Tampa Bay Buccaneers

BUCCANEERS QUOTES 9-30-20

HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS

(On if the team has focused on the red zone more this season that last season)

"No. I think it's just been better execution. We practice it as much as we ever have and put as much emphasis as we always do because most games come down to four points or less, and that's a touchdown versus a field goal. We put a ton of emphasis in practice and practice it a lot."

(On how the defensive players' trust in DC Todd Bowles is reciprocated by Bowles)

"I think it goes both ways for sure. You never want to put so much stuff in that they're thinking. Todd does a great job of having just enough that's different and still the base stuff is there. Guys have good recall and I think it's just been a good collaboration between trusting each other."

(On if the Lightning and Rays' successes in hockey and baseball permeates into the Buccaneers locker room and makes players excited)

"I think [it] definitely [does]. Guys are rooting for the home teams and I know I've stayed up and watched too many hockey games – that's for sure. The baseball game last night luckily got over early. You're always pulling for your home teams and it does add excitement because it adds excitement to the city."

(On how TE Rob Gronkowski felt after playing the majority of the offensive snaps last week and if he gained confidence from playing frequently)

"I think it was one of those games [where] we had planned it. He looks great – no [worse for wear]. He had a great practice just now. We'll see how it goes, but I wouldn't see it in this game being much different."

(On if the COVID-19 cases among other NFL teams serve as a wake-up call for the team)

"We talked about it before it happened and we talked about it after it happened. I've got to be the facemask police all the time, but I'll gladly take the job. I think our guys have made a good commitment to each other, but you never know. It could be somebody's child that's in school and comes home. Next thing you know, half your locker room is out. We never know with this thing but we're being as diligent as we possibly can."

(On if he believes G Ali Marpet is the best guard in football)

"I would say he's in the top five. I don't know who's playing any better. I haven't seen them all play, but obviously he is playing and grading out at a very high level. I would say he's in the top five for sure, yes."

(On if he has seen the improvement he expected from G Alex Cappa)

"Definitely. A lot of confidence, a lot of strength – he added strength. He got his feet wet last year and he won some and he lost some. He's winning a lot more this year."

(On QB Tom Brady's freedom to make changes to plays at the line of scrimmage)

"He's got – not every play, but a majority of the plays – he can say certain things to get us to different plays. [In] the red zone, he's been spot on down there. Some of the things are just – no words are said, it's just eye contact."

(On how having fans in Raymond James Stadium will impact Sunday's game)

"I hope they're loud. We can only turn [the recorded fan noise] up to 70 decibels, so they can hopefully make it a lot louder."

CORNERBACK CARLTON DAVIS III

(On playing man-to-man coverage vs. WR Mike Evans near the goal line)

"Mike is one of the most unstoppable receivers in our league right now, in my opinion. There are a couple ways you could play him, but [there] would definitely have to be a double down there on Mike, especially in the red zone area. He's just that much of a threat, obviously. It's pretty hard to stop him because he's one of those receivers that can run any route in the route tree, score and do it easily. You would have to depend on coverage to kind of help you out there."

(On facing a wide receiver who gets targeted a lot like Chargers WR Keenan Allen)

"It's always exciting. I love the action. I love the smoke. To know that I'm going to get a bunch of targets is something that a corner – ideally, a competitive corner – dreams about. I really can't wait for Sunday and I can't wait to compete against him and [Justin] Herbert."

(On gaining trust from Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles with all of the various responsibilities that his scheme requires)

"I think that starts in practice. That starts by doing your job. That starts by understanding and knowing that your teammates are also going to do their job. When you do your job, everybody is doing their job and everybody is trying to make plays, that's how trust comes and that's how chemistry comes. You've got to earn that in the offseason. You've got to earn that in practice. I think we do a good job of that. Even vice versa in the games, we learn to trust him and trust his play calling. It works – it's been working since last year. Ever since then, it's been a great relationship for me personally with Coach Bowles. I think there is definitely trust on both sides with me and him. I just want to keep growing with him. I just love playing for him. He's a like a coordinator I've never had before. To have his aggressive play calling [and] to have his way of thinking with us – it's almost like we're unbeatable at times."

WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS

(On the keys to having success against the Chargers this week)

"Better execution this week. I feel like we've been improving each week, [but] this week we need to put it all together, play the full game out and convert on third down. That's going to be huge for us. Last week I think we converted about 50 percent [on third down] – it should have been around 80 percent. On some of the throws I had a drop [and] there's a couple other plays in there. We can't have these pre-snap penalties or the holding calls [that are] killing our drives. We just have to be better in that aspect and be better on third down and I like our chances."

(On if the team is having fun with the early success they've experienced this season)

"It's definitely fun [when you are] winning. In the past we haven't been in this spot very much, so I'm happy that we're here. We're going to work like hell to stay here."

(On what he has seen from the younger receivers and the expectation for them to step up due to injuries)

"They have no choice but to step up. Obviously, missing Chris [Godwin] – one of the best receivers in the league – having him down is definitely going to hurt. But, guys have to step up. There's a lot of injuries in this league right now, so guys are just going to have to step up. We're paid professionals and that's our job to do that."

TIGHT END O.J. HOWARD

(On if he can anticipate games where the tight ends will be more involved in the passing games)

"Going into each gameplan we kind of have an idea of what a lot of teams like to run on certain downs and what coverages [they use]. We try to put plays in, and we know we're going to have some opportunities to get those looks. Hopefully when Byron [Leftwich] calls the plays, we get an opportunity to make a play on it. We kind of go from there and we just go into the mindset every week to help out the team and make some plays as a unit collectively."

(On if his long completion with QB Tom Brady was a better throw or a better catch)

"For sure a better throw. It was really good coverage and I think Tom put it in a spot where only I could make a play or no one is going to make a play. It just happened to be on the outside shoulder and high. The guy had his head turned, he couldn't see it and it just fell right in the bucket. It was a great throw."

(On the growth of the offense from Week 1 to this point in the season)

"I think we've had a lot of improvements so far from Week 1 to Week 3. Just little things as far as being on the same page on certain concepts or versus certain coverages. There's still a lot of things out there we can improve on to get it all down pat and make it flow as smooth as we really want it to. There definitely has been improvement and that just comes from film study and just finally playing together. It was our third time, so I think as the season goes on, we're just going to get more comfortable."

-BUCCANEERS-

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