Below is a transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s earlier media availability:
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On the results of Jameis Winston's MRI)
"Jameis had an MRI this morning and he's got a sprained AC joint. So he'll be day-to-day for right now. No structural damage, so X-rays were negative, had the MRI and he's sore. He's sore most weeks, but he's sore and of course it's his throwing shoulder so we'll just have to see how it goes during the week."
(On if he has dealt with AC joint injuries before)
"Well, when I was a bad player back in the day I had my shoulder operated on, so there was no throwing with it. It wasn't a pain issue – I was in a cast."
(On if as a coach he has dealt with quarterbacks who have tried to play with an AC joint injury)
"You guys [have to] remember, there's players at almost every position in the league [who] are playing with some level of discomfort every week. Jameis is as tough as they come, but we'll be able to see at some point this week how it's affecting his velocity. That was the thing yesterday when Jameis said he needed to come out. Jameis loves to compete and loves to play but he just felt like he couldn't drive the ball down the field like he needed to. We'll just have to see how these days, how his recovery and his treatment goes."
(On if he would characterize Winston as more "day-to-day" than "week-to-week")
(On if Winston's injury is the same one that Ryan Griffin had in the preseason)
"No, no, no. Ryan's was a definite out, a definite out for four-to-six weeks."
(On if he would consider the report on Winston's shoulder to be good news)
"Yeah, of course. You don't want anybody to be hurt, but the fact that he's not definitely out, that's obviously good news. You don't want your quarterback to be hurt. Jameis, he took a shot, landed right on that thing. Obviously, everybody saw the clip of what happened with Aaron Rodgers. We're hoping for the best, and the fact that he hasn't been ruled out is good news."
(On if he feels the need to bring in a third quarterback this week)
"So, Ryan Griffin is eligible to start practice again this week but wouldn't be eligible to start playing again. [General Manager] Jason [Licht] and I have talked about that, and that's something that we'll just have to see how the week unfolds. The players' day off is tomorrow, so we couldn't do anything tomorrow anyway with the new player. So we're going to just see how Jameis feels in a day or so."
(On evaluating Winston's situation)
"Well, players will be in for treatment. On their day off we can't do any football stuff with them, but they can do treatment, rehab stuff."
(On if the team will put together a game plan for Winston's week)
"I'm sure Jameis won't be doing any throwing on Wednesday and little throwing during the week. We'll see how he feels."
(On the biggest impact of Winston's injury)
"I think it would only be if Jameis feels like he can't put enough on the ball to get it there on time. If that's the case, it will be pretty obvious."
(On how this injury has impacted other players who tried to play through it)
"I don't have any experience with this exact injury. I think they're all a little bit different. That's more of a question for the doctors and trainers than it is for me."
(On if this is ultimately a pain-tolerance issue)
"The way I understand it, he will be cleared medically to play. So the way I understand it right now, the answer to that would be, 'Yes.' I know Jameis can handle a lot of pain, that's not going to be an issue. I think it will be more [about], does Jameis feel like he can play at the level he needs to play at? Obviously, the number-one thing in all of this is that Jameis's long-term health has to be the number-one thing."
(On if Winston could do more damage to his shoulder by playing through the injury)
"They have said no, there is not. If that was the case, we obviously wouldn't go there."
(On if the team will prepare differently based on which quarterback will start)
"Yeah, a little bit. That's why I mentioned the Ryan Griffin thing. Ryan Griffin will be able to run the scout team against the defense and on Wednesday Ryan Fitzpatrick will take the first-team reps, which he gets zero, normally. Jameis will be able to do some run-game stuff. We'll do a few more things that fit maybe what Ryan does on Wednesday, and we'll incorporate that in."
(On if he feels more comfortable having Ryan Fitzpatrick behind Winston)
"Well, a guy that has 116 starts in his career – that's why you have an experienced backup. Jameis likes to take every rep in practice, and so you need a backup that's not a developmental guy, a backup that can go in without getting any reps. Other than a handful of plays, Ryan went in and did a good job yesterday."
(On why Fitzpatrick did well in relief Sunday)
"I think [it's] the fact that he knows where to go with the ball, he gets it out of his hand quick. He used his check-downs; they were playing a lot of zone coverage. He checked it down when he needed to, and when he had a chance to get it down the field, he did that. That was a beautiful go-route that he threw to Mike [Evans] on the last touchdown. I think we had seven explosives in the second half."
(On if he has a better sense now of why the defense struggled early on Sunday)
"Yeah, because we didn't fit the run very well and we didn't tackle very well. They didn't do anything tricky that we didn't expect them to do. They changed out their running back and he had a big day but the way they scheme their running game, they pack it in there pretty tight and then he reads the middle linebacker and either bounces or cuts back. And if he bounces, your secondary has to show up. You have to fit your gap and you have to stay in there, and whoever the free, unblocked player is, he has to make the tackle. He has to make first contact. We just did a poor job of that, and that's something we haven't been [doing]. We've been good at that. The fact that we couldn't get it stopped…and then you're running the ball, every offensive coach in the league would love to be able to run the ball and then hit their play-actions off of it, and that's exactly what they did."
(On if the quarterback situation changes the game plan regarding Buffalo)
"Well, we're just getting into watching Buffalo. Our pre-scouts have already looked into them and they've given us the pre-scouting report. With [Buffalo Head] Coach [Sean] McDermott coming over from Carolina where he was the defensive coordinator, it looks to me like they're running the same defense that Carolina runs. So we've had quite a bit of experience with that defense. We're just going to be getting into the game-planning here starting right after this meeting. Right after this press conference we'll be starting on that, so I can't really answer that yet."
(On rotating three safeties and what Justin Evans has shown to earn playing the most snaps)
“We wanted it to be pretty equal yesterday. It didn’t quite work out exactly equal, but what Justin [Evans] has shown is big-time athleticism, and range, and speed and he tackled better yesterday. I don’t think he had any missed tackles. Now, Justin had one bad play on that wheel route where that was his guy that he drove the flat, the guy wheeled on him and that was not a pretty play. That’s going to come some with experience.”
(On how concerned he is with the play of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves)
“Extremely, extremely, I’m concerned with everybody’s play after the way we played the first half yesterday. Vern is not in a very good streak of games right now. We asked Vern to be more aggressive this year and to be more aggressive with his coverage and he started out doing that. He started out doing that in OTAs and training camp, but he has not played his best football these last three games.”
(On if he is struggling with confidence)
“I don’t think it’s a confidence thing, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. We all have to play better and I have to coach better, so I’m not trying to make this a Vernon Hargreaves bashing session.”
(On if it’s a classroom issue)
“No, I don’t think so.”
(On if it’s his ability that is holding him back)
“No, not ability. You have to remember, if we could just snap our fingers and fix stuff it would already be done. You wouldn’t be asking me about it.”
(On why he hasn’t had the effectiveness he desires from his defensive ends)
“Noah [Spence] knocked that ball out of [Carson] Palmer’s hand on that one yesterday – on the third down when we started playing better in the second half on defense. They’re just blocking us. Sometimes in the New England game, Noah ran behind the quarterback too often. I thought he did a better job of that yesterday. Robert [Ayers] didn’t have a lot of production either way yesterday – didn’t play terrible, didn’t play great. Our two sacks came from the defensive tackles, but your guys are your guys. You’ve just got to keep working.”
(On if he thinks there was a lack of attention to detail throughout the week, particularly from younger players)
“During the week, no. During the game, we had a lot of issues during the game at every position. No one guy or no age group of guys got us down 31-0. That was a combination of all of us. If I thought there was anything we were lacking during the week, I would be making every move I could to correct it already.”
(On if he sensed a lack of focus once the team arrived in Arizona)
“Possibly. That’s a possibility, but that’s a gut thing. When that happens, I let them know about it. I don’t hold that in. Those guys know how I felt. Any time a coach addresses a team of 53 guys like that, it’s not all 53 guys. Anything we talk about in here – this went wrong, this went wrong, this went wrong – it’s not all 53. There [are] guys in there that had nothing to do with that issue, but they had another issue. We had a lot, a lot of issues in the first half yesterday. We did better in the second half, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
(On what the lesson is in recent slow starts on the road)
“The lesson is we’ve got to start faster. We’ve got to execute better early in games on offense. We’ve turned into this team that looks like gangbusters in the fourth quarter, but does not look like gangbusters in the first quarter. It’s a four-quarter game. We’ve got to start faster. Our defense normally hasn’t had as much of an issue, but yesterday we had that issue on defense as well. That’s something as a coaching staff we’ve got to get figured out.”
(On if getting linebacker Kwon Alexander back can flip the mindset and attitude around)
“Possibly. It will certainly be good to get Kwon back. He is [an] outstanding player. I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything to get Kwon back, but I’m not sure about that.”
(On if Alexander had any kind of setback)
“No, he didn’t. He is cleared to go this week as far as starting Wednesday. Now, that is barring setback but we’re going to have a better injury report on that when it next comes out.”
(On if it will be good to go back on the road to fix some of the issues that have troubled them away from home)
“Could we go tomorrow? That would help if we could go tomorrow. That would help me the most.”
(On if Alexander is cleared to fully practice)
“That is correct.”
(On if Alexander could possibly play on Sunday)
“Yes, if nothing happens. He’s going to be cleared to practice full on Wednesday.”
(On the one thing that he wishes he could go back and do differently this past week)
“Miss the plane. If I knew the one thing that caused us to go down 31-0 I would try my best to fix it, but it’s not one thing. We didn’t tackle. We didn’t fit the run. We had three MEs (mental errors) in the run game that led to negative plays on offense. We dropped a pass on third-and-10. We did things that bad football teams do. Right now, we’re a bad football team.”
(On if music at practice and ping pong tables in the locker room have affected the focus of the team)
“If I thought that was the case then they wouldn’t be here. When we were a good road team last year, I think we had those same things.”