HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On the status of WR Antonio Brown and DL Vita Vea for Sunday's game)
"Antonio will be out this week. Vita we have to [activate] sometime between today and tomorrow, if we do it."
(On the effectiveness of the run game right now)
"Yeah, it's as good as it's been all season. Our blocking units, our tight ends [and] our receivers – everybody is doing a really, really good job of getting on their people, getting hats on hats, and the backs are hitting the holes extremely well. I don't foresee a lot of dime versus some of our formations, but if they want to load up the box obviously then we're playing one-on-one outside."
(On if anything surprises him about S Antoine Winfield Jr.'s rookie season)
"I mean not really. He was as easy of a choice as there was with his bloodlines and the way he plays. His tape was unbelievable. You know of his football intelligence and he's such a great kid. So, really nothing there that surprised me that he's having so much success."
(On if WR Antonio Brown suffered a setback)
"I just talked to him this morning and to put him on the plane, have him fly up there and have it swell more doesn't make any sense. He wasn't as close as we had hoped, so we'll get him ready for the next one."
(On if there are any new NFL protocols that were put in place this season that he would like to be carried over moving forward)
"Yeah, there are a lot of rules under this [I would want to keep] – the 16-man practice squad, veterans on the practice squad, coming off the 21-[day] disabled list and [those] type of things. The rules that we've made, I would love for them to stay. The protocols – I thought the league did a really, really good job. Our players made a commitment to each other back in August and we've had very few cases, knock on wood. I think even though it's rampant in our city, our guys have stayed away pretty good."
(On the importance of having veteran players on the roster who have been to championship games before)
"Having Tom [Brady], 'Gronk' (Rob Gronkowski), 'Shady' (LeSean McCoy), Leonard [Fournette] and other guys on offense and then JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) defensively – yeah, it helps. Those guys, they can talk to the guys in the locker room about preparation and that it's really the same game – you just have to be totally prepared so that you can go out and do your job."
(On the confidence this team has in its ability to fulfill the 'next man up' mantra when key players go down)
"I think you just look to last week when Tyler [Johnson] and Scotty [Miller] got in there and made those huge plays in the fourth quarter, [with] the amount of trust the coaches and Tom [Brady] in those guys just because they've earned it. Antonio [Brown] will be missed, but we've got capable people stepping in."
(On DL Vita Vea's progression this week)
"He's looked real good. He's been running around for almost three weeks and had a real good practice yesterday and a good one today. We haven't made that determination yet. We'll see if we want to activate him or not, but there is a chance."
(On if he wishes he could sit back and watch the Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers quarterback matchup from afar)
"I'd much rather be in the midst of it watching from the sideline rather than the television – that's for sure. I can still get a birds-eye view of two great players out there."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On what he admires about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers)
"He basically does everything well, so he's got great command and experience. And [his] leadership – players are playing hard. He's got a great style of play. He obviously throws the ball as well as any quarterback, he gets rid of the ball quickly, has great vision of the field and is able to extend plays with his legs. There [are] a lot of explosive players he's got, so they've got a great football team and they've got obviously a top scoring offense, or a top offense, however you see it. It's a big test. We're going to have to go up and play great football to beat them."
(On not having WR Antonio Brown for Sunday's game)
"I think we're going to have to find a way to win. It obviously sucks for Antonio. We all wish he could be out there with us. Other guys are going to have to step up and do the job. I've got a lot of confidence in the guys who haven't been in there as much when A.B. has been in there. We wish everybody could play. We've lost a few guys over the course of the season. It's a great game to play in. You would want everyone to play in this game. We're going to have to figure out a way to win regardless."
(On what gave him the most confidence about the Buccaneers as a team when he decided to join them in the offseason)
"Well, I looked at just the whole situation. There were a lot of reasons to come here. Obviously [we've got] a great coaching staff and a lot of really great players. [I was] just wanting to come and compete. I've loved working with my teammates. We've all worked really hard to get to this point. To play in a championship game is a great experience. I love being able to do that with this group of guys who have worked really hard to get to this point. We've competed hard. We had a few rough moments in there, but we've won two playoff road games and we're going to have to win a third if we want to get to continue playing. It's a tough test. It's a great football team we're playing. It's certainly not an easy task, but we've got to figure out a way."
(On the difference in his leadership role with this Buccaneers team compared to previous seasons)
"I try to be very consistent over a period of time. Just show up every day with an attitude to get the work done. I've got a lot of people that I really rely on – the other quarterbacks, our quarterback coach (Clyde Christensen), Byron [Leftwich] our coordinator – we're all working hard to try to put the team in a position to win. I have a lot of experience playing and I like to try and convey a lot of different things I think can be successful, whether it be a physical thing to a player [or] it could be a certain way that I see something happening. I think we have great communication and great rapport with everyone. The only way to work through things [is] to communicate through them. It's been a really fun process. We put ourselves in a decent position, so now we've got to go capitalize on it."
(On if he had a specific message to the team about playing in a championship game for the guys who haven't been this far before)
"I think our coaches have done a great job keeping us focused on what we've got to do. Again, I think everyone knows what is at stake. You don't win one game and get here – you've got to go through a whole process to do it and our team has done that. We got through the regular season, put ourselves in a decent position, won two road playoff games and we've got a chance for four quarters of football to get back home to a home Super Bowl, which would be a pretty cool thing. We worked hard this week. There's still a lot of mental prep to go. We've got to be at our best Sunday at 3 o'clock."
(On what he enjoys about his role with the Buccaneers)
"I just try to do the best I can do to show up everyday with a good attitude, work hard and do what my job is. It's been fun just being here and I had a great time in New England, as well. I've had a great 21 years. I'm a very blessed and lucky guy. The fact that I'm still playing football, for me, is a blessing. I've had a lot of great teammates that I've played with over the years and a great group this year. That's the best part about football is all of the relationships you have. It's been a fun year doing it."
(On how opposing defenses have changed from the first few seasons of his career)
"Football was probably pretty different 20 years ago than it is now. I think the fundamentals of football have stayed pretty much the same. There have been some rule changes and so forth, but the team that is most prepared, has the best fundamentals and executes under pressure is the one that wins. I don't think that changes. I think you can run different schemes and routes. No one has really reinvented the game. It's probably more of a skill contest now than probably what it used to be. There is probably not as much contact. It's still a very physical game, but probably more skill than power. It probably used to be as much power as skill and now it's probably more about quickness and on how things are being called. That's probably the only real difference."
(On what makes him want to continue to play this game at his age)
"I don't think too much about those things. Again, I try to show up everyday with a positive attitude to work hard and do my job. Like I said, I've got a lot of great teammates [and] great coaches that do the same. The rewarding part in a team sport is that we're all showing up together with the same goal in mind. How you work through adversity is a great thing. You're always going to be challenged in football and in life and how you work through those things, how you communicate through them [and] how you inspire each other to be the best that you can be – that's the best part about sports. That's why I'm still playing."
CORNERBACK CARLTON DAVIS III
(On what linebacker Devin White means to the defense and the performance he had against New Orleans)
"He's a big part of our defense. Obviously, he had a huge game with the interception and his tackles. Just his energy he brings to our defense and we're just happy to have him as a leader on our defense – happy to work with him every day."
(On what impresses him the most about Green Bay's offense and Davante Adams)
"Adams is one of the best receivers right now, for sure, and of course he has Aaron Rodgers, who is arguably the best quarterback right now. They pose a ton of threats. He can literally throw every route. He's just one of the best quarterbacks out right now – there's nothing he can't do, and it's the same with Adams. He can run every route. [There's] not much he can't do, so we'll have our hands tied come Sunday."
(On how the secondary's relationship and what that means heading into Sunday's game after a game like New Orleans)
"It's something that we built from the ground up – a lot of young guys coming together, having growing pains, learning, taking our lessons and turning it into blessings. To get to this point is amazing, but we still understand that there's a lot more work to do – that the job isn't finished and losing now could make us feel as if we did all of this for no reason. We just want to finish the job."