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14 September 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Media Availability (9/14/17)

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
Quarterback Jameis Winston
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On if there is an advantage to practicing in the heat every day)
“We could kick that around all day and we would all be split on who the advantage is for, if there was an advantage. I don’t really worry about it. It is what it is. We’re playing and it was really hot out there today, if that’s any indication of Sunday – going to 46 guys on both teams – it’s going to have an effect on both teams.”
 
(On the continuity of the team at practice today)
“I thought the continuity was fine, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
 
(On if this is the healthiest this team has ever been going into a game)
“Yes.”
 
(On how he feels about the offensive line)
 “Really good. We’re real happy with it.”
 
(On if the game against Chicago was a turning point for Tampa Bay last season in terms of confidence)
“Yeah, not only for Chris [Conte] but for our defense and for our team. That one single play (Conte’s interception returned for a touchdown versus Chicago) might have been the turning point of our season. I mean, you never know exactly but it sure didn’t hurt. I’ll gladly take a shot to the eye every Sunday if it’s a pick six. That’s good.”
 
(On if the team has discussed what is off limits in terms of celebrations)
“Whatever we need to do.”
 
(On how safety T.J. Ward is progressing in learning the defense)
“He got around 20 reps on defense yesterday, plus now that we’re down on numbers, took reps on scout team and he got some more out there today. I thought he looked a lot more comfortable. But, the guy is a football player, so it doesn’t take long for him to show up. He had a couple nice pass breakups today. He’s going to help our team get better.”
 
(On how he plans to ease defensive end Jacquies Smith back into the mix)
“You ease him in. Before those guys get officially cleared on the injury report, they are doing football drills – they are just doing them with the trainers. They’ve been doing change-of-directions and running hoops and jumping over bags and all that stuff. But the biggest adjustment is when you have live bodies and you’ve got guys falling at your feet and you’re getting blocked by a 300-pound lineman. A lot of times what happens when those guys come back is that they have limited reps in practice and sometimes they’re playing on the prep team and working their way back. That’s what Jacquies is doing.”
 
(On who has the advantage between the Buccaneers coaching staff who knows Bears quarterback Mike Glennon or Glennon, who knows the Buccaneers defense)
“Probably nobody. It’s probably a wash. He’s a player and I’m a coach, so my knowledge of him I don’t think is going to mean much. I think there is something to the fact that he played against our starting defense every day last year, so I’m sure that he and Dowell Loggains, their offensive coordinator, have studied stuff on tape that they’d like to get. You do that with every team you play. You see things that, ‘If they give us that look, we’d like to be in this or this.’ But, whether that looks comes up in that down and distance and he has the freedom to make the play – I mean, that’s all kind of a crap shoot.”
 
(On how quarterback Jameis Winston has progressed since their first season together)
“Well of course he was a rookie then. We all remember what happened on the very first pass of his career. My own opinion is if you’re going to draft a quarterback that high, you should play him. That’s how he is going to get his experience. 32 games into that, I still believe that. I think, as I’ve said many times, Jameis will continue to get better and better. My confidence in Jameis is as high as it possibly could be, but I’m sure it will go even higher if we go further together – if we go as long as some of those other coaches have been with their quarterbacks, but we will see how that goes.”
(On the moment on ‘Hard Knocks’ when he gave Winston a hard time after throwing a near interception vs. Jacksonville and what it means to him that Winston is willing to take criticism)
“Two things. One – Jameis is a terrific leader and he has plan for everything. But on the play you’re talking about, he’s the one who should’ve gotten yelled at because nobody else would’ve made that play. Again, we are making way too much of that play. When I got on him after that play, every single person watching that game on TV was saying the same thing I was saying. I was just stating the obvious there. But as far as Jameis taking coaching, he is fantastic.”
 
(On Winston saying he would rather be the one being criticized by the coach rather than his teammates and that being a rare thing for someone to say)
“Yeah, I’d agree with that.”
 
(On what he has seen out of the running back group that makes him feel good about them)
“What makes me feel good about them is [that] they’re our guys. I love every one of our guys because they’re our guys. Our fans should love them too because they’re our guys. [We’re] going to win or lose with our guys. It doesn’t have to go any further than that – those are our guys and thats who we are playing with. Running backs, wide receiver, safety, nose tackle – your guys are your guys. When it gets down to it, this is it. You’ve got your 53 – 46 active – you’ve got your practice squad players and that’s who you’ve got. The cavalry is not coming. All 32 teams are in the same exact boat and I can’t wait to see those guys play on Sunday – all of them – because they’re our guys.”
 
(On how important it is to get as many playmakers involved in the game early on as possible)
“I don’t think that is that important. I think it’s important that we get off to a good start and score touchdowns. Scoring touchdowns is how you win. It doesn’t matter if Mike Evans has 10 and DeSean Jackson zero, or vice versa. It matters if you get … in the end zone.”
 
(On how he thinks wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s speed will affect his running game)
“That’s going to be a learning curve. We have an opinion on how we think people will play it, but we have no control over that. They’ve got very smart coaches on their defense and it might be different from week to week. We know what we saw last year and it was a lot of teams either rolled a safety or doubled Mike [Evans]. How DeSean affects that – that is going to kind of remain to be seen and how we adjust to it. Does it help our running game? Does it help Mike? I don’t know the answer to that. You’ve got to remember on any pass play that’s called, even though when we call that play we have an idea of who we’d like it to go to, the ball is always going based on what the defense does. Are we hot? Are we short in protection? Is it one-high coverage? Is it two-high coverage? Did we lose the backs because they had to block? There is just a lot of factors there. I guess we are able to figure out – because Mike was the number one targeted guy in the league, so we threw a lot of balls his direction – but we have a lot more stuff now that maybe we don’t have to do as much to move Mike around because we have DeSean on the other side. Again, we are just going to have to see how that plays out. We can think any way we want – it’s how the defense looks at it.”
 
(On what helps a quarterback to become successful)
“Well, I would probably say the quarterbacks who were the most successful didn’t turn it over. That’s what I would say. And if you don’t turn it over, whether you run it or pass it, you’re going to be in good shape.”
 
(On how much linebacker Kendell Beckwith has picked up in the last six weeks)
“A lot. He’s been a very quick learner – real [impressed] with that aspect because he is playing multiple positions. I’ve told you folks before that we ask a lot of wide outs to do that – Chris Godwin is doing the same thing. In that respect, Kendell is like a wide-out in that he is learning X and Z or he is learning SAM and MIKE. Yeah, that’s impressive. Plus, when you’re a linebacker up on game day in the NFL, you’re a core special teams player as well. So that’s also new learning because I doubt he was playing on four special teams at LSU.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On what his weekend was like with Hurricane Irma passing through)
“I stayed here. My wife and son, with my dog and cat, went to Jacksonville. I thought that was a good decision at the time – it didn’t turn out that way. But, they were fine. They are back. It was worse there than it was here, unfortunately.”
 
(On if it has become a normal game week for them now in terms of preparation)
“Well, it has to. Rarely is [it] normal. You always have injuries, changes to your roster, [a new] team you’re playing, so it’s rarely normal any given week. Obviously, you have to deal with getting your players back and having to deal with your families and getting guys back up to speed, but it wasn’t an issue yesterday and I expect us to be better today.”
 
(On if it is a tactical advantage to be able to see the Bears full game film from last week)
“Oh, I don’t know. In one respect, we are going to look at it as a positive. They will probably look at it as though they played a game. Bottom line is it is what it is. Sometime later in the year, your bye week will show up and you’ll have played one more game or one less game. Does it help us because we get a couple guys back to be able to practice? I don’t know. We’ve just got to be able to do it better than they do it.”
 
(On what jumped out at him about the Bears on the defensive side of the ball after watching their film)
“They do a number of things well defensively. It starts with their guys up front. They’re very talented starting with [Akiem] Hicks and the guys outside that do a good job getting after your quarterback. We have a real challenge in front of us. They did a really good job last year against us. We didn’t do a very good job early in the game. Luckily, while [our offense] was kind of sputtering, our defense came up with some turnovers when we played them last year. That’s the way you win – you play off each other and we got going a little bit more as the game went on.”
 
(On if scoring red zone touchdowns is a concern for the offense)
“It’s there. We know it. We understand it. It was something that we tried to focus on in the offseason. What do we have to do? We’ve got to coach it better [and] we’ve got to rep it better during the week, so we execute better come Sunday. I don’t think it was a lot of things schematically, although we have to look at that. We obviously have to coach it better. We have to do a better job of being able to run the ball in when we get those opportunities because the teams that are best in the red zone can run it in. That’s what they’re able to do, so we have to do a better job there and we have to do a better job when we get opportunities on the perimeter of making the plays that are afforded to us. That’s really it. But, it is a priority to us. Obviously, we need to continue to improve in there and obviously in the preseason we didn’t get it done like we need to get it done come Sunday.”
 
(On how he expects the running backs carries to be distributed)
“Between Peyton [Barber] and Quizz (Jacquizz Rodgers) and Chuck (Charles Sims), I don’t know how it will end up dividing itself out. Getting Chuck back – we lost him for a good part of last year – gives us some real flexibility on third downs, putting the ball in his hands he is a really good space player. Obviously, we will continue to try and do that. The other two are going to have to do a great job running the football and taking advantage of the creases when we get them.”
 
(On Rodgers and his feeling for this season)
“I think he is a good football player. We’ve added some weapons on the perimeter, which ought to help us be able to run the ball more efficiently. We’ve just got to do it better. I thought he was a good player last year. I expect him to be a good player this year.”
 
(On how much he is looking forward to seeing all the offensive playmakers come together in full game speed)
“It starts with having talent. We have talent. I’ll just speak on the offensive side of the ball. It won’t be about talent. It won’t be. We’re good up front. We’ve got guys that can run the football. We’ve got guys that can catch it. We’ve got guys that can throw it. Now it’s a matter of us, from an execution standpoint and from an effort standpoint. To me, that’s where you want to be and that comes down to coaching – us doing it better than they do it.”
 
(On if he is concerned about the gap in game action for his starters)
“Well, that’s always a concern. Your timing is critical to being able to throw the ball efficiently. I’ve been through this before where you go weeks – whether it’s the NFL or college – where you don’t have an indoor facility, you end up walking through things, you don’t get as much time on task and all of the sudden you go out there and play your rear-ends off and you didn’t see it coming. I am done trying to guess how we are going to play or whether the rust is going to affect us. I only know about today and we’ve got to be better today than we were yesterday.”
 
(On how he feels about the offensive line)
“I feel really good. Getting J.R. [Sweezy] back after a whole year of being off, I feel like we’ve added to that. Ali [Marpet] moving inside – we are definitely more stout in the interior, so we will see how it plays out. Obviously, there are going to be some things as Ali grows into the position that Joe [Hawley] playing it for so long gave us, but we like the tradeoff.”
 
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston has improved in terms of the deep pass)
“Without a doubt that is probably the biggest improvement. I thought last year just the strides he made in terms of controlling the offense, where to go with the ball, he has made even more significant strides in my mind deep ball and taking care of the football. I know some people can point to the Jacksonville game, but overall as far as where to go with the football, accuracy with the deep ball and taking care of the ball and living to play another down, I think he has really improved.”
 
(On what Winston has done to improve his accuracy on the deep ball)
“I just think it’s a matter of repetitions. I can’t speak specifically to what Mike [Bajakian] worked with him [on] in terms of technique, but I do think there is something to be said for the same receivers doing it over, and over and over and never getting tired of doing the same things over and over until you get really good at it. It’s really just a matter of repetition. I’m sure there [are] some technique things that he has improved on. We will see as we move forward. What we have seen so far, we like, now we’ve got to do it on Sunday. That’s what it comes down to – doing it on game day.”
 
(On if he has a good percentage in mind for what is considered good deep ball accuracy)
“I don’t know because everybody is a little bit different. We do it on a given, daily basis, so when you ask that, we do track it – throws over 20 yards, 15 yards. Okay, what’s our accuracy? But in some days it ends up being go-routes and take-routes so where do you draw the line? 20-24 yards? 24-50 [yards]? Bottom line is he is more accurate. I think our guys are more disciplined in their routes and being in the right spots, which helps. That is as much as anything – your protection and your route discipline usually leads to a higher completion percentage.”
 
(On if they will still be able to play at the temp they would like on offense following the time off)
“I didn’t see anything from a tempo standpoint. Us getting back on the field, it did feel a little awkward yesterday, just getting back after being gone. I wouldn’t say all the way back to two weeks ago, I would just say with everything that happened and guys scattering, sure, getting back yesterday. But, I don’t think it was a matter of yesterday. It was a matter of tempo being the issue.”
 
(On if all tempos are still in play for this week)
“Oh yeah. The majority of our guys have been with us as long as [Dirk Koetter] has been here, so that’s not going to change. Our offseason preparation and training camp, in terms of tempo and being able to execute – I would hope we wouldn’t have lost everything that we did over an offseason and a year and a half’s worth of work.”
 
(On how much the depth and versatility on the roster gives the offense the ability to play at different tempos)
“I think it allows you to be more flexible. I think the more you surround your quarterback with talented players who can make plays, I think you have a chance to be more explosive. We have added some explosive players. Now, we’ve just got to go and do it. Talent alone gets you beat. The days of being okay, and not executing here and not getting it done here – those are over. Now, it’s every day has to build into every rep matters. Now it’s about how we do it better than they do it on Sunday.”
 
(On his perspective of what the coaching staff has been able to do in terms of risk management regarding Winston)
“I think it’s just experience. I think it’s just time. I think if you go through the history of a lot of really good quarterbacks – and hopefully he’s on track for that – you’ll find guys that are very competitive, want to make every throw, hate to give up a down, hate to put, so they think they can make every play [by] trusting the players around them and as they just continue to play with reps and experience you will start to see that shrink some. The biggest thing is understanding that early in the year. We know we want to start off fast. Like last year, after the first few weeks, it wasn’t nearly where we wanted it to be and then he kind of came into his own and took care of the ball a little bit better. And he did a really good job in the preseason other than that one instance.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(Opening Statement)
“It’s good to be back. A lot of people in this city are having some troubling times right now and it’s exciting that hopefully this team can be the giddy-up for people who were affected by the storm. I’m glad to see [all of your] faces too.”
 
(On how difficult it was to watch Week One of the NFL season from home)
“I went through a tough time watching, but I really wasn’t thinking about myself. I was thinking about what we were going through – what the people in Florida were going through, what the people in Houston had went through because at the end of the day everything is bigger than football. Obviously I want to be out there on the field and I definitely wanted to be playing, but sometimes you’ve got to take that back seat and let things happen.”
 
(On if he plans to do anything to help the community)
“Yeah, I’ve got a few things getting planned to help those in need. Like I said, it’s bigger than football. You’ll probably hear about them shortly.”
 
(On where he evacuated to during Hurricane Irma)
“I went back home.”
 
(On what it was like going through the experience of Hurricane Irma)
“For me, it was just making sure my family was safe. Other than that, I was truly concerned about everyone else’s safety. We are privileged to play this game of football. I was blessed to be able to get my family out and back home, but at the end of the day my thoughts and prayers were with everybody that possibly could be affected by it. It’s bigger than me.”
 
(On the feeling of being away from Tampa during the storm)
“Well, I was prepared to bunker down, but at the end of the day I think family safety – like a lot of Floridians did – they were concerned about safety, which I think probably the best bet was for us to get out of here. Those who weren’t able to make it – that’s why I said my thoughts and my prayers were with them. One person in particular, Bernard Reedy, I told him, ‘Hey man, I’m leaving my house. If you and your family need come to my house. I don’t know what’s going on in St. Pete, but if you need this, you are available to stay at my house. While I was leaving, I was still trying to reach back out to guys who were staying [and] who were planning on bunkering down.”
 
(On how he reached out to the Florida community while he was home with his family)
“Well, I sent a video on my social media pages just sending out prayers and thoughts. Just showing the people in Tampa and in Florida that they were not alone, per se, that we were thinking about them and we were hoping for safety for them.”
 
(On if there remains no excuses for this team even with everything that has gone on over the past few weeks)
“No, there is none at all. That’s the fun part about everything. That’s kind of what the South has [taken] with these storms over the past few weeks. We have to overcome adversity because it is bigger than us. At the end of the day, nobody really cares about us playing 22 games or our starters not playing games. Our job is to come in here and play football and that’s all.”
 
(On what got him back to thinking about football after Hurricane Irma)
“Watching football this whole break. Like I said, I was anxious to play. I just had bigger things at hand. Football is not for a second really just going to venture off and go off my mind. I’ll always plan on preparing. Like when I was home, I was preparing to play this game.”
 
(On his expectations for the atmosphere when the team takes the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday)
“I expect it to be electric. These fans need something – a giddy-up. I’m happy, especially with last year us finishing strong at home – the fans just saw how their involvement with crowd noise and how electric Raymond James was – hopefully it can be the same. Hopefully we can all just have a great Sunday and be excited about Tampa Bay Buccaneers football.”
 
(On what he said to his teammates when they all arrived back to One Buccaneer Place)
“It’s time to play. It was simple. In situations like this, there is no big ‘rah rah’ thing because, ‘Was your family safe? Do you have power? If any of you guys are doing something to help, let me know, I’m willing to assist.’ Nobody cares. It’s time for us to play.”
 
(On the strengths of the Chicago Bears defense)
“They have a very good defense, first and foremost. They play a lot of man on third downs, third-and-mediums in particular, so our main thing is we can’t beat ourselves. We know that Chicago played a great game against Atlanta. [They had] many opportunities to win that game. Every game is a big game for us, so we have to treat this game like it’s our biggest game. We can’t treat this game with excuses in our back pocket.”
 
(On if being right on the cusp of the playoffs last season has helped this team realize that each game is important at the end of the year)
“Not just missing out on the playoffs, but losing in general. We take so much pride in taking advantage of every opportunity that we get and sometimes we get hit in the face when we lose and you look back at the film like, ‘Oh man, I could’ve [done] this to help us get better.’ But like I said our goal as a team is to get better every single day and if we are doing what we need to get better every single day, we should have no problems on Sunday.”
 
(On what it meant to be able to share the Buccaneers organization on ‘Hard Knocks’)
“It meant a lot to this organization that we were able to put our brand out there and show the world what great things we’ve got going on in this building. Sometimes fans need that sense of realness from our players because most of the time the fans get it from media and they don’t really get to go in-depth on a player’s life. I think ‘Hard Knocks’ did a great job of showing our high character guys. We’ve got some great men on this football team. Being on that bright stage and having cameras around you all the time gave some of the people on this team a great opportunity to showcase who they really are.”
 
(On what it meant to him personally to be able to share his personality with the world on ‘Hard Knocks’)
“It meant a lot for me because of the positive feedback we got together as an organization. I have a quarterback mentality, so if everyone else is happy [then] I’m happy and I’m looking for ways to get better.”
 
(On his message to Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer, telling him that he is a risk taker)
“Well, I told DeShone that because I personally believe DeShone is a good quarterback. Just seeing him play [in] real life, I saw the talent that he has as far as arm strength and decision making. It was very impressive. I didn’t see myself – I mean he’s got a way better arm than me probably – but at the end of the day I had to tell him, ‘Man look, this is your rookie year. Be patient.’ I wish an older [player] would’ve told me, ‘Hey, be patient.’ He kind of could put his self in my shoes [and] I could put myself in his shoes, so I’m just trying to help him out a little bit.”
 
(On if his patience is getting better or if he will always be a risk-taking quarterback)
“Well, you know, change is good at times. I’m working on my patience. You are who you are. Ali [Marpet] has shared this quote – it’s a Dr. Seuss quote – ‘There is no one that can be more youer than you and that’s truer than true.’ That really stuck with me because we are all our individual selves. Nobody can be us more than us. It’s so simple.”
 
(On what he has learned over his first two seasons in regard to limiting mistakes)
“I’ve learned that winning is more important than anything. In times like that (early in his first two seasons), most of those early turnovers were me trying to do too much. [They were] me trying to be the hero. This is a team game and definitely with the weapons that we have now, we are going to be able to take advantage of every opportunity that we get. I’m getting better every single day. I’m not perfect. No one in here is, but it’s exciting to get things started and it’s exciting to finally take what you say you’ve learned in the offseason in the years to come and finally lace them up and play.”
 
(On what about tough coaching helps him thrive)
“I look at it from a father-son perspective because that’s a relationship that, me and coach [Jimbo] Fisher had at Florida State – and he was harder on me than anyone else. As a head coach, you’ve got to be able to count on certain guys for the team to be successful. I want to be able to be the person that is held accountable. I’m already the quarterback – the quarterback is already the one who gets scrutinized for most things and even if [he] throws three picks, he played a good game. I want to be that person that gets yelled at in front of their teammates to make them feel better, just like, ‘Okay, our quarterback is getting yelled at too.’ I think that helps with guys. All that is is adversity in the moment when you’re getting yelled at. Your coach isn’t going to be on the field when you are playing a game so when you have that moment in practice, more often than in a game – Coach [Dirk] Koetter in the game is more laid back than anybody and he is ready to play – but practice is different.”
 
(On playing against former teammate and current Bears quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I haven’t talked with Glizzy (Glennon). I’m excited for him. I am happy that he gets to come to Tampa and play. Hopefully he does well, but not well enough to beat us.”
 
(On how to hold back emotions so that the team doesn’t get too amped up before the game on Sunday)
“I don’t think that’s a problem. I think that’s a good thing. The wait is finally over. Football is back for the Buccaneers. Like I said, we just want to be a lift-me-up for this community, for this city and hopefully we can do that on Sunday.”
 
(On if there is a different feeling this season than in his previous two)
“Yeah, every year is a different feeling. But, every year it’s the same goal and that goal is to win football games, make it to the playoffs and ultimately win a Super Bowl.”
 
-BUCCANEERS-
 

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