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18 May 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Offseason Program Media Availability (5/18/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Special Teams Coordinator Nate Kaczor
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Quarterbacks Coach Mike Bajakian
Linebackers Coach Mark Duffner
Defensive Line Coach Jay Hayes
Secondary Coach Jon Hoke
Defensive Backs Coach Brett Maxie
Running Backs Coach Tim Spencer
Tight Ends Coach Ben Steele
Offensive Line Coach/Running Game Coordinator George Warhop
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(On kicking position and how it might play out on ‘Hard Knocks’)
“Obviously, having two on the roster, just like most of the other positions have two, there’s competition there. Everyone knows that. I don’t know, I’m not the editor or whatever they call it, the person of ‘Hard Knocks.’ It seems to be a story, so nothing would surprise me. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a good competition. Obviously, they’re out there able to kick right now and both very talented young man and we’ll see what happens with that. But, it’s going to be a ways until we start kicking behind the line of scrimmage and all that stuff when we get into OTAs, so excited to see that competition.”
(On kicker Roberto Aguayo’s response to competition at kicking position)
“I would just say like most second-year players, he’s probably in a different place mentally just from maturity, seeing what the NFL looks like under the cover so to speak. There’s a big learning curve there for any pro athlete to come and go through their first year, particularly at a young age. So, I would just say, as a human being and as a football player, that he’s really in a different place in terms of maturity. Not saying that he is matured yet. Obviously, that is a work in progress and I think he’s definitely on the way to becoming a more mature football player, which usually helps development.”
(On whether he believes he can help get inside players’ heads while coaching them)
“I think the blanket answer for that and just keeping it general because it is a general phenomenon; the fact that once you start a season, and I said this in the same room last year, messing with mechanics in the middle of the season is hard to do. But, coaching the mind, whether it’s a kicker, a quarterback, a guard, whatever, linebacker, helping the players play with confidence and playing within our scheme and developing schemes that can help them play fast and with confidence, that’s our job and part of our job. So, I would agree with your statement that we’re always working on the mind and trying to help our players with the mental part of the game and the physical part of the game.”
(On the offense’s offseason additions)
“Well, it’s been fun to get out there once we started Phase Two and work with O.J. [Howard] and Chris [Godwin] and DeSean [Jackson]. I’m probably missing some other guys that we added. It’s always fun to add talent to the mix, but talent alone gets you beat. It’s execution that wins. Getting those guys up to speed and get our timing with Jameis [Winston], and getting back to the core of what we should do well, which is run the football and play action pass and play off of that. If we don’t get back to that – the weapons should help us in the run game – but if we don’t get back to that we won’t reach the levels we think we’re capable of.”
(On what he’s seen from running back Doug Martin this offseason)
“Doug’s been great, again, I think he’s in great shape. He’s in good spirits. But, Doug was that way last year. Doug works hard, Doug’s a good teammate. Hopefully Doug’s got himself in the right place and right mind-frame. Doug’s a good player and Doug’s a good person. When he’s out there, he works hard. He looks good.”
(On what the next step of improvement will be for wide receiver Mike Evans)
“He’s had a great offseason. He looks great, he looks like he’s dropped some weight. I think he’s already come a long way in terms of his approach, the way he approaches the offseason, taking care of his body and his approach to the game. He’s always been great in meetings, he’s a very smart player, very competitive. I think the biggest thing is his ability to – one is his route running and his run after catch. I think he has more in the tank with him because he does have a natural, competitive-grit side to him that he should be better with the ball in his hands. I think as he gets more and more comfortable – I think last year was a piece of, ‘OK, let’s get better at catching it. Let’s eliminate some of the drops that you’ve had that have led to stopped drives.’ OK, so we got that somewhat corrected. Now, how do we get to where we can utilize your competitive spirit, your ability to run after catch?”
(On what is being done to help quarterback Jameis Winston better protect the football)
“Part of the problem is he’s such a competitive individual, that’s what makes him so great. You don’t want to coach the aggressiveness out of him. The big thing is he’s got to do a better job of understanding situational football. I know five of those interceptions came on third-and-10-plus, where our chances of converting on that (down and distance) are statistically 20 percent or less. He’s got to understand that, ‘Hey, we don’t have to make a big play on every play.’ There’s certain situations where we just maybe need to check it down, add a couple yards to the punt and make the other team’s offense go a little bit further. He’s getting a better and better understanding of that, and that’s part of a growth process that he’s gone through since day one. He’s a smart player, he understands that. I think sometimes it’s just getting caught up in the moment.”
(On Winston and wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s chemistry)
“Well, I’ve been very focused on Jameis as much as anything. I’m very happy with where he is at this point in the offseason compared to last year at the same time. He’s thrown the ball much more cleanly, much crisper, more accurately. I anticipate that as we continue to progress through OTAs and into training camp, the timing will actually only get better. In my eyes, he’s done a good job this offseason of staying sharp and not missing a beat since the end of the season.”
(On what he means when he says Winston is throwing ‘cleanly’)
“Just the big picture, everything from precision and accuracy. That’s what we’ve emphasized, is making sure ball location is precise. But the timing of his release, his drop, mechanics obviously play a big part of that, his release mechanics play a big part of that. He’s worked on all of it and continues to work on all of it and improve on all of it.”
(On linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“I think he has a lot of flexibility in our defense. He’s been an inside linebacker. I think he’s got the ability to play outside linebacker, so it’s going to be really fun to get him out there and see where he can contribute the best to our defense.”
(On current linebackers)
“Well, we’ve got a couple good ones. We’re trying to get more, so it’s going to be a lot of healthy competition, especially when we get to training camp and even in these OTA’s when we get on the field here next week. I think it will be very competitive.”
(On DeVante Bond)
“DeVante did get kind of a bonus year and I think he did a really good job of not just being here, but he really delved into learning this system, learning the techniques at his position. So, right now, he’s been really, I think up to speed in terms of the techniques and he’s going to be, I think, a really competitive guy for us to deal with at the linebacker position. He took advantage of a year where he couldn’t practice and mentally really progressed and that’s going to help him in a big way.”
(On defensive end Jacquies Smith recovering from injury)
“I haven’t really seen him yet. He’s still with the trainers. He hasn’t really been cleared yet, but they tell us that he is right on track and he should be great.”
(On losing Jacquies Smith last season to injury)
“I mean, it was huge. He only played one play [last season]. It was disheartening. We went into the game, the first series, we went out and we stopped them on that first third-down against the Falcons and he went out on the punt team on the next series and kind of just got jostled. I mean, it was not a big thing. I think someone just kind of put their hand on him and his leg and he walked off. So, I was talking to him. I said, ‘Hey Jacq, next series let’s…’ and the trainer was talking to him and I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ Then he said that he thought he hurt his knee and then [Head Athletic Trainer] Bobby [Slater] told me that he thinks he tore his ACL. So, that was it, so he got one play.”
(On going back to Cincinnati during the preseason)
“Other than to see my brother and my friends, it’s preseason.”
(On whether he has had the opportunity to coach against his brother before)
“Never, never have. I’ve never coached against him and prior to us being on Cincinnati, we were never on the same team because he was younger than me. I was a senior when he was in ninth grade, so in high school, we were never on the same team. So, we never, other than coaching at Cincinnati for those 13 years - it will be fun. My mother got us all shirts that say, ‘Mom loves you best,’ so I am going to wear that shirt.”
(On the team's depth at outside cornerback and slot cornerback)
"Well, that's what we're all trying to figure out, for sure. We moved Ryan Smith [to cornerback]; we're excited about what he can do. Jude [Adjei-Barimah] is a flexible guy; he has some speed to play outside. And [Robert] McClain's played outside also. So we've got some guys there that we're comfortable with, that we're looking at, and we've got some undrafted free agents we're looking at. There are some guys that have some opportunities."
(On if the team might rotate safeties more this year)
"We haven't practiced yet, we haven't seen them play yet. But you hope it gives you some flexibility where you can get more guys on the field and do some different things. That's kind of where we're at right now, just seeing what we've got. J.J. [Wilcox], we're excited about what he can do, he's a big guy, he can hit and those types of things. And we're excited about [Justin] Evans because of his athletic ability. I think it will all play out itself."
(On his first impression of safety Justin Evans)
"I've been very pleased with him. He basically is showing us some of the same things that showed up on tape. He's very talented, picks things up extremely quick, very conscientious. He asks a lot of questions, which is good for a new player, a rookie coming in and being in this environment. He's quite the gentleman. He's not a confrontational kid – "Yes, sir. No, sir." He's well-grounded. I've had some pleasant conversations with him, before the draft and right after the draft when we had a chance to see each other once again after he had gone through this process. But I like the kid, he's a very good kid."
(On having four possible starters at safety)
"I think you hit it pretty good. We have three veteran guys that have got a lot of playing experience and we just added a rookie player. So it's going to be open competition and obviously the best player is going to play. But I think that's a good thing. I'd rather have too many guys than not enough."
(On if the starters will be the two best safeties, not necessarily the best free and strong safeties)
"The best two safeties. And it kind of played out that way last year, because when Keith [Tandy] came in he had to play both positions. Then we ended up rotating those three guys and they all had to play the free and the strong safety positions."
(On Doug Martin)
“Doug has been working his butt off. He’s been hustling, he’s been doing all the things that he normally does. He’s working hard, studying, training well, finishing plays. He sets the tone. He really does set the tone for the rest of the backs and they sort of come up to his level.”
(On approaching training camp knowing that Martin is unable to play until October)
“We’re going to approach training camp - and we know that he won’t be there the first three games - but we will approach like we’re getting ready to play. Everybody is going to be on point trying to be number one. That’s what we do. Everybody has to prepare like they’re number one. That’s how you make the team really and we will choose from that. What we try to do is give guys an opportunity. We coach them up and we try to make them make the decision about whose here and whose not here.”
(On Charles Sims)
“I see Chuck [Charles Sims] doing the same things that he did. It would be nice if we had a situation where we didn’t have guys that got injured like last year. Two years ago, Doug [Martin] and Chuck didn’t get hurt at all that year and they had a fantastic year. Chuck is more of our third-down specialist type guy and we’ll keep him pretty much in that same role. That’s not to say he won’t run first and second-downs, but that’s what he is. He’s a specialty guy. Really actually, all the guys are. We use guys for different things.”
(On tight end O.J. Howard)
“That’s the thing, you go through the evaluation process of guys coming from college – not very many guys in the college ranks, with spread offenses, actually have their hand in the ground. So, when you get a guy like O.J. who is an every-down tight end that has speed to this fit on the run game and obviously, his dynamic receiving ability in the pass game, to find a guy that’s a true ‘Y’ [tight end] that’s going to be able to help us out, for us to get him, he’s definitely going to be a huge addition for depth at our position.”
(On what he’s hoping to see from Cameron Brate)
“Cam came into his own last year and had a great year and he’s got unbelievable chemistry with Jameis. Eight touchdowns last year and leading the NFL for tight ends in touchdowns – he obviously is going to continue to grow as far as being a blocker and being more versatile and being more of an every down type of guy, but to have the depth that we have at tight end – Cam Brate, O.J., Luke Stocker and so on, we’ve got a lot of guys that are going to be able to contribute, so we’re excited.”
(On the challenge for defenses facing two versatile tight ends on the field at the same time)
“You’d have to ask Coach Smith [Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith]. Obviously, we do use a lot of multiple tight end sets, but like I said, the depth that we’re going to have at that group and just the competition going into training camp – we signed a free agent from Canada, Antony Auclair – that guy, to get him as a free agent is an unbelievable get for us so we’re excited about his progress. And both of the rookies have been picking up the offense really well and have been stepping into their role really good.”
(On the idea of moving Ali Marpet to center)
“It goes way back to the evaluation process of when we were thinking about drafting Ali. The thought was that he could play guard but we thought he really would be a very good center at some point. From day one, since he’s been here, he’s been snapping, so the process started two years ago. So, to us, to me, it was just a natural progression for him to move to center. And I had told him even previous to this year, I said, ‘You know, eventually you’re going to center, it’s just a matter of when,’ you know?”
(On how to divvy playing time at various positions for a player like Kevin Pamphile)
“When we draft guys, I always look at guys that can play multiple positions. Caleb Benenoch, he’s a guard-tackle, he’s been snapping since he’s been here. So, just for our survival, if you’re not a starter you’ve got to be able to play multiple positions and so that gives you a chance to make a team and stick in the league. Until you become a starter at a position, you’ve got to have the ability to play multiple positions. Again, any guy we look at in the draft, unless – unlike Donovan [Smith] and Ali, when they came in we were looking at those guys to come in and start – you expect them to compete to be a backup and you expect them to play multiple positions.”
(On guard J.R. Sweezy)
“He’s doing a nice job for us out there. He works his tail off, he brings an edge – I’m excited to see him when we get in pads and it’s for real. He’s got a little bit of Logan [Mankins] to him, which I thought we missed last year. [He’s got] that, I don’t even know how to describe it, that ‘I’m going to beat the dog crap out of you’ edge, and so he has that, and it’s just one day at a time with him.”

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