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
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
(On if there were any benefits of practicing on grass)
"We went in right after you guys left. We just wanted to do individual out there so we could use the sleds."
(On if tight end O.J. Howard is progressing faster than expected)
"I didn't have any expectation, so I don't really have an answer to that. When they tell me he's healthy, he's healthy."
(On his experience during the Bye Week)
"I can only speak for myself. We had meetings. The players were here on Monday. We worked on self-scout Tuesday and Wednesday all day. Thursday we worked on practice for Monday and then the coaches were off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some coaches were in and out of the office at different times, so that's it."
(On the work that they do during the Bye Week)
"Everyone in the NFL works hard. It's a hard job. It's a time-consuming job. That's just the nature of it. Everybody works hard."
(On how important it is to keep a young core together)
"I think any time you can get guys on their second contract, you draft them and if they get a second contract that means they panned out, they played well. You're happy to see guys earn their money. Everyone knows the salary cap is the salary cap and it's going up every year. The salaries are going higher. Guys at the top of the food chain at their position group are getting paid really good money these days. You want, as a coach, you'd love to see every guy get paid. It's not going to work out that way. The more guys you get on the upper echelon, the harder it is to make it all fit together."
(On how talented Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is)
"Julio's one of the elite players in this league and we have a couple on our team as well. As we said last year after the game at their place, we played at Green Bay one time when I was coaching [in Atlanta], and I saw Julio get that hot. Julio is good every week. He didn't get many balls thrown his way last week, but going into last week he was leading the NFL in yardage if I'm not mistaken. I think he was leading targets and yardage. I don't know the ins and out of Atlanta's game plan or what Pittsburgh did. Pittsburgh obviously did some things that tried to take him out and they worked. Sometimes you can have a call that you think is trying to take him out of the play and he still beats it. Julio – much like Mike [Evans] for us – he gets double-teamed a lot. They can do different things to get him open. They can move him into the slot. They can put him in motion. They can pick for him. They can run for him. They can do different stuff like that, but he's a tough player to stop. He's definitely on our game-wrecker list for this week and he will be for every team they play."
(On Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin getting fined for comments he made about the officiating)
"Coach Tomlin's on the competition committee, so as far as the rules go from a coaching standpoint, he's what I would call an expert from a coaching standpoint. I'm not even sure. The only one that I saw I think he was asked about the roughing the passer rule, so I think he was talking about that, not in general. Officials in the NFL have a very, very difficult job and nobody in this room starting with me could even come close to doing that. The things that they ask those officials to see in real time – let alone slowing it down on the clicker – is very difficult. They're trying to make the game safer, right? That's what the game is demanding right now is that they try and make the game safer. With making the game safer, there's going to be some growing pains with that. Whether it's use of the helmet rule, whether it's roughing the passer rule – whatever it is there's going to be some growing pains. Trust me, by the number of videos they've been sending us, they're trying to get it right."
(On if the NFL is putting a 'muzzle' on coaches so they can't speak out about certain things)
"I don't feel like I have a muzzle on."
(On takeaways from playing in the Mercedes-Bez Stadium last year)
"Any dome stadium is loud, but we got a win Game 1 in the Superdome which I think is the loudest of the loud. That new stadium in Atlanta is an awesome stadium and playing on the road in the NFL presents communication issues, especially on your offense – period. Any dome magnifies that and then the fact that they have a good football team magnifies that. Nothing more than that. It's not as loud as the Superdome. It is very loud though."
(On how well Jason Pierre-Paul is playing)
"I think that goes back – he told me in the offseason when he didn't come to OTA's he said, 'I know what I'm doing. I'll be fine. I'll learn it.' Basically, don't worry about it. And I've got to admit I kind of thought, 'Just wait. I've heard that before,' but he's done it. A guy that backs up what he says, I have a lot of respect for that. He has played very consistently not only in practice, but in the games. As I've said before, I've been impressed with him as a vocal leader and a leader that sets the example by how he works. Can't say enough good things."
(On Pierre-Paul's handicap)
"When I watch him, I would never even know that he had the disability – I would never even know that from my viewpoint."
(On quarterback Jameis Winston's performance in practice)
"Good. He's doing fine and we're looking forward to him getting out there and resuming being our quarterback."
(On if rule changes have influenced the team's passing statistics)
"It's more than I thought because I can't really explain it other than the two rules that we already talked about, but I don't really see how those two rules – because they are calling roughing the passer. That's not necessarily helping your passing yardage. I don't know if we could ever measure how much our D-lineman [are] pulling off at the last second. I don't know the answer to that. These numbers – completion percentage has inched up steadily over the last few years and was at an all-time high. You've got some guys completing over 70 percent of their passes. I think rules in general favor the offense right now and that's just what it is. To see as big [of] a jump as there has been, I don't really have a good answer for it.
(On if Winston's biggest improvement has come from his accuracy)
"It was in the preseason. In the preseason I think he was at 80  percent if I'm not mistaken which is as high as anybody's. Now, he hasn't played enough. He was still 16 of 20 last week  percent going in a difficult situation to put him in personally, but I wish I had a better answer for you – I don't.
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith
(On his takeaways from the first quarter of the season)
"I think the biggest is that every time we go out and play, we're playing to win and that dynamic is different in every game. I think it was obvious in the first three game – not so much in the fourth game. We absolutely stunk from me down in the fourth games, but we did some things in the first three games that you can look forward and say, 'Gosh-darn those guys – they've got a chance to do some things well.' Overall, we have not done what we need to get done. I think there's some young guys that have shown spurts of being good players. I think there's been times when they've shown their youth. I think there's times that we've shown that we're able to put pressure on the quarterback and there's other times it's not. We've been an inconsistent group and really that's frustrating as a coach because you don't like to put the inconsistencies out on the field."
(On what's unique for him going against a team that he knows well)
"We're familiar with this team because of the relationship I have with a few guys on that team. As you move down the road, it's not as many guys. It is a challenge because they know us – or what we do – and we know what they do and they're playing very well on offense. That offensive unit is definitely one of the top in the NFL, so it's going to be a challenge for us. Matt [Ryan's] throwing the ball extremely well. He knows where to go with the ball pre-snap, so we've got to make sure we do a good job of trying to disguise it. Again, that get to be a conundrum when you're playing with some of the youthful players that we're playing there in the secondary."
(On Atlanta Falcon's wide receiver Julio Jones playing big games against the Buccaneers)
"Julio's had some big games against a lot of folks. I've been on both sides of it. He's an outstanding wide receiver. He is a mismatch. He creates mismatches. They do a good job in moving him around. They don't play him every snap. He's not an every-down player. He's going to play upwards of 75 percent of the snaps. He's big, he's strong, he's got great hands and he's got great zone awareness. He has a knack for sitting down in zones and then again playing him one-on-one and if Matt [Ryan] has got the time to the throw the ball, he's going to put it in the tight spots – Julio's going to catch it."
(On how challenging it is to cover Julio Jones and wide receiver Calvin Riley)
"When you've got a guy on the other side that can stretch the field as well, it's going to create issues. I think they are very good in their play-action game and that's something that they do very well. That's where they get their deep shots. When you've got two that can go down the field, it gets difficult to double cover both of those guys and be able to still be strong against the run because if you don't stop them in the run, they'll pound you with [Devonta] Freeman. He's a very good back and so is [Tevin] Coleman."
(On how defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has been)
"It's amazing. Jason is such a competitive guy. We want to have a rotation and it's hard to get him off the field because he wants to play every snap. It's just amazing and he's great with the younger guys. He's a guy that likes to collaborate. He likes to talk about things and I think that's good. I think that's going to help us in the long run. Again, we're four games in to it with this group and we've got new pieces and we've got pieces playing in different spots from week-to-week."
Wide Receiver Mike Evans
(On how much of his Bye Week is spent thinking about the Bears game) 00:30
"I forget about it the day after. I watched the film, came in, got some good stuff out of the film and I went back to Texas as soon as possible. Enjoyed time with my family."
(On what to expect with two teams playing that are hungry for a win)
"That's going to be a good game. We know them, and they know us, so we basically know what we're going to be in and they know what we're going to do. We're that familiar with them playing them over the last five years two times a year. We're familiar with each other and we've just got to execute better than they do."
(On how the Falcons defensed looks with some of their main player injured)
"It's pretty much the same. They're a one-high team. They've added a little more two-high safeties to their game plans, but they've been playing a lot of good receivers. That might be it. They might do the same against us. They've lost two really good players on the backend. We've lost some good players on our defense as well. I think we're both desperate. We haven't won in three weeks – Bye Week and two games – so we want to win bad."