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 Mark Duffner
Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
(On linebacker Kendell Beckwith's progression)
"It's really remarkable. Offseason accident and when he had that surgery, they were saying that this is going to be a tough injury to come back from. He's worked his tail off. He's had a couple ofset-backs along the way. They finally cleared him, so he's in his 21-day window. Within that 21 days he can be activated at any time or we would have to put him on PUP and put him down for the season. I know he was excited to be out there today. We'll just have to see how he responds. If it's positive, they'll add more reps to his plate. As soon as he feels like he's ready and the doctors feel like he's ready, he could possibly return."
(On whether Beckwith's return will depend on being in 'game shape' or recovery from the injury)
"Both of those things. First of all, you've got to get cleared by the doctors from the injury. There's always the mental part when you're coming back. Much like Vita's gone through at defensive tackle, [Beckwith] hasn't played football at all since the end of last season. He's missed a lot of time here. How quick can he come back? Everybody's different in that area."
(On the Panthers being one of the most physical teams in the NFL on offense and defense)
"Yeah, they're playing well – 5-2. They beat a good Baltimore team last week and got after them pretty good. Strong in the defensive front seven and they're running the ball. They're number two in the league in running the football. That's establishing a physical presence. That'll be a big challenge for us this week."
(On why he thinks kicker Chandler Catanzaro is missing extra points)
"Yeah, that goal post – the ball's not going through it. That's what's behind it."
(On how much missed extra points have negatively impacted the team's chances to win)
"It's hard to say. A lot of stuff happens in a game. It's been the first extra points, so it's been in the early part of the game. We still – like any mistake that any player makes – that might go unnoticed. His is just real noticeable. Like any other, there's a lot of things we have to do better as a team and that's one of them."
(On if the missed extra points have led him to consider going for more two-point conversion)
"Not really. Again, if we were going to do that, we just need a kickoff guy then I guess. If we're going to question if we can make an extra point, how are we going to ever kick a field goal? I don't think like that."
(On why he has stuck with Catanzaro)
"I think he's a good kicker. I watch him kick out there every day and he hardly ever misses. I don't know what's going on with the first extra point of the game. As I say in here all the time, 'If a guy's on our team and he's up on game day, then he's my guy because he's our guy.' That's just the end of it. I don't think of it any more than that."
(On how quarterback Jameis Winston is handling being the backup against the Panthers)
"Fine. Yeah, fine."
(On if he needs a quarterback that manages the game)
"I don't like to think of it like that because the quarterback is making plays too. The quarterback is knowing where to go with the football, putting the ball on the money, getting it out on time, getting us in the right protection, signaling – we've got all kinds of different route adjustments that those guys, Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and Jameis, are getting us to. I don't think anybody likes the term 'game manager'. Yards are one thing, but points – and then points lead to victories – are another. We have to find a way to get in the end zone one more time than the other team."
(On if he has been able to pinpoint why Winston struggled)
"If I knew exactly why, then I'd do everything I could to try to fix it. We wouldn't be where we're at right now. It's just becoming a little bit too much of a trend and when it becomes that much of a trend when that's the main thing that's holding us back right now. We have plenty of other issues including coaching [but] we just can't lose the turnover seven to zero in the last two games. We just can't do that and expect to win."
(On if he has ever dealt with a struggling quarterback before Winston)
"I think all quarterbacks – like pro golfers – why do some of the best golfers in the world struggle from time to time? I think Jameis is one of the best quarterbacks in the world and I think he will be back. For right now – we went over this the other day, all this stuff. A lot of teams don't switch because they have an untested backup or they're afraid to put their backup in there and we don't have either of those. Right now, we just have to stop turning the ball over and so we're going to go with Fitz. I still have plenty of confidence in Jameis moving forward."
(On if there is a scenario where quarterback Ryan Griffin could play)
"It's just tough to get three quarterbacks up on game day. That's just the way the rules fall. With 46, it's going to be next to impossible. Until he get on the field on game day – until he gets to the top two – that's going to be tough to do. With that said, I would love to see Ryan get out there, but right now that's not probable."
(On if he feels better about the run game)
"I don't lay awake at night thinking about it like that. My world's black and white – we either win or we lose. I'm not sitting going, 'The ground game,' – I know the order of what's getting us beat right now. What's getting us beat is we're minus-13 in turnover margin – that's what's getting us beat. All that other stuff, that's all a small part of it, but if we fix the turnover margin, we'll be fine."
(On if he's surprised that the run blocking hasn't been at the same level as the pass blocking)
"I wouldn't say that it hasn't been at the same level, but I think we're one of the best protecting teams in the league because we hold the ball longer than most teams. We try to throw it down the field. We don't make any bones about that. I think our guys are doing a great job in protection. I think for those people that want our running game to be more productive, we have to run the ball more. I say that every time I get asked about it. You can't run the ball a few times a game and think you're going to get better at your run game – you're not. The best running teams keep running it. The best passing teams keep passing it."
(On if being one of the best offensive teams in the NFL gives him hope for winning more games)
"I believe we have the talent on our football team to win games. We've got to prove it. We have to prove it on the field. I know we have elite players in some areas and we're beat up in some other areas. You have to overcome your deficiencies. You have to give yourselves a chance. We're just not giving ourselves a good chance these last two weeks – even though we won one of those games – by being that far behind in the turnovers. We put up charts every week of where we are, where the other team is, where teams in the league are. That just holds true. Percentages are always above 80 percent just to win the turnover battle by one – let alone losing by four."
Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner
(On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul's consistency)
"It's his competitiveness and his desire right now. I am so excited about what Jason's brought to us. He practices hard, he prepares hard. This guy is on a mission and it's been beautiful to see and be around. I think he's showing he's got a little more life than some people might think. It's his attitude and how competitive he is. That coupled with his skills had made him a productive player so far."
(On what it's like playing Panthers quarterback Cam Newton)
"Lights out. Big challenge. This guy has got a cannon for an arm, been very successful in his quarterback play in his career – probably playing as good as he has at any time coming off a shoulder surgery. The face to is from a running standpoint, a scrambling standpoint, shoot, he's really tearing it up. He's five-yards-plus a carry, so this – like every game – involves every defender. They're going to certainly demand every participation from all of our players in terms of the run-pass game what they present to us on defense."
(On the growth of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey)
"I like how confidently he's playing. I think that the guy's skills are multiple in his ability to run. He's a shifty runner. He's got excellent hands. He's, again, 98 percent of their offense involved with it right now and a guy that's been so far, so productive for them."
(On defensive tackle Vita Vea's progression as a player)
"I think he's getting better and better, especially the conditioning phase of it. We had a couple issues here and there in the run fits, but what he's able to do in terms of knock back the line of scrimmage and really take on, command more blockers as far as from the offensive side of the ball have been a real plus for us. I see him only getting better and better as he gets more experience with snaps."
(On the physicality of the Panthers offense)
"They're committed to running the football and so that's where physicality certainly starts. They've got a good solid line as far as that's concerned. Like I said, McCaffrey is a guy that's got kind of the ability to break outside, but he's got the patients to try to find gaps and holes inside. When you consider adding Cam [Newton] to that – bigger than me guy in terms of a back – they've got some powerful folks. They're committed to running the ball. They're second in the league I believe right now in rushing offense. To get that done, you've got to have a physical mentality in terms of, 'Hey, we're trying to knock you off the ball.'"
Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul
(On facing Panthers quarterback Cam Newton)
"The guy's a good quarterback. He's been in the game. He's a vet now. He's my size, so we've just got to bring our energy. Cam is just that guy."
(On if this year is one of his better years in the NFL)
"Nah, I've had better years, it's just people haven't seen. I've been playing like this for years."
(On if he thinks about the number of sacks he wants to end the season with)
"I don't worry about how many sacks I'm getting, I'm just out there playing ball. I feel like if it's an opportunity to get the quarterback and he has the ball in his hands then I'm going to do whatever I have to do to get the quarterback down – that's basically it. I'm not really counting them up – it's just happening."