Buccaneers Coach Dirk Koetter: 'Healthiest' Team has Been

Head coach Dirk Koetter spoke to the media during Week 1 about the Bucs being healthy.

(On tackle Donovan Smith at practice)

Yeah, good to get Donovan back out there. Probably the healthiest weve been for a long time today. Good to see it.

(On if there is a drop off in New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees play)

Well, hes a really good player. If there is a drop off, I havent seen it. I know there are some people talking about that, but I havent seen it.

(On how difficult it is to sack Brees)

Well I think you just have to disrupt him in other ways. He works hard based on his height to be able to see where hes throwing. Just staying in front of him is part of it and not making those lanes, getting your hands up, its hard to get to him. The guy thats why hes good as he is and thats why hes going to be in the Hall of Fame, because he is so good at that.

(On if its weird without Jameis Winston in the facility)

We said that the other day. It was weird, but again, everybodys got to take care of their business thats at hand. Of course, itd be great if Jameis was here, but hes not. At this point, its like any other injury that a guys out for three weeks. Were going to be missing him for three weeks. Things move on.

(On what New Orleans cornerback Marshawn Lattimore does that makes him a great player)

Hes got size. Thats the thing. Hes almost a perfect match for this division because hes got the size to go up against Mike [Evans] and go up against Julio [Jones], the big receivers not only in our division, but around the league. Hes also got excellent ball skills. He had a couple of picks last year where youre used to being able to throw balls in certain spots and a lot of corners wont make a play on the ball, but hes shown he can make plays on the ball as well.

(On if the Lattimore versus Evans matchup is one of the better ones in the NFL)

Definitely. I think it is right now. I dont think we have to wait. I think it will be this Sunday.

(On how much the Saints defense has improved over the past two seasons)

I think theyre a lot better and part of it I think is theyve had the same defensive coordinator. This will be the sixth time that weve played them with Coach [Dennis] Allen as their defensive coordinator. Continuity and theyve added pieces like we just mentioned in Lattimore. 94 (Cameron Jordan) is playing at the peak of his career and one of the best defensive ends in the game right now. So, theyve added pieces, theyve got continuity, theyve built on their package and they play really hard.

(On if a division game is like a double win or a double loss)

Its like a double win if youre on the road. You know, when youre the visiting team, I dont know about a double loss. Its definitely like a double win if youre the visitor.

(On wide receivers Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson both being listed as starters)

I think most teams in the league have more than two starting wide receivers. The way the depth chart is they have you list them as two wide receivers and two tight ends, so we list them that way. We dont put an or in front of Adam Humphries name, but obviously when we have three wide receivers, Humps going to be out there. Were going to have some wide receiver groups with all kinds of mixtures of those four guys.

(On if Godwin still feeds off the big play he made last year)

I mean, since it was the last offensive play of the season, I think its maybe a little harder for that. But Chris makes plays every day that when guys makes wild plays whether they be in practice or in games I think Chriss reputation in our building is already growing. I dont know how he is around the league. Hes going to have to make some more plays for some other teams to notice him. Chris is doing all the things that he needs to be doing right now to be a really good player in this league.

(On if he has talked to the team about keeping composure during this game)

We have talked about that, but we would talk about that regardless of who were going to play in the opening game because these guys train all-year-round and go through a lot of stuff offseason, camp, preseason games to play in real games. Real games [are] why these guys are in this business. No matter who youre playing, thats something that has to come up. The fact that its a very loud place and if you fall behind in that building, it can be intimidating. I mean, it can. Thats their home-field advantage and theyre smart to play to it, so of course theyre going to try to intimidate us. But anything that happened last year, thats all last year. I mean, youve got two teams that both want to win, two teams that both want to compete and theres I can assure you from our end theres no bad blood. We recognize what kind of a football team New Orleans has and were going to go out there and do everything we can to give it to them on Sunday.

(On how defensive end Will Gholston being able to play inside has helped with two players down)

Yeah, a lot. I mean, the fact that Wills versatile enough is much like a offensive lineman that can play guard or tackle or center and guard. Will has been effective as an inside player and Im sure that well continue to use him that way.

(On if who will be the starting kick returner)

You know, sometimes I wonder if theres any reason for fans to tune in and watch the game. If we just tell you guys everything, why would anybody tune in and watch the game? Were going to have kick returner out there and well see. Im not going to tell you guys every exact thing were going to do. That doesnt do me any good. It might do you guys good, but it doesnt do us any good.

(On how to slow down New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara)

Youve got to swarm tackle. Youve got to get population to the ball. The guy we watched some highlights of him today in the team meeting hes more powerful than you think. Hes faster than you think. Hes more slippery than you think. He jumps over tacklers. He runs through tackles. You know the guy again, everyone in the league passed on him twice for him to make it to the third round and Im sure everybodys kicking themselves on how did that guy make it to the third round? Because last year was a highlight reel for him. Hes definitely a game-wrecker that weve got our eye on and saying it and doing it are two different things.

(On Donovan Smiths streak of consecutive games played)

Thats impressive and guys when they get streaks like that going, they become important. When I was in Atlanta, I think Roddy White had something like 109-110 games in a row going and he had a high ankle sprain coming out of preseason. He wouldve done just about anything to play. Its important to those guys. They take it personal, and I know Donovan feels that way as well.

(On if Godwin has some of the same characteristics of former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White)

I didnt get to coach Roddy until much later in his career, so I wasnt as familiar with Roddy in his early days. But, I do think Chris Godwin reminds me a lot of the style of play of Roddy White, and I mean that totally as a compliment because Roddy is one of the best guys Ive ever coached.

(On what is similar between White and Godwin)

Competes in everything. That was Roddy: competes, toughness, smart, could play every position, would knock your block off if he got chance, wants the ball in crucial situations.

(On last years handshake with Sean Payton following the Week 17 game)

Im not sure, and again, I lose zero sleep over that. Im sure he doesnt. Two guys that want to win and are going to do everything they can to win and thats it. I mean, other than that Ive got the upmost respect for him. I study what they do. Theyre one of the elite teams in this league and hes one of the elite coaches.


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