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29 September 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (9/29/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Against Los Angeles, Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander recorded his first career interception returned for a touchdown, picking off a pass from Rams QB Case Keenum and returning it 38 yards for the score. Alexander’s interception for a touchdown was the longest by a Buccaneers player since 2013 (CB Leonard Johnson,48 yards at Detroit, 11/24/13) and the longest by a Buccaneers linebacker since 2013 (Mason Foster, 85 yards vs. New Orleans, 9/15/13).
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(On the lightning delay during practice)
“We had one lighting delay today, not too long. But it could’ve been worse, wasn’t that bad.”
(On if he has ever been through a weather delay like the one against Los Angeles last week)
“Way back – Arizona State versus Iowa. We had a long one, but then we did pretty well that night, I remember that. But they shut us out the year before in Hawkeye Stadium, so that was a payback game.”
(On how kicker Roberto Aguayo has looked in practice this week)
“He just nailed 6-for-6 right there at the end of practice. That was probably the best he’s hit the ball in two weeks, the ones right there, so it’s ongoing. We’ve got that at other positions too, that’s one of them. We still have faith in him and he did very well today.”
(On if Aguayo practiced at Raymond James Stadium at all this week)
“They did last week, I think they usually go tomorrow during the team period.”
(On if two-point conversion plays are just the team’s best plays from the goal-line)
“Correct, that really is what it boils down to. Normally what we’re going to do is, we think of it as the plays we would be calling on third-and-two from the two or third-and-three from the three, those are really your two-point plays. We usually try to carry about four of those type of plays in a game, but we never save them. If they come up third-and-two from the two, we’re going to use it and then we’re going to drop our two-point ones down. I know what the percentages say, but those two-point plays are hard, they’re hard to get. Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job at them last week, they could’ve made a difference for us.
(On running the ball)
“There’s like an unwritten rule in the NFL, if you can run it 40 times in a game, you’re probably going to win. But just go out there and try to run it 40 straight times and see what happens, it probably won’t work. The way we look at it is it’s not that if the run game is working, it’s if it’s efficient. You’ve got to be able to move the chains, so for us, if it’s first-and-10, four yards or more is an efficient run. If it’s second-and-long, half of it is an efficient run. If it’s third down, covert is an efficient run. That’s the same thing for any play, run or pass. But whether it’s a run or a pass, you’ve got to be efficient to keep the chains moving. And the you also have to figure in your explosive [plays]. Your explosive [plays] make your scoring percentage go up the formula we use is 12-yard runs and 16-yard passes [are explosive plays]. We actually ran the ball okay last week, we didn’t run it enough. Some of that’s on me as the play caller because we had some stuff that when you want to get to certain things, it takes patience by the play caller and then if you get behind, again, that could be patience on the play caller.”
(On if he has seen a change in the team’s culture yet this week)
“That’s something that for any progress to be made, that’s going to be over a much longer period of time than three days. All we can do on something like that – all of us, starting with me – is do the little things right that we’re supposed to do on a daily basis. That has to add up to performance on Sunday, me, everybody else. And you have to build that over time, that’s just something that’s not going to be different overnight, but it starts, like anything else, it starts with awareness. Awareness of something that we need to work on. Do I think our guys are aware of what we need to do? Yes. Do I think our guys have the right mindset to attack it? Yes. But time will tell if we’re able to pull it off.”
(On if any of the team’s leaders have addressed the team differently)
“That kind of stuff, the leadership things of the team are going to happen more in the locker room. That’s not necessarily something that they’re going to do in front of me. On Thursdays, we have player-led meetings part of the day after practice for about a half hour. So that’s one place it’ll show up. The guys that are good leaders on the field, I’ve found have been consistently they do a good job of that all the time. There’s a lot of different levels to what we’re talking about there. It’s a complex issue and to be honest, I wish you’d quit asking me about it [laughs].”
(On if you get better at ‘matchup games’ the more you play them)
“Sure and it doesn’t always stack up that way. That just depends the luck of the schedule and who those teams are, who offensive and defensive coordinators are in the divisions that you’re playing and in your own division. But yeah, I think you can get better at those type of games, but a lot has to do with who the players are on both sides.”
(On offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile)
“He’s doing really good, he’s doing a really good job. Kevin’s getting better every week. We’ve said for the longest time that we would be fine if Kevin was starting in our offensive line and that has proven to be true. The whole [guard] J.R. Sweezy [injury] is unfortunate, we wish we had him out there, but as I’ve said many times, Kevin was hurt right off the bat that we didn’t just bump him into that spot when [former  guard] Logan [Mankins] retired, but Kevin has done what every player should do. They should come to work every day and get better, and he’s done that.”
(On the opportunity of beating the undefeated Super Bowl champions and ending the first quarter of the season with a 2-2 record)
“Yeah all those things, plus longest winning streak in the National Football League, eight straight win for Denver. Five in a row last year, three so far this year, so heck yeah we’ve been talking about that, it’s an unbelievable opportunity for us. We say that with all due respect to the Broncos, they’ve got a fantastic team, very well coached, but that is a great opportunity for us on Sunday.”
(On the mortar kick late in the game against Los Angeles last week)
“You’ve got to realize it went well because they had their hands team in there. They had 10 guys standing up there and because we had all of our timeouts left plus the two-minute warning – that’s a catch-22 for a special teams coach because you have to have your hands team out there because everyone thinks you’re going to onside [kick], but when you’ve got three timeouts and the two-minute [warning], you should probably kick it deep because the odds of getting the onside kick [are small] and then you’re giving them the ball on the 50-yard line. So those kicks look a lot better when they’ve got 10 guys within five yards of the restraining line.”
(On if he has anyone telling him what offensive plays to call during games, like former Head Coach Lovie Smith may have done)
“Little Dirk, who’s sitting right here on my shoulder. Little Dirk on this side and Big Jim, my dad, on this side [laugher]. Let me just again, I’ve said it many times for the record: Lovie Smith never in any way – I asked him sometimes what he wanted to do, but never did Lovie dictate what we were doing on offense [last season]. I keep saying that, you guys don’t believe me. Coach Smith was a tremendous head coach to work for as an offensive coordinator because he set parameters and we stuck to those parameters. All of our coaches have influence in our game plan and all of our coaches have a piece of it. All of those guys are talking in between series, we’re talking at halftime. But when you’re actually in a drive, there’s not room for other people talking because the second that play’s over, I’m hitting that button and I’m talking to [quarterback] Jameis [Winston] because a lot of times we’re in no-huddle and we’re going fast. As a play caller, you don’t want people talking to you, it’s disruptive. So when guys do talk over the years, they usually get an earful.”
(On if he talks with other coaches in between series)
“Oh yeah, in between series all the coaches are going over the Surfaces and usually I’ll go over and talk with Jameis and [Quarterbacks Coach] Mike Bajakian for a second and then I’ll usually walk down and talk to [Offensive Line Coach] George Warhop and say, ‘What are you thinking here, run-wise?’ And then all of the guys in their areas, especially at halftime, saying, ‘Okay, third-and-medium, here’s what we like, third-and-long.’ And then we kind of reorder our stuff for the second half.”
(On if Winston had too deep of a drop on the sack-fumble against Los Angeles last week)
“He was too deep, yes. We try to stay under 10 yards when it’s the equivalent of a seven-step drop, but it’s shotgun, plus five. You try to stay under 10 yards, Jameis got about 10-and-a-half and believe it or not, there’s some geometry involved there, as far the angles that the tackles are protecting, so the guards in the center set the depth of the packet and the tackles set the width of the tackles. When you get too deep, that has a tendency to happen. If the quarterback can feel it, he can step up, but he’s looking down the field, so he just didn’t feel it on that one.”
(On wide receiver Vincent Jackson)
“I think Vincent’s fine. I think he needs more opportunities and I think that will play itself out.”
(On people trying to read too much into Jackson’s body language)
“Well check out my body language sometimes, it’s not good. When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to have bad body language.”
(On criticism of the defense)
“Let me tell you, the sky is not falling, that’s for sure. I know everybody is frustrated, in terms of what we have put out there in the first three games, nobody more than me. It’s not any one player’s fault, it’s not any one coach’s fault. Ultimately it’s my responsibility to make sure that our guys understand what we’re trying to get accomplished. And we have not played the type of football that we need to play in the first three football games. We’ve given up way too many explosive plays - and it is a handful of plays, but that’s what the NFL is all about. You can’t go back and say, ‘Gosh, I wish I’d have that third-and-18 called back or I wish that fit would’ve been better.” We’ve got to keep grinding as a staff and we have to keep grinding as a group of men and show some resiliency. I think we’ve done that at time, I think that we’ve been inconsistent in different periods of the game. Not to rehash the first three games, but there’s times that we look like we are going to play good defense and then there’s other times that it’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ You’re scratching your head and I’m going, ‘How the heck did that just happen?’”
(On if there are growing pains with his defense)
“Oh, there’s a lot of growing pains. This is on a completely different spectrum than what these guys are accustomed to - the language and all that. And we’re playing for real now. We did some great thing in the preseason, but in the preseason there’s not a whole lot of game planning going on, there’s not near the pressure. Guys are going in and knowing, ‘Oh I got my 10 plays,’ or, ‘Oh I got my 15 plays today.’ No we’ve got to go out and we’ve got to play 60 plays in a football game. And again, I think you’re going to be judged as a defense ultimately by how many points you’ve given up. We’ve given up way too many points. And it doesn’t matter where the drive starts, how it happened - we’ve got to go out and stop them and we haven’t shown the resiliency that we need to. Especially at the end of the halves, we did not play especially well at the end of the half. When we had an opportunity to stop them, we’ve got to get a stop. I’ve got to call a better game, we’ve got to go out and we’ve got to execute better across the board. But we’re all in this together and there’s one man that’s responsible for it and that’s me.”
(On if he is pleased with the rush defense)
“I am. We gave up a third down and 19 on a draw on a mis-fit that – it was [a] give-up [play]. They were surrendering, they put the white flag up and somehow we mis-fit it. Again, it’s not one player’s fault, that’s my fault to make sure that we’ve got. We’ve done a decent job. There’s been times in the games where we have not gone in the way that we want. For example, there was a drive in the third quarter last week where we’ve been doing a nice job stopping the run and we didn’t get them into a third down. It was a nine-or 10-play drive. When you don’t get them in a third down, you can’t rush the passer. You’ve got to play run defense and that’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of consistently. We’ve got to get those guys in third downs-and-fives, third downs-and-sixes. On average, third-and-one in the NFL through my time in it – one and a half times per game. We were in it four times last week I believe. We were also in a third-and-two. When you’re in third-and-ones and third-and-twos, it’s hard to stop and it’s hard to put the guys out there and when you want to put your different packages out there, you can’t really do it.”
(On if he still thinks it will take four games for his defense to be mastered)
“Oh, absolutely. I don’t know if it’s four games, I mentioned the first quarter of the season. We’re making strides, but we’re making big time mistakes and that includes me. I’ve got to do a better job. I would love to have a couple plays back through these first three games, I’d love to see some technique played differently, but that’s the process that we go through. And it is a process and ultimately, we’re going to be judged – in this league you get judged week-to-week, there’s no doubt about it. You’re up and down, week-to-week. Ultimately, we get 16 opportunities and we’ve got to wait and see where we’re going to be at Week 16, that’s the ultimate judgement for us as a defense. Some of the numbers are very good. When I say very good, [they are numbers] that when you look at, you like them. The rushing yards per attempt, we’re okay in third down, we’re kind of falling off a little bit in red zone. But the thing that you’re judged on ultimately is wins and how many points you give up and right now we’re not doing a very good job in either of those areas.”
(On what has impressed him about Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian)
“He’s plays very well in [Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak’s system. Coach Kubiak knows what he’s looking for in a quarterback, it’s very systematic, it’s system-driven. I think it’s system-driven with the quarterbacks that he’s coached, I think it’s system-driven with the running backs that he has on his football team. They do a very good job of keeping you off balance with the personnel groupings. The quarterback is the guy that drives it, they ask him to do a lot. I think he’s a smart quarterback, I think he’s got an above average arm. He did throw last week the two explosive touchdowns to the big two receivers, the big receiver and the fast receiver. I like him, he’s a second year player and he’s just going to get better. He’s going to be a guy that I think flourishes in their system.”
(On defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert starting against Los Angeles)
“It was really a package based on who they were going to present, personnel-wise. This week is a little different package, in terms of what we’re going to see. We’re going to see a lot more three-wide receivers, that’s their number one personnel grouping. So we’re going to have an opportunity to play and display and deploy different players. It was based on who they were presenting in their personnel groupings last week. This week, we’re going to see 21-personnel a lot less than we did last week. We’re going to see 11-personnel with three wide receivers.”
(On Lambert’s progression)
“He’s an undrafted player, it’s a great story. There’s these stories every year in the NFL. He’s a very quiet guy, but you can tell that he’s driven. He’s got a lot of resolve, plays extremely hard. I like his length, I like his ballast, he has the ability to play both inside and outside. He’s more of a run stopper than he is a pass rusher and we’ve got to put ourselves in a position where we can get our pass rushing unit out there on the field and that’s something that we hope we can deploy this week.”
(On defensive end Noah Spence’s game against Los Angeles)
“It was a function of the way that I called the game, it was a function of the way we played the football game. When we can put them in certain down and distance situations and we can put them in certain situations where they’re going to put the right personnel out there for us to match, then we’re going to have our guy out there. I think Noah is doing a great job. Noah’s wanting to do anything and everything that he can to help us win and he’s going to get an opportunity. I don’t think we want to look and take a single game and say, ‘Well, his snaps and his play time were at this level,’ well, it wasn’t because anything Noah was doing, it was more what they were presenting, in terms of the personnel groupings.”  
(On Spence’s progression)
“I think he’s coming along very well. I think he understands how to rush the passer. We’ve got to get him opportunities to rush the passer and last week we didn’t get it and his play count was down. I think we’ll have a conversation next week, if they stay to what they’ve done in the first three games, that Noah Spence is going to have a bigger impact on the football game, simply because what they do. They’re still going to run the football, but they’re doing it from a spread out formation. They’re not going to have two tight ends or three tight ends in the ball game.”
(On how the defense is doing with ‘attacking as a unit’)
“I think we’re dead average, to be quite frank. We’re not rushing the quarterback near at the level that we need to. It doesn’t matter who’s out there, it doesn’t matter how many guys are not there, we’ve got to go out and put pressure on the quarterback. And it’s not going to be just one guy, it’s going to an effort by the entire line and it’s going to be what the secondary is doing as well. If we’re in phase and with them in the coverage, then we’re going to have an opportunity for the quarterback to hold the ball a little bit longer. Last week, with the way that they presented their formations, they had overhang tight ends, they were going to block, there was a lot of seven-man protections and when you’re rushing four and they’re protecting with seven, it’s going to be tough to get there because they’re going to be doubling three and one guy’s got a one-on-one. We’re trying to create situations where we can get our guys in one-on-ones or free-runners. For us to do that, we’ve got to get them in third-and-longer – what we call third-and-our-down. When we’re saying it’s our advantage, third-and-seven plus.”
(On if he thinks the defense is close to being where he expects it to be)
“I think we’re a lot closer than we are away from it, I can assure you that. And really there’s one guy to me that’s got to do a better job and that’s Mike Smith. He’s the guy that’s got to make sure that these guys understand what we’re trying to get accomplished, what we’re trying to get done. It’s never as bad – one thing I’ve found in this league is when you have a loss, it’s never as bad and when you have a win, it’s never as good. When you shut somebody out, you think it’s great and then you watch the tape and you’re going, ‘Holy cow, we missed fit, four things, if they would’ve seen this.’ So it’s a group effort, everybody’s contributed to it. But I don’t want to start talking about where we’re having problems. We’re having problems with Coach Mike Smith and he’s the guy that’s responsible for it.”
(On if he thinks a team’s culture is as important as technique and scheme)
“I think that there’s a lot to being a good teammate. That’s important and I think you have to learn. An old coach told me, ‘You’ve got to learn to stop losing before you learn to win.’ There’s lots of teams that have a problem with that. And as a defense - and all I can really focus on is the defense - we’ve got to stop making the mistakes so we can start playing the type of football that we’re know we’re capable of playing. And as you guys know, you guys follow it, it’s a fine line, this is a fine line business. Whether the score is 40-7 or the score is 10-6, it’s a fine line. There’s always a handful of plays that you could say the what if game and we don’t want to be playing the what if game. We want to be playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played and we’re not talking about, ‘Well, if you take this number of plays out, or this number of plays out’ - those are things that people that aren’t being successful talk about. We know what we’ve got to do as a defense and we have not played up to the ability that we think we have, but I do believe this: you’ve got to be judged on the long haul and we’re three games into it. We’re playing a very good football team this week that’s going to challenge us in a lot of ways, but I’m very anxious to watch the way that these guys on the defensive side of the football are going to respond to what’s happened over the last two weeks.”
(On if certain defensive struggles are a matter of just one player being out of place each time)
"Guys just really need to trust in each other. It's a new defense, you're trying to get it down yourself and you're trying to learn the ins and outs of what you can and can't do, what you can and can't get away with. If you miss doing that, you're putting your teammate at risk and you're hurting yourself by doing that. I think guys just got antsy last week, trying to make a play instead of doing the things it takes to make a play, which is just do your job. If you've got the B Gap, stay in the B Gap. If you're supposed to come downhill in the A [Gap], get in the A. If y'all are supposed to switch in the back end, then switch. It will work. We're just getting to that point."
(On if it's a matter of trusting more in the system or in each other)
"The system. We've been with dealing each other for a long time. They brought in vets. The young guys are kind of just being players – they know their roles. You just do what we ask you to do, don't do more than that. Then the vets, they know how they can tweak things. We trust each other; we've got to trust each other, trust each other within the system. 'You know, I've got this, but I need to make sure he's doing this, so just in case I'm going to go over here.' No, don't do that. Trust him to do his job within the system."
(On Denver defenders doing a good job of staying within their system and if the Bucs can emulate that)
"No, we don't care what they're doing. We just recognize [it]. The thing about sports is, you just respect and recognize when people are good at what they do. If you take something, you can take something from the individual person and add it to your game, but they play what they play and we play what we play. But you just recognize that they are a great defense – not good, they're a great defense, and it's because of their discipline. So if you do take anything from them it's just, look at how disciplined they are and look at how it's paid off. It got them a Super Bowl."
(On facing Denver QB Trevor Siemian for the first time)
"We don't care whether we've faced him a hundred times or if this is the first time. You just prepare for what you see on tape, and what we have seen on tape is that he's very athletic. He's more athletic than people give him credit for. He can move around in the pocket, and if he wasn't as athletic as he was, he probably would have got sacked more than what he's been sacked. But he's very athletic. He's just got a food feel in the pocket. He can move around and make plays with his feet. He's accurate, man, he's accurate. In a certain range of passes, he's very accurate. He's no slouch. He's the real deal so we're going to have to be ready."
(On if he would like to be in more obvious pass-rushing situations)
"Absolutely. I love rushing the passer, man, but I like stopping the run. Sometimes, it's real grueling down there because you've got some bump-scoops and double-teams and power plays and all that. That's the dirty work, but that's just what comes with it. But when you get single blocks on reaches and things like that, that's when playing the run is fun. It's the dirty work in the run [that's not fun.] In order for us to get to that point, we cannot allow them to get their running game going. The first two weeks they averaged like 140 yards or something like that, and they kind of dropped off last week. Something tells me, that third quarter we had last week, they're going to try to get this running game going. If we want to do what most D-Linemen love to do, rush the passer, we've got to stop the run."
(On the run defense being pretty strong overall)
"Yeah, but last week we kind of [stumbled]. So they dropped off and so did we. Who's going to pick it back up? That's the big thing."
(On if stopping RB Todd Gurley on a third-and-one was as satisfying as a sack)
"Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, it is, because it's third-and-one and you're getting off the field. Whether it's a first-down tackle in the backfield or a big stop, regardless, it's more satisfying on third down because now you know the defense is off the field and you're getting the ball back in [Jameis Winston's] hands. When the ball's in his hands, I'm happy, because he's something else."
(On the Bucs not getting into enough third-and-longs on defense)
"Yeah, and that's what we've got to do, we've got to win first down. We've got to win first down. The big thing that Coach [Mike] Smith preaches is, 'Win first and third down.' In order to do that, we have to win first down first. When you give offenses a chance to put you in third-and-four and down, you're probably not winning first down. So we've got to do a better job of that."

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