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Quotes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Dirk Koetter

Falcons head coach, Dirk Koetter and linebacker Kendell Beckwith, spoke to the New Orleans media on Wednesday, Dec. 27

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

*What have you seen out of Jameis Winston the last couple of weeks? He seems to have been playing a lot better over the last couple of weeks. *"I think he is playing pretty good right now. He's been extremely accurate, he's throwing with really good touch, he's throwing the deep ball better. His numbers bare out. He is playing pretty good right now."

*What impresses you the most about the Saints draft class from this year? *"Anytime you can have a draft class that has two rookie Pro Bowlers on there, I would say that's pretty impressive."

*With the division at stake this week, how much do you get a sense from your players that they would enjoy playing the spoiler?
"That's something that we don't really talk about, the spoiler. We just try to focus on doing the best that we can do and playing our best. We recognize the position that New Orleans is and they've earned that, but we're focused on doing the best that we can do."

*You talked about the two rookie Pro-Bowlers, but Ryan Ramcyzk is also a rookie. What stands out about his season?
"When you're drafting guys at the top of the draft, you're expecting those guys to come in and be starters from the get-go and be solid players. If you look at the numbers that the Saints have on offense, the group that's overlooked is that offensive line. They are playing really good both in the run-game and in protection. You don't run the ball like they're running it and protecting like they're protecting without a good offensive line. (Ryan) Ramczyk is definitely a big part of that."

What have you seen from Sheldon Rankins *on tape now that he's playing inside and outside? *"The same. There's several guys in the league that do that and when teams have injuries late in the year sometimes they choose to move guys around, sometimes they're forced to move guys around. We did a lot of work on Sheldon (Rankins) coming out of Louisville and he's always been a guy that's had versatility and their whole defense is playing hard and playing smart right now."

There was that incident on the sidelines with Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore*. How much, if at all, do you address that to keep that from happening?
"That's in the past, and mistakes were made, and fines were handed out. There was a suspension and that was in the past. That was last game and this is a different game."

*Why do teams seem to have more success picking guys up off the street during the season than during training camp? Is it because they might have a specific role for them in mind during the season?
"That's a good question. That could possibly be it. You have a specific need and in training camp some of those roles are still being defined. I'm not sure about that, but when it's this time of year, there's only a certain amount of guys on the street and teams have very specific needs. That's the only thing I could say."

*Getting back to (Alvin) Kamara and (Marshon) Lattimore, as competitive as the NFL is and as thin as the margin can be for success, how much would you think that could tip the balance in a season, when you suddenly add two guys of that caliber through the draft? Especially one in the third round?
"Just look at their record. They've proven it. New Orleans is doing on offense what every team in the NFL wants to do. They're controlling the game with their running game and then they have a Hall of Fame quarterback that takes advantage of every mistake a secondary makes with a downfield passing game. They have a dynamic screen game, but you ask any offensive coach in the league and if you can run the ball when you want to run it, that sets up everything else in your passing game."

*(Drew) Brees is going to be 39 next month, but his completion percentage is maybe the highest it's ever been depending on how he does next game and could set a record. Can you talk from your perspective about the factors that go into his efficiency even though his yardage and numbers aren't as high as usual? *"We go right back to the same thing with their running game. When you're running the football, you get cleaner looks in the passing game. He's always been an unbelievably accurate quarterback and they're throwing a ton of screens. That's always good for your percentage as well. A great running game is quarterback's best friend and that's what they have right now."

Marshon Lattimore has gotten a ton of attention this year, but how good has Ken Crawley *been on the other side this year? *"He, obviously, doesn't get the same attention and anytime you have a Pro Bowl on one side, usually the guy on the other side gets picked on more because teams try to avoid that guy. That's just part of life in the NFL. Crawley has come in, and been thrown right into the fire, and he's definitely responded. He's done a nice job and I'm sure he will continue to get better."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Kendell Beckwith *Conference Call with New Orleans Media *Wednesday, December 27, 2017

*What is the biggest challenge of defending the Saints' two running backs?
"As a linebacker, you just have to be on you're A-game on that day. You have to come with it. You have to be able to tackle and play in space. Those guys do a good job of not only running the ball, but catching the ball out of the backfield."

*LSU has the reputation for being DBU, but with the way that you and Kwon (Alexander) have been playing and then over in Atlanta with Deion Jones and Duke Riley, are you guys starting to think you should get the linebacker University reputation as well?
"We have a special thing going right now. We have a really special thing going right now. That's a topic that definitely should be brought up."

*Did you expect to do this much in your rookie season?
"Yes. I don't see why not. I know I was coming off an injury, but I had high expectations for myself so I was ready for whatever they threw at me."

*It's not so much the injury, just the fact that they have some really good guys at linebacker over there.
"Absolutely, I knew that coming in and I knew when I got my opportunity to be on the field I just wanted to go out there and make plays. When you have two really good guys like that on either side of you, you can't be slacking."

*How much has having those guys help you in terms of adjusting and being able to make plays? *"They've been a really big help. I look at myself as lucky being able to have those two guys in the same room with me playing the same position. They really help me out with whatever I need."

What do you make of the whole breakdown of the Saints offense, run versus pass. I know you've played in Louisiana and so you're probably familiar with Drew Brees *and his prolific numbers. His overall yards are down this year, but he still seems to be very efficient? *"He is. He is a great quarterback. They do a really good job of using those two running backs. They do a really good job of using those two guys. We just have to contain those guys and be ready to play our technique and lock those guys down."

*Is there anything you guys saw in that first game or any adjustments that you guys have made to change the outcome when you guys play them this week?
"We just have to eliminate the big plays. They had some big plays on us. We just have to do a better job tackling this game."

*I know this season hasn't gone the way you and your teammates wanted it to, but you guys are still playing teams very competitively down the stretch. What has been the key to still having that fire?
"I think it's just our competitive nature. We have a bunch of competitive guys in that locker room. We're not going to go down without swinging. We're going to keep fighting and keep fighting until the end. We're not just going to lay down, turn over, and just quit. We're going to keep fighting no matter what."

*Any chance of getting to Orlando on Monday (for the LSU bowl game)? *"I hope so. Anytime LSU is playing, I'm front and center. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out there and catch their game. We'll see how it goes."

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