Tampa Bay Buccaneers



(On how to avoid missed tackles in games during a time of year when there isn't much hitting taking place in practice)

"We've just got to constantly work on the fundamentals, obviously hitting the bags and getting in the right positions. Really it comes down a lot to breaking down tackling, instead of running by the guys – gathering our feet, keeping our feet underneath us and bringing shoulders – it's really all just fundamental work."

(On how Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has progressed this season)

"It's not just him, I think it's the offense as a whole. They're a completely different team than what we saw in Week 6. He's got a great pocket presence and he runs like a halfback, but he can throw the ball very well. I think as a group, they've gotten together. I think Shane [Steichen] and Nick [Sirianni] have done a great job of expanding the offense and running the football – getting that done and getting deep-ball plays, as well. They do a heck of a job with their scheme, and they've kind of been beating everybody up. Jalen kind of drives the offense. You can see the maturity, you can see the control of the offense and I think he has done a hell of a job."

(On the Eagles changes in their offense since Week 6)

"Just formationally and schematically they've done quite a few things a little different than the last week that we played them. It's been a long time [since then] – its like a tale of two seasons. We're different and they're different, so it will be like playing each other for the first time since a lot of things are different on both ends."

(On how encouraged he is by the progress of veteran players potentially returning from injury such as OLB Shaquil Barrett, LB Lavonte David and OLB Jason Pierre-Paul)

"Just to see them out running around there is encouraging in itself. I think the week still has to go on and go forward and [I need] to see more things so I can be a little more confident, but the fact that they're out there does bring a smile to my face."

(On not allowing the other team to score quickly in the early stages of the game like has happened in some recent games)

"It's all execution. We'll do [well] on first and second down and then we'll jump offsides or we will mess something up on third down or one of the other downs. It's all execution. It has nothing to do with how much energy we have, it's just executing and getting off the field when we have to get off the field. We've got to make sure we stay focused on that."

(On defending the various styles of the Eagles rushing attack)

"I still think it's difficult because it's not only the running backs that run the ball, the quarterback runs the ball too. The receivers get it on jet sweeps and tosses and run the ball to add to the totals. Its not just those guys running the ball with different styles – I think they have about six guys that can do different things and they've all got speed, so that makes it very difficult."

(On Eagles TE Dallas Goedert)

"Well before they traded Zach [Ertz], the films prior to us when he did play with Zach, they both were doing some of the same things. He was a very good receiver in college and he is a very good receiver in this league, as well, so I guess they could afford to trade Zach and still have this guy to do a bunch of different things. He is a quasi-wide receiver, but he can block, as well. He has a knack for getting open, he knows where the holes are, he can set smaller guys up, push them and get away from them, and he can do a lot of things like that. He is a quarterback's best friend, so I have a lot of respect for this guy. He does a lot of things for him and he's a jack of all trades."

(On Goedert averaging 14.8 yards per reception)

"That's a heck of a big number for a tight end, so we've got our work cut out for us."

(On the Eagles wide receiver group)

"They have a lot of speed, number one, but their route-running is number two. They can get down and dirty inside and block, run routes and they can go deep. All of them catch screen passes, so it's going to be a challenge for us."

(On how much of Eagles QB Jalen Hurts' success during the second half of this season was due to improvisation)

"I think most of it is in the confines of their gameplan and what they're trying to do. I think if he gets pressured, he has the awareness and wherewithal to escape and do the things he needs to do to make the downs go forward. I think most of it is all within the gameplan, but he has an extra element to him if he needs it, and he pulls it out at the right time."


(On signing WR John Brown to the practice squad and what they are looking for from him being that he has experience playing in Bruce Arians' system)

"I don't know, he just got here late last night. [We'll] meet with him throughout the week and see how much he retained. [There are] differences, obviously, there are some differences from the last time he heard it, but he's a smart player. He's always been a smart player, so we'll see. I don't ever want to put limitations on [anyone], so we'll see."

(On if this is the best season that QB Tom Brady has played in his career)

"I think he's playing at a high level, at a high, high level. I mean what more [is] there to say? You just said it. You just said it all. To have that type of year and to have that type of season, regardless of your age. If you're 25, if you're 26, everyone's begging and hoping they can have that type of year. You guys know what I think of Thomas. Thomas is as good as they come. It's great to be a part of coaching him and watching him go play the way that he plays week-in and week-out. It's special to be a part of, but what more needs to be said with everything you just said? You just said it all. Those are the facts of what he's done. [He's] as special as they come. I don't know how you do better."

(On what RB Leonard Fournette achieved last postseason and how he can help this team this year)

"He brings the same stuff that he brought to us last year. We don't look to last year to see what's going to happen this year, but just continue to put him in position to make the plays he's made all year. I think he's had a hell of a year. Unfortunately for him, he got hurt because I would have loved to see where he would have been at, at this point if he [didn't] get hurt. I think he's grown into a pro. I think you're seeing the best of 'Lenny' this year with what he can do and what he can bring to a team. I'm just going to try and put him in position to try and help us win this football game."

(On game planning with QB Tom Brady for the postseason)

"It's a beautiful thing. We're the same. We're close in age. All me and him do is talk football. We're talking football every second we see each other, and we both love it in that way. It's a blessing to have someone to love the game the way that he loves it, to approach the game the way that he approaches it. As a coach, it's ball, ball, ball all the time. That's a special thing that you just love being involved with – that love and going to work with him every week."

(On how a quarterback can prepare for a rain game)

"We've done with before. We do wet ball drills. We're down in here in Florida too, so we practice in it some. We get it. He's played in the rain a lot. We'll see what the weather report says, but anytime you're down here you just wait until Friday or Saturday to make sure it's accurate. I saw that about two days ago and I just turned it because there is no need to even look at the weather down here until you at least get to Friday. Friday, we'll really start paying attention for it, but we are prepared for what may come our way as far as weather."

(On if he would rather play against a familiar team or a team they didn't face during the regular season)

"You just want to be playing in these games. You don't care who it's really against. You want to have the opportunity to compete in the tournament. We have that opportunity, so we're going to try and take advantage of that opportunity Sunday and play our best football."

(On how the offense will respond without players like WR Chris Godwin and WR Antonio Brown)

"I think they'll respond like they've been responding. We've been missing guys all year and we've been able to still do what we need to do to help this football team win from an offensive standpoint – score points, convert in situational football. That hasn't dropped. Even though we lost some great guys - we lost some special, unique guys – the production from the group hasn't really stopped. It's just a testament to those guys' hard work and what they do every day. The work that they put in, the focus that they have, understanding the time of year it is and understanding what they have to do play-in and play-out for us to play our best football. You would like to have all of those guys back, but it is what it is. It's the game of football. The guys that are here are working their tail off to try and play their best football."

(On how the offense can start the game off faster)

"If we don't score on our first drive, it always tends to be that we're struggling early. It's just been one week, and I think the week before, and the week before that, we did pretty [well]. The game is football, sometimes it doesn't go your way. It didn't go our way early, but we understand that we're going to have eight, nine, 10 possessions in the game. We try to score every time we get it. Sometimes you don't, but it's a four-quarter game. I've been preaching to these guys that it's a four-quarter game. You want to play your best football for four quarters, but obviously we want to get off to as good of a start that we could possibly get off to."

(On if young players are expected to step into the roles of the players they are replacing or if he has to adjust the offense to fit their strengths)

"You think there's a lot of Chris [Godwin's] and 'Abs' (Antonio Brown's) out there? There's not a lot of them out there on the planet. You don't ask them to be them. You ask them to be themselves and be the best version of themselves. Then, it's my job to know what they can do well and put them in position to have success. I'm asking guys to be who they are. Just be who you are. I think we have a good understanding of what they are from a skillset, what they can do to help us and just try to put them in position to have success."

(On how different this offense is since Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys)

"When you're missing the guys that we're missing, it's different. But at the same time, the production hasn't slipped. We still have the same production just with different numbers and different names on the back of the jerseys. It all comes from the players putting the work in, being able to understand what we're trying to do, get in position and make the play. Like I said, it's a testament to our players on how hard they work, how alert and focused they are in meetings to have the ability to do what they've been doing when guys have been out."

(On the difference in the Eagles defense since Week 6)

"They're playing good football. Their D-line is attacking the quarterback. They were a good football team when we played them. [They] always had good players, have a difficult scheme to go up against and veteran guys in the secondary who've been around a lot of good football. They have veteran guys on all three levels when you look at them – veteran guys who have been in a lot of situations. We know we're facing a veteran ball club that's a playoff team. What happened earlier in the year doesn't mean anything. Going out here Sunday, play our best football and preparing ourselves for a really good football team."

(On being able to rely on a player like T Tristian Wirfs)

"Just going through training camp last year and putting him in certain situations, I was able to trust him by Week 3 of last year – Week 2 or 3 really of last year – just because of who [he is] as a player, the way he approaches it. He is a really good football player. He's as good as they come. I'm just happy we have him on our side. It's great to see him go out there week-in and week-out and compete the way that he competes, especially with the guys he goes up against every week. I just have the ultimate trust in Tristian."

(On how much he pays attention to the opposing team's offense and how their style of play might affect the number of possessions his offense gets in a game)

"I don't view it that way. You know who you're playing. You try to know the opponent to know what type of game it can possibly be, but at that point, you can't control who has the ball. You can control what you do with it when you have it. I look at last week, if we want more than three plays [in the first quarter], we should have converted on third down and we would have more than three plays. We just have to do a better job of when we have it, executing, converting on third downs and scoring points. That's the only way you can view it as an offense. When we are on the grass, let's try to be at our best."

(On how this postseason feels compared to last year)

"It feels different because it's a whole different year and what we were able to accomplish last year. You don't look to that for anything, but you have that experience. We as a group have that experience. We've been in tough environments, tough situations and we've found a way to win football games in those situations. It absolutely means nothing this year, it's a brand-new year. Every year is different, but it just feels like the first week of the playoffs. It just feels like it's playoff time. You're one of the few teams that's left in the tournament to have the opportunity to play. Teams will do a lot to have an opportunity to play this weekend and we're fortunate enough to be one of those teams. We're going to try and make sure we're playing our best football when we go out there on Sunday at one o'clock."


(On if he thinks this has been his best season)

"I feel like it's, for me, always about the team's success so it's hard to compare one year to another. I feel like I want to play as a championship-level player. That's what I've said for a long time. When I'm not able to do that -- I said a long time ago when I suck I'll retire, but what I really meant was when I'm not capable of leading the team to victory then someone else has to do the job. I feel like I can do that. Obviously, we've put ourselves in a decent position – now we're in the postseason and we've got to take care of a very tough opponent. I just love being out there with the guys. Let's see if we can beat a really tough Eagles team. This team is going to challenge us and I'm going to have to play good football."

(On sometimes being hard on young players because he sees potential in them)

"Yeah, I think it's important to put a lot of pressure on guys because you don't know how they're going to react, and if they're not in there playing you don't get to see it very often. When they get their chance, you don't want it to be the first time they're put in a pressurized situation. So, I am tough on those guys. Sometimes I do something where I kind of force the issue and create some arbitrary pressure, just to kind of see how they react. It's not like Mike [Evans] needs that or Chris [Godwin] needs that, but young guys who haven't played, they need that, and you want to see how they respond to the adversity."

(On the confidence he has in second-year tackle Tristan Wirfs)

"I think he's done an amazing job. A, he's a great player and he's a great person. He's a great teammate and he's a great worker. He just does a great job in his position and takes the coaching, tries to apply it, it means a lot [to him], [he] cares a lot. He's obviously got a very bright future. In football you've got to earn the respect of people, nothing is given to you, and I think the people that don't make it, they're entitled to something. Tristan is the opposite of that. Tristan wants to go out and earn it every day and wants to do a great job. He's proven to everybody that he can be counted on. It's just a great compliment to him and what he's been able to accomplish to have the whole organization have the kind of faith in him that we all do."

(On how he 'turns it up a notch' in the playoffs)

"I feel like I always try to give everything I have. I feel like I always try to. I think naturally just the urgency goes up because there's more energy around what we're doing, there's more energy on the field and everyone wants to come back and play in these games. There [are] more people that want to come to the games, there [are] more fans, there's a pep rally tomorrow I guess. There's just a lot more excitement. There [are] fewer teams playing, there's more coverage and everyone's paying attention. You've got to feel it. You've got to feel the urgency and you've got to go out there and you've got to get the job done."

(On what he sees in the Eagles defense)

"They have a lot of good players. They've obviously got a very good front. They're really settled in at linebacker, they're playing really well at linebacker. And they've got a very veteran secondary who is playing very well together. Talented players at all the positions. They're a very good defense – they make you earn everything. You make a mistake, you get a penalty – you're going to punt. The ball gets batted up in the air, they're going to intercept it. You hold onto the ball too long, they're going to strip-sack it. It's a team that just doesn't let you off the hook, and I think they do a good job with their coverages, they show enough disguise. They're all covering for one another. There's really good communication – I can tell that. Really well-coached defense with a lot of good players. It makes it really tough for the offense to score."

(On if he is aware that Eagles fans discuss him not shaking Nick Foles hand after Super Bowl LII)

"No, I'm not. I'm not. I've shaken Nick's hand plenty of times, though. I have a lot of respect for Nick. I try to be a good sport as best I can. I know it doesn't always look like that because sometimes I get a little pissed out there, but for the most part I try to be a good sport."

(On how you prepare for a possible bad-weather game)

"I've played in a lot of them over the years. You've just got to handle it with some mental toughness, first of all. Physical prep isn't much different. We haven't had a lot of rain this year; we did in the Patriots game, so we're a little bit used to it. You know, maybe some different cleats, just depending on what the weather's going to be. I've had a lot of experience in the Northeast in a lot of different weather conditions, so I'll be ready for it."

(On where his 34-11 postseason record ranks among his accomplishments)

"That's a good question. If you had asked me what my record was, I would have said, 'I don't know.' It's just the reality of doing this and staying focused on what's ahead and not looking back. I'd love to get to 35-11 – that would be my answer. Got to go win a very tough game against a great opponent."

(On how offense has evolved from September to January)

"It's evolved a lot. A lot of guys have gotten different snaps. You just look at the running backs on the roster, look at the receivers on the roster – a lot of guys have come and gone. We've added a bunch of different guys. 'BP' (Breshad Perriman) is playing a role, we just added someone to our practice squad today (John Brown), guys have been on and off the practice squad. You've just got to do the best you can do, show up for work every day, try to work with everybody, throw to everybody, communicate to everybody – we're all in the same meetings – and build up some trust over the course of the season. And when guys get their opportunity, they've got to go take advantage of it."


(On the opportunity to play in the postseason)
"Oh man, it's huge. You don't really come across these opportunities too often. This is my seventh year in the league and first time in the playoffs, so it's huge just to get an opportunity to play a game in the playoffs. I'm very excited for the opportunity."

(On the chance to be playing football in January after spending the early parts of the season with non-playoff teams)

"Man, like I said, it feels almost like a movie or something. It's crazy just to be in this position, being able to play in a playoff game and games in January that really matter, especially with how the beginning of my season started for me. It's huge."

(On the difference in QB Tom Brady's preparation compared to other quarterbacks he has played with)

"I just feel like his attention to detail is pinpoint. He wants things done a certain way in terms of certain routes. It helps with that chemistry, and it also makes the receiver better because you know exactly what your quarterback is thinking. His attention to detail, his leadership skills – for the most part he's always doing meetings every week just with players that are ran by him – I can go on and on about all of the great things that he does that is different from anyone that I have ever played with."


(On if he is preparing any differently for the playoffs)

"My thing is making sure I am as detail oriented as I can be, focusing on all of the little things that I can take care of on my side. Then going out there and making plays when the ball comes my way."

(On responding to the pressure of playing a role on this team with a quarterback like Tom Brady)

"You can look at it as pressure just being out on the field and understanding what the expectations are for this team. I think that alone is enough pressure itself. Then understanding that you are playing with Tom Brady and you have to protect your quarterback. He has to be able to trust you out on the field just like you have to be able to trust all the other 10 players on the field with you. I feel like there is pressure every day. It's just about how you look at it. I look at everything as a challenge, so we've got to complete the challenge."

(On if he believes he could be a lead back in the Buccaneers offense)

"I do believe I can be a lead back in this offense. Believing in myself is the first thing – understanding that I could be in a position to help this team win. I just believe in myself and I believe I can do the job."