Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Media Availability (7/26/18)

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

Quarterback Jameis Winston


(On his reaction to quarterback Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the season)

"Ok, well my reactions is that the league took action and we don't have control of it as a team. We have to deal with it, and we have to get ready to play our first three games. We have to get ready for the season. You know it's disappointing. It's disappointing that Jameis put himself in that position and put our team in that position, but at this point it's done, and we have to deal with it."

(On working in repetitions with Winston and quarterback Ryan Fiztpatrick)

"Alright, so you know if nothing crazy happens, Fitz will be our planned starter, so Ryan Griffin is the backup. So he's one play away and we still know that Jameis is going to be back after the suspension. Luckily for us, we have three quarterbacks that know our system, and we have confidence in all three guys. Today, Fitz will worked primarily with the first group. Griff worked primarily with the second group, and Jameis worked with the three groups. Jameis took reps with the threes, the twos, and the ones. We have a plan in place. You know, any plan you have for your rotation, number one thing it has to be flexible because things can change just like that. I think we have a good plan in place and we're working to the best of our ability."

(On feelings regarding Winston's suspension)

"Well, I don't know anything about the incident. I know that the NFL investigation found him in violation of the conduct rule. That's all that I know about it. I know that he's got a three-game suspension. As I said, it's disappointing that Jameis put himself and put the team in that situation, but again we have to deal with it. That's all I can really say about that."

(On Koetter's understanding of the Uber investigation)

"Again, I don't know too much about that. I've had multiple conversations with Jameis, but really not about that. I'll let him speak for himself on that. Again, we all saw the same report that the league put out. That's really all I know about that."

(On if Winston spoke to the whole team about the incident)

"Yeah, Jameis has spoken to the team and again I thought he did a good job. I think everybody can appreciate that what's said in there should be between Jameis and the team. But, yes, he did yesterday."

(On if Winston is still considered a leader of the team)

"I think your team has a lot of leaders, and being a leader starts with being the leader of yourself. I talk to the guys about that often. I think that's one of Jameis' strengths as a football player, is his leadership. But, right now, where we're standing right now with the three-game suspension, it's time that Jameis leads from the rear and there's nothing wrong with that."

(On if Winston will start at quarterback in week four of the season)

"Week Four is a long ways away. Week four is a long ways away, so let's worry about Week Four in Week Four. Right now, let's worry about preseason and getting ready for the Saints.

(On level of confidence in Fitzpatrick starting the first three games of the season)

"One-hundred percent confidence in both Ryans. I said to you guys multiple times, 'if a guy makes our football team, I have confidence in him. That's that simple. The 53 guys that we settle on for our final roster, I'll have confidence in all 53 of them."

(On what Fitzpatrick brings to the team)

"Well, he's played in over 100 NFL games. Yeah, he's got experience. He's extremely smart. He knows our system. The players believe in him."

(On if Winston's suspension is a distraction to him as a coach)

"Well it's my job to deal with it. It's all of our jobs. We're here. It's part of it. I mean, you know when things go good you deal with them, and when things aren't how you want them exactly, you deal with them. As I said, it's disappointing that the main focus right this second - as I'm standing here and as you guys talk to Jameis - is not on football, but it's not. So, you know we don't have any control of that. We just have to take it as it comes."

(On what the rest of the team can learn from Winston's situation)

"That's an obvious question. You have to take care of your business as a person. everybody does. That doesn't matter if it's this incident, or alcohol-related or anything like that. These guys are grown men and they have to know how to conduct themselves and that's just part of everybody. That's part of not just NFL football players, that's part of media members, as well. It's common sense."

(On if the team might bring in a veteran backup quarterback)

"Yeah, I mean, Ryan Griffin is a veteran backup, he just hasn't played in games. Ryan Griffin suffers from the old catch-22: he's been in the league five years, two with the Saints and three with us, but [he can say], 'Coach, how do I get experience if you don't give me experience?' That's one of the difficulties with the way the calendar works now. Unfortunately, Ryan got hurt during preseason last year. It's tough to get your third quarterback at the time experience. But we've kept Ryan [Griffin] around here for three years because we believe in him and we think he can play. He's got to get his chance."

(On if the re-signing of Fitzpatrick was in preparation for a possible suspension of Winston)

"I don't know the timeline, I don't know any of that. I don't really know the timeline of any of that stuff."

(On if the re-signing of Ryan Griffin for 2018 was with a potential suspension in mind)

"Not necessarily, no. We re-signed Ryan because, unfortunately as I said, he got hurt in preseason last year. We think Ryan Griffin has a lot of upside. I can't prove it other than what I see in practice and what I hear in meeting rooms, but I hope in preseason he gets a chance to show himself."

(On if the re-signing of Fitzpatrick was with a potential suspension in mind)

"No, again, not with that. At the time of that – I don't know what the timeline of the suspension was - but until Ryan Griffin does actually prove himself on the field we're all going to sleep a little bit better at night with an experienced backup."

(On if he was disappointed that Winston didn't appeal his suspension)

"I don't know anything about that, about the appeal. That stuff, there's a lot of things. I wasn't involved in any of that stuff."

(On if there is any chance that Ryan Griffin could win the starting job to open the season)

"It would have to be something that I can't foresee right now, because Fitz played so well when he got his opportunity last year. So I don't know what that would be, barring injury, but never say never."

(On how a player leads from behind and if that is a huge challenge)

"No, that's not a huge challenge. Being a leader starts with being a leader of yourself. Jameis is talking to guys behind the scenes way more than anyone knows, one-on-one conversations instead of it being the guy out in front of the team. It's not a challenge at all. Guys do it every day, you just don't know about it."

(On if he cares about the team not getting a lot of positive predictions from the national press)

"Yeah, we had this same talk last year except it was reversed. I told you last year the hype - positive or negative - shouldn't affect your football team. Do I talk to guys about it one way or another? Sure, I talk to them about it, but all that matters is what you do on the field and that's what we're building towards right now."

(On what he's excited about as camp begins)

"I'm excited because you're excited to get your guys back. You're excited because the players are excited. I'm really excited about the new guys that we've added to this team. I'm excited about our defensive front. I'm excited about our draft picks, obviously the free agents [like] Ryan Jensen. I'm excited about Chandler Catanzaro getting his chance as a kicker. I think we're going to have a good football team, but again, it's going to be proven on the field here when we get to playing real games."

(On how much harder the Buccaneers' opening three-game stretch is without Winston)

"I think it's exactly the same. We're playing three excellent football [teams]. That's the way football works. If we took any single player out, if we took Gerald McCoy out, we'd say, 'Oh, it just got a little tougher.' Or if we took Brent Grimes, 'Oh, it got a little tougher.'"

(On if that is different because the missing player is the quarterback)

"It is. It is the quarterback and we've been without him before and we did okay. We're not shooting for okay, we're shooting for greatness. We understand that we're playing three really good teams. We need to be worried about one of those teams right now. We're a little bit away from that, but that's what we're talking about."

(On if Winston apologized to him)

"I would say that conversations between Jameis and me should probably stay between Jameis and me. I hope you can respect that."


(On his discussions with teammates and his apology to the team)

"Initially, I talked to my teammates first and then I acknowledged them yesterday and I apologized to them. I don't want to be a distraction. I just want to be able to focus on this season and moving forward."

(On not taking first team reps at practice and when he was informed of that plan)

"I got mixed in there [with repetitions], and again, it's not about me, it's about us so I just want to focus on being the best teammate I can be and ball out on the football field."

(On if he can explain how he put himself in this position)
"I'm just focused on moving forward. That's all I can do. I've grown and learned from this situation and it's a learning experience. I've worked hard in this community since I got here and I'm going to continue to work hard, on and off the field."

(On how long he has stopped drinking alcohol)

"I've made a lot of positive strides since I've been here so I've just got to continue to grow as a man, as a person, as a leader, as a father, and I know I can't put myself in situations like that."

(On his message to fans that are disappointed and don't believe he should be the starting quarterback)

"I understand that they're disappointed in me. I'm disappointed. I should have never put myself in that situation but all I can do is grow and learn from that. What I tell the fans: continue to support this team, continue to support me. Since I've been here, my main goal was to grow as a leader, to be a huge advocate in the community and I've done that and I'm going to continue to do that."

(On what fans should believe regarding the NFL's decision)

"They've made their decision and there's nothing I can say beyond that. They made their decision. I have to look at myself and grow and learn from this experience."

(On if he has been evaluated for alcohol abuse and if he is in a substance program)

"Again, I have made a lot of positive strides since I've been here so I've got to continue to grow. I'm sure when I cross that road I'll have to face that."

(On if he should still be considered the leader and face of the team with his teammates and fans)

"It's not about me. I'm going to do whatever I can to dive into this community, dive into my teammates and be a great support system for them because my whole thing as a player is to focus on my teammates and not myself individually."

(On what he's learned from this)

"I've just learned that you can't put yourself in these situations. This happened after my rookie year. I think I have made a lot of positive changes since then."

(On the reaction from his teammates)

"I have had full support from ownership on down and definitely addressing my teammates personally, meant a lot because it's about them. I don't want to be a distraction. I just want to put this all behind us and move forward."

(On his understanding of the team's plan to get QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ready for Week One)

"As a teammate first, I understand it's about this team and I am going to be there for Fitz as much as I can. But it's also about getting Ryan [Griffin] ready as well, so I have to take my position. My influence on this team is going to be positive and I'm going to be their best support system they have."

(On if he has to take a step back with how he leads knowing Fitzpatrick will start the season)

"This actually gives me an opportunity to lead behind the scenes. I actually get a chance to observe my teammates and be able to help them behind the scenes and let Ryan take the show. Ryan has been here in this situation before so I'm blessed to have a quarterback of that caliber taking on the reins."

(On if he feels he has to earn back the trust of the community all over again)

"Since my rookie year, I've been in this community building dream rooms, being connected to this community. I love this community. I know that I'm a positive influence and I have to live up to the standards that I hold myself to. But again, I've grown and I've learned from this situation and I am going to continue to do that."

(On if there was a turning point for him)

"It's the overall process. You know, again, this happened two-and-a-half years ago. Since my rookie year, I've [given] my all to this community. I've given my all on the field and off the field. I can't let this diminish all the hard work that I've been doing in this community."

(On if anything has changed since the statement he made in November)

"Again, I don't want to rehash the situation. All I can do is focus on moving forward and putting this behind me."

(On his reaction to the negativity from media and fans)

"Well, my first reaction to that is that I've worked hard since I've gotten to this community to prove that I am the guy that the Buccaneers drafted, and I'm going to continue to do that. I believe these fans should still support us, as a whole organization, and support me as well because I've given a lot to those fans. And those fans have been good to me as well."

(On how difficult it was to address his teammates)

"The difficult thing is not being able to be out there on the field. That's going to be very tough because I don't want to miss any opportunity with my brothers. But, man, I have to say my teammates have had my back this entire time and I love them for that. I didn't want to be in this situation to put them in a bad situation as well."

(On how he will handle not being around his teammates for the first three games)

"Again, it's going to be tough, but right now all I can focus on is diving into them right now because this training camp is important and I don't want this to be about me. I want it to be about us getting better and us heading into this season with a mission to go 3-0."

(On if he believes that this is his last chance to prove himself to the community given his contract situation)

"Since I've been in this community, I've given it my all. I know I've got some hard work to do to regain the trust of my fans, but building dream rooms, being in the community, being a leader on and off the field – my main goal is to be a great person, a great teammate, and a great leader every single day, and I think I've done that."

(On if he anticipates being the starting quarterback in Week Four)

"The only thing I can focus on right now is putting this behind me and being a great teammate to those guys in the locker room."

(On if he is disappointed in himself)

"Yeah, I'm very disappointed, and I know a lot of fans are disappointed. But, at the end of the day, the league made their decision and I have to put this behind me and grow and learn from it."

(On if he was surprised by the league's decision of a three-game suspension)

"I understood that they had a process to go through, and no matter if I agree with it or not, I have to look at myself within and find out how I can grow and learn from this, and I think I've done that."

(On not appealing the suspension)

"I just wanted to put this behind us and move forward."

(On what he's learned from fatherhood so far)

"Man, it's been very exciting. I feel like this is really a spiritual attack because my son was born the day after the decision was made. So seeing things from a different perspective, learning that I'm going to have to teach that man how to respect women and how to live his day-to-day life. I really took it upon myself to be proactive and make sure that I'm being a great example for him and my fiancé."

(On if he has changed how he goes out in public)

"Again, I love this community so nothing is going to change about the way that I approach every single day. That is to get better as a human being, as a leader, and as a teammate. I've given this community my all and I'm happy that I have some people's support."

(On what his message was to the team)

"I apologized to them, and you know I'm going to keep that in house."

(On if the players had questions when Winston addressed the team)

"No, they had my back the entire time. You know, these guys, they know how much they mean to me and they know that I'll do anything for them. So, all we can do as a team is to get closer from this and all I can do is grow, learn from this experience and move forward."