Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today's earlier media availability. Full video of press conferences can be found on Buccaneers.com.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
(On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul having a club in his hand)
"He told me he had a sore finger."
(On the progression of the young players in the secondary)
"I think really of those young guys that are playing – of the three rookies – really none of them, they've all been in and out of the lineup a little bit. Carlton [Davis] has missed a little bit [Jordan] Whitehead has missed a little bit, M.J. [Stewart] has now missed some. I don't feel like they're hitting any wall or anything like that, but at the same time I don't think they're even close to where they can be."
(On the performance of safety Justin Evans this year)
"It's not just one guy's fault that we're not getting turnovers. I think Justin has a huge upside. We've got to remember he's a second-year player. He's playing once – Chris Conte got hurt, he's basically playing with inexperienced guys next to him. He's had to take on a much larger role from a communication standpoint. As our linebackers, when Kwon [Alexander] got hurt, that takes another piece of the communication out of the middle. I think Justin is somewhat like the rookie DBs. He's still getting experience and I think his best football is still ahead of him."
(On if any of the secondary has taken a step back)
"I don't know."
(On the strengths of offensive tackle Donovan Smith this season)
"I think he's been more consistent this year. Maybe in years past Donovan's bad plays were glaring and I think he's had quite a bit fewer of those than he has, so more consistent. Donovan is so athletically gifted for a man his size that sometimes he can look bad, but when you think about this guy is 6'5 335 pound doing some of the things he does athletically, it has to kind of bring him back down to earth. He's not a 220 athlete. He's not JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) playing left tackle. I mean, he's a 335-pound guy."
(On if wide receiver DeSean Jackson will return punts)
"DeSean's always got a green light to be the punt return guy. He kind of picks his spots on that and he's got a green light. Doesn't matter what building we're in. If he wants to be out there doing it, he'll be out there."
(On if Jackson returning punts depends on how fresh he feels)
"That and some of it is the punter we're facing that week. Nate [Kaczor] goes over with them what their hang-time is and what kind of returns we have up that week. All that goes into it, yes."
(On if there is something the secondary has to do differently against Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.)
"They have really four really good weapons. Not only do they have Beckham, [Sterling] Shephard's having a good year, [Evan] Engram that tight end can fly down the middle of the field – I mean, he can really run. Then of course [Saquon] Barkley, the running back out of the backfield. I don't think you can do a whole lot to just try to take one guy because they do spread the ball even though he's their leading receiver. All three of those – Engram has the least of those from a touches standpoint, targets standpoint – those other three guys can all hurt you. I don't think you can really just focus on him, even though he is a good player."
(On the development of Chris Godwin)
"Outstanding. Really, really good football player, dependable, can play every position, does a lot of the dirty work, can make plays when he's asked to. He doesn't have to be our number one right now, but I think Chris Godwin can be a number one receiver in this league."
(On if Godwin was a receiver that immediately stood out to him in the 2017 NFL Draft)
"Me personally, I had to watch him a little bit more, but Jason [Licht] was on Chris Godwin early. He mentioned him to me way before I even started looking at players – he had mentioned Chris to me. I didn't even really know who Chris was at that point. You compare them to different players – you mentioned Curtis Samuel coming out was kind of a slash wide receiver/running back and when we had him in for a visit he wasn't even sure what he was in the NFL. There was plenty of team that were thinking of him as a third down back type of guy in the league. Now in his second year, he looked a lot better as receiver than he did the first year – having a good year. I think on Chris that USC game and then his performance at the combine – like the USC game I just kept going, 'How did he get behind the defense that many times?' Then he goes and runs that time at the combine. Then when you really start going back and looking at all his tape, you go, 'Oh this guy can get behind the defense.'
(On if he thinks coaches in the league are going to start wanting offensive skill players that don't have a specific position)
"That's hard to say. I just think coaches in general try to use the guys they have the best they can – try to take advantage of their talent. When we played Carolina – which we don't this week by the way – I think the biggest difference in Carolina's team this year is their speed on the outside [Curtis] Samuel being one of those guys. Their receiving corps is much more dangerous. Their offense really still runs through Cam Newton and [Christian] McCaffrey the most. As far as the league, I think there are special players that people try to take advantage of their talents. We have some guys like that, but we don't really have guys that we look at as part running back, part receiver. I think our roles are little bit more defined for whatever it's worth."
(On if there were any kicking periods in practice and how kicker Cairo Santos did)
"Yep, we did yesterday. He did a good job. He made all of his kicks yesterday and then they went over to the stadium and kicked some. I think he kicked 35 field goals yesterday – it was something like 32-out-of-35. That's a good start."
(On if kicker Santos is a kickoff player)
"He has to be. He is now. Remember yesterday when I said what I liked about him that he was our kicker. You know what I like about him as our kickoff guy? He's our kickoff guy."
(On if Santos can kick the ball out of the end of the end zone on a kickoff)
"Depend of if it's windy like today or not. Go one direction for sure. I don't know. He's known as probably an NFL average-type kickoff guy."
(On how much impact he thinks last season's game against the Giants will impact this week's game)
"I don't know because they have a different coaching staff, different scheme on offense, defense. I don't think last year's game really has much of an influence on this year's game. I don't think so. I don't think It has anything to do with it. It might be a very dramatic game, but not because of that."
(On if they have made a decision on who is calling the plays against the Giants)
"So listen, every Thursday night we put the game plan to bed after dinner. After we get done with the players we put the game plan to bed and we wrap up the game plan. We make out final adjustments. After we do that tonight, we'll decide, and we'll move on from there. That's just how we do it, and I believe in our process a lot.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
(On starting fast)
"Irrespective of how you do it, the bottom line is starting fast is points. We had the same thing happen in Cincinnati. We got a stop, we went all the way down the field and we threw an interception – same exact thing happened. We got a stop on defense, went right down the field and we threw an interception and that changes really where you're at. Not only the feeling of just – we talk about starting fast, which we did. Took the ball, went all the way down the field and threw an interception. Again, starting fast is scoring first. That is scoring first, getting a stop first and putting yourself in an advantageous position."
(On if he goes into a game thinking the team needs to emphasize the run control time of possession)
"First off, Coach [Koetter] is the best offensive coach I've been around and the best play caller – that's why I came here. Second off, you always have a plan who you're trying to attack and what's going to give you the best chance to win offensively. With that being said, we'd love to score more longer – who wouldn't? Who wouldn't like to take advantage of your nine or 10 possessions, take seven minutes or six minutes off the clock and finish with a touchdown? In an ideal world, that is perfect. In every sport, how do we do that? Efficiency on the offensive end where we take time and we don't give them as many possessions. You're exactly right. We'd love to be able to do that and be more efficient at it – more effective in the red zone. You bet."
(On if Coach Koetter had an emphasis on RPOs)
"I wouldn't say so much that. I would just say that it's a matter of calling them when you've got them on the game plan sheet and he did a great job of that. We certainly did. They gave us certain things and he kept calling it – did a great job of that."
(On how the pass protection has been for Ryan Fitzpatrick)
"Outstanding. I really do. We've put ourselves in some tough spots at times. When you put yourself in a position where you've got to throw as often as we've had to, it's going to put you in those positions. Early in the years that wasn't an issue. Why? We were winning. I mean, Philadelphia defensively and the Saints – they have good pass rushers. What was the difference? We were ahead in the game. We dictated to them tempo and how we played – we were running the ball enough. When you get behind and they can pin their ears back and come after you, and then you're getting some of their stunts and blitzes that you normally see on third down, their you don't see on run downs that's tough. We've got to do a better job moving forward."
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
(On what it's like to play in MetLife Stadium)
"Eli [Manning's] probably played in the stadium more than I have, but yeah it'll be blue not green. The majority of my games, they were green. Local knowledge helps, so if there is wind or anything like that, it's stuff that I've been in that stadium with and dealt with before. That's not going to hurt to have played that many games in that stadium. It's a neat place to play. It was a great two years of my life playing there meeting a lot of people – a lot of great relationships. It'll be neat to – I don't know how many I'll see – but if I get the chance to catch up with some people, it'll be neat to do."
(On if the cold weather and wind affects his long pass)
"No, I mean unless it's crazy wind, but usually it may play a part in it a little bit in terms of I have to take into account if the ball is going to move a little bit. Unless the wind is absolutely crazy, which would affect both teams, then it won't be that big of a deal."
(On what goes into making game-changing throws)
"There's a lot of different things. I think first and foremost would be the playmakers on the receiving end of it. I think that's probably the most important part of it. After that, the scheme and how you get things dialed up is really important. For me, I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with guys that can make those type of plays and finish those type of plays with touchdowns."
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
(On what he sees in Giants RB Saquon Barkley)
"I've been quoted as saying this league produces mutants, and he's another one of them, man. A game I was watching – I don't remember what game it was – he got 'tackled' and landed in, like, a full squat to where he was almost sitting on the ground, and he just stood up and just kept running. This dude, man, he's incredible. Any word – incredible, amazing, spectacular – all those words, that's him. I don't think he's even gotten close to scratching the surface of being a running back. He's just balling right now. When he learns how to be a true running back, it's going to get ugly."
(On if the Buccaneers can learn from how San Francisco contained Barkley)
"No. He's one of those guys that you kind of just do your game plan and it's got to be 11 to the football. You don't watch one game and [say], 'Oh yeah, they figured it out.' Nobody has figured it out. I don't think anybody will figure it out – he's one of those guys, generational guys. We've just got to attack him and make sure we get him on the ground. We can't trust that one person is going to get him down."
(On if he thinks Giants quarterback Eli Manning still has his edge)
"Yeah he's still got it. You see how he finished that game last week? Yeah, he's still got it. I don't care what people say. Eli's going to the Hall of Fame. I think he is. I think he should be. Until he stops playing, he's always going to be that guy. I think once you've got it, you've just got it and it can flash at any moment. We go up there thinking that he [doesn't] have it – all I know is last time we went up there it didn't go too good for us and he put up some big numbers. We have one of their guys now on our side. Last time we went up there he put on a show against us too, so I'm glad he's on our side. Eli is Eli. They've got a whole slew up there. They've got a guy that plays for them that went to the best school in the country – I don't know who that guy is. Arguably the best receiver in the game, arguably the best young running back in football. We've just got a really good offense and if they get on fire it's going to be hard to stop."