Dirk Koetter on Jameis Winston's Return to Practice

HC Dirk Koetter spoke to the media on Wednesday of Week 4 about QB Jameis Winston's return.

(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.”

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