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14 June 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Mini-Camp Media Availability (6/14/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson
(On if he's going to the U2 concert at Raymond James Stadium Wednesday night)
"I am, if I get through with all my work. Let's get it done."
(On his impressions of Wednesday's practice)
"Well, how hot it was. It was warm out there, very, very humid the last two days, which is probably good for us. That's one of the reasons the last two days, a good example of why we practice in the morning when we come back for [training camp]. It's just tough on those guys, and [today was] just in shorts, and that's only for two hours instead of two-and-a-half. It was warm out there, we had a ton of red zone work, again our defense is playing tough in the red zone. I think one thing we have to keep in mind is that when you're in no pads for the most part you're working on your passing game. You're not running the football. There at the end we ran the ball a little bit more and I think the defense tends to think right now that every play is a pass. I think the offense will do a little bit better when the defense also has to defend the run."
(On if Wednesday's weather gives him an idea of the shape his players are in)
"Maybe. Yeah, that's as tough as it gets right there. We try to peak it where it's more in September, so we've got a long way to go. They don't need to be in game shape right now; that's what the preseason's for. As far as full-speed game play, your first group, they'll play a little bit more each week up through the third preseason game. We'll be okay by September 10th."
(On the team building indoor practice facility)
"Yeah it's rolling right now. It's going. See those big old metal beams out there? That's what they are."
(On when the facility will be ready)
"September. Yeah, it will be done in September, knock on wood."
(On having more red zone targets)
"We have good options. We were actually, I think, about 51 percent touchdowns in the red zone. The league took a jump – it used to be that 55 percent touchdowns would put you in the top five in the league. Tennessee led the league at 72 percent. That's insane – 72 percent touchdowns. There were, I think, four other teams over 60 percent. We've actually raised our goal this year to try to be 60 percent touchdowns; that's something we have to do better. We haven't necessarily done better the last two days, but it's a process, like everything else."
(On if Charles Sims is still ‘the same guy’ he was in 2015)
“Yeah, I think he is. You’ve just got to remember, in 2015, we basically had two backs touch the ball every play. The only two backs that touched the ball that whole season were Doug [Martin] and ‘Chuck.’ We had seven halfbacks out there, six of them were getting reps. The only one that isn’t getting reps right now is [Jeremy] McNichols, because he’s injured. I think Chuck had a couple of injuries that he had to overcome. He made a couple of nice plays today. I think that if Charles was in that same role, I’m confident that he would be productive, but the competition is tight. He’s not going to be the only guy competing for that.”
(On running back Peyton Barber’s progress this offseason)
“We said many times last year that we were happy with Peyton and that Peyton was probably playing better than the stats showed. Peyton’s a power back. He’s a different type of role. Peyton would fit in more of the fit how we use Doug than how we use Charles. Peyton would play more of the role of a first- and second-down back. He does have good hands, he can catch, he can run routes. Like a lot of young backs, he’s still ironing out his protection, but Peyton’s one of those guys that’s going to show up more in real football than in touch football.”
(On how the team will prepare for cold weather games after practicing in the heat)
“We’re going to get out there in that indoor [facility] and we’re going to crank that air conditioning to about 30 [degrees] and we’re going to go for it [laughter]. It’s tough to prepare for that. That’s one thing we can’t duplicate. We mentioned that we wanted to practice in the rain a couple of times last week, we did. Practicing in the heat? No problem. We’re not going to be able to duplicate in the cold. We do have a couple of potential cold-weather – Buffalo in October, unpredictable. Green Bay in December will probably be cold. You know what I’ve found? I’ve been in the last 10 or 11 seasons in the south. I’ve found that the southern teams, when you play that one or two games a year [in cold weather], your players actually look forward to it because it’s something different. I don’t think it will be a major problem, but you never know how bad it’s going to be either. But I think the players actually kind of look forward to it.”
(On cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III being more aggressive this offseason and if playing against wide receiver DeSean Jackson has helped his development)
“I think our corners playing against DeSean’s speed is definitely something that’s good for them, although we’re not playing a whole bunch of teams that have receivers with speed like DeSean. We haven’t had a ton of reps of DeSean versus Brent Grimes or against Vernon. But the first part of your question – from the start of OTAs through now, 12 practices, Vernon has done a very nice job of playing more aggressive and trying to take the ball away. He’s answered the bell on that. Obviously he’s got to carry it over to the season, but [we’re] very pleased with what he’s doing.”
(On bigger receivers being able to gain separation from smaller cornerbacks)
“Leverage comes into play and the underneath coverage comes into play. Every pass play out there is not one-on-one. When they’re playing zone coverage, it might be one-on-three. So just because you have big receivers or fast receivers, that doesn’t guarantee their going to get open every time. Plus, defenses in this league are pretty smart and they’re pretty good at trying to take your best guys away from you.”
(On wide receiver Chris Godwin competing for the ball)
“He does compete for the ball. And it’s way, way, way too early to say this, but in that respect, Chris reminds me a little bit of Roddy White, in that respect. When I first went to Atlanta – and of course ‘Smitty’ [Mike Smith] had Roddy way before I did – he’s similar size, a big guy that competes for the ball. Chris is off to a fast start. Let’s temper it until we get the pads on, but he did it last year at Penn State and he’s off to a good start here.”
(On keeping players grounded against high expectations)
“We’ve got to control what we control. We can’t control – good or bad – what’s said. The NFL’s popular. It’s great that you folks are here talking about us. It’s great that people nationally are talking about us. But there’s 31 other teams that got better. We’ve got to prove it on the field. I talk to the guys about it all the time, constantly reminding them – I think you guys are making too much of the Hard Knocks deal. Hard Knocks isn’t going to affect us one way or another. Now, the fact that people are talking about us – hey, you want to be talked about. It beats the alternative. There’s going to come a day where we have to back it up. That day’s going to come on September 10th, the first time it’s going to really count. We’re aware of it. Is it in the back of our mind? Yes. But that still comes back to controlling the things that we have control of, don’t worry about the things we don’t.”
(On Ali Marpet’s transition from guard to center)
“He’s doing fine. Ali’s a football player. He’s moved from guard to center. He’s doing fine. I know I said at one point that it was an experiment. I mean, it’s an experiment that we fully expect to work or we wouldn’t be messing around with it. Like everything else, we’re going to try to get our best five O-linemen. We’re going to try to get our best 11 out there. And that’s going to be changing all the time because there’s going to be injuries. We’re not going to make it all the way through healthy, so versatility also comes into play.”
(On the relationship between Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes)
“Well, because they’re always lined up across from each other, to be honest with you, I don’t really see them talking that much. I’m sure they’re talking more in meetings when I’m not around. But Brent Grimes is just a smart football player. The kid gets football. When someone in here talked to him this week – there’s been a couple other articles written about Brent Grimes – I’m asking Brent questions in practice, just about how he sees things. He gets football. That’s a good guy for Vernon to be learning from. Vernon was a first-round pick. Vernon’s a good football player. He just needs the experience that Brent already has and I’m quite sure that Brent’s willing to share.
(On going against wide receiver DeSean Jackson)
“Well you know, he’s a vet. He’s very seasoned. He’s been in this league a long time. He’s getting me better. He’s really fast, so it’s something different to cover to him. We’ve got a big guy in Mike [Evans], we’ve got a speedy guy in ‘D-Jax,’ so it’s good for me to get to see both looks.
(On if it’s taken time to adjust to Jackson’s speed)
“Of course, that’s what he does. That’s why he’s been getting paid for so long.”
(On if he ever faced any players in college that had the speed that Jackson has)
“No, absolutely not.”
(On playing more aggressively this season)
“Just getting more comfortable, that’s all it was. Last year, [I was] just getting used to it, getting used to this game speed, better receivers, better players, better quarterbacks. Now I’m little bit more comfortable. I’m starting to feel myself a little bit more now and hopefully I can just continue to get better.”
(On gaining familiarity with the defensive scheme)
“Of course, the more comfortable I get, the better I’ll play, the faster I’ll play, the less thinking I’ll do.”
(On the offensive weapons that the Buccaneers have)
“I mean, you guys all see it, if you guys are out here at practice. They made it easy for Jameis to play. He has two weapons on the outside that are All-Pros and I think he’ll take full advantage of that.”
(On his personal goals for the offseason)
“Nothing too specific. Just get better.”
(On what he has learned from cornerback Brent Grimes)
“He’s my favorite player. He’s been my favorite player since high school. Getting to play with him is great. Watching some of the things that he does, some of the things that he does you can’t duplicate because only he can do those things. But he’s a great player. He’s played in this what 11 years? This is his 11th year so you know just picking up on the little things that he does.”
(On why Grimes was Hargreaves’ favorite player in high school)
“He has always been my favorite. He never got attention, never gets attention, never gets any love. His play speaks for itself.”
(On what he has done differently this offseason)
“Not much. It’s just [that] I know what to work on now. I’ve seen it, I’ve played a year, so like I said, just getting more comfortable now and just continuing to work on my game.”
(On how the pass rush getting to the quarterback can help the coverage)
“That’s always good. If we can get to them as much as possible as fast as possible, that makes it better for us. Hopefully we get some interception off of that.”
(On what going against the league’s top receivers taught him)
“It just showed me what it’s like playing in this league. That’s what you expect. All of the receivers are top-notch. You’ve got to be on your game every game.”
(On what going against DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans in practice means for him)
“You have no choice but to get better. You can’t – there are no off days, even at practice, when you’ve got guys as good as [those] two on the outside. Every rep is like a game rep.”
(On being consistent while also being aggressive)
“It’s not hard at all. It’s fun. We’ve got a bunch of great guys on defense that I love playing with. We’re just coming out here having fun. However it plays out, that’s how it plays out.”
(On the defensive depth with additions like safeties Justin Evans and J.J. Wilcox)
“All of those guys are great players and they’re not going to do [anything] but help this defense.”
(On what stands out to him on offense)
“It’s just a part of the work. Going out here in this nice weather, we had a little bit of rain here and there and just putting in work. Doing what we need to do, taking the steps we need to take to move forward to where we want to be towards the end of season. I think it’s a process, but everybody’s is dialed in to wanting to get better and bettering themselves and working on the little things to come together as a team. That’s what this is for and that’s what we’re here doing.”
(On the defensive backs going up against his speed)
“It’s a give and take. You’ve got some good players, you’ve got some players that play competitively and aggressive as well. That’s within the game. It’s just a grind. That’s part of the hustle that we’re out here getting it in right now. We have two practices left before we go off for a little bit of time to kind of regroup and get situated for training camp. So, I think everybody is taking the right steps to move forward to becoming who we want to become.”
(On his relationships within the locker room so far)
“It’s been good. I think from day one, I’ve been able to come and build relationships with these guys. New teammates, going to a new place, always being a familiar face and it’s been nothing but open arms from these guys here. I just want to – open arms from me coming in and just giving me the support as well. So, I mean, it’s vice versa for me. Being able to be in these rooms with some of these younger guys and helping out [with], some of the knowledge I have. It’s been great. It’s still an ongoing and building process every day, day-in and day-out. It’s what we do. We take pride in what we do. It’s coming out, working hard on the field and translating that into the meeting rooms and just being accountable and just giving it your all when you’re here.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston describing Jackson as a “calming” sense on the field)
“I just really like to come in and just be myself, whatever that comes with. Sparking the offense on big plays and speed, whatever it is that is needed, that is what I’m here for. Obviously, they brought me in for a reason and I’m here for a reason. So, I just want to accommodate that and do the things of that nature to be in the right spot at the right time, especially when he drops back and is going through his progressions. I’m going to do my best job to get open, beat my guy, beat my man and from there, do the best I can to score touchdowns, make big plays, whatever it is that I’m called here to do. So, whether that be the experience or just being calm and collected and just knowing what to expect. I’m going on my tenth year this season, so I definitely know what it takes to play at a high level and I’ve been on some pretty good teams as well, too, that compete at a high level. So, translating that and hopefully bringing it here and rubbing off on some of these guys, so we can win some games.”
(On Winston’s energy at practice compared to other quarterbacks he has worked with in his career)
“I’ve been around some great quarterbacks in my time. Jameis is special. Young cat, young, enthusiastic. He comes out and works hard and he asks us to do the same. Whatever he gives, he wants that to be given throughout the team, so that’s a great characteristic to have in a quarterback that is going to accountable, he’s going to be here and he’s going to be very vocal. He gives out what he wants back in.”
(On comparing former Washington and current San Francisco wide receiver Pierre Garçon to Mike Evans)
“I don’t like to try to compare guys. I think everybody has their different niche to the game. I’m not taking away any credit from the past receivers of my time, but I think Mike is obviously [a freak of nature]. He is a very physical receiver, can still get down the field and make some big plays on defenders, so just having that combination with a speedy guy and a bigger guy, it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes during the season, but I’m excited about that. I know he is as well. I know a lot of fans are as well too, so we’re just ready to get down, buckle down, strap down, ready to get August going back to July, really, training camp, August into September and into the season.”
(On the impact he believes the Buccaneers offense will have on opposing teams)
“There’s still a lot of work we need to put in, but with everybody at the top of their level, top of their game, I think definitely it should be a scary sight for defenses. It’s still early on. We want to be humble, but still at the same time, know what we’re capable of doing. So, I know I’m going to be ready to go, I know he’s [Jameis Winston] going to be ready to go [as is], everybody on this team.”
(On any specific thing he and Winston have tried to work on )
“The biggest thing I can say about him, he sees what I’m good at doing. He doesn’t try to change it. He tries to adjust his game to the strengths of his players. As a quarterback, not trying to change everybody and say, ‘Run this this way or run this that way,’ he likes to adjust depending on if it’s me, Hump [Adam Humphries], Josh [Huff] or [Mike] Evans, so he does a great job with that. He looks at, your steps might be shorter, your steps might be longer than a different individual as far as a receiver. He’s good at kind of judging that and mastering it as well and knowing where to place the ball.”

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