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12 December 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day-After-Game Media Availability (12/12/16)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Tampa Bay has recorded a takeaway on their opponents’ final possession in each of the past four games. Per Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first team to do so in at least four consecutive games since the 2003 New England Patriots.
 
Below is the transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s media availability earlier.
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On having running back Charles Sims back and the passing-catching ability that he brings)
“Yeah, I think all of our backs are good receivers, but Charles just, he adds an element of – he’s got a really good feel in pass protection and he knows where to fit in the routes. Good timing on his check-downs, that showed up a couple times yesterday. Good in the screen game, we were close to really popping one of those screens to him, probably should’ve screened a little bit more yesterday. It’s just good to be getting closer to full firepower.”
 
(On how impressed he was been with the defense over the last five weeks)
“Well, I’ve been real impressed, real impressed. The way they’re taking the ball away – we go from minus-nine after Week Four with zero takeaways to now tied for first in the league. So, considering we didn’t get any in the first four games, that’s really impressive and these guys are playing with tremendous confidence, they’re playing fast, they’re being aggressive, they believe in each other. And then different guys are stepping up, everybody’s getting involved in the act.”
 
(On if backups stepping in for injured starters and contributing, like safety Keith Tandy has done, has become contagious)
“I don’t know if contagious is the right word, I think what Keith did is he did a great job in preparation. Whoever these guys are that step into their roles, if they’re prepared – these are great, world-class players or they wouldn’t be here in the first place. But they have to prepare and sometimes it’s easy for backups – especially guys that haven’t been in much – to think, ‘Well, I’m not going to be playing this week, I don’t have to prepare as hard,’ and that’s just not the case. You’ve got to prepare like you’re playing and Keith’s preparation has definitely paid off the last two weeks.”
 
(On having experienced depth at multiple positions)
“Well I think you have to have a mix, you’ve just got to have a mix in this league and I think we do have a good mix because as you said, you mentioned all those veteran players that have stepped in, we also are starting a rookie cornerback. We started a rookie quarterback last year. At one time last year we had five rookies out there on offense. [Tackle] Caleb Benenoch, a rookie, had to step in and play for a couple games. [Tackle] Leonard Wester, a rookie, got his first taste of action yesterday. So, there’s been a mix across the board. We’re trying to get [cornerback] Ryan Smith more involved, another rookie, made a huge, huge play on special teams. [Tight end] Alan Cross, another guy we got more involved, I think he got [14] plays on offense, plus a key player on special teams yesterday. So, I just think a mixture is good and I think the other thing is those experienced guys help bring your younger guys along. I know that’s true in the O-line room with ‘Gos’ [Gosder Cherilus] and Evan Smith helping Caleb and Leonard come along. I think it’s probably true in every room. [Linebacker] Daryl Smith’s another one of those veteran guys that probably played his best game yesterday as well.”
 
(On Ryan Smith’s pinned punt on the one-yard line against New Orleans)
“I think the thing that adds a degree to difficulty to it that most people forget about: it would be one thing – you’ve all seen the tight rope of a wide receiver where you have to toe the line and watch the ball, but he also had [cornerback] Josh Robinson jumping in front of him, trying to get the ball. So for him to maintain his concentration, keep his feet behind the line and then lean his body like that and flip it behind his back, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better play than that, that was a beautiful play.”
 
(On special teams playing a factor in the team’s winning streak)
“That was one of the stats that surprised me after the game yesterday, was the time of possession because I felt like we didn’t have the ball at all and then I saw that time of possession. When I looked at the tape today and I looked and saw New Orleans only had six offensive plays in the first quarter, I didn’t realize that we help the ball that long in the first half. And our special teams has been doing such a great job and things have been going our way a lot lately. There in the second quarter where we had three horrible plays right in a row and we just haven’t had that many horrible plays and then we had three of them back-to-back-to-back. The kickoff takes the funny bounce and goes off [wide receiver] Josh [Huff], then we get the safety and then [punter] Bryan Anger – I think I saw the number that he’s punted 58 times this year and I couldn’t think of one time all year – every team I’ve ever been on, you want to dog-cuss the punter at least 20 times and I can’t think of one time all year that I thought Bryan hit a punt that was a shank. And then he’s got a free punt, no rush and he hit it good, but that wind was really pushing everything towards New Orleans’ bench, he just hit it too far. That ended up being a 25-yard penalty because it brings it back to the 50. So those three plays right in a row, you’re just going, ‘Wow.’ That really kind of put a damper on, for the offense and for the special teams, what we had done well in the first half. Now defensively, they went right back out there and that’s just like a sudden change situation, that’s just like throwing an interception. At the 50-yard line, they went out there and played like champs.”
 
(On if yesterday’s win showed the resiliency in the team)
“Well I think the last two games, San Diego and New Orleans, resiliency has been a key word and complementary football has been something we’re building on. Now, I’d sure like to see the offense get more involved on the complements. I don’t think the offense is doing a good enough job and that starts with me, obviously. But we’re finding ways and I told the team Saturday night that somehow, someway we needed to get one more point than the Saints. And I said it could be 55-54 or it could be 7-6. In my mind right then, I was thinking it would be closer to 55-54, but we’ll take it anyway that we can get it. Shouldn’t ever apologize.”
 
(On why the offense isn’t having success in the red zone)
“Well it’s a variety of things, it’s never one thing. On the very last time down there, third-and-seven on the seven, we couldn’t have had a better thing up. It’s the same exact thing we played at Philly last year to [wide receiver] Russell Shepard, it was wide open and we just missed it. That puts the game away, that makes it a nine-point game if we make the extra point. That’s just one example, there’s something different on every one of them. Sometimes it might be the play call, it might be execution, it might be a penalty, a combination of all those things. Trust me, we’re working hard on it over on that side of the building as we speak and I guess the thing that – it’s very concerning, but at the same time, I know how these guys can play on offense and I know when we get there, at least these last two games, they really didn’t need to be this close if we’re playing better on offense. But, we didn’t and we still won. So, we can’t forget, the object of the game is to win and now we’re wanting to win prefect. Some of us are.”
 
(On if personnel has anything to do with the offense’s struggles)
“No, nope, nope, nope, no. I know what you’re talking about and I’m saying no. It’s not personnel. Look, we can cry about personnel all we want, but no one cares. Everyone has issues. The guys that are out there playing are good enough to be here and they’re good enough to be playing and it’s our job to find a way to make it go. It’s just the end of that story, there’s no use for crying about it, it’s not going to change.”
 
(On what kind of challenges Dallas presents)
“Well, they’re a really good football team and 11 straight wins until last night, the Giants have solved it both times. Just a team that’s loaded on offense. They’ve got big-time players at every position. They’ve got at least three Pro Bowl offensive linemen, an elite left tackle, a great, explosive wide receiver, one of the best tight ends of all time, two rookies that everybody’s arguing who’s the Rookie of the Year and who’s the MVP of the league, between those two guys. [Quarterback Dak] Prescott had only thrown two interceptions going into last night, threw two more last night, but that’s still an awesome season. A team that is riding high and as much as we’ve controlled the ball this year and I read some stat, the last five games that we’ve got like 50 minutes more of time of possession than our opponents. Actually, Dallas is number one in the league in time of possession, so their offense really controls the ball.”
 
(On how much they can learn from what the Giants did last night in beating Dallas)
“That’s hard to say because we’re just getting into our study right now, we’re working on it as we speak. It’s just too early to say that. I’ve watched the Giant game form last night, I haven’t watched the first Giants game yet to see how that unfolded. At this time of year, you go back and you’re looking at what everybody did and you’re trying to take things that are similar that are successful and then not do so many of the things that you see you feel like they’re good at.”
 
(On how much the team enjoys the added attention they’ve been receiving, including playing on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys next week)
“Well, I think when you start having success, the way you know is you start getting your games flexed and we just found out that the next week got flexed, the Christmas Eve game. So, we’re flexed here three weeks in a row, so that means somebody’s noticing. I think the fun part comes when you get closer to the game. But right now at this part of the week, it’s the work part. The preparation is the hard part and the preparation is what can’t change. Monday and Tuesday for the coaches, some of the players, the quarterbacks and some of those guys get going, then Wednesday and Thursday are just overload, get the game plan in days, Friday and Saturday kind of polish it up. Now, similar to when we went to Carolina earlier this year to play Monday Night Football, once you get there – I think we get [to Dallas] Saturday, at four or five o’clock in the afternoon, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and I think that’s when you’re sitting around all day and you’re watching football and they’ve advertising the game every two seconds. And it’s a cool place to play, it’s an awesome stadium to play in, I’ve heard them say that the last couple of games there that it’s been a great atmosphere, extremely loud. I’m sure our guys will be fired up to play when the time comes, but we can’t start getting fired up about it on Monday at 4:30.”
 
(On the team keeping their emotions in check during the five-game winning streak)
“Yeah, they’ve done a really nice job. They’re saying and doing all the right things. And I hoped those guys all enjoyed the win last night and are enjoying their Victory Monday and their scheduled day off on Tuesday. I know we’ve had guys in getting treatment today and working out, getting in the weight room. We’re an 8-5 football team, we have bigger goals than that. And it’s nice, it’s nice. When we were 3-5 I’m sure not many people thought we were going to be 8-5, but we’ve got more to accomplish and you’re not going to accomplish anything by looking backwards.”
 
(On how much of a concern there is with wide receiver Mike Evans not being as big a part of the offense the last two games)
“Yeah, it’s a concern. It’s a concern, but there’s only so much we can do about it. If a defense is going to commit itself to take a guy out, they’re probably going to be able to do it. There’s only so many things you can do to a wide receiver. If it’s a running back, you can turn around and hand it to him and Mike’s not a guy that we throw a lot of screens to, we don’t run reverses with him, he’s not that type of player. But teams are definitely tilting their coverage, they’re getting up and jamming him, they’re rolling the safety that way. There’s still routes that can be successful and if you really look at that game, we had Mike some other times and for one reason or another – like that one in the first quarter on the bench route over in front of their bench, he was wide open on the bench and Jameis got his arm hit right as he threw. On one of our field goal drives in the first half, the safety came up and jumped [tight end] Cam [Brate] and Mike was running a post route in behind. Jameis wasn’t expecting that based on that coverage and he let that ball get away from him a little and if he hits that ball in stride, that’s another big play. There’s another play where we had Mike open and Jameis had to run out of the pocket. So, it just hasn’t come together exactly right and I’ve got to do a better job of getting these guys in position to have a chance to be successful, that’s something I’ve got to do better at.”
 
(On how running back Doug Martin has been running the past few games)
“Hard. He’s been running hard. Those two runs on the goal-line – when I see that stat about two-point-something rushing average or whatever it is, I say, ‘Man, that two-yard run he made in San Diego, I sure like that one,’ and that was a one-yard run I think yesterday and he broke about 10 tackles to get one yard, but it was our only touchdown of the game. Doug’s running hard. We’ve got to give him more. We’ve got to give him more lanes. He was running into some rough looks, some unblocked guys and there’s nothing wrong with Doug Martin. People are complaining about Doug Martin, there’s nothing wrong with Doug Martin, we’ve got to play better around him.”
 
(On the offensive line’s performance against New Orleans)
“I think it was fine. There’s 11 guys out there on the other team too, those guys are getting paid and they’re game planning, they’re doing – it’s a two-way street. We have to do better on offense and I guess you can look at it one of two ways: you can say we’re not playing up to the standards that I have for our offense, we’re not playing up to those standards and we’re still winning. So I look at it as, when our offense does start playing up to those standard and if our defense continues to play they way they are, the special teams continues to play they are, we’re going to be a hard team to beat.”
 
(On if there is any reason to think injured players, wide receiver Adam Humphries, right tackle Demar Dotson, safety Chris Conte and tight end Luke Stocker, will be ready to play next week)
“Well we’ve got two in the concussion protocol [Humphries and Dotson], so that’s the end of that story, that’s all that I can say about that. And then the other two [Conte and Stocker] are being evaluated and we’ll see how they do on Wednesday.”
 
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