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Bucs already focusing on reducing turnovers

New Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter jumps into action at last week’s rookie minicamp. He is stressing a reduction on turnovers, saying: “There are some throws we have to be afraid of.”
New Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter jumps into action at last week’s rookie minicamp. He is stressing a reduction on turnovers, saying: “There are some throws we have to be afraid of.”
Published May 12, 2015

TAMPA — New Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has a rookie QB in Jameis Winston and potentially two rookie starters on his offensive line in T Donovan Smith and G Ali Marpet. With all that, he said the key to improving on offense is limiting the high number of turnovers and sacks of last season. That is the top goal of coach Lovie Smith.

"We can't turn it over," Koetter said. "Whether it be the Bucs or any other team, turning it over at the quarterback position is the fastest way to lose games. There are some throws we have to be afraid of."

Winston threw 18 interceptions last year, and Koetter said that was "17 too many," and there is context on every interception. Koetter looks for "avoidable turnovers," much like unforced errors in a tennis match, and will work to teach Winston to avoid those.

"Our defense is going to do a great job of taking it away and we've got to do a great job of protecting it," he said.

Koetter said last year's offensive line gave up "way too many sacks," 52, and must greatly improve protection even with two projected rookie starters.

"Way too many sacks given up last year," he said. "I'm not criticizing anybody by saying that. It's just a fact. … We can't have that many sacks. We can't have that many turnovers. Period. That's not a promise. I'm just saying we've got to improve if we want to be competitive, and we plan on being competitive."

LINE SHIFT: The Bucs have made other personnel changes on the line, with DT Matt Masifilo making a rare switch to guard, and former starter Patrick Omameh now working at tackle.

"Matt's hungry, and he's like a sponge," offensive line coach George Warhop said. "Every day he comes out here, he gets a little better. We know it's going to take some time, so we're patient with him."

Omameh started every game at right guard last season, but is now likely competing for a backup tackle role with second-year player Kevin Pamphile.

"I think that's going to help him," Warhop said of Omameh's move. "I've been impressed with him so far out there, because he's not done it."

TRANSACTIONS: The Bucs made a flurry of moves Monday after bringing in 50 players for rookie minicamp over the weekend, with six players cut and four tryout players signed as free agents.

The biggest turnover is at receiver, where tryout players Donteea Dye (Heidelberg) and Adam Humphries (Clemson) were signed, while second-year players Solomon Patton (Florida), Chandler Jones (San Jose State) and rookie Josh Reese (UCF) were cut. Also added were LB/S Jared Koster and T Edawn Coughman, while T Matt Patchan (Armwood/Florida), S Shelton Johnson and rookie LB Michael Reynolds were waived.

Of the cuts, Patton was the only one to see significant playing time in 2014, with two stints as a return specialist — sixth-round pick Kaelin Clay is an upgrade.

The Bucs may make a waiver claim for former Texans S D.J. Swearinger, cut Monday after totaling 144 tackles and three interceptions in two seasons with Houston.

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