TampaBay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
What are the challenges getting ready for week one?
“Same as always. Every team’s going to have turnover every year. We know the Saints. We know a lot about them. They know a lot about us. Obviously, playing on the road and playing in the (Mercedes-Benz Super) Dome is a challenge. But just looking forward to kicking it off and getting this thing going.”
Does Ryan Fitzpatrick starting change anything for you guys with your offense?
“No. We thought about Wishbone, but then we decided not to (laughs).”
What do you have to do to prepare for Drew Brees?
“He’s one of the best to ever play the game. You know that he's going to be dialed in to everything you’re doing. His ball placement, the way he throws the back shoulders on the seams and on the fades. Does a great job checking the ball down when you’re playing zone. Everybody’s tried to come up with a way to beat Drew Brees for the last however many years and it's just easier said than done.”
When you look at the additions of Tre’Quan Smith, Cameron Meredith and maybe also Alvin Kamara as a receiver in his second year, how did that change the passing game relative to last year when it wasn't as productive?
“You say they were not as productive? I would disagree and just say they ran the ball really well, so they did not have to throw it as much. Or they did not choose to throw it as much. One or the other. But I don't think there’s anyone in the league walking around saying the Saints don't have a good passing game. Forget about the new guys for a second and just start with Mike Thomas and Kamara and Drew Brees. Right there, you've got a passing game.”
Obviously the Saints had the luxury of running the ball more last year, but how do the additions of Smith, Meredith, Ted Ginn Jr. and Kamara from last season change their passing game if at all?
“I’m not sure. I'm not sure if it changes their passing game. Structurally, I'm not sure and most teams are going to go in and try to make them – if you don’t stop their running game, Coach Payton is going to keep running the ball on you. So you better concentrate on stopping their running game. And then almost everybody tries to identify game wrecker’s you are going to start with Kamara and Thomas. So the new guys, even though they might be fantastic players, know how many touches are they going to get compared to those other two? That's going to be defined as we move through the season here.”
You added some new pieces along your defensive line, what went into those additions and do you think them going against this Saints offensive line is a good test just to see how much they’ve progressed?
“Yeah, of course. Of course it's going to be good test because the Saints have an excellent offensive line. The Saints have enough big-name players on their team that their offensive line often gets overlooked a little bit as to how productive and how talented they are. Because they are in our division and we play them twice a year, we recognize full well how good of an offensive line that is. That will be a really good test for our D-Line. I know Gerald (McCoy), and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), and Bo Allen, and Vinny (Curry) are looking forward to the challenge.”
What have you seen from those guys since they've been in your building at training camp?
“Well the new guys we've added, they've blended in with our team very well. They have asserted themselves as leaders and as good teammates and we already knew they were good players on the field, that's why we were able to go out and get them in free agency, or trade for them in JPP’s (Jason Pierre-Paul]) case.”
You don’t want Jameis Winston to be missing the first few games, but is it beneficial since you guys found out as early as you did to get [Ryan] Fitzpatrick some reps with the ones?
“I'm not sure it's beneficial for any team to be missing their starting quarterback, but you know it is what it is. We knew about it. We prepared for it. And that's that. So, it doesn't really matter when it was, It happened and we're going to deal with it. We have all the confidence in Fitz, and if Ryan Griffin gets in there then we will have confidence in him as well.”
I know you already addressed the incident with Coach Payton last year, but he has a reputation with his players getting extra amped up for games. Is he different to coach against than most other coaches?
“No, no. not at all.”
When you see the incidents like him doing the “Skol Clap” against the Vikings or the choke sign to Devonta Freeman, do you just chalk it up to Sean Payton being Sean Payton like that's his personality as a coach?
“I don't even really know about those incidents. I don't think anything about them because I don't really know about it.”
I don’t know if I missed this, but have you guys settled on a starting running back?
“I'm not sure, did you miss it?”
Is it out there?
“I don’t know, is it? You tell me.”
Knowing that Mark Ingram II is not going to be there, Alvin Kamara was used last year more as a satellite back. Is it hard to prepare for him this year not knowing what his usage is going to be like?
“Oh, they're going to use him. They're going to figure out how to use him and they're really good at that. Obviously they had a good one-two punch going last year. How they structure it with [Mike] Gillislee coming in there and Boston Scott how they rotate them, that’s the part that we don't know. Kamara’s going to get his touches whether they're handing it to him or auction routes or screening it to him, he's going to get his touches.”
For Gillislee, do you look at his tape from other teams and try to project how he’s going to look with the Saints? Is there any difficulty there?
“No, no. They’re going to run their offense and they're going to plug him in. So, another player they feel good about they brought him in and we don’t know how much they're going to play and that's up to them. We just have to prepare like it was any other back and see how it shakes out.”
What impressed you all about De’Vante Harris to help him stick with the 53?
“When he came in here, he just did a good job of competing every day. We went through a period in training camp where we were pretty beat up at corner. So, he got to jump right in and get some work. He did a good job, he didn't come in here feeling sorry for himself because he got let go there [by the Saints in training camp]. He came in and he competed, and we decided to get a spot for him. That's what guys do in this league and it happens all the time. Guys get a fresh start somewhere else and for one reason or another it works out better, maybe the Saints are just deeper. I'm not sure but he's done a good job since he’s been here.”