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28 December 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Availability (12/28/17)

BUC BIT OF THE DAY: Over the past four weeks, QB Jameis Winston leads the league in passer rating (114.5) and yards per attempt (9.25), while ranking third in completion percentage (72.0), fourth in passing yards (1,221) and tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns (eight).
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
(On if there is something that he would point to as to why quarterback Jameis Winston is struggling with lost fumbles)
“Possession of the ball is the most important thing. There is no question about that. Possession of the football [is] most important. If you look at sacks in the NFL, it is a high number of sacks on the quarterback that turn into fumbles. That is across the league. The quarterback is in a vulnerable position and we had two of those last week. Both the first one and the second one were Jameis in a passing posture. I think part of that is just experience and learning if I am not getting the ball out on time, sometimes I’ve got to go into self-preservation mode. I think that is something that Jameis will continue to work on as time goes on. The snap in the game, in this particular game, that was on Joe [Hawley]. Joe came right off the field. Joe was pulling on the play and Jameis didn’t even touch that ball. It goes as a fumble to him – that is just the way the stats are and that is fine. I think the biggest one that Jameis has to correct moving forward is the one where he’s got guys hanging on him and he is still trying to make a play. Has he made plays like that? Yes, he has. But, the risk-reward there just isn’t high enough.”
(On the discrepancy between Winston’s numbers while he was dealing with a shoulder injury and now that he is healthy)
“The numbers are so dramatic. I think, like a lot of stuff, that is a hard thing to measure because no one really knows – it is hard on any injury, unless a guy can’t run or something like that – it’s hard to say. A shoulder injury to a quarterback, ‘Okay, does it affect him five percent? Does it affect him 10 percent?’ At some percent there, he wouldn’t have played. The doctors wouldn’t have cleared him to play. So, it’s a hard thing to judge, but the numbers are so dramatic. When you talk to Jameis about that, he’s got a couple other things that he would point to, but it’s really hard other than health – I mean, he is healthier [and] that is the main difference.”
(On if he has conversations with Winston about not letting his emotions get the best of him)
(On what he says to Winston in those situations)
“Those are things I should keep between Jameis and myself.”
(On the health status of wide receiver DeSean Jackson)
“Yeah, he did a little bit more today. [He is] still limited and we will just have to see how the week goes here.”
(On the health status of tight end Cameron Brate)
“He did a little bit. Similar to last week, I think Cam will do what he can on Sunday – that would be my expectation.”
(On how well the team’s wide receiver depth has served it well over the past few weeks)
“Well, especially in Bobo’s case because it was his first game action. Freddie [Martino] was with us in Atlanta. Freddie is one of those guys that is just always there when you need him and always seems to play a little bit better than you think he is going to. He knows our system, can play all the spots [and] he is a tough guy. Freddie has been playing really solid on special teams. He has been covering kicks, covering kickoffs [and] making tackles. Sometimes if you are that fourth or fifth receiver, you just don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to get balls thrown to you. Then all of the sudden you do and you go, ‘Hey, that guy is not too bad.’ In Freddie’s case, it is really not that unexpected or surprising. In Bobo’s case – we talked about this I think yesterday or the day before – he has just improved a lot. He has done a good job of taking Monk’s (Todd Monken’s) coaching and then applying it and then one of the hardest things for a guy when you’re a backup is you’ve got to learn more than one spot because you don’t ever know where you are going to go in.”
(On if it just depends on the week in terms of how much hand fighting will be allowed between receivers and cornerbacks)
“That’s every week. I talk to the officials about it every week. Even when you go through the league, I think that is just one of the biggest issues in our league right now is the hand fighting both ways and then the discrepancies in how crews call it. I know the league works hard to try to unify that, but it’s hard because you’ve got different guys watching different people with how their responsibilities are. And especially when you have big receivers – I think big receivers, like Mike [Evans], teams try to hold them up more and you get hand fighting and you are going to get calls both ways. It’s a difficult thing.”
(On if they keep track of which officiating crews throw flags for certain plays more than others)
“Yeah, we go over it every week. We have scouting reports [and] we have numbers on where they are at, a crew, compared to league average [and] what penalties they call the most. Then same with each individual guy [and] where he ranks and how many he calls. Even with that said – and we go over it every single week – even with that said, say there [are] 35 passes in a game, if they are playing bump-and-run coverage, there [are] still bang-bang plays. If you have every done anything in your life where you are running, you are running and your head moves your eyes – the officials are running too, so how I am looking at a play from my angle and how an official is looking at it [might be different]. We turn plays in. It’s just never going to be perfect.”
(On if he thinks that when wide receiver Mike Evans gets a few flags during a game that people start to look at him and claim that he pushes off a lot)
“Oh yeah, absolutely. I guarantee you the other teams – the officials come in your locker rooms – I guarantee you the other coaches are saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to watch 13 pushing off.’ Just like I am saying you’ve got to watch whatever your number is, 44, grabbing at 13. Heck, I’m talking to them during the game about that. That doesn’t mean it helps”
(On the difference in skillsets between Saints running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara)
“The basic look at it is Ingram is the power guy and Kamara is the elusive guy, but Kamara has better power than you think he does and Ingram is more elusive than you think he is. I think Ingram is the healthiest that he has been. He has had a couple runs on tape, wow, and they are throwing the ball to Ingram more. Kamara has almost 80 catches, or right around 80, but Ingram has almost 60 catches, so they are throwing it to both of them. When we were scouting Kamara coming out of Tennessee, you could see the explosiveness. You could see all of that part, [but] what I didn’t see is his power. He is more powerful than I saw on his college tape. They’ve got a great 1-2 punch going. Two Pro Bowl running backs on the same team – I don’t know that that has happened too often in this league.”
(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s recent struggle with fumbling the football and if it is something that needs to be paid more attention to)
“I think it does. It’s still a turnover. There is no running rating for a quarterback where we deduct for turnovers, but it still is catastrophic for your team. It still puts you in a real bind. The thing you like about Jameis is the way he extends plays and the competitive nature that he has about him. We’ve scored the last two weeks on scrambles where he has escaped and hit Adam [Humphries] the week before and Bobo [Wilson] this week, so you like that part of it. With that being said, I think for a while, Ben Roethlisberger had that. He made a lot of plays, but he was also one of the high guys in terms of fumbles, which if you are not throwing the ball away and you are trying to extend plays, that is going to happen. Obviously, it’s a point of emphasis every week. It’s something that has stopped us – like any turnover – from scoring as much as we’ve needed to score.”
(On why the offense struggled in the red zone)
“Well, it usually comes down to lack of execution. I don’t know what else you say about it. When you don’t score down there, [in] some way, shape or form we got out-played. We got out-coached. There is no other way to put it. We had one other opportunity at the end with the field goal that we controlled the ability at the end of the game to score and it’s frustrating. After we got the holding call early, right before the half, we have Chris [Godwin]. He may be just a hair inside if Jameis [Winston] just has a little bit more patience. You can pinpoint to all of those drives and say, ‘Hey, we threw a go-route to Chris on Mike [Evans’] side – he wins, but we are on that side and no one really cares. Bottom line is we didn’t do it well enough. We moved the ball fine – very similar to [the game against] Green Bay in that respect from a standpoint of playing well enough defensively. We turn it over – that leads to points – and then we have special teams miscues that leads to putting us in a tough spot. Ultimately, you are going to have a hard time winning, especially where we are at as a team at this point, kicking a bunch of field goals.”
(On if there is any concern that the incident involving a car belonging to wide receiver DeSean Jackson may be a distraction for the team this week)
“That is hard for me to say. It’s not a distraction to me. I had nothing to do with it.”
(On if Jackson has talked about the incident)
“No, not to me. We go in the meeting rooms and we talk football and, ‘How are you feeling? Can we get you some reps today? You ready to go? Let’s finish the year the right way.’ But, what is talked [about] amongst the players? I don’t know.”
(On if it is normal for an injured player not to travel with the team)
“[Yeah]. It’s happened in terms of guys not traveling. Robert Ayers didn’t travel. He didn’t go with us [either]. So, there has been times guys have gone and there [are] times where guys haven’t.”
(On if Winston has learned a lot from head coach Dirk Koetter about playing at the NFL level)
“No doubt. He came from a good system. He had a really good start with Jimbo [Fisher] who runs a similar style, a pro style, so that obviously gave him a start. But, that is not the end all because there have been other guys [that have] come out of that system that haven’t flourished either. But, [it] was a good start. Jameis [is] very intelligent, wants to be a really good player, takes it to heart, really knowing the offense [and] where to go with the ball and protections – there is a lot to put on a guy’s plate that can paralyze you if you are not careful [with] a young quarterback. It can. You’ve got the weight of a franchise that is dying to win and it is put on him a lot and having to fight through all of that. I do think that, from a system standpoint, you can see Jameis get more and more comfortable the more healthy he is [and] the more consistent we are protection-wise [and] route-running-wise. It’s hard not to see that part of it. It is still a work in progress and like we’ve talked about, hanging onto the football, throwing it down the field with better pace [and] better accuracy, understand where we are going to be, but there is no denying that there is improvement there when he has been healthy. That will always stunt a young man’s growth. We’ve talked about it before, and I’ve mentioned it, our job is to coach guys and to try to get the most out of them and create the best version we can of them. That is the pride we take as coaches in coaching players to see them take what we coach in the meeting room onto the field. When that happens, there is no greater pride you get as a coach [than] watching that happen and no greater disappointment when it doesn’t. That is part of what you do.”
(On Winston’s ability to protect the football and his maturity and emotions and how he has grown in those areas)
“Considering the last game we just had, that is a pretty obvious question. We obviously didn’t protect it and he got fired up. He is a highly-competitive young man. The most frustrated people on a given team are the ones that feel so tied to the wins and losses – coaching and quarterback. That is where you are going to feel it. When that occurs and he is competitive and he comes out of the pile with the ball or something occurs where it gets the best of him, that is just who he is. That is going to continue, in my opinion, to subside as he keeps playing. Like a lot of things, he will improve in those areas. Like all of us, when you are tied to the winning and the losing – and let’s not kid ourselves, not everybody is. Players at times are really tied to their skillset. Yet, the guys tied most to winning and losing [are coaches] and quarterbacks. That is where you are going to get that from. That’s what you love about him. You love that about him and it is just a matter of time before hopefully that doesn’t become something to where we are constantly talking about this. The turnovers, they are going to occur now and then, but the other part you keep trying to move forward.”
(On if he thinks Winston’s end-of-game outburst was partially due to a frustrating season)
“I don’t think at that moment. I don’t think. Maybe some other things, but not that. Not on the field – that was a moment of he thought he had the ball. Maybe it might have been a frustration of the fumble and the way the game ended – that one particular game and that moment – but not maybe so much the season. But you would have to ask him. That would be hard for me to say.”
(On how tough it is to compartmentalize speculation about his job and just focus on football)
“The way I look at it – I think it is harder on your families because they are the ones that have to move. It is what we choose to do. There [have] been plenty of times throughout any career as a coach where it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are – we are paid to win. That is the nature of what we do. When you don’t, it’s tough. It’s not about the job. It’s not about job security. It’s about everything you put into it. I’m going to still coach. That’s the greatest thing about coaching – these players, they’ve got a small window to make money – I am getting better as a coach. My body is not, I can’t play, but you can still coach. That part of it doesn’t bother me. The thing that bothers you is when you put everything into it and then it doesn’t show up on film the way you want it to look and the way you feel like you are coaching it and teaching it. The reality is, once we come into the building, I don’t think of it at all. I think about what we’ve got to do this week to continue to get our guys to play. I think our offensive staff has done a great job of that because we have continued to play. As pros and as men, we have continued to compete. That is a credit to our coaches and our players. I can only speak to what I see and that is our side of the ball. With that being said, I can’t speak to each man because I haven’t seen it – I haven’t seen it from our coaches, I haven’t seen it from our players. We are all under the gun. That is part of what we do as players and as coaches. We are all paid to perform in one way, shape or form. When that doesn’t happen then that is part of the business. That is what you have to deal with.”
(On if he enjoys the offseason or if it makes him anxious for the following season)
“I hate being away from the players. I absolutely hate being away from the players. That is the most fun, in my mind, what I have [to do] in coaching. Now, after 16-straight weeks, am I a little worn out? You bet – and the frustration that we’ve had. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t find a way to pick myself up in the morning and say, ‘Let’s go.’ I owe it to what I am paid to do. But, I can’t stand being away from the players. Everything [I] do in coaching, I take responsibility for. Everybody thinks well, ‘Hey, this guy did this or we did this.’ That is not someone else’s problem. That is my problem. That is our problem. That as much as anything is how am I going to fix it? How are we going to get better if I’m not around them? I’m sure as hell going to want the credit when we do well, so I can’t not take the blame when it doesn’t go well. That is part of coaching. Everybody wants the credit when it goes well and no one wants the blame – well, that is part of what we do. So, how am I going to fix it if I can’t be around those guys and be around what we do day to day to fix it? If we don’t, we don’t. But, it’s hard when you don’t have those opportunities around your players. That is the fun you get in coaching. That is the fun someone gets in teaching. That is what you get out of mentoring [and] what you do when you impact people’s lives, when you see a change and them develop as not only people, but as players.”
(On if there have been any players that have checked out due to losses)
“I haven’t seen that, but I think our staff does a great job of framing it and Dirk [Koetter] does a great job of framing [that] we all have stuff to play for. It’s us on film. That is still your number. That is still the guys I coach and our offense. That is still a reflection of me, so do you have to do more of that because you don’t have the outside [motivation of], ‘Hey, we are playing for a playoff berth.’ Yeah, of course that is part of it. To me, that hasn’t been an issue. All you’ve got to do is frame it to people. They get it. We’ve got smart guys. They’ve just got to have it framed to them like, ‘Hey guys, you’re paid to do a job. We are paid to go out there and play. It is still about winning. It is still about competing. We haven’t shown any, from our side of what I can see, anybody that just says, ‘[Forget] it.’ Why start now? What about you now says, ‘Okay, I am not going to be at my best. I am not going to give it everything I have.’ What does that say about you as a man if when it’s right, I’ll give everything I’ve got, [but] when it’s not I am going to shut it down. I have not seen one of our guys do that and as coaches I haven’t seen that. That is a credit and that is what should be expected. It would be a damn shame if we didn’t do that – me or anybody.”
(On what allowed the offense to create so many explosive plays against the Panthers)
“Sometimes it just goes your way. That big completion to Chris [Godwin] where they missed a tackle and he got running – I don’t even know if we hit that in the week, if we hit that exact route. Sometimes it just happens and they miss a tackle and Chris has confidence with the ball in his hands. [On] one, Jameis [Winston] scrambles around and throws it up to Hump (Adam Humphries) – he makes a nice play with it. We ran a double-move and Jameis put it right on the money to Mike [Evans] and Mike made a really nice catch. [There was] a scramble to Bobo [Wilson] for a touchdown that we all know Jameis is going to move around. Sometimes it just kind of works that way for us. [We had] a long run from Peyton [Barber]. Sometimes it just happens to work that way. We’ve talked about it all year, you either better be really good on third downs to keep drives going, or better be explosive. We were both there the same way we have been the last few weeks. We already talked about being able to score touchdowns in the red zone and not turning the ball over. It is pretty simple. It is really a simple formula, [but] it is harder to get it done, otherwise we would have it done.”
(On his recent struggles with fumbling the football)
“I guess I’ve got to practice those situations more. I’ve definitely got to hold onto the ball in terms of fumbling. But yeah, I’ve got to stop fumbling.”
(On if pressure is the reason for the fumbles)
“My job is to protect the football. No matter what happens, I’ve got to hold onto the ball. It doesn’t really matter where [the pressure] is coming from, if my eyes or closed or anything. You’ve got to have a feel and try to protect it. Don’t lose it.”
(On if his end-of-game frustration was due to the frustration of the moment or the season as a whole)
“It was that moment because I know I had the ball. I don’t have much carryover.”
(On what happened under the pile on the late-game fumble)
“I had the ball the whole time. I got over the ball [and] I fell on top of the ball, but it’s okay. You can’t control those things.”
(On the theory that he is jealous of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton)
“Am I jealous of Cam? I wish we had his record. I admire Cam. I look up to Cam and me being an Alabama kid, I say it all the time, he played quarterback at Auburn. Cam knows he is the man. It’s not my place to be jealous of him. In my place, I want to beat Cam every time I play against him, absolutely. But no, I’m not jealous of Cam. I love my life”
(On what he has learned from head coach Dirk Koetter about playing football at the NFL level)
“A lot – I always talk about the situational-type of things of when to protect the football, or when to scramble and when to get down. Just kind of my development as a true professional has [come] a lot from him and Coach [Mike] Bajakian. As far as terminology and concept-wise, I had great, great coaching at Florida State. But again, it’s a different game. It’s a different game being up here on this level and you will be put in a lot of different situations. Dirk has been here [since] my first year. He came in – then he was the OC – as the head coach, it has been kind of different but Dirk is the man. I think he has taught me a lot, especially just me playing quarterback. You just don’t understand that relationship in that quarterback room. We spend so much time together – me, him, Coach Bajakian [and] those other quarterbacks – it’s like a family. Everybody has their different characteristics, but at the end of the day we all love each other.”
(On if he has ever felt the level of frustration before that he felt after the Carolina game)
“It wasn’t after the game. It was definitely during the game after that play. I knew I had the ball and it didn’t go my way. Now [looking] back, I know I can’t do that, but I want to win. That is just being competitive. You want to win and if you feel like you had something and someone tells you otherwise, you are like, ‘Man, come on now.’
(On frustration came from how the season has turned out)
“No, it was just that game. It was that game. I wanted to win that game. Our offense did a good job. I had a couple turnovers there that kind of hurt us, but having that turnover at the end of the game, that hurts. I don’t like losing.”
(On if he can describe what happened in the locker room post-game)
“No, I really can’t. It happened so fast. We just want to win. We [are] in the locker room, we are so close and we just want to win. That’s all. Me and Chris Baker [have] a great relationship. Everybody else who was involved [has] a great relationship and it’s just when everybody is trying to find a way to get a win – like this week, we are focused on the Saints. I want to win this game. We want to finish this year strong. We are trying our best, but we’ve got to make it happen.”
(On if he confronted defensive tackle Chris Baker)
“I didn’t confront Chris – period. I joined a conversation that was going on. I didn’t approach Chris at all.”
(On if it is up to players to handle those situations)
“Absolutely. It is called self-policing. We are all grown men in there and we have to be accountable for everything we do. We’ve got to be accountable for each other because this is the ultimate team game. Whether somebody is doing a great job or somebody is doing a not-so-well job, we have to be accountable for our mistakes and we have to fix it without a coach telling us what to do. As a team, we can fix it because we all get along and that’s what a real friend would do.”

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