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08 November 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (11/8/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Since the start of the 2016 season, the Buccaneers have forced 24 fumbles, tied for the most in the NFL during that span (also Dallas & Oakland).
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s visit to Dr. James Andrews)
“Dr. Andrews has been involved in this since the beginning, so he’s been getting the updates every week. He’s been receiving the MRI reports every week. Yesterday was just the first time he went there in person, along with Bobby [Slater]. It’s very common for many players in the NFL to get second opinions on injuries, especially quarterbacks in their throwing shoulder. But yeah, he’s been part of the process along with our doctors the entire time.”
(On if there is any concern that Winston may have to have surgery)
“That’s a medical question. Is there concern? Yeah, sure there is concern any time your starting quarterback is hurt. They’re telling us right now that the best option is to rest it.”
(On if the doctors have said that surgery could be an option)
“They haven’t told me that, no.”
(On if two weeks or more is still the current plan before Winston gets back on the field for a game)
“That’s what they are telling us right now.”
(On how Kevin Pamphile played at left tackle)
“He did a decent job. He had one play where he took a bad pass set, but he hadn’t been practicing a lot of pass sets at left tackle. I think that’s one of the things [for] any player, if he can play multiple positions, [it] adds value. Kevin’s always gone above and beyond the call of duty to do whatever we need him to do.”
(On if he has talked to Winston about body language on the sideline before)
“No. I haven’t because he hasn’t been in that situation before, so I wouldn’t have talked to him about that. No, not in that incidence.”
(On if anyone had said anything to him about Winston’s body language on the sideline)
“Not until now.”
(On the lack of efficiency in the run game)
“All of football – all offense and defense, run and pass – is tied into efficiency. You can say you’re going to run it all you want, but if it’s first-and-10, second-and-nine, third-and-eight, punt you’re not going to stick with it. It’s the same way in the pass game. If you went incomplete, incomplete, incomplete, punt. Efficiency is tied to execution. As we’ve said all along, we are not playing consistent enough in any area right now on our football team. We are in spurts and when we string it together for 65 plays of offense, defense [and] 28 plays of special teams then we will be where we want to be.”
(On if the lack of production in the run game is due to more than just the performance of running back Doug Martin)
“Of course. If you look at the tape, multiple times in last week’s game – because of breakdowns somewhere else – Doug had a free runner in the hole, like right across the line of scrimmage in the hole. Whereas when Peyton [Barber] got in there, he didn’t have a free runner in the hole and he was able to use his size and his power to push the pile and we had a few more efficient runs. That’s like anything. I understand everyone’s frustration, but again, no one’s frustration is greater than ours. It’s easy to blame the point guy, whether it’s Doug in the running game or Jameis [Winston] in the passing game, or whatever. It doesn’t even matter who it is. It’s usually almost never quite that simple.”
(On if wide receiver DeSean Jackson becomes a bigger option this week with Mike Evans suspended, or if Chris Godwin becomes more of a focal point in the offense)
“Both of those things.”
(On if quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a comfort level knowing some of the players on the Jets)
“Probably comfortable until Sunday, until they try to rip his face off.”
(On how Godwin has looked in practice)
“Good. He has had a different role, so he is forced into a new role. His role has been primarily as a special teams [player]. Some of our gunners have been beat up [and] Chris has been playing more of a special teams role and [as] a fourth receiver. We said from the day we drafted him that we felt like Chris initially would start out as a four for us, but a guy that could ascend to a two. He has definitely shown signs of that. You can’t ascend to anything until you get your opportunity.”
(On if Godwin is still having issues with stamina as he mentioned earlier in the season)
“I did say that and that was during fall camp when it was about 150 [degrees] out there every day and he admitted that. Chris admitted that he had a tough time getting acclimated to what we deal with here. I mean it was warm out there today. Obviously, through time – I mean here we are in November now – he’s much improved in that area.”
(On Fitzpatrick and Jets quarterback Josh McCown’s longevity in the NFL and the fact that they’ve played for so many teams)
“Those are both great examples. It shows you what a quarterback in the NFL is. There [are] 32 teams and you make up your own number where you think the number is of teams that like their starter, let alone like their backup. Every year media [and] fans, they’ve always got their eye on the next five guys out of college or who is going to be a free agent because every team wants that guy and they’re searching. Well, there just isn’t that many of those guys, so guys that are smart, tough [and] can do it pretty [well] can make a great living. There is a bunch of them. You named two. I can think of a bunch more. Someone is going to fill those jobs – guys that can learn a system, guys that can stand in the pocket or they have the ability, maybe that is their forte, but they can move the ball [and] they can hold up somewhere between one and pick your number [of] games, but the teams are always going to be looking for someone a little bit better.”
(On how big of a role penalties have played in the offense’s inability to complete drives)
“Penalties have been a part of it and penalties are one of the things on our list. It’s down the road a little bit. We are currently number four in the league in fewest penalties. We were 32nd two years ago, we were 18th last year – the biggest improvement in the league – and right now we are fourth in the league. Unfortunately, the penalties that we have had have been untimely. They’ve either been an [offsides] on defense on third-and-four or more often they’ve been a 15-yard aggressive penalty on offense when we had it first-and-10 on the 19 and they’ve taken us out of field-goal range. We harp continuously on procedural penalties because we have more control over those. Aggressive penalties are going to happen at times. Ali [Marpet] got his hand caught in a guy’s facemask – stuff like that is going to happen. But, you go back to the Buffalo game – Donovan [Smith] had an aggressive penalty that negates a 56-yard go route that Jameis [Winston] throws to DeSean [Jackson]. [It’s] part of the game. It is one of those things when I say we’re not consistent enough in any areas – it’s down the list, but it’s on the list.”
(On if the decrease in procedural penalties are due to the coaching staff harping on it or if it is just players being more comfortable in the system)
“We harp on a lot of stuff. You get results on some and you don’t get results [on other things]. You’re hopefully harping on the things that influence outcome, but we haven’t been doing a good-enough job in that area either.”
(On if it is hard to game plan for a team that spreads the ball around and doesn’t have a go-to player)
“I think they would say they do have that guy. They have that young guy [Robbie] Anderson – that guy can fly. If you were watching the Thursday night game, [Josh] McCown brought him in motion, knew he had man coverage, audibled to the go route and hit him for a touchdown. We have him as a game wrecker. He is just not a household name.”
(On if he has any update on defensive end William Gholston)
“He’s doing better. Will is going to be out this week for sure. He was out at practice today. He is still wearing a neck brace. He’s doing okay to move around, but not okay to play NFL football. Those are all medical decisions.”
(On his message to the Winston skeptics that are criticizing him after last week’s game regarding his pre-game speech and incident with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore)
“I understand fans want to win. They want to win and when you’ve lost five games in a row, as we said earlier, whether it’s the run game with Doug Martin or the passing game with Jameis [Winston], everything gets magnified. That’s understandable. If all that stuff happened and we win the game, we’re probably not having this same thing. All that said, Jameis, after he was out, coming off [the sideline] and starting that – I know Jameis already addressed that – that’s a different issue. That’s not the Jameis Winston I know. He spoke on that earlier today. Do I understand it? Yeah. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.”
(On if Winston’s pre-game speech was the typical Winston that he’s seen)
“Well I haven’t seen him do that in particular before. First of all, I know Jameis to be a fantastic leader. I think anyone that’s played with Jameis in his high school career, his college career or his professional career to date would agree with that, that Jameis is a terrific leader. Jameis has his own style. Anyone who has ever been a leader has their own individual style. What works for one person doesn’t work for everybody. I know when I’m in front of a room trying to motivate my team, I can know right when it’s over if that was a grand slam, a triple, a single, or a strikeout. You’re going to have some strikeouts in there. Most of that motivational stuff lasts until that first hit and then it’s down to the things that win and lose football games.”
(On where he expects cornerback Vernon Hargreaves to play moving forward)
“I think that Vernon did a very nice job in the last two games – one playing outside and one playing inside. I think he gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of how we want to match it up during the game. I think he’s got really good skills. When he plays inside, he’s done a really nice job. We’ve been spending most of the time in practice giving him as many reps as we can in the nickel position. I think he gives us flexibility. There [are] times when we might want him to be back outside and there [are] going to be times where we need to have him play inside determined by the match.”
(On if he thinks Hargreaves long-term future is in the outside cornerback position)
“I can’t say that. I think it’s going to be a problem for us because he definitely has had more production inside than he had outside. When he went back outside, he had a good game. In those two games, in that segment of the season that he played inside and outside I thought he probably played his best two games. Hopefully he is feeling that we have a good understanding of what we need to do whether [he is] lined up inside or outside.”
(On if he has confidence in cornerbacks Ryan Smith and Robert McClain on the outside)
“Well I thought Ryan Smith played extremely well outside. That gives us some flexibility in terms of going out and letting Ryan play at the outside position. I believe he was in on [nine] tackles in the game, so he was a very active player in that game last week. I thought that Vern (Vernon Hargreaves) did a nice job when he was at the corner position.”
(On where things went wrong that led to the team’s 2-6 record)
“I can’t speak for anybody but myself. I think we’ve been a very inconsistent defense and it showed up in the game last week. There was a 15-play stretch when [they had] the two-minute drill right before the half and then the first two series of the second half where we looked like Ned in the First Grade Reader. I mean we didn’t slow them down. Then other times in the ball game, we did a nice job. I think again it comes back to us being an inconsistent group. You can’t put your finger on it. We are trying – believe me. We’re trying to figure that out and we’ve got to get it figured out because you can’t go out there and play good football for a portion of the game and then go out and lay an egg for basically 15 consecutive snaps.”
(On if this team has more holes than they anticipated going into the season)
“This time of the year, every team has got issues. We’ve played half the season. The great thing is we get eight more opportunities to go out and see what we can do. The guys have played hard for the most part. I think we’ve coached hard for the most part. We’re just not getting it done.”
(On if the overall effort is where it needs to be)
“Not on a consistent basis. We are not doing anything consistently. We are not calling a good game consistently. We’re not executing. We all have ownership of this – it’s across the board. I can tell you there’s times that I have made bad calls. There [are] times where we haven’t run to the football. There [have] been times that at the point of attack we have been soft. It’s just not good football. You guys see it. We see it. You guys are veteran people that watch football and it’s not very pretty. When it’s not pretty all of the time, it can be ugly.”
(On if he wishes the coaching staff would’ve put the team through a more physical training camp, or less contact in training camp and practice is just the future of the NFL moving forward)
“It is. You can’t go out and hit these guys during practice. You try to drill them in terms of their ability to tackle [and] take the right angles, but it’s hard. You can’t go out and try to wear them out in the preseason. Once you get into the season, the rules dictate how much you can practice in pads. As you know, we’re getting pretty close to where we are not even going to be able to do that as we get past the 12th week.”
(On if he has been surprised by how well safety Justin Evans has done with his tackling this season)
“I think he’s done a nice job in his tackling. He wasn’t the only one that missed a tackle on that play (screen pass to Saints running back Alvin Kamara). You guys watch the tape. That was not a pretty football play in terms of defensive fits, scheme and everything. In terms of Justin, I think Justin has done a nice job tackling. When you’re a free safety, you’ve got to be a sure tackler and I think he is learning how to do that. He is learning how to set the right angles – set them early enough where if he has to make an adjustment, he can make an adjustment coming out of the middle of the field.”
(On what has made linebacker Lavonte David special this season)
“I said earlier in the season, I think he is a lot healthier. I know he missed some time with an ankle this year, but he has a great understanding of what we are trying to get done. Lavonte works probably as hard as anybody, not only on the field, but off the field. He is a warrior. He’s done some nice things. You see it translate on game day. We talk about taking the ball off of people and he’s done a great job creating the turnovers the way he tackles and attacks the football.”
(On if he is in the top tier of NFL linebackers)
“I believe he is. Statistically, him individually, you’ve got to stay that. Is he playing on a very good defense right now, statistically? No.”
(On linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“I think [for] Kwon, this is going to be his third game. It’s early for him. He missed a lot of time in the preseason. [He] missed preseason games, basically played 15-16 snaps in the first game and then was out for another four or five weeks. I think he’s made some splash plays. We’ve just got to be more consistent. Kwon’s got to be more consistent like we all have to be. I don’t want to point the finger at any one guy because we all are part of this issue that we are having right now. There is no doubt about it.”
(On what he makes of players like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jets quarterback Josh McCown who continue to be contributors so late in their careers)
“Well I think one, they’ve got great football intelligence. They’ve got to because when you’re the backup quarterback you don’t get reps. When you’re called upon and having to go in and play, everybody is expecting you to play like the starter. That takes a special mentality – it really does. I see it in Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and McCown. I’ve had an opportunity to play against him (Josh McCown) a couple times and they’re both very smart players and they can take what’s being said in the meeting out onto the field and execute it. I think that’s the thing that backup quarterbacks have to be able to do. They’ve got to be able to do it with limited snaps on a weekly basis.”
(On if McCown is a freakish athlete for his age)
“He is. Don’t sleep on him in terms of whether you think he can still run or not. He can. You’ve seen that in the tape numerous times. He can extend plays and he can extend them not only to run, but he can extend it to pass. It’s not like he is just going to take off. He is going to extend it and still be able to get the ball down the field. I’ve been very impressed with him.”
(On defensive end William Gholston’s injury scare)
“Any time you’ve got a guy injured and they don’t get up, you’re deeply concerned. We’re grateful to have the people that we have at NFL games to make sure that guys are going to get the best treatment that they possibly can get. Will got that. He was able to fly back with us. He was in the building. I got to see his face this morning. That was good sitting in meetings. But, it is scary when a guy doesn’t get up. We all know it’s part of the game though.”
(On how much of a threat Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is in the Jets’ offense)
“He’s doing a nice job catching the football. They’ve done a nice job creating ways to get the ball to him. He’s more of a U tight end. When I say U – more a guy that they are going to put on the move, spread him out [and] look for mismatches.”
(On if he is a tough matchup for defenses)
“He is. He is a big, strong guy that can body up. If he is on a safety, he can body up. He’s got an advantage there. There [are] some linebackers in this league that would be hard-pressed to matchup with him size wise as well.”
(Opening Statement)
“I just want to apologize [to] my teammates and Mike Evans for the incident that happened in the Saints game. That’s just something that I can’t do in the heat of the moment. Again, [it’s] just my competitive nature. I can’t come off the field and make any gestures toward the opponent, let alone touch him. I can’t do that. I apologize for that.”
(On his visit to Dr. James Andrews)
“I’ve known Dr. Andrews for a long time. It’s just standard protocol.”
(On when he went to see Andrews)
(On if he learned anything new after his visit)
“All the doctors are working together to come up with what they think. All I know is, for the next two weeks I’m going to be rehabbing and getting my shoulder 100 percent. That’s all I can tell you.”
(On if Andrews has been consulted throughout this process)
“Yeah, absolutely.”
(On how hard it is to sit back and watch while he rehabs his shoulder)
“It’s challenging, but at the same time, it gives me an opportunity to be there for my team in any way that I can – not just on the field. Obviously, I want to be out there playing. I love this game. I’m very passionate about this game, but I look at it as a great opportunity to rest and become 100 percent. I’ve got a lot of trust in Ryan [Fitzpatrick] – very, very much so that it’s a blessing in disguise that he gets a chance to face two opponents that he’s been facing his whole career. I see it as a good thing. I see it as a way to just get back healthy [and] get 100 percent.”
(On if he feels his shoulder was affecting his throws in the games)
“I can’t really speak on that because it’s about wins and losses. You win games [and] we aren’t even talking about my shoulder.”
(On if his grimacing on the sideline was in pain or out of frustration)
“I don’t know what particular time it was. I know I make a lot of facial gestures throughout the game, but if I was grimacing it definitely wasn’t because of frustration. It was because of pain.”
(On if he thinks two weeks will be enough time for him to recover and get back on the field)
“It’s just what I’m prepared to do. I’m prepared to rehab hard for these next couple weeks and see where we go from there.”
(On if he feels that he should have sat out the past few weeks to let his shoulder completely heal before playing in games)
“I just want to compete. I’m out there to be there for my team any way that I can. I’m not going to take anything back that I’ve done in the previous week. This is where we’re at now. I can’t control what happened in the previous weeks. I just know where I am now and the steps that we are going to take for the future.”
(On how hard it is to be sitting at 2-6)
“It’s a blessing in disguise. Resiliency is one of the most beautiful things about life. You get a chance to go through troubling times and just keep your faith in God and just continue to be who you are and continue to get better. I think that’s one thing that we all miss sometimes. Yeah, we are going to go through tough times. Yeah, we are going to face adversity, but the most beautiful thing is how you overcome that adversity and how you show how resilient you are.”
(On where things went wrong after the 2-1 start)
“Again, I can’t speak on that. The only thing that is factual about this is the losses. That’s the easiest thing I can say [about] what went wrong – we lost. We lost five in a row…I don’t know, but I know from now on we still have a chance to bounce back and stay optimistic. I don’t think these guys in the locker room are giving up. I know if I see anybody that even looks like that, I’m going to be like, ‘Hey, come on man. We are still in this thing together.’ I’m looking at these two weeks getting ready as Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is going to get us two wins. We will be ready to bounce back and make a run at this thing at the end of the year.”
(On if he feels his incident with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore last Sunday brings more question to his maturity level and if he is concerned about that)
“No, I’m not concerned about that at all because I know who I am as a person. I know my character level. If that is in any way viewed as a character issue because of that, then I apologize to the people who view it that way. Like I said, it was in the heat of the battle – the heat of the moment type thing. I can’t do that as the leader of this team [and] as one of the leaders of this organization. I don’t want to put our team in that situation.”
(On if he is surprised that Head Coach Dirk Koetter said that he and wide receiver Mike Evans possibly should have been ejected for that incident)
“No, that didn’t surprise me. I know we would rather have been ejected than to be suspended for the next week. I mean, that’s what happened with everyone else. We would’ve rathered that happen.”
(On why he hasn’t been connecting on the deep ball as well recently as he did earlier in the season)
“I have to get better [in] that aspect. I didn’t know that my shoulder wasn’t hurt before those passes to Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. Training camp and OTAs – that was then and this is now. [These] are the circumstances we are in now and that’s why I’m trying to get 100 percent to be able to perform like I need to perform.”
(On if he has been fined for the incident last Sunday in New Orleans)
“I haven’t received it yet. It’s probably coming pretty soon.”
(On if any part of him missing the next few weeks is due to his performance or if it is solely for him to get a chance to rehab his shoulder)
“I would hope that it’s based on me getting healthy. Obviously, the performance for last game and really the Arizona game and the Carolina game wasn’t there. But, we just started talking about performance when the first quarter of the season we were top 10 in every category offensively. I hope that this is just strictly on my injury.”
(On his pain level right now)
“I just feel like it’s a recurring thing. I just got to get it right – that’s all.”
(On if he has visited Dr. Andrews for any shoulder issues in his past)
“Not that I know of. I just know a very memorable time that I visited with him. It was back when I was young, like sixth grade. Drew Brees was actually just coming off his labrum surgery and he was in Birmingham. I met Drew Brees in Birmingham at Dr. Andrews’ facility. Still to this day, I know somebody stole my wallet, but I was the first person to get Drew Brees’ autograph when he played quarterback for the Saints. I’m telling you – I was the first one. The funny thing about that was I was playing for the Hoover Bucs in Alabama. So I was part of the Bucs and I got Drew Brees’ autograph – it was pretty sweet.”
(On the advice Brees gave him after the game)
“Every time I see him out there on the field, like I said when I was talking about playing against Tom Brady – every time that I get to see Drew play, that is all the wisdom that I need right then because I am watching him play every snap. We just chatted it up and he just told me to get better.”
(On if he is surprised by the reactions to his ‘Eat a W’ pregame speech)
“I’m not. When you’re losing, everything is magnified and everything is worse.”
(On if there is chance that any of the players are not giving their full effort right now)
“I don’t sense that at all.”
(On if he senses that this team is still fighting hard for Koetter)
“Effort and our coaches losing [the locker room] – that’s not our problem. Our problem is execution and getting wins. We love and all support our head coach and always will. I love him and I love my teammates. We’ve just got to find that, find something. Find a way to get a win and this room won’t feel so dry.”

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