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What the Buccaneers are saying about playing the Saints

Jameis Winston, Coach Dick Koetter conducted conference calls with New Orleans media Wednesday

Photos from the New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. Photos by Michael. C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

You played against Sheldon Rankins in college when you were at Florida State and he was at Louisville; what do you remember about him?
"He was a good player. I think he sacked me like twice."

What do you think he has added to the pass rush for the Saints this year?
"Being alongside Cam Jordan, he can add a lot. I know he's a fierce competitor. He knows how to get to the quarterback. I think Nick Fairley's playing really well this year too."

What do you think has been the key for your recent four-game win streak?
"Just playing as a family, playing as one and executing the plays when you need them."

You seem to have limited turnovers; what do you credit that to?
"Just overall team development, me keeping things simple and not taking too many chances with the football."

What about Mike Evans and the way he has played this season?
"Amazing. He has had an outstanding year. He is just a great competitor. His ability to go up and get the ball at any point and play with strength and speed is amazing."

Do you guys just have better chemistry going into your second year?
"Absolutely. Last year, I missed him a lot. It kind of hurt him stat-wise. This year, we (have) connected when we needed to and he has been having an amazing year. He has really helped me out this year."

When you say you missed him, do you mean with your read or do you just mean when you tried to throw it to him, it was hard to get it to him?
"I overthrew him or just made some bad throws."

How did you make that adjustment?
"By working with him."

How does he compare now to maybe what you knew of him coming into the league?
"We just work together better. The more years you have with someone, you build a type of chemistry with them. We had a good offseason. We connected with each other and just built that trust and that chemistry."

How do you think your defense has played recently?
"Our defense has been playing amazing and they're one of the main reasons that we're 4-0 in the past few games. They really have been holding us and we have to continue to get better, everybody, every phase of our team has to continue to get better."

What have you seen from the Saints defense in recent weeks?
"Yeah, I mean they always throw something new at you. You never know what to expect, great personnel, a fierce competitor in Cameron Jordan and (Delvin) Breaux, oh my gosh, he is a beast out there (and he is) very strong. We just have to be smart with the football and make smart plays because the thing for us is we are playing against the best quarterback in the league."

What makes you say that Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the league?
"Because he is the best quarterback in the league."

Some people will say Tom Brady is; why is Drew Brees the best quarterback in the league in your opinion?
"You have a lot of guys that rank up there at the top. You can't really determine which 1-5, you can't really, especially a guy that's going to be a first ballot hall of famer. I mean in my division (and that perspective), he is the best quarterback in the league."

Is there anything from Drew's game that you try and learn from?
"Absolutely, everything he does. His ability to process information to perfection and get down to his checkdowns is amazing. His accuracy, well he doesn't even have accuracy he is very precise. He is one of the most precise passers to play the game and I just love watching him play."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Conference Call with Local Media Availability
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What kind of growth have you seen from Jameis Winston?
"I think if you just look at your own quarterback and you know (he is) one of the best in the league. Just experience being the best teacher, Jameis has played (only) 28 games in his career. Compared to however many hundred Drew Brees has played. I think in this league experience is the best teacher, leadership, taking care of the football, knowledge of defense, knowledge of game situations and people tend to forget that Jameis agewise should still be a senior in college."

What has Doug Martin brought to the team since he returned?
"When Doug is healthy he is one of the best backs in the league and again compare it to your own situation there with (Mark) Ingram when you have a healthy running back that can break tackles and make yards on his own even if the plays are not blocked perfectly. It helped the passing game immensely, plus Doug's a really good protection guy as well. I mean he has been stellar in protection since he's come back also."

What have you seen out of the Saints defense this year?
"They give you a lot of looks and I think they do a really good job of putting their players in the best position to be successful. I think Dennis Allen does a really nice job of using his guys. They're deep at safety so he plays a lot of three-safety defense. They have added, it is like a new look defense from when we played you guys at the end of last year (Dec. 11). With the combination of draft picks and free agents and guys that you brought in and then of course you built around Cameron Jordan. We've always thought he was a game-wrecker. That's always a guy that we're very aware of."

Do you call it a new defense because of the three-safety usage?
"Somewhat, but personnel normally when you play a team in your division you know their personnel because you play them so often, but if you look at the number of guys that are different than when we played you guys last year (it is a lot different). You don't have that much turnover. To bring in (Paul) Kruger, (Nick) Fairley, (Craig) Robertson, (Nathan) Stupar coming over from Atlanta, (Vonn) Bell out of the draft, Sterling Moore off our team, (B.W.) Webb was on a different team last year, (Darryl) Tapp was on a different team last year. I mean there are only like three guys that are playing the same spots that played against us at the end of last year. That is just unusual."

How has Kwon Alexander had such an impact on your defense?
"What he brings is a hunger to be the best. Kwon works hard, he is the quarterback of our defense. He's the play-caller, he's the guy in the middle of the defense. He is the guy you're counting on to make plays between the tackles and he's done that and he's got excellent speed. He is extremely durable and packs a punch, he is a good blitzer and we ask a lot of him."

When you have something you want to run again, how do you kind of navigate between the fear of say them adjusting vs. just running it till maybe they stop it?
"That is actually a really good question. Because that is the game within the game of the play-callers. Typically, in the NFL you don't repeat plays very much, but I think the best play-callers do repeat plays, but that's the thing is everybody goes to the sideline in between series' and makes their adjustments and looks at the surface pictures and you never really know is it fixed or not fixed. Was it just a one-time thing? Sometimes it's just the luck of the call. You had the right play against the right defense and sometimes it depends how diverse a defense is in what they call. Are they a defense that dials up a lot of different stuff or are they a defense that is fairly predictable? The next time you get in that situation their probably going to be in the same thing. All of that comes into it. That's what we're working on all during the week."

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