HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On his impressions of Friday's game after reviewing the tape)
"After taking a look at everything – three penalties in the game, got to be real happy about that, first time we've had a clean game like that since I've been here. Special teams – two explosive punt returns, one for a touchdown; 100 percent [on] field goals, PATs, 100 percent [on] kickoffs; 44-yard net punt. All great. Kickoff return, we've got to do better on that. We're better, we're better, we just weren't as sharp as we were before. Defense – allowed 13 points. You'd take that every week. Eight sacks, you'd love that. Thirty-five percent on third downs, three-and-a-half yards per rush, all really good. What we didn't do on defense, we've got to take the ball away. No takeaways – we were actually minus-one for the game which, for a game like that, you wouldn't have guessed that. Offensively, fast start, first four possessions we scored. We need to make all four touchdowns, but still, that's a great start. Ten explosive plays – our goal for the game is eight and we had 10 in the first half. We had zero in the second half. No sacks [allowed]. We've got to do better on third downs and, as I said, we have to finish those red zone drives with touchdowns. That's kind of the wrap-up."
(On using a lot of no-huddle on offense)
"Here's the thing with no-huddle: To make your no-huddle work, you can't go three-and-out. You've got to get that first first down and you've got to get rolling. Usually, if you can get that first first down going, you can usually move it a little bit. As a I said last night, the players like it because there's less thinking. They get up there and they play. It definitely has an effect on the defense. But we've all seen no-huddle – if you're going no-huddle and you're going three-and-out, your defense is right back out there on the field. Last night it was effective and we stayed in it the whole first half. It doesn't always go that way and we have a full bevy of other game-plan stuff that you'd like to get to. You game-plan it all week. Last night was just one of those unusual nights where we came out smoking in the no-huddle and we stayed with it."
(On how deep into a game the Bucs could stay in no-huddle)
"We could go the whole game, no problem. We could go the whole game."
(On if the lack of offense in the second half limited his chance to evaluate some players)
"Really, the only thing is, we made a choice – we can go no-huddle in any personnel group – we made a choice to go in 11, in three wide receivers, so it might have limited our two-tight end, our multiple-tight end stuff. We didn't do as much of that, especially with the first group. We knew we were going to hold Luke [Stocker] out last night as a precaution, so our tight ends probably in general suffered from that the most. Our wide receivers benefited the most from when we go that much three-wide. But the name of the game is scoring points and we did okay on that."
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston is handling having “more on his plate')
"I've said many times, I think there's a little bit of a misnomer out there that there's not a lot on Jameis' plate, or that it wasn't last year. If you're playing quarterback in the NFL, there's a lot on your plate. We had all that stuff before, but Jameis' ability to recognize it – the clock's ticking down – and get us into a different play, and then for all 11 guys to execute that play, that's the trick. Jameis had two beautiful ones last night. The one to Mike [Evans], that was a check. We had a run play on, they actually came out in 3-4 and we were expecting nickel. They came out in 3-4, he went right to the check and got him. And then there was another one later when they showed a blitz, we went six-man protection, they showed a blitz that overloads six-man protection, a blitz they got us on in practice the other day, and Jameis got us right to the right thing, hit Mike for a first down. Those are two examples of him doing a great job. I wouldn't necessarily say that those things weren't on his plate last year; they just may or may not have not presented themselves."
(On not giving up a sack even though the offensive line was a bit short-handed)
"First, on the zero sacks, that's a team thing and the quarterbacks did a good job of getting the ball out. Jameis took a couple hits, Mike [Glennon] took a couple hits. And then second, hats off to George [Warhop] and Butch [Barry], our O-Line coaches, for getting those guys ready. And for those guys – Josh Allen, that was huge what Josh Allen did last night. Josh steps up, plays 40 plays at left guard. The versatility – we talked about this last night – of Evan Smith, who's in a battle for the starting center job, the team needed him to kick over and play right guard because Ali [Marpet] was out. And then Joe [Hawley] was down for a play, he moves over to center, he goes back to right guard. Dot [Demar Dotson] was having a good game. Donovan [Smith] had his best game from a technique standpoint. We made the decision we were going to start those guys, bring them out again in the third quarter, but because of the pace of the first half and the fact that we ran 40 plays. We just thought enough was enough. We were wearing down a little bit and the game was pretty much under control. The third quarter was disappointing, and it was some guys that were new, but what hurt us – when you have a fairly clean game, penalty-wise, and then we go out there that first play, we get a nine-yard run and we get a holding call, then when you've had a clean game those penalties jump out at you like, 'Man, that just kills you.' Then we had a fumble on the next series, which was a guy trying to do too much. I was kind of disappointed with the second group that went out there, even though some of those guys really are third group. But at the same time, they did answer the bell. They were competing hard, I appreciate that, but I think our second group needs to play a little better."
(On receivers adjusting to make big plays with Jameis Winston)
"[Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach] Todd Monken tells the offense all the time that our No. 1 pass play – if you think about it, you've got all these concepts – our number-one pass play is 'scramble.' He did a study and there were, like, 90 of them, 70 of them…I can't remember the number. It was 70 or 90 last year. Just look at that game – Jameis moved around a lot. On the one down our sideline to Vincent Jackson, we were actually working a double-move and we were trying to get Mike on a deep post going back to the other corner, but Vince was one-on-one as well. Jameis had all day to throw – that was probably the best pass-protection of the night. I mean, he was back there forever. The guy had Vince pretty well-covered and we've been harping on Jameis to give those guys a chance. It was kind of a back-shoulder [throw], but it was a deep back-shoulder and it worked out well. The touchdown to Mike, we actually had a good play on and they were getting ready to zero-blitz us, again a blitz they had used against us during the week. We saw it coming, they knew we saw it and they were trying to check out of the zero blitz and go into a Cover Two look. The corner played Cover Two, the safety didn't, and that's why you saw the corner yelling at his buddy afterwards. Mike converted the route and Jameis threw that to a great spot. Jameis took a pretty good shot on that play."
(On wide receiver Mike Evans and what Evans wants to achieve this season)
“Mike wants to be great. The numbers are the numbers and I think whatever [they are] – two or three guys in NFL history have had 1,000 yards in their first two years. But Mike knows he left plenty on the table and Mike knows how talented he is. He also knows we missed him some times. It’s our jobs as coaches – you’ve got these special talents at different positions, they don’t all come in the same box – so we’ve got to figure out how to best use Mike, Vincent, everybody else, and we’ve got to get Jameis and Mike on the same page on how best. How did Mike get used in college? Shoot, Johnny Manziel went back there, scrambled around for 10 minutes and threw a jump ball and Mike caught it. That was their offense, and they were great at it, so we have to take advantage of stuff like that.”
(On if he likes it when Evans says “I’ve got to score touchdowns”)
“Heck yeah I like it. All the times we haven’t gotten out to a fast start and Jameis is taking the blame for it. Now, Jameis came out firing last night and was hot. It’s never any one guy’s fault, but of course, I love it when somebody besides me takes the blame.”
(On how encouraged he is by the defense)
“Very much. Our defense, they’ve been doing great. Very excited for not only how hard they’re playing, how much they’re buying into what Smitty’s [defensive coordinator Mike Smith] doing, Smitty blitzed a lot last night, played a lot of man coverage even when he wasn’t blitzing. The players have bought in, I think we’re developing our depth – especially across the front line. I think we’ve got good depth at corner and I think a bunch of those corners showed up last night and made plays at different times. Johnthan Banks made a couple nice plays poking balls out. The thing, we didn’t get our hands on balls but we affected the quarterback and affecting the quarterback in this league is pretty important.”
(On how proud he was that his team adjusted to Cleveland’s 3-4 defense and their multiple looks)
“Yeah, well, I can’t lie about this. Truth be told, the reason we went three-wide, no-huddle was to keep them out of their 3-4 so they were playing nickel most of the time. So they really weren’t in the 3-4 much until the second half and so the game itself was not where we got work against a 3-4; we did get some work against it in practice and that was important to get a 3-4 team in here. We’re going to see a little 3-4 this week from the Redskins as well, so that’ll be good, but as far as last night, until we got to the second half with our two’s, there really wasn’t a lot of 3-4 out there.”
(On protections potentially being an issue against a team that “uses a lot of unique blitzes”)
“Exactly. Every team in the NFL has that, though. Every team has unique blitzes and stuff that’s specific to that coordinator so you’ve got to adjust week to week.”
(On the three positions where he’ll have the most difficult decision to make with roster cuts)
“Well first off, I mentioned last night as well, this is my first time going through this so [General Manager] Jason [Licht], this is Jason’s department. I have some involvement – I’m not really looking forward to that part of this week. I’m anxiously looking forward to the season starting, but the guys we have here, they’ve given us what we’ve asked them to. They’ve worked hard but this is a business so we’re going to have to say goodbye to a few guys this week and by the end of the week, a few more, so that’s not the fun part, by any means. I would really not want to single out [any positions]. I think people can figure out some of the guys that are in, but we’ve still got competition at multiple positions: wide receiver, tight end, running back, offensive line, corner, safety, defensive line, linebacker.”
(On if the Buccaneers’ defensive line pressure last night is a dream scenario)
“Oh, yeah – of course. I mean, of the three preseason games we’ve had, in game one and game three, if you pressure like that every week you’re going to be right there, you’re going to be right where you need to be. Now, for I guess the one reason we know for a fact, Gerald [McCoy] didn’t play in Week Two, but sometimes teams are just better at protecting or maybe they keep more guys in. I mean, we sacked them one out of every five times – that’s a ridiculous ratio. That’s not going to happen very often. If it does, we’re probably going to win.”
(On what it says about defensive coordinator Mike Smith that the defense seems comfortable and ready for the start of the season)
“It says that, I said all along, we’ve got better players on defense than people think we do and we added some really good pieces – not only through free agency but through the draft. We had three really good guys to build around – probably more than three – but three that everybody talks about, we added three really good free agents, and we had some good guys in the draft. Then we brought in Mike Smith who’s been a successful defensive coordinator and a really good staff around him: [defensive line coach] Jay Hayes, [linebackers coach] Mark Duffner, [secondary coach] Jon Hoke, [defensive backs coach] Brett Maxie. You folks do interviews with these players, they’re hungry to do well and they’re buying in. Now, success breeds success so that’s why it’s important that we get out to a fast start.”
(On the upcoming roster decisions and what he’s seen from 2016 draft picks defensive back Ryan Smith, offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, linebacker Devante Bond and tight end Dan Vitale)
“I think if you ask Jason [Licht], and I’m not speaking for him, but I think our philosophy is we’re going to keep the best football players regardless of where they’re drafted. The guys that you’re mentioning, they’re all on different levels. A couple of those guys have been hurt and you have to factor in the needs of your team and also the competition at that position. We’re not disappointed in any of those guys, but there’s competition.”
(On if he’s ready to declare kicker Roberto Aguayo’s “slump” over)
“Haha, well he’s a rookie. I’m sure there’ll be other days where – I mean, I don’t think he’s missed his last kick he’s ever going to miss.”
(On if wide receiver Donteea Dye had been doing a good job this preseason at kick returner)
“Yeah, he was, he was doing well. He was doing a really good job. He kind of made the wrong cut on that one the other night and we didn’t block it as well as we would’ve liked to block it. I was in the meeting today with the special teams and [special teams coordinator] Nate Kaczor and – first of all, our special teams I think I mentioned, overall, our special teams – I know I said how bad they were at Philly – they were spectacular last night. They were special. After they’ve seen themselves do it correctly and what the result is, when they’re not doing it the way he wants them to do it and we’re messing up a return because of that, it’s easy for him to point it out on tape: ‘Look, here’s how we did your techniques the way we were supposed to do them, look what happened. We didn’t do it, we had a couple guys freelance and look what happened. We got stopped on the 24-yard line or the 22, whatever it was.’“