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02 November 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (11/2/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: QB Jameis Winston has thrown for 1,853 yards this season, the most through seven games in team history. He currently ranks seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game (264.7).
 
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
 
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken
Quarterback Jameis Winston
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
 
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
 
(On quarterback Jameis Winston saying he didn’t think the team found its identity yet)
“I wasn’t here for that, so I’m not sure what he meant. I wasn’t here.”
 
(On if he thinks the team has found its identity)
“It’s tough. I mean obviously when you’re 2-5, it’s not the identity you want.”
 
(On if he has seen improvement in Winston)
“Well not last week, but in Buffalo he played one of his best games. You can make those numbers say whatever you want.”
 
(On if he thinks Winston has improved overall this year from last year)
“As a football team, we are not playing good enough. When we play better as a football team across the board then we will get better results.”
 
(On if he thinks Winston is more accurate)
“I do, yes.”
 
(On what he sees outside of statistics that tells him that Winston is a more accurate passer)
“I watch him throw about 200 balls every day.”
 
(On what he believes the identity of the team is)
“Every team has its own identity and it changes from year to year. Right now, our team is not where we want to be so of course everybody is searching for the reasons why. The reasons why that we keep saying every day is that we’re not playing consistent-enough football across the board. When we do play consistent football across the board and we don’t beat ourselves, we will have an excellent chance to win games.”
 
(On if third-down conversion rates become psychological when you’re doing well or you’re struggling)
“I think it can be when you get in a game and it seems like you can’t get off [the field on defense]. I’ve seen games like that before on both sides – both when you’re converting every third down or you’re not. I think that can get in your head a little bit, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the issue here that we are talking about right now.”
 
(On how running back Doug Martin looks now that he is back in game shape)
“He looks fine. Doug had two explosives last week and until we got two scores down in the fourth quarter, we were able to stay pretty balanced run-pass and I thought Doug was doing fine.”
 
(On how he ensures that everyone is focused solely on the game ahead and avoids getting consumed by the big picture state of the team)
“Well that’s what we talk about. You can’t win three games in a row. You’ve got to win one game in a row. We’ve been pounding these guys on focusing on the Saints, playing good football, learning the game plan [and] doing the things that winning teams do. When we do those things, everything else will work out.”
 
(On if he can share any update on the nature of cornerback Brent Grimes’ shoulder injury and when that injury occurred)
“The nature of it, no. It happened in the Buffalo game. I’m not sure exactly when.”
 
(On if it is the same shoulder that he injured earlier in the season)
“It is.”
 
(On the health status of cornerback Robert McClain and defensive back Josh Robinson)
“They were both tested today and they both cleared concussion protocol today.”
 
(On if he has a preference on whether cornerback Vernon Hargreaves plays inside or outside)
“Well we are just trying to get our best 11 guys on the field where we think they have the best chance to help us this week. Obviously, I can’t tell you that because I’d also be telling the Saints that.”
 
(On if the best teams are the ones whose leadership comes from within)
“I think that probably holds true across every sport in every state of the union.”
 
(On if the status of the team is a result of a lack of leadership)
“No. If you’re looking at the leadership of the team – if you’re going to point at that – you need to point that at me. Don’t point that at the players.”
 
(On how tough having a quality backup quarterback makes it to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick on the bench and start Winston)
“Again, those are medical decisions. I’m not losing any sleep about that. I’m not back there saying, ‘Hey, should we sit Jameis down?’ If Jameis was deemed to be in any more danger than a normal game, our medical staff would shut him down. I’m sure our ownership would want him shut down if that was the case. But that’s not the case. Until that point comes, which again I think we are beyond that right now, but until that point comes I would never think about sitting any player down that the medical staff didn’t require it because you only have so many guys and they are being paid to play, so they should play.”
 
(On the success of young quarterbacks in this league)
“Yeah. You look, though, I think you need to be a little bit patient and see if everybody – I’m not talking about anyone in particular – stands the test of time. There was a quarterback in this league not too long ago that was Rookie of the Year and everyone predicted big things and I don’t think he’s in the league. There was another quarterback that took a team to the Super Bowl and I don’t think he’s in the league. We can’t make generalizations. There are a lot of reasons why quarterbacks are good and why they’re not. Most of it is their talent, [but] some of it is system, some of it is the defense they have playing with them, some of it is the players they have playing with them, some of it is just breaks. The best quarterbacks in this league stand the test of time and I’m sure we can all come up with plenty of names.”
 
(On if they would look to activate quarterback Ryan Griffin this week)
“No. I mean, the only way that would happen is if we were under some general concern more than normal that we would need a third quarterback this week, which we aren’t.”
 
(On how Winston has handled this week)
“I think Jameis has been – he is always focused, but I think he’s been focused not only on the game plan but on the things that he has to do specifically within the game plan.”
 
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TODD MONKEN
 
(On if it could help the timing of the offense having quarterback Jameis Winston take all the reps during practice again)
“I think, obviously, when your quarterback is able to go out there with your receivers and again – I think it’s hard for any given player to not practice and expect to perform at a high level, let alone at the highest level [with] what we ask our guys to do against the best in the world. It was good having him out there. I know in the weeks previous he had done a good job of the mental reps and doing the footwork, but there is nothing like throwing.”
 
(On if the lack of practice affected Winston against Carolina)
“[The] bottom line is, no matter who it is, there’s a certain expectation when we go on the field. Whoever takes the field – our expectations, ownerships expectations [and] fans expectations [are] that they give us the best chance to win. That’s plain and simple. When the medical staff clears somebody, they’ve got to be able to go out there and perform and we’ve got to be able to find a way to score points.”
 
(On how much improvement from the offensive line can spark an improved performance overall by the offense)
“Sure. It all fits – everybody doing it better, starting with myself as a coach [and] our coaching staff – we all have to own it. We’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to play better. That’s a fact. Human nature says when you win everybody wants the credit. Human nature says when you lose and you’re not performing – not my fault. That’s just what we want to do. That’s nowhere near what you need to do to get it turned around and get back on the right track. I’ve always believed with the things I controlled if I would’ve coached better, we would’ve given ourselves a better chance to win. I think our staff has approached it that way and hopefully our players are the same way. I thought we had a really good day at practice yesterday. I do think that the O-line – the continuity of it, we’ve had the same guys. Ali [Marpet] every week getting more comfortable at center. Our guys around the quarterback playing better – receiver wise, being able to run the football [and] Jameis [Winston] being able to practice – I think that all fits into it. I do agree that I think that now we just need to be more consistent. That’s obvious.”
 
(On if he feels the players have been accountable)
“I think so. There is nothing that would say that there hasn’t been. That’s been probably the most frustrating thing. We are paid to get our players to perform on Sundays and offensively to score points. The rest of it is just window dressing to make yourself feel better. It just is, plain and simple, the rest of it just makes you feel better. [The] bottom line is we have to score and we have to score touchdowns. We had to do it early in the games to put the defensive coordinator [and] their staff on their heels a little bit in terms of making calls and we dictate to them. We are certainly capable of that. That has been the frustrating thing that we haven’t been able to do that. We’ve got to find a way to do it. That’s just the nature of what we do. It’s been frustrating.”
 
(On if they have tried switching things around to try to get the offense in a rhythm early in the game)
“Well we’ve gone hurry-up and we’ve gone no-huddle, so it’s been something that has kept us from being as efficient as you want to be [and] consistently moving the ball – a play here or there. That can happen in a sport where you count on so many players in an individual play. You can end the game and say, ‘You know what, that individual actually played pretty well, and that individual actually played pretty well and that individual played pretty well, but we all took our turns at bogging it down.’ A throw here, a route here, a missed assignment here – when that happens you’re not nearly as efficient as you want to be and you don’t score nearly as many points. We all have to take ownership in that, starting with us. Coach [Dirk Koetter] already did that. Coach already did that in terms of at the end of the week. We’ve got to find a way to get more out of the players that we have – plain and simple. We have to do that as a coaching staff. That’s been the frustrating thing because we feel like we have the talent to be able to do that. I’ve felt like over the last few weeks, even with Jameis [Winston] being out, that we’ve been really close. We just haven’t done it. I don’t think there is a magic [answer] – if there was, we would be doing it. I’ve been doing this a long time [and] we’ve gone no-huddle. I don’t know if there is a different way you’ve got to practice. We’ve just got to do it better. We’ve got to coach it better. We’ve got to scheme it better. We’ve got to play better.”
 
(On Winston’s accuracy)
“I think so. I think statistically it would show that he is taking another step. I do believe that. It’s hard to say because he has been banged up a little bit and has fought through it. That says a lot about him that his sense of urgency wanting to get on the field for this team – he’s the first guy that will own it, between him and Coach [Dirk Koetter]. That’s the biggest thing. I do think he’s taken a step, but I see that every day in practice. You guys aren’t always out there. I do see those things that he is taking [that step]. But again, the bottom line is we’ve got to find a way to do it better on Sunday. The rest is just talk. The bottom line is we’ve got to score more.”
 
(On if the coaching staff has place an emphasis on keeping Winston in the pocket)
“Some games more than others you have play-actions and you have ‘nakeds’ that get him outside the pocket. Over the last couple of weeks – I don’t want to go back – but the play that put us up against Buffalo was a scramble to Mike [Evans]. Those are going to come at certain times in a game and his ability to make plays once he gets outside the pocket and that’s something we don’t control. We talk about that [it being] the number one play that we run and it it’s not really by design most of the time – it’s who Jameis [Winston] is. It’s his ability to get outside the pocket and get down the field.”
 
(On if Winston still has the freedom to move outside the pocket)
“Oh yeah. It hasn’t been something that we’ve talked to him about, about not putting yourself in a position to make plays once you get outside the pocket. It just didn’t present itself at certain times in the game.”
 
(On his message to receivers about helping their quarterback by making plays, even when the ball is not thrown perfectly)
“I don’t even think you overplay the message part of it. Although, I think that’s a good question. We’re all looking for perfection – a perfect route, a perfect play, a perfect throw – and that’s what I think we should strive for, scoring every time we touch the football. When we don’t, we punt them down deep or we don’t turn it over and we get a field goal out of it. So, we are always looking for perfection. The bottom line is you’re not asking any given player to come up with reasons or excuses why they’re not successful. Most of the great players I’ve been around are honest with themselves. Did you have a chance to catch it? Did you have a chance to get both hands on it? If they did, they’re honest with themselves, ‘Yeah, I should’ve had it.’ Take the second third down of the game last week – we ran a slant. [It was] a little bit low. It could’ve been a better throw – it was a little low. If you ask Mike [Evans], a great player that takes ownership, [he] says, ‘I should’ve caught it.’ If you ask Jameis, ‘I should’ve thrown it better.’ They’re both right. Plain and simple, they are both right. It could’ve been a better throw and we should’ve found a way to come up with it. If you do, you keep the driving going [and] you give yourself a better chance. That’s what you want out of your team. Now, we’ve just got to continue to get better at it. That’s the name of the game – production is the name of the game – find a way to score points [and] find a way to win.”
 
(On if it seems like when adversity hits this team, they look toward Winston to make a play)
“I think just by the position [he plays]. I think there is a lot on the quarterback position as a whole. Not just from a fan base, but from ownership [and] from coaches – we know how important that is. You’re going to have those third down situations. The way you score on offense is either explosive plays, or you’re going to convert on third downs. That’s the only way you’re going to move it, or you get great field position. If your defense is creating turnovers and you’re getting down at that end of the field, or if you’re creating explosives or you’re converting third downs – that’s where you’re going to score. Where does that fall on? [The quarterback]. And the focal point is everybody sees that. Everybody sees your kicker and everybody sees your quarterback. Those are the easiest positions to attack, even though there are other positions where we all know we have to get better at and we have to coach it better. That’s the easiest to attack – play calls [and the] quarterback – those things that you can see. Like you said, sometimes with the penalities – are those hard to overcome? Of course. Are they harder to overcome at times when you’re struggling? Of course. When you’re not, it doesn’t matter. We had a chance. One of our drives last week we had a penalty and we overcame it. All of a sudden, we got another one. That’s part of it though – offense’s rhythm. When things are going well it seems like you find a way to overcome it and when you don’t, you’ve got to find a way as grown men [and] coaches to overcome those things and find a way to score [by] making plays and coaching it better.”
 
(On if Winston has more pressure on him with the way other young quarterbacks like DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz are winning)
“I think that comes with the territory. There is no question. In this business, we are paid to perform. As coaches and players, you’re paid to perform. That can change like that [snaps finger]. It can go from all of the sudden you are the hottest thing and all of the sudden no you’re not. This guy is hot and this guy is not and that coach and this and that – that’s the way it goes. That’s just the business we are in, so I get that. We’re all paid to produce and that’s part of it. Do I think there is? Of course, there is. That can be weekly, that can be monthly, that can be yearly [or] that can be quarter to quarter. You can go from hot to not. That’s part of what we do and how you balance that and understand that that comes with it. That’s just what we do. I don’t know if I can state it any more than that, but you’re exactly right. There is stuff that comes from it. How you handle that as a coach [or] as a player and can continue to block out as much of the noise as you can and focus on the things you control, because it’s week-to-week, day-to-day, month-to-month of who is hot, who is not [and] who is doing well. It just is what it is and it doesn’t take long with personnel to change and who you are playing. It is what it is. What do we control? It’s today. We control Thursday and then we will control Friday. Then we will go and try to put our best foot forward in New Orleans and we will see from there.”
 
(On the way Doug Martin has been playing)
“I think Doug has been fine. I thought he did a better job Sunday of making something out of nothing. I really thought he really put his pads down [and] finished runs. I really thought that was something we needed and I thought he did a really good job of that. I think he took that to heart.”
 
(On if they would’ve liked to establish their running game earlier in the game against Carolina)
“That would have been a hell of a lot better, wouldn’t it? I mean you’re right. Sometimes it works out that way to where, ‘Boy would we have liked some of the completions we got later in the game earlier in the game.’ No doubt. When you’re rolling those things happen early and you’re not getting to him late. When you’re not it feels like, boy, we are struggling early to try and find our way. If we put the plays in the openers, we certainly thought that was the best way to start the game. I promise you, if you ask coach that. You did it that way. I’m not trying to be a strike ball. I’m just saying that it happens that way. Sometimes the plays don’t come exactly when you want in terms of starting the game off because everyone is trying to start fast. There is no question.”
 
(On if there is something that is keeping the offense from being balanced)
“You know, I think we’ve been balanced. Other than when the game is in the balance, that will change. Just like a team that’s winning, you’re going to be skewed the other way in how much you run it. Sometimes that happens with the Patriots. If you watch how the Patriots play, they’re not as balanced, run-pass balanced, until the end of the game when they’re winning and it balances itself out. It’s the reverse of that when you’re not winning. The other thing is balance has been, have we had multiple skill players touch the ball? We have. We’ve utilized our tight ends and our backs and our receivers. I don’t think balance has been the issue. I really don’t. I don’t think the balance is where to attack where we need to get better at. We just need to be more consistent. We just have to be. We’ve got to be able to run the ball better. We have to convert on third downs. We’ve got to be able to get started earlier – all of the obvious things that everybody knows. Now we’ve just got to go do it. That’s a fact. That’s what we’re paid to do.”
 
(On the play of tackle Demar Dotson this season)
“I don’t think it’s any different this year. I think Demar is a good player, that’s why the organization when I first got here signed him back [and] wanted him here. He is a good player, [a] veteran player. I just think that we are playing better together. I think that having J.R. [Sweezy] back as a veteran guy next to him and then moving Ali [Marpet], we are a little more stout. I just think collectively we are doing it better. I think he’s a really good football player. It’s not to take away from last year, but in my opinion, maybe he is a little steadier this year but I thought he was playing really well last year. He got hurt towards the end, and that hurt us, but I think he’s been fine.”
 
(On if he approaches third down differently than other downs)
“I don’t know. We’ve just got to do it better. We study what they do and they study what we do. We come up with a plan and we watch what other people are doing to attack them. You’re going through a whole bevy of thoughts. Can we attack this individual player? Is it a matchup thing we can take advantage of? Is it a schematic thing we can take advantage of? [It] all falls into protections the further you get on third downs. It comes [down] to pitch and catch. It comes in to protection when we are talking about ourselves. I’ll just speak offensively. So, what will help that [is] the more third-and-mediums you’re in [and] third-and-shorts – that does help. The better you are at pitch and catch, the more that helps. Those are the two things that we have to continue to improve on is getting ourselves into more third-and-medium situations [and] coaching the passing game and those things better, so we can execute and continue the drive. Again, unless you’re getting explosives, you’ve got to find a way to convert third downs. When you’re not doing either one of those things early in the game, you are going to struggle.”
 
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
 
(On if throwing all week in practice is a sign of progress with his shoulder)
“I’m just following the plan. Like you said, it feels good to be back out there with the guys in a practice atmosphere and hopefully it translates to the game.”
 
(On how his shoulder felt this morning)
“I felt great.”
 
(On what he has been dealing with while trying to recover his shoulder)
“Really just pain from my AC joint, but I’m feeling better. I’m feeling good.”
(On if he feels the team managed expectations well)
“I think we’ve just got to play better. Sitting at 2-5 with the statistics that we have as an offense, we [couldn’t] even imagine that we would be sitting [in] this position. But if we were sitting at 5-2 and we had worse stats, it really wouldn’t be a conversation. I think every team has to find its common ground. As our team, we’re still learning what that is. Last year [there] was a point in the season where we found out our identity. We are still trying to develop that identity and continue to get better. Every team has its own identity and we’ve got to find it.”
 
(On what he feels the identity of the team is)
“We’ve got to find it.”
 
(On if he is surprised it’s taking this long for the team to find its identity)
“Well, no. Every time you add new pieces to the puzzle, you are always trying to see how you can work it. I’m ready for us to go ahead and find out identity, but I know it’s a process. At the end of the day we’ve just got to go out there and play – play our game, play our best games [and] all do our own job and try to see whatever it is.”
 
(On if it is frustrating that the team hasn’t played up to its capability yet)
“It’s frustrating when you lose. That’s the biggest part to everything. We click occasionally. Obviously, we want to strive for perfection, but when you lose it makes everything worse.”
 
(On if the additions of tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver DeSean Jackson has made him change his game in order to please everyone, and if that is why the team hasn’t found its identity yet)
“Not at all. In terms of identity, I’m talking about everybody as a team. This is a completely new team like every year. We’ve just got to find that. We’ve got to find what makes us click [and] what makes us go. We’re trying out different things and eventually, when we establish that, it’s going to be great. We’re looking forward to establishing that sooner rather than later, obviously. Like I said, when you win we don’t talk about this. When you lose, everything is worse.”
 
(On what he saw on tape from the game against Carolina)
“Just executing when [we] needed to execute. I wasn’t really good on third downs. I wasn’t really good the whole day. That’s the main part. The defense played great. We’ve just got to put up some points and execute better. We were playing against one of the best defenses in the league, so props to them, but we should do way better on offense and it starts with me.”
 
(On if he senses that teammates don’t hate losing as much as they should)
“No, not at all. I know we hate to lose. Like I said, we’re all just trying to find our role to this team. We all are different pieces to the puzzle. One thing about the puzzle is you might have all the pieces, but if you don’t build a puzzle the right way, you won’t get the masterpiece. By us coming to work every single day, by us focusing on our job, focusing on our preparation [and] stacking up wins you’ll eventually see the pieces of the puzzle come together.”
 
(On what he says to his teammates when he senses that they may be getting discouraged)
“This isn’t a time where we can have a huge team meeting and bring everyone in and start pointing fingers and say, ‘This is what needs to change.’ This is a time where all of us must be accountable for our own actions [and] check ourselves. I was listening to Eric Thomas, one of his motivational speeches and it’s called ‘Check Yourself.’ One thing he said is you don’t need a coach to be telling you what to do. You don’t need your wife or your brother or your father to be telling you what to do. You have to check yourself. You have to be so prepared. He uses one example where he was like, ‘When you’ve got an assignment in a class, you should tell your teacher, ‘I already did my written assignment two weeks ahead.’ We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and that’s what I’m starting with – me, personally. I know I have to play better for our offense to achieve what we can achieve. I think that’s what everyone has to do. Everyone has to look at themselves and see, ‘What can I do to make the situation better?’”
 
(On how that translates for him)
“I’ve got to go to work, man. I’ve got to go to work. I’ve got to continue to get better. Focusing on yourself and what you can do to help the team – it helps. It helps a lot. I use it a lot, especially when it comes to taking care of the football. I’ve got to get back to doing that effectively. That’s what hurt us these past two games – me turning the football over. We’ve got so many areas to improve on. Obviously, the quicker we can improve on those areas, the better results you will see out there on the field. But at the end of the day, we’ve all got to get better day-by-day, inch-by-inch.”
 
(On what the Saints are doing well defensively)
“They’re just playing good football [and] keeping everything simple. They’re getting great pressure on the quarterback. Cameron Jordan is a monster and I’ve really got to respect that guy. I really respect the whole defense. Kind of like Buffalo, those guys play hard [and] play with a lot of effort and they’re doing good. They’ve got some young guys in the secondary who are playing very well, creating opportunities for their great offense. We’ve definitely got to keep their offense off the field.”
 
(On if he shares the motivational speeches he listens to with his teammates)
“You can share with a couple people here and there. Those are really just me and my teammate conversations. There’s no telling where they will go from there, but definitely. Any type of wisdom I can get from outside sources that I think I can pass along to my team – [I will] all the time, definitely.”
 
(On how he handles the up-and-down nature of the NFL)
“You really can’t compete with [anybody] when you’re losing. You know what I’m saying? Stats don’t really matter. Wins matter, especially at this position. I compete against everybody. I’m not just competing against the young guys. The young guys are doing really good, though. But, I compete against everyone. The ultimate thing that defines a quarterback is that win column, so it doesn’t matter how good someone’s looking or numbers – you’ve got to win and that’s what I’m not doing right now. We’ve got to win. That’s in my blood. I’ve got to find a way to do it.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
 
(On how to get things turned around)
“Win. Got to win, man. The way we win is we have to stop beating ourselves. Guys have to be on the same page. Just have to stop finding ways to lose. We’re doing that by giving second chances. Giving second chances means when we have a team down, we have to keep them there. Another way we are giving them second chances is by not getting off the field on third down. We’re not stopping the run. We’re not being consistent. My wife told me last night, she said, ‘Baby, you just aren’t consistent’ and I said dang, she’s right. She knows, so we have to be more consistent.”
 
(On how important consistency is going against a guy like Saints quarterback Drew Brees)
“Drew Brees is going to the Hall of Fame. Five years after he retires he will be in. He is the epitome of consistency. I’ve trained with this guy for eight straight years and nothing changes with him. He doesn’t slow down, he’s just always the same. We are already at where we are in the season with our record, there is no room for error. Going up to New Orleans – I love playing there. This is the best time to play there, for me. I just love to compete. I love this sport. I love my team and when we play up there it’s always very electric. They’re on a five-game win streak, right? The energy is going to be there. I can kind of think of the mindset that the fans are going to have, ‘Oh, the 2-5 Bucs are coming in, we are on a five-game win streak, we’ll have this place rocking so we can get six’. But we have to be on it. We have to weather the storm and be the storm.”
 
(On what he’s learned from Brees working out with him for eight years)
“Don’t talk to him too much. He’s always taking notes –  taking mental notes at all times. I talk to him mostly about being the leader of a team and how do you band together? Because he’s not only a Hall of Famer, he’s a Super Bowl Champion and a Super Bowl MVP. He’s led many winning teams in New Orleans and I just talked to him about how to band together as a team and what they did and how the leaders on the team went about doing it. He had some great advice for me.”
 
(On how psychological third down can be for a defense)
“It’s definitely your mindset. You have to not take no for an answer. Do whatever it takes to get off because it’s our job to not let them score but also get the offense the ball back. Winning third downs is like a turnover. Essentially, it’s a turnover and we have to take the ball away more with true turnovers, but we can help by getting off the field on third down. And we can help win at third downs by not being in third-and-shorts. We have to get guys in more third-and-longs. We have a big screen team coming up. We know what they do, they know what we do. At some point, players just have to make plays.”
 
(On the Saints getting having success rushing the ball in the second matchup last season)
“It doesn’t matter. Obviously, having Will [Gholston] in the game changes everything but it’s a next-man-up mentality. They don’t care, you guys don’t care, nobody cares who’s in the game, it just has to get done. We just can’t allow them to do that again. We have to be able to stop the run. They run the ball very well and we just have to be in our ‘P’s and Q’s’. Drew [Brees] is like number four in the league for getting the ball out of his hands – 2.4 seconds or something like that. He’s not holding the ball like he’s done in the past and they’re running the ball a lot more so we have to stop the run early and make it one dimensional. The key to them winning is nine. We just have be on them early and often and try to disrupt them. I say it every year. Drew is like four-foot-six [laughing] so we have to get our hands up. He hates me when I say that.”
 
(On Brees reading defenses)
“I don’t know how he does it. He’s incredible. You know how some people athletically I call mutants? Drew is a mutant for just the way he thinks, the way he’s able to get things done. He’s like superhuman the way he does it. He’s actually a very, very gifted athlete. When we are training and competing, he beats everybody. He beats Darren Sproles, he beats all these people. I’m serious, I’m trying to do all these drills with him and he’s like laughing because he makes it a point of his to make sure that one, he beats me at every drill when we’re training and makes sure I do not sack him. It pisses me off. He kind of gives me a little wink if I get too close to him or he gets the ball out or I have him in my grasp and he flips the ball. I’m just like, ‘Man what is your problem?’ But he doesn’t want to lose at anything: arguments, drills, especially not games. He’s a competitor. He wants to win. He doesn’t care about his size, he’s going to go at you. We were doing an explosion drill and obviously he can’t beat me, but he was about to kill himself trying to beat me. I was like I have to get like this guy. I love him though.”
 
-BUCCANEERS-

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