HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On TE Rob Gronkowski not participating in Wednesday's practice and G Ali Marpet's status)
"Gronk just had a veteran day. Ali is in the final phases of the [concussion] protocol. We'll wait and see to evaluate, but it looks like he came out fine. [We will] wait and see if he gets any recurring headaches."
(On if he has an identity he wants the offense to follow at this point)
"Yeah, very flexible. We have the ability to have different plans each week with matchups we like. Obviously, we want to run the football more than we did the other night, but the game dictated [that we didn't]. I think with the personnel we have healthy now, it gives us a lot of flexibility."
(On if is a regression in performance from cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting)
"[I] don't know it's as much regression as they're getting targeted because [opponents] aren't throwing at Carlton [Davis III]. He's playing outstanding with all the interceptions and stuff. I think both of them are still growing. I don't think there's any cause for concern with those two guys. Antoine [Winfield Jr.] – each one of them – they'll keep going in their role."
(On the key to being able to use both RB Ronald Jones II and RB Leonard Fournette effectively)
"Don't fall behind – that's the biggest thing. I think they both have had really good roles. I think RoJo (Ronald Jones II) is in a really good spot right now [and] I think Leonard and Shady (LeSean McCoy) [are as well]. I think we're solid there and I think the 1-2 punch is really back in full force."
(On if WR Mike Evans' limited receptions is a product of him missing practice time due to an injury or QB Tom Brady not being able to have time to go through his progressions)
"Both. They're the answers to the question."
(On what the offense can do to get Evans more involved offensively)
"Just throw it to him. The key is where the quarterback reads it out. Some guy may be open on this side, but the coverage tells him to go to the other side. It's just a matter of we have plenty of weapons – throw to the guy that's open."
(On if he finds opponents attacking the defense with multiple tight ends in the formation after Tampa Bay lost DL Vita Vea)
"I think it's more to keep us out of nickel. In base defense, you only can do so much. Nickel, you can get pretty exotic with them. I think the three tight ends is something that tries to get you in base defense to throw the ball more than run it. Taysom Hill – we just didn't stop the power play. We stopped [Alvin] Kamara really well, but we didn't stop Taysom Hill. In the Giants [game] we got out of our gap twice and tried to do too much. I'm not concerned with the running game right now. I think we'll bounce back pretty good against a really good, talented backfield."
(On why the offense has not had as much success scoring in the first quarter in recent games)
"Third-down conversions. We're not maintaining possession of the football long enough to start games right now."
(On his impressions of Panthers S Jeremy Chinn and how his positional versatility impacts Tampa Bay's offensive gameplan)
"He reminds me a ton of Deone Buchanan – they're playing the same basic position we had him playing in Arizona. Having a hybrid player creates problems because of the number counts. When you've got No. 21 (Chinn) in there, he's a linebacker [and] sometimes he's a safety. You really have to be sharp with your identifications."
(On if he believes organizations should give big contracts to running backs)
"Depends on who they are. If I had Christian McCaffrey, I'd give him all I could. Each and every one of them is so different – how much they're involved in your offense. How many times do they actually touch the ball? When you have a guy like Christian who's a great receiver and a great runner, that's a huge part of your offense normally."
(On Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady's scheme and its similarities to New Orleans' offense)
"I think a lot of similarities. I think Teddy [Bridgewater] was able to adapt really quickly because he played in the offense, knew the terminology [and] there was a familiarity. Getting the rest of the guys up to speed – which it looks like they've done pretty quickly – [was important] because they're playing really, really well on offense right now."
(On the differences in Brady's offensive scheme when RB Christian McCaffrey went out with an injury)
"I think [there was] a little more power running because [Mike] Davis is such a powerful runner. He's also still a really good receiver. I think a lot of the same concepts – [Curtis] Samuel is doing a little bit more. He's in the backfield, he's running [and] he's catching, so they've got dynamic players at the skill positions. I think Joe's doing a heck of a job with them."
(On if QB Tom Brady's lack of success throwing the ball down the field against New Orleans was due to the routes taking too long to develop or because he was under duress in the pocket)
"I think the duress. We put some up in the Cover 2 that we were trying to fit in the holes, but the Saints defense played well [and] we didn't play very well offensively. The protection was the worst part."
(On if he has a better understanding of how he wants to utilize WR Antonio Brown)
"I thought he had a good role last week. He played a little bit more than I had hoped because of the score, but he has a nice role, and he fits in quickly."
(On if the offense's lack of third-down conversions is due to getting behind on first and second down)
"A little bit. Last week we opened up with a shot – didn't hit it – ran the ball for six [yards] and don't make a third-and-4. When you're playing a third-and-4, you should be winning 70 percent of the time. Our goal is to always play in third-and-6 or less – [it's] very manageable. We had way too many third-and-longs because of sacks. Not being able to run the football hurt in that ballgame and we've just missed a couple early third-down plays that normally we were hitting early, getting jumpstarted and getting going."
(On if Hurricane Eta will impact the team's preparations today and tomorrow)
"We have to get out of the building by 5 o'clock [tonight]. We'll push everything back four or five hours tomorrow and work from the afternoon to the evening. We'll get our work in."
(On the team's attitude when it returned for practice this week)
"[We have a] 24-hour rule. That game is over. We've got a heck of an opponent in Carolina. You have Monday to lick your wounds and Tuesday you get ready to start for the next one. That's the beauty of coaches and players – we don't have to worry about [it for long]. Everybody has to worry about it for a week [but] we go back to work [and] we're on to the next one. That's in the rearview mirror now."
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH KEVIN GARVER
(On the addition of WR Antonio Brown)
"Obviously [he is] a great player. Everyone knows his ability and what he brings to the game. I think he really did a great job coming in of putting the time in – really a lot of extra meetings, extra walk-throughs. [He] really handled himself extremely well from a mental standpoint. [He] really came out of the game with one mental error, which with one week of preparation, I'd say that's pretty solid. The biggest thing that I love about him – [he's got] a lot of energy [and] obviously he has a big personality – he really works at it. He spends the time working on his craft every day. Really from the moment he got here, we didn't have the time to work with him on the field [but] he was able to spend some time with the strength coaches. Just the way he approaches the game is what you want in guys."
(On keeping all of the receivers happy in terms of their involvement in the game each week)
"For sure – I've never met a receiver that doesn't want the football. If they're open, they want to get the football. That's every receiver, that's every team – you're going to see that for sure. I think our approach [and] our mindset is, if we can have the best 11 on the field, we want the best 11. Again, the way that Tom [Brady] plays the game – and his approach to the game – he's going to spread the ball out. I think if you actually go back and you look at all of our games, you see that. Sometimes it's Mike [Evans'] week. Earlier in the year against the Panthers, Mike got a lot of balls. Then there was another game [that] Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) got a lot of balls. [In Las Vegas], Scotty [Miller] got a lot of balls. To me, that's just the way it is. Instead of just having one guy and we're just going to feed that guy – in my opinion, it actually makes it a little bit more challenging to the defense. Because, OK, they want to try to take one guy out of the game. All right, well we've got enough guys that are going to step up and make the plays."
(On WR Chris Godwin's fortitude battling through multiple injuries this season)
"He's unbelievable. There are not many guys like him. I was very fortunate to spend time with Larry Fitzgerald, and I feel like Chris and Larry have a lot of those similarities just as far as their mental toughness, but also their ability to push through those things. It really is remarkable what he is doing, right? He had to have that surgery and you've got to catch the ball – you've got to use your hand to catch the ball. When he said he was good to go, I trust him. There was really only one time, maybe, during the game that I really saw it affect any part of his game. It's tremendous."
WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS GODWIN
(On the impact of adding another talented receiver in Antonio Brown and having many skill players who are all deserving of getting touches and being a big part of the offense)
"Honestly, I think we'll be fine. Me and Mike [Evans] – we're no stranger to that. I think we're coming in with the same mentality that we've always had. We've got a bunch of great guys in this locker room that are solely focused on winning, and when you have a chance to add another really great talent, you do that. We're looking forward to the opportunity learn, grow and fit him into the offense."
(On if he expected to play as much as he did on Sunday)
"If I'm out there playing, it's because I feel confident in my ability to go out and help the team. I'm not going to put myself at a disadvantageous position, nor am I going to put my team in a comprisable position. If I'm out there, it's because I feel confident in my ability to help my team."
(On the importance of the organization remaining influential in the local community despite not being able to interact with fans as much due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
"It's very important. I think our community service with the guys on the team is something that's very important to us. We really enjoy getting out in the community and really helping where we can. In a year like this where we can't actually do that is tough, but guys have a lot of really good teams around them that allow us to still have that outreach and still make an impact without physically being there. That's something that we take pride in."