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03 October 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Media Availability (10/3/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay recorded over 300 yards passing and over 100 yards rushing against the New York Giants. With at least 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing, the team would have consecutive games reaching those numbers for only the second time in franchise history (also: 10/14/12 vs. Kansas City-10/21/12 vs. New Orleans).
 
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Quarterback Jameis Winston
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On if he has an idea of how heavy a workload running back Doug Martin will be able to carry on Thursday)
“First of all, Doug is a pro. He has played football for a long time. I don’t think he probably forgot how in three weeks, but that is a big question. He hasn’t had contact in three weeks, so that’s what we have to work through.”
 
(On if after seeing him in practice today he has a better understanding of where Martin is at physically)
“No. We’re practicing in shorts.”
 
(On how he plans to deal with Martin’s reps and progression this week)
“I don’t have a good answer for you guys on that.
 
(On if they plan to attack the Patriots with the deep ball, which they have been susceptible to early in the season)
“I think you’ve just got to go in and run your offense. On a short week, it cuts your game planning. It’s not like you can add 500 new things on a Thursday night game. If you watch that Carolina game, Carolina did a great job, but there [were] some fluke plays in there where they just turned some guys flat loose. You just don’t see that and that’s not indicative at all of the Patriots on defense. It looked to me like they were trying to do some different pickups in their bunches and stacks and they got messed up a couple of times. You just usually don’t see that. It’s just unusual. If you look at who their cover guys are, they’ve got fantastic cover guys. I would expect that those issues will all be taken care of Thursday night.”
 
(On what has allowed quarterback Jameis Winston to take fewer hits this season)
“I’m not sure about that. I know that stat is floating around right now. I would just say it’s been three weeks. Is that really enough to judge it by? They’re saying Jameis is hit less and [Tom] Brady is hit more. I don’t know. We definitely wanted Jameis to take less hits. I think we are protecting him better. I think Jameis is getting the ball out quicker, but I don’t have the stats to back any of that up. I don’t really know for sure on that.”
 
(On what makes Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick’s defenses hard to figure out)
“What’s tough about them is, even though we haven’t gone ourselves against New England a bunch of times, when you study them, they’re an amoeba defense. They can play any personnel group, they can change from week-to-week, they can be in even-front one week, an odd-front next week, they will play dime the whole game. They’ve got a nickel package, a dime package [and a] quarter package. They’ve always been able to adjust. They will switch at halftime and they’ve always been a very difficult team to plan for. In that respect, maybe it’s better that we do play them on a Thursday night.”
 
(On if he has a focus on this game in regard to going up against Belichick)
“I don’t ever look at anything as me against the other coach. I have the utmost respect for Bill Belichick. His respect is well deserved and beyond reproach. It’s not coach vs. coach. It’s team vs. team. As far as Jameis [Winston] looking up to Tom Brady – of course, Jameis would love to accomplish the things Tom Brady has accomplished. If Jameis can play those extra 17 years that Tom Brady has played then I think he’s got a chance to get some of them.”
 
(On how much of a struggle it is to get a team physically ready on a short week)
“It’s not easy on the players. It’s difficult on the coaches, but the players on their recovery – that is the main thing. As you get going in the season – and we’ve only played three games – but still, a lot of your big guys, especially your offensive linemen and your defensive linemen, those guys are usually still feeling pretty sore on Wednesdays. It’s not until Thursday or Friday that they’re back to feeling good. You just don’t have that option. Every team has to do it one time and that is the negative. The positive is you get the mini bye on the back end, so you get a couple extra days on the back end.”
 
(On how far ahead his coaching staff started planning for the Patriots on Thursday night)
“We don’t like to plan ahead. As a play caller, I don’t like to plan ahead at all. But when you have a Thursday night game – last week for the Giants and then you have a Thursday night game on deck – you have no choice. We have certain coaches on our staff that are always working ahead, getting the breakdowns ready [and] getting the tendencies ready. This week, as a staff, we had to spend a little extra time on Friday [and] Saturday of last week working on the New England game plan. Then Sunday night after the Giants game, we all were back over here working on that game plan. That’s hard to mix in your mind because it gets confusing. Am I talking about this dime package or that dime package? You’ve got to do it once a year and it’s not the most fun thing, but it’s just something you’ve got to do.”
 
(On what is different about how the Patriots attack vertically this year)
“Because we didn’t play them last year, I am not the right one to ask that question. I didn’t really see them last year except for on TV and you’re really not studying them like that. I’m just not really qualified to answer that.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On his impressions of running back Doug Martin in practice today)
“Doug looked fine. He looked ready to go.”
 
(On if he has ever dealt with a situation like Martin’s where the player wasn’t injured but has been away from contact for a few weeks)
“The only other time that comes up usually is with an injury, where someone has been injured and they come back. You hope to get a full week of practice. It’s just the hand we’ve been dealt where we get a short week. It is what it is.”
 
(On wide receiver DeSean Jackson wanting more touches)
“The bottom line is as skill players, they want the ball. Let’s just say it like it is. Running backs want touches. They want a chance to showcase their abilities. Receivers want the ability to showcase their talents. Quarterbacks want to throw it [and] want a chance to showcase their abilities. But, this isn’t baseball where I step into the batter’s box and I have my opportunity. This isn’t basketball where I can create my own shot. As receivers, you’re dependent on a lot of factors to get the ball. You can play really well and catch three balls for 50 yards. And you can play poorly and end up with eight catches for 100 yards and to the naked eye, you think you’ve had a great game. Bottom line is we’ve got to do it better [and] we’ve got to practice it better, so when the opportunities come up, we hit those. It’s all of us. It doesn’t matter what position, but there is only one ball. I told the guys, ‘There’s only one ball.’ When you’ve got multiple skill players that are capable of making plays usually someone is being pulled to the podium and someone is upset. That’s just the way it works. I mean there is only one ball. That’s the way it works. DeSean is a really good football player and we do everything we can with all of our players to put them in a position to be successful. We’ve just got to continue to work at.”
 
(On if he should have a higher completion percentage on his targets)
“I think some of that is true based on the targets that we’ve ended up throwing him. The farther you get down the field, that percentage of completion [decreases]. Now, the percentage of explosive play goes up for whoever you’re targeting down the field. There’s room for improvement on both ends – for how we practice it from Jameis and DeSean, and all of our skill guys in terms of doing it better.”
 
(On what allowed five different players to break for a 30-yard play against the Giants)
“Sometimes it just works. The first game it felt like we had those opportunities and we just didn’t hit them. We ended up with a number of players that if I think it in my mind correctly – the one to O.J. [Howard] was wide open – great design, so that enabled us to have an explosive. We had a couple to Cam [Brate], one where he was wide open on the far sideline. The one at the end of the game [to] Adam [Humphries] where he bounced off a tackle and ran for it. Then was the other one Jacquizz [Rodgers]? Did he break a run over 30? He broke a tackle, as well. We did a nice job holding the end. So, there are a number of things that factor into that. We’ve had those opportunities in other games, we just haven’t hit. There’s been probably tighter coverage in some of the other games that has not enabled us to hit those. Obviously, that was a big part of our success [on] Sunday. Obviously not turning the ball over, running the ball better – we’ve talked about, ‘How do you run for 25 yards and yards per carry.’ Well you get an explosive run. We haven’t done that. We haven’t had that one play that has kind of catapulted you over the top.”
 
(On if they can enter the game expecting to have explosive plays against the Patriots defense)
“I don’t think you count on that every week. Obviously, Carolina did a nice job with some of their motions and stacks that got them out of sorts a little bit that led to explosive plays. Sometimes that happens and the quarterback gets pressure or he is looking in another direction. It just seemed like every time they got misaligned it worked out that they were going that way. You can’t anticipate that. You can’t scheme for that and say, ‘You know what if they bust this, hey we are going to go here.’ You anticipate them getting it cleaned up. They’re too well coached [and have] too many good players to not. When you play a team that puts you in one-on-one matchups – they love to play a bear-front or triple-front, cover your O-line up, give you one-on-one matchups because they like to play man on the perimeter and force you into one-on-one matchups. Can you win your one-on-one matchups up front and on the perimeter? When you do that you put yourself in positions when their communication is critical and us being able to put them in those situations is a big part of it.”
 
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE SMITH
 
(On if the Patriots offense is different this season as they look to be throwing the ball downfield more often)
“Yes, I think they’ve added some speed. Brandin Cooks has been a big addition in terms of creating explosive plays. They’ve done a nice job schematically getting guys open. Tom [Brady] has done a nice job. He is probably the greatest of all time, or arguably the greatest of all time. He is playing really good football right now and offensively they’re hitting on all cylinders.”
 
(On how to game plan against a quarterback like Brady who gets the ball out of his hand quickly)
“I think we’ve got to work together with the guys in the back end and we’ve got to be disruptive. When he is wanting to throw the ball, we’ve got to have a body on a body. I think you also have to always be changing it up – not giving him the same look [and] making subtle changes. If he gets a beat on what you’re doing, he is going to be able to deliver the ball where it is supposed to go. That group of receivers right now – they are clicking. They’re playing really good right now and their running back [James White] catches the ball well out of the backfield, as well.”
 
(On the 13 sacks defenses have racked up on Brady and if that is a beneficiary of him holding onto the ball longer)
“I think it’s probably a little of both – some of it has to do with what is going on in the game, in terms of the situations. But they’re not protecting him probably as well as they have in the past, but he still has got great presence. He is throwing for big numbers and that’s probably the strongest passing team that we’re going to see so far without a doubt.”
 
(On if he has played against anyone that has prepared him to defend the Patriots)
“We’ve played against Brady – I’ve had an opportunity to play against him in Atlanta. He has a good idea of what they want to do and how they want to attack in each game. It’s really tough to scout these guys because it’s specific to you as a defense. They’re going to figure out where they feel they have the advantages and then they are going to try to take advantage of that. We will find out real early [with] who and how they think they are going to attack us. Then we have to try to make adjustments and it’s a game of adjustments.”
 
(On the absence of wide receiver Julian Edelman and whether that has changed up the play style of the Patriots offense)
“Well I think they added [Brandin] Cooks for that element, so it became more of a vertical passing game. They still have some guys underneath that can get open and get loose. I know losing Edelman is a big loss, but they’ve got some other guys that are really good players.”
 
(On how much of a difference it made getting cornerback Brent Grimes back from injury)
“Well when you’re talking about a guy who has been to a couple Pro Bowls and led the league last year in [passes] defensed, he is a good football player. When he is out there you’ve got a comfort level of knowing what you can call and can’t call based on where he is lined up. I thought that we did a nice job last week in some of the things that we wanted to take away, especially early in the game. Having Brent out there allows you to do it. He is a consummate pro. He studies receivers. He knows splits, he knows their mannerisms – he is about as good as anyone I’ve been around in terms of knowing the receivers.”
 
(On what the difference was for the Buccaneers defensively between their performance against Minnesota and their performance versus the New York Giants)
“I don’t think we responded very well to adversity defensively. That’s something that we’ve got to always address. We’ve got to be resilient as a defensive group. People are going to get their plays and when they do, we’ve got to put that one behind us and move on. I felt like we didn’t do a very good job and I didn’t do a very good job of making sure that we moved on from the explosive plays that we gave up in the game in Minnesota.”
 
(On the pass rush)
“We have not been able to get the quarterback on the ground. We had some pressures where we’ve gotten him to move off the spot. Sometimes sacks are like turnovers – they come in bunches. We haven’t been able to turn the ball over. Those two areas are the biggest concerns of what we have not accomplished in the last two weeks. It’s not always just the guys that are rushing. It’s also what’s happening with the coverage. We’ve got to do a good job of making sure when the quarterback is trying to throw the ball that if it’s a man coverage, we’ve got to be in phase with the guys. If it’s a match coverage, we’ve got to be matching them. It’s across the board – we’ve got to be better and we’ve got to be more productive though in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback and affecting the quarterback.”
 
(On how defensive end Jacquies Smith can help them with pressuring the quarterback)
“Jack has had a tough go and he has fought his tail off to get back. We’ve got to do it, as coaches, a couple ways. We’ve got to look at what we’re doing schematically first. Secondly, we’ve got to look at the guys that we’re asking to do it and what we are asking them to do. That’s something that we’ve really dove into the last two weeks after the way that we rushed the passer. There [are] some things I can do better. There [are] some things I think that all of us can do better. The guys that we’ve got are the guys that we’ve got and we certainly hope that we can produce more pass rush whether it is something that we do schematically, moving guys into different spots. We’re willing to try anything when you have two games that you haven’t had the production that you need.”
 
(On defensive end Noah Spence)
“When you are not 100 percent – he missed some snaps in the game because of his shoulder – but he is a tough man. Nobody is 100 percent after Game One. That’s the one thing that we all find out [when] you’re in this league for a long time, you know after the first game that nobody is 100 percent and it’s how we deal with those issues that are presented to us as a player and as a coach. I think Noah is going to fight through it. He’s a tough dude and he is going to give it his all.”
 
(On the performance of safety Justin Evans versus the Giants)
“Justin did a very nice job for us. He is going to be a very good player. He’s got great athleticism. He can step up and play the run. I’m excited about watching him play in this environment that we are going to be playing [in] on Thursday. He’s done everything that we’ve asked. He has shown up on special teams through the first three games and when he has had the opportunity to play on defense, he’s done a really nice job. It will be fun to watch. I’m anticipating he is going to play like our young linebackers played. I really do.”
 
(On the addition of defensive lineman Will Clarke)
“He’s a guy that can play left defensive end and slide down inside. He made a nice play, I believe, on the [special] teams. He got his hand on a punt. He is a guy that can push the pocket. He is still learning our system. The one good thing is, is it’s similar to what he was used to playing in Cincinnati. He is a big, long guy. We’ve got to find a way to get in a rhythm to put some pressure on the quarterback. In terms of doing it, whether it’s changing what we’re doing schematically or changing it with different players lined up in different spots or calling it at the right time – we’ve got to find a way to do that.”
 
(On the performance of linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“He didn’t blink. I’ll tell you he was very impressive. It’s not easy to be a guy that basically has a couple games under his belt and he’s got to be the quarterback on the defense for the entire game. They did not huddle. We got some breaks on substitutions where we were able to match, but he did a nice job through the week and it really paid off during the game. We did not have any breakdowns in terms of communication. There were a couple of times I felt like that we weren’t ready, that we got quick-snapped and Tom Brady is probably the best at that. We’ve got to be prepared for it this week.”
 
(On Beckwith’s preparation and work ethic)
“He is a student of the game.  Coach [Mark] Duffner takes those guys under his wing and spends extra time with them. He spent time during training camp coming up with the early group or with me. I’ve been impressed with his football intelligence and his ability to make a mistake one time and it usually doesn’t happen again. There’s going to be multiple opportunities for him to see things for the first time because he is a rookie, but I’m very impressed with him. His length is probably his biggest attribute. He is a guy that can come downhill and play in the run.”
 
(On what stands out when he watches film about Tom Brady)
“Where he can deliver the football – it’s amazing. It’s all based off of leverage. He and the receivers see it the same way. If you’ve got inside leverage, it’s on the backside. If you’ve got outside leverage, it’s on the inside. If you’ve got a lurker, it’s down and away. He’s just got the ability to process what the defense is and where the ball needs to go – that’s probably the most impressive thing. He doesn’t make very many bad throws and he usually puts it in the right spot and it’s always away from the defender.”
 
(On what he has seen out of linebacker Devante Bond recently)
“Devante played a couple of snaps in the Minnesota game, which was his first opportunity to play. Because of the personnel groupings that they presented last week, he got a handful of snaps. I’ve been impressed. The first game he was wide-eyed like a rookie because that was really the first time he had played in a football game. He’s a guy that right now is in our base package and he’d be the first guy to go in if something happened – if we have an injury, if we go with what we have right now. We’re hoping that we can get some of these guys back here over the next couple of days.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On the opportunity that the Buccaneers have in front of them on Thursday)
“Really just a blessing for me personally – I don’t like talking about me – but to get a chance to witness greatness in front of us with Tom Brady coming into town, it gets you pumped up. It definitely makes you think about how hard you worked to get to this point. I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to him when I see him and meet him. But yeah, you’ve got to be excited. Thursday Night Football – you’re the only [teams] on TV and it’s in your home stadium, so we’re definitely pumped about that.”
 
(On if wide receiver DeSean Jackson missing part of OTAs slowed their chemistry with one another)
“I wouldn’t say that. I think I’ve just got to get on track with him. I have to play better in all respects. He’s been doing what he does – he’s been open a lot. Again, it’s the third game. I don’t want to get into a talk about, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this. I’ve got to get D-Jack the ball.’ It’s obvious I need to get him the ball. He is going to make this team better. At the same time, he’s happier with winning than anything else.”
 
(On Thursday presenting an opportunity for Jackson to show off his ability)
“Absolutely. That’s what he does. He is a big-time player and he makes big-time plays in big-time moments. I’m patiently waiting. I’m definitely looking forward to the next opportunity I have to get him the ball downfield because that’s going to be special.”
 
(On what changes getting running back Doug Martin back)
“Nothing changes for us as a team. Obviously, we love to have Doug Martin in the locker room, so that is the best part. What he does on the field – I know he is going to do great on the field, but we’re just happy to have him back in this locker room, back with us so we can be there to support him and get this thing rolling.”
 
(On if Tom Brady is the guy he is chasing to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time)
“Yeah. Growing up – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, guys of that nature and more – every successful quarterback that was playing when I was coming up, I admired them. Tom Brady, in particular, he is the winningest. He has won more Super Bowls than each of those guys, so to me that is the most important part. His ability to protect the football and take advantage of those opportunities when they are given to him is impeccable. Just studying him, just seeing how calm he is [and] how precise he is, is very impressive. That is the reason why every offseason, every rep I get during the season that I’m trying to be better and better because I know that he’s still out there playing. He’s still getting better and better. He should be an inspiration. Him and Drew Brees and a couple of the older veterans that are still playing to this day are just inspirations for young guys like myself and the other guys coming into the league to continue to work, continue to get better and that’s it.”
 
(On if he watches Brady’s film)
“In the offseason, yes. I peek at him. I peek at a lot of guys.”
 
(On the way Brady interacts with his teammates and if he tries to emulate that)
“I mean that’s in-house things. You see his leadership with his team. We have all different types of leadership within teams. Obviously, he’s a great leader [but] I’m talking about play because that is very important. Imitating his leadership is huge, but the way that he plays – if you can imitate that, you’ll have more people happier with you.”
 
(On he feels physically)
“I feel good. I’m excited for this game.”
 
(On the biggest challenge of the quick turnaround)
“I really don’t focus on the challenges because we’ve got a game. That’s the only thing I’m focused on is the game. It’s not about the challenges. It’s about the opposing team that you’ve got to face – that’s the biggest challenge.”
 
(On how different he expects the Patriots looks to be on Thursday as opposed to what he has been watching on film)
“We’re expecting them to throw some different stuff at us. It’s definitely going to be a game where you’ve got to trust your eyes and trust their look. They’re a team that is going to do what they do and they’ve had success at that. Definitely us being on the same page and executing – that’s the main thing – us executing at whatever they throw at us. We just need to execute and complete the football.”
 
(On if he feels he can take advantage of the Patriots defense)
“Every week we go in seeing what we can take advantage of [for] a team. But, we’ve got to be real with ourselves and know that this is a week-to-week league and know that teams are going to come back with a better plan. It’s not like they’re just going to allow people to get yards on them. They’re going to come with a great plan. They have a great coach, a great quarterback [and] a great defense. We’ve got to be ready to play and take advantage of the opportunities when they’re presented.”
 
(On what he said to Doug Martin when first saw him back at One Buccaneer Place)
“I just hugged him. I think it was great just to have him back in here because he is part of this special team. This team has a one-year lifespan – if that really, because people can come and go at any time – and not having him there for the first three games, as a team, it was good but it wasn’t like, ‘Where’s Doug?’ I’m happy that he is back. I’m excited for him in this game.”
 
(On if it’s better that the Thursday night game is early in the season)
“I mean I want to play on Thursday night when there is a game. I think that notion of people saying, ‘No one wants to play on Thursday night,’ that’s because [of] a lot of different things. I think when it comes to the game, we are ready to play the game. It’s tough for a coach to game plan for a Thursday Night Football game because you’re just coming off Sunday and now you’ve got to game plan [for] the defending champs – of course it’s tough. Last year he had to game plan the NFC representative of the Super Bowl so I think it’s challenging, but we’ve got to be open to those challenges. We’ve just got to go out there and play – that is the most important part. At the end of the day when the game is over, you get a ‘W’ or you get a loss. They don’t say, ‘Thursday Night Football – asterisk.’”
 
(On if he goes into the game thinking that the offense is going to have to match whatever they see on the other side)
“It’s just complementary football. We go in there just wanting to execute and do our job. [We’re] not really worrying about their offense. [We’re] worrying – not really worrying – but preparing for their defense and just playing the game. If the game happens to be a high-scoring game, it will. The main thing is we can’t put ourselves in a situation to take us out of the game. We know that they have, again, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and we know what he can do.”
 
(On what it means for Dirk Koetter to have faith in him in terms of calling plays in games that he works on with teammates after practice)
“It’s good. Like I’ve said, those are guys you can trust. You see arguably one of the hardest working players on our team (Cameron Brate) out there working all the time with the quarterback, of course when you come to the head ball coach and say, ‘Hey, coach. We can get him on this.’ He trusts it because he has seen it. He knows that we’re going to execute that. Other than that, our coach does a great job of putting us in good situations. But that was fun that we were able to execute on that play knowing the work that we put in after practice.”
 
-BUCCANEERS-

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