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23 May 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 OTA Media Availability (5/23/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On his first impression of having majority of the team together on the field)
“We had a few guys missing today, but it was good to be out there, playing touch football anyway. When you transition from Phase Two where you can’t even work offense or defense, no players against each other, to at least line up with the offense and defense on different sides and the communication and the tempo starts, that’s a good thing. That’s always the biggest adjustment the first time we go against each other. Got a ton of work to do, we have a long, long way to go. This is just one of many, one of 13 OTAs and then six weeks of training camp.”
(On why wide receiver Mike Evans didn’t participate in OTAs today)
“We had a number of guys – you’re always going to be cautious with guys this time of year. It’s still May. We have a handful of guys that are coming off offseason surgery and we have another group of guys that are coming off tweaks that came up in Phase One or Phase Two. We don’t have anything that’s too serious, and I think the majority of those guys will be back by next Tuesday after the four-day weekend. But that’s always going to be work in progress this time of year. We’re always going to be proceeding with extreme caution on anything.”
(On if cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive tackle Chris Baker’s absences at today’s practice are due to injury)
“No. We had some guys that weren’t here today, we’re in communication with all of our guys. We had multiple guys today that – number one we’ve got to remember that this time of year is voluntary. We had guys from moving issues, to issues that they had to take care of out of Tampa, to one of them has an anniversary. We’ve got one player that his wife is due to have a baby any day now out of town. Like I said, I think it’ll all come together here sooner rather than later.”
(On the signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and what it means for quarterback Ryan Griffin)
“Two things there. First on Ryan Fitzpatrick, we’ve been keeping an eye on this. Jason [Licht] and myself have been keeping an eye on this since we knew that we were going to lose Mike Glennon to free agency. We think Ryan is a good fit for what we do, number one, for our style. The second part of that was if we were going to bring in another guy, we also wanted a guy with a lot of game experience that could possibly be of assistance to Jameis [Winston] in the day-to-day grind during the season. [Quarterbacks Coach] Mike Bajakian can’t be down there as many hours a day as Jameis is in that room. Mike can’t be down there all the time. A guy that’s got 116 starts and played for seven different teams has got that experience. Now, how that affects Ryan Griffin is we have invested two years in Ryan Griffin. We knew this day was coming when we were going to lose Mike [Glennon], and so my message to Ryan Griffin last week was that you’re still in competition. The guy you’re competing against just has a different helmet on right now. Ryan [Griffin] has worked very hard with Mike Bajakian in the last years and Ryan is throwing the ball extremely well right now. We all know the only hesitation anybody could possibly have on Ryan Griffin is experience. But, it’s that age old question, ‘How do you get experience, Coach, if you don’t give me any experience?’ That’s one of the freaky laws of the NFL. The way the offseason schedule is now, it’s hard to get those guys experience. I mean, really it comes down to preseason football. I think we’ve got our bases covered both ways, we like competition at every position. We’ve got it, but we’ve also got experience in a backup if we decide to go that way.”
(On if there have been discussions about keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster)
“Yeah, of course we have and you prefaced that by, ‘It’s awfully early.’ That’s the main thing there. We do have a deeper football team than we’ve had since I came here in 2014. This is by far the most talented roster that we have. We’ll just have to see how that works out. We’re going to keep the best 53 guys that give us the best chance to win on September 10 and beyond. We’ve got a lot of guys working and it’s going to be some great competition for many spots come training camp.”
(On what stood out to him about wide receiver DeSean Jackson in a competitive setting on-field)
“If you were watching the one-on-one, I think DeSean took three reps in one-on-one and he was ready to go over the top all three times. He was going against Vernon Hargreaves, that was a good matchup. We’ve challenged Vernon to make more plays on the ball, so Vernon is sitting up on there and DeSean is going, ‘If a guy is that close, I want to go by him.’ That’s a good thing. We knew what we were getting when we signed DeSean Jackson. We’ve been extremely pleased. I can assure you that he has a gear that we haven’t had on this team in the three years I’ve been here. This guy can really, really run. We’ve been very pleased with him, but at the same time we’re not going – every time DeSean is in the game, right now, he’s got an offense to learn. He’s got a system to learn. We’re not going to try to run him deep every play right now. But he’s raring to go and he’s definitely got the juice.”
(On Jackson wearing No. 1 in practice)
“I don’t think too much about it. He’s going to be 11, he’s going to be No. 11 on September 10. That’s the one I’m worried about.”
(On if he’s had a conversation with Jackson about why he chooses to wear No. 1 in practice)
“I did. I said, ‘Hey DeSean, is it OK if you wear No. 1?’ Yeah, he asked me if he could do it and I said it was OK.”
(On why Jackson wears a different number in practice than on gamedays)
“He’s coming in later today. You can ask him.”
(On how offensive lineman Ali Marpet’s transition to center is going)
“Well, one day on that. But as far as going through Phase One and Phase Two, Ali has embraced the move. We like our depth at center, we know we have a couple other guys that can go in there and not miss a beat. We talk about – when asked about the guys that weren’t practicing because of injury, the flipside of that coin is getting a guy like J.R. Sweezy back. J.R. has had a good offseason and we’re going to use all this time allotted to find a way to get the best five on the field. We’re going to get the best players out there at every position that we can and that’s why you like competition. But, so far so good with Ali.”
(On if a bad performance one day matters heavily in the grand scheme of the kicking competition between kickers Roberto Aguyao and Nick Folk)
“Well, I guess that’s the fallacy of having the media at practice every day, isn’t it? I don’t think we should probably decide any competition based on four kicks. Nick got the best of it today and they’ll be out there going at it again tomorrow.”
(On the message he’s given to quarterback Jameis Winston about spreading the ball around with numerous offensive weapons)
“That’s just human nature for guys to be bending his ear. Players, they all want the ball. We had a similar thing when I was in Atlanta a few years ago where we had Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, Michael Turner. We had a pretty talented group, but the quarterback is the one that gets paid to make those decisions. You have a game plan, quarterback gets paid to make decisions based on what the defense is doing. We plan on using all those guys to put us in position to win games. It’s a nice problem to have because we all saw what happened when you don’t have guys that maybe the defense respects. They’re going to try to take certain guys out and that happened a lot to us last year. They tried to take Mike Evans out.”
(On if charting the preciseness of each one of Winston’s passes is helping him improve)
“We are doing it and Mike [Bajakian] does go over it with the quarterbacks every day. It’s probably a hard thing to say that when we’ve been going against air and now today we transition into defense. I think probably starting today – and obviously we’ll see the numbers today – it probably means more than it’s meant versus air. It’s a measuring stick, and precision is one of the words we’re trying to drill into everybody’s head, especially Jameis. Jameis has had a really nice start to his career. But like he told me, whatever he was ranked in the 50s, that’s not his goal. He’s got higher aspirations than that.”
(On how a veteran like Fitzpatrick can help Winston grow)
“Well, just experience. There’s still some things that Jameis hasn’t seen that he will see. Or, when they’re in the quarterback room watching tape together, defenses are so good at changing up their looks and disguising coverages that I’m sure Ryan has seen just about everything that there is to see. The fact that Ryan is a pocket passer like Jameis is, he’s going to see similar looks over the course of his career. Just another guy for Jameis to bounce things off. Between me, myself and Mike Bajakian, we have exactly zero NFL starts. A guy that’s actually done it versus a guy that sits in a chair and watches it on tape, that’s – in any business, I think experience counts.”
(On what he likes about Fitzpatrick’s ability as a quarterback)
“Ryan did not have his best year last year when you look at his numbers. The two years before that, in 2014 and 2015, Ryan played pretty well. First of all, he’s a guy that will stand in the pocket and take a hit. This guy has not always had the greatest protection and he’ll stand in there and take a hit. He’s great at redirecting the protection, he can call everything at the line. Extremely intelligent quarterback, a guy that’s going to get you in the right play. For the most part, he didn’t have as good a year last year, but for the most part, take care of the football.”
(On the NFL ruling to reduce overtime from 15 to 10 minutes)
“The NFL has invested a lot of time and money into player safety and their research shows that this is aimed at player safety. I think the analytics show that this will only change like 1.2, create 1.2 more ties per season. When you look at it like that, it maybe isn’t the biggest deal in the world. They’ve spent so much time and money on player safety that it’s geared at that, and how can anybody argue with that? I think the thing in that overtime that’s not getting talked about is teams are going to play different now. If it’s a 10 minute clock, teams aren’t going to just say, ‘Oh, 10 minutes. Let’s settle for a tie.’ The last two minutes of that 10 minutes will be like the last two minutes of – I mean, teams are going to go for the win, I think, as opposed to play for the tie. This is another of the moves aimed at player safety.”
(On the challenge of having a late afternoon kickoff the Sunday before playing Thursday Night Football)
“When they were discussing this at the owner’s meetings, the unpredictability of when the Thursday night – everybody has a Thursday night game. When it falls in your schedule – every team has to go through that once, not just us. Yes, we do this year have a four o’clock kick before. Flipside of that though is we’re the home team. I’d much rather be the home team going into a Thursday night game than a road team. It is what it is, that schedule – every year somebody out there ranks the strength of schedule and all that stuff. That changes so much from year to year, based on all these teams changing and how the teams come together. To be honest with you, I don’t really worry too much about that. We’ve got enough other things to worry about besides that.”
(On if he agrees with Quarterbacks Coach Mike Bajakian saying Winston has become ‘more accurate and precise’ this offseason)
“We’re working on it. I don’t think he would’ve definitely said that today because by the same token, as Jameis is trying to be more precise, our defense is trying to play tighter coverage. They played a lot of two-shell today on defense, and so you’ve got Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander matching the underneath coverage and those guys are pretty competitive too. Any of that stuff that coaches are talking about that we’re trying to improve, that’s over a period of time. That’s going from Phase Two, 12 sessions against air, to one session in underwear football out there. That progress is going to be in very small increments.”
(On the offensive weapons and how working on improving separation can benefit the overall offense)
“That all sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? All sounds good on paper. Speed kills, all right? Speed kills, every defense fears speed. Another term that we throw around, synonymous with speed is explosiveness. We definitely increased our number of explosive players. Like I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do. Form watching practice today, I don’t think anyone is going to walk away and pencil us in the Super Bowl. It’s a long road and everybody’s doing a lot of talking right now. There’s 31 other teams that have been getting better this offseason as well. We’ve just got to keep our head down and keep chipping away right now.”
(On if he sees rookie tight end O.J. Howard and rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin’s ‘heads spinning’ trying to make the adjustment from college to the NFL)
“I think those guys have handled it well. I think the two guys that you’ve mentioned, first off, are really mature guys. I thought Godwin had a really nice day today. I thought of the rookies, Justin Evans wasn’t practicing today but I thought Godwin really showed up. I didn’t think O.J. showed up quite as much, he had a couple chances to make plays and for whatever reason it didn’t work out. I like the maturity of both those guys. When we come from Phase Two to Phase Three we start back over at install No. 1. The rookies actually got install No. 1 in rookie mini-camp, so wait a couple days. When we get installs three through 13, I think those heads will start spinning a little bit more. But, they were fine today.”
(On if he thinks the learning curve is shortened for rookies nowadays due to more intense college programs)
“Probably, especially at some positions like tight end because a lot of those tight ends in college are slot receivers and they don’t really have much responsibility in the run game. I think we put in nine run concepts today, let alone how many pass concepts we put in. Just that in itself is different. College wide receivers, same thing. They aren’t asked to block too much other than block the man over them where in the NFL, based on your formation, those guys have to insert on linebackers and do different things in the run game. I’d say right now college offense and NFL offense, it does take a little time. But, there’s no substitute for that athleticism and we’re real happy with those guys.”
(On why he thinks tight ends typically find more success in their sophomore season)
“I’m not sure about that. You might be right. We’re going to push O.J. to be the trendsetter on that, be good his first year.”
(On how defensive back Ryan Smith has looked transitioning to cornerback)
“Well again, the defense has been playing against stickmen, all right? They’ve been playing against stickmen. Hopefully he saw better looks today then they’ve been getting from the stickmen, and a lot faster tempo. We did a lot of no-huddle today. We love the way Ryan looks in shorts running around out there. That kid has worked extremely hard. He’s going to get a lot of reps because we’re going to take it slow with Brent Grimes – he doesn’t need a million reps. Ryan is going to get a lot of chances on the outside and we’re working some different guys inside at nickel. Again, just experience. He just needs some time and he’s going to go against some good receivers so I think he’ll move pretty quickly.”
(On distributing reps among running backs during OTA’s)
“Well, we have seven halfbacks right now, seven halfbacks. Jeremy McNichols won’t be taking any reps in OTA’s coming off that shoulder, so that’s six. Charles Sims did get cleared yesterday coming off his surgery, another guy that’s worked hard on his rehab in the offseason. We have plenty of numbers. This time of year, you’re not running, nobody’s getting tackled, nobody’s blocking live. It’s more assignment checks and catching, that sort of thing. Route running, blitz pickup, just being in the right spot. Doug [Martin] knows all that, as does Chuck [Sims] and Jacquizz [Rodgers]. This is more a time to get your younger guys out there, get them some reps. Get Peyton Barber some looks. What you’re referring to is going to probably be more of a preseason game, how we play the rotation in the game. It’s really a good problem to have leading up to the season, because it keeps all those guys fresh. Running backs probably have as much wear and tear as any position out there. The only thing that we know for sure right now is we’re not going to have Doug for the first three games. It is what it is. Jason [Licht] is aware of it and a lot of stuff could happen. Who knows what our health is going to be when we get closer to that time.”
(On what he’s seen out of defensive end George Johnson)
“George is in a similar boat to J.R. Sweezy. When people say we didn’t address certain positions, well, those are two guys that you’re getting back into the fold like bonuses. George was off to a very fast start in training camp last year when he had a pretty significant hip injury. He’s put in a lot of time to get back. I know our defensive coaches are excited. It’s not going to be easy for him to show them much right now other than the fact that he’s moving around with less pain and he’s got a smile on his face. Just another guy to add into the mix at defensive end.”
(On why Tampa was attractive to him)
"I talked to Dirk [Koetter] a few times on the phone and this is a team, just being in the NFL for a while you kind of – I'm a fan, I keep my eye on things – they did a lot of good things last year. I think it's a team that's on the rise. Just personnel-wise – even now being here, just kind of the feeling of everybody in the locker room, out there on the field, in meetings, in the weight room. I don't know if it's a young team or I'm really old; one of the two. But so far so good, just in terms of the energy in this building and I think the confidence of the guys."
(On how tough it was to choose to go to a team where he was definitely not going in as the starter)
"I mean, there's a reality to the NFL, too, which is – especially at quarterback – there's 32 guys that go in as a starter and I didn't have that option. And so I looked at different situations, and like I said (this is) a team that I think is going to be really good this year. I didn't know Jameis [Winston] at all but just in the last two days [I've been] getting a chance to talk to him and watch the way that he interacts with the guys, just how much he loves football. I think there's a lot of things that I'll be able to help him with, that I'll bring to the room just through experience, good things and bad things, being on a bunch of different teams and going through a bunch of different things."
(On working with Jameis Winston)
"It's one of those things, we've got to have a good relationship. There's a lot of things that I'm going to see or start talking to him about. If he doesn't want to listen to them, then he doesn't have to or he can tell me to stop. There's a lot of things that you can't learn other than actually experiencing it, so maybe to help him avoid a lot of the mistakes that I've made in my career, or even just a few of them, I think that's part of my job here. But in terms of preparation and leadership and all those things, he's got something really special about him. You can tell that right away."
(On some of the things he can tell Winston)
"Well, I'm not going to tell him how to throw a football. He was the number-one pick for a reason; he knows how to throw the football. I'm not going to tell him how to interact with anybody. He has his own personality, which I think is great for this team, for these guys. But there's a lot of stuff in the film room, also just looking at defenses, preparing for a game, a lot of things like that, even on the sideline during a game, talking about adjustments and things."
(On finding another Harvard player at One Buccaneer Place in tight end Cameron Brate)
"It felt good. It was funny, because when I saw Cam, it was the first time I met him but Cam and Jameis were walking down the hallway and I had Jameis look away because we had to do our secret handshake that nobody else is allowed to see."
(On Brate having a good season in 2016)
"Oh, unbelievable. We call it 'Tight End U' now. We've got three guys in the league, I think."
(On his impression of the Bucs' offensive weapons)
"I think it's exciting. But then again, it's on paper and on paper everything looks great. There's a lot of work that needs to be put in and that chemistry needs to be established, an understanding not only of your assignment but what we're trying to do as an offense. So there's a lot of work to be done in regards to that. You can't just try to slap together an all-star team and all of a sudden be good. You've got to put in a bunch of work, because every other team in this league has an all-star thing, too. You've got to go out there and do it."
(On the Bucs' playbook)
"I don't know. I've seen a ton of different playbooks in my lifetime. The verbiage is a little bit different for me. There's only so many ways you can call and run plays, but it doesn't really relate to anything I've done before, in terms of some of the words and things. But it won't be too long until I get it down."
(On being prepared to step in)
"I have to be prepared. I've got two roles and one is really to get myself ready to play if I have to go in there and do the best I can to keep the ship headed in the right direction. Also, as we talked about earlier, just being another set of eyes for Jameis, another voice in that room, a guy that has played and been in different situations. I think that I've shown throughout my career, when not being the starter, if my number's called I can go in there and get the job done. I've had to do that a number of times and I'm pretty decent at that role."
(On comparing Winston to other leaders he's played with)
"He does it a different way. I've been around some really good ones. Carson Palmer was the first that came into my mind, in terms of a guy that had everybody's undivided attention at all times and the respect of everybody by the way he handles himself. He wasn't too good for anybody on the team; he was just a normal guy. I would say Carson's probably a guy, in different ways, maybe the way they carry themselves they're alike."
(On if it was difficult when he realized his next NFL stop was not going to be as an opening-day starter)
"I mean, it's tough, but I've been through that before. When I got cut in Buffalo in 2012, I signed on in Tennessee as a backup. The year after that I signed on in Houston as sort of a quarterback competition, and then got traded to the Jets as a backup. I started that 2015 campaign as the backup to Geno [Smith]. It was a new team, new environment for me and I had to step up when my number was called. It's the harsh reality of the NFL: There are [only] so many jobs that are available. I can't complain about it. Last year I was the starter, and if you play well as the starter you continue to play. I didn't play well and so I lost the game of musical chairs. They pulled my chair out from under me. But I'm happy to be here, and I do just enjoy football. I enjoy the Xs and Os and just the day-to-day interaction. I'm really happy to be in this role and to be here."
(On Hard Knocks)
"I actually did not know that when I signed. It will be interesting. I've got some good storylines for them, maybe."
(On if he has given thought to shaving his beard due to the heat of a Tampa training camp)
"No, it was pretty hot in Houston as well. I don't know how they compare. It depends, I don't know. I don't really like cutting it."
(On if he has to change his beard-care products)
"It tends to frizz out a little more, so I have scissors. I actually didn't bring them on the trip, so next week I'll be a little more maintained around the upper lip. But in terms of the actual beard oil, I'm staying with the same product for now."
(On his beard products)
"I've got a few different ones that I use."
(On teaching elementary school students to solve the Rubik's Cube, with the help of his own children)
"I've actually got to fly out of here on Thursday because I think I have my final class on Friday with the kids. I'm teaching second and third-graders after school. I've got a class of 10 kids. I limit it to 10 because teaching 10 kids how to do the Rubik's Cube at one time is difficult, but my second-grader and my fourth-grader come in and help me. It's just something that's kind of a hobby of mine that I have a lot of fun with, and there's a ton of interest in my son's school, people trying to learn it. I think right now we're up to six of the 10 can do it. None of them can beat me yet but there's one girl that's awful close. So, Sabrina, I hope you're not practicing that much. Hopefully we'll get all 10 to do it by next week."
(On where this school is)
"New Jersey."
(On how fast he can solve a Rubik's Cube)
"You solve it three times and you take the average is kind of the best way to do it because sometimes you can luck out and do it faster than you really should have been able to. I average about a minute. I've been under a minute but that's about what I average. But my fourth-grader, he makes me mad because he's at about 42 seconds, which gives him 18 seconds to watch me and laugh at me when I'm trying to finish mine. And then I taught my wife how to do it, so when she was in labor it was one of the things we did to keep her mind off of it. She was finishing Rubik's Cubes. She's sub-two minutes now, too."
(On if he would try to get others in the Bucs' locker room to solve the Rubik's Cube)
"I'll bring it up. DeSean [Jackson] might be closet Cuber."
(On if you call Rubik's Cube enthusiasts 'Cubers')
"Yeah. I'm not a Closet Cuber, I'm out there. I'm a Cuber."
(On if he likes other games)
"I like Backgammon. I like KenKen. Have you ever done KenKen? Those are fun."
(On what stood out to him when he talked to Dirk Koetter before signing)
"I mean, the first thing that stood out to me is that he was about 16 years late in calling me, because I wanted to go to Arizona State. Just from mutual friends and coaches that I've played here, I've heard a lot of great things about Dirk. Even just from our phone conversations you can tell he's a fairly relaxed guy, in terms of he's not going to get too worked up over the little things. He's going to stay even. That's at least what I've seen so far. I know when stuff starts happening on Sunday maybe it's a little bit different, but he's got a real cool demeanor to him."
(On what impressed him when he first entered One Buccaneer Place)
"It's a great facility. It's really close to the airport, that stood out to me. But honestly, I think it's the guys on the team, just the youthful energy. It was nice that on my first day – I don't know if it was because of me or not – but Dirk took us to Top Golf. I thought that was a nice treat. Even there, in that setting with all the guys, it's something that's hard to do or get in the NFL because people change teams so much, but there's something special going on in the locker room here in terms of the camaraderie. More so than the building or the rooms – this facility is great but I think it was just the overall camaraderie of the guys."
(On if he beat everybody at Top Golf)
"No, I think there were a few guys who took me down."
(On his reasoning for wearing number one in practice)
“I had a thing about number one since I’ve been in Pop Warner. I’ve always wanted to wear number one. I kind of went to high school wearing number one and when I got to college, I was going through a little campaign. I was up for the Heisman watch and they came up with, ‘the one to watch.’ So, I kind of always ran with ‘the one to watch’ and being unique, one on one, and king of trying to keep that trend going. So, it’s just something I started when I went to Washington and I was able to be fortunate enough – obviously, we can’t wear it in the games, so practice we are out there having fun and just kind of still want to wear that one going all the way back to Pop Warner, to high school to obviously, college.”
(On whether he will wear number one in camp or throughout the season during practices)
“I’ll do it throughout the season, just practice though. It kind of keeps my youth, kind of keeps me thinking something about when I was younger and I was able to rock that [number] one and just really keep the memories and hopefully continue to still play like I’m young.”
(On whether he wishes he could wear number one in games)
“I think that’s an interesting topic. Obviously, a lot of guys probably would be wearing single digits, especially skill players, if we were able to in the NFL. I think from college, being able to have those low numbers and single digits - there is something about your swag and how sweet it looks out there, so I’m definitely jealous the quarterbacks and kickers only get to wear that. But, if we were able to, I definitely would for sure.”
(On his chemistry with Jameis Winston)
“I think it’s been good so far, very competitive. You’ve got the defense out there that’s trying to critique themselves. On offense, we’re trying to do the same. This was the first day we’re out there being able to compete versus each other. First couple of phases, it’s just been kind of more offense and offense and defense and defense. So, just been getting some great timing down with the quarterbacks and just trying to really learn the system and get a grip on that. I think I’ve been doing a good job as far as that as well. Today, obviously, was a great first day. Third phase, being able to see some defenders in front of your face. It doesn’t get boring, but it gets kind of repetitive to just run routes, run routes, but now that you have that edge to go out there and make each other better, I think that’s a great addition to have with this offseason workout. Now with how the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] is, you only get so many amount of opportunities to go out there and get better. I think today was a great start and we’ve got 12 more practices like that to continue to go out there and get better.”
(On his first impressions on how successful the offense can be)
“I think it’s still early to tell, but the best thing I can say is, we’re here in May and the season is three, four months away. So, I think the camaraderie you build, the inner action with your team, the meeting rooms, having the rookies and the new addition and things like that. So, to really be able to be put in these situations early on, [is good] so once you get down to hopefully January and February, your team will have the camaraderie where you know each other like the back of your hands.”
(On the additions to the team this offseason)
“I look at it as a good thing. They are trying to bring every piece in to help win. At the end of the day, that’s all it’s about, just wins. This league is all about what have you done for me lately? Bringing guys in to help with that mentality to come in and guys hopefully coming from teams that are used to winning and building together. It’s early on in the offseason, so we still feel like we can all come together as one. As long as you’re able to put the work in out on the field and translate that to the classroom and go out there and repeat what you do every day, I think that’s what triggers teams being great and knowing what to do once you get into positions during the season.”
(On if the offseason additions show a sense of urgency)
“Yeah, they are bringing in the needs that they feel like are needed. I’m a player, so I focus on my position and doing the best that I can at my job, but obviously, the player personnel and the guys in that position, they know what it takes to get it done so that’s what they are doing. I definitely appreciate that, bringing guys in that can help. That is all you ask for being a player is bringing in guys that can give you the best chance of winning.”
(On Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken’s comments about him needing to earn his contract)
“I think anybody - everybody sitting in this room - if you had a chance to get a pay rise or whatever, I think you would take the same addition. So, it’s really not all about money. It definitely plays a key part, but I play this game at a high level and you get rewarded for what you do. So, just going out there and putting it in on the field and once you do that, then [you get] the results. Hopefully, you get paid enough to take care of your family and live a great lifestyle, but still put in the work. I expect high expectations for myself. I don’t let anyone else really control that. I ask the same thing from myself, my family, people that work for me, so I understand that. One thing about myself is I’m a professional, I go out there and the results show for themselves. However someone feels, that’s how they feel. I know when it comes time to play games and I’m out there on the field, I’m going to give it all I’ve got to help my team win games.”
(On making sure teammates do not allow themselves to get too caught up in the hype around the team this year)
“I look at it as you can’t peak too soon. You have to go through every phase. We’re in May, so guys here in this locker room can’t be thinking that we’re going to be playing in February right now. You’ve got to do every step. Yeah, it’s good to think that, but you can’t forget the steps that it takes to get there. You look back at all the great teams, the Patriots, they do things in phases. It takes one game at a time. We can’t be here before any preseason game starts [saying] let’s think about Week 16. You have to prepare each step of the way. I think being a guy in my position that is going on 10 years, has had a lot of experience, been on some great teams, that is the biggest thing I have to say. Everyone has to know what’s at stake, but not only what’s at stake, but doing what it takes every step of the way to put the work in. You can’t cheat your way to a Super Bowl. You’ve got to put the work in. So, as long as everyone knows it’s going to take that work to get there and you’re not shying away from the work to get it done, I think we’ll be fine.”
(On whether he has had to alter the way he prepares in the offseason as he has grown older)
“That’s an interesting question right there because I feel like this year, I’m kind of training back how I was my rookie year coming out. I kind of went back to my first basics, working back with my track coach and really training like I was a rookie again. I don’t really look at it like I’m taking a step back. I’m still putting in the work. Usually I take a lot longer break once the season is over, but in this position and I was going to be a free agent and I felt that it was important to get out there training and let people know that even though I am about to be 30, but I’m still at the position where I feel like I’m still young, I’m rejuvenated and I’m ready to play this game at a high level. So, this year was a little different for me and I still feel like I know what it takes to get done. If that’s putting in the work and maybe pulling back a little bit when I need to before training camp starts to be able to come in ready to go for the long haul, I’ll be fine with that.”
(On his track coach)
“My track coach is Gary Cablayan. He used to be the Philippines Olympian track coach. He is the same track coach that trained [Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver] John Ross for the Combine. So, I’ve been working with him since I was probably about seven years old and it’s just everything, really. It’s weightlifting, speed, quickness. It’s really like I’m not playing football. It’s really just straight track work. Like me, I’m a guy that’s very fast, but I’m able to transition that on the football field. Usually, track guys can’t really come in and out of breaks, they can’t run routes, so I’ve been fortunate enough to kind of have the best of both worlds. I trained with Jerry Rice coming out my rookie year and have a track coach as well, too. Being football savvy, track savvy, just knowing everything and still being able to go out there and get in and out of breaks and doing those things.”
(On whether his track coach still clocks his 100-yard dash)
“I haven’t had it done since I was a sophomore in high school, but maybe my 40-yard. I told John Ross that I would probably still beat him right now [laughs], but no, he did good and I’m happy for him. It’s really just keeping up with your diet, trying to keep the weight on you, lifting weights. I’m not the biggest, but I still feel like I’m strong for my size. So, just getting to that point where you know what it takes to get to where you need to get to be able to make it through a full season.”
(On Jameis Winston’s work ethic)
“I think his mentality, first off. He has a strong mentality and he’s a worker. He’s one of the guys out there, he is a big-time vocal guy. If someone is not doing something right, he is going to get at them. So, as that being your franchise quarterback, that is the first thing you would need in a quarterback. A vocal guy and someone that is not too shy to speak their mind and if you see a guy that is not doing something right, tell them about it. It’s not like he’s just barking and not showing. He’s out there actually barking and he’s working. He’s one of the first out there. He’s going to be running around from drill to drill. His excitement, his camaraderie with the team, it’s what you need in a quarterback. I think he has that and that’s why this franchise has him as their starting quarterback.”
(On his chemistry with Winston so far)
“It’s going great. I’m excited about it. Like I said, it’s still early. We have still been getting some good work in, so I’m looking forward to once training camp [starts] and July, August and getting ready for the season. That is what I look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, this is fun and all the stuff is good for the team, but I starting getting a lot more excited once the games come.”
(On relationships in the quarterback room and the addition of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick)
“Very valuable and us having another Ryan in the room is really going to help us because like you said, you said it, it’s experience. He’s seen things that I may not have seen and he just has that wisdom that he is willing to pass on and I see that in him already. He’s helping me out there on the field. It’s his first day here, so the communication in that quarterback room is mutual. Everyone communicates, everyone has their ideas and we’re always throwing out suggestions just for the betterment of this team.”
(On Fitzpatrick’s comments on him being comparable to Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer)
“He’s seen a lot of guys. He’s just talking about personalities. I don’t think he was talking about the game.”
(On the organization filling holes this offseason)
“We know the people upstairs, they’re handling their business, but it’s our job to handle our business out there on the field. We obviously want to put ourselves in the best possible situation and I’m just excited. I’m excited for my teammates, I’m excited to get new guys, about filling holes. You never know, it’s the NFL. Everyone is injury prone, so everyone has to be willing to step up.”
(On excitement of seeing DeSean Jackson out at practice)
“It’s very exciting. I’m going to be more excited when I have DeSean and Mike [Evans] hand-in-hand, like side-by-side, so it’s going to be a great year. I know DeSean is going to bring a lot to us this year. You can see it out there in practice now.”
(On Jackson going deep during practice today)
“Yeah, we already have that chemistry down pat now.”
(On giving all of his weapons on offense a chance during games this upcoming season)
“I don’t think it’s going to be difficult at all. Difficult is a word that doesn’t even come to mind when you have so many weapons like that, but you have to produce. I am going to make sure that I give everyone the ball. I don’t discriminate. Last year, I made sure I threw to everybody. If you’re open, you’re open. That’s just part of the game.”
(On Quarterbacks Coach Mike Bajakian’s comments regarding him working on his accuracy this offseason)
“Precision is always the ultimate goal. You want to be precise on everything. Accurate is good, but not good enough. So, always being pinpoint can help the quarterback out, can help the receivers out, especially not putting them in difficult situations, putting the ball right on the money. That is what the quarterback always wants to hear is that he is precise or he is accurate. We don’t want to hear that our receivers are doing all the dirty work for us.”
(On becoming more comfortable as a quarterback)
“The more precise you are, the less you turn the ball over. It goes hand in hand.”
(On whether Vegas predicting the Buccaneers to only have eight wins next season bothers him)
“That’s why we just keep stuff in this town. Obviously, we are excited and obviously, our fans are very excited, but Vegas doesn’t always win. We are a great football team and we expect to have a great season.”
(On biggest difference walking into building entering his third season)
“Just new guys, new faces. I’m taking it by a grain of salt every day. I feel like I can learn more and more and more, so I never get to the point where I get complacent. There is so much more that I can get better at, so many different things that I can learn. So, I am coming in with the same attitude, coming in just ready to win and coming in ready to win football games.”
(On building relationship with Ali Marpet at center)
“Coach [George] Warhop does such a great job with those offensive linemen. I don’t think that will be a problem. Ali’s a very bright guy and we have a great connection just us being friends and us coming into this class together and that’s what some people don’t really realize. When you have a great friendship, me and Joe [Hawley] have a great friendship, so that takes it onto the field. That’s why we have a great connection on the field. So, me and Ali, we have a great friendship, so I know it would transform onto the field.”
(On wide receiver Chris Godwin)
“Man, Chris Godwin is amazing. He’s an amazing young talent. So, is Bobo Wilson and so is [Thomas] Sperbeck. These guys are very good. That’s the thing about the NFL. You will get good guys that come in and we can’t keep them all, so everyone has to be playing at their highest level every single week, but yes, Chris, he had an amazing day today.”
(On Ryan Fitzpatrick’s comments about the camaraderie that he has noticed in the locker room over the past couple days)
“Absolutely because that’s what it’s all about because we play the ultimate team game. The more that we can trust in each other and depend more on each other, the better we play.”
(On possibility of Super Bowl 55 getting rescheduled for Tampa)
“We’re trying to play in every Super Bowl there is possible, but having a Super Bowl back in Tampa would be amazing and we want to be the team that is playing there.”
(On Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Rubik’s Cube skills)
“I heard about his Rubik’s Cube things. He’s pretty good at it. I mean, he’s a Harvard guy. He should be able to compete that thing in like two seconds.”
(On whether he enjoys solving Rubik’s Cubes)
“I don’t really play with the Rubik’s Cube that much, but I will be getting lessons from Ryan, so he can teach me how to get it done, so I can show it off to other people.”
(On establishing relationship for criticism from Fitzpatrick)
“Well, I’m a learner, so whatever Ryan has to tell me, it’s something that I don’t know, so I am going to listen to him. He’s probably had other guys that shooed him away, but other than that, I’m going to listen to him. This guy’s been in this league for a long time. I’m happy to have him here. I think it’s going to work in our advantage to have a guy like that here, so I am looking forward to working with him.”
(On Fitzpatrick’s personality)
“I’ve just known him for two days now. Give me a week or something. We’ve had a couple conversations, but he’s a great guy. That’s why he’s been in the league for so long because he’s a great guy. So, I look forward to developing my relationship with him and like I said, it’s going to work out in our advantage.”
(On the type of advice he thinks he will gain from Fitzpatrick)
“It’s like having another coach there because of the experience that he’s had. It’s different being coached by someone who’s played the game, physically played in the NFL and someone who hasn’t played in the NFL, but now you have another coach beside you. So, his experience is going to mean a lot to us.”
(On what he likes so much about Chris Godwin)
“The fact that he came out there and played well today. A lot of guys, the stage might be too big for them, but he came in and stepped right in with the ones and he produced and that’s what is amazing to me. The fact that he was prepared, that he was urgent and he had a great day.”
(On whether he believes Godwin will be a good fit for scramble plays since he played a lot that way at Penn State)
“Again, this is my first day throwing to him. I know he’s going to be a great player for us because like I said, up top, they do a great job of getting guys in here. But, my job is to make sure everyone is successful. I focus on the development of all our guys, not just one guy. Chris Godwin is going to be an amazing player for us and he’s going to do his job. That’s what the NFL is. I can be an amazing player, but if I’m not doing my job, then what good am I to this team? So, I have to be on top of my game. I have to be willing to motivate everyone and get everyone to play to their highest level.”
(On being placed on the NFL Top 100 list)
“I did not vote for myself, but I was very honored. I was very honored, but like I say, good is not good enough. Hopefully, one day I can be higher than that. It’s good for this team. It’s good to see that we have some high guys. I know that Gerald [McCoy] should’ve been higher than that. The guy’s the best defensive tackle in the league. I’m anxious to see who is going to be in front of him, but yeah, I’m just trying to get better every year. I’m happy I made it this year. I know my dad was happy, so that’s good.”
(On opening game against the Dolphins and going up against Miami defensive end Cameron Wake)
“I’m just thinking about the Dolphins. I fear no one person and then they’ve got [Miami defensive tackle] Ndamukong Suh over there too, so I just want to beat the Dolphins.”
(On whether the Miami defensive players are on his mind)
“No, Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh are not on my mind. Beating the Dolphins is on my mind, that’s all. I want to win.”
(On having a large number of teammates show up to Winston’s youth football camp this past weekend)
“It was amazing. Me and my girl, we were talking about how honored I was to have all of those guys out there. For them to show up and be out there and willing to work with the kids, it’s exciting. That shows the camaraderie that we have here in Tampa. The fact that they take their off day and come out there and spend it with the local kids in Tampa and we have some fun and we get the chance to, again, have some team bonding.”

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