TAMPA — Bill Belichick has never gone up against Bucs QB Jameis Winston, or faced Dirk Koetter as a head coach, but the Patriots coach has a strong respect for both entering their game on Thursday night.
"With Winston, I think he's done a great job with him in two years, probably, arguably as good as any coach has done with any quarterback in the first two years of a career," Belichick said Monday. "Some of that's the player, but certainly a lot of that's the guy coaching him, the guy working with him every day. I think Coach Koetter and his staff have done a great job there."
Koetter, 11-8 as a head coach, has faced Belichick three times as an assistant — he was in his first year as Jaguars offensive coordinator in 2007 when they lost in the playoffs to a 16-0 Patriots team, then lost again with Jacksonville in 2009 and with Atlanta in 2013.
Asked what Winston needed to do to be considered a franchise quarterback, Belichick said "He's pretty much already done it in two years. What more do you want him to do?"
The Bucs waived second-year TE/FB Alan Cross on Monday to make room for RB Doug Martin, who returned from his four-game suspension.
Cross played seven offensive snaps in Sunday's 25-23 win over the Giants and was not targeted for any passes. On the season he has two catches for 11 yards, this after catching six for 38 yards as an undrafted rookie out of Memphis, most notably a touchdown in the Bucs' win at Kansas City.
The Bucs opted to cut Cross over undrafted rookie Antony Auclair, who has been inactive in each of the first three games, likely because they believe it's more likely that Cross will clear waivers and be able to sign back on the Bucs' practice squad.
On the mend
The Bucs only had meetings and a walkthrough Monday, but with the short week, were required to file an injury report Monday, with four players listed as not participating. Three didn't play Sunday: LB Lavonte David (ankle), LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring) and S T.J. Ward (hip), with S Keith Tandy (hip) joining them after missing the end of Sunday's game.
Tandy said he could have returned and should be fine for Thursday's game at Raymond James Stadium.
WR Jackson frustrated
DeSean Jackson was fuming on the sideline after Winston threw behind him during a failed two-point conversion in the fourth quarter Sunday.
Jackson stormed down the bench, throwing his gloves to the ground and yelling.
Jackson was targeted six times Sunday, catching only two passes for 20 yards. Mike Evans was targeted 11 times, catching five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.
"Rightfully so, DeSean should be frustrated because DeSean is an elite player in this league and we need to get him involved," Koetter said. "We tried to get it to him. … We tried to go to him and we just flat out missed him a couple times. We didn't see him a couple times. You know, DeSean has the right to be frustrated and we need to get him the ball more. He's a dynamic player."
Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at firstname.lastname@example.org and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.