Tampa Bay Buccaneers



(On what clicked to allow the defense to play well against Green Bay's offense on Sunday)

"I think we made great adjustments on the sideline. Those can't happen unless you do a great job of preparation during the week. I think it was a little bit of holding our breath. Like Todd [Bowles] said, 'Let's let it go, man. Let's go play. Jamel [Dean's] interception, then Mike [Edwards'] interception and knocking it in for touchdowns – then, it was our game. Really, really proud of the guys [for] the way they did respond offensively and defensively."

(On if the defensive performance gives them the confidence to believe a performance like Sunday is the standard moving forward)

"There's no doubt – that is the standard. Knock on wood [we] stay healthy, and keep preparing on the practice field. I could've told you last Thursday we were going to play [well]. We had Thursday and Friday practices that we've never had before. We've had great practices, but there was something special in the air on Thursday and Friday's practices. It's like, 'What are we going to do this week?' Our message is, 'Let's make sure we're doing the same thing every single day this week.'"

(On CB Carlton Davis III playing through an injury on Sunday)

"It was huge. Last year, I don't know if he played with as much injury pain that he might have had, but he came up to me Thursday [and] he said, 'I'm going to try it today and I want to play in this game.' I knew when he made that statement [that] he'd make it to the ballgame and he'd play well. It was great maturity [and] he showed great growth playing in that ballgame the way he did."

(On the reports the organization acquired NT Steve McLendon and what he would bring to the defense)

"He's got to go through the protocols and pass the physical, but he played in yesterday's ballgame (for the Jets). We all know Steve – he's really a quality human being and a hell of a player. Losing Vita [Vea], we just needed to sure up against some of these big-time running teams [and acquire] another nose-guard type player. Jason [Licht] was able to make it [happen] and hopefully we can get him past the physical and get the trade through."

(On the coaching effort the led the defense to believe it could turn around Sunday's game)

"I think they knew it coming in – it was just a matter of letting loose, not being afraid to make a mistake and just go play. Todd [Bowles] did a great job – the whole coaching staff was over there talking to them about, 'Just turn it loose.' And they did. I thought Jamel [Dean's] play was huge in the ballgame – as was Mike [Edwards']. Carlton [Davis III] was the one who really stripped it and got the ball up in the air. Just play like we're capable of playing and don't play – it's not scared, just cautious. Turn it loose."

(On RB Leonard Fournette not playing in Sunday's game)

"There was no sense in risking him tweaking it and losing him for another month – just get him healthy. I feel very confident about the other three guys. RoJo (Ronald Jones II) is handling the load really [well], Ke'Shawn [Vaughn] is coming around and Shady (LeSean McCoy) is doing his job. Just get him healthy. We'll need him down the stretch for sure."

(On what the team has established by winning home games this season)
"I think that's one of the things that we learned from last year – we didn't do a very good job of protecting our turf. Every year our goal is to win them all at home, and if you split them on the road, you're 12-4. We have to win at home, and we have to play [well] at home. That's been hammered into them and I think they've all accepted that."

(On if DL Ndamukong Suh has raised his game to a new level compared to last season)

"I think he's getting less attention. I think he was the most double-teamed player in the league last year and he's loving that single-block stuff. [Anthony] Nelson jumped in there and played a little three technique and Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) played really, really well. Suh's just making the best of his opportunities and he loves getting after Aaron [Rodgers] – that's for sure."

(On if QB Tom Brady not turning the ball over while throwing despite the impact that might have on his passing numbers is what the team was looking for when singing him in the offseason)

"I think you can take care of the football and have big numbers, too. If you add in defensive pass interference, we've got some numbers. [The] last two ballgames we've had some plays. I think protecting the football is always paramount. When you have no sacks, no penalties [and] no turnovers, you're going to be really, really hard to beat. Now, if you have numbers with it, they should be really outstanding. I don't think it's the numbers as much, for me, as no sacks, no penalties [and] no turnovers."

(On how WR Chris Godwin playing creates opportunities for other receivers and players on the offense)

"It's huge. Like I stated last week, people don't realize how much of a part he is in our offense and what he can do because he is so special inside, outside [and] blocking – the whole nine yards. It was good to see him back out there. He's not 100 percent [healthy] – neither is Mike [Evans] – but those guys at 80 to 90 [percent healthy] is better than most, so I'll take it."

(On TE Rob Gronkowski receiving more targets in Sunday's game)

"We should have blocked that screen a little better and he might have gotten more yards. He had a big screen up in Chicago, so when he's blocking, we're always looking to see if that's available. Really, it's the coverage. The coverage dictates and Tom [Brady] made some great throws on crossing routes. The one was right in front of me and it's just a matter of spreading the ball around to who's open. That's a big target in the middle of the field. For him to continue to play like that will be huge for us."

(On Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles' willingness to work with the defensive backs over the last two seasons)

"Todd is one of those guys – he's here at 4:30 [a.m.]. [Jamel] Dean's here at 5 [a.m.], so there's guys coming in the door to sit down and watch film with him every single day. That's your job. Todd does a great job – he's a great communicator [and] he's a great teacher. To have those guys with smaller groups – one, two [or] three [players], maybe –in the room with him and teaching them what to look for. It's really, really helped their growth as players and their confidence, too."

(On how many coaches are meeting with players on a daily basis in ways similar to Bowles)

"I think you'd be surprised how many do it. If players want to meet, coaches will meet with them."

(On QB Tom Brady's ability to connect with various members of the offense on touchdowns this season)
"Just great preparation, great work on the field [and] trusting his guys. The touchdown to Tyler [Johnson] was the fourth read in the play. They dropped eight [and] they had everything on the front side covered and Tyler ran a great route. We've had that play for 10 years – I don't know if we've ever thrown it back there. Tom slipped up because of a three-man rush, Tyler ran a great route and he trusted him. I think just building trust with those young guys. He's always had it in Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). We got a great matchup we were looking for and he made a good ball to Gronk and made the catch. But I think it's just trusting those young guys to continue to grow."

(On who watches replays from the coaching booth to assist on decisions to challenge calls on the field)

"John Van Dam. Last year I had Larry Rose up there, but John is my eyes in the press box and does a heck of a job with it. I had some doubt when I saw it on the jumbotron early and he confirmed it. We got lucky and got the challenge in."

(On T Joe Haeg entering the game as an extra blocker for the run game)

"Joe did a great job. He graded up really, really high. We'll continue to use that package until Anthony [Auclair] comes back, but I was really, really happy. Joe did a really, really good job."


(On what allowed the defense to slow down Green Bay's offense)

"We just took control of the game. The main thing was that we were giving up little stuff here and there with [Aaron Rodgers] buying extra time. When we got that settled on the sideline, we were able to lock in, get to play our defense the way we want to and being able to go out there, wreak havoc and have fun."

(On if the performance against Green Bay is the standard for the defense moving forward and how the unit will continue playing at that level)

"It's definitely a standard that we have to uphold now. Especially with the coaching staff we have – they're not going to accept anything less than our performance that we had. We've got to be able to be consistent, not get too high [and] not get too low and just stay the course. We know we played a good football game yesterday against a great football team, but now that's in the past. We have to keep on moving forward and keep on stacking them. In order for us to be the best defense that we want to be at the end of this year, we have to keep putting together those type of performances. Everybody knows that. Everybody on the staff knows that and our whole defensive unit knows that. Coach definitely made an emphasis on it when we got into a team meeting today, so that's something we have to try to establish here."

(On the interior defensive line filling in the gap left by DL Vita Vea's injury)

"I think that's a testament to Kacy Rodgers [and] what he has in that D-Line room – guys stepping in and trying to fill voids. Vita is a huge loss for us, obviously. He was a guy who we love, especially for me [and the] linebackers. We love him up there [and] we love seeing that big 50 in front of us, taking care of everything [and] keeping guys off us. It's just a testament to Coach Rodgers and those guys being able to try to pick up where he left off. That's exactly what it shows. We do a great job of really going over the run game on certain days and understanding what people try to do to try to beat us. Guys do their job – it's a collective thing. Everybody, all 11 guys have to be honed in. It's the safeties, the corners, the D-Line and the linebackers. Everybody's got a certain type of run fit, so once everybody does their job, it makes everything better."


(On if he knew he would be a big part of the gameplan, how it felt to score his first touchdown with Tampa Bay his left-handed touchdown celebration)

"That was my first left-handed spike in my career. It was kind of weak, from the ratings I've been getting. They don't understand – I thought it was a 10 out of 10 for my left hand. It felt good to get back in the end zone. It's been quite some time and it just feels real good to get my first with the Buccaneers. It was just cool to see my teammates excited and my coaches excited for me to get back in the end zone, which was something pretty cool. The game plan – you just never know how it's going to go week in and week out. You prepare to plan for everything in the passing game and the run game. Some games you just really never know until the game starts. You may get 10 catches, you may get two catches. A wide receiver may get 10 catches and then two catches the next game. It just depends on how the game goes, but you've just got to prepare to the best of your ability that you can week in and week out, and just be ready for any situation any given week."

(On how QB Tom Brady has been playing)

"He's been playing great football. It's a totally different type of game every single week. Sometimes you can win with the run game. Sometimes you can win with the pass game. He's just doing a great job adjusting on the fly to whatever it is. Obviously, yesterday we didn't throw as much and we ran the ball very well. It's just great to have him back there with a lot of confidence, no matter what the situation is – if it's going good or bad. That's what you want out of your quarterback. His confidence level is just always so high up there, just believing in us at all times and just believing in the process at every moment. It's just great to have him back there, no matter what the situation is – if we're running the ball, if it's play action, if we're passing the ball – he's just doing an excellent job. Just like everyone else, we're just trying to get better and build chemistry as an offense every single week."

(On how much fun he is having playing in Tampa Bay)

"It is a lot of fun, especially last night – that was a great example. It was just a lot of fun to be out there winning a big game, but also, just the atmosphere of football – being under the lights when the sun went down, the stadium was popping [and] the atmosphere just felt unbelievable. Just everything – there was a breeze, the fans, they were cheering loud, they were going wild and it was just super cool. It's a lot of fun to be back out there winning games and doing what we love to do."