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11 April 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Offseason Program Media Availability (4/11/16)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(Opening statement)
“April 11th. Players back in the building; we’re fired up. If you’re a football coach, you want to be around the players. I know I speak for all of our coaches in saying how excited they are to have the players back in the building. Unfortunately, we don’t get to coach them [during Phase I]. We just get to meet with them, though, and talk to them, so that’s something. We’re excited to get going. Five months from today, opening day.”
(On addressing the entire team for the first time as head coach and what he wanted to impart on them)
“I did talk to the guys, mainly [telling them] just that it’s a long road – it’s a long road. Everybody’s excited the first day, of course. I wanted to impart on them that the coaches are happy that the players are back. The players would probably just as soon be on vacation still, but we were excited to have them back. I didn’t want to bombard them with too much heavy stuff today, mostly just an outline of what the next 10 weeks are going to be like, what the offseason program’s going to be like over the next 10 weeks, a few logistical things you have to take care of and then – I’ll be talking with them a lot more after these first two weeks of Phase I. A lot of introductions [today]. We have several new players, several new coaches, several new staff members. So just letting them get eyes on who the new people are and basically just kicking it off. In this five-month process, I think you just have to make a little bit of progress every day – get a little bit better every day.”
(On his ultimate objective for the offseason program)
“I would say it starts first and foremost with installing new systems on defense and special teams and then refining our system on the offensive side. I sat in on the defensive meeting today. Coach [Mike] Smith addressed the defensive players for about 40 minutes and then they went into position meetings with their position coaches. So that’s a first for all those players. Our first special teams meeting with Coach [Nate] Kaczor when he talks to the special teams guys isn’t until tomorrow, and then the offensive guys just went right into position meetings. So, learning the new system on those sides of the ball and then of course you’ve got constant work at the individual positions. I’m sure we’ll get into – you’ve already talked to Mike [Evans], the whole Jameis [Winston] – there will be 5,000 questions about Jameis – Doug [Martin] back, that sort of thing. You [have] 10 weeks to improve your football team.”
(On the chemistry between wide receiver Mike Evans and quarterback Jameis Winston)
“Jameis and Mike are the right kind of guys. They’re not blind to the amount of talent that those two guys have. The better that those two guys play and the better those two guys execute, the better off our football team is going to be. They’re not blind to that. So even though, statistically speaking, both of those guys had pretty decent seasons last year, the bottom line is still wins in the NFL. And for us to win, Jameis and Mike have to become a more lethal combination and I’m quite confident that they will.”
(On what the players took away from Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith’s meeting compared to last year’s defensive meetings)
“I have no idea. You’ll have to ask the players about that. Plus I didn’t sit in on those meetings last year, so I would have nothing to compare that to. Just from my own personal standpoint sitting in there, I certainly wasn’t disappointed, yet, I know Mike Smith, so I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. He just talked about very basic things, very basic principles of what they want to get done on defense, what the Bucs want to get done. Just a very general outline. You’ll get a chance to talk to the players at some point and that would be a better question for them. Although let me just say this on that: I’ll encourage the players as we go that it doesn’t do us any good to compare stuff in the past. That’s not healthy for us in any way. We’re a team that needs to move forward and we need to look forward. So anything comparing what happened in the past, that’s not really healthy for us and doesn’t do us any good in any way.”
(On how to improve the chemistry between a receiver and quarterback)
“I do not think that the hanging out off the field part is all that important. I think that’s an added benefit, [but] I don’t think it’s something that’s imperative that those guys are best buddies off the field. I think it’s just the work that they put in together on the field. Unfortunately, the way the dead period is in the NFL, they can’t put in work on this field, so they have been putting in some work off campus, so to speak. It’s our job as coaches – and with Todd Monken coming in as the offensive coordinator and receivers coach, and Mike Bajakian [as quarterbacks coach] – we have to put them in position as they work together. That’s a great thing that we can accomplish in this 10-week period, along with training camp, where there’s not the pressure of a weekly game plan. We just have to get those guys quality reps on the different throws. Now that we have a good idea, they have a good idea, too, of what type of routes and what type of throws we’re going to be faced with in the season, we just need to work on them.”
(On his statement about refining the offense and what needs to be refined)
“That was a very, very general statement. We’re by no means where we need to be on offense. When you win six football games, you’ve got a lot of stuff [to work on]. We’ve got to score more points, number one. Any time you come in and you change a lot of stuff in a system, whether it be offense, defense or special teams, and then you don’t have any, or very few, coaching changes in that area, especially with the play caller and the philosophy behind both the run game, the pass game, the protections, you should expect better execution in year two. Honestly, the numbers are really not as important as how that affects our team in a better chance to win games.”
(On examples of Winston’s ‘workaholic’ nature)
“It’s a little bit difficult for me to see everything because of the way the rules are set up. We’re not really allowed to watch the players during this dead period. Now, just from communications off-and-on with Jameis and sometimes I can’t help looking out my window and seeing him out there – they tell you you can’t watch him, but I don’t have to sit in my office with blinders on – when you see Jameis for the first time you’ll be able tell looking at his body that he’s put in work. I’ve said it before, when Jameis had the opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl and be around Russell Wilson, Julio Jones, Eli Manning and some other guys, that made an impression on Jameis that he needed to get his body in better condition for the offseason. He’s done that. He’s taken steps on his own to do that, not only with some people he worked with outside of our building, but working with our own strength coach, Dave Kennedy. Jameis is very perceptive about not only what he needs to get better, but what our offense and what our team needs to get better. That’s one of the things as when you’re around him more, he’s mature way beyond his years on that sort of thing. The reason I’ve got a smile is that that’s a good thing for the Bucs.”
(On having told Winston last season that he needed to worry about himself)
“That was just one day. When you’re sitting in hours upon hours of meetings and you’re having a lot of talks about different stuff, as I remember it – maybe Jameis remembers it different, but as I remember it, whatever the subject we were on, Jameis was just a little bit too worried about what other guys were doing. Like anything else, it starts with yourself, and for the most part he is fantastic in that area, but that was just one incident where he just needed to be reminded that it starts with taking care of yourself first and then you can help other guys from there – which he’s very good at that as well.”
(On how the team addressed needs in free agency)
“Free agency, you know, Jason [Licht] and his guys and then the coaches have a say in there somewhere, but when you set out to try and improve your team in certain areas, you’re never going to get everything exactly like you wanted, because all the other teams have things they’re working on as well. I’m really happy and fired up about the guys that we were able to add to our team; I think they’ll help us across the board. Obviously we need to take that on the field and that has to be earned, but we feel good about bringing in the right kind of guys and guys that are good fits for where we’re at as a football team, and I also think we were able to address some areas of need.”
(On the collaboration with Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken)
“Our entire offensive staff collaborates. The way we break it up on offense, all the guys on offense – George Warhop is our run-game coordinator and we did a nice job of running the football – but all of our guys have different pieces of the game plan, so it’s very collaborative across the board on that. Somebody’s got to run the clicker. Somebody’s got to run the clicker in the film room, somebody’s got to manage the meeting. There are going to be some times when I can’t be in there, so Todd will step up and take on that role, but a lot of that is organizational, as I’ve said before, because when we game plan, we do it all. Everybody has pieces and then we put it together as the week goes on. But Todd will have a big piece in that.”
(On whether Warhop served as run-game coordinator last year)
“He did it. He just didn’t have the title. Now he’s got the title. You know, with those titles comes more pressure, I guess. George, he gets help on the run game from, again, everybody on the staff has different pieces of that, but George officially has the title. As I said, he pretty much did it last year, anyway.”
(On player attendance at today’s programming)
“We had a really good turnout for Day 1. We were not 100 percent, but we were pretty darn close. We had someone missing; we knew they were going to be missing today. But we’re very fired up about the guys that were here and they came with a great attitude and ready to get to work.”
(On what younger players can pick up from a veteran like linebacker Daryl Smith)
“I think Daryl will really serve a great purpose. Not only is he a really good football player, but once you get to know Daryl and the type of guy he is, I think Daryl will be a really good sounding board and his experience and the players that he’s played with in his career, the things that he’s accomplished in his career, will do nothing but help Lavonte [David] and Kwon [Alexander] advance as players.”
(On improving the special teams unit)
“The No. 1 thing with the special teams, it starts with your specialists. We’re trying to create competition there – we have multiple guys on the roster right now at both kicker and punter, so creating the competition with the specialists. There’s always going to be some scheme things and now, also, we have some rule changes. We actually have the officials coming in tomorrow to talk to the staff about the rule changes. The new 25-yard line rule on kickoffs – there’s going to be a lot of discussion about how kickoff teams are going to handle that and that’s one of the strategy things that we’re tackling right now.”
(On quarterback Mike Glennon and trade rumors)
“As far as if it’s ongoing, that will be something you guys need to ask Jason about on Thursday, because all that kind of talk would go through Jason’s office, not through me. Before, when this was kind of going on earlier, I did talk to Mike. I haven’t had a chance – just briefly saying hello to Mike this morning is all I’ve had a chance to do. But we’ve tried to keep Mike in the loop; I’m sure his agent is keeping him in the loop as well. I don’t know exactly how much chatter is going on about that right now, but I’m on record as saying what my opinion of Mike Glennon is.”
(On how much time is spent evaluating draft picks at this point in the process)
“At least about half of our day is still involved in the draft. The coaches are back from all of their workouts. The coaches have to have their written reports due, I think, either today or tomorrow, their written reports have to be in. Then the next step is that we get together with Jason, the coaches get together with Jason and his guys and we watch some film together and we stack the board – Jason stacks the board and we watch him. But the coaches have input on that and I thought it was very, very productive in the part that I sat in on last year. I’m looking forward to getting in there – I’ve watched a lot of tape and of course Jason and his guys, that’s all they do – and getting our coaches in there and that’s what we’ll be doing right up until a couple days before the draft.”
(On repeating the success of the 2015 draft)
“It would be fantastic if we could do that every year, but I think that’s unrealistic to say that we’re going to get the same four [starters] like that every year, to get Kwon Alexander, that type of player, in the fourth round. But the draft is still an inexact science. There are plenty of examples. I think we just did a tremendous job in the draft last year and it’s important every year. The way the salary cap is, you’re feeding your young players and developing your young players, letting them work their way up into their second contracts. That’s what’s going to get us over the top as a football team, so it’s very, very important, but I think it’s probably unrealistic to think that we’re going to be able to do that every year.”
(On how excited he is to be back at One Buccaneer Place)
“I’m excited. It’s good to see the guys today, hearing what they did this offseason and just, you know, good to see my brothers.”
(On his offseason)
“It was great. I got married to my longtime girlfriend. We had a great honeymoon, great wedding. Something out of a movie, it felt like. It was a blessing.”
(On if he expects the team to be better this year)
“Absolutely. You know, we got a lot of the same pieces back, mostly on offense. We got Dougie [Doug Martin] back, he’s a beast. Jameis [Winston] is going to only get better. I’m going to be better. With a healthy V-Jax [Vincent Jackson], the sky is the limit.”
(On his relationship with Jameis and how it has improved during the offseason)
“We’ve been hanging out more. You know, even though we’re both busy guys, we find time to hang out and throw when we can. I agree with Dirk [Koetter], our chemistry was a little off last year. Mostly on my end though, but I feel that it won’t be a problem this year.”
(On whether he and Jameis worked out together or just spent time together)
“It’s both, both. You know, playing video games, chilling at each-others house, things like that. You know, he hung with me before my wedding. We have a lot of things in common, so that’s good.”
(On the adjustment to having a new position coach in Offensive coordinator/ Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken)
“I had met him previously a couple times and then today he talked with the guys. He’s a fun guy, already he’s fun. He’s a guy that I think I can get along with. He has a lot of experience and I think we can only benefit from him being our coach.”
(On what signs he’s seen that his chemistry with Jameis is improving)
“He’s trying to find me. Everywhere I’m at, he’s trying to find me, see what I’m doing. He wants to hang out, he wants to go throw all the time, so he’s doing the right things and he’s a workaholic. You know, I got to do a little more running, you know, than him, but you know, I like it. You know, he’s working and he wants to be the best and I do as well.”
(On where he is in his career)
“It’s a blessing to be in the NFL, but I’m definitely not satisfied. People will say I had a sophomore slump last year, I guess that’s fair. People can say what they want. I increased in some of my numbers, but I wasn’t as consistent and I got to get back to my fundamentals a little more.”
(On what needs to change between him and Jameis to improve the deep passing game)
“I’ve just got to get open more. I didn’t create enough separation for him. It’s hard to throw a deep ball when a guy doesn’t have as much separation, so I have to do a better job on my end.”
(On trying to control his emotions more this season)
“If you’ve seen me throughout my career – college was the same – I play with an attitude, I play with fire, you know, I play with passion. It’s a difference between passion and being dumb, being hot-headed and I’ve got to find that happy medium and I think I will this year. You know, getting married, it probably helped mature me, so we’ll see.”
(On if he spoke to Randy Moss this offseason)
“Yeah I talk with Randy all the time, you know we – you know, I’m going to keep our conversations private, but he told me some things I needed to work on. I was struggling with drops and things like that, but I think I’ll have a much better season this year.”
(On if his concentration needs to improve to decrease the number of drops)
“Yeah, just focus. You know, I wasn’t focused some games and I have to do that better. I have to practice more – I have to get better in practice with it. It just comes with repetition. Last season is behind me.”
(On if he plans on working with Randy Moss again this offseason)
“We’ve talked about it. Me, him and Jameis, we’ve talked about it, so maybe in the summer we’ll probably get some work in.”
(On how much it helps to have the same receivers back this offseason)
“It’s great. You know, we all know each other, we know what everybody is capable of and this is a real tight, tight group of guys. You know, there are guys that can play. If we all stay healthy, we can be one of the best in the league. My first two years it’s been unfortunate with injuries and things like that, but barring [any] injuries, I think we can be the best group in the league.”
(On how he looks at last season and how they can emulate the Panthers)
“I had some decent games, but it was a disappointing season on my end for sure. Even though I improved in some categories it was a disappointment, but you can’t dwell on the past.”
(On what makes this year’s team special)
“We’re young, obviously. That’s been all over the place, we’re a young team. We’re going to play with more swag and we know the Panthers. We saw what they did, they went to the Super Bowl and we felt like both games, you know, we were there with them, they just had more firepower than us and this year I think we have as much firepower as them.”
(On his concern for Johnny Manziel)
“I just hope he can get it together and I think he will, you know, down the road. That’s all I’m worried about, just him getting his life back together.”
(On if he’s talked to Manziel since Manziel’s problems have developed)
“Yeah we talk.”
(Opening statement)
“Football season again.”
(On who is better at video games – he or wide receiver Mike Evans)
“Well, I’m not really good at video games, so I know Mike – he whoops me all the time, especially in [NBA] 2K – he loves playing that. I’m not really a basketball guy, so I try to stay away from that.”
(On what Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher had texted him about Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken when Monken was hired)
“He didn’t really go into detail, he just let me know that that’s a guy that will be good for us. I trust Coach Fisher, so his word is as good as anyone’s word to me.”
(On spending time with wide receiver Mike Evans this offseason)
“It’s just fellowshipping with him, creating a steady relationship where we depend on each other. Because there’s going to be situations where in a game, I’m going to have to look at Mike and be like, ‘Mike, I need you on this play,’ and he’s going to look at me and be like, ‘Jameis, come my way. I got you.’ So it’s just developing that relationship off the field and on the field. It’s good.”
(On working out with trainer Tim Grover this offseason)
“I’ve been with him once a month, for the most part, so I’ve spent about three weeks with him. Just trying to get my body right, trying to stay in shape. I’m not used to really having an offseason. I jumped right into baseball right now [in previous years], so I was kind of in a place where I didn’t know where to go but [my] instincts say, ‘Work hard, Jameis, and you’ll be alright.’”
(On which parts of his game he has to improve upon)
“In every aspect. My main goal is just to get better every single day, so whatever Coach Bajakian – Coach Bajakian gave me a list of things to get better on, I looked at those things and I just try to improve on them every day I can.”
(On how much the change in head coaches served as an “awakening” that the NFL is a business)
“That was a tough week for me just because that was the week of my birthday and all that, but after that, I was excited for Coach Koetter to come in here and get this show on the road. I’m excited today just to be around all my teammates and we get to get back with each other, throw some jokes to each other. It’s starting a good process that we need to have that true bond when it’s time to get in training camp when we actually start sweating and actually have a true grind.”
(On how often he and Evans are hanging out off the field)
“It’s whenever he wants to. Like he says, it’s what’s you do off the field and on the field. Mike got married this [spring], Mike had so much stuff to do, so just him coming over to my house and me setting up a film session before we watch the Warriors play is very good for us.”
(On what has changed for him on his first day in the building from last year to this year)
“It feels the same because I was so eager to step onto a pro facility. I was so eager to just step in there with my teammates, because it’s not like college. College you’re with those guys year-round. After our last game, we just split apart. I’ve seen some guys in the facility and I’ve talked to some guys on the phone. It’s like we had long distance relationships. But it was good. It was good to see everybody coming in excited and I was very excited for Coach Koetter. He made a big statement in there in the team room and we’re just pumped, man. We’re ready to get this thing going.”
(On what the statement was that Coach Koetter made)
“It was a big statement (laughs).”
(On his confidence in quarterback Ryan Griffin)
“I don’t view Ryan or Mike [Glennon] as my backup because those guys help me out so much and we’ve just got a big family in that quarterback room. And as long as all three of us are on the same page, us three are really the people that get this team going. So it’s basically one quarterback and that’s all three of us. We’re like a three-headed monster.”
(On seeing Buccaneers Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp this offseason)
“I’ve seen him at Anquan Boldin’s event and just him giving back to Anquan, because they know each other. And I’ve seen him at Mike Alstott’s event last night, so just being around as great of a Tampa Bay legend as he is, it’s good to just sit there and mingle. But I try to work the room – I just don’t necessarily stay there with one person, I try to talk to everyone I possibly can.”
(On if he ever talks football with Sapp)
“I really don’t talk football with Sapp. Sapp is really interested in fishing, he does that a lot. He’s just a great guy to me. I’ve seen him, when I was growing up, so when I’m around Mr. Sapp, I’m like, ‘This guy’s a legend.’ I’m not really trying to pick his brain or anything like that because he’s a defensive tackle and this always remains consistent is he will tell me that he will sack me. And he’s going to say that every single time. And I’m like, ‘I’m playing, you’re not, but you’re a Hall of Famer,’ so it’s just a respect thing for me and Mr. Sapp.”
(On if he spent time at the Pro Bowl trying to recruit any potential free agents)
“I wasn’t out there trying to recruit anybody. I just was out there trying to put my foot down, trying to see how I can get better, trying to take things in from the other great guys that have been at the Pro Bowl multiple times. Because I want to be back there again, I don’t just want it to be a one year thing.”
(On how the offense can “play with more swag” and translate production into more wins)
“Well, Mike Glennon said something great when we first got into the quarterback room. He said, ‘This is the first offseason I came into this building and I had the same exact offense.’ That’s how you get better – repetition, doing the same thing over and over again, and we have the same offense. We’ve got a new offensive coordinator, so that’s how you get the swag back, because you play better when you know what you’re doing.”
(On if he agrees with Coach Koetter’s statement that the deep passing game needs to improve, and what he can do to improve it)
“Absolutely. I’ve just got to give the guys chances to make plays on the ball, and that’s something that I have – me and Mike [Evans] really specifically worked on that – we spent like two days just doing deep balls. Of course he’s tired, but he kept doing it. We actually had some of the Tampa Bay Storm guys come and help him out because they saw him out there working his tail off and they were like, ‘We aren’t going to let you burn him out right now,’ so Mike was very appreciative of that because I just kept on going.”
(On Evans having to do all the running during their throwing sessions)
“I don’t let him do it by himself. When we go out there and he runs a 50-yard route, I will sprint to 50 yards down the field, wherever he had caught the ball. So when I work with the guys, I don’t let them be the only ones running because that’s the only excuse that a receiver or tight end can have, like, ‘You’re not out here doing this running.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going to show you. I’m going to do the same running that you’re doing,’ so they can’t have any excuses.”
(On how he feels about his offseason conditioning and if he feels he’s met his objectives)
“I feel great, but it’s still a work in progress. This is April. You’ve got to be peaking when it gets to August. You’ve got to be peaking when it’s the middle of the season. I’m always just working trying to get better every single day. I do believe I look good [laughs] – I’m just saying, that was my main objective, not to lose myself because I love to eat so I had to keep working hard. By me not knowing what to do in the offseason, it helped me because I was just like, ‘I know how to work.’ So I started working.”
(On how he dealt with the stress of the pre-draft process last year)
“Like you said, the Pro Day and the Combine, that was stressful, but after all that was over, I was like, ‘I just can’t wait to get to a team now.’ Because that stuff is very stressful, I’ll just tell you that right now. And I think everyone knows that, but I was just happy to get put on a team and I’m happy I never have to do a Combine and Pro Day or that stuff again. I’m pretty sure these rookies that come in, they’re going to be happy that they don’t have to do that stuff again.”
(On what it was like to hear his name called and be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft)
“It was a blessing, it was a blessing. Actually, my uncle had said something the other day. He was like, ‘I’m just happy you got called first so everything got over with quickly,’ so it was just a great day. I’m very eager to see who we get. I’m happy for all of the guys that have a chance to get drafted and for the guys that think they won’t get drafted, I’m happy for them because I know those guys out there are working their tails off to make a way for themselves.”
(On what people can expect from the Buccaneers’ 2015 rookie class in year two)
“You can expect for us to get better every single day. That’s a good point, because at one time I think we had at least five rookies on the field and that’s just our rookie class. [Buccaneers Director of Player Engagement] Duke Preston did a great job with bringing us in, having our rookie class, keeping us together as a family. Hopefully, we can spread that out and get this whole team as one big happy family. That’ll be good for us.”
(On how much he looks forward to supporting the incoming rookie class)
“I can’t wait. I’m all into welcoming somebody in because I know when I came in, a lot of people have their guard up because they don’t know what to do expect. They’re like, ‘This guy is in the NFL, he might think he’s like this, and I’m just coming from college, I need to be this type of way so he doesn’t think I’m a bad guy.’ I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, be yourself. That’s the easiest way that you can have success quickly in this league. So be yourself,’ and I’m not going to be trying to put [any] pranks on [any] rookies or anything like that. No, not at all. I’m going to accept them in because they are part of this family.”
(On if it’s different being able to start off the year as the guy who everyone follows)
“Not at all, because if you’re trying to push leadership on a guy, that guy’s not going to want to follow you. Me and the chaplain, Doug [Gilcrease], we were just talking Biblically about what leadership means, and leadership means to serve others. As long as I can serve the guys around me, I feel like I’m doing a good job of being a leader to them and I know that they’re going to want to do anything for me just like I would for them.”

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