Tampa Bay Buccaneers

BUCCANEERS TRANSCRIPT: HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS 10-26-20

(On what has changed offensively to allow QB Tom Brady to be more successful in recent games, and if the first three weeks of the season served as preseason contests in terms of getting used to playing with one another)

"It really is. It just takes time. I think the lack of continuity also hurt him a bunch. Hopefully we can have some continuity going forward and he can continue to work with timing and all those things. I think Byron [Leftwich] has done a great job of having him ready to play, him seeing the coverages and where we want to place the ball. [Byron] obviously listens to him on things he likes, also, and incorporates them in the offense."

(On WR Mike Evans playing despite an ankle injury)

"Mike's the ultimate pro. He is a warrior. He probably should've never played in Chicago. He'd have beaten me up, but I'd have to fight him to keep him off the field. That's just the kind of guy he is. We're going through the rolodex over there on the sideline trying to [figure out] how the heck we're going to get this guy a target. We put him in the middle of the field [and] we put him outside – finally we broke loose. He got a couple [pass interference calls] against him. We're trying to target him as much as possible, but we've got to do a better job of it, also. I think in a four-wide [receiver formation] – now that he's inside – we can get him some more balls."

(On the key to the offense being effective in the red zone this season)

"I think it's a good understanding of hitting spacing. Our guys know our spacings and Tom [Brady] has done a great job of delivering the ball down there. When there's an all-out pressure, he gets it out. When they're dropping eight, he creates. I think it's been a good collaboration. Then, running the football down [there] has helped. I can't remember the last time – I think we're 20-of-20 in goal to go – I don't think I've ever had that [in] my 27 years in this league. It's really good execution and the offensive line is doing a hell of a job, too."

(On the defense utilizing a dime package)

"I think it's knowing when and why. It's usually known passing situations. But again, runs can pop up and our nickel [cornerbacks] have to be able to play like linebackers – nickels and dimes. When they're in that situation, they have to read their run keys and then cover their guys. It's a good mix up because it allows us to throw a lot of different numbers out there moving around and it's really hard to block."

(On how ILBs Lavonte David and Devin White work well together)

"First of all, they're both extremely talented. But, that front in front of them is doing a heck of a job of keeping people off of them. They play sideline to sideline, they're great in pass coverage and their speed just shows up all the time. When we drafted Devin, we wanted a guy that was an extremely fast [and] big leader in the middle of our defense. He is really blossoming right now."

(On if David and White's strengths complement each other well)

"It's a great combination. Normally, when we're rushing those guys, JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and Shaq [Barrett] might be dropping into coverage – they're doing a really good job dropping in their zone coverages. Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) did a good job dropping underneath yesterday and it helped get a sack because he took away a shallow route. Todd Bowles is doing a great job with all those guys."

(On if QB Tom Brady's experience will help the team avoid a letdown against the New York Giants this week)

"I don't think there's any doubt. Not just Tom but Lavonte [David], [Ndamukong] Suh [and] JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul). Defensively, the leadership that we have over there – we know if we're not going to play our best, we're going to get beat. Anybody in this league can beat you on Sunday if you don't bring your A-Game – we'll talk about it all week. We're playing the Giants this week on a long week and then we have the Saints on a short week, so we better be focused on what we've got at hand."

(On the offensive line, running backs and tight end's improvements in pass protection this season)

"I think it's a collaboration of the tight ends, the tackles, the guards, centers and Tom [Brady] getting the ball out of his hand. Nobody was happy with the Chicago game – especially the second half – and I think everybody has lifted their level of play since that game."

(On RB Ronald Jones II not playing the remainder of the first half after bobbling a pass)

"We were in a two-minute drive and Leonard [Fournette] is our nickel back now. RoJo (Ronald Jones II) – that would've been a big one and he knows it, too. He doesn't usually drop a screen pass. But no, there's nothing to that. Leonard was doing [well] and Ro (Ronald Jones II) is our guy."

(On if the increased success in pass protection has allowed the offensive to effectively utilize play action)

"No doubt. All the way. They do three [or] four [yard runs], but you start popping some eight and nine [yard runs] and you play off that same action. Our offensive line is doing a good job of coming off the ball on those pass plays – and our tight ends. We're getting second-level players stepping forward. Then they're dead in the play action game."

(On if there is a particular aspect of the game that has been critical to the team's success in the last two weeks)

"Definitely the turnovers. Getting turnovers defensively and protecting the football offensively. I think that's been the biggest thing. When we're winning that turnover battle by two or three, that gives us a great chance to win."

(On S Antoine Winfield Jr. recording his first interception)

"That was great. He got to break the ice. He owes Mike Edwards dinner because Mike tipped that ball perfectly – just made a great play on it – and 'Twon' (Antoine Winfield Jr.) caught it this week and made a couple guys miss. I would've liked to see Mike keep his, because that was a great interception."

(On Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich's growth since last season)

"It's been fantastic. I thought he did a heck of a job with the offense last year – numbers wise. Bringing in Tom [Brady] has been totally different. He and Tom have a great relationship. Byron's done a heck of a job. I love his patience with the running game right now and setting up those chunk plays in the passing game. I think he's done a heck of a job with our offense."

(On the possibility of both Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles leaving for head coaching jobs following this season)
"We've got guys ready to take their place just in case that happens. Hopefully we go all the way and they both get jobs."

(On DL Steve McLendon's debut with the Buccaneers)
"I love Steve. He's a great human being. It just speaks volumes [how] he jumped in the car, had his clothes shipped in [and] he practices on Friday. The look on his face in that locker room – that's the first game he had won this year. We knew we were going to have a 25-[snap] count game and yet [he had] five tackles and played lights out inside. It's been a great addition, I think. Can't say enough about Jason [Licht] pulling that trade off, because he's exactly what we needed. Not just as a player, but a guy in our locker room, too. Can't say enough about Stevie."

(On how WR Antonio Brown's experience in Arians' offense will help him acclimate in Tampa Bay)
"I think some route concepts and things like that, but when I left they changed the terminology in Pittsburgh for all those years he played, so it'll be pretty much ground zero with him other than the route tree, how we run routes and things like that. It'll be a big adjustment for him, but we'll get him up to speed."

-BUCCANEERS-

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