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18 August 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day-After-Game Media Availability (8/18/17)

Below is a transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s earlier media availability:
(On tackle Demar Dotson's injury)
"Okay, I'm going to stop putting out daily injury reports. We don't have to put injury reports out. Dot has a groin [injury]. I mean, you guys ask me and I tell you more than I need to and I'm not doing my team any favors by going over my injuries every day. It's knowledge that Dot has a groin [injury], so he's getting an MRI tomorrow. But I'm not going to go over every single injury that we have until we have to start putting injuries out. Don't take it personal – that's my fault, not yours."
(On tackle Caleb Benenoch)
"He's doing a nice job in the run game. He's a little bit inconsistent in his pass-pro right now but we're really happy with how he's progressing in the run game."
(On offensive line depth)
"I think we have pretty good depth, first through third-team, at the inside spots. We obviously don't have quite the depth at tackle that we do at guard and center. We played overall more physical and we opened more holes than we did against Cincinnati. Our type of offense always does better when we can run the ball and then play-action off that and we were able to do that last night. When we can get Doug [Martin] a chance to get started, I think Doug showed that the things that we've been seeing in practice, his quickness, is there and that always starts with the offensive line. We didn't run it as well as we would have liked to in the two days that we practiced against the Jags, but those are in drills. In a 9-on-7 drill they have their two safeties down there so it's really seven on nine, they've got us out-numbered. When you have a real game you can spread them out a little bit more. One of the things as you all know that we need to improve over last season is we've got to run the football better. We've got to do better. Our goal is to get either 125 yards in a game or average four-and-a-half per carry and we got that goal last night."
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston had good protection Thursday night)
"At times, yeah, at times. At times he did. Again, going back to the run game, when you're staying ahead of the chains and they have to defend both run and pass that helps your protection. You're not in third-and-long all the time."
(On if running back Doug Martin has done enough to secure the starting job after his suspension)
"Again, we've been over this several times. We're talking about a starting job after three weeks of the season. That's impossible to say for any player because we don't have a crystal ball as to what's going to happen. I've always thought Doug was a starting running back in the NFL, but Doug has a three-game suspension coming up, so we're going to be playing the first three games without him and we'll see what happens after that. But it's still premature to talk about that."
(On if he was pleased with the play of young running backs Peyton Barber and Jeremy McNichols)
"Yeah, Peyton especially so. That was one thing that's great about preseason. There's some things you don't like about preseason, but one of [the good ones] is, those two running backs that you just mentioned, they needed to get some drives like that where you can just give them the ball a few times. And I thought Peyton did an outstanding job and that's how he's looked at practice, his quickness and his power. As I've said many times, he's one of the most improved guys on our team from where he started a year ago to where he is now. I think in McNichols' instance, he's a lot like Peyton was a year ago. He's a little indecisive, he's still feeling his way. He's improving and we like a lot of things about him, but he's just a little tentative out there and that just comes with reps."
(On Ali Marpet's first NFL game playing center)
"At the point of attack he did a really nice job and we're very happy with him. He saw the defense, he made the calls. He did what we asked him to do. He had a couple minor mistakes that were just inexperience things at that position on some things that we tried to do on third down, but easily fixable. We feel good about that."
(On if the potential fill-in at right tackle would be Benenoch or starting guard Kevin Pamphile)
"Both of those, both of those things would be under consideration. Right now we've got 15 O-Linemen [active on game day]; September 10th we're going to have seven. So you have to have both those plans up."
(On what the team would do at left guard if Pamphile moved to tackle)
"Evan Smith would be the next guy in there right now. That's where having those veterans like Evan and Joe [Hawley], we've got some flexibility there. Evan can play three positions. Joe could get us out of a game at guard, but primarily at center. Not what we're looking to do, but there's always the option of one of those two back at center and Ali back at guard. Evan Smith has had a really nice camp. He's played more guard than center in this training camp even though he's a center by trade and he's done a nice job the whole camp. That would probably be the first move right now – if we had to move Kevin out to tackle then Evan Smith would go at left guard."
(On if getting a punt-situation on the Buccaneers’ side of the field helps him as a coach with execution)
“Yeah, it really does. It’s good work to get it on film. We practice all of that stuff in practice and I think sometimes the players seem to be going, ‘Eh, what are we practicing all this stuff for? It doesn’t really come up.’ So we’ve done all that stuff in practice and when you actually run it full speed and there’s not a quick whistle, you learn stuff from it and how important it is – not only the taking of the safety, but the punt-after-safety, the next play and covering it. We had a chance to pin them deep, the guy reversed field. I mean that could’ve turned into a big play. Our receiver made a nice play to save the day on a tackle there, but crazy stuff happens at the end of games. You’ve got to be ready for those situations. Sometimes practice isn’t as good as preseason games.”
(On what he is looking to see in the third preseason game)
“Typically, the third preseason game is when your starters are going to play the most, so you’re still building your stamina – you’re still building your conditioning. If you’re a starting player – an offensive lineman for example – they’re going to play 64 plays on September 10. I think our startling line played 44 plays last night and because we did control the ball in the first half, you could see that those guys – it was hot, it was humid – and those guys got winded. Well, it’s going to be hot and humid whether we played here September 10, or in Miami, it’s going to be hot. So that’s the preseason that you gradually build your play count up. Guys don’t come in on July 27 in perfect game shape, so they have to build toward that.”
(On the competition at defensive tackle next to Gerald McCoy)
“Well it’s going to be a rotation no matter who’s out there on the first play – there’s going to be a rotation at defensive tackle. We improved our depth at defensive tackle. Chris Baker hasn’t practiced as much as maybe we would’ve liked because of injuries – because he is nursing a couple of things that have lingered clear back from OTAs – and Clinton McDonald has had a very nice camp. He’s as healthy as he has been in a while and extremely motivated. It’s a good problem to have and they’re all going to play. Sealver Siliga played good last night as well. And of course, we have Stevie [Tu’ikolovatu] that we drafted, so there’s good depth there. There continues to be good competition and the whole starter thing will work itself out.”
(On the play of cornerback Ryan Smith)
“Improved. He didn’t play quite as many plays. He played 51 the week before. He was in the high 30s or 40 this time. He had more production. I thought except for one or two plays, he looked more comfortable. There [were] a couple plays that I thought, a little bit, he got out of position. He made a couple nice plays on special teams as well. A young player – whether it’s a corner or anyone else – those play counts for those kinds of guys are very important – the game-speed stuff. He was better than he was last week and I would expect that he would be a little bit better this week.”
(On if linebacker Riley Bullough showed up well on tape)
“Yeah, he did. He had a couple of real nice plays. He had a really nice play on an outside zone. That’s how he has been in practice so it really wasn’t surprising. Our depth – we talked about this last night – Kendell Beckwith continues to play well, Adarius Glanton made a couple big plays last night, so that’s also a good thing.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s improvement)
“Well I think Jameis, one of his gifts, I think he always sees the field pretty good -- sometimes too good. I think Jameis threw 29 passes. He made 27 pretty good decisions, one not-so-good and one terrible decision. You’re always chasing perfection at that position and he had a good night. He had a couple of balls dropped that would’ve gotten his numbers higher. He moved the team. As a team – it’s not all just Jameis – we still need to finish better in the red zone. That’s been a pretty consistent issue here that we need to get solved. I think Jameis -- they were taking deep drops, they were playing zone defense – I think he had five check-downs in the first half, so that’s a good sign. We’ve been preaching patience to him and he started off that way.”
(On if Winston is doing a better job of taking what the defense gives him)
“Yeah, he did last night. He had one ball that we thought he forced in the second quarter – that was the other bad decision that he made – it was over on our side. Yeah, the one he tried to throw over to Godwin on our sideline.”
(On if Winston’s accuracy is noticeably improved this season)
“Well, the percentages would say that. The numbers we keep in practice are up about that same percent – about 10 percent higher than he was in training camp last year. There’s a big enough body of throws in there that if you were a stat guy, you could probably say that.”
(On if Winston reacts poorly to Koetter’s criticism)
“No. Jameis is extremely coachable. Jameis wants to be great so he knows he is going to hear about it. He owns it. That’s one of our things that is on our expectation list. In the heat of the moment when those plays are going on, Jameis feels like he can save the day, that he can turn it into a big play – and he does that sometimes. Then there are times like last night when he makes it worse. That’s just a hard lesson to learn because he has done it successfully before. But, he never takes it personally. Jameis is as coachable a guy as I’ve ever been around.”
(On if it’s a blessing for Winston to have that acceptance of criticism for him as a coach)
“Well, coaching is coaching and playing is playing, so that part doesn’t matter. I mean, I prefer it that way, but whether it’s that way or not, you’re still going to coach them.”
(On the depth at defensive end)
“I think there is some good competition in there. You’ve got [DaVonte] Lambert in there, you’ve got George Johnson in there, you’ve got Ryan Russell in there and at some point we’d love to get Jacquies Smith in there. Now that is competition there.”
(On the kicking situation and how does he balance stability at the position while also ensuring that they avoid the inconsistency that the team dealt with last year)
“You can’t ensure it. There’s no way to ensure it. No matter who your kicker is, you can’t ensure it. By the way before I forget, I’ve got some great video I need to leak of one of the ‘Hard Knocks’ guys who thought he was going to be the kicker – a barefoot kicker. I was watching him and videoing him on my phone out of my office and I’ve got to get that leaked to the media. Remind me about that.”
(On if kicker Nick Folk’s blocked PAT attempt was low)
“It was low. There wasn’t really a ton of penetration. Calais Campbell has a real knack – I don’t know the exact numbers – but he’s got a lot of [blocked] kicks. He got his hand in there and it was a little bit of a low kick and he got it.”
(On if that’s to the fault of kicker Nick Folk)
“Yeah – it was too low.”
(On if Winston needs to be more cognizant of taking big hits)
“Yep. We’ve talked to Jameis about that. Again, the competitive side at 23 years old – that’s one thing. As far as the turnovers – Jameis hears it. As far as the not taking hits, Jameis doesn’t hear it. A few years from now I think he will start to hear it, but right now he isn’t hearing that as much. Same as the turnovers, he makes some really good plays when he steps up in there like that and then there’s sometimes you’re holding your breath a little bit. But Jameis, throughout his career, has been extremely durable.”
(On if the offensive line protected Winston well versus Jacksonville)
“Yeah, they did. They sure did.”
(On whether linebacker Kendell Beckwith can earn more time on the field than he’s getting right now by being more versatile)
“Well, we’ve had this conversation on the other side of the ball – you can’t have enough good players. The more guys [that] show what they can do, then the more it’s up to the coaching staff to figure out ways to get your best players out on the field. I can assure you Smitty [defensive coordinator Mike Smith] and company are hard at work at that as we speak.”

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