Tampa Bay Buccaneers



(On if he has surprised himself with how well he has thrown the ball in recent weeks)

"I think football is the ultimate team sport. From a quarterback standpoint, so much is trust and confidence in the receiver position [and] the tight end position. The [offensive] line is doing an incredible job of blocking. My job is to throw it to the guys that are open and they've got to make the plays. I think when you see great production, it's really a reflection of the entire offensive unit. I think we're improving every week, which has been really fun for me to see – even thinking back to the offseason when we started talking about football, what I expect, what they expect, how they see the game [and] how I see it. I just want us to continue to improve. The only thing that really gets me excited is winning games. It's competing hard every week in practice and seeing us improve. We've got a lot of hard-working guys and I think that's really been a reflection of our progress since the beginning of the year. I would really want to see us continue to improve it. It's decent [and] we're getting better, but I think we're going to have to keep ratcheting it up and that only takes place on the practice field. Then, we've got to take it from the practice field to the game field."

(On the change to his stance in shotgun formation and how he feels it has worked this season)

"I feel like it was something I thought about in the offseason – about getting my body in a better position to throw even before I receive the ball from the center. We're in the shotgun a lot – I had my right leg up at times [and] I had my left leg up – but I'm liking the square stance. I feel like it's just a more natural, relaxed position – almost like you're getting ready to field a ground ball. Then, I've just got to turn my body and I'm in a good position to throw. Sometimes, if you start off not in a good throwing position, you've got to do something to get yourself in a good throwing position. I think what I'm trying to do is start in a good throwing position, and then when I rotate my body, I'm locked and loaded and ready to go. Then I don't have to do much adjustment post-snap – just got to catch the snap, pivot my body and I feel like I'm in a good position to throw."

(On how he navigates relationships with teammates who have had issues in the past)

"I always try to bring a positive impact into our locker room. I had so many guys that I looked up to when I was a [younger] player. When you start in the NFL – I started on a team with a lot of great, veteran leaders and guys that really took me under their wing. Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown [and] Drew Blesoe – just exceptional players and great guys. Then, over the years, when you transition from a younger player to an older player, you really want to see guys succeed and you want to see guys do well. It's always about maximizing your potential. I had a lot of people support me over the years – realizing that I was far from where I needed to be and they would guide me and provide me with the help I needed as a player to reach my potential. I think that's how you impact people. I think we talk about that a lot with professional athletes. How you impact people on the field is one thing, but how you impact people off the field is another. Whether that's teammates that you can impact, people in the community that you can impact – I think all those things are important. You just try your best every day, realizing that a lot of people weren't born with the same advantages that I've had growing up. They weren't born with the same background [or] the support systems that I had. I think when you recognize that and you bring that to relationships, all you can do is the best you can do. For me, I think that's something that I really enjoy, still, about playing football. I have probably more perspective than just about every player in the league right now based on my experience and what I've seen. I want to see other guys succeed. I think a lot of joy in my experience comes from seeing other people be their best and seeing people succeed in ways that can set their family up. I think that's a really important aspect of football for me."

(On the adjustment after losing WR Chris Godwin to injury this week and what he can do to get WR Antonio Brown up to speed as fast as possible)

"We're 5-2 – I don't think everything's been perfect out there. We're fighting and clawing for every win. We've got to obviously take our performance to the next level and that starts in practice. We've got to execute in practice, we've got to trust one another, we've got to communicate through difficult looks. It's a team that we're playing this week in the Giants that presents a lot of defensive looks [and] a lot of different fronts. Our identification is very important – they rotate a lot of guys in defensively [and] there's a lot of different coverage schemes they use. They put a lot of pressure on the offense to communicate well [and] to make pre-snap decisions [and] post-snap decisions. It's going to be a tough, hard-nosed game. We're going on the road – Monday night game in primetime – we're going to be at our best."

(On if he worked out with WR Antonio Brown in the offseason)
"I've been pretty focused on working out with all my [Buccaneers] teammates. It was a good offseason – we spent a lot of time at Berkeley Prep. It was fun being over there and challenging one another. I thought we got a good start on things in a time where everyone was kind of off – I thought we got a lot of good work in. Chris [Godwin], Mike [Evans], Scotty [Miller], Cam [Brate], Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), O.J. [Howard], RoJo (Ronald Jones II), Dare [Ogunbowale] was there – it was cool."

(On having multiple playmakers around him in the Tampa Bay offense)

"I think our skill guys are doing an incredible job. Their attitude, their work ethic, their toughness – Mike [Evans], in my view, is one of the great players to play in the NFL. He's just spectacular. He's got an incredible skillset, his attitude [and] his production – I wish I could get him the ball more. When you have a guy like that, you want to find ways at every opportunity to get him the ball. He's doing a great job of getting open and he just has an incredible skillset. Chris [Godwin] – what he's done for our offense – Scotty [Miller] gets a lot of looks and he's taking advantage of his opportunity. Tight ends are doing a good job [and the running] backs are doing a good job. We've got to be effective, we've got to be efficient [and] we've got to continue to trust one another. We need to continue to improve because I don't think – like I said – we're not perfectly finished and everything is all, 'This is great!' I don't think any of us feel like that. I feel like we have a lot of room to grow and the only way we can do that is by working hard at it, understanding where we're at, having an awareness of the things we need to work on and then getting the work done. Seeing the improvements on the field and then taking it to the game."

(On what has helped the team become more disciplined and commit fewer penalties in recent games)

"B.A. (Bruce Arians) has been on us since day one about penalties. It's our responsibility to play a penalty-free game. When you don't do that, it sets you back and it certainly set us back in different games this year. It's been better the last couple of weeks – we expect no penalties and that's the way you've got to play. You can't turn it over, you can't have penalties, you can't have sacks, you can't have negative plays in the run game, you've got to stay ahead on down and distance, you've got to convert on third down, you've got to convert when you get in the red area, you've got to take advantage of scoring opportunities [and] you've got to play complementary football. That's the key to playing winning football and that's what we've got to continue to do."


(On why the offense has clicked recently compared to earlier in the season for both himself and QB Tom Brady)

"Just being together as a group. We didn't really have an offseason – we all got thrown into the mix in training camp. It's a whole new playbook for myself [and] it's a whole new playbook for Tom [Brady]. It's just everyone getting on the same page, I would say. When you're coming in week in, week out and we're coming to learn every single day – we're coming to get better every single day [and] we're coming to work every single day – everything is going to start clicking then. It may not click right away and things aren't always going to go the right way for myself [and] for other players, but as team, when things aren't going the right way – no matter when it is – you've just got to stay focused. You've got to keep doing things the right way and you've got to keep on improving until it gets fixed. That's what we've been doing. If it wasn't clicking, just get back out to the practice field and working until things do click. We've been putting up some points [and] we've been playing well. We've got to keep practicing, we've got to keep learning and we've got to keep putting our pedal on the metal."

(On if he looks forward to playing in consecutive primetime games and how he helps prepare younger teammates for that type of exposure)

"You've got to basically prepare just like how you prepare for any other game. You can't think too much about it – you don't want to overthink the situation. It is a game of football – it's just at night time now. It's the primetime game and you're the only game on. You just want to strap up, make sure you're ready to go and just prepare. If younger guys ask, [I'd tell them,] 'Don't overthink it too much. Prepare how you'd normally prepare, get yourself ready and just make sure you're ready throughout the week, so when the lights come on, you're just ready to go and you're ready to go play some football just like you have been at any other game.'"

(On if he has decided whether he is back in the NFL long term after sitting out the 2019 season)

"I'm just taking it one season at a time. I just came off a season of not playing for a year. I'm really just focused week in and week out on our opponent. I really haven't thought about anything with the future at all. Really just worried about the Giants this week and taking it one week at a time. That will just be a discussion for another time after the season. Thinking about that stuff right now literally has nothing to do with our ultimate goal, and that's just to win games every single week. That type of stuff – I'll just wait until the future to think about that."


(On how he was able to record 3.0 sacks last week and his hit on Raiders QB Derek Carr late in the game)

"I think I was successful in getting 3.0 sacks all because of the other 10 guys around me that's on the field at the time when I made those plays. I think everything that I do on the field goes hand in hand with what they do. Without great coverage and a great pass-rush – it all works together. I credit everything to the guys around me and I credit it to God for my athletic ability to be able to make those plays. As far as the hit on Derek Carr – that play that they ran, we had worked that play so many times against the exact defense that we called against that play. I knew what the play was going to be. They wanted a throwback to Jason Witten, and I knew Lavonte David was going to take that throwback away. I just manned the middle of the field. The thing I didn't see coming was him scrambling for a first down. He used his legs all night – that's where a lot of their rushing yards came from – so my whole thing was not to let him get the first down. I just feel like if I was able to get a hit on him, I wanted to get an impact hit."

(On if he feels Tampa Bay is the best team in the NFC and if he is looking forward to the team playing in primetime the next two weeks)

"We're just looking to win the next game. I think that's the most important thing right now for us because when we went to Chicago, we knew we were the better team, but we didn't show up. I think the only thing now is just showing up for the game that's scheduled and not looking for two weeks [ahead]. We're just looking for this week. I think the only focus for us is Monday night and going out there to show that we are who we're playing like. Last week, Todd Bowles said we played average. We played well enough to win, but we played average on defense. That's just another task that we've got to go out and prove to our coaching staff and ourselves that, 'Hey, we're going to hold ourselves to a standard.' We've got to show up every time it's time to play when the lights come on."

(On what allows him to work well with LB Lavonte David)

"I think the number one thing for us is neither one of us is selfish. We don't care who [has] the hot hand, who's making the plays [or] who's pass rushing them that day. It doesn't really matter. We just want to win football games. I think that's where it all starts at for us. I think the second thing is we're very similar in a lot of ways as far as attributes on the field. Speed, tackling, being able to pass rush, being able to hold running backs and tight ends – we do a great job of that. We're basically interchangeable, so having two of the same guys on the field that's playing well – that's a great thing to have. Especially if you're a defensive coordinator, having two of the same guys that's playing well and kind of have the same similarities. I think that's the number one thing, but I think us not being selfish is what helps us."