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24 October 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day-After-Game Media Availability (10/24/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: WR Mike Evans is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns (six), has the third-most receptions per game (6.7) and ranks fifth in the league in receiving yards per game (90.8). He is the only player in the NFL to rank in the top five in all three categories.
 
Below is the transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s media availability earlier.
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On how important it was to stick with the running game against San Francisco after a slow start)
“I think it’s important and that first quarter definitely did not go well. They took it right down on us that first drive and scored after the kickoff. We actually had a good drive going our first drive, we got to the third-and-one and then fourth-and-a-foot and it shocked me that we didn’t make either one of those. Our defense did a great job of holding right there, that could’ve been even uglier. Then we had the interception, they did score off that interception – again, our offense putting our ‘D’ in bad positon. But because we had that first drive where we ran the ball pretty well, I thought we’d still have a chance to run the ball. We talk about time and score, well the first quarter we were down – we basically didn’t do much in the first quarter. We still had three quarters and if that’s 14-0 going into the fourth quarter, you probably can’t do that.”
 
(On cornerback Josh Robinson and wide receiver Russell Shepard defending kick and punt returns)
“Those two guys, they’re getting double teamed and they’re still wreaking havoc down there. And then the other thing is, [punter Bryan] Anger is doing such a good job of hanging the ball with hang time. That was kind of one of the knocks on him, is that he had the tendency to outkick his coverage and he’s done an awesome job of making sure his hang time matches up with his distance. I know [Special Teams Coordinator] Nate [Kaczor] has talked to him a lot about that, but those two gunners are definitely setting the tone on our punt team. I think our special teams, for the most part, we did well, we got the one turnover. It was a little uncharacteristic of [wide receiver] Adam [Humphries] to put a couple balls on the ground yesterday, fortunately we got them both back. Our kickoff return team did not do as well as we would like to, but our kickoff team – we got a tackle inside the 20, we got the turnover and our special teams definitely contributed to the victory.”
 
(On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s impact on the defense)
“I think Gerald gets a bad rap sometimes, people don’t appreciate what he brings to the table. Having coached against him, you’ve got to double team him or your guards are going to struggle to block him. Your center definitely can’t block him single. He can beat a double team and when he does get singled he’s going to get penetration. He had a sack, caused a fumble – we didn’t get that fumble. I said Gerald was going to be on a pitch count, he played 64 plays, I think he took himself out one time. A lot of the players that come back after a three-week absence, they look a little rusty out there and we had a couple guys that were in that category. Gerald did not look rusty, he looked like he was right back in Pro Bowl form. Gerald is one of those unique players that makes the other guys around him better and we were very happy to have him back.”
 
(On defensive lineman William Gholston’s success the last two weeks)
“The last three weeks actually. I think we said in one of these meetings that Will all of a sudden when Gerald and [defensive end Robert] Ayers were out, he said, ‘Hey, I’m the elder statesman here.’ He’s put together three really good games in a row. He’s playing so hard. Will’s big, he’s strong, he’s long and he’s playing really hard right now. Those are his best assets, he’s relentless in his effort, he’s got really good stamina, he’s versatile, he moved around, he can play both sides, he can play inside. But the main thing is just how hard he’s playing.”
 
(On defensive end Noah Spence)
“Noah played 47 snaps, got a sack there at the end. I would still say Noah – we’re happy with him and he entered the season as kind of a specialist, more of a pass rush specialist, but he’s having to play more [as an] every down defensive end because of our injuries. I think he’d still fit in the ‘learning’ category. He still makes some mistakes that a young player is apt to make, but he likes to play ball and he gives really good effort. And as long as he keeps learning and keeps improving, the future’s bright for him.”
 
(On how backup running backs Antone Smith and Peyton Barber allowed starter Jacquizz Rodgers to keep ‘fresh legs’)
“Yeah, I think [Running Backs Coach] Tim Spencer did a really good job of subbing our backs yesterday. We had some certain special plays tagged for Antone, just because he hadn’t been there quite long enough. And then we just went intermittently in some series – Tim was subbing Peyton in there. It’s like anything else though, when those other guys go in there, they have to be productive. If they’re not productive, then shoot, as a play caller I’m going to be saying, ‘We’ve got to get ‘Quizz’ back in there.’ But I think that was important and it was real gratifying to see Peyton get that touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Antone got the big play on the screen and I called him an old man – I think the Antone I remember would’ve scored on that play, but it was still fun to watch.”
 
(On if the team is still looking for a short-yardage running back, after the team couldn’t convert a fourth-and-short against San Francisco)
“No, that had nothing to do with the back, we’ve got to block that play better. You can’t just go out and say, ‘We’re looking for a short-yardage guy, a fast guy,’ that’s not how it works. At this point in the season, you’re looking for healthy guys that know what they’re doing.”
 
(On if wide receiver Russell Shapard’s increased targets were planned going into the game)
“We had plays – we were going to absorb the Vincent [Jackson injury] – we had plays tagged. We were working it out with four guys and the reps bear that out. I think Cecil Shorts had 30 reps and Shep was in the twenties and Adam was in the twenties and Freddie [Martino] was like, 17. Now as far as where the ball goes, it just worked out where Freddie didn’t get targeted and Cecil didn’t get targeted and Adam and Shep did. Now Shep, he made some big plays. The biggest play he made – he had three explosives – but the play of the day for him was that third-and-five right before the half when we’d ran it on the first couple downs and then we just ran that little in-route and the guy was all over him and he made a great catch. And then we went in the two-minute [offense], hit him again on the next play and then eventually he scored the touchdown. But his biggest catch was a six-yard gain.”
 
(On how the team decides whether or not to bring kickoffs out of the end zone)
“Well most of the league is being pretty conservative. I think the number one team in kickoff returns last year got it to the 25-yard line. Well, they’re giving you the ball on the 25-yard line. So in our opinion, you’re crazy not to take [a touchback]. I think the teams that are bringing it out are teams that have veteran returns guys that have proven themselves in this league. And we have no problem with [cornerback] Ryan [Smith] – or Adam if he’s back there – but we have no problem with our return guys. Ryan, on the first one he brought out, I don’t think he fully committed to it. I think he hesitated a little bit and if you hesitate on that play, it’s not going to work out. And then after the penalty, when they ran that mortar kick with kicking off from the 50, I think Ryan just kind of lost track of where he was. It was close, ‘Am I in the end zone, not in the end zone?’ If you’re unsure, you’ve got to bring it out. And we didn’t block those as well as we can. That’s what thing when we do bring the ball out, we have to improve. We’ve been doing okay, but yesterday we took a little step back there.”
 
(On if he talked to Humphries about his two dropped punts against San Francisco)
“I have and I actually talked to him before the game because it was really bright out there before the game and I went right to Adam and asked him if the sun was going to be an issue. Sometimes based on how the sun’s going to change in the game, you might choose to kick a different direction to start the game and he didn’t think there was a problem. Just as you mentioned, I think that was very uncharacteristic of Adam, to put the ball on the ground, so I think he just maybe took his eye off the one and the on the other one I think he really lost track of where he was. Normally you put your heels on the 10, you don’t back up – he backed up pretty much to the one-yard line there. We were very fortunate, after he dropped it and picked it up we actually got a good return out of it, but probably should’ve let that one go.”
 
(On who received game balls against San Francisco)
“We were just finishing that up when I came down, so that’s going to have to wait a little bit. I know some of them, but I don’t know all of them, so I don’t want to cheat anybody.”
 
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