HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On WR Antonio Brown participating in Wednesday's walk-through)
"He was going full speed. Everybody else was walking, but he was going full speed – that's him anyway. It was good – guys were helping him [and] he's got a really good handle on what we're trying to get done [with formations] and everything. It was great interaction with all the guys, and it was a good start to the week."
(On facing criticism for singing Antonio Brown given some things he has been accused of)
"I think when you judge people – is it allegation? There's no convictions of anything. I think for people that want to doubt the decision – I defend my record on all those type of things. I don't have a problem with it and it's not all just about winning."
(On his conversations with Brown)
"Everything's been very, very positive. I think he's in a good spot right now and for us, just getting him taught and getting him going. Our conversations were very, very positive."
(On where Brown is mentally in regard to previous actions in his personal life)
"I think he's just moving forward and trying to have a positive attitude and taking every bit of care of this opportunity given to him."
(On WR Chris Godwin's recovery from surgery on his finger)
"We won't know until Friday to see if he can actually catch a ball. He went through everything today – he was basically a full participant in the walk-through – but we're not going to take any risks with that thing until Friday to see if he can catch."
(On the challenges for WR Antonio Brown preparing to play on Sunday despite limited practices)
"It's extremely hard. He does have some recall to what we've done together when I was coaching him, so there is some of that – not a whole lot. It's just going out and playing football. He knows how to play football and he knows how to run routes. It's just learning the routes that we want, the words and the things. He's got Chris [Godwin], Mike [Evans] and Scotty [Miller] – everybody's going to help him."
(On why third-down conversion rates are increasing across the league)
"One thing [is] there's fewer penalties. I don't think you're seeing as many super-long [conversion attempts]. I think teams are playing the game in third-and-six or less, which is going to promote better conversion rates. I don't think there's any rule changes or anything that have really sparked it analytically. Just probably better play offensively."
(On the team having a later bye week this season and if its 6-2 record helps the team with mental fatigue halfway through the season)
"I think being 6-2 refreshes you pretty quick. You get ready for the next one, especially when it's a big one like this [week]. I think that really, really helps. I didn't like the bye week being that late – I would've liked to have it around Week 9 or 10. So far, it's good to have some Wednesday walk-throughs and not put the pads on. We [don't] wear pads very often anymore in practice. It's just learning our assignments, getting tuned in and showing up healthy on Sunday."
(On the decision to kick a field goal at the end of the first half in Monday's game)
"It looked to me like it was going to be very, very close [to a first down] – whether we had it or not. Once we obviously knew it was fourth down, to me it was, 'Let some time run off the clock.' I was watching it go from 10, 9, 8 [seconds and] called timeout. They put time back on the clock for whatever reason – I have no idea. We would've liked to kick it with no time on the clock. Probably should've waited a few more seconds."
(On what makes Saints RB Alvin Kamara difficult to contain)
"I think we always knew he was a great runner. He's got great speed [and] breaks a ton of tackles. But, when you start looking at backs catching eight, nine [or] 10 balls a game, that's a very rare guy who can run routes and easily catch footballs out away from the formation. Marshall [Faulk] was one of the best I'd ever seen [and] I thought David Johnson was going to become one of those guys. His ability to not just catch it, but be instant with it in his hands with a burst to take it to the house – he's probably one of the better screen runners in the game. The more he touches it, the more good things happen."
(On LB Devin White's production this season and how he has helped the defense succeed)
"He's the catalyst. I think the second year in [the league], plus he's very, very healthy. He learned a lot last year playing with a brace on his leg. His explosiveness was gone last year at points and then he got it back the last three or four games. Just the second year in the defense, he's running the show and he's got a lot of pride. He's a great leader."
(On what a running back like Saints RB Alvin Kamara has to do to be a successful receiver out of the backfield)
"I think you have to have the quickness and the understanding of how to beat leverage. When he runs option routes and those type of things, he's so quick, he doesn't take any false steps and he sets people up very well."
(On New Orleans' pass rushers other than DE Cameron Jordan)
"Outstanding guys – a lot of power. [Marcus] Davenport has the speed off the edge [and] those other guys have power and speed. It's a very, very good group of edge guys – not only against the pass, but they're really good against the run, too."
(On if living with QB Tom Brady has allowed WR Antonio Brown to learn the offense quicker)
"It probably helps because if he has questions, he's there [and] he can ask him. I think Tom spends a lot of time with his family, too. Having him there [and] the ability to be able bounce things off of him is really good."
(On if the team has lived up to its own expectations through the first half of the season and if it feels there are still areas for improvement)
"I think we need to improve in every area all the time. Our penalties are down [and] our turnover ratio is good, but we have to maintain those things. We can run the ball better at times and defensively, the same thing. Special teams have been solid, but there's room for improvement every week."
WIDE RECEIVER ANTONIO BROWN
(On how he felt in his first practice with the Buccaneers on Wednesday)
"I'm extremely grateful to be here with such a great organization [and] to be around some great players. For me, first and foremost, being away from the game for a year and a half – just to be able to be a part of the process. To be out there with the guys today was surreal – something I'm not going to take for granted, something I have a great appreciation for, a better perspective about and a lot of gratification. To do what I love – it's a blessing."
(On the work he has done to earn another chance in the NFL)
"I took a lot of time off from the game to re-evaluate myself, to look within, to get a better perspective of myself and working on myself within and without. To be in this position, we followed the mission and to get back on track is what I'm here to do."
(On how he feels physically)
"I've been taking care of myself off the field. I pride myself on being the guy who is staying in high condition and being physically fit. I spent a year and a half working out in parks and not being able to get a lot of reward. Just grateful to be in the position where I can work out and get the opportunity to play in the game and get some rewards."
(On what he has done in recent months away from football and what he has learned about himself during that time)
"I've just been spending a lot of time with family, working on myself within and just staying resilient. Keeping the mind on the mission that's being a football player and doing all the things that come with that. Even when the times got hard, keeping myself in shape, keeping myself motivated from within, not listening to the naysayers or not giving doubt or worries about [if] I'd be able to return. I had a lot of good trainers [and] good people around me in my corner that kept me encouraged [and] kept me motivated. I just believed. I knew one day I would get a chance to be back in this position and I just tried to check every box to make sure that when I was able to get back, I was ready to go."
(On what he says to people who question if he deserves to be back in the NFL)
"Hopefully, I can change their perspective being here around great people [and a] great organization. Hopefully, I can win them over with my actions, how I move forward and how I handle my business."
(On his relationship with QB Tom Brady)
"Tom is my boy. [He's] one of the greatest leaders to be around. He's encouraging, always inspiring, he brings out the best in the people around him [and] he wants the best for everyone around him. He's the greatest quarterback of all time. Nothing he has done in the past matters – he's always getting better day in and day out and I've just learned a lot from him [with] how he trains, how he takes care of himself professionally, his discipline, his work ethic [and] his approach. He's been a great guy in my corner and one of my close friends."
(On his relationship with Head Coach Bruce Arians)
"I don't know what was said or what coach said. I know we have a great relationship. As a kid coming to Pittsburgh 10 years ago being 20 years old [or] 21, Bruce Arians was always an asset in my corner and a great coach that has always brought out the best in me. He's always challenging in what he says and regards, but it's only to make you a better person. I had to learn that from the start as a 20-year-old kid. No matter what B.A. says, he always has good intentions for his players. I wouldn't be here without him today, so I'm grateful for him [and] for the opportunity to have me here. I owe a lot of credit to B.A. Things that [were] said online – I don't know or pay too much attention to. I know I have a great opportunity here with him, with B.A., with this organization and this team. I'm super grateful for the opportunity he has presented me, and I owe him all the backing."
(On what he believes his role will be in Tampa Bay's offense and how it fits his abilities)
"I'm just excited to put my hand in the pile. There [are] so many great guys here. I'm excited to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in TB12 (Tom Brady) [and] I'm excited to be around Mike Evans, Chris [Godwin] [and] Scotty Miller. I'm excited to learn, be around the guys, motivate the guys, learn from the guys, put my hand in the pile and hopefully help be the reason we win. I'm just super grateful for this opportunity, excited to be around the guys and everyone here and I'm excited to fit in here and do what's best for us to win – whatever that entails."
(On how long he believes it will take for him to get up to speed with Tampa Bay's offense)
"I'm putting the time in right now, studying every night, coming in … early in the morning to late afternoon and making sure when I get the opportunity to be in there, I don't miss a beat, guys can count on me and I could be where they need me to be."
(On living with QB Tom Brady in Derek Jeter's house)
"I'm just excited to be here. I'm excited to play [and] I'm excited to put my hand in the pile and just be with the guys."
(On other coaches in Tampa Bay who are familiar with him and the support system they provide him)
"I've got a great support system with these guys here. They're familiar with me, they know who I am, they know what I bring to the table and how I am. We've got great familiarity and I'm excited to be here, learn from these guys, put my will on display and show these guys what I'm willing to do."
(On his relationship with Tony Robbins and how that has helped him prepare for his return to the NFL)
"Tom [Brady] hooked me up with him a couple of months ago [and] he's been a great asset for me. We're working on myself within, unlocking some positive stuff in my spirit and just being a better person. [I've spent] a lot of time sitting with him, developing some positive things within, changing my outlook on a couple of things, battling and getting away from anger and just being able to stay positive and see the positive of things – not let my emotion or frustration ruin my outlook on what's in front of me. I really thank Tony Robbins and TB12 for hooking me up with great people that can align me with my purpose and help me see the light in regard to my future."
(On if he believes he is a different person as he returns to the NFL)
"I just feel like I'm a better person. I wouldn't say I'm a different person, but I'm a better person. [I'm] learning a lot about myself and working on myself for a year and a half. I think I'm a better person."
(On why QB Tom Brady believes in him both as a football player and as a person)
"I think there's a lot of similarities in our work ethic, being guys who [were] supposed to be underachievers [and] guys who were never supposed to make it. Sixth-round, late bloomers – guys who develop chips. Just wanting to be the best [and] yearn for being the best, always growing and getting better. Obviously, he's the greatest quarterback in the world, so I'm just grateful to be here, to be his teammate to be in the huddle with him [and] to be a part of the process here in Tampa Bay. Super grateful – TB12 (Brady) is my boy and I'm grateful for that."
(On if he received interest from other teams wanting to sign him and what gave Tampa Bay the edge in his decision-making process)
"Anytime you get a chance to play with the greatest quarterback in the world [and] to be around Bruce Arians – a great offensive guru – and be around a lot of great guys who are already familiar with me from the Steelers 10 years ago [like] Antwaan Randle El, Larry Foote, Byron Leftwich [and] Coach Goodie (Harold Goodwin) – there's a lot of familiar faces that know me personally more so than what people write or what people say. For me, it was a no brainer coming here, being around guys who understand me [and], obviously, to play with the greatest quarterback in the world."
CORNERBACK CARLTON DAVIS III
(On the secondary making game-changing plays to shift the momentum like it did on Monday night vs. the New York Giants)
"It's a great feeling to be able to produce for your team when it's needed. We've just got to keep going. I know there's been a lot of talk about us being a good secondary but, in my opinion, it doesn't mean anything if you can't be consistent so we've got to try to do that game in and game out."
(On tying for the league lead with four interceptions through eight games)
"It's a good feeling knowing that your hard work is paying off and that everything you're doing off the field and on the field is working for you. Like I said before, it's all about consistency and continuing to prove the doubters and everybody wrong."
(On having a close-knit group in the secondary)
"We're real tight. Just because we're all around the same age group and we're all kind of into the same things, so the chemistry is definitely there. Being on the field with guys you can cooperate with off the field – and you all are really friends outside of football – it makes your bond stronger on the field. It helps the communication [and] it allows you to know what he's going to do in certain situations just because outside of football you know how he is. I think we've got a great group of guys and I love playing with them."
KICKER RYAN SUCCOP
(On winning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week and the key to his success)
"Honestly, I think that Zach [Triner] and Bradley [Pinion] – our snapper and, Bradley, our punter and holder – those guys are doing such a great job. I give a lot of credit to them and the big boys up front – they are doing a great job protecting. It's really a team effort. When you get an award like this, I always think of it as a team award. I just want to give those guys a lot of credit and I'm thankful to have the opportunity to work with them."
(On his experience so far with the Buccaneers after signing with the team in September)
"It's been a blessing. I've really enjoyed being here in Tampa. Obviously, we have a really good team, but I've really enjoyed a lot of the guys in the locker room [and] a lot of our coaches. That's something that when you play in the NFL for a while – I've been fortunate to do that – you really grow to appreciate that and that's been neat getting to be plugged in here with these guys. We're having a fun season, we're playing well and hopefully we're going to keep working and try to keep getting better."
(On how he handles the mental challenges of being a kicker)
"For me, I always like to say, 'You're 0-for-0.' Whatever you did last week, it doesn't matter. Whatever you did the week before that, it doesn't matter. The only thing that I focus is on is the next kick – the one that's coming up – so I try to prepare each and every week to try and go out and give myself the best chance to kick well every time that my number is called. If you kick in this league long enough, there's going to be ups and downs. I think something that has probably helped me to handle all that is that I try not to have my whole identity, or all of my thought process, be revolved around how I perform. I'm very thankful – my faith, I think, has helped me through that. My faith in the Lord and then my family – you have things to put football in perspective. I love playing [and] I'm going to go out and give it everything I've got, but at the end of the day I'm trying not to let how I kick affect my mentality. I think that's something that's been a blessing to me is trying to have other things in [my] life. For me, it's my faith and my family. I think the kicking takes care of itself when those two things are good."