Tampa Bay Buccaneers



(On QB Tom Brady taking Wednesday's practice off)

"It's just a vet day [for] he and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) both. It's that time of year that we just need to rest them up."

(On if WR Tyler Johnson plays similarly to WR Chris Godwin)

"That's kind of what we saw on tape in college. That's something that reminded us of guys that we really like. He was a very good run after catch guy [and] he was a very physical receiver. That was one of the things we liked about him a bunch."

(On his relationship with Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden)

"Jon and I have always gotten along great when he would come in and do the pregame stuff [when Gruden was at ESPN] – I did one with him. It's been fun [and] it's been a great relationship. His dad actually helped me get the Temple job a long, long time ago."

(On how Gruden's father helped him get the head coaching job at Temple University)

"I was down here recruiting and coming to see Howard Tippett, who was the special teams coach, I think, at the time. [I] walked in and Howard said to Jim [Gruden], 'This is the guy you ought to get the Temple job for.' He looked at me and said, 'You want to be the head coach at Temple?' I said, 'Sure.' The head of the search committee had worked with Jim, one thing lead to another, I got an interview and ended up getting the job."

(On the team's attitude when it returned to practice on Wednesday)

"It was excellent. We had some of the best practices we had all year last Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays are a little bit different because of the installations, but it was a high-energy practice and [I] really liked it."

(On what he has seen from Raiders QB Derek Carr and why his play has improved this season)

"I think just the amount of time he's spent with Jon now, knowing the offense and he's a gym rat. He's in the office all the time studying. They put some great weapons around him now with [Darren] Waller, [Henry] Ruggs [III] and [Josh] Jacobs. That's one of the best trios there is in football right now, but they've got other guys, too. Derek is protecting the football better."

(On what he saw from Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III in the pre-draft process)

"It was speed, but he has great hands. He can move [and] he can cut. He was a good run-after-catch guy for a speed guy. You looked at his skillset and you said, 'This guy's a number one guy or he'll be successful in the league.'"

(On the challenge of playing in three consecutive primetime games and if he would prefer to have them condensed in the schedule as opposed to spaced out throughout the season)

"You play them when they're scheduled. We had the Thursday night game, which I think we learned a couple things about ourselves in our preparation. Of course, it [was] a totally short week as opposed to a full week. We've been sitting in the hotel ready to play and we'll see it for the next three or, I think, four of the next six [games]. It's an honor to be on the national games and I think our guys are embracing it."

(On how DL Ndamukong Suh ranks all-time at his position and how he has performed this year compared to last year)

"I'm not sure all-time, but he's up there. He's been at a high, high level for a long time. I think he's enjoying being one-on-one more this year than he was last year. I think he was the most double-teamed player in the league last year. He's playing at a high level and I don't see any drop off in his play. One thing about him is he takes such great care of himself and he's very meticulous in his preparation physically and mentally that he can maintain that."

(On if he feels he revealed too much information to Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden when meeting with Gruden during Gruden's time working for ESPN)

"No. I just tried to let them make sure they could do their jobs easily. What he learned watching practice – I don't think it's going to help him much in this one."

(On how he keeps the positivity in the locker room as the team prepares for Sunday's game)

"I think it's looking back and seeing how you got there [and] why did you play so well? Again, I go back to last week's preparation. Thursday and Friday, there was just something special about the practice field. I didn't know if we were going to win, but I knew we were going to play well. My challenge is [that] we set a standard – can we match that standard this week in our preparation? So far, we have."

(On how close TE Anthony Auclair is to returning to the field and how helpful it would be to have him)

"It would really help. He's very, very, very close. I was really proud of Joe Haeg. He jumped in there and did a heck of a job in the running game. I want to make sure Anthony is well. I don't want to lose him again for another month. We'll wait and see, but today he did very, very well on the practice field."

(On his conversation with RB Leonard Fournette about why he did not play in last week's game)

"It's a long season. His best interest is what I'm concerned about [and] our best interest. We're going to need him, and he didn't need to go out there at 85 to 90 [percent healthy], tweak it again and go down for another month. RoJo (Ronald Jones II) has done a good job [and] Ke'Shawn [Vaughn] has done a good job. Get healthy and then resume your role and come back healthy so, say something happens to Ro, you're ready to go and take the load."

(On OLB Shaquil Barrett's production this season and what he believes has caused Barrett to have a slower start to the season in terms of recording sacks)

"I think everybody knows who he is now. There's a lot more attention to him. Again, he's been really close – been really, really close to about three or four more [sacks]. He's playing at a high level and I think they'll come. It's just keep putting pressure on the quarterback."


(On what he had to overcome to be able to play against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday)

"I had an oblique injury. At first it was kind of hard to talk and just move around. I went in the training room every day and stayed in the training room because I knew we had a big game coming up against the Packers. Our guys in the training room got me right and got me ready to play. It was a week-long battle, but it came down to that decision and I felt good to go. I just went out there and played like myself. Regardless of whatever I was feeling, I wanted to win more than that. I try to do anything I can to help my team win. Together as a defense and as a team, we pulled it together and got a good win."

(On how far the cornerbacks have come over the past few years in Tampa)

"It's a process. We came in young and inexperienced and we grew. We didn't turn our backs on each other. We stayed together [and] we continued to work. We listened to our coaches and we learned from our mistakes. Now we're going to unleash. Once you learn and you figure out what to do, now you have to be consistent in what you're doing, and you've got to keep going. You can't stop. Just because we had a good game - and we may have had big games this season – we've got to continue to have good games [and] we've got to continue to grow as a group. There are still things that we need to fix and we're going to keep going."

(On what ILB Lavonte David brings in the locker room and on the field)

"He's just a great leader – someone I personally look up to for his consistency, his composure [and] his longevity. He's been doing it for so long [and] he's been so consistent. Through the good and the bad years, he's always been himself. He's always been a guy that you can count on. Even my rookie year when things weren't going good, he was the same guy he is now. His popularity may not be what it should be, but this year, I definitely believe that he will get the respect that he deserves."

(On the launch of the Buccaneers Youth Mentorship Program)

"It was really fun – really just inspirational to get out and talk to those kids. Of course, because of COVID guidelines, we could only do the Zoom – I much prefer in-person, but we have to respect the guidelines. Meeting those kids – just getting to talk to them and have dialogue with them, and seeing the way they talked with their mentors and being able to encourage them to speak up and really hear their voice. [It] was a thing of beauty to actually hear the voice of the youth and how they feel about things, and to just guide them so they can be the next leaders in this world. It was something that you can't even ask for – it's priceless. We have multiple events coming up like that. That was just the first of many and I can't wait to keep going."


(On how hard he worked to get healthy and how he feels after returning to the field for last week's game)

"It's definitely been tough just not being able to be out there with my guys. It's always weird when you're so close, but you really can't be out there. It's really just been a day-by-day process for me, just making sure that I'm staying ready, staying engaged in meetings and making sure that I'm fully ready for when I come back. Now that I'm back, I'm happy to be out there. I'm still working to get back into feeling like myself, but I'm glad to be out there with my guys."

(On what he has seen from WR Tyler Johnson)

"I've seen a lot of really, really good things from Tyler. I think over the couple months that he's been here so far, I've seen a lot of growth. You can tell that he's having a lot more fun now that he has a really good understanding of the offense [and] he's learning more. He'll continue to get better with the more experience that he gets. I love the type of questions that he's asking and he's very receptive to coaching. I think if he continues to do those things, he'll continue to grow and he'll continue to get better."

(On how encouraged he is by how successful the offense can be with him fully healthy)

"I'm very encouraged by what I see. When we were approaching this season, you could tell that we had something that was really special just from the talent that we had. We knew it was going to take some time to really mold and really get together as a unit, and we're still doing those things. But, just in the first couple weeks of the season, I think you guys are starting to see flashes of what we can be. I think even in the last game where our defense was so dominant, when we got the ball, we really made plays with the opportunities that we had. [We] scored frequently in the red zone – you see a lot of big plays [and] you see a lot of different guys making plays. With the things that we've been able to do so far, I'm really excited with where we're going. It's still going to take a lot of hard work, but I'm very, very optimistic about it."


(On his touchdown last Sunday vs. Green Bay and what the moment was like for him)

"Just taking it back to practice, I think something that stood out to me was the fact that we haven't thrown that pass at all throughout the amount of times that we ran that play. Just always being ready – you never know when the ball is coming your way. Coach has been heavy on me on that part of my game, so just going out there and just playing 110 percent every play. The ball was my way, and I was able to make a play on it."

(On if he has the game ball from the touchdown, and what he plans to do with it)

"That ball is in my locker right now. That ball definitely will be hanging up somewhere in my house one day."

(On what he has learned from wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans)

"They've been very helpful from the day that I first stepped in the building. They've been right here, taking me under their wing [and] they've been helping me become a professional athlete, whether that's me running out of my breaks, seeing different coverages [or] me knowing who to block and different looks. It's been a lot of the small things that people really don't get to see. I'm definitely going to continue to learn from those guys. Like you said, they're a bunch of great guys [and] I've got a lot of great guys in the receiving room that I'm learning from. It's definitely been very, very helpful and it's a blessing to be around them."