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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Postgame Transcripts 10/5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, October 5, 2017.


(Opening statement)
"A little disappointing, guys played hard. Tried to fight until the end, but we just didn't play good enough. Can't score 14 points and expect to win. I thought our defense did a nice job, gave us a chance. But 14 points isn't going to cut it."

(On if he is concerned about the team's kicking situation)
"Well, of course. It wasn't what we needed tonight. That one before the half, that was a long one with the wind. The other one was a 49 or something. The one at the end, that hurt. That would have given us a good chance. But, it's just one play and it went against us."

(On if team played complementary football tonight)
"No, not at all. We didn't play complementary football at all. Our D, starting off, Justin Evans got that pick and we couldn't capitalize. We had a couple chances there in the first half with field position. You win and lose as a team, but the defense did their fair share to get it done. They get that field goal at the end off an onside kick. They had that punt return that set up another score. Just proud of the way the defense played. Everybody played hard, it wasn't a matter of not trying hard or not competing. We did a good job of that."

(On what New England's defense was doing to shut down long pass attempts)
"Well, they have been playing almost entirely man coverage. We had a feeling they'd make some changes and they mixed their zone coverages a lot more tonight. They mixed man and zone, but they gave us a lot of different looks. They dropped eight. They played a lot more two-deep, they haven't been playing very much two-deep, so, that's a good job by them. But the very first drive of the third quarter, it was like a third-and-four, [wide receiver] DeSean [Jackson] ran that little double move up our sideline. That's a couple feet off, that's a 60-yard touchdown. DeSean got on top of his guy, we've got to hit him."

(On third down struggles and trying to establish rhythm on offense)
"Yeah, it takes you out a ton out of rhythm. I mean, it tires your defense out at the same time. I think both teams were pretty even. I think when I looked at the stats, both teams were about the same on third down. But, it's frustrating to everyone when your defense is stopping them and then we go three-and-out. That's frustrating and hard to get in a rhythm and that's on me as a play-caller."

(On the return of running back Doug Martin and the play of safety Justin Evans)
"Doug looked good, he definitely gave us a lift. He looked fast. Doug, you can tell, he's explosive. He's going to help us. Justin Evans is another guy that looked good in his first game out there. That was a beautiful interception he got on the first drive. [Linebacker] Kendell Beckwith continues to play good as a rookie. But overall, not good enough."

(On the offense's inability to establish a rhythm until the second half)
"We really didn't get into a rhythm until we started playing sort of 'helter-skelter' there on the last couple drives. Sometimes, we play better when it's like that. Sometimes, we play better. That's the whole 'no-huddle' theory and we were mixing some no-huddle in throughout the game. But when you aren't making first downs, you don't ever get into a rhythm. You don't ever get a chance to get the defense on their heels."

(On what it's like to experience difficulties at kicker given the competition at training camp)
"Yeah, it's unfortunate because Nick [Folk] won the job in training camp and he's been really solid in practice. The thing that happened last week kind of came out of left field. There was no indication that was coming. We only kicked live in practice one day this week, and Nick was lights out. So yeah, these last two weeks haven't been exactly what we were looking for - of course, Nick would be the first to admit that. But still, it's a team game. We had other opportunities."

(On their 2-2 record)
"I told the players - I mean, 2-2 after the first quarter of the season. We were 1-3 at this time last year. So, we've been here before. We're going to have to win some games on the road and we got a couple more guys banged up tonight but we also have four really good football players on the defensive side that are sitting out tonight and we're going to be getting those guys back here at some point. I thought we did a lot better job with our pass rush tonight. I think we ended up with three sacks, but we hit Brady several times. You can't play them over again, we let this one slip away. It was a good opportunity and we'll put it to bed tomorrow. I'm sure we'll be stewing on it a little bit, but the players will get a couple days off. We've got to come back and get ready for Arizona next week."

(On if Nick Folk is the kicker moving forward)
"Yeah, we'll talk about that. [General Manager] Jason [Licht] and I had a brief conversation afterwards. That will be something that will be forthcoming. But, you don't want to make any rash decisions."

(On if DeSean Jackson is okay after being looked at on the sideline at the end)
"What I was originally told was that he just got the wind knocked out of him, I think he took a couple pretty good shots. Twice on that far sideline on scramble plays when he had to catch it right on the sideline and take a shot. In that last drive over the middle, he got driven to the ground pretty good. DeSean obviously showed up tonight and played well for us."


(On if he felt it took a while to find their rhythm on offense)
"No, I think we've just got to execute, first and foremost. I think that's the biggest thing."

(On what seems to help him find a rhythm in the fourth quarter)
"We were battling from behind, it wasn't a rhythm. We were battling from behind so competitive nature comes - you've got to start competing. When your back is against the wall you've got to step up. That's it."

(On if New England showed coverages he had not seen on film)
"No, we've seen most of the stuff. I mean, they mixed their coverages as far as on first downs and second downs it was different, but man - I've just got to execute. I think that's the main thing - got to execute on third downs. Defense is playing a great game, you can't give them the ball back."

(On if he can put their 2-2 record in perspective)
"We have to go play Arizona next week. This game's behind us, I guess that's a positive. I wish we could have come up with a win but when you are playing the best quarterback in the world and you're playing against a great defense, you've got to be on top of everything. Today I wasn't, so their quarterback played way better than I did so they end up winning the game."

(On the fact that they were in a position to win at the end)
"We fought hard, we never gave up - that's the best thing. We never gave up, we kept fighting and that just shows you about how hungry this team is and how much the fans helped us out. Being at home we did not want to lose a game at home so we battled back. But again, there is two seconds on the clock, your quarterback has to make a play for you. You've got to do something. As a quarterback you've got to make a play."

(On what he saw on the last play of the game)
"An incomplete pass."

(On having running back Doug Martin back in the lineup)
"That was probably the highlight of today, seeing him in the end zone. We missed him a lot. He toted that ball. The running backs played good, Quizz [Rodgers] came in and he handled his load. Doug, I know he's happy. Not with the loss, but happy - he feels good that he's back. I think we're all happy that Doug is back. That put a smile on my face. Thank you."

(On if he saw progress between him and wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the fourth quarter)
"Yeah. I've got to continue to get better. I missed him on a shot that could have been a touchdown. Again, you've got to play perfect. You've got to execute. When the play is there, you have to execute the play. You can't miss opportunities and that's what happened tonight - missed opportunities, a ton of them, by me. Got to get better. Got to get better."

(On if he felt like they should have won this game)
"I think we fought hard. I think we really fought hard. Our defense played great. The game could've went either way, but at the end of the game, the quarterback has got to make a play. That's the bottom line. You've got to make a play at the end of the game. I can't really sum up [anything] else but that. The quarterback has to make a play."

(On the last play of the game)
"Just a bad decision on my part. I didn't give anybody a chance. Like I said, there's two seconds on the game, the only thing that can hurt you is throwing the ball where nobody can get it and that's what I did there. But, we'll bounce back. It's a learning experience for me. I'm happy the way we fought, we battled, we never gave up. The defense played phenomenal. Offensive line protected great. The receivers caught the football. Running backs ran hard. The quarterback has to make plays to win in NFL football. Quarterback has to make plays."

(On if he had a receiver on the last play of the game)
"Yes, I had one. It was a bad ball. You've got to give him a chance. I had a tight end wide open - just got to give him a chance, got to give him a chance on the ball. Two seconds, got to give him a chance."

(On the respect he has for New England quarterback Tom Brady)
"Utmost respect for him. He's definitely an inspiration to me in the quarterback position. I think every young kid that grows up with a football in their hand aspires to be a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Joe Montana - guys of that nature. It was a privilege and honor to meet him. To get a chance to look him in his eye and shake his hand, it just felt good. It felt good. I never met him before. That was another highlight of my day. I hate he beat me, but he beat a lot of people."

(On what he and Brady spoke about)
"I just said it was an honor. I told him thank you, a lot. That's a blessing, man, when you meet somebody like that. That's a blessing. I dream to be able to be the type of quarterback he is for his team to our team."

(On what Brady said to him)
"That's a private conversation."

(On what words of encouragement he would give to kicker Nick Folk)
"Bounce back. You bounce back. It's not his fault. It's not his fault. We were in a position to win the game. Two seconds on the clock. Somebody has to make a play."

(On if this loss hurts more than some of the others)
"It hurts because it was there, but again, we've got to bounce back. We have to get ready for next week. Going to Arizona. I'm very grateful that we got this Thursday night game. It's good. Everyone is going to get chance to get healthy, recover, get rejuvenated for Arizona. Never like disappointing a home crowd, especially when you've got a chance. These fans came out here. They were electric. They brought the juice. A great atmosphere for our organization. The only thing that could have been better is for us to win and it was there."

(On if Cameron Brate was the tight end he targeted on the last play)
"No, it was O.J. [Howard]."


(On being frustrated despite being the one to score the touchdown to give the team a chance at a comeback)
"I wasn't my night tonight. I kind of let the team down. I had some chances to make some plays and usually I come through there, but tonight just didn't work out. I've got to put in a good week of practice next week and come back against the Cardinals."

(On how frustrating it is to come so close to winning the game and coming up short)
"Very frustrating. The defense really gave us a chance. They were unbelievable all night. The offense just didn't come through in clutch situations; third downs and [in the] red zone. We had some chances to put some points on the board. I had a chance earlier in the fourth quarter to give us a touchdown, but I just didn't make the play tonight."

(On how the team moves forward from this loss)
"Just watch the film tomorrow and learn from our mistakes. After a game like this, it's probably good to get away from football for a little bit. We head out to Arizona next week, which is an inner-conference game on the road, so that will be a big one for us. So, just learn from our mistakes and put in a good week of practice next week and we'll come out stronger."


(On the defensive effort)
"Obviously it wasn't good enough tonight, but it was pretty decent. We know we can do so much better than what we showed. Our defense can be so much greater. We've just got to come to practice when we get back and just keep working for perfection."

(On his interception coming against Tom Brady)
"First pick as a rookie, so that's definitely great. And it being Tom Brady - you dream for stuff like that, so I'm definitely fortunate."

(On facing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady)
"I mean it is Tom Brady. He's been playing this game [and] he knows exactly what he wants to do and a lot of times he knows exactly what you're doing. So it's tough to stop someone like that, but you've just got to stay focused and compete."

(On the disappointment of the loss)
"We took an 'L' so it hurts, but we've got each other's backs. There is no pointing fingers. There is no saying, 'Oh, our offense didn't score this.' We all have to work as a team and do better."

(On Brady throwing to his side of the field a lot)
"I mean if I was Tom Brady, I would throw at a rookie for his first start also."

(On how he felt he performed in his first career start)
"I did some things well and I also did some things that [weren't good]. I've just got to learn it, experience it and it will come."


(On his previous two performances)
"It's been a bad week. From starting out on Sunday to today - bad week."

(On if he has ever been through a stretch like this before)
"I'm sure at some point. I've just got to keep my head down, keep working and try to get better."

(On what went wrong with his missed field goals)
"On the 56 [yard field goal] at the end of the half there, I tried to give it a ride. I didn't hit it great, but I got enough of it. The other two I didn't hit well."

(On the best way to break out of a slump)
"Just keep swinging."

(On leaving points out on the field)
"Yeah, I left points out there. We should've won that game 20-19. This one's on me."


(On how it felt to be back on the field with his teammates)
"It felt good to be out there. When I went out there for warmups - just to hear the crowd and hear the fans again and to be out there with my brothers was definitely a good feeling. It's unfortunate that we got the loss, but we also came back. I'm just going to learn from this and come back and get ready for the Cardinals."

(On if he needed some contact to get himself going tonight)
"Yeah, I was trying to get contact all week. My coach brought me out there to punch the bags and I kept asking him, 'Do you want me to put some pads on?' He was like, 'No, don't put any pads on.' But it's surprising how fast it all comes back to you. I'm a little rusty. I wish I [could] have those two passes back, but I'll get there and, like I said, I'm going to learn from this and move on."

(On his touchdown run)
"I thought I got it the first time, but I wasn't sure. Just in case, I went over the second time. The linemen did a good job today and we are going to keep getting better. We have a good break and I'm going to use that time to work on my hands and everything that I need to work on."

(On the defense keeping the team in the game)
"The defense did an extraordinary job. I wish we could've helped them more and kept them off the field, but they did an awesome job. I can't wait to see what they are going to do down the road and [against] the Cardinals, but I would like to thank them a lot."

(On what it meant to him the way the fans were cheering for him)
"It felt good. I felt like I was back home. I've been away for about four weeks and it was just good to hear the fans and just the crowd noise - just to be in the element again was awesome."


(On whether there was a mindset of not letting the game get away)
"We didn't have the mindset of "let it get away. We always have the mindset of we can win this game. They came out and played great ball, they scored when they needed to score and they got stops on defense. It's just a game of football. On any given Sunday, anything can happen and we let that one go."

(On how he feels about their record being 2-2)
"Like Coach Koetter said, 'That's what we've earned so far.' So, we know we want to earn 4-0 in the second half of the season or going into the second quarter of the season, we know what we have to do. It starts in practice with all guys on the team, all hands on deck doing their job. So, we have to reboot. Next game is the Cardinals in Arizona, so we have to prepare for those guys."

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