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
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
(On if he has seen the NFL officiating the roughing the passer rule)
"Nelson [Luis] just told me that they put out a statement. Usually those videos come in while we're in practice and it's usually a couple times a week, so it's probably upstairs. If that's what they said, then that's what they said. That's what we've been doing and we'll continue to do it if that's what they say."
(On if the team has been adjusting to the rules without getting called for penalties)
"Yeah. We harp mostly on pre-snap penalties – those are the ones that are preventable. Aggressive penalties are going to happen sometimes. We've got to try to be smart about it. On both of our roughing the passer penalties last week you couldn't tell those guys to do anything different. Sometimes on a holding penalty or something like that those are easily – you can correct what we did wrong. You're going to have some penalties out there. Every crew calls it a little bit different. Even though the league is trying to get it more concise between crews, the crews do call it differently."
(On when he will say who the starting quarterback will be against the Bears)
"I don't know the answer to that. I mean, it's not a mystery in my mind. I don't know."
(On he sees from Evan Smith and Caleb Benenoch at right guard individually and the line as a group)
"I think our line play was really good in Weeks 1 through 2. It wasn't a lack of physicality in the Steelers game, we just had some mental [errors]. We just missed some run-throughs that you just can't miss. It wasn't just the line. Like I said, we had one from the running backs. We just had some protection breakdowns that – it wasn't anything hard that Pittsburgh did. Now they rushed hard, they came hard, they were physical, but that's every week in this league. As far as Caleb and Evan, like I said before there's different reasons why you rotate players. If we were rotating D-lineman, everybody would be happy, but as soon as we rotate and O-lineman just because it's not the way it's normally done, everyone freaks out. Again, there's different reasons and some of those just have to stay in-house right now. "
(On making corrections against a 3-4 defense)
"We didn't make errors because it was a 3-4 team, that had nothing to do with it. A 3-4 team does make you work a little to I.D. it. Those are communication problems. There's no magic to a 3-4 defense. There's magic to really good players. There's magic to multiplicity and making you communicate, especially on the road when it's hard to hear. There's no magic in a 3-4 alignment. If there was, everybody would do it."
(On if defensive tackle Vita Vea has been able to get in better 'football shape')
"Yeah and trust me there is hitting in practice even on days when we're going in 'spiders' like we did today. There's still – none of us in this room would be able to go out there and survive including and especially me. It's still physical in practice, especially for those guys up front on both sides. You're exactly right though – there's no better way to get in football shape than to play football. There's a fine line though between training camp, preseason, practice football, and real NFL football. Some of that is medical decisions made by the guys that make those calls. After they're cleared to play, then it becomes our call a little bit. Those are hard decisions."
(On Vea's injury status)
"Is he still on the injury report? I think he is. I guess he is."
(On the veracity of the injury report)
"Supposedly the injury report is supposed to be legit by NFL rules. I think ours is."
(On if there is something that he believes he is missing from a defensive standpoint)
"Well yeah there's stuff in every game that we're missing in all three phases of the game. That's every game. It's never perfect, it's never a perfect game plan, it's never perfect execution, so we have a million stats – everything is 'stated' in the NFL. Everybody is going to place value differently. I've got places where I place value. Other people have places where they place value. When you're winning games, some of those stats get swept under the rug and when you're losing games, those stats get magnified. Of course, there's plenty of stuff to work on."
(On if he can take advantage of Bear quarterback Mitch Trubisky's inexperience)
"That's what everybody would think that would happen, but like I said the other day when we talked about this is we've been the same boat. We started a young quarterback. I'm a big believer in experienced quarterbacks in this league, but that doesn't mean guys aren't going to go out there and shoot the lights out on any given day. That's what Chicago is trying to do – they're trying to build their plan around what he does best. That's the same thing we did and continue to do with Jameis as our quarterback. The Drew Breeses the Ben Roethlisbergers the Tom Bradys Aaron Rodgers of the world have done it over and over and over and over for multiple years. These young guys, that's why they're picked where they're picked first round because somebody believes they can do that too someday."
(On safety Justin Evans stepping into a bigger role)
"I think that's something that we're trying to push the envelope with Justin. He's been receptive to that. He understands that. He can see that as well. I think receptive. Everybody has to lead in their own way – no different than with the quarterback position of the O-line position. I think he recognizes that and tries to embrace it."
(On what he has seen from safety Jordan Whitehead so far)
"That he's not afraid to get out there and get in the mix. Those are grown men trying to hurt each other out there and when you're playing in the safety position – especially a down safety – a lot of times your eyes are in the backfield looking at your key and you've got guys coming from the outside trying to hit you. They've made those rules safer – can't block you below the waist – but they're still planting you. Then all of a sudden – I don't know if you remember the play – but Roethlisberger turned around and gave a really hard play action fake and they're trying to throw it over your head. The coaches are telling those safeties, 'Hey, you've got to get a player in the run-fit. Oh yeah but you've also got to play your pass-drop.' So there's some hesitancy there and then the guys that they're trying to run behind your head are guys like Antonio Brown. Of course, if you're a young safety you're going to be hesitant at times. When you say the game's not too big for them, usually you're referring to there wasn't much hesitation and there's going to be mistakes there. From a coaching side, you say make your mistakes going full-speed."
(On what he's seen from cornerback M.J. Stewart)
"Same. All three of those rookies I think that's probably the thing that's jumped out the most is the way they're not afraid to go out there and compete and not back down, no matter who it is. Think about it, these guys were all in college last year and they're going against guys they watched on TV – now that's the same for every new player in the league. All of a sudden we've got three of them out of the five when we're in nickel defense out there at the same time and they're going against guys that they dreamed about going against and now they are. That would become mundane after a while. Not mundane in the sense that you've got to get up for it every week, but right now Monday Night Football is a big deal."
(On if making the transition from college to NFL is as difficult for cornerbacks as it is for quarterbacks)
"I think that they're probably all difficult. I think that the transitions are probably pretty similar. I think you ask any guy – anybody that played football their whole life. You go from Pop Warner to Little League to middle school or whatever to high school to college. The game gets faster and the NFL is the fastest of the fast."
(On if he can tell if there is any atrophy in timing or working with the receivers)
"I don't think I would use the word 'atrophy' maybe because it's just not in my vocabulary. I think there's always an adjustment period getting back to working with those certain guys – getting back to working with your guys. Hats off to Jameis for putting together a group of guys to do what he did. I was asking him yesterday if he had video because I'd really love to see it. I think it would be awesome. Jameis a quarterback, coach and GM all at the same time – perfect. I think there is a little adjustment period and that's one of the things we're trying to move as long as quickly as we can."
(On running back Ronald Jones has been incorporated into special teams)
"Yeah. Sure. Of course. As I've said, he's playing a different position on special teams than Shaun [Wilson] is, so some of that falls on who else we have up for that game – who else is in there. I've said it multiple times – RoJo's day is coming. This has nothing to do with anything he's not doing well. It's on me – it's on us. His day is coming. Guys can get drafted where they get drafted, but my job's still to put the 46 guys out there that give us the chance that week to win and that's always what we're going to do."
(On making the transition from inactive to active roster while in season)
"That's a great question. Ask Ryan Griffin that question – he's been trying to do it for six years. It's hard. That's a hard thing. That's the rules we're living by. That's hard once the season starts. That's why you've got preseason and training camp. You talk about opportunity – however many practices we have, however many preseason games we have – those are those opportunities. You have to establish some kind of a depth chart and then once the season starts, it's hard. Right when I leave here, just like all our other coaches, we're going to go up there and watch every pay of that practice that we just went through as a coaching staff. Then we're going to go back downstairs and watch every play with the players and what we don't get done today with them, we're going to watch it tomorrow. It's an ongoing process and it's the same for every single team in this league."
(On how players are recovering during a short week)
"You're short a day. You have to make some adjustments for that. We made those adjustments. You're not going to know for sure until Sunday at one o'clock and how it plays out in those three hours."
(On the depth chart being tested during the short weeks)
"It's hard for any player. Doesn't matter if it's a running back, a tackle, a corner. Some places you're not four deep. Some places you're only two-deep. It is what it is. It's going ot work itself out – trust me it will."
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
(On if he is concerned about red zone offense)
"[I'm] not. The sample size is still small, so it's frustrating, it's disappointing. You're not going to be perfect. If you are, we come out victorious no matter what the turnover situation was. It's tough because some of the things we did down there were self-inflicted. We're first-and-goal on the six [yard-line] we get and illegal shift, that puts you first-and-goal at the 11– not good. We miss a protection so we don't slide, hits a defender in the helmet and the ball gets deflected and gets intercepted. Disappointing. Again, those aren't excuses – we've got to do it better. There wasn't really anything – looking back, sure, running the football probably helps that. I've got to do a better job of that. We've got to do a better job collectively. That's a part of it and at the end there isn't a call that came up that I want to take back or something – it's the execution that we've got to do better and that's the way it is. We've got good players – we've just got to do – better when we get down there. Now, part of that is if you get down there and try to score touchdowns, we've been explosive and that's added to that without actually getting there. We've got to do better down there."
(On how much the addition of linebacker Khalil Mack changed what the Bears are able to do on defense)
"First of all, they were really good before up front and really good schematically and then you add a first round pick linebacker and you add Khalil Mack to the mix and they added [Aaron] Lynch to the D-line, so they've added some pieces there that forces you to – whenever you've got a game-wrecker type player, you've got to know where he's at at all times and do everything in your power that he doesn't change the game because so far he has. So far, he's been a weapon so it's our job to figure out a way he isn't that type player against us."
(On what allows wide receiver Chris Godwin to recover after a couple bad plays)
"He's not wired that way. For a young guy, intelligent, tough, consummate pro, works at it, going to make tough catches, had a couple other opportunities that were tight catches to make. Chris is a really good football player and only going to get better."
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
(On the challenge the Bears defense brings)
"Obviously there's been a lot that's been written up and talked about Khalil Mack and what he has added so far to that defense. He's been awesome, but even before he was there, this is a talented group, especially up front with the problems they present. Statically, early on with the turnovers they're creating in the big plays that they're making on defense, they're difficult on opposing quarterbacks and opposing offenses because of the pressure that they can create. I think they do a great job with their scheme and mixing things up. It's a tough challenge every week, but this in particular will be a tough challenge for us."
(On the offense's struggle against Pittsburgh)
"There's always a bunch of different things that go into a game and the reason that football is such a great sport because it is a team sport and there were some where I was holding on the ball too long. Maybe it was good coverage and I didn't think I had anywhere to go. There was some communication stuff. There were some where they have good NFL players just like we do, so you can't pinpoint it on one thing. I think more so that anything last week you're able to realize how great our O-line played those first two weeks with staying as clean as I did. They played well I thought versus Pittsburgh as well but that just happens sometimes. Sometimes based on scheme, sometimes based on players, sometimes based on the quarterback holding the ball too long. Those are things that happen and physically I feel good. I didn't get hit much in the preseason, didn't get hit a ton in the first two games. It was kind of nice to get one of those games in there where you get hit around a little bit and feel like you're part of the team and a football player."
(On why he has had so much success)
"I think it's been a combination of things. Each game has been a bit different. That first game we hit a lot of shots. It was a lot of yards on not a lot of completions. We just hit on a lot of stuff. The second game we had the two 75-yarders which always helps. And then this last game was more so falling behind by 20 [points] and then having to throw the ball over the yard in the second half. Each one's been a bit different. It's not something that happens all that much because you have to have a lot of things in three consecutive games to fall into place exactly like they did. It's one of those things when I'm old and retired it will be cool to look back on, but right now it is what it is. It happened, it's over – we're moving on."
(On if it's a good or bad thing that they play 3-4 defense teams back-to-back)
"This team – even though you'd classify both of the teams as 3-4 teams, schematically it's a little bit different. Really all four weeks now we've had four drastically different teams in terms of what they try to do on defense. I don't know that there's a ton of carry over. There's some carry over, but not a ton of carry-over from last week. In general, from the first three games as a unit, between me and the running backs and the offensive line and the tight ends, the whole protection thing, we all have to be on the same page and speaking the same language – same communication. Whether it's schematically the same thing or not, if you have issues you're going to see other people try to expose those flaws and issues. So, you just continue to work and get better from each game moving forward. The thing I love about our unit and our offensive line coach is that they work. They're tireless at is and they take a lot of pride in it."
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson
(On what is means that for him that the wide receivers and tight ends are doing so well)
"It just shows the work we put in [in the] offseason. Those guys [and I] worked hard to put ourselves in a great position to take advantage of our opportunities. Once our players are getting called, everyone's making their play. It's an exciting thing to have a group of guys that go out there and compete and play good together."
(On if he enjoys returning punts)
"Yeah, that side of the game is something that I've been able to do throughout my whole career. Being able to get out back there a little bit and get a feel for making some big plays for my team. Just setting us up to get some explosives is what I do and what I love to bring to the team. That aspect of the game – I missed that throughout the past couple years not doing it. Getting back out there is definitely exciting and fun thing."
(On the Bears defense)
"They fly around, man. They've got a dude by the name of Khalil Mack – one of the best in the league right now what he's doing. It's just exciting to be able to go against some talented guys like that and a defense like that and just kind of see where we're at on our end."