Tampa Bay Buccaneers

BUCCANEERS QUOTES 9-17-20

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BYRON LEFTWICH

(On the collaboration between him and QB Tom Brady in Week 1 and where they go from there)

"I think in some instances we just didn't play well as a whole, but I think there will be more of that as we go. There will be more collaboration as we go of just trying to continuously put our team in the best situation. We went and played a good football team – we didn't play well in stages and it [was] showcased. In order to win in this league, you have to play well throughout a four-quarter football game and we just didn't do that as a group, and we lost to a good football team. All we can do is come back to work, try to get better at the things we didn't do so well and just try to do what you can to win the next football game."

(On if he feels Brady took issue with Head Coach Bruce Arians negatively commenting on his performance last week)

"That's what I know of B.A. (Bruce Arians). Me and Tom didn't really talk about it, so obviously I don't think it was an issue. It's B.A. being B.A. All we can worry about is getting to practice, work, get better [and] try to fix our mistakes so we can go out there and try to win football games."

(On how much he learned Week 1 vs. the Saints about what the offense is good at and where it needs to improve and if he felt differently after watching the tape)

"When you watch the tape, there were some good things done – we just didn't have a lot of results. It was the first time me and him (Brady) were in the football game – our first time where it was true competition, so we learned a lot from each other. We really did learn a lot of each other, and we'll continuously learn every time we get an opportunity to go to practice and get an opportunity to get to the games. We'll just continuously get better throughout the year, we just have to do the things that we have to do to try and find ways to win."

(On how WR Chris Godwin's injury status impacts the way he prepares for Sunday's game)

"It does some, just because of who he is – just like it was last week with Mike [Evans], same thing. With who they are, it changes a lot. It's something that we're looking at. We don't know anything right now, but we'll be prepared for anything."

(On what he saw from Brady and the rest of the offensive players when they reported to the facility this week)

"What I just saw was a team that went out, lost a football game [and] is anxious to come back to work and try to do what you can to try and win the next one. That's what this league's about. The league's about [going] out every week, trying to put your best effort on Sunday, regardless of the result. You have to get back in here on Monday, start the whole week over again and start the process of trying to go out and win the next football game."

(On what about Brady allows him to historically bounce back after a loss)

"He's the best for a reason. The way that his mind works, the way that he sees the game – like I said, he's a special guy. He's a unique guy because of the way he sees football. I don't expect [anything] different from him. I expect he's going to come in and do what he can. Bring energy, bring excitement to the game [and] to the team, and do all the things possible for us to execute at a high level."

(On a wide receiver who could see a larger role this week if Godwin is unable to play)

"I don't want to give specific names, but we'll put the guys in position that we think can help us win football games and continuously put those guys in position to win the down. That's how I see it regardless of who it is. We'll use that guy's skill set to put them in a position to try and have success."

(On if rookie WR Tyler Johnson is available to be on the active roster should the team need him on Sunday)

"We'll see. The kid had an injury that pretty much sat him down all of camp and that's tough coming in as a rookie, anyway – to not have the ability to go through camp. So, there's some things we're still working on. But, the kid's getting better. He's finally healthy, so we're seeing the things that he can bring to the table day in and day out. We're just trying to get him there."

(On how the offense ran the ball last week)

"We can do a lot better. We can be better getting a hat on a hat, I can be better of putting our guys in position first and foremost. That's how I see it. I've seen a lot of good things, though. We had a lot of good things. I think Ro (Ronald Jones II) ran the ball hard – extremely hard. He's a player that – I think he's special. I think he's a unique guy that can really run the football. He's a solid guy, he runs with power and it was good to see some of the things he did in the game last week. Just continuously giving everybody the opportunities to make plays, be themselves and be their best selves. That's all I talk to these guys about – just go out there and try to be your best self."

(On how the lack of crowd noise impacts his role and the offense as a whole)
"It was extremely different just being on the sidelines, being in games before. There were a few times where me and Tom [Brady] were having communication without the headset. It was crazy [and] it was different. It was different for a while, [but] once you were in game, you didn't think about it and you didn't feel it. But, you felt it in between timeouts and everything. It was a different feeling, but a feeling that we have to get used to [and] a feeling that we're having right now, and we just have to deal with it."

(On if Brady put extra pressure on himself to play well since it was his first game with the Buccaneers)

"I don't know. You'd have to ask him that to be honest with you. I know the work he put in all the time [and] I know we played a good opponent and we didn't play well. It's not him individually, it's really a whole. Any time you don't win [and] you don't do enough things to win football games, that's part of all of us. We're just going to go out there and get better this week and try to do what we can to win the football game this week because that's really all you can do. When you win and lose in this league, it's a collective effort as a group and we just didn't play well enough to win."

(On if the play on Brady's second interception is one they won't use in the future due to its difficulty)

"It's tough to say. You guys get to have those opinions and say what you want on individual plays, but we'll see."

(On rookie T Tristan Wirfs' performance last week)

"He faced one of the best in the league. He had a guy across from him that was an All-Pro guy and it was great to see how he responded to that. He responded to how we see him respond every day. He gets the opportunity to go against Shaq Barrett and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) every day, so he's always got iron sharpening iron, getting better. This kid – like I said from the get go – he's come in, he's been a pro from the second he's been here and it was good to see him do some of the good things he's done in the game."

(On Panthers DT Derrick Brown and how he plans to exploit the young secondary in Carolina's defense)

"He's a big, strong guy in there. We all know who he is, we all remember watching him at Auburn and he's doing those same type of things here in the National Football League. We're just trying to do what we can to win football games. I think that's a mistake if you ever look at the youth of people – the youth means nothing in this league. This is the best in the world that get an opportunity to compete, so we know how they're going to come out. They're going to come out ready, fired up with energy, ready to do what they can to try and win the football game. We have to make sure we do the same."

(On if his job this week is easier without former Panthers LB Luke Kuechly playing)
"There's no such thing as easy in this league. This is a tough league week in and week out, down in and down out. There's no such thing. As a coach, you don't even have the opportunity to think like that because, like I said, everybody has really good football players. He's a Hall of Fame guy – I understand – but there's still really good football players there when you cut the tape. You see that. As a coach [and] as a player in this league, you don't even begin to think like that."

(On if the game plan last week was to try and establish the run or if it was something they decided during the game)

"Both. It's what we want to be. We never really want to be a drop back, throwing the ball 55-60 times. You really don't want to do that. You want to have success in the run game, success in the passing game – you want to be as balanced as possible and we're giving it to one of our better football players. We believe in Leonard [Fournette], we believe in Ro (Ronald Jones II), we believe in Shady (LeSean McCoy). So, giving these guys the ball [and] putting these guys in position, we feel as though helps us win football games. We'll continuously do that with all our playmakers [and] with all our guys here. We'll just try to continue putting them in situations to be successful."

(On T Donovan Smith's mistakes last week and if they are correctable)

"Good thing is they're all correctable. He's such a talented guy [and] he's such a really good football player, so these type of things happen. When they do, these type of players get motivated by that [and] they go to work the next week and try to get better, try to fix those issues. We trust in Donovan, we know how good of a football player he is and that was just one of those games. We'll get better from it. It wasn't just him – it was us. We all didn't play our best football and we'll try to keep working and try to get that done."

(On how the offense works to avoid miscommunications during the game)

"Repping it, talking about it because every time these instances happen, it doesn't result in a bad play. Sometimes you have an opportunity where you can learn from something that didn't result in a bad play. I think both of those guys (Tom Brady and Mike Evans) have learned from that – we all learned from that. It gave me a great opportunity to teach through that play and use that play to teach through. That's football [and] that's always happened, even if you had all the OTAs and you had all the summer – if you still did all that, this early in the season you're still having these type of conversations because things somehow just happen in the game. Things come up different in the game and when they do, you try to learn through the instances and teach through team."

(On if Brady prefers to be under center or in the shotgun)

"I think he's fine with both. He's always done both, so he's really fine with both. It doesn't really matter to us – we're just trying to always be in the right spot and get in position for the play and help the play be successful."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD BOWLES

(On what the defense can improve on after looking at its Week 1 performance)
"We can do a lot of things better. We have to get turnovers, obviously. We can pressure the quarterback more, we can tackle better – there's a lot of things when you lose a ballgame that you have to get better at and we understand that as a group."

(On how DL Will Gholston got better in the offseason)

"I think with Will, all the things we gave him to work on in the offseason, and just mostly him getting comfortable in the defense and finding his niche and the plays that he can make within the defense. We have plays for everybody – Will started getting better in it probably halfway through last year, and this year he came back into camp with [Ndamukong] Suh and Vita [Vea] on each side of him and Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) playing his game. Will has found what he does well, and he's learned how to steal some plays out of it. I was very proud of him."

(On the challenge of stopping Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey within Carolina's new offensive scheme)

"It's always a challenge facing McCaffrey – he's one of the best in the league [and] one of the top two or three backs we're going to face this year. A new scheme is just like starting a season out without seeing the team for a year. Obviously, the first couple games you don't have a lot of film on anybody, nor do they have a lot of film on us going forward, if you don't look back at last year. So, we just have to read our keys and work on our fundamentals and try to adjust on the run."

(On watching Baylor and LSU film to try and understand the scheme Carolina will be using offensively)

"Sickening. You watch college film and then you try and put it in the pro game, but you don't know what they're thinking or what they're trying do so, so you just try to cover all your bases and make sure that you're aware for everything to come up, read your keys and play ball."

(On if the defense needs more individual production from players like Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh)

"They command a lot of attention. In a 3-4 defense, the nose and the tackles get doubled about 60 percent of the time – understand that. They play very good football, they eat up a lot of blocks – you take those two guys out of there and you try to play, you see the production that Will [Gholston]. We can't play without them, I'm very happy to have them [and] they will make their plays. It was the first game of the year and again, in a 3-4 defense, you're going to get taken care of a lot on the inside. It's not like a 4-3 where you just tee off and go after the quarterback or do something things. These guys are worth their weight in gold for us."

(On ILB Devin White's performance last week)

"A lot of that is because of the guys you just mentioned. When Devin and Lavonte [David] are allowed to run free like that, you have to understand [that] Vita [Vea], Will [Gholston] and [Ndamukong] Suh are getting all the attention down there. If you want to double the two backers, then you free up the D-Line. If you double the D-Line, you free up the two backers. It's good to see them run and make plays, and I'm sure they'll tell you that those guys up front have a lot to do with it."

(On what about the Baylor tape was 'sickening')

"When you're in a pandemic, obviously you're home for a while – you get to watch a lot of tape. Some of that can be good and some of that can be bad. Your mind starts to wander a little bit [and] you try to keep it all in perspective. That part was sickening – I was really joking when I said it. You try and do your homework as best you can and not overstimulate the guy's brains, keep football as football and try to stop what we need to stop."

(On what allowed the Saints to have success on screen plays)

"They have a great screen game – you have to give them credit. Obviously, we can tackle better. I'll say that every week for the rest of the year. They have a great screen game – you have to give their offense credit. We did a better job of handling it, but we can do a better job of tackling."

(On where CB Carlton Davis III has progressed the most since this time last season)

"He's shown a lot of growth mentally. Obviously, he worked all offseason on his physical skills, he remained durable and understanding that he has to run full time. But, the mental part of his game after being in the scheme for a year and understanding how to play certain guys, certain things and certain formations, has really helped him and made it a lot easier for him to go out and do the things that he does."

(On how Davis was able to reduce Saints WR Michael Thomas' productivity last week)

"It's our entire defense. You try to slow Michael Thomas down – I don't think you ever stop him. It's an entire defense, but all that went for naught because we lost the ballgame. We don't really dwell on who we try to shut down or what we did. We just have to do enough to win. We didn't do enough to win, although some guys played very well. We don't count playing well when we lose ballgames. We have to make more plays and we have to do better, and to a man, they will tell you that."

(On how White's game has improved the most since last season)

"Again, he's another one that's grown mentally. Coming into it as a rookie [last season] and being a signal caller – that's tough because you have to take care of everybody and get the call at the same time. He's embraced it, he's a natural leader. The knowledge of the game has slowed down for him immensely, so that allows him to play a lot faster. Lavonte [David] gives him a great deal of help. Again, those two guys together, competing against each other and getting along – I think that's made him a very good football player early on in his career."

(On OLB Anthony Nelson's snap count in Week 1 and if that was because Barrett and Pierre-Paul were in good enough shape to play more)

"JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and Shaq [Barrett] usually go until we think they need a breather, and they were in pretty good shape right there. We didn't have that many plays starting out, so they were rearing to go, and they were good to go. We really didn't need to give them a breather, so Nelson didn't get that much time. But, he'll start playing more."

(On rookie S Antoine Winfield Jr.'s performance last week)

"He fit right in, obviously. He tackled well, he was smart, he played smart and he played fast. That's what you want to see from a rookie going into his first game. It wasn't too big for him and we knew that going in. Only just look for him to get better and better."

QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

(On whether he was surprised to hear about Head Coach Bruce Arians' critiques after Sunday's game)

"He's a coach and I'm a player – just trying to win a game." 

(On how the team can grow from last Sunday's performance vs. New Orleans)

"I think it's a long process of trying to improve in a lot of different areas. I think about being the best I can be and the process I've got to go through in order to make that happen. Every week is a little different challenge. I think it starts with great communication – understanding how to win the game, how to lose the game [and] being on the same page with my teammates so we can go execute. Obviously if you turn the ball over, it makes it very difficult to win. If you set yourself back with penalties, negative plays – pass game or run game – it's a game of scoring points, so you've got to figure out how to score more points than the other team. There has been a lot of focus this week and a lot of communication on those types of things."

(On if guys have responded to the loss with the sense of urgency that he hoped they would)

"Yeah again, obviously everyone wants to win. We've got to figure out how to be as consistent as possible on a daily basis to put ourselves in the best position to give ourselves the most margin of error. I think football is about making good decisions on a play-by-play basis. That falls on everybody. It starts with communication and moves down to execution. Those are things we're going to be working on from now until the end of time of football. I don't think I've ever thought in football, 'Man, we've got this figured out. This is easy.' This is a challenging game. They put a lot of pressure on you on defense, you put a lot of pressure on them and so it makes it a very difficult sport."

(On what he learned about his teammates and this offense)

"I think every opportunity we have under real circumstances, we're going to learn something. Definitely, I think everyone learned a lot. I'm not going to tell you all of those things because I don't want to give away what we're working on, but we're working to improve, we're working to get better."

(On getting on the same page with his receivers)

"I think that's part of just working on things, being on the field at the same time and just communicating through them. It's like anything – the longer you're together, the less you'll have to say certain things because you will already have experienced them, you will have talked about them and worked through them. There's a lot of black and white in football, and then there's a lot of grey. The problem is when there is too much grey – 'I thought one thing, you thought another.' Whoever is right or wrong, it doesn't matter. The reality is bad plays happen. When bad plays happen you put yourself in a non-advantageous position so we've got to eliminate as much as we can – 'I thought this, you thought that. You thought this, I thought that.' One time you're right, one time you're wrong. The reality is, the other team can't come away with the ball. That's going to keep us from scoring points. Keeping us from scoring points is going to keep us from winning games. You keep us from winning games – the whole issue is we're here to win games. That's why we're playing football. We've got to put ourselves in a good position on every play to figure out exactly where we're going to be, so we can all play with confidence and anticipation. You can practice and then I think that leads to great execution. You have confidence in one another, and once you have confidence in one another, you can really anticipate and you will make good plays."

(On rookie T Tristan Wirfs' performance in his NFL debut)

"I think he's done a great job in camp. I know everyone [has] high expectations for someone picked at that position, but he's done a great job. He has a great way about him. Really love being in the huddle with him, he's got a great maturity for a younger player. He's obviously very talented, but he's just got a great attitude, really works hard [and] he's got a great group. Cap [Alex Cappa] next to him, Ryan [Jensen] does a great job at center, Ali [Marpet] does a great job [with] communication, Donnie (Donovan Smith) is doing a great job – it's a great group up front. Everyone wants to do the best possible thing on a play-by-play basis. Again, it's the first game of the season, first game playing including the preseason [and] I think we're just going to keep working hard to improve [and] keep working hard to get better."

(On the challenges of going against a Carolina defense that has only played in one game under its new scheme)

"That's just the way it is. Everyone's dealing with the same thing this year. I think that part of it just is what it is. We have to figure out how to win a game and we have to figure out how to be more consistent, execute better, better communication and go play winning football."

(On if there is a particular level of growth a team can experience to avoid starting the season with consecutive losses)

"I think any week is about the same thing. It's not beginning of the season, middle of the season, end of the season, playoffs – it's all just winning football. How do you do that? You score points. How do you score points? Well, there's a lot of ways to do that – offense, defense, special teams. If I look at it from my standpoint on offense, we have to do it when we're out there, which means eliminating negative plays, good communication – it's very tactical. Winning the game is a byproduct of doing a lot of things the right way. That goes all the way down to your practice, your preparation, your attitude, your teamwork, your commitment, your discipline, your determination, how tough you are mentally [and] physically. Are you making the right plays on a daily basis? All those things come up [and] we're going to improve them. We see they're not right and we're going to try to improve them."

(On if he feels he put extra pressure on himself to perform well in his first game with the Buccaneers)

"No, I didn't feel that way."

(On what he has seen from WR Scotty Miller that has impressed him)

"I think just his commitment. How he approaches practice, how he's so stable on a daily basis and how you continue to see improvement. He's working hard at the right things; he's focused on the right things. His priorities are in line with what his goals are. He wants to be a good receiver, so he's really focused on being a good receiver, which means he's putting the commitment into the game physically. He's learning more about the game mentally, he asks great questions, he's on it. I have no doubt he's going to keep making plays for us. We have a lot of good players at that position. Mike [Evans], obviously, is one of the best – if not the best – in the league. Chris [Godwin] has had just an incredible time that I've spent with him, but before I got here, he's been a great player. Justin Watson's doing a great job, J-Mick (Jaydon Mickens) is doing a good job, so it's a great position for us."

(On his comfort and familiarity with Raymond James Stadium as he enters his first game with it as his home stadium)

"I think every time we take the field out there it's going to be some type of learning and we just have to figure out how to win the game. Nothing magic – it's just about playing great football. Again, that speaks to a lot of different things. I think those [practices] have been beneficial at the stadium, but now we have to do it under live circumstances."

WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS

(On CB Carlton Davis III)

"He's a really good corner – long, can run, tough as they come. You want a cornerback that's going to play hard just all the time and he does that. I think he's one of the top corners in the league and it's going to show throughout the season. I'm looking forward to Carlton having a really big year this year."

(On how he feels this week heading into Sunday's game)

"I feel good. I felt good enough to play last week, so that's no excuse. Obviously, I could've played better. This week I feel a lot better. Nobody ever plays at 100 percent anyway, especially if you're a good receiver. Nobody plays all the way at 100 percent. I'm close enough."

(On what gives him confidence in this team's potential for the 2020 season)

"Just the guys' energy. Obviously, our roster is very talented, but everybody's energy [gives me that confidence]. Even during the game, everybody was still very confident. It wasn't like in the past where we played the Saints and we were like, 'Wow, we can't get anything – on both sides.' This year we were like, 'Oh, there were a couple of fluke plays that happened.' We definitely felt like we were the better team. There were a couple plays that went their way, but it wasn't like in the past. Guys were confident on the sideline and guys came back ready to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's been a good week so far and I hopefully it transfers to Sunday."

-BUCCANEERS-

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