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11 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day-After-Game Media Availability (10/11/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: The Buccaneers are 2-0 in their division, the first time that the team has been 2-0 in the NFC South since 2011.
Below is the transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s media availability earlier.
(On strategy going into game to account for the number of players inactive)
“The main thing there is we were missing – I know Carolina was missing some players – we were missing a lot of good players. We were missing two Pro Bowl players in [defensive tackle] Gerald [McCoy] and [running back] Doug [Martin], missing three of our four starting D-lineman, missing our top two running backs, missing one of our best tight ends. So, we really felt like we needed to try to run the ball, try to control the clock, try to not put our defense in a bad position early in games, which we’ve been doing too much this season. You know, consciously made an effort –I’m sure Carolina thought by deferring the opening kick that they were going to shut us down and get the ball back. To have a 14-play drive to start the game was huge. Hopefully in the future we can end it in a touchdown, not a field goal. But, to go down and get the lead and then give our defense a chance to play – I’ve had a feeling that our defense probably wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying they were if the offense quit putting them in bad position.”
(On analysts commenting about quarterback Jameis Winston’s missed throws and if there are acceptable misses in football)
“Sure, absolutely. We’re always talking to Jameis about, ‘Here’s your miss spot.’ I mean, if you’re going to miss this route, miss it outside. If you are going to miss this route, miss it over the top. If you’re going to miss this route, put it in the dirt. So, yeah there are acceptable misses, absolutely. And that’s something that all quarterbacks have to learn because you can’t just stand back there and, ‘Oh my gosh, no one’s open, I’m going to hold it and take a sack.’ I mean, the ball has to come out and sometimes the miss is as good as – it’s the second best thing that can happen except a completion. Now, Jameis had some misses that were in good spots last night. Obviously, we didn’t turn it over and that’s the good news.”
(On if he has confidence in kicker Roberto Aguayo moving forward)
“I think it’s realistic to think in this league that inside of 50 yards, if weather is not a factor, that you’re expected to make them, a very high percentage. There’s plenty of kickers in this league that do. There’s no doubt that we can all be frustrated at what’s going on with Roberto at times. I mean, it was huge that – I thought it said a lot about the way our team responded. Of course, everyone was happy to win the game, but I thought it said a lot about the body language of the players and the way the players responded after the game. There’s a lot of factors besides Roberto. We probably had a chance to make that game where it didn’t come down to the end like that in a game-ending field goal, but whatever happens out there, we have to own it and we have to move forward. We have plenty of things to get better at and one of those is our field goal kicking.”
(On if he believed the kicking issues were something they had moved past before this game)
“Well, whether I thought that or not, it really doesn’t matter. I mean, last night, we are what we are right there. I think we’re 4-for-8 or something like that on the year and whatever we were last night, but we missed a couple that hurt us. The best way to solve it is put the ball in the end zone and you don’t have to worry about it.”
(On whether or not the game-winning drive played out the way he wanted it to)
“Well, when it ends up in a game-winning field goal, of course it goes the way you wanted it to, but think about how that game was. We were pinned back there pretty good and they had all their timeouts and we had one or two to start that drive. We had to use one because we were in the wrong formation, so we had two timeouts left to start the drive. I think in their mind, again, they were going to shut us down, make us punt. Speaking of which, our punt team is doing a really nice job of flipping the field. And then they were going to get in field goal range and then they were going to kick the game-winner. The first thing we needed to do was make a first down. We needed to make one first down to ensure that it wasn’t going to be three and out and only use up however much time we’ve been using up – that wouldn’t have been good. That wouldn’t have been good if it happened like that. So, we needed to make that first first down. We ran it the first two plays. I think we had two or three third down conversions in that drive. That first one out of thirteen personnel was obviously the biggest because it got us that first first down and then we were able to get going into our two-minute offense. Now, after we got going into our two-minute offense, they started playing more two-deep coverage and that’s when we ran it a couple times. We ran the draw, got a nice little gain on that. Once we got across the 50 and there was time, then it became pretty clear that we were going to have a chance at a last-second field goal. Now, you’re just trying to get it to where it’s the last play of the game and we win, so you don’t leave time on the clock.
(On tight end Greg Olsen having a ‘monster night’)
First of all, you said Greg Olsen had a monster night. Greg Olsen is a monster player. I mean, he’s one of the best tight ends in this league. He’s a fantastic player and my hat’s off to [Carolina offensive coordinator] Mike Shula and their offensive staff. They had a really nice game plan. They hit him on two wheel routes and one of them, the way it was designed with a hard play-action fake, the tight end slicing back. We were in base defense, so he took an inside release. [Linebacker] Daryl Smith is the flat player assigned to that on the line of scrimmage. That was an almost uncoverable play. From an offensive standpoint, that was a really nice design. It would’ve been very tough to cover it. We were in a five-man rush, playing three-deep three-under zone coverage. That would’ve been tough. And then on the fourth down play, we were in a zero blitz. The same blitz that [safety] Keith Tandy had stoned them on the first third down of the game. And if you really look at that play, they had Olsen lined up in-line with a jumbo tight end wing outside of him. On the snap, he came back behind the line of scrimmage and came across. I’ve never even seen that play in the NFL. I’d be afraid to call it because with an in-line tight end, the chances of him getting back across all the linemen – most people when they run that play, they run it with the wing. Again, a very well-designed play and hey, Olsen had a big night. He is one of the best players in the league. He has been to the Pro Bowl. They get paid to play and coach too. Their best players are supposed to make plays just like our best players are supposed to make plays.
(On cornerback Brent Grimes’ game)
“Even more so than the interception was the tackle he made the play before that because if – even though we give Brent a hard time about him not being the greatest tackler in the world, think about if he doesn’t tackle that guy on the one-yard line, then that next play never happens, we’re already down. He kind of shoved that guy, got him down, dove for the end zone, they call it out at the one and then the next play Brent gets the interception. Brent actually got voted a game ball by the coaching staff today. He got the defensive game ball, Jacquizz Rodgers got the offensive game ball and [wide receiver] Russell Shepard got the special teams game ball.”
(On if running the ball on third-and-nine in the fourth quarter was a lack of confidence in Winston)
“That wasn’t a lack of confidence. Again, when analysts say stuff like that, that’s like – when Jon [Gruden] was coaching and someone said that about him, you know what he’d be standing up here saying? ‘That guy doesn’t know what I’m thinking or anything about my team.’ He gets paid to talk on T.V. I get paid to coach the Bucs. Those guys can say whatever they want. Yeah, we ran it on third-and-nine. You know what? We also ran it on third-and-three and third-and-five and we were two out of three running the ball on third down and we weren’t nearly that successful throwing the ball. It had no reflection at all on my confidence in Jameis Winston. There can be no person on this planet, other than his parents, that’s more confident in Jameis Winston than me.”
(On how he knew running back Jacquizz Rodgers still had something ‘left in the tank’ when they gave it to him multiple times on the final drive)
“Well, I’m watching the game, I’m there. You can tell when a guy’s gassed or not. Tim Spencer, our running back coach, took him out a couple times in the first half and I kept looking at ‘Quizz’ going, ‘I’m going to need you on third down.’ I trust the guy a lot, I know I’ve seen him do it before – like I told you guys last week, he was a workhorse in college, I know this isn’t college football. It would’ve shown up [if he was tired]. I think he had 18 carries in the first half, I think it would’ve shown up if he was wearing down and it didn’t show up. The guy’s standing right next to me on the sideline when he’s out there and you’re looking at him in the game and shoot, he’s playing at a high level. A wise coach told me a long time ago, ‘Feed the stud. When the guy’s hot, give him the ball.’”
(On how hard it is for defensive linemen to sustain a high level of play while playing the majority of the snaps)
“Well we only had seven D-linemen and that included [defensive end] Noah Spence playing in a shoulder harness with no practice last week. We talked about guys playing roles that they maybe hadn’t been asked to play before, guys rising up to the challenge. Will [Gholston] is the only one of our four starting D-linemen who’s healthy enough to play. Akeem Spence had a huge play on that third-and-two right before the final drive to stop [Carolina’s drive]. Our defense in general, holding them to 1-8 on third down conversions. Those two free agent rookie D-linemen – the D-line, even though we weren’t able to generate much pressure, those guys fought hard, they competed hard. [DaVonte] Lambert, what a nice play on the scramble that [Carolina quarterback] Derek Anderson had. It looked like he might make the first down and ironically enough, it was Lambert that made the hit and it was Gholston, who was dropping on that coverage, hustling over to get the fumble recovery. So just really proud of those guys and the way they competed.”
(On if the win says something about the resolve of the team, with all of their injuries)
“I think it does, I think it says something about them, but the analysts might not think that [laughter]. You’d have to ask them, but heck, I think it does. If my opinion counts for anything, of course I do, I’m proud as heck of those guys.”
(On the penalties committed against Carolina)
“Critical. We had five penalties on the game, which as a number, if you just threw out five penalties, you’d say, ‘Heck, that’s not bad.’ But the timing of our penalties was not good. As you said, we had two third-and-one penalties. That first one was a third-and-one, they called us correctly for illegal procedure, followed up by a sack. So we were right on the verge of field goal range, got knocked out. The second time that happened, we had third-and-one on the five-yard line and we had them lined up just like we wanted them to – man, a great chance to punch it in and go up 10-0 and we get the back-to-back penalties. The second one, the delay of game, would be my fault. And then we miss a field goal, so we get no points. We didn’t throw it much there in the first [drive], but I think the second pass we threw all night, Jameis makes a beautiful scramble play, hits Vincent for a 20-something-yard gain and we get a holding call. And then obviously our defense stops them and we get the roughing the punter call. So the number of penalties was good, the critical level of those penalties was not good and that leads to the fact that when you’re plus-four in turnovers, it shouldn’t come down to a game-winning field goal.”
(On cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III’s game)
“He was solid. They’ve been getting crushed, but I’ve been thinking our secondary’s not that bad. Again, going back to [the offense has] been putting them in a lot of bad situations. And again, even with lack of pass rush last night, I thought our secondary did a good job – with the exception of [Carolina tight end Greg] Olsen got loose on us a few times, but he did make some plays when we did have him covered too. Both of our corners did a nice job, both Hargreaves and Grimes did a nice job. Grimes just about had another [interception] that he stepped in front of and if he were able to hold that one, he would’ve gone to the house. So he got one and then Vernon knocked that other one out so in essence, we get two turnovers from our corners and almost another one. Both of our safeties had better games, I think they both led us in tackles with eight and seven tackles, off our stats. [Bradley] McDougald made a nice play on the one third down in front of their bench, when they had Olsen singled up on him one-on-one and the ball was catchable and he knocked it out, that was a nice play. But there’s plenty of things that we need to get better at, but it’s a lot easier to get better at them when you get home at four in the morning and you’ve got a ‘W’ on Monday Night Football.”
(On if the Bye Week is coming at the perfect time)        
“Yeah, it probably couldn’t be at a better time for us. The momentum factor is one thing, but we have a chance to get several key members of our team back. So the players have five days off, starting tomorrow. We’ll work out on Monday, then they’ll have another day off and then a week a week from Wednesday, we’ll zero in on San Francisco game planning. So six of the next seven days off, got a nice opportunity to get healthy.”

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