’ve got good football players, but you don’t need to dwell on that. We’ve got good football players, we’ve got a top quarterback, we’ve got really good receivers. We played our rear ends off last week against a really good defensive front. Our running backs combined for 150-plus all-purpose yards. I think we need to be concerned about what we can do as a plan to negate some of their skill set on the other side of the ball, but more importantly, what do we do well? And not worry about the other things that we can’t control.”
(On Denver linebacker Von Miller)
“He’s a really good football player, he leads the NFL in sacks and he gets edgy, he can play with speed and power. [Linebacker Shane Ray] on the other side, who’s a first-round pick, they lost [linebacker DeMarcus] Ware and heck, he has three sacks last week, so they’ve got good players. Got corners, they cover you well. We have good players, we’ve got to play well, come up with a great plan.”
(On the running backs)
“I think they played well last week, I really do. Sometimes some of those long runs come later in the game and one did on a fourth-and-short that ‘Chuck’ [Charles Sims III] broke out on. But I think we’ve been doing fine, we just – like I said – we’ve gotten in a position the last couple of weeks where we’ve ended up throwing it more than we’d like and that’s just a byproduct of where we were.”
(On wide receiver Adam Humphries)
“Like I said the last couple of weeks, it’s worked out we’ve ended being in a lot more 11-personnel and the no-huddle, but Adam’s really worked hard to get where he’s at today, we’ve talked about this previously. He’s a good football player, he’s very smart, knows all the spots and again, I think one thing that showed up on Sunday was his toughness, that’s probably the biggest thing. And he’s better with the ball in his hands. I asked him a week ago because I feel like he’s gotten an explosive [play] every week on a screen and I said, ‘Did you ever catch a screen at Clemson?’ He said, ‘No, they didn’t throw it to me, I was the only guy that would block.’ [laughter] So I said, ‘We’ve got to call [Clemson Head Coach] Dabo [Swinney] and say, ‘You must’ve had some pretty good guys’ because you’ve had three explosive [plays] in three weeks.’ I’m happy for him, there’s a guy that’s earned it.”
(On the last play of the game against the Rams)
“I think it’s tough. I think [Winston] was trying to find someone down the field and I don’t think we – we could’ve done a better job on the back in the end zone, finding space. I’m sure he was just trying to make a play and you lose track a little bit of where you were. You guys saw it, I saw it. Would you like to get the ball up and give someone a chance? Of course you would, I’m sure that’s what he said as well. There’s a lot of things about that drive that’s frustrating because I really believed we were going to win that game, I really did. For the fans that stayed through the delay and came out – I don’t know how many were there, but that’s the loudest it was. Now this week, we’d love to have the 50-60 thousand that are there be that loud throughout the game, that’ll help us early. But that crowd that was there at the end, that was awesome.”
(On how much the last drive against the Rams showed they need to work on their hurry-up offense)
“I don’t know if that’s the case. We work on that all the time. Now obviously that’s an obvious question when you don’t score. I get the question, but that’s something we work on all the time. That’s one thing you do get to work on in the offseason without having pads on, is a lot of your no-huddle stuff. So I think we were prepared for that. I do think we had opportunities, we just didn’t get it done.”
(On if it is important for a quarterback and receiver to spend time off the field together to build chemistry)
“I don’t know if it’s as much the chemistry on the field as it is if two guys have the same goals and aspirations, or if you have one guy that is trying to help another, in terms of being a pro, in terms of how they handle their business. Not that Mike hadn’t, or not that Jameis hadn’t. Because I think the off the field stuff goes more to the character to the individual and how hard they work. Now when it comes to throw and catch, that’s everything out here [on the field], that’s everything that they did in the offseason and then as we continued to do because this week we don’t want to be the team we were last week. In the following week, you can continue to get better and work at your craft, at every little detail. Myself, our players [need] to continue to get better, not be the same team we were last week.”
(On what Evans is better at now than he was last year)
“We’ve talked about him being on the field, being able to practice. He’s more consistent catching the ball, I think that’s been obvious. But it’s week-to-week, we all know how that goes and Mike’s worked at it every week. Players earn what they get on the field. He’s earned this as all of our players have.”
(On not being able to score two-point conversions against the Rams)
“Sure, that’s frustrating. You get behind the points a little bit and then you have opportunities to close that gap, make it instead of a five point game, a three point game, sure that’s frustrating.”
(On if they work on two-point conversions more due to the extra point being moved back to the 15-yard line)
“I wouldn’t say we’ve worked on it any more than we would normally. Most of the time, it’s things that we’ve run that we feel really good about, based on the looks that we’re going to get and we obviously didn’t get it done [against the Rams].”
(On if the ‘jumbo’ package worked in short-yardage situations)
“I though it worked fine. A couple times we threw it, but we had three third-and-one’s and we converted all three of them. Not all of them were in the ‘jumbo’. But then on the goal line, we’re able to run it in, we threw it in one other time, so the combination of [offensive lineman] Evan [Smith] being in there, I thought our guys did a great job with that.”
(On if it is important to get wide receiver Vincent Jackson more involved in the offense, or if that is more of a week-to-week thing)
“I think you kind of answered your own question, it is week-to-week. We’d love for everybody to be involved as much as [Evans and Humphries] were, with 100 yards receiving. And Vincent had another good week last week. It’s so interesting because when you throw it to one then it’s like, ‘Why don’t you throw [to the other guy]?’ So if we would’ve thrown it to Vincent six more times, then you’d be asking me, ‘Why didn’t we throw it to Mike?’ And then we’d throw it to ‘Hump.’ I get that. The bottom line is there’s only one ball and I thought our guys have continued to get better to play without the ball, that’s what you have to do. That was a lot of opportunities [against the Rams]. You can’t anticipate that many opportunities. But you have to be ready when you’re afforded those opportunities. So do I think he was ready? Yes. Do I think he’s played well? Yes.”
(On how the chemistry with wide receiver Mike Evans is working)
“It’s working out [well], but I think it’s just Mike’s work ethic and his true dedication and the fact that he’s just getting open, man. He’s out there working his tail off and playing hard.”
(On what Evans may have improved upon from a year ago)
“I think he’s probably just more comfortable. I can’t say he’s specifically doing something better. I mean, I think I’m getting him more chances this year and I didn’t give him as many chances last year, but definitely me just getting him the ball more and he’s just producing.”
(On wide receiver Adam Humphries’ ability to gain yards after the catch on screen passes)
“Adam is just pure passion. He’s one of the guys that we’ve got to get the ball. We know he’s going to make some plays for us, so definitely a guy that we can count on to make some big plays for us.”
(On if this week was a little more difficult to adhere to his own “snap and clear” mentality)
“It’s the same every week, win or lose. Obviously, we didn’t like the way it ended, again, but it’s on to a new week. We’re playing the reigning Super Bowl champs, so it’s very exciting.”
(On what he learned looking at the tape from the final drive last Sunday versus Los Angeles)
“Kind of what I said after the game: you’ve got to complete the football. We had so many opportunities that I missed and I know if we just make one or two of those plays, if I make one or two of those plays, I’m in here with a big smile on my face because we’re 2-1 instead of 1-2.”
(On what he can do to help develop the type of culture Coach Koetter referenced on Sunday and Monday)
“Just keep being me. It’s definitely a process. That’s where you go back to, ‘It’s not how you start but it’s how you finish,’ so definitely you’ve got to be able to just bring that drive every single day. Bring that passion every single day. Be excited to come here and be excited to play because not everyone has this opportunity, not everyone is blessed to be in a franchise like this so we’ve got to take advantage of that and actually know that we don’t get that many chances to do anything.”
(On what differences he might see between his college teams at FSU and currently in Tampa Bay)
“Winning is just contagious. The more you win, the more people want to win and the more people try to refrain from losing. You can’t be out there trying not to lose. You’ve always got to be aiming for that win.”
(On the release of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins last week)
“I know I was hurt just because, like I was saying, we spent so much time in the offseason just working. But I know Austin is going to grow up and Austin is going to do an amazing job in New York. I mean, he is an outstanding player and I’m excited for his future. Sometimes, you fall down, you bounce back – and that’s just life.”
(On the performance of tight end Cameron Brate)
“It is nothing new with Cameron Brate. This has been going on ever since last year when he stepped onto the scene. He’s just an all-around great guy, a great worker and his performance speaks for itself.”
(On if it seems like he’s thrown the ball a lot over the first three weeks and if he’d like to have a more balanced offensive attack)
“My job is just to do whatever Coach Koetter asks me to do. Obviously, the way the game has been turning out we have had to be in more passing situations and I definitely take on that challenge. So I just do what I’m coached to do and go out there and try to get wins.”
(On how much he embraces this week as a chance to show what the offense can do against a Super Bowl defense)
“I’m really excited because this is a great team, it’s a great franchise and who else should we play but these guys? We’ve got them and then we’ve got Carolina in back-to-back weeks. When you look at that stretch with Arizona, the Rams, Denver, and Carolina – arguably, the [four] best defenses in the whole NFL. So, it’s a challenge and that’s what all of us have got to come together and just be like, ‘We take on this challenge.’ This is a great opportunity that we’re given.”
(On the challenge of playing left tackle, the play of left tackle Donovan Smith, and how one play can be the focus of public criticism)
“Yeah, and that really hurts me that people can say that about Donovan, not knowing that I was too deep in my drop. I was too deep in my depth and the guy came around the corner. He made a great play and sometimes people seem to focus on the negatives and not the positives, but that’s just football. This is a game of inches and you never know. [If] I get that ball out quicker that might be a touchdown. Mike is wide open on the curl route over there, so that’s how you know that [there is] chemistry and us being in rhythm. When things are going our way, things are going our way. But when things are not going our way they seem to be worse than we want.”
(On if he was “champing at the bit” when the schedule was released and Tampa Bay faced Denver and Carolina in consecutive weeks)
“Just when I looked at the schedule, my main thing was just to go 1-0 every week. Obviously, like I said, now that the time is here I’m very excited to play against Denver and we can worry about Carolina another day, but I’m very excited. It’s just a great team and I’m just excited for our team to be able to face an opponent like this.”
(On if he’s had a chance to watch Denver’s offense and quarterback Trevor Siemian)
“I think he is an amazing quarterback. I’m no quarterback guru – I’ve got to try to focus on the defensive side of the ball – but he’s been doing an amazing job protecting the football and he’s winning.”
(On Denver cornerback Aqib Talib)
“He is as advertised. He’s a great guy, just his knack for the ball. Man, he has great ball skills so we definitely have to protect the football and be safe.”
(On his chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I think we have a good connection and it’s going to continue to grow. We’re two good, young players trying to be great.”
(On Denver Pro Bowl cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris)
“I watched some film today, they’re both really physical at the line of scrimmage, so I’ve got to be as physical as those guys. Like you said, they’re two Pro Bowl guys, so I like the challenge.”
(On Talib’s play)
“At the line of scrimmage, he’s so physical. He’s a lot like [Arizona cornerback] Patrick Peterson at the line, both really physical. I don’t think he runs as good as ‘Pat P,’ but he’s just as physical at the line of scrimmage.”
(On how much he looks forward to facing a physical cornerback like Talib)
“I like it. No matter what, I’m going to try and be the most physical receiver in the league and I’ve got to prove it by going out and dominating physical cornerbacks.”
(On his game against the Rams)
“They were giving us the looks. They were playing soft and they were playing off of us and they were giving us easy looks to pitch and catch, so we took advantage of that. Hopefully when I get hot, I like to get the ball fed to me and Jameis knows that.”

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