DEFENSIVE COODINATOR TODD BOWLES
(On CB Carlton Davis III appearing on Thursday's injury report)
"When I got in today he was a little sore, so we held him out of practice. We'll kind of go from there and monitor it."
(On the decision to utilize more zone coverages last Sunday against New Orleans)
"We played a lot the first time, too. It's just the situation that presented itself. Obviously, nothing worked – the zone, the blitz – anything we did didn't work. We've just got to coach it better and play it better."
(On how the defense has changed since the first game against Carolina and how its approach changes if Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey does not play)
"I don't think it changes much. [Mike] Davis is doing a heck of a job running the football. We've got a lot of respect for him. In the run game, they're doing a lot of different things and for us [and] from a mental standpoint, the game has changed. We've just got to understand what we're doing [and] how to help each other out more than we help the opponent out. I think we'll be fine then. I think we've come a long way from that standpoint."
(On if CB Ross Cockrell would be the next cornerback in line to play)
"Depending on the gameplan and the situation. Obviously, Ryan [Smith] we know can play and Ross is there too. [He] does a lot of things for us. It all depends on how the gameplan goes whether either one goes in the ballgame, but they're both ready to play."
(On if he wishes the defense utilized more man coverage against New Orleans)
"Nothing worked. We did play man in that game as well. Man didn't work, zone didn't work – again, we've got to coach it better and we've got to play it better. It was a bad day at the office all the way around."
(On why Saints QB Drew Brees was more successful against Tampa Bay's blitz packages last week in comparison to Week 1)
"They played well and we didn't – it's really that simple. We've got to coach better and we've got to play better. They did a heck of a job this time around and we've got to do better."
(On teams changing personnel groupings offensively, and using more power-run formations to try and limit the variety of things the Buccaneers do defensively)
"It's not just the power game. Obviously, the Saints had Taysom Hill do some outside running and did some things like that – we get jet sweeps and reverses, and all of those things tally up to it. We've got to be better all the way around. We misfit some runs the last two weeks that we've got to hone in on and figure out, and we've got to make sure we protect our edges. It's going to take all 11 guys and we've been working on that."
(On LB Devin White in pass coverage)
"Well, he's where he's supposed to be. Obviously, the ball has to come to him for him to make those type of plays right now. Devin continually works on his pass coverage just like everybody else. He's not bad at it – he's very good at it, actually. He's in the right spots, so if you don't get a lot of balls thrown your way, that means you're in the right spot and they're not really looking that way. I'm happy with his coverage."
(On balancing blitzing his inside linebackers, while also depending on them in pass coverage)
"It depends on the gameplan. Obviously, those two guys (Lavonte David and Devin White) can do a lot of things. They can cover, as well as blitz, so we kind of pick and choose our spots when we send those guys. They're very athletic, so it's a credit to them. It's easy to say, 'Go get him,' because they're so athletic [that] they can make plays on their own. But they're so good in coverage and doing other things, [so] you've got to kind of spread it around some and mix it up a little bit. We try to make sure they are fully rounded in everything they do."
(On the first touchdown the Saints scored offensively by WR Tre'Quan Smith, and if there was a communication issue on the play for his defense)
"There were three guys involved in that play and it was a communication issue. There shouldn't have been any confusion, but there was, so we corrected it."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BYRON LEFTWICH
(On what he could have done differently as a play caller last week against New Orleans)
"Really, a lot, just looking at the game. Obviously when you get beat like that, you feel as though you could've done something different. All we can do is learn from it, really. If we ever [were] to get in that situation again – hopefully we don't – we've just got to do a better job, collectively, of fighting through that and trying to get back into that ballgame. That really starts with me. I've got to do a better job of getting these guys in position [and] getting these guys ready to roll."
(On why the team has struggled in third-and-long situations)
"I don't know. That's something we're aware of. That's something we talked about really all this week of trying to get better at. [With] the guys that we have – normally when we come to the table with what we need to do to improve, to get better to help this football team – there's been a lot of work in that department to get better at it. I trust in the guys [and] I trust in myself that we'll get this thing fixed and just become a better team in those third-and-long situations."
(On why the passing game was out of rhythm on third downs last Sunday)
"I think everything was off. When you lose a game that way, nothing really worked [and] nothing really went right. So, everything was off. We came in here and watched the film. It was a tough film to watch as a crew, as we looked at it together. We'll learn from it, we'll get better from it [and] we'll use those moments to get better."
(On if he wishes he would've been able to get WR Mike Evans more involved in the offense last week, and if it will be a point of emphasis this week vs. Carolina)
"Looking at the results, I think we could've done a lot differently to be honest with you. That was a bad one. Nothing went right. I've been a part of those games before on both sides. All you can do is learn from them [and] move on. We'll continue to keep putting our guys in position to make plays. Obviously, when you have a player as good as Mike, you want to give him as many opportunities as possible. We understand that and we'll do a better job across the board. From anything that happened the other night, we've got to do a better job than anything that we did that night."
(On what has allowed the team to bounce back successfully from losses on the offensive side of the ball)
"I think we've just got a good football team. We've got good personnel. We've got guys that are working their tails off to get better. We've got a lot of guys who can make plays. When you have games like that, it's tough. We were joking understanding that if we don't score 30 or 40 [points], something is probably wrong. That's how the world views us. We understand that. We've just got to work. Remember, everything we try to do, we try to do it to win football games. We don't really care the score, really, to be honest with you. We just try to do what we can to make plays to win the football game."
(On how much it falls on him to provide QB Tom Brady enough options in each play to counteract the other team's pass rush)
"I think as the play caller, it's your responsibility to put guys in position. That's everybody – quarterback, wide receiver, running backs, the O-line. It's your job to put people in position to be successful. It starts with me. Everything starts with me. We've just got to do a better job of me coaching and us executing. But, I trust in the guys. I trust we'll do the right things [and] we'll work at the right things to get things in the right direction."
(On the team starting slower the past four games than it had been early in the season)
"I don't think it's [anything] specific because I think it's been something different each one of those games. I just don't think we started off on a good [note]. The first five games, I think we were doing extremely well and the last four we haven't. That's another thing we addressed – something else we addressed [and] something else we look forward to getting better at."
(On the offense not scoring on four chances from the 1-yard line last week)
"It was that type of night. We've got to find a way to get that ball in the end zone. We all know that. Hopefully [when] we get another opportunity in that situation, we'll come through."
(On what he believes the offense's identity is and how the offense gets back to it)
"We'll just keep working like we always do. We can't allow last week's game to really get in the way of the way we approach the game of football, the way we attack people, the way we play the game of football [and] the way we go about it. All we can do is learn from that game. When you have games like that, all you can do is really dissect everything, learn from it, do the things that you need to do, do the things that we feel as though we need to do to be successful and try to do those things. We'll learn from that game – I think we learned a lot from that game just sitting here watching, but now it's time to move on. We've got a tough opponent here Sunday, so we've got to get ready to play a good football team on Sunday."
(On if shortening the wide receivers' routes can be adjustments he can makes when QB Tom Brady is under more pressure in the pocket)
"They can be. We do all types of adjustments. There's a lot of adjustments that you can do to try to help that situation. We'll do whatever we feel as though we need to do that game to find a way to win it. Obviously, it didn't work out that way for us last Sunday night and we've just got to move on to the next game and get ready to play, because the opponent we've got coming up is playing hard. It's a good football team, they run to the ball [and] they've got good players. We've got to get ready to play for the next team. All we can do is learn from what we saw on tape and get better."
(On how the highs and lows of the team's performance can impact it week-to-week)
"It's just work. I think there's a word that Tom [Brady] uses all the time – continuity. The more we can work together [and] the more we can be in those situations and learn from each other, the better. Obviously you don't want to be in the situation that we were in Sunday night, but we can learn. We're getting better piece-by-piece. I know after a game like that it [doesn't] look like you did anything right because it feels that way, but we'll learn from this [and] we'll move on. That's all we can really do is just continue doing the things that we're doing and just try to continue doing them at a high level."
(On if the offense is able to adapt to what its opponent is doing or if it is set in its scheme and personnel)
"Obviously, we want to be multiple. I think you've got to be multiple in this league because of the opponents that you play. Each different opponent has different strengths and weaknesses, and you try to do what you can to attack those. In the process, just make sure that you're able to be multiple so you can find those mismatches where things are in your advantage. We don't want to be one-dimensional. We work our tails off not to be one-dimensional and then sometimes when things don't work, it's going to be questioned and all those type of things. We understand that, so we're just going to continue doing what we need to do to try to win football games. I know I keep repeating myself in saying that, but that's how we see it. We're already trying our best. We try our best to put guys in position all the time – every play. Every play is thought out [and] when they don't work, they don't work. But, when they do, they do. We'll continue to keep trying to execute at a high level and we'll see. We'll keep working and we'll keep getting better."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On the key to having a successful offense on third down)
"Well, third down is a tough down in football, period. I think the key is first and second down. Third downs are a lot better when you do well on first and second down."
(On the reason the team has tended to struggle in third-and-long situations)
"I'd have to really go back and study it, but yeah, definitely things we've got to do better. We've got to do a lot of things better. We're six and three – we're not nine and [zero] – so any time you've lost games, you've got to do things a lot better in a lot of different areas. I think part of that is just coming into work every day and improving individually, improving as a team and getting to know one another. Then trying to work hard at the things we've got to work hard at to improve. That's going to be important as we keep moving forward."
(On if there are any losses in his career that have stuck with him longer than others)
"No, I remember pretty much all the losses. I probably don't remember all the wins, but I definitely remember all the losses. I think they all stick with you because you're competitive and you want to go out there and play your best every week. You're not a movie actor where you get six takes when it doesn't go right like, 'Oh, let me do that one over again. I messed that one up. Let's run that back.' You're a football player and you're making split-second decisions and you always wish, 'Man, I made every split-second decision right,' but that's just not the reality of the sport. You've got to try and improve it as best you can. Again, we're just trying to work as hard as we can every day to make improvements that we need to make, understanding that it's a process and it's going to last. There's probably not ever going to be a day where I'm going to say, 'Hey man, we've got this all figured out. This sport – we nailed it. We figured out football completely.' Every week it's just a reinvention of what you're trying to do, what the other team is trying to do, what you need to do [and] what you need to be better at. I think we all recognize we're not at a place where we can ever relax. We've got to improve the urgency. We've got to make the improvements faster, learn from the mistakes and do a better job."
(On his impressions of the NFC South division so far)
"Definitely there is a lot of offense in the NFC South. There [are] good conditions for scoring. A little different than where I've been where a lot times games dictated a certain style of play based on weather conditions – wind, rain, snow. This is pretty much [such that] conditions are ideal for scoring pretty much every week. We've had a few tough weather games – actually, we've probably had more wind than what we're used to and a little bit of precipitation. It's a tough division. There are a lot of good players [and] good quarterbacks. You've got to be on it every week."
(On how he made it through Tropical Storm/Hurricane Eta)
"The hurricane – that was a trip last night for me. I had a dock that broke [and] floated away. I had these jet skis on it. I saw those things sitting out in the middle of the bay and I was going, 'Wow, that's pretty surreal.' I was kind of laughing like, 'Well, you'll get the jet skis back. A lot of people are dealing with a lot worse than that.' Just waking up and seeing what kind of happened to the yard – it got pretty messed up. I'd be really nervous if a big one hit. It happened pretty quick. I thought you had time to prepare for these things, but apparently you don't. They're just kind of on you and then you've got to deal with it. We pushed the schedule back today. Fortunately, everyone made it in safe and sound. Good lesson learned for someone who has been in the Northeast for a long time."
(On if limited attempts to Mike Evans on '50-50 balls' is due to him being unfamiliar with Evans' abilities or a general unfamiliarity with each other)
"Mike does pretty much everything better than [anyone]. Nothing is 50-50 with Mike – Mike's better at just about anything than anybody. He's a spectacular player and I think from my perspective, it's just me giving him opportunities to touch the ball, catch it and figuring out different ways based on different styles of defense that we're getting that enable him to touch it. He's an incredible player when he gets it and he's an incredible player before he gets it. [We're] working hard at it and again, I wish I'd be making every throw exactly the way I want. The only thing I can say is we're trying to get it right, trying to figure out how to get everybody involved and put together a lot of different pieces that have never been together – including myself. I think the great advantage in football in continuity. I've learned a lot over the years [and] continuity in the NFL is so important with coach [and] quarterback [and] what you're trying to be as a team. A lot of situations you're in over years and years – we just haven't been in those together. I might've been in a lot of situations, Byron [Leftwich] has been in a lot of situations, B.A. (Bruce Arians) has been in a lot of situations [and] the receivers here have been in a lot of different situations, but we're just trying to make it happen together. You're going up against other teams that have the continuity and that's the disadvantage. But, we have to try and make up for it as best we can. The only way I know how to do it is to work at it and work even harder. Every day that goes by, you have to work harder and harder and never take the foot off the gas pedal. Then, just make the improvements we've got to make and go out there and compete. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough [and] you have to do better. But, there's no part of me that thinks, 'Yeah, let's ease off. Let's not work quite as hard today because we've been overworking.' I just think [to] get after it more."
(On what the offense's identity is when it is playing well)
"I think we're trying to figure that out. It definitely hasn't been 60 minutes of consistent football yet. Again, I think we're trying to just figure it out. It's going to change from week-to-week based on who we play. That's what teams are all about. Football is a tough sport. There's different matchups every week [and] there's different elements to every game that are a challenge. It's never really the same. Again, [we're] just trying to work at it."
(On if he recovered the jet skis that floated off his dock)
"They got fixed, yeah. We dragged them back. They were about 300 yards away at someone else's house. I got a bunch of messages from people that were like, 'Hey man, are your jet skis [missing?]" They floated down and found their way into someone else's dock – they got lodged. I was very lucky."
(On how aware he is during a game of how many targets and receptions players on the offense receive)
"I'm just not – I'm thinking about, 'OK, this is the coverage they're playing. This is where I should throw the ball.' You know who's in the game, obviously, but the ball is going to go where it's going to go based on the coverage. I'm going to try to make a great throw, they're going to try to run great routes and whoever gets it, gets it. That's what winning football is all about."
(On what a loss like last week does to the team's mentality and what he says to players who had not experienced a loss in that fashion)
"Losing games is part of the NFL – I don't think you ever go unscathed. There's only one team that's gone undefeated in the history of the NFL. You're going to lose games. When you win a lot it's amazing, but you also have to deal with when you don't play the way you're capable of playing [and] you play good teams, you lose. We've all lost games – it sucks. It sucks for your family, it sucks for you, it sucks for your players [and] it sucks for everybody. The whole organization feels crappy when you lose because you put a lot into it. You're not going to sit here and feel sorry for yourself [and] you're not going to make excuses. You're going to get back to work and you're going to try and make it better. You're going to identify where the problems are, the things you can do better, the things you need to improve on and then you go out and you practice them. Then, you try to go get it again. It really sucks when you lose at the end of the year and you don't have any games left. That's when you really feel bad. I always say, 'You win or you learn.' Hopefully from losing, you learn a lot of valuable lessons and we've got to learn those, move on and improve our level of play so we can go out there and play at a higher level, play consistently, score more points and put more pressure on the defense."