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19 May 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Assistant Coach Media Availability (5/19/16)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Quarterbacks Coach Mike Bajakian
Tight Ends Coach Jon Embree
Running Backs Coach Tim Spencer
Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator George Warhop
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On how Mike Evans can reduce his number of dropped passes)
"It's repetition. He understands where he's got to get to, what he's capable of. All we can do is work every day to correct it. He's got to make a decision…first of all, I thought he came back in great shape, I really did. The more he practices, the more he works with Jameis, the better he's going to get."
 
(On his energy level on the practice field)
"I don't think it's any secret…I think every coach aspires to be the best coach his players have ever had. I don't think that's too much to ask. Whether we become that, I don't know, but I think that's what we ought to do. If we don't bring energy, what should you expect from the players? So that's why [Head] Coach [Dirk Koetter] hired me, it's part of the reason I think he wants me here. We've got the greatest job in the world – we get to coach for a living. They pay us an unbelievable amount of money to try to create the best version we can of our players, and that starts with energy."
 
(On competition for the slot receiver job)
"It's hard to say. We've had the helmets on three days with the veterans, the rookies were out there for three days. There are no helmets, no winners, no losers. I think we've got a good group of young players. Someone asked me the other day about not having many draft picks to add to the mix, and that's not true. We have Kenny Bell, who was injured last year. We have Evan Spencer; both were draft picks who add to the mix and will get a chance in the slot."
 
(On Kenny Bell)
"Kenny's got talent. Kenny can run, he can bend, he's athletic, he's really smart. I think he's excited about getting back out there and giving himself a chance to compete."
 
(On if Bell was able to benefit in some way from a "redshirt year")
"Sure. I think you can always benefit from standing back and watching. I think that helped Kenny. I think he's getting better every day. He's maturing every day as a player, and his confidence level. Half of it is believing that you belong here. Half of it is believing that you can play at this level. Grit, determination, want-to, perseverance, intelligence – does he have that? We'll find out."
 
(On if his presence gives Dirk Koetter more latitude to focus on other things)
"Well, I can't speak for Dirk. He asked if I'd like to come, and I said yes."
 
(On his early impression of Jameis Winston)
"It's who he is, how he's wired. I think that's one thing that's a misnomer. I think from the outside you would have looked at it and with all the things that were publicized in the past about him and who he is, I was dead wrong. He wants to win as much as we do. He's a competitive joker. He's smart, he's competitive, wants to win as much as we do. You can win a lot of games with guys like that."
 
(On if Koetter is enjoying himself as a head coach)
"I don't know if he's enjoying…this is easy. The offseason's easy, winning's hard, so we'll see as it goes on. I've been through it. It's not easy when you have to take the microphone every week and explain why we didn't do this, why we didn't do this, why we can't be this or how can we be? We have talent. We are a talented team. I know that he wanted to be the head coach here. He had other opportunities [but stayed] for a number of reasons – the organization and the players we have. But it's a natural fit for him, and that's why I wanted to be here."
 
(On the versatility of the Bucs' tight ends/fullbacks)
"I think it's pretty common to think that if you have players that can do multiple things it gives you more flexibility. You can stay in the same personnel, you can be in 'empty,' you can have a fullback, you can be in multiple formations without changing personnel. One of the first things a defense looks for is, what is a team doing out of certain personnel groups? When you change personnel groups, what are you doing out of this? Well, if you can stay in the same group and guys can do multiple things, whether it's Chuck [RB Charles Sims] or whether it's some of the H-backs that we have, that's what we're looking for – flexibility and guys who can do multiple things to give the defense problems. That's what it's about."
 
(On if he could see Charles Sims and Doug Martin playing on the field at the same time)
"I think it's a little early to know what we might do down the road, how [Offensive Line Coach] George [Warhop] likes to run the ball and how Dirk sees us throwing the football. But they're both very good football players and it's been proven that they deserve to be on the field, whether that's at the same time or not. They both have warranted playing time."
 
(On who has stood out among the other running backs)
"Again, hard to say in shorts at that position. We'll find out once you can put the pads on and who will play with their pads out, who can protect. Those are probably the two biggest things – who can protect the football, who can play on special teams. I think it's pretty set in terms of who are top two players are but that third back has to be very versatile in terms of special teams and protecting the ball, be able to protect and be able to go into the game when needed."
 
(more on differing perceptions of Winston)
"I just think that's general in life, especially with social media today, but even before then. Without knowing a person we make judgments before ever being around them. I think that's just common. It's not just Jameis. It's in general, people, you make thoughts and impressions. Heck, you meet someone on Facebook or Twitter or Snapfish or Fishchat – I don't know what it is now – and you think you know them. You think you're a part of their life. You have no idea what they're like. You have no idea until you get around them and you're around them day-to-day, [learning] what they're about. That's really in terms of life, it's not just him."
 
(On how much the precision and percentages of the Bucs' passing game need to improve)
"Dramatically. It's not a hard game. We had a great year offensively as a start, but penalties, turnovers, errant throws, drops – what else needs to be said? There were a lot of points that were left off the board, and when you [take care of] that, then you add some consistency to your offense. Sure you can average 24, 28 points a game but getting 10 in one game and 38 in another, that's not very good. You want to be consistent every week and consistency comes from doing those little things. Plus as our young offense, our core nucleus of players, gets better – the O-linemen, the running backs, the receivers, the quarterback – we should continue to be more consistent."
 
(On if there is something different to his approach to coaching receivers)
"I'm different in a lot of ways. I don't know if it's good or bad, but that's okay. I like to coach. The most fun I have is around the players. Why wouldn't you? That's what you do it for, to be around the players and develop them so down the road they sit there and say, 'You know what? That guy helped me be as good as I can be.' That's all you're trying to do. I don't know any other way so I can't compare myself to somebody else, who was here before. I thought they played well last year in terms of the effort, so we're just trying to build on it and develop some of these younger players. That's part of it. You only get a certain amount of draft picks every year, so the receivers that we have, you have to develop the guys we have. That's draft, develop, free agency, coach better – that's what it is. You've got to draft players and then everybody upstairs counts on me to develop the receivers. That's what I'm paid for first."
 
(On if any of the undrafted rookies have impressed him)
"It would be hard for me to say that just because I'm so dialed into the receivers right now. There's always going to be somebody who shows up. Obviously they all have talent or they wouldn't be here. But until we get the pads on, until you actually get to see the physical part of the game, it's kind of hard to tell."
 
QUARTERBACKS COACH MIKE BAJAKIAN
 
(On what additional responsibilities quarterback Jameis Winston will have this season)
“I think with experience and a more firm grasp of the offense, comes added responsibilities. I don’t think there is anything earth-shattering about that and it’s not like we’re letting him call plays or anything. He’s at a point now where he can handle more on his plate on the mental side of the games.”
 
(On where Winston can improve)
“That’s been the beauty of having him here for a year now. When he got here last year and for much of the early process, it was dedicating so much of our time to learning the offense, learning the procedure and being able to manage the offense. Now we’re at a point where he’s proficient enough in the offense that we can focus even more on the details of his technique, so everything from his footwork to his release, to again, accuracy. Little things like that are things that we’ve emphasized – moving in the pocket. All those little details that go into playing the position are now a matter of attention for us and he’s done a good job of focusing on that.”
 
(On how Winston’s improved physique will help him this upcoming season)
“A couple of things. Number one, everything in this league is about durability and being able to play as many snaps as possible. Last year we were fortunate he could take every snap, but by being in better physical shape, there is a better chance of lasting the season and avoiding injury. That’s number one, first and foremost. Number two, he’s been able to – again when you’re more physically fit, fatigue doesn’t become as much of an issue.  In the quarterback position in particular that’s not as much of an issue as let’s say wide receivers, your defensive backs, your offensive lineman, but still, being in better physical shape can allow him to maintain a better base, play with lower hips and better feet and can allow him to just focus on the details of his technique”
 
(On facing Vernon Hargreaves III as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee)
“Number one, he’s a heck of a player and I’ve thought that since the first day we faced him and I was excited when we drafted him. Since the first time I saw him – I think he was a freshman if I’m not mistaken – you knew that he had a presence on the field that the quarterback always had to be aware of him. In terms of the process here, obviously Jason [Licht] and his staff do a great job of evaluation. I didn’t have much say in that at all. Not much – I didn’t have any say in that at all [laughs], but if anyone asks me, I think the world of him and I’m excited he’s on our team.”
 
TIGHT ENDS COACH JON EMBREE
 
(On the current group of tight ends)
“I feel good about our group. I feel like it’s really strong. You know, Austin [Seferian-Jenkins] is back healthy, you got Brandon Meyers and Luke [Stocker] and [inaudible] Cam [Brate], how he finished last year and we’ve added some young guys to the mix. Tevin Westbrook who was on the practice squad for us – having him and then some of the rookies we’ve added. I really feel good about our group. I think it’s very strong.
 
(On how much versatility the tight ends group has)
“We have a lot of versatility. I think we have guys in that room who can play outside the core, that have a very god route tree – in other words being able to run a lot of the routes that maybe the receivers can run also. Good speed, I think they have really good ball skills, so I think it gives us the flexibility to do some things and maybe create some mismatches and be able to take advantage of it. Whether it’s in the run game if people want to go nickel to certain groups or if they want to stay big and take advantage of them in the pass game.”
 
(On tight end Luke Stocker’s value)
“Well, he’s invaluable because he’s a great pass protector, he’s a good run blocker and he can be a threat in the pass game and he knows what everyone is supposed to do, so there’s a lot of times last year where he made things right. Maybe a play wasn’t called right, the formation wasn’t right, but he knew what was supposed to be done and he got it done, so Luke is probably the most valuable guy in that room.”
 
RUNNING BACKS COACH TIM SPENCER
 
(On how running back Charles Sims improved throughout last season)
“Well Chuck [Charles Sims] was still a young player. [He] didn’t really get to play because he was hurt that year, but I saw him grow each and every game. He’s still learning the game. We tried to move him outside an awful lot and play some receiver things. He can catch the ball, but in terms of receiver-wise, he didn’t quite have all of those adjustments together, but I think that’s what you saw later in the year. Hopefully – we’ve been working on that a lot this year so I think you should see some improvement this year from him.”
 
(On coaching running back Doug Martin)
“Doug is an easy guy to coach because he’s self-motivated. When you come to practice you’ll see, Doug is one of the guys who’s 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards down the field. He’s always hustling, he’s always working on his craft, so he’s a pleasure to coach. He wants to be coached. He’s a leader. He sort of sets the tone and the other guys have to come up to it and I don’t think I have any problem and we haven’t to this day.”
 
(On rookie tight end Dan Vitale)
“I love Dan. Dan is one of those multi-faceted players who can do a lot of things – play a little fullback, a little tight end, playing a little bit of everything and we’ll use him doing a lot of those things. Running the football – I think we have enough guys running the football. He might not get any of those. He can do some other things, but I do like him. He’s a tough young man. He wasn’t really asked to do some of the fullback things that we ask the ‘f’ to do from the backfield, but he’s tough enough to do those, so that’s what I look forward to seeing him, working with him to improve, although he’s in [tight ends coach] Jon [Embree]’s room, but we sort of cross over, so we’ll get some work. We’ll both work with him.”
 
OFFENSIVE LINE COACH/RUN GAME COORDINATOR GEORGE WARHOP
 
(On rookie offensive linemen Lenard Wester, Dominique Robertson and Caleb Benenoch)
“You know, I have to take my hat off to [General Manager] Jason [Licht]. We went and signed some free agent guys that are competitive guys. There just not guys who are taking up a roster spot, so it’ll be competitive and it’s up to them from that standpoint. But we just added guys that we though would bring competition and be legitimate guys in the end, if they can develop. He just did a great job of adding good players”
 
(On which players will compete for the role of backup center)
“Well, we have Evan [Smith] and he’s right in the thick of it for the [starting] center position too, but anybody who plays guard. Any of our guards – they are all learning how to snap. Kevin Pamphile, Caleb [Benenoch] can snap, Ali [Marpet] can snap and the guys that haven’t been able to snap – who haven’t snapped yet – will learn to snap by the end of the year. That’s always a process. There’s never enough guys who can pull the ball and most guys in college are undersized, so you have to develop your centers. At the end of the day we’ll probably have five guys that can snap. By the time we get through the preseason, once they become capable, you’ll see them all in the game at some point in time playing center.”
 
(On the value of having a versatile lineman like Kevin Pamphile and Caleb Benenoch)
“How valuable? I think it’s crazy valuable. He’s starting to figure out that the more you can do, the more value you have – not only to us but to other teams in the future. In this business you never know who you’re auditioning for and that’s the same with Caleb. He’s a guy that has flexibility. He already knew how to snap once he got here. They did that with him at UCLA, so it just gives us flexibility in the future getting the best five on the field.”
 
(On his nephew, guard Dominique Robertson, joining the team)
“Well let me say this, first and foremost: I don’t care if he’s a family member or not. If he wasn’t good enough, he wouldn’t be here.  That’s period. We were fortunate to get him. I didn’t think that we would have a chance to get him, but we did. But if he wasn’t able to play, family or not, he wouldn’t be here and if he’s not good enough I’ll cut him, simple as that because this is about us performing. But when we signed him I just told him, ‘Listen. You’ve been around my son and I’m hard on my son, okay? I’m going to be hard on you just like I am on my son. It’s just the way it is. If you’re going to be in my room, you’re going to take the brunt of it.’”
 
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