HEAD COACH TODD BOWLES
(On giving some older veterans the day off on Friday)
"Yeah, it's a long season. It's a long camp. Certain guys will get days off from time to time, and today was some of those guys' days."
(On if he has an update on C Ryan Jensen's injury)
"Don't know the severity of it, per se, but I do know he'll miss some significant time, up to a couple of months. Whether he'll be back later in the season – November or December – that depends on what they find in the knee, but he won't be available anytime soon."
(On practice being sharp)
"It wasn't as hot today – they had a little breeze. That had a little bit to do with it. But fundamentally, guys are getting it down and executing their assignments. The receivers are doing a good job. Gage has really been the one to stand out. I don't think we've covered him yet. He's been doing a good job the past couple of days. Again, we're out of pads, but he's a guy that flashes and shows quickness and fluidity and everything else that I've seen the past two days."
(On OL Brandon Walton getting first-team reps at left guard)
"Well, we're mixing it up right now. He's tough and it's a wide-open spot. We've just got to pick and choose our spots, who to put in there and get a significant amount of time so we can see everybody and make an educated decision. But he's tough, he comes to work every day, he's in early. He has good technique, he has a lot of strength, so it's going to be a fight."
(On if Robert Hainsey is currently the starting center)
"It will be between Hainsey and Nick Leverett right now. Both of them have played it. It will be a tough battle going in. Both of them are very smart, both are very tough. It's better to happen now than in the middle of the season so these guys can get some practice reps and prepare for it. I think either one of them will be fine."
(On how Hainsey has improved over the past year)
"His film study is outstanding. He's been a tough guy. He comes from Notre Dame, he's very smart, he can see defenses, he can help the quarterback that way. He can help the offensive line. He's diligent about it and he wants to be good. There's not a day he doesn't come in and watch tape. So, it's just a matter of putting it on tape and getting a chance to play."
(On if the Buccaneers have had discussions about bringing in a veteran free agent center)
"There's been discussions but not heavy discussions. We'll see what's out there and we'll see what fits us. If we need to bring somebody in, we will."
(On what he saw on tape of how Jensen got hurt)
"It was a four-man rush – it wasn't anything severe. It was just a fluke thing that happened. It's a part of football. It's unfortunate that it happened. It could have happened anytime, anywhere. We feel bad for Ryan. Obviously, it's a big loss when you lose an All-Pro center, but there's a chance for other guys to step up. And if it's going to happen, it happened early enough to where we can get some guys ready and we can adjust."
(On how to offset it if the six or seven receivers the team keeps do not contribute on special teams)
"We keep quite a few receivers. We keep quite a few receivers. You offset that with maybe the tight ends, the inside [line]backers, the outside [line]backers and the DBs, and maybe a running back or two. It's not always every position has a teams player, and our fifth and sixth receiver will play teams anyway, so you always have two. You hardly ever get three to play teams as a receiver."
(On WR Russell Gage Jr. being among those in a punt return drill)
"Just looking at options right now in case things happen. We've kind of moved guys around a lot and seen who can go in there in a pinch and do things. So, you'll see a lot of people doing things they don't normally do."
(On how safeties Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan are fitting into the defense)
"I think they've fit in great. Both are highly intelligent, truly professional and they can play. They help the younger guys with the calls, they're very studios, they prepare their bodies well and they're great additions for us."
(On if it's accurate that players battling for the last couple receiver spots will have to contribute on special teams)
"They're going to have to be able to do both, yes. They're going to have to be able to do both, and once the pads go on and the preseason games come, we'll see what shakes out."
(On how his thoughts about WR Julio Jones have developed since Thursday)
"They haven't changed. He's just getting caught up to the system, so you can only put him in there doing certain things. But [I'm] excited about what he did yesterday, very happy about what he did today. We've got to catch him up to the system and make sure he's in camp shape. He wasn't in any program as far as team-wise the past couple weeks, so we try to monitor that situation as well."
(On if Jones is in 'camp shape')
"I don't think anyone's in camp shape. Sometimes you work out at these things in the offseason, you work out indoors. The Tampa heat can get you in camp shape; that will come in a week or so."
(On what he saw from QB Kyle Trask with him getting more reps on Friday)
"Just decisive – decisiveness for the most part. Knowing where to go with the ball, comfortable in the huddle, commanding the offense was nice for both him and Blaine [Gabbert}."
(On if it makes sense to look for a center who has experience in the same way that Julio Jones was signed for depth in the long haul)
"It makes sense, but it's got to be the right guy. We just can't sign a center because he has experience. He's got to fit us, he's got to be able to play. Signing Julio was not only for the long haul – it was just as much doing different things on offense and being able to replace Gronk's (Rob Gronkowski's) catches. Gronk had a lot of catches and showed up in a lot of areas. We'll approach things a little bit differently since we've got a bunch of receivers. But we're always looking for an offensive lineman; it's just got to be the right guy and it's got to fit. But we've got to give the other two guys a chance as well."
(On how S Antoine Winfield Jr.'s role can expand this season)
"Win's big thing is, he understands where his help is now. He's always going to be a playmaker. He's always going to be ready to play, he'll hit, he'll catch the ball. Understanding where his help is and taking advantage of situations is what he's really been focusing on and we're happy with where he's at."
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
(On adding WR Julio Jones to the roster)
"He's a guy I've watched a lot over my career. We were in the same offense when Dirk Koetter came here. He's probably the most film I've watched of certain players since I've been in the league it's been him. He's an unbelievable player, he still has a lot of juice left and he's a great guy. It's cool talking to him – add another great weapon."
(On wide receivers standing out during training camp)
"It's pretty early. I think we have a great wide receiver room this year. Probably the best that I've been around. It's very early to tell, but I like all the young guys. I feel like Tyler Johnson is in tiptop shape, he's looking really good. If I had to choose one guy right now – I know it's only been three days, but Tyler Johnson looks really good."
(On learning something new from the wide receiver room)
"I learn from all the guys – every year I pick up something new, as well as the other guys. We all learn from each other and that's been great – Julio [Jones] is teaching me stuff, Chris [Godwin] is always talking to me and we are always learning from each other. It's great to have that and I get wait to see what we do this year."
(On lessons learned from QB Tom Brady)
"He loves the game of football -- and most of us love the game of football. He loves it, and doesn't take any of it for granted – nothing at all. He handles losses well, and he handles wins well and he just wants to be the best he can be. Week in [and] week out, year in [and] year out he does it – takes care of his body, makes sure he's doing the little things. It has rubbed off on everybody and poured into this franchise."
WIDE RECEIVER RUSSELL GAGE JR.
(On reuniting with WR Julio Jones in Tampa Bay)
"We haven't missed a step. It's always great to have Julio on the team. That's my boy. I remember coming in as a rookie in Atlanta and he taught me so much. I learned so much from him. Just to be here now at this time in my career with him – it's great. I'm excited. I'm ready to get me a ring for sure."
(On Jones' selflessness)
"He's always been that way. Since Atlanta, he's always given back. He taught me so much myself coming in as a sixth-round pick. He is a big reason for why I am where I am today. He has always been selfless and always given back. He's that type of player through and through."
(On what he thinks when he sees people saying that Jones is not the same player he once was)
"First off, injuries will hold anybody back, I believe. You could be the greatest ever, but if you're hurt, you're going to go down a notch. You see him out here – when he is healthy, he can roll. He is the same old Julio to me. He's fast [and] he hasn't missed a beat. That's everyone's number one thing in the NFL is staying healthy. A healthy Julio is a problematic Julio the way I put it."
(On seeing C Ryan Jensen go down with an injury in practice on Thursday)
"I didn't see it, but I know he is big [to our team]. I've heard a lot of great things about him throughout the organization. Getting to meet him, he is a great guy and a great leader. I didn't see the injury, but it's definitely tough to see somebody like that with that big of an impact on the team go down."
GUARD NICK LEVERETT
(On his versatility as an offensive lineman)
"First and foremost, I just want to speak and say it's always hard to see a teammate go down – especially Ryan Jensen. He's my role model, he's a great leader, and is a guy I truly look up to. I just want to say I really appreciate Ryan for everything he's done, not only for me, but this team and this organization – not saying anything extreme but I wanted to salute Ryan for all that he has done and all that he does. Like I told you all last year, that is what I'm here for – to compete, whether it's center, guard, tackle, fullback, quarterback – it doesn't matter. I'm going to compete my behind off wherever I'm at. That's my biggest thing – wherever the opportunity is at, I'm going to go for it."
(On the competition on the offensive line)
"That's the thing about our offensive line, a lot of us are very versatile. [There's] no hatred towards either one of us. We all take on the job, we all take on the opportunity the same. We try to help each other out, it's not one man leaving another man out. It's good to have a whole bunch of guys that are very versatile and can play at many positions. John [Molchon] for instance can play center pretty good, guard pretty good. Brandon Walton [is] the same way – a guy that can play all interior positions – can play tackle as well. [Robert] Hainsey, all of us can play multiple positions and make each other better. I think it's good for all of us to be able to go out there and compete."
(On if he has seen improvement from OL Robert Hainsey from last year)
"Substantially. The guy is so smart. That's what makes us close because we are deep in our playbook, we go at it – we compete in a good way with each other to make each other better. That's a guy who I've seen when he first got here -- just to see the level of growth that he's had is crazy. Honestly, he's one of the smartest guys in the room – if not the smartest."
(On being prepared to play center for the Buccaneers)
"Whether it's Tom [Brady], whether it's Kyle [Trask], whether it's Blaine [Gabbert], or whether it's Griff [Ryan Griffin] I'm going to prepare the same way. I'm going to give them my all. My mindset is to be the first one here and the last one out. My mindset is to be the hardest worker and to compete against myself. Honestly for me it doesn't matter who the quarterback is, it's more so of me being the best player I can be for my team and my teammates."
TACKLE ROBERT HAINSEY
(On watching and learning from C Ryan Jensen)
"Last year watching Ryan [Jensen], with me transitioning from tackle to center last year was a big difference, but having a guy like him in front of me and really being able to learn from him, being able to learn from A.Q. [Shipley] as a coach, and 'Goodie' (Harold Goodwin) helping me, I had so many resources to where it was a lot coming at me at first, but as I started to get it, things really slowed down and made things feel good. Being able to learn from Ryan and watch the way he plays the game has helped me a great deal over the last year to kind of figure out who I am as a center because that was new to me when I first got here. So [he's] been a great tool to have and a great mentor to have."
(On the impact of Jensen's injury)
"Things like that happen and everyone will say that's the worst part about football. It just sucks to see that happen to a guy I love and to a teammate that I care about so much, a guy who gives everything he has to this and to us – to that locker room. And that is how it goes. I've had an injury like that too and I know how he feels – it's not fun. I want to be there for him and everything, I know that he's going to be there for me, and I know that he's going to help me and Nick [Leverett] and everyone else. I know he's going to bring us along because whoever's in there – there can't any drop-off and that's where it's got to be and that's a top-1, top-2 center in the NFL – big shoes to fill. But, an opportunity nonetheless to where someone has to step up and do that."
(On previous lessons that he's learned from playing behind Jensen)
"The way Ryan approaches every day and every game is with a mentality that he is the baddest dude on the field, and he usually is. Being that guy, you see it throughout the games. I know you guys like to talk about it, but in the locker room and in locker rooms across the NFL, I think that means something. And I think that carries a certain level of respect. He's that guy that's not going to let you get away with anything – don't stand around the pile waiting while he's there. I'm not Ryan Jensen – that's not who I'm trying to be. I have to be myself. But that chip on his shoulder that he plays with, if I'm out there, I think I want to have a little bit of that myself because I owe that to him and whoever's out there owes that to him to continue that presence of the type of man, the type of player he is on the field.
(On how many games he has played in as a center)
"I think I played in four games last year. One in the preseason and then four in the season at the end. You know, each one was better, honestly. First one was [against the] Miami [Dolphins] and I remember coming off and– Blaine [Gabbert] way saying 'Communicate more' – and then the next was better and a little better and a little better. Obviously, it wasn't as much as I would have loved to play, but noticing myself improving still makes a huge difference in how I feel going out there anytime. So having said that and feeling how I feel throughout this summer and the start of camp, I feel, like I said, prepared and ready."