OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BYRON LEFTWICH
(On how he is attempting to prevent slow starts offensively)
"I don't think it's been an issue with us really, all year. I think there's been games where we struggled to get off to a fast start. A couple of those times started with a turnover like we had last week. Like I told you guys the week before, one thing I say about these guys [is] when we bring up what our issues are as a group and we get an opportunity to work on them during the week and try to correct those things, this team does an awesome job of always responding. It's something we've been talking about [and] something we've made our guys aware of. Hopefully we can get off to better starts."
(On the differences in the Los Angeles defense this season in comparison to last year)
"They've still got really good football players. Man, they do. They have a lot of really good football players [and] a lot of guys playing fast [and] moving around. Just the scheme is different. The scheme is really, completely different from what they've done in the last year. Obviously, we can take some things from that [game last year] from a personnel standpoint, but these guys are playing well. They're playing really good football right now, they're flying around, they're hitting people, they're attacking guys, they're getting to the quarterback [and] they're doing all the things that good defenses do. It's all over the tape, so we know what type of challenge we have coming in here Monday night. It's going to be a really good football team that's going to be ready to play, so we've got to make sure we're ready to do the same."
(On if Los Angeles is the toughest defense Tampa Bay will face this season)
"Yes, probably. I believe so. Just the way they attack [and] the way they get to the quarterback. Obviously, the guy that has his hand in the ground (Aaron Donald) – it's not just him. It's a bunch of those guys that really do a good job of getting to the quarterback. They have some special guys on the defensive side of the football [and] some guys that – when it's all said and done – these guys are going to be wearing gold jackets. We understand that [and] we understand what we're up against. We're just going to try to make sure we prepare as much as we can [and] make sure we're doing the things that we need to do to give ourselves an opportunity to win the football game."
(On how the addition of WR Antonio Brown helps his flexibility as a playcaller)
"I think it's great any time any coordinator can add a guy like A.B. to their roster that can help you out on gameday. I think we have a bunch of playmakers around our guys. We have them pretty much all over the field [but] we understand that other people have good football players, too. I'm quite sure they feel good about where they're at, we feel good about where we're at and that's the game of football week in and week out. Every week you're playing against really good football players and it's no different this week. These guys think they're [number] one or two in defense in the league [and it's] a special group. They've always been that way, even when I was in Arizona having an opportunity to play against some of this personnel twice a year. These guys have always been really, really good on defense and they play at a high level. We understand what we're up against Monday night and we expect them to come in here ready to play at a high level Monday night. We just have to make sure we're ready also."
(On what he has seen from Brown in his first month as a Buccaneer)
"Everything has been absolutely great. I think he's fitting in with the guys perfectly [and] I think the guys are fitting in with him. Everything has been smooth from our standpoint."
(On if the quarterbacks and wide receivers have spent additional time working on plays involving passes over 20 yards)
"We always spend extra time. We just try to go out and play football well enough to win football games. It's going to be something different every week – we don't try to sway and go back and forth. Obviously, we're trying to hit every pass that we throw – short, medium and long. Obviously, we're trying to get every run – short, medium and long – that we can get. Sometimes when plays don't work, it doesn't mean there's not an issue. Sometimes when plays are not converted it doesn't mean that there is an issue. I think all we can do is keep putting ourselves in position to try to make those plays. If we keep working hard in practice and doing the things we need to do, those plays will start being made. That's just the next-gen stats and all that, and all the things that come in week in and week out. We're going to try to do a better job of making all our plays and converting all our plays."
(On his impressions of the Los Angeles defensive scheme)
"It's different than what they did last year. Just having the opportunity to play against these guys last year, it's entirely different. Some of the personnel is the same and the personnel has always been good. Obviously, they're doing a lot of really good things on defense. They're playing well up front, they're playing well in the secondary [and] they're really playing well as a whole. Once you watch the guys play you can see they enjoy playing with each other, they play the game with a certain type of energy [and] they're running around. Everything that a good defense is supposed to have, they have it. They have all the things that come with having a really good defense. We understand that, so we just have to make sure we're ready to roll, we're prepared [and] doing the things we need to do to give ourselves an opportunity Monday night to win the football game."
(On if he felt the running backs did a good job in pass protection against Carolina and if that is important moving forward)
"I'm big on these guys on pass blocking. I think in order to be able to run the ball in this league, your running backs have to be able to pass block. I think for pretty much all year we've been doing a really good job of understanding who we need to be on, how [to] protect the quarterback [and] doing the things that we need to do throughout the week. Really, the work is really done throughout the week. I think these guys work their tails off throughout the week – understanding and being aware of certain looks and what's going to come with certain looks that the defensive front gives us. It's just been able to showcase itself on Sundays. I think we've always – pretty much all year – have done a good job of that, especially from a running backs standpoint making sure we get our guy."
(On if he thought there was a chance to score a touchdown before the play began on RB Ronald Jones II's 98-yard touchdown run)
"Yeah. We knew what we had called, and we knew it was a possibility. I knew it was a good play for us [with] where we were at on the field. Obviously, you never know that a play is going to go 98 yards, right? You can't predict that. But, it was the best play we had right there at that time. We liked it, we got it called and the result was a 98-yard touchdown."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On what it would mean to be able to lead his Buccaneers teammates to the playoffs and the significance of the final six games of the regular season)
"I think when you start the football season everybody has goals of whatever type of achievements you can put together. For all of us, you play to win. I think those situations, like the playoffs, take care of themselves. The focus right now is just one game – it's not anything beyond that. There is a lot of football left. Every game is very important. Every game was important in September. I think just having to realize that it's a series of one-game seasons and you've got to put everything you can into that one week. You empty the tank and then you've got to fill the tank back up for the next week. It's still November – it's not even Thanksgiving yet. This is the time where we've got to go out and put the work in every day and have a lot of mental toughness about what we're doing. We haven't been it for two weeks, we've been in it for a while. You get bumped around – you've got a lot of bumps and bruises. It feels like Groundhog Day, but you've still got to put the work in and go out there and be excited about what you're trying to do, and try to improve so that you can continue to put yourself in a good position to succeed."
(On preparing for primetime games)
"As an NFL player, you're prepared to play whenever you're scheduled – one o'clock, four o'clock, eight o'clock, Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, whatever. If it's three in the morning, it's three in the morning. If you've got to go to London or Mexico – it's really about what you do for those three hours. Everything should build up to those three hours. We get one day a week to perform – three hours for one day a week. You've got to put yourself in a mental, emotional, physical frame of mind to be at your peak for that moment. The game doesn't take place on Wednesday afternoon. It doesn't take place on Friday afternoon. In this case, it's Monday night, so everything should be geared for that time. You've got to just get your body to the place where it feels like you can go out and perform, get your mind right mentally so you know what to do and then emotionally be in a good place to focus and do your job. This is a big game for us – it's as big as they get on Monday Night Football, so this is one for us where we've got to go out there and be 100 percent ready to go."
(On what he does mentally to be able to perform at his peak during the game)
"You kind of get your physical prep done with your last day of practice. Then it's a lot of mental prep from that point on. Even all day Monday I'll be studying tape and making sure I'm prepared [so that] I've seen every look [and] I know how to handle every situation. Then you've got to go out there and execute it. It's not entirely different. Every week there's a lot of similarities with your preparation and your process. There are a couple of things that get a little different around the time of the game just based on when it is, but everybody has got different routines. Again, the most important part is to have all of your stuff mentally ready to go. Physically, I know that's going to be done. It's just emotionally being in a good place so you're excited, ready to go out and play and play well."
(On the Los Angeles Rams defense and specifically DL Aaron Donald)
"Well, it's a top-10 defense in every category. Aaron Donald is as good as there is to probably have ever played in the National Football League at D-line. He's an incredible player – explosive, quick and powerful. It's amazing the production he has even when people are double-teaming him and triple-teaming him. He just never lets down. He's a hard-working guy. You can tell football means a lot to him. He really sparks that whole defense. [Michael] Brockers is a great player, [Samson] Ebukam is a great player [and] they've got some really athletic linebackers. Jalen [Ramsey] and the secondary – they've got some really good players that maybe some people haven't heard of that are playing really well. [Darious] Williams had two picks last week, [John] Johnson is a really good safety. [Jordan] Fuller is a really good player. Troy Hill is a player I've played against quite a bit. They're really good – they're fast, they attack, they're aggressive, they're in a good scheme and you don't have a lot of time as a quarterback to sort things out because this D-line is on you so quick. I'm just going to have to make good reads and make good, accurate throws and be on the same page with the receivers. It's going to be a great football game."
(On if he has ever had night practices before)
"Yeah, I've practiced at basically all different times and places. I've done a lot of different things. I've played a long time, so over the years there has been a lot of different types of practices – morning, night, travel to practice, practice in gyms, practice on a cricket field in England once – there have been quite a few different places. Ball rooms – we've done it all."
(On if the night practices could help get the team prepared to play in primetime)
"I hope so. I don't think it's about a prediction from us. It's about our process and trying to go out there and do a good job. Whatever it takes for us to play well, that's what B.A. (Bruce Arians) is interested in, so that's what we're focused on."
(On his deep-ball accuracy in recent games and if it is a point of emphasis heading into the game on Monday night)
"It's definitely something we've got to hit. Our guys are doing a great job of getting open down the field and it's my job to find him and hit him. If you don't hit them, they're just long foul balls. We had a few of those last game. [If] we take those shots, we're going to have to be accurate with them and I know our guys are going to come up with them when I give them a good chance to catch the ball."
(On his impressions of Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury from his time in New England)
"Kliff got drafted when I was there and has just been a good friend of mine for a long time. We've always kept in touch and he's had a hell of a coaching career. He's just a great young coach. I love the time when I'm with him. He loves football, he loves preparing and he does a great job."
SAFETY ANTOINE WINFIELD JR.
(On if there is a sense among the team regarding the importance of its next two games)
"Like coach said earlier this week – we've got two more games and then we've got the bye week. Then we'll see where we stand. Our goal is to take it one day at a time, go out here and give it our best and we'll see where we are after the bye week."
(On the unique challenges when facing the Rams offense)
"I would say just their misdirection – a lot of jet motions, a lot of boot legs and play-action passes is what they do well. We have to make sure that we go out there and we're reading the right things, keying on the right things and not getting our eyes confused with looking at too many different things. We have to take sure we're disciplined in our play."
(On what has allowed the Tampa Bay defense to play well when things get tough for them)
"I would just say how we practice. It starts in practice – whatever you do in practice, you do in games. Making sure that we emphasize that we're finishing through our practice [and] finishing our last few periods strong is, I think, helping us and it shows during the game. One thing I feel like we do need to work on is starting faster, so that's kind of been our goal this week. Start fast and finish through."
(On how he feels playing various positions within the defense)
"Very comfortable. This is what – Week 11? It's crazy how fast time flies. I feel like I've just been getting more and more comfortable after each and every game. I feel very comfortable moving around the defensive scheme and everything like that."