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27 December 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (12/27/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy recorded his team-leading sixth sack of the season at Carolina. McCoy has recorded at least five sacks in each of the past six seasons. He is one of only seven players to do so and the only defensive tackle (Michael Bennett, Calais Campbell, Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Cameron Jordan and Cam Wake).
Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(On what wide receiver DeSean Jackson brings to the team)
“DeSean, he brings that speed element that is rare. We haven’t done a good job of getting it to him over the top to date and that’s not DeSean’s fault. As far as injuries go – you’ll get the injury report – we’ve got a lot of guys that are fighting to make it back. We had the same thing last week. We will use every bit of time that we have and we will get the best 46 [players] out there on Sunday [that] we can get.”
(On if wide receiver Bobo Wilson has continued his steady improvement since he got to the active roster)
“Yeah, he hasn’t gotten a chance to do very much, but he is working hard out there. From the start of training camp until now, the guy has come a long, long way.”
(On what quarterback Jameis Winston can learn the most from Saints quarterback Drew Brees)
“Drew Brees would be a great guy for Jameis to study. He does everything well. The guy is going to be in the Hall of Fame. Since he is somebody that is in our division and he is here right now [and] someone that Jameis is familiar with – he is a great back-shoulder thrower, [he has] unbelievable footwork, he goes through his reads and progressions, takes care of the football – everything about playing quarterback in the NFL, he does well.”
(On defensive end Will Gholston’s knack for blocking kicks)
“Nate Kaczor, our special teams [coordinator], works with that whole defense – Ryan Smith, our edge guys, Brent Grimes and Robert McClain and our inside guys. It usually comes from an assist – Sealver Silga and Gerald [McCoy] rushing hard – our block unit has done well. It’s hard to block a kick in the NFL because these kickers, their timing is so good. You usually have to get a little bit of a slow get-off or a little bit of a low kick even if everything is perfect. If you just watch all of the blocks back-to-back-to-back-to-back like they do getting ready for a game, those guys are working hard at it and they’ve got rewarded a few times.”
(On Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan and if his success this year is due in part to the coverage and the rush working together well)
“In my opinion, between my time in Atlanta and here, he is having his best year in my opinion. For several years, he seemed like maybe their marquee player – and he still is – but it seems like he has gotten more help. Obviously, they got a Pro Bowl cornerback (Marshon Lattimore) this year. They are bringing more pressure this year and I would say the other thing is they have really solidified what they are doing. They have a very diverse package, but yet they are not making very many mistakes. That’s a long way around to saying probably yes, their coverage is helping his rush. But, he is one of the top rushers that we play, mainly because of his motor. I believe last week, if I’m not mistaken, he played every single defensive snap. He doesn’t go out very often.”
(On if the Saints defense still has a weakness)
“Every defense and every offense has weaknesses. Yeah, they do.”
(On the process of his post-season evaluation)
“I’m not going to go into that. That doesn’t concern anybody except the people being evaluated. That’s done by people above me.”
(On the timeline for his evaluation)
“I’m not sure exactly what their timeline is.”
(On how much cornerback Robert McClain has helped solidify depth in the secondary)
“Yeah, he has helped a lot. You’ve got to have guys like that. It’s like an offensive lineman that can play more than one spot – Evan Smith, Kevin Pamphile. Robert McClain has been a lifesaver in that respect. [If] we need him at corner, he plays corner. [If] we need him at nickel, he plays nickel. He has experience with Smitty (Mike Smith) before. He played for us in Atlanta. He has also played for Carolina in this division. Bobby is a versatile guy that can do a lot of things. If we needed him as a punt returner or kick returner, he can do that. He has helped us on special teams. You’ve got to have guys like that and Bobby is a good example of a glue guy.”
(On how much running back Peyton Barber has improved as a pass blocker over the course of the season)
“I would say the normal amount that you would [expect]. He was coming from a long way away from where he came from coming out of college – we are talking about as a pass blocker – he had a long way to go. Just the variety of different protections – it has never been about him stepping up and smacking his guy – it’s knowing the adjustments off of all the different protections. Number one, that takes time [and] it takes study. Number two, it takes experience. It takes getting your chance and getting out there. He has come quite a way. He still has a little bit more to go to be with the best of them, but he is making progress to the point where we are good having him out there.”
(On if the fact that six out of the last seven games have been one score games is a good measure of how players respond to him and his coaching staff)
“I’m not sure about that. You are asking me a question that is impossible to measure.”
(On the team’s effort level)
“Fantastic – we haven’t gotten beat because of lack of effort. Fantastic effort. Hats off to our guys for how they have hung in there and how they have competed. We know ultimately we are judged on wins and losses. We all understand that, but as far as working at it [and] competing on game day and giving us what they have – fantastic.”
(On what went well defensively against Carolina)
“I thought that we did a nice job of being able to play our run gaps well. That was a difficult run game [to defend] when you have to defend the quarterback and, for the most part, I thought that we did a good job. I thought we were able to apply some pressure at times. We were able to get the quarterback on the ground twice [and] had a couple more opportunities to do it. We played some decent third-down defense. Unfortunately, we didn’t keep them out of the end zone enough and we didn’t get the W. There were a lot of positives. The guys played hard. These guys aren’t guys that are packing it in. They are playing their tails off and that’s a tribute to them and their resolve.”
(On how instrumental defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was to the defensive performance on Sunday and what it meant to have him decide play despite the fact that he had to play through a lot of pain)
“It says a lot about the character of Gerald. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to play the week before, but it was going to be hard keeping him off the field. He is the guy that is one of the lead dogs, especially in the defensive line, he is the lead dog. When he is out there he is a force to be reckoned with. He got lots of pressure. They blocked him one-on-one [and] he [got] a sack and that’s what you want your three technique to be able to do.”
(On the end-of-game encroachment penalty and if defensive tackle Chris Baker has filled the role that the team had in mind when it signed him)
“To answer the first part, pre-snap penalties – you just can’t have them. It wasn’t the only one we had in the game. If you had to say what did we do poorly? Well, our pre-snap penalties. We had four of them, in which guys jumped offsides. Cam [Newton] does a nice job with his inflection, but you’re supposed to watch the ball. We addressed it. I think the player that you asked about addressed it. In terms of that specific play, it was one of a handful of plays that had a big effect on the game. That’s the way it is every week. In terms of what happened, a locker room is like a family. You’re going to have squabbles and guess what happens when it is over? You kiss and you makeup and you move on. You move forward. These guys are now focused on moving forward and getting a win against the New Orleans Saints this week.”
(On if it is a player’s responsibility or a coach’s responsibility to confront a player if one feels that the player’s effort is not where it needs to be)
“The dynamic of a football team is very diverse and it changes from week to week. Everybody is responsible. There [are] certain people that are going to be held responsible, but everybody is responsible. We are all adults. It’s not like you have a family of a three-year old and you slap him on the hand and say, ‘Don’t do that.’ We are all adults here and we are all responsible. Ultimately, when it comes to certain aspects of it, there is going to be one person that is responsible and on the defense that is me. We all have to do our part, so we can be as good as we can be as a football team on many levels.”
(On if players should have confronted Baker after the game or if they should leave it up to the coaches to talk to him)
“Again, I wasn’t there. I can’t answer that. I know that Coach [Dirk] Koetter addressed it yesterday pretty much in depth.”
(On the reason that the linebacker unit is the strength of the team’s defense)
“We’ve got some really good players at that position. I think that Lavonte David arguably had a Pro Bowl year. In my opinion, he was a Pro Bowl player. I think Kwon Alexander – we know he is a very good player as well and some people probably think he deserves to be a Pro Bowl player. It’s nice to have two guys like that. And there were some guys that are contributing – the rookie, Kendell Beckwith, has done a very good job for us. We’ve had to play him out of position because of injuries and situations on our defensive line. But, we feel like he is a good player. Then there are some guys that have competed and done well on special teams in our linebacker group as well. We are focusing on trying to finish this thing out the right way and then evaluations come after the 16th [game] of the season when you are not in the playoffs.”
(On how much Saints running back Alvin Kamara has changed the Saints offense)
“I’m a strong believer that you have to win the line of scrimmage to win football games and be able to run the football. They have done a fantastic job doing that. You have a rookie running back make the Pro Bowl and he does a very good job catching the ball out of the backfield. They line him up out at the wide receiver position. He is a match-up issue. He is probably one of the most impressive stories, in my opinion, in the league this year. What they [have] been able to do with their offense – usually they have been reliant on Drew [Brees] and his arm. They are playing solid defense and they are running the football. They are doing it with a lot of effectiveness. They are throwing the screen game [and] getting the ball in the hands of their running backs and getting it to their playmakers as quickly as they can and they are making plays. Without a doubt, this is probably, in my opinion, the best offensive group that New Orleans has put together since I have been in the NFC South. It is very, very impressive and it is not Drew having to do it. It’s a really fine team. They have a good, solid offensive line, so they are a good team.”
(On how the Saints have been able to take such a big step forward defensively)
“Well, they’ve got a rookie corner (Marshon Lattimore) that made the Pro Bowl – that helps. He has been able to line up and take one side of the field away. Their coaching staff has done a very good job. Cameron [Jordan] just watching him – and again I am watching from afar – the defensive end, he is having a big year. It’s a fine line in this business. That’s just the way you’ve got to approach it because that’s what it is. I think you guys have seen and lived it with us this year in terms of what has happened in our season. You have to deal with it and that’s what we are doing.”
(On how head coach Dirk Koetter is holding up in regard to speculation about his job security and if the team’s effort the past few weeks is a reflection of how they feel about their head coach)
“Absolutely, it is. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – these guys have played their asses off in terms of going out and giving the effort that you need to win. Unfortunately, there [have] been a handful of plays that have not allowed us to do that. We’ve got to find a way to make those plays or coach those guys better. It’s unfortunate in terms of how this league is [and] in terms of three or four weeks still to go in the season and they are talking about this and they are talking about that. All it is is talk. That’s what it is and you don’t listen to it because it is just talk. It is just freaking noise. We’ve got to go out and we’ve got to prepare each and every week no matter what is being said outside the building. It is what we do inside the building. These guys have played their tails off and I’m not going to have anybody ever say anything different to this group of guys because that’s what they’ve done. We haven’t won, but they have played hard.”
(On if he has a sense of whether cornerback Brent Grimes plans to stay with the Buccaneers, play elsewhere or possibly retire after the season)
“I’ve said this before – Brent Grimes, genetically, is very, very blessed. He is 34 years old. He hasn’t slowed down. He is no different than eight years ago when I joined the Atlanta Falcons and he was a young player. He still has the same athleticism. He still has the same explosiveness. He’s got a great repertoire that he is still playing at a high level. I can see this guy being like a guy that we faced last week on the defensive line that is still playing (Julius Peppers), if he wants to do that. Grimes has got to make that decision, but he is playing at a high level. There is no doubt about it.”
(On his outlook toward Sunday’s game against the Saints)
“Same approach – go to practice, prepare well [and] go try to win on Sunday. The approach doesn’t change. We just need a different outcome. We’ve just got to go to practice, have a good week of practice – the best week of practice – and go win. It’s simple.”
(On Saints quarterback Drew Brees)
“What I will say about Drew Brees is he is a future Hall of Famer. He is playing well this season. We’ve just got to do our best to keep him in the pocket. He is doing well moving. They’ve got four Pro Bowlers on offense and those guys are good, so we’ve got to make sure that we handle those guys.”
(On how much Saints running back Alvin Kamara has changed the Saints offense this season)
“He is excellent. He is a do-everything guy. He actually is a lot stronger and weighs more than people think. You’d be surprised just looking at him – him and Mark Ingram weigh the same. He runs a lot stronger than he looks. He just can do it all. I think he’s got 70-plus catches. He has earned everything he is getting, so we’ve got to get guys around him because he can make you pay. He showed us in the first game.”
(On how difficult it was to go out and play against the Panthers after being limited in practice due to injury)
“It wasn’t. I’m a professional athlete and I play a brutal sport. It is either you are going to be a man about it or not. I don’t care how many times people question Gerald, I am going to give it everything I’ve got, so it wasn’t hard to go out there. For me, preparation is everything, so when my preparation is limited physically, I have to prepare mentally. Fortunately enough for me, my first game back was against a familiar opponent, so I just went out there and did what I could for my team. Injuries and playing hurt and all that – that is normal for me. That ain’t nothing.”
(On head coach Dirk Koetter)
“I am going to say this about Coach [Dirk] Koetter – and this is no knock to anybody I’ve ever played for – head coach wise, Coach Koetter and Coach [Bob] Stoops are on the same level to me for guys that I’ve played for. Just for who they are and what they’ve been to me and just how they are as coaches. I love Coach Koetter. I love his family – his family is great people. Every now and then I slip up and call him Dirk and I apologize for that because I don’t want to call any of my coaches by their first name, but Coach Koetter – I love him. That’s all I can say… I will say this, our coach has all of the support of us, this locker room, everyone around here and Gerald personally. I love coach, I really do.”

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