Bucs' Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter:
(On Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and whether his status for Sunday affects game planning)
“I think he’ll be good to go. It sounds like he’ll be good to go. He’s one of the top players in the NFL. He’s the Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers of defense. When he’s in there, the offense checks, he’s checking the defense, he’s sliding the front. Guy’s an impressive player. They’ve been a lot more vanilla the last two-and-a-half games with him out. I’m sure as soon as he gets back, they’ll crank it up again and do more things than they’ve been doing.”
(On the challenges presented by Carolina this week)
“They’re a top-notch defense. Look at the stats, where they’re ranked. Very well-coached. Those two linebackers [Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis] are at the top of the league. [Josh Norman] has made two game-winning plays for them – the Jacksonville game, a pick-six, [and] that was a beautiful play against New Orleans last week. That was a nice throw; what a play he made. They have depth on the defensive line. You know, losing [Charles] Johnson, they lose a good rusher, and then they trade for another good rusher [Jared Allen]. But all those guys in their front, they can push the pocket, they have good depth. Linebackers, they have depth. Now that they’ve had to play [A.J.] Klein more, they’ve got their first-round pick [Shaq Thompson], they traded for another corner to go opposite 24, 31 [Charles Tillman] comes over from Chicago. He’s had an excellent career. So this is a real solid defense and we’ll have our hands full for sure.”
(On Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly)
“Another great player. One of the best players in the league. They have a lot of great players on their team with the addition of Jared Allen – they added to the team, a vet – Thomas Davis, a vet, Charles Tillman, a vet and a cornerback, Josh Norman, that’s playing his tail off and Roman Harper. They have a great, solid defense that it’s going to be exciting to play against, but we have to play our football game. We have to go out there compete and play.”
(On the Carolina defense)
"They're sound everywhere. They're very disciplined; they don't make mistakes. Their front seven is great and they have a really good secondary as well. We're going to have our hands full with those guys. We've got a good week to prepare so we should be ready."
(On Carolina CB Josh Norman)
"He's been making a lot of plays. I remember last year, he talks a lot. He's a fun guy to play against."
(On Carolina’s defense and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly)
“They’re a whole different defense with him out there. He’s very smart, he gets them in the right looks. He’s good at checking defenses to what he sees. You can tell he watches a lot of film. He’s just a step quicker than most linebackers. He gets to the ball quicker. We need to make sure we know where he’s at the whole time.”