BUCCANEERS QUOTES 11-5-20
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD BOWLES
(On the challenge Saints RB Alvin Kamara presents the Tampa Bay defense and how inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White help with slowing Kamara down)
"He presents a huge challenge and he's playing a lot faster than he was the first time we played them. He's doing everything for them and he's probably one of the best in the league – probably in the top two or three that you talk about here. It doesn't matter how much speed you have on defense – he's so elusive, yet he's strong, he can use power when need be, speed when need be, he can catch the ball, he can run the ball [and] he does all the little things right. He has great body control and that's a tough task for anybody. We're just going to have to rally to the ball and get as many hats as we can to try and stop him."
(On Buccaneers defensive backs' progress and increased number of interceptions)
"It's been great. Coach [Kevin] Ross does a great job with them. We dropped quite a few last year – we should've had more than that – but they're coming down with them this year. They've got more attention to detail [and] they're a lot more comfortable back there. That's really the main thing, and they're attacking the ball. They come in bunches. Sometimes you practice them a lot and you don't get any, sometimes you don't practice them at all, and you get a bunch. We're going to try and get some every week and keep it going."
(On the roles of CB Jamel Dean and CB Sean Murphy-Bunting)
"It changes all the time. It depends on the gameplan and how much is on Sean's plate and how much is on Dean's plate. Obviously, [it also depends] on matchup and things we're trying to do. It kind of fluctuates. We think we have three starting corners anyway, so they accept their roles fine. They both play the majority of the snaps anyway [and] they're in the game the same time probably more often than not, so it's not that big of a deal."
(On if he feels the Giants had a good idea of what they were trying to accomplish defensively early in the game and how that could impact the defense's self-scouting)
"We self-scout ourselves all the time. I think they had a good gameplan coming out [and] I think we misfit a couple runs and we busted a couple coverages. Some of it was self-inflicted [and] some of it was a good gameplan by them. You've got to give Jason [Garrett] a little bit of credit. We've got to focus on the things we need to focus on this week to get ready for the ballgame. Did we play a perfect game? By no means. We know that as a defense, and the best thing is that we won the ballgame [and] we made enough plays to win the ballgame. But, we know we can't beat New Orleans playing like we played last week."
(On adjustments the defense made at halftime of the game against the Giants)
"We just buckled down. We knew we were going to be in a dogfight [and] we knew they were a tough team. We just buckled down and came out fighting, scratching and clawing to get the win. It wasn't really the adjustments, it was a credit to the guys for turning it on in the second half and buckling down on some of the misfits we had in the first half."
(On how Saints WR Michael Thomas impacts Tampa Bay's defensive gameplan and what he does to make it difficult for defenses to stop him)
"He impacts the gameplan a lot. [Alvin] Kamara was enough, but they get all their weapons back in Thomas and [Emmanuel] Sanders – they'll be fully loaded, obviously – and you have [Jared] Cook as well. They've got a bunch of guys making plays [and] it gives Drew Brees more options to go to. It makes us play more disciplined football. We can't favor one guy or the other. We've got to be sound in our technique, sound in everything we do and just try to slow him down. He's dangerous and he's probably one of the best in the league."
(On what makes Thomas a successful receiver)
"It's all the above, and you don't get that way without the work ethic. I'm sure he has a great work ethic. He can catch it underneath [and] he can catch it over the top. He has strong hands, he blocks for them, he can run the route tree for them [and] he can do a lot of things, which makes him very dangerous."
(On if the defense was in the right place against the run in the game against the Giants but could not get off its blocks)
"I saw two big misfits, and the other ones – I thought we hit him when he came off and I thought they fell forward too much instead of going backwards. I thought our tackles were from the side. We need to get our head across, our head up, our shoulder pads across and drive him backwards. I don't think we did that [Monday]."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BYRON LEFTWICH
(On how he has assessed what WR Antonio Brown could contribute in Sunday's game)
"I think I've got a good idea of what he'd be able to do Sunday night. He's always in the best shape, so you're never really worried about that. Obviously, he has to do some things to get in football shape – ball-security-type things – those are the type of things you're always worried about. But, he's in shape [and] he's conditioned. I can talk to him in a way to get him to understand, to make sure that he's ready to roll and to understand what he needs to do so he can play fast. I feel good about where he's at. I don't really know how much he'll play, but I feel good where he's at."
(On the options to replace G Ali Marpet if is he unable to play on Sunday)
"We'll have options. We'll wait and see what we need to get to [and] if we even need to think in that way. We've got our options – we don't know exactly what we're going to do because he's in the [concussion] protocol. We'll have to wait and see, but we'll be ready for whatever. Just like any other position, we believe in the guys we have here that they can go out and play well."
(On how he feels RB Ronald Jones II and RB Leonard Fournette are working together)
"I think they've been great, to be honest with you. I think they're doing a good job with getting both guys snaps. They both bring a little different skillset to the table, [but] the good thing is they both can run the ball. I think we're doing a good job of getting them in and out of the game [and] using the guys' skillset for what it is. I think these two guys are doing an excellent job for us."
(On fans questioning the commitment to running the ball on first down)
"We always go do what we need to do [and] what we think the best thing for us to win football games. The object for us is to win the football game – that's what we're trying to do week in and week out. We understand opinions [and] we understand everybody has one, but we're always trying to do the right thing to win football games."
(On how the team has worked to get WR Antonio Brown prepared to play in Sunday's game)
"We're doing all the things that we do, really, every day. Most of the guys are over here early, most of the guys are always doing extra [and] most of the guys are meeting with guys. It's no different with him. Obviously, we're trying to get him sped up because it is his first week [and] it is his first real practice. But, I think from a communication standpoint of him understanding what to do – obviously, he won't go out there and play 75-80 plays, so he doesn't have to know everything. We'll put him in positions to have success and that's how you've got to kind of do it this early on. Today was really his official first practice. It was good to see him out there. We just have to put him in positions to have some sort of success for the plays that he is in."
(On what it would mean for Brown to have success and make an impact in Sunday's game)
"I don't even really think it's predicated on a strong performance. The guys that play this game of football at this level, it takes the ultimate commitment. When you're not able to play it, you miss it. Just being out on the field, people don't understand [that] just being out in a practice, being in a huddle [and] being out on the field sometimes can bring you the most joy that you can't even imagine. It's not really predicated on success, really. It's just to be out there to be able to play the game that you love – that's what you can really see in his energy. You can tell he's just excited to be back on the field."
(On where he has seen the biggest growth on offense since playing New Orleans in Week 1)
"I just think from a communication standpoint we're better. You've got to think – that was me and Tom [Brady's] first game together. It's your first game together and you're playing an opponent that's a really good football team [and] an opponent that has played a lot of football together from a coaches [and] players' standpoint. [Those] guys have been together a very long time, so we knew it would be a tough task for us to go into their building and go in there and try to find a way to win a football game. That was the toughest thing. With this summer being the way that it is, we had to figure a lot of things out. That's a tough team to try to figure a lot of things out with a team that's as well coached as they are, have the players that they have on their team and has been together [and] been in big games. That team has been in a lot of big football games together and we just have to do what we've got to do to try to come out and play well Sunday night."
(On if WR Antonio Brown's demeanor has been different since joining the Buccaneers)
"I know him for being him – that's what I know of him. Everyone else's perception or perspective – it is what it is, right? I've always known that guy. I didn't really see his interview [on Tuesday] so I don't know what he really said, but I've always looked at him as a good guy."
(On Brown stating that he is a better person now)
"It's better for him to answer that than me."
(On WR Mike Evans matching up with Saints CB Marshon Lattimore)
"Lattimore's a good football player. I expect those guys to battle it out like they always do every time that I've been a part of this matchup. This will be my fourth time seeing this matchup that we've been here [and] that we've been involved with. Those guys do a good job of getting after each other. It's always good, fun, hard-nosed football. I believe he's a really good football player, so I wouldn't expect [anything] different from those guys on Sunday night."
(On his biggest takeaway from the offense's Week 1 performance against New Orleans)
"We've got to play better. We've got to do a better job of protecting the football. Those were the two big things that came out of that game."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On if he still has some remaining chemistry with WR Antonio Brown from their time together in New England)
"It's been only one game and two weeks practice [together]. Football is a tough sport. It demands a lot out of you physically, mentally [and] emotionally. There is no shortcut to getting on the same page. You've just got to put the work in. Today was a good start to practice, but it's a long process and we're just going to have to work at it."
(On how much he has paid attention to the New England Patriots' season and if he has kept in touch with his former teammates)
"Well, I have a lot of relationships with a lot of teammates, so I wish everybody the best all of the time. I don't ever wish for anyone not to perform at their best and so forth. I certainly wish for our team to play the best. Maybe the only team I don't root for is the team we're playing on that particular Sunday. Other than that, it's about us being the best we can be. It's working hard every day to put ourselves in a great position to be successful. Like I was saying, there is no shortcut to that. You've got to put the work in [and] everybody has to be selfless. This is about what our team is trying to achieve. We've got a great opportunity Sunday night to face a team that already beat us in Week 1. It's a very talented team in all phases and we're going to have to play a great game to beat them."
(On what the team has done to try and get Brown up to speed as quickly as possible this week)
"I think all the receivers have really helped him out. Our Coach Kevin [Garver] – the receivers coach – has done a great job. Quarterbacks – we've got to kind of prepare for what we've got to do and then you've got to leave it to the receivers to put the work in themselves. Meet early, meet late, go through practice – obviously, talk through a lot of things at practice – I think everyone is working hard to get everyone to understand exactly how to execute what we're doing on a particular play. Again, for all of us, this is only B.A.'s (Bruce Arians') second year here. It's my first year here [and] there are some guys that got here with me, like Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), Shady (LeSean McCoy) and a guy like Leonard [Fournette]. I think we're all still learning. We're trying to work every day to get it right. It's certainly not perfect, but we're just going to continue to keep working at it. That's the only thing I know how to do. The only way things get better is if you put attention on what needs to be improved and then you work hard at improving it – that's really what we're trying to do."
(On the difference between playing New Orleans in Week 1 and playing them again now in Week 9)
"Every year is a little different, I'll say that. Football is always changing – guys come and go, coaches come and go, the teams change and the venues change. That's football. Week One, we had no preseason games, so we were trying to just learn each other [and] learn what to do. We played a really good opponent, who plays well at home [and] who doesn't make mistakes. Any time you play a good team, it's got to be great complementary football. We turned the ball over two times, [had] a pick-six – this is a team you can't make mistakes against. When you make them, it just magnifies. We're trying to be that team. We're playing a team that has been great in this division for a long time. They've got a great quarterback, [they are] really well-coached, they've got a great defense, some really talented defensive players [and] they score points offensively, so it's going to be a huge challenge. We're going to have to step up and really meet the challenge."
(On the history between himself and Saints QB Drew Brees)
"I think we've both been around for quite a while. He's a great quarterback and he's been so productive over a lot of years, especially at the Saints. I was competing against him when he was at Purdue – the two of us were playing each other. I played him at Michigan. He's been a hell of a player. I've known a lot of guys that know him. I've played with a lot of guys who have been to the Saints. Then, my roommate when I first got to the pros went to Purdue, Dave Nugent. I've just heard a lot of great stories about him over the years and I've just kind of watched how he's handled himself on and off the field. He's just an impressive guy. I have a lot of respect for him as a player [and] as a person. We're both closer to the end then we are the beginning. I think we both still enjoy being out there on the field with our teammates playing and competing, and it's going to be a very competitive game Sunday night."
(On what it is about WR Antonio Brown that makes him want to help him outside of football)
"Just watching him for a long time, I've seen him as a player and then have gotten to know him as a person. I really enjoy the sport [and] I enjoy playing football, obviously, but relationships are very important to me. I think if you ask all of my teammates over the years – more so than throwing touchdown passes, or winning games, the relationships, what we build together and how you get to know people is what makes football, to me, so meaningful in my life. All of the guys I've played with over the years, you just have a strong connection with, and you want to see everyone achieve their best. I think when you see people achieve things, and they put their effort into certain things and it pays off and it's really rewarded, that's I think what life is about. I've had a lot of people that have helped me over the years. I've had a lot of people that have inspired me to do better, to want to work harder [and] that have helped me [get into] the right position to be successful. That's all I try to be to my teammates. I try to do my best every day to make myself available to them – however I can help them mentally [or] however I can help them emotionally. I just want to see people enjoy what they're doing, enjoy their job, show up and do a great job. Ultimately, our goal for all of us is to win football games. Again, I wasn't an individual sport guy. I've always been in team sports and always enjoyed being a member of the team. All of the guys that I've played with here have really embraced me. All of my teammates – it's been really fun getting to know [them], especially the core guys who have been here a long time. It started with working with Chris Godwin, Scotty [Miller] and Cam Brate when I first got here. Then Mike [Evans] showed up, then RoJo (Ronald Jones II) showed up and we had a lot of guys. It was just fun being around guys and helping them based on my experience and my knowledge of how I can try to give them some information that can help them in their career. Because they embrace it, it inspires me to want to work harder for them. Seeing them achieve and be successful is a great feeling for me."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN NDAMUKONG SUH
(On what about the Buccaneers allows veteran players to come to the organization and be a good fit)
"I think it first and foremost starts with coach B.A. (Bruce Arians). He sets the tone for us and truthfully, from that standpoint, it trickles down through the current veterans that we do have – Lavonte David, Mike Evans, so forth and so on. With that being the case, we have a particular standard here. We want to come in here and [are] trying to be a dominant defense and a high-powered offense. If you're about those two things – first and foremost – I think culture as well as personalities will all [mesh] when they have a common goal."
(On the challenge Saints RB presents Tampa Bay's defense)
"Kamara's a great back. He's one that's very, very difficult to track because he's [the] dot back, offset back [and] split out wide. It's somebody that you have to always be looking for to see where he's going to be aligning and account for him. Whether it's one guy or two guys, we're fortunate enough that we have great linebackers that we can match up one-on-one with. Obviously, a guy with that, you're probably going to have some double teams and just figuring out what scheme you want to run against him. He's definitely an elite back and a guy that's a game-changer that we want to shut down because they've been running a lot of their offense [through him], especially with No. 13 (Michael Thomas) being out."
(On the key to the defense remaining strong against the run despite losing DL Vita Vea)
"It's been very tough losing Vita. That definitely hurt us, but Steve [McLendon's] come in and done an amazing job in his first game and then last game of just kind of filling that void. You've got to give a lot of props to Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches). He's stepped up in a big role for us from that perspective, but he's also expected from that same token that he, across the board, is expected to come in and play at a high level even if Vita was still here. For us, it's going to be about consistency and that's what we lacked a little bit on Monday Night Football, especially in the first half. But, we turned that around in the second half, which then opened it up for us to get after the passer and we were able to create turnovers. Consistency is going to be the biggest thing for us. We obviously have the talent, and we have the understanding of what we want to do and how we want to execute in this particular defense that Coach Bowles has for us each and every week, but it's going to be consistency that's going to be our key."