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19 December 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (12/19/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: The Buccaneers thrown for 3,695 yards this season, the fifth-most in the NFL and the fifth-most in a single season in team history, with two games remaining. The team’s 24 passing touchdowns are tied for the eighth-most in the NFL this season and are tied for the fifth-most in a single season in team history.
Below is a transcript of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s earlier media availability:
(On the reason behind the healthy scratch of running back Doug Martin for the Atlanta game)
“I’m not going to say anything about it. It was a violation of team rules, he was inactive for this last game and as I said last night it’s over and we are moving on. That’s that.”
(On if the team will move forward with Martin still on the roster)
(On if there are any players that are going to miss the final two weeks of the season)
“Yeah, there will be. That will be coming soon, but Adarius Glanton for sure. [He] had to have some surgery last night. J.R. Sweezy will be done for the year. There [are] a couple more that could be coming, but just with the game getting over so late last night [not everything is finalized], but those are two for sure.”
(On if any of the injuries are significant to the point where they could affect next season)
“I’m not sure. Adarius Glanton was a significant injury. He had to have surgery on his leg. I think it’s pretty significant, yeah.”
(On the Falcons claiming that the playing surface was slick during Monday night’s game)
“Any time you play a game in this climate in the evening when the field gets dew on it, it’s a little bit slippery. I’m sure they encourage their guys to wear seven-stud cleats like we do ours. Certain guys have a tendency to slip more than others. I know they had one player that had a fairly significant issue last night and when our guys are doing that, we tell them to change their shoes. But, it’s no different than like when we played in Green Bay and the sun came out down on that one end of the field and the end by our tunnel – the sun never hit it. That end was slick. Even the officials were falling down. Again, we’ve got to get the right shoes on.”
(On if guard J.R. Sweezy’s injury will require surgery)
“Not to my knowledge, but I don’t know that for sure.”
(On if he wants to share any information on who will be joining the team’s 53-man roster in light of all of the injuries)
“I don’t. They all will be coming out here shortly. I just don’t know if all the ink is dry on all that. There is movement though.”
(On the touchdown the Buccaneers conceded with only 10 men on the field and if it was a communication error or a personnel issue)
“[It was a] personnel issue because of injuries and a substitution error on our part. We knew about it, but by the time I could get down there the snap was imminent. It was a pass play and we were missing a defensive lineman, so the timing of the ball came out – it’s embarrassing that that ever happens, but it happened. I don’t think it affected that play any, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s embarrassing.”
(On if quarterback Jameis Winston’s strong performance was due to him feeling at his best physically)
“That would be a good question for him. He definitely looked like he was moving well and he had really good rhythm. As far as the maturation part that you are talking about, I don’t think that just clicks in one week. I don’t think that’s like a one-week thing. I do think there is probably something to that theory, but Jameis is in here at the crack of dawn and staying here until [late]. He is getting treatment [and] he is always working on his body and on his film study and that sort of thing. The way he threw the ball last night – he threw it effortlessly and he threw it with touch. He threw the deep ball the best he has thrown it this year, so there could very well be something to that, but you’d have to ask him that.”
(On Winston’s career-best single-game completion percentage in last night’s game)
“Well he has worked at it. Jameis has worked very hard on his accuracy. When he went through that stretch where he was definitely fighting a shoulder injury and later an ankle injury – both of those things require you to throw the ball differently – the shoulder the most. He told me he’s dealt with those in college before, but the quarterback throwing motion – you would prefer it to be a consistent motion other than when you have to adjust based on the rush or on the run, that sort of thing. Yeah, he was extremely accurate last night. I think it always starts with your footwork and your timing. Obviously, if your timing is right, you’ve got to have the right guy to throw to and his reads were spot on as well.”
(On why Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was able to get to the second level of the defense multiple times in the game)
“When you rob Peter to pay Paul there [are] consequences. When you’re doubling Julio Jones, with a rolled-up corner and a safety over the top, then you are playing seven-man spacing defense instead of eight-man spacing defense. Then, based on our combination of our injury situation, young guys [and having] different guys in there, we were small up front a lot of the times and we were in seven-man spacing and Atlanta, like I said, they noticed that and they did a good job of taking advantage of it. Then when we were in eight-man spacing, we didn’t get off blocks well and we didn’t tackle well. Freeman – they run that outside zone – that is his best play. That is his featured play. He is a slasher, he hits that line of scrimmage hard and if it’s not a square wrap-up tackle, he can run through arm tackles and he did it multiple times last night, especially in the first half. We were better in the second half other than the last touchdown run, in which we had a mis-fit. Our force player went underneath the block instead of over the top to turn it back to the pursuit and that’s what happens.”
(On if there is any validity to Winston’s statement that he should just throw it up to wide receiver Mike Evans more)
“I think there is something to that. Mike’s numbers aren’t the same because he doesn’t have the same targets. Mike has been the most targeted guy in the league the last two years. We haven’t targeted him as much this year and I’ve had that exact conversation with Jameis. I told him, ‘Hey, wasn’t life a lot simpler when we just went back and tried to throw it to Mike?’ There is just some truth in that because Mike’s strength is his size and his power. To Mike’s credit, I thought Mike did as good a job as he’s done all season of just running fast. For a big guy, Mike can run. Teams try to beat him up at the line of scrimmage, so he doesn’t get in open space and you don’t really notice that speed, but he got behind the defense multiple times last night. Now, a couple of those were penalties, but I thought Mike really did a good job of running hard and using that speed and Jameis did a good job of giving him chances.”
(On if he had an issue with the clock continuing to run when the official tripped as he was going to spot the ball on the final drive)
“Yeah, of course I have a problem with it, but what are we supposed to do? You can’t say, ‘Hey, excuse me sir, could you stop the clock?’ I mean, the clock is running. We’ve got to play on. That’s human error. Before there was instant replay, human error was just factored in as part of the game. I promise you they’re not factoring in the umpire going to get the ball and bear-crawling the last eight yards to set the ball on the hash. They didn’t factor that in. So, we snapped that play with 25 seconds and had an 11-yard gain to Cam [Brate]. The first part of that was they held Cam down. That’s one of those things that [is] a smart play by the defense. Our sideline is screaming at [the referee]. With the game on the line, that is a hard call to make. It’s not a finite line [where] he held him too long or he didn’t. Our side is saying he did. I’m sure their side is saying, ‘Great play.’ [A reporter] asked the question last night: if we would have clocked it and there would have been over seven seconds, we would’ve run a different play. The average NFL pass play takes six seconds and if you’re within one second of that, it’s dicey because we were right there on the edge of field-goal range. Now, it looked to me on our tape – you can’t always tell exactly where it was – like it could have possibly been somewhere between [eight to 11] seconds that we could’ve got that ball clocked. If so, we would’ve ran another play. There is no guarantee we would’ve gained any more yards and we would’ve had to get out of bounds. We wouldn’t have had time to clock it again.”
(On if he wished they could’ve gave kicker Patrick Murray more time to go through his routine before kicking the potential game-tying field goal)
“Yeah, the thing with that is see that goes back to your initial question about [if] we had a problem with it. When our bench is screaming at the officials, they are trying to answer us and at the same time the clock is running. The field goal team has got to be getting lined up. That clock operator up there – he doesn’t care if we are arguing with the refs or they are arguing with us, he just clicks it over and it starts running. That’s one of the reasons that if you don’t have any timeouts, you better not be arguing with the refs too much. You’ve got to play on.”
(On if it would be beneficial to get quarterback Ryan Griffin in a game if the opportunity presented itself)
“Yeah, I think there would be value in that. We’ve talked about that. The flip side of that is these aren’t practice games. These are real games and we are trying to win. If this was an ideal world and you could have a little jamboree and have a bonus quarter where you could go out there and play guys for the future it would be great, but that’s just not really the case. The way he is going to get in the game is it’s going to take some other guys getting hurt. We wouldn’t want that either.”
(On if a big margin in the score is another time that Griffin could see game action)
“Correct, but we don’t plan that ahead.”
(On the team’s struggles in close games and if the nature of the NFL is just that you win and lose games by a thin margin)
“When we were studying Atlanta, last night was the 10th one-score game that Atlanta has had this year and by my account they are 6-4 in those games. Okay, 10 one-score games and they are 6-4 and whatever their record is (9-5), but they are in the hunt. In our one-score games, we’ve lost all but one of them. You’ve got to win those one-score games. To answer your question directly, I think that is the nature of the NFL. I have the number upstairs, but it’s a higher number than you would think how many [games are won and lost by one score] and that’s how they want it. They want them all like that. That’s what’s exciting, but we’ve just got to come out on the other end of it.”
(On if he looks at close losses as a positive that they are not bigger margins or as a frustration that they are not close wins instead)
“Frustrated that they are not close wins. You play to win. That’s the only thing that really matters.”
(On if he has ever been in a game where he lost so many players due to injury)
“No. That was by far the most we’ve ever had. We’ve had a game [in Atlanta] before where we did have to get down to four offensive linemen and play a tight end for a quarter, but not where it seemed like every time there was someone coming off. In the first half, it was more the offense and the tight ends. At one point, Cam [Brate] and O.J. [Howard] were both out. Then in the second half, it was more the defense. And the whole game, it was Ryan Smith. He hyperextended his knee on that first one and it looked nasty and then after he got up, he was over there on the sideline jumping. He had to go under the tent for a concussion check later in the game and he kept going back in the game. Cam Brate – same way. Cam, the way he was moving around in the first half, I wasn’t encouraged that he would be coming back and he came back and played the whole second half. When O.J. went out, we needed that and we needed Antony Auclair and Alan Cross to step up, as well. We had a bunch of guys go down and I am proud of the way our guys battled last night, but there will be a price to pay for that here this week.”
(On if Winston being able to be successful even with new guys coming into action is another step in his progression)
“Jameis played a really good game. Jameis played his best game. But, I think he was playing well regardless of who was out there. I don’t know if you could attribute that to his development, but Jameis did play a really good game.”
(On if Winston is getting closer to being able to carry the team to victories)
“He did a good job. The best quarterbacks in this league make those around them better, that’s for sure.”
(On what worked in containing Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones better than they did in Week 12)
“Part of that, like I said, because I spent a couple years coaching there with those players – Julio, like any player, [he] can get in the zone like a basketball player where [he] is just red hot and it doesn’t really matter what you do. You can’t stop them. The guy is an elite, elite player and he is playing with an elite quarterback. I was on the team with him when I saw him have two games exactly like the one he had against us the first time. We did some of the same things. We did some different things. We did double him – just flat-out double him – more last night than we did in the first game. That probably hurt us on a couple of run plays. We clouded to him more last night. If you notice though, Atlanta is not stupid. If you notice how much they move him around – they play him in the slot or they play him like the inside guy of a stack or a bunch and it makes it tough. They don’t just stand him in one spot and say, ‘Hey, here is our guy, come double him.’ We had to check out of some doubles on him, as well. Any time you are getting a defense that is having to have multiple checks based on shifts, motions [and] formations, there is chances for mis-fits in the run game and communication errors.”
(On if it seems logical to expand the roster)
“Yeah, there has been talk about that and that’s above my level. It’s a violent game and last night was a good example of that. In just its simplest form, it seems simple-enough to me. I haven’t been a 40-year guy in the NFL or anything, but it seems simple-enough to me. Like you already have 53 guys anyway [and] you are paying them anyway – what difference does it make? But, that’s a very simplistic look at it. I’m sure it’s much more complicated than that.”
(On if his thoughts on Steelers tight end Jesse James’ goal-line catch that was reversed and called an incomplete pass)
“I sure thought it was a catch. I was watching it on TV and I thought it was a catch. A perfect example of that was that Alan Cross catch on our sideline. I was looking right down the sideline and both refs were on our side – I mean that didn’t even look close to me. That didn’t even look close at all to me and when they are slowing it down, [they are determining], ‘Did his knee hit first? Did his hand hit first?’ Those cameras – they don’t miss anything. That whole catch thing, like I said, I thought that was a catch, but I mean they say the ball moves and all that. It seems like we’ve made it more complicated. Again, that’s above my pay grade.”
(On if he has any rules for his players about not stretching over the goal line)
“Yeah, we do. We show tape every week – Andrew Weidinger, our game-management coach, he watches every single TV copy of every game in the league and puts together good and bad plays by all kinds of teams. That is one of the most common ones. It happens more than you think – reaching the ball out. That or you’re running it back and you try to celebrate too early – there [are] crazy, crazy plays that happen every week. We watch them all [and] the guys laugh about them like, ‘Ah, we would never do that.’ But, in the heat of the battle, stuff happens.”

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