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24 May 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 OTA Media Availability (5/24/16)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
Tackle Donovan Smith
Quarterback Jameis Winston
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On the defense making plays in practice)
“Well, we’ll go in and watch the tape. Everything is going so fast at practice. We definitely made a couple mistakes at quarterback and the defense took advantage of that. When the quarterback goes to the wrong place with the football, usually bad things happen. That happened a couple of times. I know Kwon [Alexander] had a nice interception, I know Brent Grimes had a nice interception. There were good plays both ways.”
 
(On wide receiver Kenny Bell)
“Kenny is one of those guys we’re taking a long look at. [Offensive coordinator/wide receivers] Coach [Todd] Monken said it best, ‘Having Kenny Bell and  [wide receiver] Evan Spencer are really like having two draft picks – having fifth and sixth round extra draft picks – almost like we redshirted those guys last year, so those guys are right in the mix right now.”
 
(On balancing effort in practice with trying to avoid injuries)
“Easier said than done on that. Any time you get 90 grown men going full speed on a football field, I think it’s probably safer if everybody is going the same speed than if some guys are trying to go [full speed]. We try to manage the tempo and let them know what’s expected each period, but if you come out here and you’re fearing guys getting hurt, than you’re in for disappointment because it’s bound to happen at some point.”
 
(On having the rookie and veterans practicing together finally)
“Well, it’s just – we have a lot of work to do and so you want to hurry up and get to work. When you’ve got a big job ahead of you – and I’m talking about all of us – my philosophy has always been, ‘Let’s get to work.’ You know, the way they make you build into it with Phase One and Phase Two, sometimes you feel like you’re treading water. Phase Three at least we’re moving into the deep end and eventually we’ll get in there and start swimming.”
 
(On if it’s too early to have expectations)
“Oh, I promise you I have high expectations, probably higher than anybody else out there does. We have very high expectations for ourselves, but you can’t get excited other than working. It’s a long way to September 11th. You can’t hold that emotion from May 23rd or whatever today is, all the way to September 11th. That’s impossible, but again, to go to work – if you’re a football player or a football coach you come to work to get better and that’s what we’re doing.”
 
(On if he sees the team practicing in the morning for the rest of camp)
“I do, I do. We’re actually going to go all the way up until the fourth preseason game. We’re going to practice in the morning.”
 
(On having guards Ali Marpet and J.R. Sweezy back in practice)
“Well, J.R. is not back. Ali is back and Evan Smith is back. Those are the two guys that got back today, but it is voluntary, as you said. It’s great to have all these guys out here and that just shows that they’re hungry to work and hungry to get better. There’s a couple of guys we still have to hold out because of offseason surgeries and J.R. is one of those. He’s going to be out until we get back to training camp.”
 
(On if he saw anything in last year’s practices that made him switch to the morning this year)
“We did a little study and in August when we’re out here it’s on average 11 degrees cooler at 8:45 a.m. than it is at 2:45 p.m., so I did quick Idaho State math [laughs] and figured that out and said, ‘Jeez, it’s 11 degrees cooler. Why don’t we practice in the morning?’, so it didn’t take a brain surgeon. The last 10 years I’ve been coaching in the South I really do believe there is a cumulative effect over the course of the season, from August until the end of the year, when you’re out here, even if it’s for walkthrough at 12, 1, 2 [p.m.] and it’s 95 degrees and the sun is beating on you. I just think there’s a cumulative effect. We are going to do everything we can to try to chip away at that. There’s some things we can’t get away from, but we’re going to do what we can.”
 
(On if the importance of practicing around the ‘game time’ is overstated)
“I think there might be something to that, but I think you also have to pick you’re poison and I think everybody that says that probably doesn’t live in Tampa, Florida.”
 
(On if the heat was the reason the players removed their helmets for a portion of practice)
“That’s just one of those things that makes good common sense. If you can get a couple of 10 minutes periods in there where those guys can get those hats off – you guys can all feel for yourselves right now, it’s warm and it isn’t even humid yet. To get those helmets off for a couple periods, it just forces us to let them cooldown a little bit, but still try to get some work in.”
 
(On if he will watch the Tampa Bay Lightning game tonight)
“Absolutely, are you kidding me? This town’s on fire for the Lightning right now. [They] have the whole town excited. You can’t go anywhere without seeing those blue shirts, blue hats, blue banners – we’re rooting for them 100 percent. Go Lightning.”
 
(On if seeing Tampa’s support of the Lightning helps to motivate him to succeed with the Buccaneers)
“I’m jealous as hell. Are you kidding me? I’m extremely jealous of what they have going and that certainly gives us something to work for.”
 
(On measuring progress from last year to this year)
“Well that’s a great question and progress is measured every day by different groups and different positions. The offense – because it’s not new to them, the defense is putting in new stuff every day and new special teams, so we go in right now and we watch the tape with the coaches and we start back over tomorrow. There’s going to be things that excite you every day and things that disappoint you every day. What we tell the players is, ‘Let’s make different mistakes tomorrow than we made today.’ That’s progress.”
 
(On how much attention should be paid to the second-and third-team groupings)
“You have to have a depth chart to start out just so everybody can get reps in.  A lot of that is based on experience. When you have 90 guys the depth chart can change quickly, but you have to have a starting point and usually that’s based on seniority and what guys have done in the past.”
 
(On the progress of tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet)
“That’s a great question. When you look at those two guys just there body language, their confidence. Ali coming from a small school, everything was new to him. But all of those guys, all those rookies we played last year – just look at how they carry themselves on the field. They know what to expect, they’ve been through real NFL battles. That’s what our rookies currently don’t have yet. Those guys are veterans now. Ali, Donovan, Jameis [Winston], Adam [Humphries], ‘D.D.’[Donteea Dye] – those guys have played NFL football and I think it definitely helps them know what to expect and we hope they work with the incoming rookies to move them along.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s earlier comment that he’s ‘jealous’ of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success)
“Well, we’re in the same city, so we’re rooting for them. But you do, especially if you have a chance to go to the game, you get to feel that energy. I don’t know if it makes me jealous more than [it makes me] want to feel that [myself]. I know that we have all the pieces necessary to do it and we’re on the right track, so, more power to the Lightning, we’re pulling for them, but we want to make that more than just one part of the city. We want to try to hit every sport we have in this city, we want to try to be at the top, so we’re definitely feeding off of them, for sure.”
 
(On how to assess where the team is at given this point in the offseason)
“It’s really hard to kind of break down who can do what, especially day one. We were in what we call a Phase Two day, where you don’t really get to see much, you just kind of get to see guys go through drills. And then you don’t even really get to see every position. You kind of just get to see your position for a little bit of individual, then we’re going through plays and it’s not even – you’re not going against anybody, it’s not fast. So, at this point in the year, it’s hard to really break down anything, especially with a new defense being put in. We hardly know it. Our offense, which has a year under their belt, they’re still learning too, but they know the plays and they know the different checks and things, so trying to keep up with those guys – especially with how talented they are – is hard to really assess at this point in the year.”
 
(On having learned from many different position coaches during his career)
“You’re never too old to learn something new, and every coach brings something different. Coach [Jay] Hayes is a technician. One thing he prides himself on is technique. I think that’s what’s made him so successful over the years. With me going into my seventh year, I know who I am and what I do well, so you just try to take what you do well and then Coach Hayes is great at breaking down players, so he takes what you do and he adds what he knows and puts his little spin on it. So, really, for me, what I do is, the different things he’s teaching, I try to take a little bit of it and add it to my game and make some adjustments here and there. You just take the coaching and this is who we have, so that’s what you go with. The guys upstairs believe this is the formula we need to win, so I’ll believe it. Whoever is here, that’s who I’m going to play with, that’s who I’m going to allow to coach me, and that’s what I’m going with.”
 
(On the difficulty adjusting to different coaches)
“I’d be up here lying if I told you it wasn’t difficult. You have to make so many adjustments, then, for me, because – the reason I say I’ve had nine [different position coaches] is because usually there’s two at a time for us. So, if I’ve got it correct, it’s in between seven and nine coaches. So you take a little bit from each one and then the next set of coaches comes in and now you’re trying to take something from them, and you just create your own identity. And now this coach is teaching this, it’s hard to say, ‘You know what? Swallow your pride and try to learn something new.’ Even Coach Hayes has said, he’s told us in the room, ‘I know, guys, this is a difficult transition, but you have to take the coaching and try to learn something new.’ So, yes, it is difficult, but once you swallow your pride and say, ‘You know what? He’s not trying to hurt me; he wants to win just like me.’ So just take the coaching and do what he says and what’s the worst that could happen? It doesn’t work? But at least try it. I believe the guys upstairs know what they’re doing, so you just listen to them and go with it.”
 
(On the role of the three-technique in the new defensive scheme)
“They want me to be aggressive, just like every defense I’ve been in since I’ve been here, but you have to play it slightly, slightly different. Different alignment, kind of a different style. I’m not as loose on air as I’m used to or how I have been for the past two years. Some is similar, I’ve done it before, so it’s not something I haven’t seen, but it’s just different than what I’ve been doing for the past two years. But, hey, that’s what comes with being a professional. You have to be able to make adjustments and go with it.”
 
(On Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith)
“Coach Smith, he’s just a passionate coach. He is just about winning. That’s all he cares about. But he’s big on guys being great teammates. He doesn’t want any arrogant guys, he doesn’t want guys thinking that they’re above the system and he doesn’t care who the leader is. He says leaders will emerge, but he cares more about guys being great teammates and them supporting each other. If you see a person who doesn’t know, go help them. Don’t be afraid to communicate and realize that we are a family here, so regardless of what happens, we have to stick together. But as far as him as a person, he’s a great guy. Great guy. He’s raised his voice probably one – I think the first time I’ve heard him raise his voice was today. But he’s just about winning and that’s really great to see.”
 
(On Smith’s energy at practice)
“The more I’ve seen Coach Smith – it was really in the Phase Two drills, and that’s what we’ve been doing for the past three weeks, I think it is – he’s a high-energy guy and he’s always smiling. He’s always got this goofy grin on his face, but it’s just because he loves football. He really loves football and, honestly, he’s used to winning and being very productive, even in Jacksonville and in Atlanta. His defenses were always great in Jacksonville. He’s been a part of some great defenses and winning teams. In Atlanta, he had a lot of winning seasons. He just loves the game and that shines through when he’s out there on the field.”
 
(On practicing in the morning)
“It just kind of depends. I feel like the weather has a personality and it knows when we move practice. So I don’t think the heat in Tampa cares. It’s like, ‘We’re going to practice in the morning, guys,’ ‘Great!’ and then the temperature is like, ‘Well, I don’t care when you practice, it’s going to be 175 [degrees].” So, it’s great, and I’m excited about it, because I’m one of those guys who prefers to get the practice out of the way and then have the rest of the day, instead of just sitting around waiting to die [laughter]. It’s just like, just kill me now. But I think guys really are going to appreciate it, with me being here going on seven years and seeing the different times you can practice, I prefer to practice in the morning, but I tried to warn the guys who haven’t been here, ‘Listen, it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing to prepare you for [the heat]. So just be a professional and go at it.’”
 
(On being excited for new teammates like defensive end Robert Ayers)
“Yeah, I mean, whoever they bring in, I’m excited about. One thing I can say about Robert Ayers, man, he loves the game of football and he’s very intelligent. He knows a lot about the game and he breaks stuff down really quickly. He’s just excited to play; a very passionate guy. That’s exciting to see. He’s a vet. A lot of guys that come in are younger, but he’s a vet. Him and Clinton McDonald are our longest tenured guys in the [defensive line] room, so it’s great to see a vet come in. Noah Spence, man, I did some research on him. One thing I’ve seen about this kid is that he’s always been able to rush the passer. From every level he’s been at, he’s always been able to rush the passer, and that doesn’t just go away. But you have to change some things, critique some things, when you get to the NFL level. But being able to rush the passer, it makes you very excited to see what he’s going to be able to do, because that’s just in his DNA, being able to rush the passer. He just going to have to learn to do it at the professional level. I’m very excited for the future to see what’s to come.”
 
(On any emphasis on cutting penalties)
“That’s one of the biggest things that they’ve been talking about is penalties. Regardless of what the penalty is. We were [ranked] really low; we were just not good when it came to penalties. We were at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to that, so we have to be a lot better. Coach Koetter has been emphasizing it and Coach Smith for sure. You can’t be a top defense with letting guys start a drive, whether it’s field position or you give a team a third-and-2 as opposed to a third-and-7, that can really mess you up. So penalties have been highly emphasized for sure.”
 
TACKLE DONOVAN SMITH
 
(On the expectations of the offensive line)
“We have very high expectations throughout the whole room. Just ownership, accountability – just in the sense of doing your job, knowing what to do, being where you need to be on and off the field. The expectations are through the roof. Like I said, [run game coordinator/offensive line] Coach [George] Warhop – his expectations are through the sky. It just helps us raise ours and compete more and we’re looking forward to it. Going into the second year, there’s definitely going to be high expectations for everybody, between me and Ali [Marpet] and the older guys as well.”
 
(On what part of his game he hopes to improve)
“Everything – just becoming a technician, for sure. Having a better understanding of what he [Coach Warhop] wants us to do individually and as a unit and then just going out there to compete and be the best, you know, all around – every snap, every play and just understand it all, so definitely that.”
 
(On what he is doing to improve)
“Well, first I’m going to run because it was hot today [laughs]. When you have a guy like Jameis [Winston] who’s 24/7, ‘Get better, get better at something,’ it forces you, even if you don’t want to – not saying I don’t want to – even if you don’t want to, to get to that level. Being around him – you know, we hang out a lot – it’s always something that I’m looking at whether it’s punching, my feet, keeping my knee inside on my kick, stuff like that. It’s about the little details and stuff like that that I try to fix and look at. I definitely do want it – probably [worse] than anybody – to be the best and I have to do anything to be the best, whether it’s understanding the plays and on the field, so everything.”
 
(On facing defensive end Noah Spence in college)
“I don’t remember. He had a good game. He had a good game against us though, I will tell you that. He had a good game. We didn’t play our best as a team. I didn’t play my best by myself. Yeah, he did have a good game.”
 
(On the importance of bonding with teammates)
“Oh yeah, it’s huge. The more you hang around people, the better you get to know them and their tendencies. Even if it’s something like Jameis takes five steps this way. You know, something that little. Not really – I’m not counting his steps [laughs], but just being around your teammates, it helps because it makes it that much easier on the field to click. He’ll know how you play, we’ll know how another person plays and then you’ll tailor what you do and we’ll all fix it together and jell together and for us as a team to be great. Whether it’s going bowling, paintballing – they probably got something coming up next, but just hanging out. We had a cookout last week or something like that, so the more you get around each other it helps on the field a lot.”
 
(On if Smith is anxious to begin practicing with guard J.R. Sweezy)
“Oh yeah, for sure, but you know, next guy up. He’s out right now doing his deal, but there definitely is some anxiousness to get accustomed to how he plays, communication and stuff like that, but I have no doubt in my mind that it’ll take one or two practices and it’ll be just like that because as a unit we communicate well regardless, so it helps out a lot, but I am anxious to get him next to me.”
 
(On how much further along he is physically compared to last year)
“Way ahead. Condition-wise I’m in better shape. Just understanding what needs to be done to take care of your body – your knees, your shoulders, everything. I’m far ahead in understanding how to take care of my body.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On the addition of draft picks defensive end Noah Spence and kicker Roberto Aguayo)
“It’s special to have another Seminole on the roster. We’ve got a lot of Gators on this roster so I’m glad we’ve got Roberto with me. Noah Spence, just a great friend of mine. And then we also picked up Cassanova McKinzy at linebacker. [I] played against him in high school so it’s good to have those three guys with us.”
 
(On what makes Aguayo special)
“Other than he’s automatic, he’s competitive as well. He’s always having fun out there. He has a different swagger for a kicker. He’s always focused but he likes to have fun doing it.”
 
(On what he says to critics who don’t believe Aguayo should have been drafted in the second round)
“Opinions are always going to be out there. I’m just happy to have Roberto on this team. Just like a lot of people had opinions about me when I first came out and first started the season, like Roberto’s going to do, he’s going to shut them up.”
 
(On his first impressions of Aguayo back at Florida State)
“We came in together at Florida State so we always were close. I always knew he was good because we always used to say that Florida State 2012 class was the best class to ever come through Florida State, so we always stood by that. We always were good buddies.”
 
(On what he’s trying to accomplish in OTAs at this time of year)
“It’s exciting just to be out there and playing against a defense. We’ve been going against the air and I promise you, we’ve been winning every day against the air, but it was fun to get a chance to go against the defense. Fun to see the new guys come in and get out there and compete, man. That’s what we do.”
 
(On his deep completion to Kenny Bell in practice and what Bell might add to the Buccaneers’ offense)
“I probably spent more time with Kenny Bell last year than I’ve spent with the rest of the guys because we live so close to each other. So I’m very excited for him. I look forward to him doing big things. He’s a big-play guy. He can stretch that field for us.”
 
(On if he feels like a different player given his weight loss)
“I mean, it’s just another part of my game, trying to get better in every single way. Obviously, being physically better is probably the same [importance] as being mentally ready. So I’m just trying to get better in every aspect of my game. But it feels good to look good.”
 
(On Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith mentioning he’s been picking Winston’s brain on what he sees in the defense)
“Yeah, Coach [Lovie] Smith was like that last year. I think that’s the type of relationship that you’ve got to have, especially with your quarterback, because if your quarterback is seeing some triggers that your defense is giving, you better believe the other quarterback is going to see the same thing. And I’m asking him some stuff that I need to know because they have a lot of different looks on that side of the football. They look great over there. Definitely, getting a chance to see different looks and to experience different situations on the defensive side of the ball helps me out tremendously.”
 
(On what he sees out of the Buccaneers’ new cornerbacks)
“We’ve got some great players. We got a lot of talent out there, especially with the addition of Brent Grimes and Vernon [Hargreaves III]. I’m excited to see OTAs on down the road. It’s just the first day; our goal of this day is just to get better and to not make the same mistakes but make new mistakes or, hopefully, get to the point where we’re not making any mistakes at all.”
 
(On what he says to Hargreaves and the other rookies coming into their first OTAs)
“Just get better every week, every day. That’s our main goal. And that’s big for Vernon – I think I knew he was from Tampa, so that’s big for him. I know he’s got a lot of stuff on his shoulders, but it’s going to feel like high school for him. High school at a different level. I know he’s excited to be playing in front of his family, his friends, and I know it’s going to make him play better because I know he isn’t going to let anybody down.”
 
(On setting the bar high last year as a rookie class and if they’re talking about it with this year’s rookie class)
“We’re just trying to get everybody that’s coming in here, make them better any way we can. Duke Preston, our [director of] player engagement, he set the tone for us, really, with just how to handle ourselves coming in as a rookie. We got the opportunity early, five guys were starting early – toward the middle of the season for us – so we just kind of got thrown into the fire and we had to make the most of it.”
 
(On if the offense has to iron out the ups and downs)
“Consistency is always where you want to be. You want to be consistent. We want to continue to get better. We had a great year, but we’ve got to build off that. We were fifth in the league offensively – why not be No. 1 in the league? It’s not only about the offense, it’s about everybody. I’m glad that my second year is with this team because I know we have so much potential and we can get better in every way. I can get better in every way.”
 
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