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Tampa Bay Buccaneers


(On updates regarding RB Ronald Jones II, T Donovan Smith and CB Carlton Davis III)

"Donnie came back – he's full speed. 'Ro' (Jones) is going to be doubtful – getting through the COVID and not having any practice with the finger. We still haven't been able to see him with the finger, so we'll have to wait and see on that one. Carlton's getting better. Hopefully he can make some improvement in the next two days."

(On what is most important to making QB Tom Brady comfortable in the pocket)

"We busted techniques on two blitzes on third down and should've had it picked up. I think for him, it's staying multiple and being able to run, use the play-action [and] throw the ball on time. But, obviously protection is huge for any quarterback. When we can run and play-action, it's much easier to protect him."

(On if his gameplan changes when facing an interim head coach for an opposing team)

"Not really, because the players play. Having been an interim coach myself, I didn't have a thing to do with the game. The players play and you try to put them in position and have them ready mentally and physically to play their best on Sunday – this time [on] Saturday. I don't think there's anything to do with it."

(On Lions QB Matt Stafford playing through injuries and the respect Arians has for Stafford)

"He's one of my all-time favorite guys. He's tough as nails. Like I said the other day, he's one of the few quarterbacks I like going out and watching warm up. Just watching him throw because he's so special. I've always felt like he was one of the top four or five guys in this league for a long time. Like I said, he's tough as nails and his guys know it. They know he's going to suck it up for them."

(On the challenge of coaching QB Tom Brady in this unique season and their chemistry at this point in the year)

"The chemistry really started in our first meeting. We first started talking offensive football and then the Tampa Bay Bucs. His excitement level and my excitement level just kept growing and is still growing. To watch him play when we protect him and put him in the situations where he can play like he did in the second half of that ballgame [on Sunday], he's still as good as there is in this league. It's been a long process. We're still learning each and every week the little things, the gameplans and situational football that we talk out. 'I haven't thought about that. This is how we did it. Yes, I like that.' It's still fun. The collaboration has been awesome and like I said, it's our job to keep him healthy, keep him upright and let him do his thing."

(On the challenges of keeping players healthy this late in the season)

"Today was strictly a walkthrough. If we don't have at least 48 hours after a ballgame, we're not going to practice. It was a good mental day – we got a lot of things accomplished, but nothing physical. We'll try to run around a little bit more tomorrow. Obviously it's a short week, but it's also Christmas, so we have to adjust our schedules for Thursday and Friday. I hate flying out on Christmas, but we're going to have to do it, so we'll adjust the schedule. I think our guys are all ready for it and know what to expect this week."

(On using the run game to allow for success on play-action passes)

"When you talk about running the football – it's not the number of runs, it's the quality of the runs. We were a little bit over 50 percent on our run efficiency, which are four-or-more [yards] are winners and we consider third-and-2 you make it or whatever [it is]. I think it's the quality of the running that leads up to the play-action passes and I thought we did a good job of that early. We just didn't convert some third downs, but did a great job in the second half."

(On the consistency and performance of G Ali Marpet this season)

"I think missing the time that he missed with the concussion hurt him in that [regard] because he was playing lights out and he's still playing great. I think he has had that type of season, as has Devin [White], Lavonte [David] and a couple of other guys. Only so many guys can go, and I'm not a big fan of it, so it's a shame for them."

(On what it is about Lions QB Matthew Stafford that makes him want to go watch him during warmups)

"He can make every throw from every angle. He's just so, so talented. There are only so many guys that are that talented that I say, 'Hey, I'm going to sneak out and watch him warm up.' I've been a fan of his for a long, long time."

(On why Stafford doesn't get as much national recognition as he might deserve)

"Same old story – it's winning. You can be a great player, [but] if your team is not winning, you're not going to get what you deserve. He deserves a lot."

(On Outside Linebackers Coach Larry Foote and his growth as a coach)

"He's getting better and better. I think his next step is being a coordinator. Having worked with the inside [linebackers] in Arizona and the outside [linebackers] here, he has just continued to grow. I thought both of his guys should have been in the Pro Bowl – Shaq [Barrett] and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul). Larry is a heck of a football [coach] – great communicator [and] a very, very bright young man. He will be a coordinator and hopefully someday a head coach."

(On the offense starting slow in the first half of games)

"It's just flat execution – all 11 guys. If it was just one guy, we'd bench him, but it's different guys at different times on different drives. Whether it's the middle of the second quarter – where we've had some great second quarters – when everybody gets going, for me it's just about winning. Yeah, I'd love to start faster, but as long as we win, I'm good."

(On the challenge of balancing football and family around the holidays)

"There is so much to do – as coaches, especially – those of us that have older daughters [ask them], 'Hey, can you get mom something and send it to me? Because I haven't gotten her anything yet.' We talked to the guys about trying to get their shopping done early and having as much time with their families as we possibly can. I tried to schedule the schedules so we're out of the building at least by 1 [p.m.] on Thursday and we don't come back until 2:30 or 3 [p.m.] on Friday – at least 24 to 28 hours with their family on Christmas."

(On the passing of Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene)

"He's one of the greatest guys I've ever been around. His energy level was off the charts all of the time. The thing I respect most about Kevin is I tried to hire him in Arizona and he did not take the job so he could coach his son in high school. That speaks volumes of who the man is. I mean, we lost a great one – a great, great guy. I can't believe it happened. Bryon [Leftwich] and Larry [Foote] were all talking about it today because we all knew Kevin so well. He interned with us in Pittsburgh all the time and became a hell of a coach. The world lost a great, great human being."


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