TAMPA Coach Dirk Koetter conceded the Bucs had no answer for Falcons WR Julio Jones, who racked up 253 receiving yards, most ever for a Bucs opponent, in Atlantas 34-20 win on Sunday.
He said it wasnt for a lack of trying different schemes against him.
“We played 14 different coverages and none of them worked,” Koetter said Monday. “We have everything from the cornerback falling down to a linebacker running out of (his) zone to not getting pressure on the quarterback to double moves to them high-lowing us in a two-deep coverage and throwing over the corners head. Every way you can beat those different coverages, they all happened.”
There was some small solace in knowing that Jones whom Koetter coached, along with QB Matt Ryan, as the Falcons offensive coordinator from 2012-14 is one of the best in the game, even if hed been held to one touchdown in his first 10 games before getting two against the Bucs.
“Matt Ryan was the MVP of the league last year those two guys are pretty good,” Koetter said. “When I coached in Atlanta, Julio ironically enough had a 250-yard game against the team we play this week (Green Bay). Ive seen it done before. Those two guys are pretty good, and we didnt do anything to stop them.”
QB Jameis Winston could be back this week as the Bucs go to Green Bay, but all over the field, Tampa Bay is dealing with injuries to key players.
“We definitely have some injury issues this week,” Koetter said. “This was a very physical game. Theres still testing going on right now. This is the most banged up that weve been after a game, and were going to have a couple of other guys out this week.”
Four players are in concussion protocol RB Doug Martin and S T.J. Ward were sidelined Sunday, and DE Robert Ayers and OL Evan Smith remain in protocol from last week. CB Vernon Hargreaves missed the game with a hamstring injury, and two players left the game with injury and didnt return, DT Clinton McDonald (back) and special teams captain Josh Robinson (hamstring).
“We had three offensive linemen that left the game and came back in,” said Koetter, who lost RT Demar Dotson and C Ali Marpet in the first half, then got them back in the second only to lose LG Kevin Pamphile for four plays.
Had the Bucs taken another injury, they would have needed to play a tight end at tackle. Koetter said he had to do that once when he was the Falcons offensive coordinator.
This and that
Koetter was impressed by RB Peyton Barbers second touchdown run against the Falcons, but not so much the first. “I could have gotten that first touchdown,” he said. “It was blocked perfect.” Koetter has coached teams at Lambeau Field twice, losing with the Falcons in 2013 and 2014. Atlanta had the lead in the fourth quarter the first time and lost 22-21; in 2014, Ryan threw for 375 yards (259 to Jones) and four touchdowns but still lost 43-37. “Thats an awesome place to play a football game,” Koetter said. “All we can do is get out there and do our best.”
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.