Dirk Koetter on Peyton Barber: 'He's Got His Eyes on the Prize'

Head Coach Dirk Koetter spoke to the media during his day-after-game press conference.

(On if any of the injuries from Saturday might have an impact on Week One)

Yeah, we really dont know yet. When we got back there are some guys getting MRIs this afternoon. We just havent heard back on some of that stuff. Not sure yet.

(On if he could share which guys were getting MRIs)

I could, but I probably wont.

(On players at the same position suffering injuries this preseason)

Corner, D-tackle and offensive tackle have been our areas thats an overview of camp. And not all of those are major injuries but those are the positions where weve had the most issues.

(On if he expects any players that didnt dress on Saturday night to practice this week)

I dont know that yet. Ive been tied up in meetings and I just glanced at the injury report. The players come in this afternoon like I said, there are some MRIs and everything and thats still to be worked out. A lot of that can change during the week, too.

(On cornerback M.J. Stewarts ability to knock the ball out, including two forced fumbles Saturday)

We work at it I mean, everybody works at it but we have another guy on our team, Lavonte David, whos really good at it, too. And thats one thing that M.J.s definitely demonstrated, hes got that knack. The one that we didnt get over on our sideline, that was a really nice one, too, where he punched the ball out from behind. So hes definitely got a feel for it and we got one them, so thats a good thing.

(On if injuries impact how he game plans Week Three of the preseason)

Sure, at some positions. Injuries affect everything. Injuries affect how we practice, injuries affect who we bring in, injuries affect how the rotation goes for the game. Thats an ongoing balance that Jason [Licht] and I and the training staff and the doctors that were always dealing with, and of course, the players themselves.

(On evaluating running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims, particularly on third downs)

Well, they both can do it. They both have proven to me that they can do it. I wouldnt be nervous at all about having either one of them out there and yeah, well just see how that goes. But well work them both.

(On productivity in the red zone and finishing off drives with touchdowns)

Were not where we need to be three out of five and then two out of four, so five out of nine [in the preseason].

(On those red zone numbers being an improvement over the 2017 preseason)

I dont know about the preseason comparison but, I mean, our goal is 60 percent and were a little bit under that. We definitely had some chances last night to be better than we were. Penalties hurt us on that one drive last night and we missed two really good opportunities to score on the drive when Fitz was still in there we missed two really good chances. So, you know, a work in progress, were moving the ball good and were getting down there. We are scoring points, thats a good thing, but thats always something youre continuing to work on.

(On how aware he is of some of the penalties being called throughout the NFL this preseason)

The league sends us plays on that and the last two weeks, the officials video that we get on Thursdays has focused extensively on the use of the helmet. When I mentioned that one of the supervisors told me that, Youll know it when you see it, I dont think thats how theyre calling it at all. And I dont know how theyre being instructed. I dont mean that as criticism, but again, the know it when you see it I think we all know it when we see it and so I dont know. I know theyre trying to call things close in the preseason and they obviously are trying to encourage the players to change some thing as far as getting their head out of there and I think this is a major rule change and its going to take a little time for everybody to get it right.

(On the penalty called Saturday when Minnesota linebacker Antwione Williams tackled the quarterback in their preseason game versus Jacksonville)

Yeah, thats another new rule that theyre working on this year where when youre hitting the quarterback, youre not supposed to land with your entire body weight on the quarterback. It seems weird, but weve had videos on that and theyre asking the defenders to turn to the side. In the heat of the moment I think thats hard on those guys, on those D-linemen, and Im sure theyll tell you the same thing. When I saw that one in the Minnesota game it looked to me like he was trying to turn, but I saw it one time and calling those in real speed is a lot tougher than watching them in slow motion.

(On fans asking if the Buccaneers will sign a new safety as they become available from other teams)

I mean, the fans ask you questions because in their mind wed take every guy that becomes available and it just doesnt work that way because theres salary cap issues and theres injury issues and usually, when a guy gets let go from one team it was for a reason. So, we cant make everybody happy and pick up every player that becomes available.

(On if there are needs on the team that could be addressed)

Every team has needs, of course. Every team in the league has needs and Im sure thats something every GM in the league is looking at where they have extra guys that they think could help another team and try to trade for somebody. But my job is to coach the guys that are here.

(On offensive coordinator Todd Monken calling plays in the first two preseason games)

Hes done a really good job and not surprising at all. Done a really good job.

(On how Monken serving as a good sounding board and how his calling the plays in the preseason might help Koetter calling plays in the regular season)

Hes always been that. I think our entire offensive staff works really well together on how we game plan and how we work together, how we make corrections. I think were on the same page a very, very, very high percentage of the time and well continue to do that as we go into the regular season.

(On if theres a plan to have quarterback Jameis Winston play against an opponents starters this preseason)

I dont control when the other team plays their first team. We put Jameis in early in the second quarter. Traditionally, the second preseason game most teams play their ones for the first half, so I dont know when Tennessee put their [ones in]. I dont have any control over that. I can only do what I think we need to do.

(On if the in-game lineup changes that preseason opponents make might change his playing-time schedule for different players)

How would I know that? I mean, we have to have a plan going in. They can sub any time they want. How would I know that? I cant I mean, yeah, after they already do it I know it, but we have to plan ours in advance and we have to plan it based on the reps we think our guys need, not whos in there on the other team. If a guys playing in the NFL in the first half of a preseason game, hes a pretty good football player.

(On determining the right combination for the starting offensive line and having different combinations)

First of all, it was great to get Dot (Demar Dotson) back out there. He had 16 plays last night. We had a lot of plays in the first half. Our plan was to play the ones they played 45 plays. The rest of that group except Caleb [Benenoch], [he] had a cramp, had to come out, so he only played 40 but 45 plays is a lot. Remember, I also told you that we were going to play it like a game in the first half, so normally you dont rotate your O-Line. We did rotate our receivers, we did rotate our running backs, we did rotate our tight ends and because of the situation we have at quarterback, we rotated two quarterbacks. We did exactly what we wanted to do, rotation-wise. I cant speak for anybody else.

(On if the starting offensive line is playing consistently)

I dont think its probably humanly possible for them to be as consistent as where wed like them to be, but theyre working hard at it. Theyre really helping us move the ball. Theyre protecting really [well]. I think you can always sustain better in the running game, but thats just something that youre working on throughout preseason.

(On preparing the team for Week One of the regular season without giving things away during the preseason)

Thats one of the challenges of preseason. You want to work your guys and you want to let your guys have success, but at the same time, you dont want to show everything that you have. Pretty much every team in the league does that. I think youre seeing a lot more vanilla defenses in the preseason than youre going to see in the year, especially on third down. Thats just part of it. Thats just part of the process. When were in our walkthrough periods, were trying to work on some of those looks as we move along and when were going against our own defense in practice.

(On which receivers have stood out)

I think everyone kind of knows those first four guys. Then theres a group of you could make it probably as big as five if you wanted to thats in that second group. On different days, different guys show more than others. I thought Justin Watson really had a nice game last night, all around, really did well. Freddie [Martino] didnt get many opportunities last night. Bernard [Reedy] was kind of up and down. Sergio Bailey has showed up and continues to show up at the end of games, playing in the second half. Im probably leaving somebody out Bobo [Wilson] is out right now.

(On if wide receiver Justin Watson is a big, physical target)

Thats what we were hoping when Jason [Licht] picked him. We were hoping he could develop. Hes had some really good days and some not-so-good days. Love the way he works at it. Hes playing hard on special teams. Thats another when youre not in those first two or three, youve got to play on special teams as well. Thats just the way it goes. Hes definitely making strides there as well.

(On if Watson has been able to make up for time missed earlier this offseason with a hamstring injury)

Sure. Anybody thats out there, anybody thats here still and playing and having that kind of production, of course. If a guy is good enough, well find a spot for them.

(On projecting how many receivers the team will have on the 53-player roster)

Theres only 53 of them and youve got to have enough at every position. You cant keep 10 receivers and six offensive linemen. Its got to balance out and at the skill positions your receivers, your tight ends, your running backs and then are you going to keep three quarterbacks [or] two quarterbacks? That all plays into it as we get down to the end. I know [the media] has to work at projecting who that is, but I try not to do that too much because its all going to change. Its going to change based on injury, its going to change based on two more preseason games, its going to change based on practice. It could change based on a trade. You just dont know. Ive got a lot of other things to worry about. Of course we have a pecking order everybody does. You have your own. Well just see how it works out.

(On what defensive lineman Will Gholston has shown this preseason)

Versatility, number one. Will had to play a lot inside last night. He played the most snaps on the defensive line. With Vita [Vea] and Mitch [Unrein] both being out, thats really hurt our depth at defensive tackle, so weve asked Will to go inside and he played both three-technique and nose last night and played a lot of plays. Thats a lot like what were talking about with the wideouts. When youre not in that first group, youve got to make yourself versatile. And Will is doing that.

(On if Bernard Reedy could play as an outside receiver)

Oh sure, of course he could. I think his best position is in the slot and as a return man, but Bernard has played outside for us before.

(On if running back Peyton Barber looks like a starter)

Yes he does. Exactly what he should be doing. You know, he only had five carries last night, but he averaged over five yards per carry. He had an explosive run. You guys have talked to him. Peyton is a very serious guy. Hes got his eye on the prize, right where it should be. Hes doing everything he should be doing right now. I think if we went out there and gave it to Peyton 20 times, wed like what he does, but youre probably not going to do that in a preseason game.

(On the performance of quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston)

Fitz was not as sharp as he was in Miami, but hes been very consistent throughout training camp. Jameis was lights out last night. That second quarter, Jameis was on fire. His scrambling was on full display. He made two beautiful plays. One of the best plays of the game was the scramble play that he threw to [Chris] Godwin that got called back on the holding call which was a good call, but thats still a really nice play by Jameis. He had a scramble with a nice throwaway. He had a scramble [and] hit O.J. [Howard] for an explosive [play]. For the most part, he was right on time. He had a couple of minor snafus, but for one quarter of play, Jameis was lights out.

(On if Winston working with a variety of players has helped him develop as a quarterback)

I couldnt just look you in the eye and say with 100 percent certainty that that has made him a better quarterback. I think Jameis is constantly working to become a better quarterback, regardless of who he plays with. That would be a better question for him, but Jameis in the two preseason games, you cant have any complaints about how Jameis is playing right now.

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