Tampa Bay Buccaneers

BUCCANEERS QUOTES 10-23-20

HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS

(On the time of Sunday's game against Las Vegas being moved and the status of the game at this moment)

"As far as we know, everything is good to go at 4 o'clock [on] Sunday. We're disappointed – I think the guys love playing on Sunday night, so it's a disappointment that way. But hey, we've got to play the game. I don't see it being moved right now. We'll know more in the morning. Right now, we're preparing like we're playing on Sunday."

(On if DL Steve McLendon will be available on Sunday)

"Yeah, there's no doubt. He'll play. I always go back to in Arizona when we signed Red Bryant on Thanksgiving and he played 22 plays on Sunday. Steve's been in this defense – Todd [Bowles] and Kacy [Rodgers] both coached him, so it's an easy recall for him."

(On his thoughts on playing Sunday's game with the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases with Raiders players)

"I'm as confident as we can be. I haven't decided yet – it has nothing to do with sportsmanship – whether we will shake hands or embrace anything after the game. Just to be cautious. Playing the game is one thing, but the mingling and all that stuff after the ballgame – I'm going to have to talk to our guys – but, I don't think we will do that, just to be safe."

(On if RB Leonard Fournette will be available on Sunday)

"He's good to go. He's practiced full and he'll reassume his role. He's ready to go."

(On if there is anything he can do to prepare the team for the possibility that Sunday's game could be postponed)

"We just go back to practicing and take the extra days and work situational football. We've got a plan in case it goes to Monday or Tuesday or whatever the case. I don't see it moving right now."

(On the challenges of replacing an entire positional group leading into a game)

"It's a huge challenge. I think that's one of the things – you depend on the depth. We have extra offensive linemen this year for that reason – and every position. The 16-man practice squad is for that reason. You get a gameplan for what they can do, and you go to war."

(On QB Tom Brady narrating FOX's open to the 2020 World Series featuring the Tampa Bay Rays)

"I thought he was fantastic. I thought he did a great job. I listened to it and I've been rooting for the Rays the whole time."

(On if there is one player on the Las Vegas offense and defense that needs to be accounted for on every play)

"There's a few on offense, that's for sure. [Darren] Waller, the tight end, and Henry Ruggs [III], the receiver – you have to know where they're at the entire time. It all starts [for] them with Josh Jacobs – a great running back. Defensively, not as much. I think they've got a couple really good pass rushers, but it's just man-on-man – you've got to do your job."

(On how much input the league office takes from coaches on decisions regarding COVID-19)

"I've had no conversations with the league. Jason [Licht] has had a couple, just when they moved the time. It's just a matter of the protocols and following the protocols."

(On DL Steve McLendon's eagerness to join the Buccaneers quickly and contribute)

"Steve's a great human being and a heck of a player. He's the kind of guy you want to be around, just for what he did. He jumped in the car and came straight here [from Miami]. He had some clothes shipped in and we'll head to Vegas and get him 20 to 30 snaps, hopefully."

(On how he feels about the team's 4-2 record and its position in the divisional race)

"I feel good. We're basically in a tie for first with a game with [New Orleans] coming up in two or three weeks. There's so much football to play and we have such a huge game ahead of us right now. I don't get caught up in it too much. I'd rather be tied for first – basically, they have the gamebreaker – than being in last. That's for sure."

(On if he feels things are coming together for the team)

"I don't think there's any doubt. We went through some injury situations and we're dealing with them. We've lost some really good players, but guys have stepped up. I love the intensity that we're having at practice the last two weeks and it's continued this week."

NOSE TACKLE STEVE MCLENDON

(On the quick transition from playing for the New York Jets last weekend, being traded to Tampa and now getting ready to play for the Buccaneers on Sunday)
"For me, I understand the business. I've been in the game for a long time, so I understand. When the trade was made, like I said, it was very emotional for me because I do have a lot of family and friends there. But at the same time, I was also excited. Coming from not being able to win to come be a part of an organization that's winning is always something that you want to do. You want to be a winner and you want to be remembered as a winner. Nothing against those guys – I really take my hat off to the Jets organization for allowing me to come there and play. How I look at it is, when I step on the field, I step on the field to play. I'm going to give you all I have. Like I told the guys before the game last Sunday, 'Passion plus energy equals victory.' That's what I told the defensive guys, and that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to come in here every day and be focused [and] I'm going to come in here every day and be driven because I understand I only have one life to live and I want to live it to the fullest and try to give everything that I have back to these guys and to this game."

(On being reunited with Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers organization bringing him to Tampa)

"I do say this – I'm very appreciative of Todd [Bowles] and thankful for Todd that he found it in me to bring me here alongside B.A. (Bruce Arians) and the rest of the coaching staff, the owners, the GM and everybody that brought me here. They [saw] something in me to bring me here and I'm just very grateful and thankful for this opportunity."

(On continuing to perform as one of the older defensive tackles in the NFL)

"I don't ever take [any] time off. I have a saying that says, 'The gym is always open.' The gym is literally always open. I really just train year-round. I had some great veterans in my career, and they were like, 'Man, you can't take time off. Just transition from your period of which ways you train and how you train your body, but never just take so much time off.' So, that's what I did. I always tried to stay in great shape. I always stayed in the gym. I'm always trying to work on my craft. I know as time would go on, I would kind of ramp it up right before OTAs, training camp and things of that nature, but I never stopped training. I never stopped being prepared because the mindset never changed. The mindset is always to win a championship. The last time I've been to the championship was [the] 2010-2011 [season] when we lost to the Green Bay Packers [while I was] in Pittsburgh. Just to have that feeling once before, you forever strive for it again. You want to see that confetti rain down on you and your teammates. That's the ultimate goal here. That's the ultimate goal – nobody else is playing this game for [any] other reason right now. It's just to win a championship. Like I said, I'm happy and I'm so excited. I'm still trying to learn my way around this facility – big facility. I'm trying to learn these players' names and the staff's names. That's one thing I want to do – I just want to learn everybody and learn everything as much as I can, and go out there and be a part of this team to help continue to win."

-BUCCANEERS-

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