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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Select Quotes: Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Buccaneers Select Quotes: Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today's earlier media availability. Full video of press conferences can be found on

Head Coach Dirk Koetter

Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith

Quarterback Jameis Winston

Head Coach Dirk Koetter

(On what it's like having quarterback Jameis Winston back and if he was prepared)

"Oh yeah, he came back prepared. That's no surprise. It was great to have him back. Jameis is a favorite of everyone around here, so great to have his energy back in the building, his smile back in the building. I know he's happy to be here. We're happy to have him."

(On if the game against the Eagles helps prepare the Buccaneers for the Bears)

"I think you've got to take into consideration [their] different personnel, even though they both came out of that Kansas City/Andy Reid tree. Philly's probably a little bit further along with their install. Just different set of players. Chicago's got those two really good backs and their doing some really cool stuff with how they're using those two guys. It is interesting to watch the creativity of how they're doing it. They're smart. They're playing to their strengths. They've got the two free-agent wide receivers. They wanted to increase their wide receiver plays, so they brought those two free agent guys in – both good players. I think it's got a Kansas City/Philly flavor, but obviously Coach Nagy won't wait to put his own stamp on his offense and he's doing it."

(On what he sees from the Andy Reid coaching tree)

"Well first of all he's getting a big tree. His tree is really getting large, even on the defensive side of things – [including] guys that have coached under him on the defensive side. I think the thing that Andy's doing – you're always going to have some fly sweep in there. You're going to have plenty of misdirection. You're going to have multiple groups. If they have the personnel, he's always going to have a pretty good 13, three-tight end package. Some teams don't have it. You're going to see some RPOs. You're going to see some what people would call 'college-type plays,' but they're all having success with in the NFL. Let's face it, those plays are growing in the NFL."

(On if the Bears are a team that relies on playing good defense and running the ball)

"Well they play excellent defense – there's no question about that. They have a good 1-2 punch at running back. It just makes sense that they would build around that. I think it's just a natural progression. They have a quarterback in his second year. We've been through that ourselves. As we've said, experience is the best teacher. If you look at our first three games, we've played two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and now we're playing a quarterback that – doesn't mean he's less talented, he's very talented, very strong arm, better runner than you think, just less experience. We've been through the same thing."

(On how Winston is handling everything going on)

"Really good. Jameis has handled it like a pro. What else would you expect. Handled it like a pro."

(On the challenge for the offensive line going against Chicago)

"It's huge of course. Every week is. Right now, all you've got to do is look at the Bears. I think they're leading the league after three games in sacks and in takeaways. Khalil Mack is playing out of sight. He's not their only good player in that whole front. Their first-round pick (Roquan Smith) is a linebacker. [Danny] Trevathan, good inside linebacker. [Akiem] Hicks – we've played against him a couple times. [Leonard] Floyd – good football player. 99 [Aaron Lynch] their other outside linebacker they rotate in there, he made some wild plays in the Cardinal game. These guys have a good defensive football team. Every week has a new set of issues, a new set of problems. That's what we have to figure out how to solve and of course the O-line, everything starts with protection.

(On his how well the new safeties can 'play beyond their years')

"They can't. It's impossible to play beyond your years. Your years are your years and you already know my answer to how confident I am. If they're on our team, I'm confident. I have confidence that they'll do fine. I just hope Isaiah [Johnson] knows where all the walls are in the stadium we play in."

(On if it helps to a veteran like Demar Dotson going Bears linebacker Khalil Mack)

"Sure. There's not too many games where your tackles aren't stressed. There's no games where your tackles are going, 'I get a break this week.' This guy is a very special player, but Dot is a very prideful man. He's very serious about his craft. Dot's got a challenge this week. I'm sure he'll be up for it."

(On how much having a short week and travel makes an impact)

"Short week more so than the travel. The travel is what it is. When you get to the end of the week in the NFL, as you get into Friday afternoon –after your Friday practice, [there's] Saturday walkthrough, Sunday that's pretty standard. If you're going to travel, you're going to travel. First part of the week – just now we were out at practice – we 're only at 41 hours after a very physical football game where these guys played hard, got home late – probably some later than others. Didn't get much sleep that night. Instead of the two days of recovery, we had just one day and we were back at it today. I think front part of the week bigger effect than the back part."

(On if the practice is less physical because of the short week)

"Yes. I think you have to. 41 hours of recovery I don't think is enough to go out and have your typical Wednesday padded practice. We made a decision – we definitely cut it back on the physical side today. We'll hope to be back up and running at a really good pace by tomorrow."

(On if the upcoming Bye Week impacts the decision to bring back players that have been injured)

"Those kind of decisions are made by the medical staff. If they say a guy's cleared to play then I think we need to play him – that's my opinion. I listen to those guys, Jason [Licht] listens to those guys. They tell us if a guy is ready to go. We also can see what's going on in practice – see how a guy's doing. The other guys on the team I don't think are thinking, 'Hey let's save a guy.' This is our most important game of the season because it's this game. It's the game this week, so if the medical staff said that we should do that – then we do it. It they say the guy is clear, then he's cleared to play."

(On safety Chris Conte's injury)

"Same thing – exactly the same thing I just talked about. He's either cleared to play or he's not. If he's cleared to play, he's cleared to play. It's just that simple. I don't really know to what extent – Chris did to have a sore knee. In my coach's brain, what exactly the medical report on that was. Chris worked hard to get back and I'm not exactly sure. Probably only God above can tell us what caused it in the end. I don't know the answer to that. It's unfortunate. I said to you guys yesterday – Monday I guess it was, Tuesday – that injuries are an unfortunate part. We hate to lose Chris. Chris has been playing good football for us and it's unfortunate that we lost him. If I could predict how injuries occur, I'd be living in Las Vegas not Tampa."

(On if he realized that Conte wasn't 100 percent on a particular play)

"I'm not sure about that."

(On defensive end Noah Spence not playing against Pittsburgh)

"Neither. Coach's decision. Am I surprised by it? Didn't get him in. That's on me

(On if Fitzpatrick and Winston will get even reps)

"We need to make sure the guys that we have ready to go on Sunday are ready to play in the game because whoever your two is on Sunday is one play away from being you one."

(On if they will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster in the future)

"I would think so. Yes."

(On if he hopes to see a change in the new rules)

"I've heard that they're going to have a meeting about that with the Competition Committee next week. That's just what I've heard. I said yesterday or whatever day that was, I do think it's confusing for defensive players. There were several calls made in our game and I turned some other calls in his week both ways because one thing that we need to know, coaches and players is, 'How is it going to be officiated? What is and what isn't?' And then try to adjust. I saw that play where they're saying – and again, [William] Hayes from Miami, very unfortunate that he tore his ACL. However he did it, it's unfortunate that any player does that. When I saw the play, it was hard for me. I wasn't there, but when I saw the play it would be hard for me to say he tore his knee because he was doing that, but it might be. I don't know that. Right now, it's a confusing rule. Hopefully they'll give us some clarity."

(On players potentially attempting to fake the severity of hits to earn penalties)

"I think the officials are better than that. I think our officials are really good in this league and I thnk they're better. We've all seen plays whether it be pros or college, I would guess what you're talking about is like a punter gets barely touched on a punt and goes down. I just think that the refs in this league are just too good. I also think the quarterbacks are so locked into what they're doing I think it would be hard to say, 'I'm going to fake it.' Trust me, those hits hurt. I think it would be hard to fake it."

Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith

(On the rookie cornerbacks Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart)

"I think all three of those young men are really good football players. Of course, Carlton has probably got the most snaps of the three guys. He's a big, strong corner that plays well when he's close to the line of scrimmage than when he's off. I think that we're seeing that as the games start getting put into the books. M.J. has some flexibility in terms of where he can play. He's lined up and played corner, nickel and safety for us. He's a guy that's got flexibility and then we're just getting these young guys – as quickly as we can – up to speed. Every day is a new day for those guys, but we've been very pleased with how they've worked for us thus far. They've been battle-tested that's for sure. You face two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and a guy that was MVP of the Super Bowl, so they haven't had any slack that's for sure."

(On what safety Jordan Whitehead brings to the defense)

"He doesn't have the experience of Chris – that's the first thing. We've got to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. He is a heat-seeking missile in terms of going after the ball. That's one of the things he does very well. If you had to say, 'Is he a traditional free safety or strong safety?' you would tend to say he is more of a strong safety. He's a guy that can really track the ball in the run game and when he gets to you he's going to wallop you with a good punch. That's one of the things that I think is his strength. He's sudden. He doesn't probably have the length that Chris has, but it's his opportunity to step up and go out and play. I'm anxious to see him play. He stepped into the game the other night and did a nice job there in the second half."

(On if the new rules change the defensive game plan)

"Absolutely. The day of having a guy in the back that you'd call the enforcer that was going to enforce any time a guy came across the middle – that doesn't exist anymore. The game's changed and I get it – we all get it. It's for safety reasons, but it's going to change the way the game is played on the offensive side and the defensive side."

(On going against the Bears defensively)

"They've got two really good running backs in [Jordan] Howard and [Tarik] Cohen. They've got guys that can catch the ball on the outside, but they are going to attack us with the run. This is probably going to be one of the best teams thus far that we've played in terms of running the football. They've got Howard who is a big strong guy. They're very different in terms of their physical make-up. Cohen is a guy that will move out in the slot receiver position – catch some short passes and let him use his athleticism. It's going to be important that we're gap-sound. We were not as gap-sound as we needed to be at the end of the game on Monday night, so we're going to have to be gap-sound so they don't run through us and through the middle of our defense with Howard. And then we've got to make sure that we can contain and keep Cohen bottled up."

Quarterback Jameis Winston

(On returning after his suspension)

"I think the most important thing is being back in the building. Yesterday was kind of an off day, so I got here at about 5:30 [AM]. Didn't see a bunch of smiling faces coming in, but today everybody came back energetic and it felt like home. I'm excited to be back."

(On the team's success)

"What do you think about it? I'm so happy that we've had some successful games and we've got to keep it up. We've got to continue to go out there and win football games."

(On his prediction that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would be successful)

"Of course, I practice with him every single day. This guy hasn't been playing in this league for 14 years for any reason. Plus, when you add the weapons that we have outside when you add our intense – the hardest workers in our building is the offensive line. When they're protecting the way that they are, you can do nothing else but to go out there and light it up. I'm excited for Fitz and I'm excited as a whole as a team were playing very good. Like I said, I'm happy to be back in the building and we've just got to keep it up."

(On what he did to be ready when he returned to the team)

"I did my best impersonation of what it would be like as an in-season schedule being here. I got the guys from Orlando-area. Ft. Lauderdale, Lakeland. Louis Murphy even came out there and threw a couple passes – brought him out of retirement – and we just went to work. I didn't want the guys in this building to be working hard and I wasn't out there doing my thing. Other than spending a lot of quality time with my family – because I didn't have a chance to spend time with my Buccaneer family – we did a lot of great things. After every practice, I catered meals to my teammate just so I could have that team-bonding that I missed here. I feel like we had a pretty good plan together."

(On what it's like watching the team from afar)

"I think it's exciting. I'm at home – sometimes you don't want to hear the people in your house, so I've got to get to a place by myself because I'm all in it. It's exciting man. We're having a lot of success and I want that will continue and I know it will. Me being back, nothing's changing. I'm just happy that I can be a part of that. I'm happy that when we have a win I can come off a dap guys up and celebrate with them. That's the part that you miss – that team bonding – because we do this together and it's tough going out there and getting wins."

(On if he feels like he did everything he needed to do to stay in shape)

"Yeah, I had some coaches come in. I did it like a real thing. I had George Whitefield [Jr.] come in. I had John Beck come in, so I got some individual work. I got my trainer Otis Leverette come in – he's my personal trainer. We worked hard. I went to work. Like I said, I couldn't let these guys out work me even though they had the facilities and everything. I was fine with SkyWay doing our thing out there.


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