Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter spoke to the media following practice on Thursday, discussing a number of topics including the progress of their defense and his interactions with former Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden.

Below is a transcript of the post-practice press conference:

(On progress to this point in camp)
“It’s a process. You’re always going to be ahead in some areas and behind in others, so that’s where we are. Health-wise we’re all good.”

(On where the team is behind)
“We need to execute better on offense than we have been, but part of that is that we’re playing good defense. It’s give and take.”

(On rookie TE O.J. Howard)
“[He’s looked] excellent. Outstanding. He looks like a first-round draft pick out there.”

(On the growth of Josh Huff)
“Well, Josh is a veteran player. This isn’t new to him, he knows. He’s made plays in this league before, but Josh just needs to be a little more consistent. He’s definitely got talent.”

(On Beckwith being back on the field)
“Kendell Beckwith is eight months off of an ACL surgery, missed all of spring, was way behind. Most of those guys, when they’re hurt and miss all of OTAs, they talk about mental reps but mental reps and doing it are two different things. Those first couple of days in rookie practice when it was just us out here, Kendell did not look good. He has come alive in these first six practices and we’re excited about him.”

(On how multiple this defense can be)
“There’s a fine line there between being multiple and just being good at what you do. More isn’t necessarily better, but that’s what training camp is for. [Mike Smith] and the defensive staff, they’ve got some good stuff they’re doing, they’re giving us fits right now. Not only is it a good scheme, but they’ve got good players playing in that scheme and that’s even better. The defense is working on some things that are going to be used later in the season, some of it’s going to be used early, some of it’s not going to be shown in preseason and there’s a lot of nuances going on out there so don’t feel like you have to report on every one of them.”

(On the league evolving with their blitz packages)
“Defenses are so much more sophisticated in trying to pick and get guys free. The two linebackers standing up in the A gap, the double A gap package. The Bear package has gone full circle; it went away and now it’s back. Defenses mugging their linebackers up so you have to count them in your protection. There’s just a lot more to it and our D’s doing a really nice job with it right now. They’re doing some stuff that’s ahead of the curve, I think, and you never know until you get in a game, but I’m glad they’re on our side right now. They’re doing a good job.”

(On Hard Knocks being a distraction)
“It’s been no distraction at all. The Hard Knocks crew is as professional as they come and it’s not a distraction at all.”

(On competition at the safety position)
“We talk about the role thing all the time with the team. It’s important at a lot of positions, and safety is one of them, but it’s a little bit too early to start worrying about who’s going to fill what roles because you still have to get through four preseason games and some guys are going to show up, some guys are going to drop off and some guys are going to get hurt so right now everybody’s trying to learn everything, with a few exceptions. That usually sorts itself out as we move along.”

(On Chris Godwin since the pads have come on)
“Outstanding, he’s doing a great job. The guy looks like a vet out there. He does not play like a rookie, he does not act like a rookie. Very mature, serious about his business and serious about football. He’s doing a really nice job.”

(On Chris Baker’s potential impact up front)
“I’m noticing that he’s one of the top five dancers on our team right now. Him, Coach Duffner and Sealver Saliga … I want to see a dance-off between those three. What I’ve noticed football-wise though, for a guy that weighs 330-something pounds, he’s really light on his feet. He’s got a nice get-off, and we knew this from watching the Redskins film, his lateral movement for a guy his size is exceptional. We’re trying to get him through right now, he’s a little sore, we’re trying to get him through. Those guys are a little bit tougher to round into condition than guys that weigh 190, but if you watch the tape closely you can see it’s there.”

(On Vernon Hargreaves’ improvements)
“Confidence. Vernon’s playing a lot more aggressive, which we asked him to do, and he seems lighter on his feet. I know he’s lost a little bit of weight, but he’s confident. Those corners have got to be confident and have short memories. Brent Grimes is playing lights out right now and Vernon’s right on his heels.”

(On evaluation of the running back position)
“I think we have good depth still. We’re not doing live tackling, we’re doing thud tackling, so we quick whistle everything and it’s sometimes hard to tell if a guy would have been taken down or if he would have spun out of it. I like our depth, those guys are working hard in pass protection, they’re working hard catching the ball, except for Doug, the other guys all play on special teams which they’re going to have to do. When we get down to 46 on game day, those running backs, if they aren’t the starter, you have to help out on special teams so like everything else they’re doing fine.”

(On J.R. Sweezy’s presence and his impact on the D Line)
“I think those guys know where he’s at. He’s definitely going to bring some nastiness to the run game, but just ask our defensive front, they’re not going to back down from anybody. Nobody ever talks about it but the guy that dominates practice every day is Gerald McCoy, I mean we can’t block that guy. You think he’s offside. I’m sitting up there running the tape back 20 times. The guy’s got the best get off, he’s tough to stop. He wrecks half of practice and Robert Ayers is right there with him, but we’re excited about what J.R. can bring and he’s still getting back in game shape as well.”

(On two tight end packages)
“It can create good match-ups for us. We’ve got to execute in it but the reason people go to two tight ends is because if you’ve got tight ends that can both block and can run and catch it can make you tough to defend. If they’re playing base defense you might have some match-up issues in the pass game, if they choose to go to sub defense or nickel defense you should have some match-up issues in the run game. That’s the theory.”

“You’re going to have different packages within your two-tight end packages and everybody has that. The team that does the best job in the NFL with a two-tight end offense is New England. That’s the team that everyone is trying to emulate with two tight ends. They do the best jobs at creating match-ups and they execute on top of it.”

(On interaction with Jon Gruden)
“It was awesome. I was sitting in the back for the 1:00 p.m. press conference and it was great for me to hear Bryan Glazer talk about his father and then also talk about Coach Gruden and then when Jon talked it was fun to be in there. I spent about an hour and a half with Jon in my office before the team meeting and we just talked ball; two football coaches talking ball. That was fun for me. We’ve got one of his old playbooks up in my office so we pulled that out and got a couple laughs out of that. Jon’s a film junkie still and he’s making me say stuff that I wouldn’t say to too many people, that was fun. Then at 3:30, Jon talked to the team, and he talked from the heart. He talked like he was the coach of the Bucs and it was great. It was a good message and it was fun to hear.”

(On the return team)
“Favorites would be Adam Humphries returning punts and Ryan Smith returning kickoffs, but again, we’ve had zero live reps. When we’re doing all of those drills out there with the special teams we’re working on our blocking assignments and our coverage lane so that position, as much as any other, will count when we get to real football.”

(On Tom Brady’s 40th Birthday)
“Let’s just keep in mind that Tom Brady is 40 and Jameis Winston is 23. We talk about experience, in every one of our jobs, you guys and mine. If you had 17 years, more or less, of experience, would you be better or worse?”

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Dude
Dude (@dude)
4 years ago

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the room with Koetter and Gruden. That would have been pretty interesting to hear.

Iowabucfan
Iowabucfan (@iabucfan)
Reply to  Dude
4 years ago

Yes, that would be fun. Maybe the Hard Knocks cameras were in there.

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0 (@alldaway)
4 years ago

Wow…even Koetter points out that Godwin isn’t playing like a rookie. This offense has the potential to be off the charts good.