-Coordinators and quarterbacks took to the virtual podium today during Buccaneers media availability. With the first real game just days away, Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles talked about the anticipation and how it doesn't really ever go away from season to season.
"All the time," Bowles said about getting 'butterflies'. "The first game, opening day, is always important, especially as a coach because you don't know what to expect from the other team. And partly, you have to make sure your team is taken care of, so it's always butterflies [waiting] to see what happens."
The Bucs will at least be taking on a familiar opponent that hasn't had much turnover personnel-wise since the last time the two teams played in Week 11 of the 2019 season. The bad news is, that the personnel are very, very good. And Tampa Bay didn't get the result it wanted either time they played last year.
"The biggest thing is that we lost the games – that's what sticks out the most to me," said Bowles. "All nine games stick out to me in the loss column. There are no two games that separate [from] the others. You don't like to lose as a competitor, but you learn from each experience and you grow from it. You should be pissed off just to play ball anyway. They've gotten better mentally, but you've got to put it on the field obviously. Every game is an important game and this is the first one so it's the most important one."
For the Bucs' new quarterback, Tom Brady, he tries to get rid of the butterflies by sticking to his routine. He also knows this is an important matchup and is very familiar with quarterback Drew Brees – the only other player in NFL history to have more passing yards than Brady himself. He's not underestimating Brees or the Saints overall.
"For me, I try to keep my typical routine, figure out how my body feels, where I'm at mentally, my opponent study and so forth," Brady said of his preparation. "A lot of mental stuff I never had to put a lot of effort into. It was kind of just there. I think this the first time where I'll be going into a game with a lot of different information and trying to understand how we're going to relate to a lot of different things we're going to see. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can at it, talk to my coaches [and] talk to my teammates so we can all be on the same page. It's a big challenge because there's no margin of error when you play a great football team. The Saints have proven themselves to be that for a long time. They [have] a very good offense, a great defense, they're very well prepared [and] they don't beat themselves. We're going to have to go and play a great football game. There's going to be a lot of us that are getting to know each other for the first time on gameday. I've watched a lot of my teammates play, they've watched me play, but now we're actually going to be on the same field trying to accomplish the same goal. We're going to have to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible."
There is, however, another familiar face in the New Orleans' quarterback room. Former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is now backing up Brees for the Saints and though he's not super far removed from the Bucs, Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich said things will be different enough this time around that they aren't worried about Winston giving the Saints any trade secrets.
"We're aware of that, and that's why I said each year is different," said Leftwich. "It's a little different terminology just because it's a different quarterback. Things will be different – we do everything according to the quarterback. Not that you're trying to make it easier on the quarterback, but he has a million different things out there to worry about, so you try to smooth things out as much as you can around the edges. That's all specific to the quarterback. It will be a lot different from a words standpoint. We understand that – we understand the situation and we just have to go play. You just have to go play – this thing is going to come down to who executes the best."
And then we got our first chance to hear from new practice squad member Josh Rosen, who the team signed this week. Just over a year removed from being drafted in the first round, the former UCLA quarterback is now here to learn from the best.
"It's a privilege," Rosen said of being in Tampa Bay. "It's a privilege to be in a room with such a great quarterback. I've never played for the Buccaneers before, obviously, but it feels a little bit like home with a couple familiar faces from Arizona. It's nice to come take a breath and get to really learn some football from some of the best to ever do it coaching, and probably one of the best to ever do it playing."
Bucs Tweet of the Day: