Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Quarterback Jameis Winston
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On if he agrees with Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken that quarterback Jameis Winston looked more composed in Week One)
“Again, to each his own opinion. I’m not knocking anybody’s opinion on it. I think Jameis has improved across the board and he played fine in that game, but I think Jameis will play better than he played in that game. I don’t think that’s his best. I don’t mean that as a putdown. I think Jameis did what he needed to do and that’s it, which [was] fine for that game. Every game is different.”
(On if he has emphasized the phrase ‘passion versus emotion’ this season as Winston spoke about in his press conference)
“No, we emphasized it last year as well. Passion is a great thing and we want passion because when you’re making passionate decisions, you’re in control. When you’re making emotional decisions, you are not always in control. That’s just the main thing behind it. There’s more to it than that, but that gives you the general gist of it.”
(On why he decided to give wide receiver Bernard Reedy the reps as the punt and kick returner)
“When he did it in preseason he had an explosive every game. He had one in this game. When you have 46 guys up on game day – we were talking about this same thing yesterday – you better figure out ways to use all 46 guys. Nothing is worse on the day after a game than when the coaches are going over the grades and they say, ‘This guy played six plays. This guy played four plays.’ We want everybody to help and everybody to have a role. That’s one way Bernard can help our team.”
(On why he chose to put Reedy in the punt return role over wide receiver Adam Humphries)
“I think both guys are equally capable of being our punt returner, but Adam plays a lot more on offense. Bernard, his body of work from the preseason and from the one chance he got in this game, even though we have no qualms with how we did on punt returns last year – Bernard is going to do great back there and he showed that when he got his chance.”
(On if there is an added challenge for center Ali Marpet playing in a dome this Sunday)
“Not just a challenge for Ali, but for everybody. We play obviously there, Arizona, New Orleans, Atlanta – when you play in these dome stadiums it’s rocking in there and it’s hard to hear. In that respect, I would’ve loved to have played a road game at Miami to get a road game under our belt. But, it is what it is. We’ve got to deal with it. We did fine last year, but it’s a challenge for sure.”
(On if it’s a new stadium for him)
“Yep – for all of us. I don’t think we’ve had anyone who has been in this stadium.”
(On if he does any scouting to see what the atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium is like)
“We have scouts at the games. We had a scout at the New Orleans game there Week One. They told us it was loud.”
(On if he feels fortunate to have depth at linebacker)
“Yeah. You’ve got to have contingency plans on everything when you have 46. Every team is hanging on to their rear end a little bit at some positions – every team. Teams that go with two quarterbacks, you’re hanging on to your rear end. Any time a guy goes down in a game, for the rest of that game, you’re on alert. You’ve got to have, ‘If these guys do down, these guys move over here.’ That happened to us last week at linebacker and those two backup guys Adarius [Glanton] and [Kendell Beckwith] stepped in and did a great job. If the time comes up again where they have to do it, they’re going to have to do it again.”
(On the maturation of wide receiver Mike Evans)
“I think Mike – I mean the fact that he [was] elected captain – I think he is an extremely mature guy now. Part of that could just be, like we always talk about Jameis – experience. Mike has gotten more experience, he got married, he had another child. When you guys talk to Mike you can see those things are both very important to him and anyone who has been there, I think you could probably say it did the same for you. I think Todd Monken has been fantastic for him. Give Mike all the credit, but I think he and Todd are a good combination.”
(On if the maturation of Mike Evans is a good example of ‘passion versus emotion’)
“Yes, that is an excellent example of passion versus emotion. Mike is an extremely passionate player about football, but we saw what happened – you mentioned that Carolina game a couple years ago, where he lost his cool [and] his emotion took over. That was not the result we were looking for or the result that he’s looking for.”
(On how defensive back Josh Robinson has transitioned into his role as special teams captain)
“Very good. Couldn’t be happier. He, along with Keith Tandy, do a great job of leading that special teams unit, as do our two veteran specialists. But Josh – in my opinion – only one guy makes it, but I thought he should’ve been a Pro Bowl player last year. I think over the course of this season, it will show up that he is among the best in the league again this year.”
(On if he is concerned about the flu going around the building)
“We got another one today. We’re talking about influenza. I’m not a doctor, but we are talking about influenza officially diagnosed [and] contagious, so guys when they have it, they’ve got to stay out of the building.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
(On where the offense needs to get better from Game One to Game Two)
"Obviously, we've got to do better in the red zone, have got to score touchdowns. That was obvious. We had some shots down the field we didn't hit. Same conversation we had last week, so that's a work in progress, obviously. But I still believe that bad football loses before good football wins. And so, what did we do? We did a great job initially of not turning it over and giving ourselves a chance. Certainly we don't want to turn the ball over. We've got to find a way to score touchdowns in the red zone and obviously we've got to hit some of the throws that we had down the field."
(On a couple deep shots to wide receiver DeSean Jackson that did not connect)
"Well, we had the one in the left corner of the end zone from where I stand, which he caught it but we were out of bounds. Spacing, maybe he could have done a better job of getting vertical. Like it – we took a shot at it."
(On if spacing problems on a route are the fault of the receiver or the quarterback)
"A combination, but the defender was off so it didn't turn out to be as advantageous as we would have liked. So obviously we've got to do a better job, but I really thought he did a great job of holding his line. Just in terms of how far [the defender] was off it didn't give us a chance to get over the top. We had a 'take' route that was probably the 25 going in where Jameis [Winston] let it go early and there was a safety that kind of matched him so he had to maneuver around him, so we were just a hair off. It's never like it is in practice where it's on air. He had to move around it. If Jameis holds it for a half-second longer or we get through there we connect. We had another one where we were going across the field where Jameis was probably getting a little bit of pressure, could have kept it a little higher. There's always more than one reason, but the bottom line is we have to find a way to hit it – protect better, run the route better and throw it better."
(On the running back position)
"I think that we're okay at that position. I think they're talented players, there's no question. Chuck [Charles Sims] is a guy that we've used on third downs to get the ball in space, that's obvious, and we've used him in other situations running the ball. Quizz [Jacquizz Rodgers] is multi-purpose and Peyton [Barber] is still a young player. They're all good players. Obviously, we don't have Doug [Martin]. Doug's a fantastic football player; we look forward to getting him back. But we've got to do a great job of balancing the carries maybe a little bit more, and we've got to do it better all around. We've got to block better on the perimeter, we've got to block better up front, but I think we're fine at running back."
(On if Peyton Barber warrants more carries)
"I would think so, but last year I think I brought up Quizz, 'Boy, it's going to be a big week for Quizz,' and he carried like two times. So I don't [know]. The game goes a certain way, and Peyton's a good guy in the second half. He's much more of a load. I think as we got going a little bit and [there were] body blows and body blows at the end of the game, both teams were getting tired but who is it that was going to finish? So I think that he's always a good guy to have in short yardage and when you want to finish a game."
(On evaluating Jameis Winston's first game)
"I thought he played outstanding. The biggest things were this: I thought he was very composed, we didn't turn the ball over, there weren't any throws where you sat there and said, 'Wow, that had a chance to be intercepted. You can't even think about that.’ So that's the number one thing – were you in charge of our team? Did you lead our team? Were you composed? Were you talking to the receivers? I thought for the most part he was on target. He looked very relaxed in the pocket. When he moved around in the pocket he didn't look – sometimes Jameis can look twitchy in his feet, so I thought he looked very much more under control."
(On the offense not committing penalties)
"I think it just turned out that way. I think the biggest thing is we didn't have any pre-snap penalties. We didn't have any false starts, and the holding, of course. Those are the two most common [penalties] offensively, false starts or a holding call. Those are things that really put you behind the sticks, which we didn't have, and that will be a point of emphasis this week going to Minnesota, being in the dome. Obviously communication will be critical, not only with our skill guys and getting the plays to them but obviously with the snap count."
(On how Jacquizz Rodgers played against Chicago)
"He graded fine. I thought he played really well. You're always a function – we went through that last year, you're going to have trouble getting to that 100-yard mark or that mark we're trying to get to if you don't get any explosives, you don't get a longer run. It's just hard when you throw short-yardage and you throw goal-line in there. I thought he ran hard. I thought there was a play early in the game, boy we were close if he just picked his feet up. One of the first runs to our sideline, where I thought, 'Boy that would have been another 10 or 15 yards,' because it was single-high, but we just didn't. We've got to continue to build a package where we give ourselves a chance to add to that. Early in the game, that's where I thought Jameis did a great job. We ran the ball particularly well as the game wore on, which is good, that's when you want to be able to run it. But to not turn it over, and again playing to where we were at in the game [was good]. Probably the best drive that we had was the two-minute right before the half. That was probably – in terms of making the right throws, making a play at the end of that right before the half to get out of bounds, that was good."
(On if he could see the impact DeSean Jackson had on the offense)
"Oh, I think so. I can see it every day in practice, the impact that he has in terms of the plays that he's capable of making. Some of those games we're going to hit him. We've got to continue to do a great job of moving Mike [Evans] and him around, which we will, to utilize their strengths. They both are capable of going down the field; they're also capable of catching the ball over the middle in zones. Mike's a big-body target, DeSean's one that can run after catch, so we've got to do a great job of designing that to utilize their skillsets. We'll continue that week to week."
(On if the Bears were giving Jackson more attention and pulling it away from Evans)
"I would have to go back to the year before. Obviously the first fade throw [this year]; the year before they doubled him every time we got inside the 10-yard line. We had a game plan, which we should – we should have a lot of things designed around where they tilt the coverage to one of our players, any particular player. In that instance it was, 'Hey, if they want to single up Mike then we'll go to Mike.' That's no different than any of the other 31 teams in terms of how you design a game plan. It just worked out [that way]. We didn't have that opportunity last year against the Bears. They didn't give that to us, so everything had to go away [from Evans]. If you remember, the year before we hit Cam [Brate] on an easy inside post route. Well, they were in single-high but they were doubling Mike so everybody else was singled. I think you have to design a plan that gives [that] and you have enough playmakers to take advantage of single coverage."
(On what Winston did best in the first game)
"Not turning it over. And it wasn't even close. I mean, I can't remember – there might have been, but off the top of my head there was [nothing]. There was maybe a deflection here or there, maybe right during two-minute there was a throw to DeSean that got tipped. But I thought [he was] making great decisions, I thought just the way he carried himself, and we didn't turn the ball over. We're going to win a lot of games if we don't turn it over. That's where it starts. But again, it's one week. We say it every year: You can't carry over stats. You can't be 50 percent on third downs this week and then 20 percent or 10 percent, or 70 one week and then 20. Yeah, it balances it out, but then you're terrible eight games of the year. So it's every week. And now, what's the challenge this week? To not turn it over."
(On if Winston is more conscious now about making better decisions)
"I would hope so, and I thought our protection was outstanding. I mean for the most part, you talk about him having a pocket for him to throw, Coach [Dirk Koetter] did a great job of designing chip help in protection to keep that pocket. That's where any quarterback is going to have issues with turning the ball over, when he's under duress, one being stripped, the other is when he's trying to make his play and can't get his feet set and the ball doesn't come out as accurate as he'd like. So us getting the ball out, designing it to where we can keep a pocket, that was big. Having Ali [Marpet] in there, in terms of the pocket that firms it up. So there are a lot of things that lend themselves to that, being ahead in the game. So all those things lend themselves to [good quarterback play] – if you're able to run the football, stay ahead of the game, stay ahead of the chains, have protection the way you'd like it and then receivers being in the right spots will strengthen the margin for error."
(On what stands out about Minnesota's defense)
"I think they're all pretty good players. They've got good pass-rushers, they've got instinctive linebackers, they've got safeties that disguise and tilt and make it difficult, corners that can cover and a really good scheme. They're rarely out of position. It's all of the above. We'll have to earn it. But I like our group. We have talent, and that's where you want to start. We have talent; now we've got to do it better than they do it. We started it yesterday, and now today, how we meet, how we walk through, how we practice to give ourselves the best chance to play really good offensive football against the best in the world."
(On how rookie right end O.J. Howard played in his first NFL game)
"He played fine. He's only going to get better. He's going to be a really good player, wants to be a good player, can run, block. Every practice, every game he's just going to continue to get better, and you see that with all players as they continue to play. Obviously, we anticipate we'll be better Week Two than we were last week in terms of certain things. Certain things, we will be better."
(On if the presence of Cam Brate makes it easier for O.J. Howard to ease into the offense)
"I think that does. That's a good point. When you have other players that are capable of filling in roles, and Luke Stocker and having some other veteran guys where you're not counting on [Howard alone]. We don't have to give all the volume to O.J. That's a great point. With any young player, the more volume you give them the harder it is on them."
(On splitting reps at left guard between Kevin Pamphile and Evan Smith)
"I think they're both good football players and we're going to need all of our guys by the end of the year. Part of that was, as you mentioned earlier, about some of the missed time Kevin had. But Evan deserves to play. He's a good football player. Even later in the game we had Caleb Benenoch in there. You know throughout the year, last year we lost certain guys at times, so it's good when you have a chance to be able to rotate. It was hot, so we'll continue to do that."
(On guard J.R. Sweezy)
"Well, he likes football. Let's say it like it is. The guy's a tough, dedicated football player to the profession. I mean, he works hard every day, he studies, he likes to finish. You don't change over from being a defensive lineman to being an offensive lineman to make himself the player he is. He brings that to us, from an attitude, from a physicality standpoint. Not having him last year [after] we signed him, it gives us a huge boost in terms of our depth."
(On if Sweezy's approach influences the other linemen)
"It's hard for me to say that just because I'm not in the O-Line room as much, but I would say, from an example, from what you see every day of how he approaches the work day, without question. Without question. He's one of our leaders by the way he approaches every day."
(On if the team has a third-down efficiency goal)
"It's right around 45 percent because that puts you in the top five in the league. One thing I thought we did last year very well – we ended up being five or six, however that turned out – I thought we were really consistent. And then we had the Chiefs game where we really hit on all cylinders, but we didn't have some of those games where you look up and you're two of 12. We just didn't have those games. And that's everywhere. You want to be consistent in terms of your points you score, what you average running the football, what you do in terms of third downs. That way, you're going to play good football every week. Again, you can't carry it over week to week – it's a new team, a new week. You've got to figure out a way to do it against them and put that aside, win or lose, and eliminate the noise of, 'The sky is falling,' or, 'We're in the Super Bowl.' I think that's the biggest thing. No one knows our team better than we do, and all you've got to do is keep coming to work and keep pushing forward. What do the Vikings present to us that is going to change because they're a different team. It's a different week."
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
(On if he felt like he was in control of the game vs. Chicago)
“I felt like the team altogether, we just had control of that game. The way the defense dominated and the way we executed early on offense.”
(On if he felt the team played mistake-free football)
“I think we played clean. I think we can play a lot better, especially myself. I believe I can play better.”
(On if there was anything he did to stay relaxed pregame that he hasn’t done in the past)
“I never get comfortable. I think it’s just [that] I have a little more experience. Like I said, my main thing is to get better every year. Last year Game One vs. Atlanta, I got better. It was better than my first game my first year. This year – no turnovers, so it was good. Again, just getting better every single day now. Fortunately, that’s behind us and now we’ve got Minnesota this week. We’ve got to get better for this week.”
(On if there is a different feel this year after the Week One win than there has been in previous years)
“Of course, it’s a different year. [We definitely] want to go out this week and get a win and just get this train rolling. Like Coach [Dirk Koetter] always says, ‘It’s one game at a time.’ We look forward to taking on every next challenge, but right now our challenge is the Minnesota Vikings.”
(On his conversation with wide receiver DeSean Jackson after the game discussing missed opportunities)
“It’s just the way that we roll. Having a guy like him that brings so much to the table, you never want to leave anything out there on the field. I told DeSean, ‘We left a lot out there. I missed you a couple of times and we’ve got to connect on those.’”
(On offensive tackle Demar Dotson’s comment saying that the offense may have let the defense down by not closing the game out)
“Any time the defense is playing the game that they were playing, we don’t want to keep giving the ball back to the other team so they can score. It didn’t work out that way. Thank God the defense was still playing good and we weren’t in a situation to lose the game. Like I was saying after the game, that ability to just step on their throat, finish, don’t even give them a chance to breathe – [we have to have] that mentality.”
(On his familiarity with Vikings defensive back Xavier Rhodes)
“I believe he is one of the best corners in the game. His size and speed combination is amazing. But at the end of the day – just like at Florida State – we are going to go out there and we are going to compete. He is a great player. We have great players on our team. He is a part of a great team. We have good team, so we’ve just got to go out there and play.”
(On if Rhodes gets enough credit)
“He is on the younger end. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get his respect pretty soon.”
(On if the defensive players have asked him about Vikings running back Dalvin Cook’s tendencies since they played together at Florida State)
“No, they haven’t. Dalvin is an amazing player, but our defense is going to do what they do. Minnesota is going to do what they do.”
(On if Cook runs with a chip on his shoulder after falling to the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft)
“I’m pretty sure personally he has a chip, but Dalvin runs like that period. He is going to tote that rock. It doesn’t matter if he got picked number one or he got picked as ‘Mr. Irrelevant.’ He is a running back. He is a great guy and he is an amazing player.”
(On if he has worked on the mental aspect of his game and remaining calm)
“I’m going to be me. I’m going to be who I am. There is no way that I cannot be me. But definitely passion versus emotion, if you are going there, that’s something that we preach every week here – having passion and losing the emotion. I’m an emotional player, so I’ve always got to make sure passion is always winning.”
(On if he felt DeSean Jackson’s presence on the field in their first regular season game together)
“That’s what is so amazing about him. I think everyone feels his presence when he is out there. It’s so fun to watch him just run by guys. That’s another thing that just adds another element to our offense. Guys are backing up [and] we are able to complete some stuff underneath, so when we start connecting it’s going to be great. I can’t wait [laughs].”
(On what will help to improve that connection)
“Just continue to rep, continue to get better.”
(On what he means by passion versus emotion)
“Playing a game with the love for the game, but not trying to do too much – getting out of your element.”