HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On using STRIVR Virtual Reality Training with the quarterbacks and if QB Tom Brady has started using it)
"We've used it since [the] Arizona days – Carson [Palmer] absolutely loved it. All our backup quarterbacks get really live reps – it's our actual practice that goes on, on the tape. Tom has embraced it. We were already scheduled to use it and would have used it anyway because Blaine [Gabbert] and Griff (Ryan Griffin) liked it from last year – it's good reps for them, but Tom is falling in love with it, too."
(On how often Brady uses the technology and if Arians finds it helpful to Brady when learning the playbook and terminology)
"We use it every single day. Every blitz period, every 7-on-7, everything's filmed. You can go back and watch it again in two different ways: on tape and virtual."
(On if the team will be having a second scrimmage at Raymond James Stadium)
"I'd like to get back over there. I don't know if we'll actually do a live, tackling scrimmage, but we plan on having a practice over there similar to what we practice here, but be in the stadium to get some of the same atmosphere and hopefully the noise again when Tom [Brady] is out there."
(On how many roster spots are still open for competition)
"Probably six or eight spots. They missed 400 reps, so we're still going in pads like it was the first week of training camp because of that missed time and guys have missed all those reps. There's still guys fighting [for] spots every single day."
(On if he would be OK with longer drives from the offense as opposed to trying to connect on faster, bigger plays)
"Definitely. If we're going to go 16 plays for a touchdown, I'd take it every single time. It keeps our defense off the field, it obviously eats up the clock and you're scoring points. Anything that scores touchdowns, I'm all for. The worst thing in the world is a quick score after your defense has been on the field for 10 or 12 plays. Everything's in a team game. We had shots called and we didn't hit them, so take the underneath stuff. The quarterback always depends where the ball goes."
(On if players have approached him with ideas for action they would take regarding social justice)
"We [are] making sure all our players are registered to vote today and tomorrow. We have voting information here to make sure every single player is registered to vote today and tomorrow. Our council has talked – we've got some great ideas for what the social justice program is going to do this year. Darcie [Glazer]-Kassewitz heads that up and she'll be speaking to the team very, very shortly about our plan this year, and I think it's an excellent one."
(On if the uncertainty regarding the kicker position is unsettling this close to the regular season)
"Yes and no. Whoever we line up out there, we're going to have confidence in. Both these guys have been really, really good. They both had a bad day or two. We'll look at some other people and see if they're any better, just like we do [with] every single position, just like the waiver wire when everybody makes their cuts. Those last five guys are never safe. I don't look at it as any different than those situations."
(On Brady's reaction to Sunday's practice and the offensive performance)
"Tom was upset, probably as upset as I was. He wasn't as sharp as he's been, either. Like I told him – in the middle of practice, if you have to start saying, 'Hey, let's go, let's go,' it's way too late. Today was a great practice [for] both sides. I thought the offense bounced back and had a hell of a day and defensively we had some moments, too."
(On what has allowed center A.Q. Shipley to remain in the league as long as he has and what his role for Tampa Bay will be)
"First of all, we drafted him in Pittsburgh and watched him bounce around and then got him. He was a different player when I got him in [Indianapolis]. He's a survivor. He's a very bright, tough guy – that's what you want in your offensive linemen. Everybody's told him he's too short, his arms are too short and he can't play, but he's just been playing for 14 years [or] whatever it is. He gives us quality depth. I was a little concerned with our interior, especially if Ryan [Jensen] were to get injured with the center. 'Q' gives us a guy that can go and play all three spots or Jensen can play all three spots as we keep developing interior linemen."
(On if the defense can reach the 50.0-sack threshold this season after recording 47.0 last year)
"First of all, if we're number one against the run again this year, teams will be throwing it and I would expect us to get more than 50.0. But, we have to stay or be better in the run defense."
(On if the run defense will be the key in creating opportunities for sacks)
"Definitely. Make them one dimensional."
(On if the starting players have reached the level of play he's comfortable with going in to the season)
"I wouldn't think we're way behind at all. I think we're really close. By Wednesday of this week, I think we'll be where we need to be, and we'll start shutting down a lot of the hitting and making sure we're getting ready."
(On the competition among the reserve defensive linemen)
"All those guys have been excellent. Pat [O'Connor] gives us great versatility, so he right now is also a good special teams player. Love – he's a vet, he knows how to play the game, he's a good run-stuffer. The other young guys, they're solid. I think [Khalil] Davis has really picked his stuff up and is playing the run really, really well and is rushing the passer well. I think Pat is the guy who has separated himself."
(On if the expanded practice squad creates opportunities to retain multiple specialists throughout the season)
"You would never anticipate having a backup punter, kicker or [long] snapper on the practice squad with the limited numbers, but this is a unique year to where you could possibly have those type of players on your practice squad – preferably a guy who can punt and kick would be an eligible practice squad guy, and a player who can snap, but can also play just in case of the virus."
(On if free agent RB Leonard Fournette could be an option for the team)
"We'll wait and see. He's been a good player. We'll just have to wait and see where he fits."
(On what Saints QB Drew Brees difficult to sack)
"The ball comes out very, very fast. You're not going to show him very may many coverages he hasn't seen, you're not showing him very many blitzes he hasn't seen. He's extremely well coached and he's been in that system now for a long time. You're not going to trick him, somebody's just got to whip somebody – and they have a good offensive line. That's the thing – disrupting him and getting him off the spot is just as important as sacking him sometimes."
(On how many takeaways the defense needs to create to get into the postseason)
"I would think catch the about six we dropped [last season] – whatever position they might have been. Just continue getting turnovers. We did a good job of taking it away – we could do a little better. We had some fumbles we didn't get to, we created some that we didn't get – just increase that margin."
(On what the team needs to do to believe they have the ability to win the division this season)
"I think they already have that. I don't think there's a doubt in our mind that [if we] stay healthy, that our football team is good enough to win our division."
RUNNING BACK RAYMOND CALAIS
(On where the biggest transition to the NFL has been for him)
"I think the biggest transition for me is definitely the play speed. Just from watching the vets practice as fast as they did, it was kind of shocking because I was coming from college and everything was kind of slow-paced. But now, this is like rapid fire. The first few days I had to get my feet wet [and] kind of get adjusted, but it's been about a month and I think everything is going well so far."
(On if he has received advice from QB Tom Brady)
"I remember the first couple of days whenever the rookies and quarterbacks reported, Tom was really helpful, just telling us where to be, how to practice – just to always do the little things right. Those little things are going to make us better in the long run. I think Tom has been really helpful coaching us and keeping us sharp."
(On learning from RB LeSean McCoy)
"Shady (McCoy) has been really, really helpful. You can tell he's a 12-year vet. He brings the energy, and even in the meeting rooms, he's really smart. He knows how to read a defense and he's always willing to help. For me, personally, I like to watch Shady, 'Ro' (Ronald Jones II) and Dare [Ogunbowale] just to get those mental reps [and] to watch [those] guys. Hopefully, one day I want to be in their position. Shady has been really, really helpful."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN RAKEEM NUÑEZ-ROCHES
(On injecting his energy into his teammates)
"I love it – every down, every play. This is my joy. This is what I love. I can't hide it when I'm making plays. If I can bring energy and bring somebody along, I can make them play even better. Sometimes it's already hard enough banging up against guys, but when you have joy and passion, sometimes your traits and characteristics come out even more."
(On the coaches pointing to him as one of the most-improved players on the defense and if he feels like a different player entering the 2020 season)
"I do. I'm not even going to lie to you. I try to take it day by day, but I honestly feel like that. I feel a night-and-day difference from last year. I feel comfortable. I feel like I'm dominating. I feel like I can do more, but I'm still getting my feet wet. We've been away from football for a minute, so I'm still learning what I can do again."
(On who has stepped up in practice among the offensive linemen)
"This is a tough one … A guy that has stepped up his game – I would have to say [Alex] Cappa. Cappa has improved all around as far as what he has done, as far as the run and the pass. So, if I had to say somebody is stepping up, [it would be Cappa]. The other guys are pretty consistent. They've gotten even more savvy being vets, so they understand the game more, but all around just improving his game, I would have to say Cappa."
CENTER A.Q. SHIPLEY
(On playing for Bruce Arians and his staff as a member of four different organizations)
"I think he's one of the best coaches I've ever played for, if not the best. I've got a good relationship with 'Goody' [Harold Goodwin] and the O-Line guys, so I understand this offense. I've been in it long enough now where I really didn't have a meeting before my first full-pad practice and I was able to just go out of and kind of pick up right where I left off. I think that's obviously a thing. I think they trust me, they've put me in some situations where they trust me and know that I'm going to know the system and not make mental errors. I hope that's what I can bring here."
(On how he has managed to maintain his longevity in the NFL)
"I think just coming from where I came from in Pittsburgh, I think it's a breeders ground for hard work and work ethic, and I think that was instilled in me from a young age from my dad and my mom, obviously. There was a point where I probably had a pretty decorated college career and then things didn't kind of go my way the first couple years in the NFL. I was like, 'Man, I know I can do this, I just need an opportunity.' I finally did and I finally got it and then once I did, I kept grinding. My whole mindset was, 'Listen, I'm going to be the smartest guy on the field. They're always going to be able to trust me in a situation and then my physical aspects will be able to take over from there.' That's where I've always prided myself in, and here we are."
(On what has stood out about QB Tom Brady)
"He's obviously the greatest of all time – I think his Super Bowls speak for themselves. Just the way that he approaches it – the good ones that I've been around, regardless of how good they are, regardless of how long they've played, they still approach the mental aspect of the game almost like a rookie. They're still first in, last out. They grind over every mistake, they grind over the scheme and the process of the practice week and things like that. Obviously, I've only been here three or four days, but just watching his approach to the game, it's special to watch. Just the finer details – for a guy that's done it as long as he has, that's an unbelievable leader [for] a young guy and all the way up through this team to look out there and say, 'That's how you're supposed to do it.' It's pretty special to watch."