TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter found himself addressing a report on Sunday that said his working relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston is experiencing difficulty.
While both Koetter and Winston denied there is some kind of riff between the two, the report has at least laid a distraction on the lap of the coach that is trying avoid double-digit losses.
“Jameis [Winston] is tremendous at blocking out distractions and focusing on the task at hand,” Koetter said during News Channel 8’s exclusive “Koetter’s Korner” interview.
“We can’t control stuff that people say. People say stuff all the time when you’re not having the kind of season you wanted to have.”
The story, reported by NFL.com, cited a source saying that Winston has grown unhappy with Koetter’s play calling and was disappointed in the way he was handled in the weeks following his shoulder injury.
While time will tell if Koetter and Winston are indeed comfortably on the same page, the results on the field for the Bucs defense show a disconnect.
“They threw 44 times and we didn’t [get] him [Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford] on the ground,” Koetter said. “You’ve got to put pressure on the quarterback.”
Koetter pointed out the three turnovers by the Bucs defense, a plus that helped keep the team in the game, while the offense got going in the fourth quarter. But the Bucs offense handed the ball over five times itself, creating yet another attempt at coming from behind.
The Bucs erased a 21-7 deficit with a pair of Winston touchdown passes and had the ball late in the fourth quarter but could not produce another score.
The Lions drove the ball, taking the lead for good on a 46-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
The 24-21 defeat officially dropped the Bucs out of playoff contention and guaranteed a losing record for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
“Koetter’s Korner” airs each Monday during the regular season on News Channel 8 at 6 p.m.