Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Transcript: Head Coach Bruce Arians - Monday, December 30, 2019

(Opening statement)

"After watching the film there's really nothing different than what we talked about yesterday. You can all save your breath about asking me about Jameis [Winston] because there's not going to be a decision made for a while. That's a moot point right now and we had a good exit meeting with the guys, and I'll meet with them all individually here this afternoon and tomorrow and talk about the future."

(On the decision process for QB Jameis Winston and if it will be a long one)

"I would think in a few weeks, yeah. We'll have a decision on which way we want to head. Will we let it out? Probably not because you lose your leverage on that one too. Stay tuned."

(On if the team will have a decision made by March)

"Maybe. March is a good month."

(On the conversation between players and coaches at the end-of-the-year meetings)

"The things they did well. The things they need to correct. Where their improvement needs to be, where you're going to spend the offseason and how're going to get better. Obviously, we'd love to coach them, but with rules we can't, which is not real smart, but it is what it is. How you're going to get better and will you be a part of it next year?"

(On the message shared during the team's end-of-the-year meeting)

"The biggest message was I think the difference between us and the New Orleans Saints – in September they knew they were going to win the division. We thought we might, but we weren't sure and it was too late by October. You lose playoffs in September sometimes. A lot of people don't like talking about that. When you start losing games in September they come back to bite you in December and some of those did for us. I think it was just maybe we're good enough, not really knowing. I think next year when we step on the field we should know we're good enough."

(On turning the team around)

"I think we turned it around. The last month or so we were very competitive. Still should have won those last two ball games – learn from those mistakes and build on it. Add new players like we always do. Try to keep the best we have and move on."

(On where the team improved)

"A lot of it was the growth in the secondary, but not all of it. The growth in the secondary gives me so much hope because our front seven was so solid all year. The way we started playing defense in the middle of November gets me excited. It really wants me to keep working this week. The things we did offensively were historic – some were historic in the wrong way and some were historic in the right way. I loved the running game yesterday. I thought we ran the ball ok all year. Yesterday we ran the ball well enough to win."

(On there being less tolerance for the mistakes Jameis Winston makes next year with backup quarterback more prepared)

"I think you do that every year. You have every position – it's a performance-based business. If you're not performing, you get replaced. So, yes, to answer your question, yes."

(On there being more forgiveness for Jameis Winston's mistakes this season)

"Yes. A big part of it was Blaine [Gabbert] getting hurt. And we had to find out. This is a franchise and we had to find out."

(On what Arians learned about Jameis Winston this year)

"He's a very bright, hardworking quarterback. He puts his time in."

(On concerns for teaching the offensive system to another quarterback)

"None. None at all. If that's what it comes to, he'll be expected to play at the level to win a championship."

(On addressing the secondary position this offseason)

"I think we could still look at a safety. But I loved D'Cota Dixon and he was possibly going to be our starting strong safety until he knocked out his shoulder, so getting him back – hopefully getting Justin Evans back – I'm not sure we do. We're fine at corner. But again, if there's somebody on the board and he's the best player on the board at that position we'll take him."

(On Justin Evans' return timeline)

"It's still too early to tell. The second [surgery] went fine. He's still a few months away."

(On the possibility of franchise tagging Shaquil Barrett)

"Well, hopefully we can get a deal done. We've got some very important free agents that I think want to be here and we'll have a lot of long, hard discussions this week – Jason [Licht], myself, the owners – and see what we can iron out because I want to keep this defense together."

(On how high of a priority it is to bring Jason Pierre-Paul back)

"Huge – one of the highest."

(On trying to keep DL Ndamukong Suh)

"He's one of the top three. You can start with Shaq [Barrett], JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] – either one – and Suh. I want to keep this front seven together. They've proven to be pretty dominant."

(On the offensive line)

"Still a lot of evaluation to go into it. We'll sit down as a group and talk about each guy individually here Thursday and evaluate where we want to head."

(On if the offensive line is better at pass blocking or run blocking)

"I think this past week we were fine in all phases. It's been a guy here or there sometimes. I thought [Alex] Cappa had a hell of a year, Jensen is as solid as ever, Ali [Marpet] is solid, Donavan [Smith] had a much improved year, and Dot (Demar Dotson) is Dot – he's as dependable as you get."

(On leading the league in penalties and how frustrating that is)

"Very. I pride myself on having a smart football team and we were not a smart football team. [That is] one of the areas we will address this offseason."

(On Jameis Winston having vision issues)

"Yeah, he's nearsighted. He can't read the scoreboard, but he see the guys in front of him, so he's fine."

(On Jameis Winston wearing contacts)

"He's got goggles that he practices in sometimes."

(On what Arians needs to evaluate Jameis Winston between now and March)

"Everything – every snap, run game, passing game, interceptions, completions. The whole thing."

(On Demar Dotson)

"I love him, man. He's a warrior. You want to build your team around warriors and he's definitely one of them."

(On being able to challenge pass interference calls)

"I'd like to keep the rule. I mean that was a huge play. It all started with the Saints-Rams playoff game that we can never allow that to happen in the league again. In September, the rule was working fine and then all of a sudden there was a total change in philosophy on that rule. I think the one last week was pass interference and I still do. It's almost identical to this one. O.J. [Howard's] offensive pass interference – I couldn't get a replay or I would've challenged that because that was huge play in the game."

(On TE O.J. Howard's talent level and his production not matching)

"Measurables don't play, players play. He's got a lot of talent and he could play better and we hope – he's blocked the best he's blocked all year in that game."

(On decision making with Jameis Winston)

"The mechanics improved dramatically. I think everybody talked last year he can't hit a deep ball and he may be the best in the league [this season]. All those things go into it."

(On if Arians thinks decision making is a factor)

"I think that and repetitive mistakes. How many of there were those? All those things go into it."

(On Arians not being able to fix Jameis Winston's turnovers)

"I think that's when you sit down with him and you talk it all over. And all of us – Clyde [Christensen], Byron [Leftwich], myself, Jameis – and look at it, and evaluate it. Is the [5,109 passing yards] still good enough to win a championship or is it the [30 interceptions] and whatever many fumbles losing the championship? So that's where you go."

(On this team being good enough to win with another quarterback)

"With another quarterback? Oh yeah. We can win with this one [and] we can definitely win with another one too because we're going to have this defense."

(On why Jameis Winston's interceptions were mostly on short passes and if it was a timing issue)

"It'll be one of the things we evaluate."

(On the importance of getting WR Chris Godwin an extension)

"It's high. He's earned it – same thing [as the front seven] if we can keep the receiving corps together, which is going to be hard, but we're going to try to do everything we can to keep that corps because I think it's one of the top in the league. I think Breshad [Perriman] proved that in the last three weeks. When you put the three of them out there, it's pretty spectacular."

(On K Matt Gay missing three kicks yesterday and addressing the kicking issues in the offseason)

"I don't think we need to address it, but we need to have competition like we always do with every position. He needs to spend all spring kicking in that end zone because when you look at the history of that stadium that's where most kicks are missed because of the crazy wind across that back side of the stadium. It's just getting confidence. He missed right. He missed left. Try to hit it harder, so you pull it. For a rookie kicker sometimes, that can get baffling and I think it's definitely in his head right now – that end zone. The other end zone is no problem. "

(On the wind factor on that side of the stadium)

"The history of the stadium says so to all kickers, not just ours."

(On addressing the return game)

"We just need to get T.J. Logan healthy. He was doing a pretty good job when he was in there, until he broke his thumb."

(On trying to keep the defense together and how it factors in with a quarterback decision)

"The receivers, the d-line, the outside pass rushers, the quarterbacks – they're all in that same pot. There's only so much that can go around. We've got to sit as an organization – where do we want to go?"

(On having franchise and transition tags)

"I think it's big still to have them. Not having them could cost you some players."

(On not being able to help Jameis Winston fix his turnover problem)

"It's frustrating to see the growth was great, but to see the regression in some areas was very frustrating."

(On Arians' message to Buccaneers fans going forward)

"We will quit beating ourselves and then we'll be hard to beat. The penalties, the turnovers, there were very, very few missed assignments anymore. The accountability is there. They play extremely hard and we'll be a tough out."

(On how Arians is feeling after this year)

"I'm hoping to get a C+ this time. I'd give up about a few hundred thousand dollars to be practicing this week. Because I just know if we got in the tournament, we could do some damage."

(On how Arians feels physically)

"I feel great. I've got a great person working on me every day. That was the best hire I've ever made is Maral [Javadifar]. She's keeping me ready. Getting my golf game hopefully now."

(On OC Byron Leftwich and DC Todd Bowles getting head coaching interest and expecting to retain his staff)

"I would hope so. I'm very pleased with the work that they did – all of them in all the phases. I saw growth in every area. I saw really good coaching in every area. I saw really young players develop that we needed have developed."

(On what Arians sees as the options regarding Jameis Winston)

"Free agency – who's available. What's behind door number two? That's the first question. As you evaluate for the draft, that's another question. Are they better than what you have? And then you evaluate and that's when you make your decisions."