Dirk Koetter Names QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Starter in Week 9 Against the Panthers

(On which quarterback will start against Carolina)

“We’re going to start Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) at quarterback this we

(On which quarterback will start against Carolina)

“We’re going to start Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) at quarterback this week. That’s what we feel like we need to do this week to give ourselves the best chance.”

(On if the starting quarterback will be a week-to-week decision)

“It’s just for right now. Right now the most important thing we’ve got is this week. We’ll just have to see how things go. I don’t like switching quarterbacks. That’s not in my makeup to switch quarterbacks, but we just feel like we’ve got to make the switch at this time.”

(On how he told quarterback Jameis Winston that he will not start against the Panthers)

“Man-to-man, like I do everything else.”

(On how Winston received the news)

“I think any conversations between me and a player should stay between us.”

(On the turnovers at quarterback being an issue)

“Yep. Minus 13 – I mean last in the league in turnover ratio at minus 13. We’re not getting any, but that’s one thing – minus three a week ago and minus four in this game. It just can’t happen.”

(On if Winston missing the first three weeks of the season had an effect on him)

“That’s impossible for anybody to say. There’s no way anyone could say that. Jameis played outstanding in the preseason and that would just be speculation on anybody who wants to comment on that.”

(On if he has a better sense on the delay of game penalty on Adarius Taylor late in the Bengals game)

“That’s exactly what I told you last night. Those stadiums are loud and if you look at the play on tape, it was a pretty well-covered play. He (Bengals receiver A.J. Green) went down and as he rolled over the ball was on the ground, Adarius picked it up. There was a lot of action going on. I wasn’t necessarily listening for a whistle. The explanation I got was that everyone on the field knew that the ball was dead except for him.”

(On if Winston’s turnovers were bad decisions or bad throws and how well he sees the field)

“He had some of each yesterday, but Jameis sees the field for the most part as good as any quarterback out there. Jameis sees the field. He had a couple overthrows yesterday – the first and the third [interceptions] were overthrows and the second and the fourth were poor decisions.”

(On if the decision to not start Winston has anything to do with his future with the Buccaneers)

“Just looking at the next week.”

(On the two completions to Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green on Cincinnati’s final drive)

“They were moving him around. On the play that was the 20-yarder that was the big one in that drive, we were actually in a drop-eight coverage. We were in a two-deep, six-under coverage. It was over the linebacker and in front of the safety. On the one that moved it a little bit closer we were actually in man coverage. That’s the same play that you were talking about earlier with the delay of game on the back end of it – that was actually pretty well covered. Harris was in tight coverage there and they kind of bumped each other off at about the three-yard-depth and it was really a pretty good throw by [Andy] Dalton and put it on a really good player.”

(On what quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been able to contribute to the team)

“He’s done a really good job of putting the ball in the right spot and we do have explosive players. He has said himself that in all his time playing, he’s never been on a team that has this many guys that can make plays for him. He’s just done a good job of putting the ball in the right spot. Jameis also did that at times yesterday too. The 29-yard throw on the fade to Mike [Evans] down their sideline – that’s as pretty a throw as you’re ever going to see. The 60-something yarder over the top for DeSean [Jackson] to break the record – that was very similar to the double move that Fitz hit Mike on. Both guys have had their moments when they’ve been extremely sharp, but this is really just about we have to do a better job of protecting the football.”

(On if defensive tackle Mitch Unrein will practice this week)

“Yeah, he will not be practicing. He’s still in concussion protocol.”

(On what he would like to see from Winston)

“Jameis is a pro and he will continue to work on his craft. That’s all he can do. Very rarely is switching quarterbacks forever in this league – look around the league. It’s very rarely forever and Jameis I’m sure will get another chance at some point. When he does, he just has to do a better job of taking care of the football.”

(On if Winston still has a chance to be a good quarterback)

“Absolutely. Yeah, I do.”

(On the lack of interceptions and takeaways on defense)

“Yeah, we don’t have any. I can speak right to it. We have six on the year. How much more do I want to speak on it. We’ve got to get more, but in the meantime, we better quit giving it away. It’s simple as that.”

(On if the lack of interceptions is due to not having as pressure on the quarterback)

“I don’t think our pressure is all that bad. A good example yesterday – that one ball was tipped up in the air and it falls to the turf. Any time I see a ball get tipped up in the air I’m thinking the team’s going to intercept it, whether it’s us that got it tipped up in the air or it’s them. For whatever reason we just haven’t been able to come up with them.”

(On if Fitzpatrick’s performance made the decision to start him easier)

“Yeah, of course. Why don’t people switch most quarterbacks? Because they don’t like their backup. They don’t think their backup can do the job. The whole way this whole season has played out has led to this. If Jameis isn’t missing those first three games and Fitz doesn’t come in and light it up for two-and-a-half of those games, if you don’t know what you have at your two quarterback and look around the league – some teams don’t even like their first quarterback let alone their second quarterback. Of course, it did.”

(On if it’s possible that Fitzpatrick can have an extended career, despite already having played for a number of year)

“I’m not sure about that. I don’t really know. I hadn’t seen anything out of Fitz – he made those couple scrambles yesterday – sure didn’t look like he was ready for a wheelchair or anything like that. He looked fine out there. Some people doubt his arm, but he’s throwing the deep ball great. I don’t know the answer. Nobody probably knows that answer.”

(On if Winston will dress as the backup quarterback)

“I expect him to, yep.”

(On defensive tackle Vita Vea’s injury at the end of the Bengals game)

“It happened on the first play of the fourth quarter. There was some concern about it and Vita had an MRI this morning and it came back [negative]. The first MRI in history to come back with positive news. He did not have the injury that they feared he might have had. We’ll see how he is on Wednesday, but he was moving around pretty good when I saw him today and it was positive news.”

(On if he consulted anyone before he decided to start Fitzpatrick)

“It was my decision, but all decisions are made with communication in here. Of course, I talked to Jason [Licht] about it and Jason and I are on the same page.”

(On if the NFL is the wrong league to be talking about anything long-term)

“You guys are the ones that are talking about it. For us, this week is long-term, right? Next Sunday is as long-term – I don’t even know who we play after Carolina. That’s a fact. Long term is this Sunday.”

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