Check out the action as the Saints battled division opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Week 14.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
What do you think the biggest improvement has been for the Buccaneers success this year as opposed to years past?
"I'm not really qualified to say other than the time I've been here, but in the time that I've been here, we're playing better complementary football. We're playing defense helping offense, offense helping defense, special teams helping both. We've been doing a decent job of talking the ball away (and) not turning it over. Our punt team has done a great job of flipping field positon and we haven't beat ourselves."
How much of a challenge is it to prepare for the same team in three weeks or is it easier since it's a divisional opponent?
"That's a good question. I don't know that there is an easy answer. This is my first time playing a team this close together. They're coming off a win, we're coming off a loss. Both of us had long road trips last week, short week. It's a unique situation to say the least and your players on both teams (deal with) Christmas week, end of the season, playing them twice in three weeks. It is unique and there's some unknown involved for sure. Both teams are working a lot off of the previous game, but at the same time both coaching staffs are going to make some changes based on what they think they can do better. Yeah it will be interesting."
What are some of the challenges to make sure your team isn't paying attention to the outside noise?
"I think that is every coach this time of year. There is just a lot going on. You have to remember you still have a lot of young guys on your team that are away from their families. It is Christmas week, you have playoffs on the line, division on the line, all four teams in our division are still mathematically in it (playoff contention). That's another thing that is so unique about this whole situation. The way the NFL scheduled it this year where we have the two division games the final two games and we're all playing each other and depending on who beats who things could go a lot of different ways here. I don't think anybody's going to have a hard time getting their guys motivated to play in a game like this."
Do you think the sack is overrated as a stat and do you think as far as team pressure it could be misleading?
"No, I don't think it's overrated. The value of a sack is not overrated. Now who has how many sacks that could possibly be overrated, but we look at the variables that affect winning in the NFL and turnovers is obviously number one, explosive plays is number two and sacks is actually ahead of third downs for number three, but as far as who gets credited with a sack, I don't think that's as important as the fact that you're getting sacks."
How do you prepare for a Saturday game?
"A Saturday game is much easier than a Thursday game because the players traditionally get one day off. You basically just cut off your Monday and then treat Tuesday like a Wednesday etc. Your heavy work day on a regular week are Wednesday and Thursday. Just move those up to Tuesday and Wednesday and do away with the Monday. I think a Saturday game is quite a bit easier scheduling wise than a Thursday game. Plus, obviously the players' bodies get the extra couple of days to heal up."
What are your general thoughts about some of the players skipping the college bowl games as a former college head coach?
"I'm glad I'm not a college coach. That's my general feeling. If I was a college coach it would be bothering me a lot more now that I'm a pro coach, but heck I would hate to be a college coach and be put in that situation when you're trying to win a game, but that's not my issue anymore."
Does that affect your draft evaluation if a guy potentially tries to skip a bowl?
"That is a good question and I'll be honest with you I haven't really given that any thought. That would be a better question for our GM. I've been trying to do all my thinking about how we can give the Saints a good game on Saturday."
Why has Keith Tandy been so productive in his three starts?
"Yeah I think sometimes a guy that's been a backup player and a special team's player, Keith's a student of the game and been kind of waiting in the wings for his chance. Sometimes guys just don't really get the opportunity and then when they do they do better than you think they would do. Keith has really prepared himself. Every coach is always telling their guys, hey you never know when your opportunities going to come. Prepare (when you aren't a full-time starter), that's easier said than done and Keith's done it. I mean he's done it about as well as any guy I've seen. There have been plenty of other guys that when they get their opportunity maybe you're thinking ok that's why that guy was a backup in the first place, but in Keith's case you're going wow this guys playing at a starter level and playing at a very high level. He has made key plays for us in all three games that he's played a major role."
What do you think Tandy did well in his start against the Saints?
"He came up with a pretty big play on that fourth and one to end the game. He recognized a route concept and I think that's the main thing that Keith did was when he saw something that he recognized he didn't hesitate to make a play on it. I think that's a lot of times what guys do. They think they see something and then they're afraid to react to it. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the Saints cut the comeback and double move on him. That's usually what happens when coaches and quarterbacks like Drew Brees see a guy being aggressive on tape. They usually try to come back and double move him."
Why do you think the Saints have been good on fourth downs this year?
"I don't know the answer. I'd probably say because they have a really good quarterback."