HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On the defensive performance in Sunday's practice)
"[The] defense made the plays all day. I don't know if the offense made any plays. [They] might have been reading their press clippings that they're so good, because they didn't show up today."
(On what stood out from the defense in Friday's scrimmage)
"I thought the defense gave up a play or two, but then they came right back and stopped them. We gave up the one long pass when Carlton [Davis] slipped and then we held them to three [points]. It was not like anything was going bad against them. I thought they did a good job – they probably had a couple sacks I didn't call. Overall, I was really, really pleased with the way they showed up today."
(On how rookie T Tristan Wirfs performed in his first scrimmage on Friday)
"He was fine. The noise didn't bother him – it didn't seem like much, but it gave me a hell of a headache – just the non-stop [noise]. But it was good for us."
(On if he is concerned with the pass protection)
"[I'm] really not. If you showed up today – it was 11 guys that stunk. It wasn't just them. It hasn't been a problem until today. The red shirts (defense) had so much more energy in that practice than the white shirts (offense). I think the white shirts thought they were something good after Friday, and they didn't show up today."
(On the team bringing in free agent kickers for a workout)
"Yeah, we'll see if they don't sign somewhere else. We'll see."
(On players competing for roster spots who stood out in Friday's scrimmage)
"Special teams wise, I thought [Javon] Hagan had a nice coverage on a kickoff, then the heat got him. Cam Gill looks like he's heavy-handed and has a good pass-rush, too. [Quinton] Bell, he was flying around pretty good. The normal guys that we've had – Dare [Ogunbowale], Kevin [Minter], [Anthony] Auclair and some of those guys – they were all fine. Of the young guys, those three guys. [Chappelle] Russell needs to step up a little bit."
(On CB Carlton Davis' status following his injury in Friday's scrimmage)
"He'll be fine."
(On G Aaron Stinnie)
"He finished up the season last year real well. I'd like to see him be a little more consistent – he's been a little up and down for me. He's not a natural center [and] I think that's taken away from some of his guard play. We're trying to force him into being a center just in case, and I think that's hurt him a little bit."
(On how the team discipline has been throughout training camp and if it was a penalty that caused him to send G Alex Cappa off the field on Sunday)
"That was the dumbest one of all. We just stood there and said we're going to use a hard count – we always use a hard count coming off the 1-[yard line]. That just showed where their minds were on offense, because Cap's usually very dependable. The penalties themselves have been very, very low. I don't know who reported that there was a penalty on the kickoff, but that was one of the yellow hats they were wearing. Nobody threw any flags on the scrimmage Friday and we had very, very few penalties in that scrimmage."
(On if two-tight end sets will remain their base offense)
"It's been our base offense, probably, for 15 years. It's where we always start. As we progress, whether we use two or three [tight ends], we have quality people there. We also have really quality receivers, so it's all about finding the right mismatches."
(On what he is looking for from the kickers)
"I'm looking for consistency on the 'gimmes'. We can't miss extra points. We can't give away easy points. Kicks inside the 30-yard line should be automatic. If you can make a 56 yarder, that's great. But, when we drive the ball down to the 10[-yard line] and miss a field goal, there's nothing that tears a team more apart on offense than, 'Hey, we just took the ball down the field and we didn't get any points.' So, the 'gimmes' – who's the most consistent? If you can do that and still kick 56, 57[-yard field goals], now you're All-Pro."
QUARTERBACK BLAINE GABBERT
(On if solidifying his role as the backup quarterback has helped his performance)
"I just try to put my best foot forward every day. Anything I can do to help the football team, help Tom [Brady] and our quarterback room, that's what my job description is. I'm ready and willing – if my number is called – to get ready to go, but at the same time, my job right now is to help Tom get ready to beat New Orleans."
(On working with QB Tom Brady and helping teach him Tampa Bay's offensive system)
"It's been wonderful. Tom is a great guy on and off the field. It's been a collaborative effort in the meeting room with myself, Bryon [Leftwich], Clyde [Christensen], Griff (Ryan Griffin) – all of us in there kind of working as one, talking through things [and] how we see it. It's been great so far. If he's got any questions, we're there to answer them. We've been in this system a little bit longer than he has, but he's the greatest of all time for a reason. Any questions that he has, we're going to answer and get him ready to go."
(On helping Brady understand the playbook better throughout training camp)
"Any time you have to learn a new system, it's tough. It's even harder when you're in a condensed offseason [and] a condensed training camp getting ready to go Week 1. The thing that helped us is we did a great job all summer of getting our workouts in, being on Zoom meeting calls, really going through the system and installing it more than once, so once we hit training camp, we installed it again and again and again. This is the third, fourth or fifth time we've been through our install package now. It's starting to become second nature. In the early stages, it is tough. Like B.A. (Bruce Arians) always says, you're missing the reps in OTAs and minicamp. We're just trying to catch up on lost time."
(On Tampa Bay's defense)
"They're extremely talented. When our front seven and our back end in the secondary can play complementary football and play off one another, that's a tough group. When you're in a sub package and you're going against Vita [Vea], [Ndamukong] Suh, Shaq [Barrett] and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), and then you bring Will Gholston in and Lavonte [David] and D-White (Devin White) – there's a bunch of guys in that front seven that can roll through who are extremely talented players. Just the pass rush that they will provide will help our secondary because quarterbacks are going to have to get the ball out and the DBs definitely know that."
(On the improvements of TE O.J. Howard, WR Scotty Miller and WR Justin Watson over the past 12 months)
"They've been doing a tremendous job. You see that confidence rise, you see their level of play rise just being more comfortable and confident in the system. Any time you're learning a new system, a lot of the time you're thinking and not just playing and reacting. Just going into the second year in this new offensive system for all those guys – O.J. [Howard], J-Wat (Justin Watson), Scooter (Scotty Miller) – they're doing a tremendous job and Tom [Brady] is doing a great job building their confidence [and] getting them ready to play at a really high level of football. They've been making big plays all camp."
KICKER MATT GAY
(On how he has felt during training camp and how his confidence is coming into the season)
"Camp has been good. There's been some really good says, some days I would like back. I feel really confident. I spent the offseason fixing some stuff and getting used to it, but with COVID it was tough to get a live snap and hold and get some real [opportunities] and things like that. Just taking the new kicking technique that I'm using and getting used to it with snap and hold, a line in front of you and live [reps]. It's been good. I feel more and more comfortable every day."
(On the new kicking technique he is using)
"Just shorten it up a little bit – simplified some things, less room for error. Some things that are more repeatable [and] more consistent that I can draw on every day, rep after rep. Just getting more used to it [and] getting more and more confident each and every day."
(On Friday's scrimmage and the opportunity to kick inside the stadium)
"It was really good to be back in Raymond James [Stadium]. We've been over there a few times kicking on our own, but nothing like having all the boys there and going live and being able to kick with everything. Especially after that last game of the year, I've been itching to get back in there and get some kicks in there with a live game or scrimmage. It was good to see the ball go through the uprights. It was good to be back there and hit them through."
(On kicking in the south end zone and what makes it more challenging)
"That end is open, so sometimes the wind can swirl in and do some different things. Sometimes you feel like it is going one way and the ball goes the other. I really think it's to the point now where it's just a mental thing. It's more mental than it actually is what's going on with the wind or what's going on with anything because it's known around the league that that endzone is what it is. Being able to go in there and hit a good ball – if you're confident in your good ball, that ball will go through. Make sure you take your line, you trust the line you took and hit a good, solid ball. I think that's the approach for me and not reading too much into what's going on there because I think sometimes you play mind games with yourself and they can take you out, you're doubting the line you took and this and that. Just trusting the line you take and then playing a good ball."
(On the kicking competition in training camp)
"Competition is the baseline of the NFL. Everybody's fighting for a job and if you don't perform, someone's right there ready behind you, ready to take your spot. It's no news to me that guys are in here competing for a shot and they're going to bring competition in. Competition is going to breed success and I think the potential of our team this year is super high, and I think the kicking position is very important. I think, obviously, they're going to look for who they can feel confident going into the season with. If I come in and do my thing and do my part, I feel confident in myself – and take care of what I'm doing – that that will be me going into the season."
TIGHT END O.J. HOWARD
(On the cohesion of the offense throughout training camp)
"Today was a tough day for us, but overall I think these last couple weeks have been pretty productive for us as an offense. Everyone is playing fast, we're coming together on the same page [and] we've been making some pretty clutch plays during the big moments. I think we've been doing a really good job."
(On his comfortability working in the back of the end zone)
"When you're down in the redzone, the back of the end zone is usually the least covered part of the end zone, so it's always kind of easy to sneak back there and get open. We kind of know that and a lot of routes consist of being back there. I was just in position to have opportunities to get back there and run those routes. The red zone is tight spaces – it's kind of hard to get open, but the guys are doing a great job finding me. I'm doing a great job trying to get open and working with the quarterbacks on whatever route it is. The red zone is definitely somewhere we want to improve in this year and it's something that I think my position in general can have a big impact on the team with."
(On TE Cameron Brate)
"Yeah, he's having a good camp. He's making plays for us. He's always been helpful for us when it comes down to being a second set of eyes and ears on certain things, with helping us with the playbook and whatnot. I always have appreciated him for that, but I'm definitely seeing him play really fast and making some plays. It's really good to see that."
(On TE Antony Auclair's development as a pass catcher)
"He's always had the great hands. He just never really had the chance to display it a lot sometimes in games just cause of how great of a job he does in the run game. He stays in and does that for us. He's always had hands ever since we came in as rookies. His route-running – he has taken that to the next level too. I think this offseason everyone kind of just dedicated to just knowing the consistency of the routes we need to get open on and the details to where it's just taken over for the whole room and everyone has bought into that type of mentality."
(On the tight end group overall)
"Us as a whole unit, we're very talented. We have a standard set in the room that we know week in and week out, we need to maintain that bar and hold each other accountable. I think we'll have an opportunity to display a lot of those things this year during the season."
WIDE RECEIVER SCOTTY MILLER
(On how training camp has been for him and developing chemistry with QB Tom Brady)
"I think it's been good so far – been really good. Like I told you guys last time, just a lot more confident in myself than I was last year. I think me and Tom have been able to build a good chemistry on the field. I think he knows where I'm going to be at, I know where he wants me to be, so I think it's been good. It's been a good start, but we just have to keep working as a whole offense just to keep getting better."
(On Brady calling him 'Scooter' and if anyone has given him that nickname before)
"Here and there, yeah – along the way. But, I think he's really drove that one home. C.G. (Chris Godwin) used to call me that last year, but I think Tom's really driven it home and that's my name from him. It's been good – it's funny."
(On strengthening his hamstrings in an effort to say healthy for an entire season)
"That was one of the biggest things for me. That was probably the biggest focus for me this offseason, just getting both of my hamstrings healthy and ready to go to stay healthy for an entire season and training camp. I think rest played a big part, just letting them finally get back to normal. Last year was crazy [with] the draft process. As a rookie, you never really get time to sit back and give your body time to heal. I think that played a big part. Then, just my strength staff helping me out with it, A.P. (Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Anthony Piroli) and then our training staff, as well, and our sports science crew. Then, really, Tom [Brady] coming in and helping me – he's been able to stay healthy for so long in his career, so picking up little things from him. Stuff like that was a big focus for me. Like you said, knock on wood – hopefully I can continue to stay healthy. That's going to be one of the main goals for myself."
(On the feeling of knowing a long-distance pass is headed his direction)
"It's great. Pre-snap, I usually have a good idea if I'm going to get the ball or not. If I see the safety creeping down or whatever the look may be – so, then I get a little excited for sure. Then, Tom [Brady] does a great job seeing it as well, so usually we're on the same page and usually I know when it's coming my way. He does a great job with the deep ball – makes it extremely catchable for us. One thing I noticed is it's just such a clean spiral and it just really goes straight up and comes straight down. It's just easy for us to see and easy for us to catch. I think we've done a good job hitting the deep ball this camp, but we just have to continue to work on that because those are big plays in games that you don't get too many opportunities. So, you have to take advantage when you get the look from the defense. You've got to hit it and capitalize."