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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


(On if he expects Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles to be back with the team for Sunday's game)

"We totally anticipate him being back – hopefully tomorrow. If not, Sunday for sure, we think. If not, Kacy [Rodgers] would call it. He's done it before so he's more than ready."

(On if Bowles' absence has been disruptive for the defense this week)

"No, not really. Practice has run smooth. He's handled everything gameplan-wise with the guys, watching the film and things like that. It hasn't been as big of a deal as I thought it might be."

(On how the defensive front seven has lived up to his expectations this season)

"It's been fantastic. Having all those guys back – obviously, losing Vita [Vea] was huge – but getting Steve McLendon has helped a bunch. I think being number one against the run again, and then having the sack totals out of those guys is exactly what we're looking for. Hopefully we can keep them together again."

(On if the top priority on offense is protecting QB Tom Brady and giving him time in the pocket)

"I don't think there's any doubt. Run the ball effectively and then keep him clean. When we've done that, we've been pretty solid offensively – that and eliminating penalties."

(On what Atlanta did in the first half of Week 15's game to generate a pass rush)

"We missed two blitzes on third down that we've picked up all season. It was more technical error [and] technique than it was assignment. We fixed that in the second quarter and didn't really have any problem with it again. They have a great blitz package, and when they bring it, they bring a lot of speed. Deion Jones, when he's coming, that's a really fast blitzer. They've got really good pass rushers, but we did not handle the blitz very well on a couple third downs."

(On if QB Tom Brady has met or exceeded his expectations for this season)

"Totally exceeded. With having such a limited practice, we went to New Orleans [in Week 1] still learning words. When the quarterback calls a play, he should have a picture in his head. I don't think that happened until November – just continuing to learn what words meant and what concepts meant, and then adjusting concepts as we went along. A guy might have a three or four-way go on a route [but now] we eliminated it to two. Things like that as we just kept evolving. I think right now when he calls a play, the picture is in his head and he's really, really playing well. He's exceeded it. His leadership is beyond anything I've ever seen. Peyton Manning is the only thing close."

(On seeing former C A.Q. Shipley's career end abruptly)

"It was hard. That's probably the second or third guy I've seen that happen to. A.Q., he's another coach on the field. He's just that type of player. Thinking it was a stinger and then seeing what it was, my biggest thing was to get him coaching right away and get him active because I know he's going to be a great coach. Take some of the sting away from the career being over to a new career."

(On RB Ronald Jones II's status and if it is important to get him reps in Sunday's game)

"We need to get him going. It's a totally different speed than practice. He's looked great in practice – he's catching the ball really OK with that thing on his hand, kind of like Chris [Godwin] did. It was a struggle at first, but he's getting better at it. We need his explosiveness out there and hopefully we'll get him a ton [of reps] this week."

(On examples of QB Tom Brady's leadership that may not be evident to people not in the organization)
"Just the way he handles young players and veteran players. He's another coach on the field talking to Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) about how he's running his routes [and] talking to Scotty [Miller] how he's running his routes. [Talking to] anybody about where [he] expects to see you [and] protections with the offensive lineman. It's a never-ending thing with him – the perfectionist – to get everything right in practice. Also, his calmness on the sideline in games when we're not winning, [saying], 'We're going to win.' Those type of things. You put those in a bottle and you make a bunch of money."

(On if RB Ronald Jones II is wearing a similar brace to WR Chris Godwin)

"It's totally different than Chris'. [Jones II] cannot extend his finger, so his fingers are rolled up in the cast so he basically has three fingers on his left hand. Chris can use, basically, the other two sticking out. It was a struggle at first, but he's getting used to it. He's primarily a right-handed ball [carrier], so that's not a big thing as far as running the ball."

(On Jones II's conditioning for Sunday's game and if he can handle a normal workload)

"He can handle it. He's in great shape and he didn't really have any trouble with the [cardio] work up after the COVID test. He's in good, good shape and ready to roll."

(On if WR Jaydon Mickens will be utilized as the primary kick and punt returner)

"It's still a game-time decision on who's going to be active, but Scotty Miller can return punts [and] Antonio [Brown] can return punts. Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Tyler Johnson can return kicks, so we're in good shape as far as that goes. If Jaydon is up, he'll do it."

(On updates regarding CB Carlton Davis III's and S Mike Edwards' status)

"Carlton did some limited stuff – he'll be a game-time decision. Mike Edwards practiced full today, so he should be good to go."


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