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30 August 2016

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 Media Availability (8/30/16)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Wide Receiver Kenny Bell
Tight End Cam Brate
Wide Receiver Louis Murphy
(On the Washington game being moved up to Wednesday due to the potential inclement weather on Thursday)
“The safety of getting the game is the most important thing there. Obviously the weather is unpredictable and we have to go by what’s forecast. [Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer] Brian Ford on our end and then the league and Washington, there was lot of stuff going on behind the scenes last night to try and get this thing moved. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation. There’s still guys that this game is really important to as far as jobs and making teams, making practice squad, getting picked up by other teams. That’s the same for both teams. So I appreciate everybody’s hard work, a lot of changes had to made to get it done.”
(On if playing tomorrow night gives the team any edge over other team’s as they prepare for the regular season)
“No, I don’t think as far as picking up guys. Obviously it’s one more day that we have before our first game as opposed to if it would’ve been moved back, one less day. But no edge as far as, that I know of, from that standpoint.”
(On if certain players will be held out of tomorrow’s game)
“Yeah, we’re going to hold some guys out. We’re going to hold some guys out completely. We’re going to play some guys a little and we’re going to play some guys a lot. So that’s just how it is in the last [preseason] game of the year.”
(On if all of the starters will be held out)
“Not completely, but the guys we’re going to hold out are going to be starters.”
(On what the fourth preseason game can do for players that are trying to make the team)
“Obviously we’ve got a handful of spots that are still open between a couple of guys. And there’s a different level of football between practice and – we have different tempos in practice – than when we joint practice with somebody else and when you play preseason games. Preseason games are real football. Some guys can make plays in practice, [but] don’t necessarily make plays in a game and vice-versa. Great example: [offensive lineman] Josh Allen last week for us, he got thrown into a situation where Josh basically comes all the way from our third-team guard up to starting and he played very well. Of course that helped his stock, that’s just one example.”
(On if there are players that play better than they practice)
“Yeah. Coaches don’t like that, but there are guys that are like that. Coaches don’t like to see that, we like guys that play at a high level at both, but I think there are guys like that.”
(On if he knows whether or not running back Mike James will play tomorrow)
“Yes, I know.”
(On if there are any concerns about guard Ali Marpet heading into the regular season opener)
(On if there are any players, other than Louis Murphy and J.R. Sweezy, who are questionable for the regular season opener)
“I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a good chance. The guys that aren’t going to play tomorrow basically have four of the next eight days off. And we get an extra practice on Monday and then next Tuesday will be their normal day off. Because of this change, the players are going to have Thursday off. And then they already had Saturday and Sunday off and then Tuesday would be a regular game week. So four of the next eight days for the guys that aren’t going to play in the game.”
(On if the team will practice Friday)
“We’re going to bring the guys in on Friday, review the tape, get a good run and a lift and a little walk-through in on Friday.”
(On if the possibility of playing in tough weather conditions will cause him to be cautious about playing certain players coming off of an injury tomorrow night)
“Well anybody that we’d be in fear of injury, wouldn’t be playing anyway. If they haven’t been cleared to play – and that’s not my call, that comes from the medical staff – if guys are cleared to play, they’re cleared to play. Just like today - it rained out there - we need to play in rain sometimes. That’s great work for us. I don’t know what kind of conditions we’re talking about. If it’s bad enough that it’s unsafe, there [are] rules in place to handle that. Lighting, we have a lightning delay. If the field becomes unplayable – but I think that’s one of the reasons they moved it up, so we wouldn’t be in that situation.”
(On how comfortable he is with the team’s quarterback depth)
“Very comfortable. I feel great about that room. I think we have good depth. Again, if it was a perfect world, we are getting to the point where it would be better for our football team if we could keep two quarterbacks because we’re going to have to let some guys go that we don’t want to let go. And I think the perfect set-up with the way the NFL is structured right now, is two quarterbacks and one on practice squad. But if you have a good one and you try to put him on practice squad, the league is so short of quarterbacks, he’ll get scooped up like that. We had two guys we were waiting on last year and Ryan Griffin was one of them. We had two guys that we had our eye on, only one of them came open [and] we snapped him up. And like I was saying yesterday, we invested a year and it just so happens that Mike [Glennon’s] deal’s up [after the season]. If we didn’t have that situation with Mike, then maybe things would be different. I believe in keeping two and a developmental guy, but we’re just not in that situation right now.”
(On if the wide receiver spot is one of the more difficult ones to determine now that Donteea Dye is off the roster)
“Donteea or not, it’s one of those spots, yes. There’s really good competition there and we have more than one position like that. Multiple spots will be decided after tomorrow night.”
(On if he has made a decision on his two starting cornerbacks yet)
“Well you guys see who’s been working with the first group. I think the thing about the corner spot is it’s gone from a position that we were thin in to now a position that we have depth. That’s one of those positions I was talking about, we may not be able to keep everybody we like.”
(On if cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III will start)
“I haven’t seen that yet, we’re going to have a little coach’s meeting when we go back up tomorrow. Some of that depends on who we’re holding out. I don’t know if you’re talking about tomorrow night or Atlanta.”
(On if Hargreaves will start Week One at Atlanta)
“[Laughs] Let’s talk about that next week.”
(On what the key is to making the jump from 6-10 to 10-6 in the NFL and why the Buccaneers can do it)
“Well I hope this team goes from 6-10 to 16-0, myself. But I think the most important thing in any team that has a turnaround one way or another is still injuries. When you’ve got 53 guys, every team is fighting health once Week One starts. And for the most part, teams that do well in this league stay pretty healthy, they stay with consistent lineups. There’s a few exceptions to that, but I think health is the most important thing. After that, I just think leadership within your locker room and talent. And I think we’ve improved in both those areas. I think we’ve got pretty good leaders in our locker room, we had good guys to build around on defense already. [Quarterback] Jameis [Winston] going into his second year is an excellent guy in that role on offense and then the talent that we’ve added from last year to this year. We’ve added as many as possibly six new starters. Like ‘Smitty’ [Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith] always says, we have 16 starters on defense, when you talk about sub-defense, we’ve added maybe six new guys on that side of the ball. And we return everybody except [retired guard] Logan [Mankins] on the offensive side of the ball.”
(On if the team is still looking at the waiver wire for new players)
“Well [General Manager] Jason [Licht] and his staff, they’re doing that all the time, that’s their job. Again, that’s another thing I’ve been blown away by in my new role because now they share all that stuff with me. When you’re an assistant coach, they don’t tell you all that stuff. So yeah, they’re working on that and you’re always comparing that to what you have, but as your team gets better and you get more quality players - which I think we do - and our depth is better at some positions, then you kind of want to hold onto some guys and try and keep and develop some guys we have here. I’ve said this many times, you’ve got to remember that every team in the NFL is not perfect. Everybody’s got weaknesses. We have teams calling us about guys that are on the border for us, but every team has injuries. A team’s beat up at this positon, they’re looking around the league. They’re beat up at that position, they’re looking around the league. There’s a couple, three teams in this league that almost are totally wiped out at one position. So there aren’t any teams that address all their needs in one year. And then even if they do, one or two freak things at a positon can put you right back at a disadvantage.”
(On how many tight ends the team will keep)
“That’s all coming pretty quick [laughs].”
(On if he is glad the preseason is coming to an end)
“Yeah. You get to a certain point of diminishing returns where the guys are kind of tired of it, the coaches are kind of tired of it. And then the hype. After playing a home game in the stadium the other night – and we played well – you can feel it, it’s getting close to being here. And then of course everybody’s talking about cuts and the final 53, the season’s getting close, the players got a couple days off and the regular season’s here. The job is not finished because there’s things that have to take place tomorrow in the game to wrap this up, but on the other side our sights are set on the Falcons.”
(On if has ever sat in on player cuts whole an assistant coach, like in reality shows like ‘Hard Knocks’)
“No, but speaking of those kind of shows, I like that one about East Mississippi Junior College. What’s the name of that thing? [‘Last Chance U’] Yeah, that was awesome, I was glued to that thing. No, I haven’t [sat in on player cuts in the past]. When we had to cut guys last week, that was tough. I asked personally, I wanted to talk to the guys. And that was only the cut to 75. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye because these guys have been here since April and for the most part, with very few exceptions, these guys have given us great effort. We’ve asked them to do a lot and they’ve tried to do a lot and that’s all you can ask. You appreciate their effort. We’ve got a lot of good guys we’re going to say goodbye to here in a few days.”
(On how much more difficult the potential for poor weather makes the game)
“Yeah, that’s just unfortunate. Just to really stack it against you. You’re talking about trying make a team as a receiver, to know that a tropical storm is coming that is going to mess with the field and there’s going to be a wet football, that’s tough. It’s kind of stuff you kind of just have to laugh at and as life is throwing punches your way, you’ve just got to dodge them because that’s certainly a big one.”
(On how much it helps knowing that he will most likely have more passes thrown his way in the fourth preseason game)
“It always helps knowing that you’re going to get more chances at it. If you have two opportunities and one’s a catch and one’s a contested catch, those stick out. If you get eight targets and you catch six of them, that’s huge. Going back to opportunities, how important this week is, tomorrow night’s big.”
(On how camp overall has been for him)
“I think I’ve had a strong camp, I really do. I’m confident in the film that I’ve put out there and I’m confident in myself as a football player. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night and putting that showcase out there.”
(On if moving the game up a day effects preparation)
“I think it does a little bit. It’s nice to have as much time as you can to prepare for an opponent, but they have as much time as we do, it’s up a day for them too. It kind of [stinks] as far as preparation goes, but it doesn’t really give one team an advantage over the other.”
(On if he accomplished everything he wanted to in the preseason)
“I think I practiced well. I think I got better every day, which was my main goal, just to go out every single day [and] try to improve one every day. Didn’t really play as well as I wanted to as far as preseason games, but overall I think I had a pretty strong camp.”
(On what he’s looking to accomplish tomorrow)
“Hopefully everyone stays injury-free, that’s a big thing [in] the fourth preseason game. But every single time you take the field, you’ve got to go out there and compete [and] try to win the game, so that’s the main thing for us is try and beat the Redskins.”
(On coming back from his injury)
“As a competitor, you always want to get back on the field. This entire time, these last nine months now, I feel like I let my team down, I feel like I let this organization down. So to not be out there and helping these guys go forward, it’s tough on me. I haven’t had a good night’s rest in probably nine months. I know I’m at the peak of my career, so coming back I’m definitely excited about the return.”
(On how difficult it has been dealing with an injury)
“This is my first serious injury ever, so that’s tough. I’ve got full faith and courage in our team that we have and the guys that we have here and I’m always here encouraging them and rooting them along. And from a vet’s standpoint, giving them what I see from the game. I’m just here to help in any way I can.”
(On if he has talked to any players who have dealt with a similar injury for advice)
“Yeah, I’ve talked to a couple guys. I’ve talked to [Minnesota Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson, I’ve talked to [Green Bay Packers wide receiver] Jordy Nelson - he’s still dealing with it as well. I’ve talked with [linebacker] Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers. So it’s a long process, it really takes about a good full year to get it completely healed from guys’ standpoint, but some come back quicker than others. But it’s all about how the body reacts to it.”

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