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06 October 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Media Availabilty (10/6/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: This season, the Buccaneers have four players with at least 200 receiving yards (Brate, Evans, Jackson, Humphries). They are one of only six teams to have at least four receivers with 200 or more yards since 2008 (2017 New England Patriots, 2013 Denver Broncos, 2012 New Orleans Saints, 2009 Arizona Cardinals and 2008 New Orleans Saints).
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
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(On if there is any update on if the team will try out kickers next week)
"I'm not really sure what's going on with that right now. We've been putting this game to bed and [I] just got out of a meeting with the players so I'm not really sure where that stands."
(On how much the "mini-bye" after a Thursday game can help players)
"Hard to put a finger on exactly what that helps. It's pretty common around the league to get a little - they call it a 'mini-bye' after a Thursday night game. We would have had this bye even if we didn't have the hurricane situation. So all we did was add one extra day [off] to it. So it's hard to say how much it will help us. Again, let's remember on that bye-week thing, until we get to Week 11 it's exactly the same as it was going to be, other than we've played one less game than everybody else except Miami."
(On if Thursday's game was frustrating because there were opportunities to win the game)
"The main thing I would just say is, my own personal opinion today is just one of disappointment because we lost the game on the scoreboard and that's what counts, but we did a lot of good stuff in the game. We competed hard, we won the turnover battle. When you win the turnover battle two to nothing you're about 90 percent that you're going to win the game. There's things that we have to do different. We didn't take advantage when we got those two turnovers. We left plenty of points out there. Our defense played good enough to win. Our offensive line played good. We just didn’t execute good enough. Fourteen points – however you get your points, 14's not going to be enough and it wasn't last night."
(On his confidence level in Nick Folk)
"When we decided on Nick as our kicker – I told you guys this many times – whoever our guys are, I've got total confidence in them. I think Nick was kicking very well up until a week ago. He had a rough day against the Giants, he came back the one day we kicked in practice last week, he kicked very, very well and we had no reason to think Nick wasn't going to kick well last night. That first one right before the half, the 56-yarder or whatever it was, it was pretty windy down there. I actually thought long and hard, in the few seconds you have to think about it, [about] throwing for the end zone instead of trying the kick, but Nick actually had made a 56-yarder in practice earlier in the week. That's a bonus if you get that kick. We got a couple penalties to even get a chance at that kick. But there were a couple there that you're expecting him to make. When I say we're disappointed today at opportunities that we missed, that's at a lot of different positions and that's certainly one."
(On if he is going to be tough on himself self-scouting his own play-calling)
"Trust me, for everyone that criticizes me as a play-caller, no one's harder on my play-calling than I am. We started off, I think it was our first eight, we were oh-for-eight or something like that on third down, but we also, probably three of those were drops. If you're three-for-eight, you're right about where you should be, 45 percent is a good [rate]. If you're in the 40s, you're doing okay. I always look at it as a play-caller as it's my job to get us in rhythm, okay? It's my job to get us in a rhythm, and I had a hard time doing that yesterday. Sometimes during the game you don't always know why that is. After you look at the tape, you have a lot better idea of why you weren't in a rhythm. Sometimes it's play-calling and sometimes it's play execution and sometimes it's a combination of both."
(On if the kicking struggles in home games in the last two seasons is just a run of bad luck)
"I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure what it is, but obviously that percentage isn't what you're looking for."
(On what he thought of Jameis Winston's performance after watching the game tape)
"Spectacular at times, and [he] made some incredibly good throws, some pinpoint throws under tough conditions. And also, again, depending on who's counting, there's somewhere between six and eight drops in there, eight on a high end. It's always a little bit debatable on what's a drop. There's some that were obvious drops. Cam Brate had a couple balls that we've seen Cam catch many times before and last night a couple of those you're expecting him to make. Then there were some other times when Jameis, you would have liked to see him get through his progressions a little bit quicker. It's a continual progression. I keep looking up there – you look up at the scoreboard and I think at the end of the third quarter they had 300-and-something yards and we had 180. And then when [Vice President of Communications] Nelson [Luis] gave me the stat sheet after the game and we had 409 yards and they had 406, I go, 'You've got to be kidding me.' I think we ran 28 plays for 220-something yards in the fourth quarter. Now, plays and yards don't score points. We have an explosive team, we had a bunch of explosives in the fourth quarter, we had nine for the game, but we also missed a couple that could have possibly turned the game around. We talk to the guys all the time about [how] a handful of plays make or break every game and you don't know when they're coming, and that was the same in this game. So even though we did a lot of good things, especially on defense, we didn't do enough to get the win. It's disappointing more than anything else because we did do so many good things and we did have opportunities. At the end of this first-quarter point in the season for us, the first four games, we're one game off the division [lead]. We're going to have to do some work because we've got some games coming up on the road, but we've done okay on the road in the past. I'm really happy with how the guys competed. I thought the guys after a tough loss were good in the locker room. They were good in the team meeting just now. We also have to understand we're not playing at full-strength; we're going to be getting some good players back on defense. We just have to put it all together on offense for four quarters and we haven't been able to do that consistently enough. That obviously starts with me."
(On if the last couple games confirmed the team's depth at linebacker and safety)
"I've been saying for a long time that we were deep at linebacker. We said many times in here that we felt like we had four safeties, even Isaiah Johnson who came up off the practice squad and made two nice solo tackles in special teams. Justin Evans did a good job, a very athletic interception, almost had a second one, tackled pretty good, had a good game tackling. Kendell Beckwith had another big game as a rookie. We're real happy with our draft picks. But, again, when you take Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander out - I'm real happy [with] Adarius Glanton [who] played a good game as well – I'm saying that as in, we've got some good players coming back. There's no cavalry coming to save you but when you've got some good players that are coming back that's always a welcome thing."
(On if the Patriots committed a lot of resources to wide receiver Mike Evans)
“Not as many as they had been. They had been doubling the team’s number one receiver a lot more than they did last night. They did it still in the red zone. The main thing they did different last night is that they’ve been probably 75-80 percent man coverage the first few weeks of the season and they played a lot more zone last night. They changed it up between their three-deep zones and their two-deep zones and they dropped eight more. Anytime a team is doing that, it forces your quarterback to be more patient. We didn’t really have much of a protection issue. Our line protected very well. That is one of the things we did a good job on. In fact, really neither of the sacks – we gave up two sacks – but really neither of them were on the offensive line. That’s the main thing that they did different. I think that their strategy at times was to take away Mike, but I think more than that they tried to – on a short week we prepared for a lot of man coverage and they gave us less than we prepared for.”
(On the performance of center Ali Marpet)
“Ali had a good game. Ali did have a good game. Ali’s physical style of play showed up. We had high grades across the board for our O-line.”
(On if there is a link between nationally-televised games and quarterback Jameis Winston getting off to a slow start)
“I’m not sure. I know that theory is out there. Like you said, he played in a lot of national games in college and did well. Those first two drives, when we had opportunities, we threw on first down and got first downs both times. We hit Mike [Evans] twice in a row on first down, but then in the three plays that followed, we had some kind of a breakdown. I’m not sure about that theory.”
(On the ability to score from the one-yard line yesterday compared to the previous game)
“Going back to the Giants game, when you’re asking about play-calling, we thought we had a good beat on what the Giants were going to be in in their goal-line defense. When we broke the huddle on that play they were in a completely different defense and we didn’t handle it well. I should’ve given those guys a better answer. Last night in that situation, the Patriots did exactly what we thought and we were inside the one and we ran it straight up the middle and Doug [Martin] did a great job going over the top. In hindsigh, obviously if we called them all after we looked at the tape, we would’ve called a similar-type play in the Giants game.”
(On if there was any frustration that Winston didn’t spike the ball after the long pass on the final drive)
“No. Why would there be? If you watch us in two minutes, we rarely clock it. We have a lot of confidence in going to the line. There really should only be a couple-seconds difference in how long it takes you to clock it versus to get off a play. The advantage to continuing to go, in our opinion, is that the defense also doesn’t huddle and they have to be playing. If you look at our two-minute offense over the last three years, we have been pretty darn efficient in that. We’ve always done a pretty good job putting ourselves in position.”
(On the penalty on the final drive, which resulted in a 10-second runoff)
“Yeah, we got a 10-second runoff and that was a communication issue between the quarterback and the center. The right tackle goes down in the stats as getting the penalty, but that was a communication issue between the quarterback and the center. The crowd was loud, not that it’s any excuse. But, I can’t tell you how many plays we ran no-huddle last night. If we went by that theory, would you be clocking it every time you got a complete pass? I just don’t buy into that. You could say I’m wrong, but I don’t buy into that one.”
(On if Winston and wide receiver DeSean Jackson started to click better down the stretch)
“Well, big fourth quarter for sure. We were backed up there. We had that third-and-medium and they were in the perfect coverage and DeSean’s speed was on full display on that slant route. Jameis and DeSean had two really nice plays on scramble plays over on the far sideline. DeSean made big catches knowing he was going to get hit. Then we got a couple there on the two-minute plays. The first drive of the third quarter we had at third-and-medium and that would’ve been a 65-yard touchdown. DeSean ran a beautiful route on that and we just missed him.”
(On the final play of the game and if there was something there that had potential to be a game-winner)
“Yeah, there sure was. Jameis [Winston] did a fabulous job on that play. That’s a play we practice all the time. You never know exactly what the defense is doing, so we have a couple variations of that play. Jameis, he read it perfect based on what the defense was doing and he expected somebody to be in a spot when he let it go. They’re defending the goal line on that play, so they have a 15 or 20-yard travel time when the ball is in the air. The quarterback is trying to buy just an extra fraction of a second by looking off – we were trying to run five guys vertical. They can’t double all five of them. If they’re rushing three or four, you can’t double five. We’re trying to find the single receiver and give him a chance to make a play and unfortunately, we weren’t on the same page there. We had the quarterback thinking one thing and the receiver thinking another variation of that play. You’ve got a lot of plays there in those last couple drives that are specific plays to two-minute offense. Overall, we got some nice chunk plays. I think we had five explosives in the fourth quarter. We clocked it there with three seconds left to go after Jameis had hit Cam [Brate] over the middle. Guys went up [and] did a good job executing the clock play. Three seconds left, you’ve got one chance. We have different plays for different yard lines. As many chances as we missed on the game overall on offense, to be in position to win it on the last play and then have a chance at it – that in itself is remarkable. Ultimately, we couldn’t do it.”
(On getting Winston to focus on the task at hand versus the Cardinals and not try to do too much)
“Time would be the main thing on that. None of us feel good about it today. As I said after the Minnesota game, I think players recover faster than the rest of us do. We’ll take a few days off and then we’ll start focusing on Arizona. We understand it’s a big game for us. We did not play well there last year and we will go out there and try to do much better this time.”
(On if he changed the travel plans from last season’s trip to Arizona)
“Not the travel plans, no. We are going to go on Friday. This will be our only Friday travel day this year. We had four west-coast trips last year and I think we won three out of four, so I don’t think it was the itinerary that got us. I think the itinerary is still undefeated [laughs].”
(On the defensive effort)
“We get asked to do a job on defense and we did our best to do that. People can say it’s this or it’s that, but this is not a team that points fingers. It’s a team that takes responsibility for what you were supposed to do. On the defensive end, we could’ve done better. There were some plays we gave up where we were in bad fits or got locked up in the rush and we could’ve done more on the defensive end. There were times when we were giving them too much on first and second down in the run and it was putting them in third and manageable positions. We’ve just got to be better at that. [We’ve] got to get off the field on third down. I mean, it’s Tom Brady. Like I said, you respect him but you just don’t fear him – not just him but the entire team. I think we attacked them well, but we could’ve been better on the defensive end.”
(On the three sacks and what was clicking on defense)
“It’s not like we haven’t been rushing. The sacks just haven’t been coming. We’ve been getting pressure [and] getting hits on the quarterback. We just had to get them on the ground and last night we [were] able to do that.”
(On the young players stepping up)
“Well it’s a next-man-up mentality. We were missing T.J. Ward, Keith Tandy, obviously our two starting linebackers in Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. This is the NFL. If you make the roster, you are supposed to be a starter. We don’t have [any] second- or third-string guys. If you’re on an NFL roster, you are a starter. Your role could change at any moment without notice – coach always tells us that, so you’ve just got to be ready.”
(On linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“He is doing a great job – not blinking as coach likes to say. [He’s] making all of the plays that we need him to make. He is going to do nothing but continue to grow. He has had some rookie things that you guys would never know in the huddle, but that’s to be expected. It happens. You have vets that do some stuff he is doing that I’ve seen since I’ve been here. The way he has handled things – he is handling it like a pro, like you are supposed to. He is a professional. He is playing and handling everything like a professional. We couldn’t be happier to have him.”
(On if it ever feels like there is a “kicking curse” in Tampa)
“I don’t know. I’m not really worried about that. I just want to win games. Whatever it takes to win, we need to do. We could’ve [taken] the ball away two more times – maybe that could’ve helped. I’m not really worried about every other position. I just think about the defensive end and what we could’ve done better. It will come together. Regardless of who is out there we are going to support him, we are going to have his back and we are going to do our best to put each other in a position to be at their best. That’s what complementary football is – we’ve just got to have each other’s backs and keep playing hard. We have a couple days off, a mini Bye Week, and this is it. Then get back and get ready for Arizona. We owe them. They put it on us last year, so we’ve got to be ready for them.”
(On the return of running back Doug Martin)
“Oh, Douglas. I love Douglas. We love him. That’s what he [does]. You can tell he has been working out pretty hard and came back and didn’t miss a beat. He is going to be a huge part of us getting a lot of ‘W’s’ the rest of the season. We just love him as a person. He just brings so much joy to the locker room. He was Doug. He did what Doug [does] and that’s why we love having him around here.”

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