Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On if the team is where he wants it to be thus far)
“It’s a process, so you’re always going to be ahead in some areas and behind in others. That’s where we are.”
(On how he views the team’s health)
“Yeah, health-wise? All good. We’re in good shape health wise.”
(On what he feels the team is behind in)
“We need to execute better on offense than we have been, but part of that is we’re playing good defense. It’s give and take.”
(On rookie tight end O.J. Howard)
“Outstanding, he looks like a first-round draft pick out there.”
(On wide receiver Josh Huff)
“Josh is a veteran player, this isn’t new to him. He knows, Josh knows. Josh has made plays in this league before. Josh just needs to be a little more consistent, he’s definitely got talent.”
(On linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“Yeah, we talked about this a couple days ago. Kendell Beckwith eight months off of ACL surgery missed all of spring, was way behind. Most of those guys, when they are hurt and they miss all of OTAs, they talk about mental reps. But, mental reps and doing it are two different things. Those first couple of days in rookie practice when it was just us out here. Kendell did not look good. He has come alive in these first six practices. We’re real excited about him, he’s off to a good start.”
(On the multiple looks of the defense under defensive coordinator Mike Smith)
“There’s a fine line there between being multiple and just being good. Just being good at what you do. So ‘more’ isn’t necessarily better. But, that’s what training camp is for. Smitty [Mike Smith] and the defensive staff, they’ve got some good stuff they are doing. They’re giving us fits right now and not only is it a good scheme, they’ve got good players playing that scheme. That’s even better. The defense is working on some things that are going to be used later in the season, some of it is going to be used early. Some of it may not be shown in preseason. There’s a lot of nuances going on out there, so don’t feel like you need to report on every one of them.”
(On how the league has changed from a defensive formation standpoint)
“Defenses are so much more sophisticated in trying to pick and get guys free. The two linebackers standing up in the ‘A’ gap, the ‘AA’ gap package. The ‘Bear’ package has gone full circle, it went away and now it’s back. Defenses mugging their linebackers up so you have to count them in your protection. There’s just a lot more to it and our ‘D’ is doing a really nice job with it right now. They are doing some stuff that is really ahead of the curve, I think. You never know until you get into a game, but I’m glad they are on our side. Right now, they’re doing a good job.”
(On if the presence of Hard Knocks filming during practice is distracting)
“No, no distraction at all. The Hard Knocks crew is as professional as they come and they are not a distraction at all.”
(On the importance of defining roles at this point in training camp)
“We talk about the role thing all the time with the team. It’s important at a lot of positions, and safety is one of them. It’s a little bit too early to start worrying about who’s going to fill exactly what role. You’ve still got to get through four preseason games. Some guys are going to show up and some guys are going to drop off and some guys are going to get hurt. So right now, everybody is trying to learn everything with a few exceptions. That usually kind of sorts itself out as we move along.”
(On rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin)
“Outstanding. He is doing a great job, the guy looks like a vet out there. Does not play like a rookie, does not act like a rookie. Very mature and serious about his business, serious about football. Doing a really nice job out there.”
(On defensive tackle Chris Baker)
“What I’m noticing is he is in the top five dancers on our team right now. Him and Coach [Mark] Duffner and Sealver Siliga, I want to see a dance-off between those three. What you notice football wise though is for a guy that weighs 330-something pounds, he’s really light on his feet. He’s got a nice a get-off, we knew this watching the Redskins’ film. His lateral movement for a guy his size is exceptional. We’re trying to get him through right now, he’s a little sore. We’re trying to get him through. Those guys are a little bit tougher to round into game condition than guys that weigh 190 [pounds]. You watch the tape closely, you can definitely see it’s there.”
(On the difference he sees in cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III this year)
"Confidence. Vernon's playing a lot more aggressive, which we asked him to do. He just seems lighter on his feet; I know he's lost a little bit of weight. He's confident and those corners have got to be confident. They've got to have short memories. Brent Grimes is playing lights-out right now and Vernon's right on his heels."
(On evaluating the running backs now that they're in pads)
"I think we have good depth still. We're not going live tackling right now, we're doing 'thud' tackling. We quick-whistle everything. It's sometimes hard to tell if a guy would've been taken down or if he would have spun out of it. I like our depth. Those guys are working hard in pass-pro, they're working hard catching the ball. Except for Doug [Martin], all the other guys play on special teams, which they're going to have to do. When you get down to 46 on game day, those running backs, if you're not the starter, you've got to help out on [special] teams. Like everything else, they're doing fine."
(On if the defense feels the presence of guard J.R. Sweezy)
"Yeah, I think they know where he's at. I think they know where he's at. He's definitely going to bring some nastiness to the run game, but I know if you just asked our defensive front, they're not going to back down from anybody. No one ever talks about it: The guy who dominates practice every day is Gerald McCoy. You can't block that guy. You think he's offsides, [but] I'm sitting up there clicking the tape back 20 times, the guy's got the best get-off. He's tough to stop. He wrecks half of practice, and Robert Ayers is right there with him. But, yeah, we're excited about what J.R. can bring. He's still getting back into game shape, as well."
(On two tight end sets)
"It can create good matchups for us, but we've got to execute it. The reason people go to two tight ends is, if you've got tight ends that can both block and run-and-catch, it makes you tough to defend. If they're playing base defense, you might have some matchup issues in the pass game. If they choose to go to sub defense, nickel defense, you should have matchup advantages in the run game. That's the theory."
(On if it's tough to find two tight ends to run those plays)
"Well, you're going to have different packages within your two-tight end packages, and everybody has it. The team that does the best job in the NFL with two-tight end offense is New England. That's the team everybody's trying to emulate in two tight ends. They do the best job of creating matchups and then they execute on top of it."
(On if defensive tackle Gerald McCoy looks the same as the last two camps or even better this year)
"That's a good question. I don't really think of it like that, but I'd say it's right on par if not a little better. But that's off the top of my head."
(On interacting with former Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden)
"It was awesome. I was sitting in the back for the one o'clock press conference and it was great for me to hear Bryan Glazer talk about his father and then also talk about Coach Gruden. Then when Jon talked, that was fun to be in there. I spent about an hour and a half with Jon in my office before the team meeting and we just talked football. Two football coaches talking ball. That was fun for me. We got one of his old playbooks up in my office; we pulled that out, got a couple laughs on that. Jon's a film junkie, still, and he's making me say stuff that I wouldn't say to too many people. That was fun, and then at 3:30 Jon talked to the team and he talked from the heart. He talked like he was the coach of the Bucs and it was great. It was a good message and fun to hear."
(On if he's pulled any plays from that Gruden playbook in his office)
"Oh, of course. There's a lot of them in there. Different terminology. He doesn't understand our terminology and I don't understand his, but I'm good at seeing those pictures and knowing what they mean."
(On if there are favorites for the kick return jobs)
"Yeah, favorite-wise it's going to be Adam Humphries returning punts and Ryan Smith returning kickoffs. But, again, zero live reps, all right? Zero live reps. When we're doing all those drills out there in special teams, we're working on our blocking assignments, our coverage lanes. That position, as much as any other, when we get to real football that's when that counts."
(On Tom Brady turning 40)
"Let's just keep in mind, Tom Brady's 40 and Jameis Winston's 23. Experience. We talk about experience in every one of our jobs, you guys and mine. If you have 17 years more or less experience, would you be better or worse? Think about it."
CORNERBACK VERNON HARGREAVES III
(On confidence being the biggest difference between his play last year and this year)
“Of course. I have a whole 16 games under my belt now, so it’s a little bit easier now. I understand the defense now, so I’m just playing faster.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston telling Hargreaves to be himself)
“I took that in stride. I took that and had to grow from it. It was tough for me last year, you know, just getting adjusted to the speed. There are great players in the league – as everybody knows – but now that I’ve played a whole season, I’m more comfortable. Like I said, I’m understanding the defense and I’m just playing faster.”
(On having cornerback Brent Grimes as a mentor)
“It’s great. He’s great. I’ve been watching Brent since I was in 10th grade. He’s always been my favorite and it’s cool to play with him. He’s a guy that doesn’t say much – you’ve just got to watch him. You’ve just got to watch how he practices, watch the things he does, watch how he takes care of his body and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m trying to be my best Brent Grimes if that makes any sense [laughs].”
(On how he has become a student-turned-teacher)
“Like I said – playing a season. You know, I feel like a veteran now just from playing [those] 16 games. I’ve seen a lot. I got beat a lot. I made some plays, so now when the rookies come in I have something to say to them – a little here, a little there. That’s all I needed. Brent would tell me a little something here, a little something there – you can’t give the young guys too much stuff. They’re already thinking about a lot, they’ve already got a lot on their plate, so every time if I see something that I was doing maybe, I’ll give them a little pointer. It’s just little bits of information here and there.”
(On the difference between last year and this year now regarding the familiarity with the defensive system and communicating with one another)
“We’ve still got to get better. We know it now, but we’ve got to perfect it. We’ve got to perfect our signals and we’ve got to keep talking, keep communicating every period, all day, throughout practice – when we are hot, when we are tired, when we don’t feel like practicing, when we don’t feel like talking. That’s the part we’re are trying to improve on right now.”
(On the advice he would give to someone in his shoes this season)
“You’ve got to keep a cool head and you’ve just got to play football. You can’t really listen to too much, because if you listen to too much, you’ll start thinking too much. So, you’ve just got to play your own game, take what comes with it – take the wins, take the losses and you’ve got to learn. You’ve got to learn – that’s the biggest thing. Learn from your mistakes, learn from other people’s mistakes and you’ve got to grow from it.”
(On facing wide receiver DeSean Jackson in practice and what he’s picked up on)
“He’s fast – really fast [laughs]. I mean, he’s a great player. It’s his 10th year in the league. You see him every year – he makes big plays, he makes splash plays and that’s what he does. Nothing has changed about him. He is dynamic. He’s a play-maker. I’m excited to watch him go against other DBs for once [laughs].”
(On whether Jackson’s speed at his age surprised Hargreaves the first time they faced one another)
“Did it surprise me? No, but I didn’t know it was like that the first time I covered him. I knew he was fast, but it’s a whole different ballgame when he’s lined up in front of you.”
(On whether facing Jackson’s speed in practice gives him more confidence against other receivers once the season rolls around)
“Of course. There’s not a lot of guys running around like him. There’s not a lot of guys with that experience that he has, so if I can cover him I think I’ll be all right. I’ll figure it out.”
(On the high expectations for the offense and Coach Koetter’s claim that the defense has given the offense a challenge in practice)
“Man, our offense is tough. We have one of the best quarterbacks in the game. I love practicing against him. He’s going to make you better. It’s almost like he never has an off day. For us, we try to be up to their level. They’ve still got some new guys, some young guys, that they’re putting in and starting to learn the offense. New guys like D-Jack [DeSean Jackson] – still trying to learn the offense, still trying to learn the verbage – but like I said we are competing against them, we are competing against the best quarterback we are going to see and he gets us better every day.”
(On the feeling of watching other teammates at his position making plays during practice)
“We love it. We’re DBs – we get excited in the meeting rooms when we’re watching it. We get little bonus points for it in our meeting rooms, so we love picks, we need them, we’ve got to have them. We know how important they are to the game and that’s what we strive for – that’s we go for.”