Dirk Koetter on Team Captain Voting, Stopping the Running Game

HC Dirk Koetter spoke to the media Thursday during Week 6 about team captain voting and stopping the Falcons.

(On why quarterback Jameis Winston has had success against Atlanta)

“I haven’t really thought of it that way. The three teams in your division that you play twice you know a lot about them, they know a lot about you. I don’t know. You’ve got me on that one.”

(On if he thinks the Week 15 game against the Falcons last season was a turning point in quarterback Jameis Winston’s career)

“You guys are playing stump the coach today. I don’t think about that kind of stuff. I’m sorry”

(On how tight end O.J. Howard looks)

“Good.”

(On if his throwing has progressed since last year’s shoulder injury)

“The thing on that is Jameis’s shoulder was worse than we thought it was for a longer period than we thought. We had him going into all these doctors and everything – it’s nothing against them. Jameis is a competitor and he wants to play, so when we finally rested his shoulder, he threw the ball better period after that. His shoulder got better. He definitely had to alter some things mechanically in order to play when his shoulder was hurt. He’s not the only quarterback in the league that does that. There’s other guys doing it that have been throughout NFL history, but he did have a hurt shoulder now he has a healed shoulder and he’s throwing the ball better.”

(On if he’s seen an improvement from Winston last season)

“I just think that’s hard to say. Preseason? Yes. Again, we talked about this yesterday that the [73] percent completion that speaks for itself. And them too small of a sample size since he’s been back.”

(On if running the ball is as important when throwing the ball has become more of a trend in the NFL)

“That’s hard to judge. I can tell you there’s no worse feeling in the world as a football team than a team that can’t stop the run. Once a team can run it on you and they know they can run it on you, it’s a long day. That doesn’t mean you can’t have long days the other way too. I don’t know how long it’s going to be. I haven’t run into that D-coordinator yet that’s going to say don’t stop the run first. I could see how you can make that case about the other way, but that’s hard to judge.”

(On if coaches wouldn’t say stop the run first because it’s physically tough)

“That’s one reason. This is still a game of grown men trying to dominate the man across from him. When you’re getting dominated physically and they’re running on you at will – and I’ve been on both sides of games like that – it’s unbelievable when you’re on the good side of that and it’s horrific when you’re on the other side of it.”

(On if he would change quarterbacks during the game)

“I don’t know. I would say no because just the way I was raised, you stay with your guy, but there’s a lot of things that could come up in a game too. There’s all different kinds of trust level in your backup quarterbacks. There’s nothing I could say here that’s good or bad. I plan on sticking with our starter. I planned on sticking with in Chicago too.

(On how quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has handled transitioning back to his role as backup)

“You’d have to ask him that. I’m sure there is some level of disappointment there because of the way he was playing. He was playing well, but everybody has a job to do. It’s a team game. I try to tell those guys, ‘You control some things and you don’t control all decisions. It doesn’t make you a bad person. I think Fitz has been around enough to understand the reasoning. That doesn’t mean he has to agree with it. I could obviously understand his point if he didn’t, but it is what it is.”

(On if having experience coaching Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan helps when he’s now trying to stop him)

“I know Matt well. I have a lot of appreciation for his game, for his toughness, for what kind of a leader he is, for his understanding of this game and understanding of defenses. When you’re playing against him, all that stuff goes out the window. You’re just trying to beat him and I’m sure he feels similar to both myself and to Smitty (Coach Mike Smith). He’s a good quarterback. I mean, he was MVP of the league. He’s a good player and they have a good football team, but we’re going to try to get after him on Sunday.”

(On if type of feedback he got from the players during the Bye Week was scheme-specific or big picture)

“Mostly big picture. A couple guys put scheme things in there and that’s fine. On one of the questions I gave them some latitude from where they could go with it. Two of them were pretty direct questions more about themselves and then one of them there was some latitude. I think you guys are taking that a little – I don’t know that it that’s big of a deal. I don’t know any workplace where you don’t get feedback.”

(On if he will continue to chose captains week-to-week)

“There’s going to come a time where we can’t do that anymore because the league to wear the ‘C’ on your chest, there’s a deadline. I definitely want our guys to have that experience. It’s important to them. That deadline’s coming up, so we will – the plan all along – we will have the players vote for season captains. I didn’t want this to be a popularity contest. I wanted there to be some games played and ups and some downs in the season to let the players really decide who they think the real leaders are instead of just maybe guys that are perceived as leaders. It still might end up the same way, and I’m fine if it does. It’s their vote. I’m not going to sway that, but that’s why I did it that way.”

(On if they will vote for captains before Sunday)

“No.”

(On if he has picked captains like this previously)

“No, just something I dreamed up. Right behind the player feedback.”

(On if linebacker Kendall Beckwith will return to practice next week)

“I’m not sure if he’ll be able to practice next week. I think we’ve got to remember Kendell suffered a serious injury. Although it was a non-football injury, it was serious, and he had a serious surgery. He is fighting hard to make it back. I’m not sure if he’ll be quite ready next week to practice. There’s a window in there. We’ve got a couple weeks for him to get back to practice before we’ve got to make a final decision. Jason [Licht] has to decide if we’re going to permanently keep him down this year or bring him up. It would be great if we can get him up, but it’s just strictly based on his health.”

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