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02 August 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Training Camp Media Availability (8/2/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On if the team looked refreshed after their off day yesterday)
“I don’t know about refreshed, but it was fine. Good work, both sides. Second day in pads, good plays on both sides. Probably defense got the better of it today. But that’s good, right? It’s good, we’re going to have a good defensive team.”
(On if the defense has had the edge over the offense through training camp thus far)
“Last few? That’s pretty much every day. Yeah, I think the defense is winning right now. But, you know September 10th we’re not playing each other. We’re playing the Dolphins.”
(On the progress of guard J.R. Sweezy and how the rest of the offensive line has responded to him)
“Last year was tough for J.R. because had to be around, but he couldn’t be in the mix. Of all the position groups out here, O-linemen hate that the worst. The group is very accepting of J.R. He’s fit right in with the guys. J.R started 50-something games at Seattle, so it’s not like he forgot how to play. But, he just has to get back to the daily grind of it and how his body feels. He came off back surgery, so he’s just got to get used to it again. He’s fine, he’s where he needs to be after five practices.”
(On if there is still chemistry that needs to be formed on offensive line)
“Absolutely. But at the same time, you have to cross-train guys because only one team in the NFL started the five O-linemen the whole year and that was Atlanta. So like today, Dot [Demar Dotson] rotated out being a veteran that he is and we’re trying to get those young tackles some work with the ‘ones’ as well.”
(On cornerback Vernon Hargreaves intercepting a pass in today’s practice)
“Yeah, Vernon [Hargreaves] and [Brent] Grimes. Grimes had two nice plays getting the ball out there in that last period. Vernon had one, Javien Elliot had one. So hey, turnovers is the name of the game. They’re doing a good job.”
(On if Hargreaves going against wide receiver DeSean Jackson is helping Hargreaves’ progression)
“I think so. When you have a guy with elite speed, you have to make some adjustments. I think the first day or two, Vernon made a couple plays, but he also got beat on a couple plays. Matchups is the name of the game in the NFL, knowing who you are going against.”
(On offensive line rotation during practice)
“Yeah, we switch. We’re rotating every couple of days. We’re rotating [Caleb] Benenoch and [Leonard] Wester. When you get in a game, you’ll probably only have three tackles up. So, that means that swing tackle has to be able to play both sides.”
(On his message to quarterback Jameis Winston throughout training camp)
“Patience. Yeah, patience and understanding the situation that we’re working on. I thought he did a really good job of that today. It was kind of funky, we start off in ‘two minute.’ So in essence, we start off like we’re in the fourth quarter and we need a field goal to win and we got to seven-on-seven. That was the first quarter. So, the game was kind of backwards today. What he’s working amongst other things is knowing the situation that we’re practicing that day and how he has to subtly adjust his game accordingly.”
(On if knowing the situation is something that Winston has always been good at)
“Well, he’s been good about it in real games. But I think in practice – for all players even though everything is scripted, there’s chains – players have a tendency to say, ‘practice a play, practice a play, next play, next play, next play.’ Instead, Jameis really can’t practice that way. For him to be as great as we want him to be and as great he wants to be, he’s got to understand exactly where we are at in the game.”
(On if the amount of rushing touchdowns is an area for improvement coming into this season)
“Yeah, the run game in general. We were a good running team in 2015, not so good in ’16. I talked to the guys about things that win in the NFL. Statistically, one of the things is rushing touchdowns. It’s down the list a little bit, but it’s still in the top 10 and we’ve talked about it. We’re not specifically working on rushing touchdowns right now because when we did our rushing drill we were 80 yards from the goal line. But, that is an important part.”
(On the measurable progress of Winston entering his third season)
“Well, we actually have people that chart everything that Jameis does every day and they give us a report. I know his completion percentage, his third down percentage, his explosive percentage. How many times he throws a pass and it’s dropped, precision percentage on his accuracy. So, those things are all measurable and I think there is a place for those. Personally, I have a tendency to go with my eye test. How I see it, to be honest with you.”
(On how he sees Winston thus far through camp)
“Slow and steady progress. But again, anything that a player is working on – we don’t just go into a meeting, watch a few clips of film, tell them one time and magically it’s perfect. It just doesn’t work that way. Everything is a process.”
(On kicking competition today)
“They me, I was watching the alignment, that one of them was five-for-eight and one of them was five-for-seven. We did try and put them in pressure in that ‘two-minute.” We did have some long field goals, some fifty-five and some fifty-six. From just how I was watching, the hurry-up drill where we were trying to give them reps there at the end, it didn’t look great to me. I really wasn’t watching the kicks, I was trying to get the line set up. So, we’ll see when we go in.”
(On safety competition)
“Yeah, it’s good. There was no competition in the spring when you asked me because two of those guys weren’t out there. But, you can see J.J. Wilcox getting better every day and Justin Evans, same thing, he’s getting better every day. Probably a little bit slower. J.J. [Wilcox] has played football in the NFL, Justin is feeling his way a little bit like several rookies are. Keith Tandy, Chris Conte are real solid. Just doing what we’d expect them to do right now.”
(On how training camp has changed since the pads came on)
“Well, I don’t really think about the pads. I think we are getting great work. The weather -- being in the rain – it’s not hot, but it’s humid, so we’re really not valuing the pads and you know all the bang-bang stuff. We don’t get this a lot. We don’t really get to practice in this and fortunately there hasn’t been lightning and we’ve been able to get through these practices.”
(On how he measures his progress day-by-day)
“If I got better. Am I behind? Am I processing information that I need to process? Every time I watch film, I take a tally, ‘Okay, did you get better today?’ There’s 31 other quarterbacks doing the same thing. 31 other quarterbacks going through practice and meeting rooms. What am I doing to make myself better than those other 31?”
(On if he has a way to better process knowledge this year than he did in his first two)
“Well, it’s happening quicker because I am more familiar with the offense. I’m more comfortable. Things are kind of slowing down.”
(On Coach Koetter’s claim that the defense has had the edge so far in practice and whether he sees the same thing)
“No, that’s not what I’m seeing [laughs]. You know, he’s the head ball coach, but the great news is that our defense is playing very well. The competition level is up high, so as long as we’re competing and challenging each other, that’s how you get better.”
(On whether the performance of the defense has made it tougher on him as a quarterback in practice)
“It’s not really about that. What’s more important is that we’re getting our work day in and day out and we are making plays.”
(On the Hard Knocks trailer that shows Winston in his hometown talking about cockroaches, and how it felt for him to open up about that part of his life)
“It was a blessing to be able to have that opportunity to show them where I came from. Cockroaches or not – that’s where I grew up and I love that place.”
(On why he felt comfortable opening up his life like he did in the trailer)
“That’s where I’m from. I will never be uncomfortable being in my hometown.”
(On what adjustments he has to make in rainy weather conditions)
“The snap is always first. You’ve got to get the snap first. Then, everything else is the same. No matter the circumstances, we’ve still got to execute – in sleet, snow. We’re going to have some pretty cold games. Hopefully it snows up in Lambeau [Field]. We’ve got to still process everything and we’ve still got to execute.”
(On what the offense needs to work on the most before the first preseason game)
“Just executing faster. From my part, processing information faster. For everyone else, knowing and [identifying] coverages and just getting open. The execution part is huge.”
(On the snap process with newly-transitioned center Ali Marpet)
“It’s been great. Ali is a very bright, bright center. That connection that we have already – with us coming in together in the same draft class – makes it an easier transition with him being at center.”
(On if he has noticed a difference in the play of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves from last season to this one)
“Absolutely, and I told him before we started I said, ‘Vernon, you’ve had one year in this thing, man – be aggressive. Be Vernon Hargreaves.’ He was just like, ‘Yeah man, I’m ready.’ So he’s a competitor. He is learning from one of the best DBs in the game across from him, Brent Grimes. It’s great that they get to watch film together. He gets to see how aggressive Brent is and his techniques and he takes that into his game.”
(On the importance of him staying patient more than anyone around him)
“Patience as a form of controlling everything. People use the term ‘game manager’ and that’s really what it is. I always have to be calm, cool and collected. Everything can be going fast for others, but everything has to be slowed down for me. When I step in the huddle, I have to slow everything down no matter what happened the last play, no matter if we scored a touchdown, no matter if we had a turnover. I have to be the person that brings everybody together, be patient, calm and just put us on chill mode.”
(On wearing the knee brace at practice and whether it was just something he was trying out)
“Absolutely. I was just trying it out. I mean, a lot of quarterbacks wear knee braces, so I was just trying it out.”
(On the performance of cornerback Javien Elliot so far in his second year)
“Well, the thing I’ve seen in him for the past five years is just his work ethic, being at Florida State. Just to know his story, and know his background, I’m proud of him just the way he has developed. Hard work is what sums him up, so hopefully he just keeps working hard, making plays and is the player that he is.”
(On whether he has seen a transformation from last season for Elliot)
“Absolutely. The biggest thing is when you’re a guy that’s on the bubble, you have to work hard every day and you don’t know where your fate is going to take you. And now, you’re out there with the big boys and you [are] out there playing, you can’t get content. You have to continue to get better and that’s what he’s done. He hasn’t fell back. He’s stepped up to his challenges and [taken] advantage of his opportunity, but we all collectively have to get better.”
(On who has stood out the most so far at training camp)
“You know everyone is impressing me because of the adversity that we are facing already early in camp, like I said, with this weather. Everyone’s coming out here with a purpose – and that means a lot to me. Sometimes people can lose track of things because the weather, it’s humid, the tempo of practice has changed, we’ve got to shorten practice up because of the rain. People start to lose focus, but I’ve been very happy with everyone for staying focused. We say something in the building, ‘Every rep counts.’ No matter what happens, we have to take advantage of every rep that we get out there.”
(On if the guys in the locker room are coming together better than they were in Winston’s rookie season like linebacker Kwon Alexander suggested)
“Absolutely. One thing about this locker room is that we have great men in this locker room, and I think that’s probably what Kwon is trying to say. We just have great men in this locker room. Our leaders – Gerald [McCoy], Clinton [McDonald], Mike [Evans], Ali [Marpet] stepping up as a leader, Kevin Pamphile stepping up as a leader, Joe Hawley still being an integral role on this offense. One thing about a team that you always have – you always have people with individual personalities, but we have great men on this football team.”
(On whether offensive guard J.R. Sweezy looks like a veteran out there on the field)
“J.R. Sweezy is a beast out there, man. I’m happy that he is able to play this year and you can see the tenacity in his eyes because he didn’t get a chance to play last year. Like I said, what we’ve been doing is just taking advantage of our opportunities. Whatever they give us, whatever we have [to work with], we have a chance out here to get better. We’re going to make sure we come out here and get better and not leave anything out there.”
(On whether Alexander brings the same fire to the defense that Winston does to the offense)
“On the offensive side, one thing we go on is explosives. So I hit Mike [Evans] for a big play, Mike is bringing the fire. Donovan [Smith] gets a big pancake block and Doug [Martin] sees it, Donovan is bringing the fire. But on the defensive side, Kwon plays that quarterback role. So as far as controlling the atmosphere out there, I believe he does bring that energy to the defense. It’s a team sport, you know. One thing about this team – we have a lot of selfless individuals. We get happy when somebody else makes a play. We get excited when somebody else has an, ‘Oooo’ or an ‘Ahh’ out there. That’s what drives us out there.”

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