Tampa Bay Buccaneers

BUCCANEERS TRANSCRIPT: HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS 1-11-21

(On G Alex Cappa's injury and his plans for Cappa's replacement)

"Alex has a fracture, so he'll be out. Aaron Stinnie will start. He's done a good job for us, so he's more than ready to play."

(On why the Saints have had success against Tampa Bay in his two seasons as head coach in Tampa)

"It's mostly been the turnovers. The turnover margin has been lopsided in their favor. We've got to protect the football much better and stay balanced. The [home] game here, we left the running game early. Just stay balanced and not turn the ball over."

(On the challenge New Orleans faces trying to beat Tampa Bay for a third time this season and how the third meeting can be different than the first two)

"I think it depends when you play them. If it's September and October, a lot of things change in a season. Players are in, players are out, injuries, all those type of things. The familiarity with the players – Marshon Lattimore knows Mike Evans – who's going to win that battle? Same thing [with] Tristan Wirfs and Cam Jordan – it comes down to one-on-one battles of guys who know each other. Who's going to make those game-changing plays in this game?"

(On what he is excited about with LB Devin White's return)

"First, let me say how [well] Kevin Minter played in those two ballgames. He was outstanding [and] did a great job – [he] tipped that ball and we got an interception. But he's not Devin. Bringing Devin's passion, his energy [and] his speed – hopefully he can get after the quarterback some like he's been doing so well. You're bringing back one of the top players in the league."

(On if there was a moment where he felt the offense began to click and look comfortable)

"There were different moments – I don't think there was a moment. Obviously, before the [Bye Week] we were playing pretty [well], and then the second half of the [Falcons] game – it's been on fire since then."

(On T Donovan Smith's performance against Washington DE Chase Young and if he feels Smith can continue that level of play against New Orleans)

"I don't think there's any doubt. He's a talented, talented guy. I thought he blocked Chase Young as [well] as anybody's blocked him all year and we need that same level of intensity out of him this week."

(On RB Ronald Jones II's quad injury and him not being available for the game in Washington)

"He looked fine Thursday and Friday. It was sore – I don't know if it was the plane or whatever, [but] it swelled a little bit. He didn't feel like he could open up, so he basically didn't play."

(On if he anticipates Jones II being available for the Divisional Round against New Orleans)

"We'll wait and see."

(On TE Rob Gronkowski's selflessness in his blocking role against Washington)

"Gronk, he's one of the most legit tight ends in the league because he can do both. I wish he had gotten his touchdown because that was a play that we were looking forward to getting and [we] missed it by a couple of inches. That's what he is – he's a football player. He's not a wide receiver. He does have a lot of stats, but he doesn't go into a game looking for stats – he's looking for wins."

(On Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles interviewing for head coaching positions and if that interferes with his preparation for the Divisional Round game against New Orleans)

"No, especially with an extra day, he'll get them out of the way. Todd's a pro, man. He knows how to get his team ready and do whatever he needs to do."

(On if LB Devin White's return will help Tampa Bay generate an inside pass rush against New Orleans)

"You would hope so. But again, the ball comes out of [Drew Brees'] hand so quickly – it's hard. You can get your hands up and maybe bat some balls around, but I thought the Bears did a really good job of containing him other than that first drive where they played all that zone. They've got so many weapons and he knows where that ball is going by the time that back foot hits, so if you're going to get to him, you better get in there free."

(On Saints WR Michael Thomas' return)

"He's a heck of a player, [but] the guy that scares me is Deonte Harris. He's really, really fast and when he was in there, it's a different ballgame. Mike is a bruiser and a chain-mover, but Deonte Harris can go to the house quick."

(On how much of Tampa Bay's ability to run the ball is impacted by the New Orleans defense compared to falling behind early)

"The second game was strictly [falling behind]. The first game, we ran the ball pretty well at times. I keep going back to the turnovers, but when we played them in the last two years, we've turned the ball over too many times and given them too many opportunities. If we don't turn the ball over, it's a different ballgame."

(On if New Orleans has a psychological advantage in Sunday's game due to its success against Tampa Bay in recent years)

"I don't think there's any more swag than our offense has – I guarantee that. You can't get caught up in the finger pointing and the trash talking – you've got to play football. The Bears' young receiver got caught up in it and got thrown out of the game. It's going to happen – that's who they are. You just have to deal with it and win your one-on-one matchups. They have a ton of swagger and they should."

(On if WR Antonio Brown's comfort within the offense has helped with the offense's success in recent weeks)

"I don't think there's any doubt. He's back up to his normal playing speed and making plays. He's a different threat for us."

(On how the team is looking forward to a third opportunity against New Orleans this season)
"I think they're really, really looking forward to it. Our guys are ready to play anybody, anywhere [on Sunday] night – that's for sure. We all kind of had a feeling we knew where we were going, so it was just get yourselves rested up. This extra day is going to help, so get rested up because you know it's going to be a physical, physical battle."

(On how the defensive backs have grown since the Week 9 game against New Orleans)

"It's been up and down. That was not their best game [on] Saturday night, but I've seen them play really, really well. I think we will get the best of them this week."

(On how much it helps the defensive backs to get reps against Tampa Bay's top wide receivers in practice)

"There's no good-on-good in practice. That's all training camp stuff – you don't do any of that this time of year because of injuries. But, we've got pretty good scout team guys that are really capable of giving them good looks."

(On the offense's ability to utilize screen plays against Washington and RB Leonard Fournette's performance on Saturday)
"I thought Leonard played his best game as a [Buccaneer]. They set up that screen perfectly – I was really disappointed in our wide receiver screens because we had a chance for some big, big plays and both of them got tipped. It's been a work in progress, but Leonard is an excellent screen runner."

(On who plays as Saints QB Taysom Hill on the scout team in practice)

"That would be Travis Jonsen. He's 6'4", 230 [pounds] and was a wildcat quarterback in college. He'll give us a really good picture."

-BUCCANEERS-

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