Dirk Koetter Discusses His Faith in Ronald Jones

Sports Xchange

(On the work in the red zone during practice)

“Well we cut down practice a little bit today. We left the red zone stuff in and we’re still just on our normal install. I think offense is on install number 10 and defense is on install number 9. You’re slowly getting all your stuff in and this was a heavy red zone day.”

(On the benefits of entering his fourth season calling plays with the Buccaneers)

“I would just say that having guys in the same system is probably more of a benefit than having the same play-caller. I think just having guys that know your terminology – having the old guys being able to help the young guys. You’ve got Mike Evans helping the young receivers and that’s a big plus.”

(On how cornerback Ryan Smith has done in training camp)

“Ryan, because of the guys we’ve added, he’s having to compete. Last year he may have gotten elevated a little faster than normal just because of the depth we had – or lack thereof – at that position. He’s in a stiff competition right now. Ryan’s working at it. He’s getting better, and he’s just got to hang in there and keep improving.”

(On how injuries affected today’s practice)

“We had kind of a rough day yesterday from an injury standpoint. That’s one of the reasons we had to cut it back today. We’ve got a game Thursday night and even though we have 90 players, it seems like you always seem to get hit at one spot. Right now, we’re just a little but thin in the offensive line and that affects everybody else. We’ll see. There’s still a lot of guys up in the air for Thursday night. Obviously, we’re not going to take any chances with any player for preseason game number one.”

(On last season’s struggles in the red zone)

“I mean that’s well documented. We got down in the red zone plenty of times. We didn’t score enough touchdowns. You’ve got to score touchdowns in the red zone – somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of your drives. We were under 50 percent. We’ve got to do better. We’re not going to solve that in one day. And then the other thing is that we’re going against our own defense. You’re not game-planning, you’re installing. Some things are going to look raggedy at times on both sides. Some things are going to look good. We know we have to solve it, but we’re not going to solve it in one practice.”

(On if today was closer to a 50-50 offense versus defense practice)

“Today was a different kind of day. We had a lot less full-speed periods today. I wouldn’t score today.”

(On his faith in running back Ronald Jones)

“I have faith in him already. I can see how he works and I can see his explosiveness, so I already have faith in him. I’d just say that preseason games are part of it. He didn’t play all those plays at USC and not be a good running back. Preseason is part of it, but I’m not going to weigh that any more than what I’ve already seen.”

(On if the quarterback situation is affecting Ryan Jensen and the other centers)

“One thing: I know you guys are dying to know how we’re going to do this quarterback thing. The quarterback thing is one piece of it. We can’t play the offensive line, the receivers – we’re not going to double their reps because of the quarterback situation. We’re going to stay on our progression and the quarterback situation is a separate issue that has to be worked out. Yes, we’re extremely concerned about it, but I don’t know for sure if he’ll work with more than one quarterback. He might, he might not. You never know how many plays you’re going to get. Typically, your first group plays about 15 plays, which should take you through at least one quarter. Ryan – the fact that he’s playing next to Ali [ Marpet] is helping him a lot. Very pleased with how physical he’s playing. But as far as making all the calls and working with the quarterbacks, that’s a process that’s where it should be. It’s not behind or ahead.”

(On what he’s seen from Jensen)

“Yeah, every player has strengths and weaknesses and as we see what those are, we’ll have to adapt accordingly. He’s definitely the right kind of guy. The right kind of competitor and the right kind of toughness – the things we saw on tape.”

(On if quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is surprisingly mobile)

“He’s got over 2,000 yards rushing in his career, so we kid the other quarterbacks about how far behind they are to that 2,000. Griff’s exactly 2,000 behind him. He’s gaining one yard at a time. I think Fitz has always been a good runner. Part of being a good running quarterback is just knowing when to pull it down and go straight ahead – not waste time going sideways. I think Fitz does a good job of that.”

(On Fitzpatrick avoiding hits)

We prefer he didn’t get hit and we can control it for the most part in practice. That’s where one of the points of emphasis this year is the new slide rule. A quarterback, to declare yourself down, you don’t have to go feet first any more, you can go head first. One thing they’re going to tighten up is where the first spot is – they’re not going to let them slide for two or three yards. Fitz is going to have to take care of himself. That’s where he’s got to be smart.”

(On being down a couple of players)

“We’ve got plenty of guys, it’s a great thing. For this game for us, it’s going to be more like prior years preseason [game] four when you had 75. We’re going to be close to that number. It’s plenty of guys, but it’s preseason [game] one. We don’t necessarily want Donovan Smith to play with the threes because we don’t have any tackles left. We have some issues at a couple positions like that right now. Some positions better than others and we’ll work them out. We’re going to go out there and compete our tails off on Thursday night. I’m looking forward to it.

(On if there’s any particular matchup against the Dolphins that he’s looking forward to seeing)

“You know what, we haven’t even talked to the players about matchups yet. That’s something that we’ll start tonight and continue up until Thursday night. Typically, with preseason one, you don’t want to start talking about the game until the day before, so we’ll spend some time on that tomorrow.”

(On if he’s concerned with long-term injuries)

“A little too early to say on that. Sometimes when we have guys get hurt, they can’t get MRIs until the next day. We’ve got guys getting MRIs today later, so I’m still waiting on some of the guys that got injured yesterday. We’ll just have to see.”

(On if Fitzpatrick can run a quick passing game)

“He can – yeah, he can.”

(On the offense overall)

“Our offense is what it is. Let’s leave it at that. I mean all those guys can do it.”

(On Jameis not being known for the quick passing game)

“Lack of quick game is on me and nobody else. It has nothing to do with Jameis. Jameis can do quick game just as good as Fitz.”