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24 November 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (11/24/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since the start of the 2016 season, Tampa Bay has recorded 48 takeaways, the second-most in the NFL during that time. The Buccaneers have registered a league-high 22 fumble recoveries, while forcing 27 fumbles – also an NFL best. Tampa Bay’s 26 interceptions during that window are the fifth-most in the league.
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
(On if defensive end Robert Ayers could clear concussion protocol before Sunday’s game)
“Once they’re in the concussion protocol they have to go through the steps. Robert is going to be out this week. He is not going to make it.”
(On which offensive linemen he plans to have active for the game on Sunday)
“You will find out an hour and a half before game time on Sunday.”
(On how much it helps to get defensive end Will Gholston back from injury)
“This week, just due to injuries, we are trading out Robert Ayers for Will Gholston, so you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. You play a whole bunch of games in a row [with] 53 guys, [so] you are going to be trading guys out due to injury. It is what it is.”
(On how fortunate it is that Gholston was able to return from a neck injury after missing just two weeks)
“Very fortunate. That is the worst part of this game – injuries. Any player that gets hurt – we’ve got several – [if] you ask any player that has been out, it’s traumatic for them. All injuries are serious. It affects their career, it affects our team and with Will’s, because it was the part the body where it was, it was scary at the time. All that stuff is medical. They’re never going to let a guy go out there if they think he is at a higher risk than he would normally be playing football.”
(On if it changes thing playing on a new turf or playing surface)
“It doesn’t really change anything, but it does take some getting used to. All the guys have their own pre-game routine and then some coaches get involved in that – some position coaches. We talked about it again this morning in the team meeting, for every one of us in our team room this will be a first time in this stadium. A lot of the turf companies are pretty close to the same, so that’s why we wanted to get in our indoor at least once this week. Our turf is pretty close to what most of these are, but they could be a little different. I’m not sure what Atlanta has.”
(On if he changes things schematically based on the playing surface)
“No. No difference.”
(On if the game plan changes at all if Falcons running back Devonta Freeman isn’t able to clear concussion protocol before Sunday’s game)
“The difference is Freeman is in his second week of the protocol instead of his first week. He already missed one game. They have really good running back depth. [Tevin] Coleman is a really, really fine football player. T.J. [Ward’s] younger brother, [Terron] Ward, has been doing a nice job coming in and playing in his role too. If you take Freeman out, of course like if you take any good player off of any team, it’s going to hurt them, but those other two running backs are very capable.”
(On what he has seen from cornerback Ryan Smith in the past few games)
“Well, that is why he is still in there. He’s been improving every week. He is playing a lot more consistent than he did in the preseason and than he did in the Minnesota game. That’s the learning curve that young players go through, especially players that are switching positions or are playing at a much higher level. We’re happy with Ryan’s improvement – not perfect, but improving.”
“We talked about it last week, like every player that you have, you have things in the game plan that give guys opportunities to make plays. Sometimes [in] certain times of the game you don’t get it called, other times they defend it. Sometimes you get pressure on the quarterback. It just worked out last week with some of the plays that we had in for O.J., trying to take advantage of his skillset. That’s how that kind of works out that way. Heck, we can go a couple weeks and O.J. not have a catch. Are we trying to get him involved? Yes. Is he growing as a player? Yes.”
(On the screen to Howard last game and if he continues to think of creative ways to use him in the offense)
“We did it a couple weeks ago against Carolina. He got tripped up [and] got about 10 yards on it. [He] had a chance for a bigger play and Luke Kuechly made a great play on it [and] came across the field. We are constantly trying with all of our skill players – him included – trying to find ways that we can get them involved in the offense and what they do well. Not every player – especially young player – does everything well yet. You also have Cam [Brate] there, so trying to balance that is a challenge for us and one that we’ve continued to try to find ways to get them both the ball.”
(On the play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick)
“I thought he played really well last week. Yeah, there [are] things that you sit there and say, ‘Well, here and here and here.’ But we didn’t turn it over. I thought he made a number of plays with his feet on throws down the field. We got a little choppy because of penalties. If we don’t have those penalties then the score looks a little bit different. Another time coming out we completed a big third down and we needed it. We didn’t get it and we got another call. I thought he played really well. I thought he’s played well when we’ve asked. What have had we had – two games and a half against Arizona? For the most part, he’s given a chance in every game – given us a chance to win. That’s what you can hope for. It’s been good.”
(On if getting rid of the ball quickly is one of Fitzpatrick’s strengths)
“I think getting rid of the ball quickly – I think that is true. Do I think he knows where to go with the football? Yes. Do I think that every week that he continues to practice and get a feel for our skill guys, our protections and what we want to get done? I think there is a comfort level that comes from that. I guess he was practicing some when Jameis [Winston] was hurt, but again, all of it still builds with the guys we have.”
(On how pleased he was with the way wide receiver Chris Godwin stepped up on the game’s final drive after not seeing much action earlier in the game)
“It’s crazy how it works that way. He was playing. He was in and out of there. Some of it was run-game stuff and ‘naked’ stuff and we had something earlier in the game where I think we had a chance down the field, but Fitz had to scramble. You have certain pieces in the game plan. When does that come up? Opportunities are going to come up more for Chris when we are down or in a two-minute attack situation because we are going to be rotating guys more frequently. We have our starters. We have DeSean [Jackson] and Mike [Evans] on the outside and Chris has also worked inside a little bit with Hump (Adam Humphries) so we have our guys. So, when does that come up? That comes up more frequently as you get in the game and guys are coming in and out. We’re still trying to find ways to get Chris more involved because Chris has continued to develop and continued to improve each week.”

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