Dirk Koetter on League-Wide Explosion in Passing Yards

Sports Xchange

(On if there were any benefits of practicing on grass)

“We went in right after you guys left. We just wanted to do individual out there so we could use the sleds.”

(On if tight end O.J. Howard is progressing faster than expected)

“I didn’t have any expectation, so I don’t really have an answer to that. When they tell me he’s healthy, he’s healthy.”

(On his experience during the Bye Week)

“I can only speak for myself. We had meetings. The players were here on Monday. We worked on self-scout Tuesday and Wednesday all day. Thursday we worked on practice for Monday and then the coaches were off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some coaches were in and out of the office at different times, so that’s it.”

(On the work that they do during the Bye Week)

“Everyone in the NFL works hard. It’s a hard job. It’s a time-consuming job. That’s just the nature of it. Everybody works hard.”

(On how important it is to keep a young core together)

“I think any time you can get guys on their second contract, you draft them and if they get a second contract that means they panned out, they played well. You’re happy to see guys earn their money. Everyone knows the salary cap is the salary cap and it’s going up every year. The salaries are going higher. Guys at the top of the food chain at their position group are getting paid really good money these days. You want, as a coach, you’d love to see every guy get paid. It’s not going to work out that way. The more guys you get on the upper echelon, the harder it is to make it all fit together.”

(On how talented Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is)

“Julio’s one of the elite players in this league and we have a couple on our team as well. As we said last year after the game at their place, we played at Green Bay one time when I was coaching [in Atlanta], and I saw Julio get that hot. Julio is good every week. He didn’t get many balls thrown his way last week, but going into last week he was leading the NFL in yardage if I’m not mistaken. I think he was leading targets and yardage. I don’t know the ins and out of Atlanta’s game plan or what Pittsburgh did. Pittsburgh obviously did some things that tried to take him out and they worked. Sometimes you can have a call that you think is trying to take him out of the play and he still beats it. Julio – much like Mike [Evans] for us – he gets double-teamed a lot. They can do different things to get him open. They can move him into the slot. They can put him in motion. They can pick for him. They can run for him. They can do different stuff like that, but he’s a tough player to stop. He’s definitely on our game-wrecker list for this week and he will be for every team they play.”

(On Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin getting fined for comments he made about the officiating)

“Coach Tomlin’s on the competition committee, so as far as the rules go from a coaching standpoint, he’s what I would call an expert from a coaching standpoint. I’m not even sure. The only one that I saw I think he was asked about the roughing the passer rule, so I think he was talking about that, not in general. Officials in the NFL have a very, very difficult job and nobody in this room starting with me could even come close to doing that. The things that they ask those officials to see in real time – let alone slowing it down on the clicker – is very difficult. They’re trying to make the game safer, right? That’s what the game is demanding right now is that they try and make the game safer. With making the game safer, there’s going to be some growing pains with that. Whether it’s use of the helmet rule, whether it’s roughing the passer rule – whatever it is there’s going to be some growing pains. Trust me, by the number of videos they’ve been sending us, they’re trying to get it right.”

(On if the NFL is putting a ‘muzzle’ on coaches so they can’t speak out about certain things)

“I don’t feel like I have a muzzle on.”

(On takeaways from playing in the Mercedes-Bez Stadium last year)

“Any dome stadium is loud, but we got a win Game 1 in the Superdome which I think is the loudest of the loud. That new stadium in Atlanta is an awesome stadium and playing on the road in the NFL presents communication issues, especially on your offense – period. Any dome magnifies that and then the fact that they have a good football team magnifies that. Nothing more than that. It’s not as loud as the Superdome. It is very loud though.”

(On how well Jason Pierre-Paul is playing)

“I think that goes back – he told me in the offseason when he didn’t come to OTA’s he said, ‘I know what I’m doing. I’ll be fine. I’ll learn it.’ Basically, don’t worry about it. And I’ve got to admit I kind of thought, ‘Just wait. I’ve heard that before,’ but he’s done it. A guy that backs up what he says, I have a lot of respect for that. He has played very consistently not only in practice, but in the games. As I’ve said before, I’ve been impressed with him as a vocal leader and a leader that sets the example by how he works. Can’t say enough good things.”

(On Pierre-Paul’s handicap)

“When I watch him, I would never even know that he had the disability – I would never even know that from my viewpoint.”

(On quarterback Jameis Winston’s performance in practice)

“Good. He’s doing fine and we’re looking forward to him getting out there and resuming being our quarterback.”

(On if rule changes have influenced the team’s passing statistics)

“It’s more than I thought because I can’t really explain it other than the two rules that we already talked about, but I don’t really see how those two rules – because they are calling roughing the passer. That’s not necessarily helping your passing yardage. I don’t know if we could ever measure how much our D-lineman [are] pulling off at the last second. I don’t know the answer to that. These numbers – completion percentage has inched up steadily over the last few years and was at an all-time high. You’ve got some guys completing over 70 percent of their passes. I think rules in general favor the offense right now and that’s just what it is. To see as big [of] a jump as there has been, I don’t really have a good answer for it.

(On if Winston’s biggest improvement has come from his accuracy)

“It was in the preseason. In the preseason I think he was at 80 [73] percent if I’m not mistaken which is as high as anybody’s. Now, he hasn’t played enough. He was still 16 of 20 last week [80] percent going in a difficult situation to put him in personally, but I wish I had a better answer for you – I don’t.