HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On if anything from Saturday's game looked different upon tape review)
"Differently… let me think about that one for a minute. Probably not a lot differently. It's never as good or as bad as you think. I'd say it's not as bad as I thought it was at the time, but I'm not by any means saying it was good, either."
(On his assessment of quarterback Jameis Winston throughout the preseason)
"I think Jameis has done fine, minus a couple plays, but you could say that for the best of the best. You can say that for every player out there. I think Jameis has worked hard on the things that we wanted him to improve on. I think his accuracy has been better – throw the games in with the practices. We didn't really throw any deep balls with him last night but, yeah, I think Jameis is where he needs to be. It's time for him to play a real game."
(On Winston's interception)
"Yeah, Cam [Brate] got held a little bit. That particular, the way that shook out they're never going to call that. He did get held and Jameis just put it too far out in front of him. That's just plain and simple. We've scored on that play, a play like that, multiple times and Jameis, his eyes lit up. He thought he had Cam on the backside hash there and just threw it a little too far out in front."
(On the Buccaneers' kicking game)
"Both our kicker and our punter had really good nights. Special teams in general was very solid other than the one penalty that knocked out a big return for us, an explosive return. Part of winning is field position. It's one of the biggest things; it's not talked about very much. Bryan [Anger] – had it in my mind that we were going to go for that one fourth down around the 40-something-yard line. I changed my mind after I saw what defense they were in, went to the punt and he pins them down at the one-yard line. Bryan is such a weapon. Our gunners continue to do a good job. That was Justin Evans on that one, that was a nice play by him. I think our kicking game is in good hands going into the season."
(On if Justin Evans will be a gunner)
"Well, he'll be out there on that punt team. He can play multiple positions on it. He had to move out – he played 'PP' [personal protector] some of the earlier times in the preseason. We needed him at gunner last night because we had a couple injuries at gunner, but he can play multiple spots."
(On what the Buccaneers will get from their rookies)
"[Chris] Godwin did a nice job last night. If you're figuring it that way, he's our four and he needed to play like a one last night, and he did. He did a nice job. He had a couple explosives, he blocked well – that's the nice thing about Chris is he's versatile, he can do a lot of different things. I think he still needs to continue to build his stamina for playing hard over 64 plays, but we probably won't ask him to play 64 plays if we're healthy. O.J. [Howard], solid again, a couple blocking errors, but did what he was asked to do. [Kendell] Beckwith continues to improve – missed a couple tackles last night, didn't bring his feet with him, but he's going to help us. He's going to give us depth at linebacker and be good long-term. Justin Evans, it's unfortunate that he got the two penalties there in the last drive. He's trying to play hard and play fast and it's just unfortunate. He wasn't trying to do it. Aggressive penalties – that's no excuse but…"
(On if the penalties on Evans were for targeting)
"Helmet-to-helmet, defenseless player on both of them. The first one definitely was. The second one, the ref said what he said and that's what we had to live with."
(On if rookie running Jeremy McNichols is a little behind)
"He's doing fine on special teams. He's just making too many mistakes on offense. He had a protection error that led to a sack so I took him out at that point. That was my decision. He's going to play a lot on Thursday night and he's going to get one final chance to show what he can do."
(On if McNichols' roster spot is in danger)
"Well, there's multiple roster spots [unsettled] based on your needs at other positions. There's spots at different positions, but based on what you need, some of these spots are a little bit interchangeable."
(On the Buccaneers' pass protection)
"We had some individual breakdowns last night. I thought Evan Smith did a really nice job filling in at left guard and has had a real consistent preseason. Leonard Wester got his first start, that was great experience for him. The way it worked out, even though we played into the second half our first line and Jameis, they played the exact same number of plays that they played in one half at Jacksonville, 44 plays. So for Leonard to get 44 with the first group, that's invaluable experience. Ali [Marpet] at center, you can definitely feel how he makes us more solid in the middle. But then, [there's] a learning curve. He had a couple of snaps that were a little bit high, a little tough to handle. And Donovan [Smith] did not play as well as he's capable of. But it's a work in progress."
(On if the running game has been a little inconsistent)
"Sure. Across the board inconsistent on offense, but yeah the running game is just a little too choppy right now. Could be [that] we're rotating a lot of guys in there, but that's not really a good excuse. We're going to have to do better."
(On players with extended injuries; i.e. defensive end Jacquies Smith and linebacker Davonte Bond; and if there is a possibility they will play vs. Washington on Thursday)
“Well, Jacquies [Smith] is still on PUP, so he returned to running on the field at the end of last week. Then [Devante] Bond – when he got hurt at the end of the Cincinnati game – he had an injury that we said at that time was going to keep him out for a few weeks. Once you have an injury, now you’re in rehab and it’s just your progression of your rehab based on how-many-week injury and hopefully it goes according to what they tell us. Every team has that and there are teams that have it worse than us.”
(On if there are any players aside from quarterback Ryan Griffin and defensive lineman Davonte Lambert who will not be available for the first regular season game in Miami)
“Yeah, there [are] some possibilities there.”
(On the health status of wide receiver Adam Humphries after he left the game vs. Cleveland early with a hip injury)
“Yeah, I think so. I think Adam is going to be alright.”
(On if he feels confident that his defensive linemen can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks)
“Well, any team that can get pressure with a four-man rush is ahead of the game. I wouldn’t say that we’ve wowed anybody in that area in preseason. Some of that is timing – just like the offensive lineman working side-by-side in our games –the guys they work with. We haven’t been where we probably would like to be, but we did a good job in Jacksonville last week of getting pressure – not necessarily getting home. But, last night was not as good.”
(On if there is less of a need to look elsewhere for players to fill the roster this season following cuts than there was at this point last season)
“I think every team is probably on the same boat on that – that some positions you feel really good about it and other positions you’re looking. There is usually not going to be a whole lot of answers out there. I mean, there’s going to be some guys that might be able to help you a little bit, but it’s luck of the draw and you don’t always have control over it, so you better be planning on going with what you have. If there’s something at a position that Jason [Licht] and his guys feel can help us then I’m sure they would do it.”
(On if he breathes a sigh of relief after kicker Nick Folk made all of his field goals against Cleveland)
“You expect him to make it. That’s what NFL kickers do and Nick did it. That’s what he’s supposed to do. We talk to guys about it all the time – make the plays that you’re supposed to make. When you do that, our team will be fine most of the time. Nick did a good job last night. He’s been solid this whole preseason – maybe minus one or two days – and I would say that is par for most players.”
(On how comfortable cornerback Ryan Smith looked in the third preseason game)
“I think Ryan, he needs to play, the experience is great. The first half on some of those third downs they were definitely going at him and he just needs a little bit more awareness of where the chains are. He just played a little too far off. It got better as the game went on. I think he led us in tackles. You can see he’s got speed to get to the ball, he will make plays, he almost had a beautiful interception down there in the red zone – I just think inexperience is the main thing and he just needs to keep playing.”
(On if Ryan Smith played tentative last night)
“Again, I would just say his third-down awareness -- as far as what they need for a first down – may be a little bit too far off.”
(On the challenge the team faces trying to balance starters getting reps in practice, game-planning for the game on Thursday and preparing for Miami)
“Yeah, this week is the strangest week of the year because your players fall into three categories: Guys that are injured and can’t play or practice – or maybe they can only practice a little bit, they might be restricted a little bit in practice. Then you have guys that are going to practice for a couple days and then they’re going to have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off and come back to practice on Monday. Then you have another portion of your team that is fighting for spots. I mean, they really have to prove themselves fighting for these last few roster spots, 10 practice-squad spots, plus showing it to other teams. It’s difficult because for your starters that are building towards Miami, you have two good days of work you’d like to get in, but at the same time you’re going to play a real preseason game on Thursday night. It’s the weirdest week of the year and, obviously, the closer you get to the regular season – I mean, you never want to see anyone get hurt – but when those guys are out there playing full speed injuries are going to occur.”
(On if there are concerns regarding the players with family in the Houston area)
“Well, the players are off today so I really haven’t seen any of the players. I have a good friend of my own that lives in Houston – he sent me a video from his house – and they definitely have a lot of water there and obviously we have concern for that. We know we are at risk for that type of thing in our city as well and how scary it can be.”
(On how beneficial it was for Winston to play without having wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson in last night’s game)
“I don’t think that was necessarily beneficial for Jameis. Had that not been a preseason game and we had those guys out – we would’ve done some things differently than we did, but it was a preseason game. I talked to Jameis before the game about how I thought he should look at it. You know, it’s practice. You mentioned beneficial for Jameis – I thought it was beneficial for Chris [Godwin] to get to play with him. I think it was beneficial for Bernard Reedy. I think it was beneficial for Donteea Dye to get to play with Jameis because if those other guys weren’t hurt, they wouldn’t get to play with him.”