HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
"Not practicing today: Dee Delaney, JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and [Ndamukong] Suh. Really good start to the week – loved the energy, thought our guys were really focused all day today. Looking forward to the challenge. It's always a challenge to go down there, especially on Halloween, and it should be a great crowd and a great game."
(On DL Ndamukong Suh's injury)
"Suh's got a little sore knee, but he should be back on his normal routine."
(On getting some injured players back on the practice field)
"Yeah, it was great. They looked good. And obviously the guys that stepped in did a hell of a job, so now they've got to live up to their standards."
(On what jumps out at him when watching Saints game tape)
"The entire defense. This is by far the best 11 that we've faced this year. The front seven – Demario Davis is one of the best there is, the same with Cam Jordan. So, this is a big physical defense with a great secondary. Yeah, the defense stands out. Their special teams are outstanding and they're a challenge. Offensively, [Marquez] Callaway…it all starts with 41 (Alvin Kamara). You've got to stop 41. If Alvin's running around, we've got problems."
(On CB Dee Delaney saying after Sunday's game that he would be good to go)
"Yeah, [we'll] wait and see. Feeling good to go and running as a corner are two different things."
(On if containing Saints RB Alvin Kamara is easier said than done)
"Yeah, very much so. He's a handful as a runner and a receiver, but more so as a receiver because he is a mismatch on everybody."
(On the difference in Saints QB Jameis Winston from his 2019 season with Arians' Buccaneers)
"He's probably throwing it 15 times less a game. They're playing with a lead, and we didn't have that many leads that [season], so we had to throw it. So, yeah, he's playing very, very well at the position."
(On if there is an advantage to the Saints playing a Monday night road game in Week 7)
"A little bit. I mean, they're going to be psyched up. It's an afternoon game, four o'clock, so they get a little more time. But all of us are used to those kinds of things and it doesn't affect Wednesday's practice. So, no, if there's an advantage it won't be during the game. It will just be during preparation."
(On if there is any defensive advantage to knowing the opposing quarterback well)
"I think there's a yes and a no. I mean, if he was running this offense, you'd know what to expect more. He's in a totally different offense. He sat behind Drew [Brees] for a year, obviously learned a lot and he's playing the quarterback position actually at a very high level right now."
(On what DL Will Gholston brings to the defensive front)
"Just steady, solid but excellent play. He's a veteran leader, he plays with a lot of physicality and he's around the quarterback more than most people think."
(On what was the key factor in the Saints winning both regular season games last year and the Buccaneers winning the playoff game)
"Turnovers. When you look at our two games, we turned it over, they scored. In the playoff game, they turned it over, we scored. When two good teams are battling, that's usually the deciding factor. Now, you've got to score when you get those turnovers. You can't kick field goals."
(On if he has seen any complacency in the team this year after winning the Super Bowl)
"Oh, our guys are working as hard or more than we did last year. I think there's a better attention to detail because I think now they know what's at stake. Games in September and October mean something when it gets to December and January. You start talking about home field advantage and all the things that we learned about last year for the first time. It's going to be different this year."
(On T Tristan Wirfs playing against Bears OLB Khalil Mack and the Bears pass rush)
"I thought the offensive line played outstanding last week, especially Tristan. He's had a Pro Bowl year so far, knock on wood. I think all five of those guys plus the tight ends – you don't run for 180 yards and not have a hell of a job up front."
(On if WR Antonio Brown could return from his injury after the Bye Week)
"Shoot, that injury, who knows? That one – it could be that or it could be a long time. Wait and see how the foot [heals]; he's still on a crutch, so."
(On if he can share any more details about Brown's injury)
"It's still considered an ankle sprain but it's around his heel."
TIGHT END CAMERON BRATE
(On his comfort level of playing more reps)
"Going into Week 8 now, we've done some good things offensively throughout the year, but obviously a lot to improve on. Just looking back kind of where we were last year at this point compared to where we are now – just a night and day difference. Like I said, there's still a lot of room to improve. We just have to be playing our best football by the time playoffs come by the end of the year. So, a lot to work on still."
(On the familiarity of the Saints and how the team can fix issues that have hurt them in the past vs. New Orleans)
"Easiest thing to point out are turnovers, but it's a team we play twice a year – last year three times. A team we're really familiar with. Obviously, we had our struggles with them over the years and were kind of able to rectify that last year during the playoffs, but it's a new season. Watching them on tape still – great defense and they have great players all over the field. They do a lot of things with their front four to put pressure on us. We have to be on the same page this week, really work through the details throughout the week. It's a tough place to play. We really didn't have that element last year, which was nice. But I'm sure it's going to be wild on Halloween this Sunday. A lot of work this week to put in and as long as we are able to protect Tom [Brady], kind of establish the line of scrimmage – that's what really helped us in the playoffs. Hopefully run the football and protect the quarterback."
(On going against Saints QB Jameis Winston)
"Jameis is a good guy, still a guy I'm super close with, talk to him all the time. [I] always watch him when I can. [It] definitely will be different. Last year during the playoffs, he went in for the one play and threw a touchdown pass. Obviously at the time, I was pissed that we gave up a touchdown but secretly I was like, 'Ah, good for Jameis making a play there.' But still a guy a lot of guys on the team are close with. Can say nothing but good things about our time with Jameis. I always wish him the best, but not Sunday."
(On what he's seen from TE O.J. Howard)
"No one worked harder than O.J. this offseason to put him in the position he has for this year. Obviously, that's a huge injury [to overcome with his] Achilles. Took him a little bit to get comfortable but I think you guys have seen he's starting to get a little bit more comfortable. Saw him in the Eagles game, Tom [Brady] found a bunch of ways to give him the ball and made a bunch of plays for us. We're going to be getting 'Gronk' (Rob Gronkowski) back here at some point. Sure, our opportunities will go down a little bit once Gronk is back, which we're okay with that. Seeing some targets for the best tight end of all time – we're cool with that. But O.J. is still working really hard, still getting back to 100 percent. He's starting to look more and more like himself."
WIDE RECEIVER JAELON DARDEN
(On the spark he was able to bring against the Bears on Sunday)
"Obviously, it meant a lot being able to get out there and help my teammates start the game up. I felt like it was a big energy booster to help my team put points on the board and be able to come out on top with the win. I definitely felt like I helped as much as I could."
(On getting trusted with the return duties on Sunday)
"Yeah, I know why I was brought here – I was brought here to learn. So, I definitely was just waiting on my opportunity, and when it came, I tried to take advantage of it. I feel like I did a good job."
(On feeling more confident after the last seven weeks)
"I was running around with my head cut off when I first got here, but now, it's slowing down for sure."
(On looking forward to being used in other situations)
"However my coaches need me, I'm willing to do whatever. That's more so how I'm going about it because I'm still here to learn. There's a lot I need to learn. I'm definitely going to help – however they need me to help, that's what I'm willing to do."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER JASON PIERRE-PAUL
(On rotating with others in the same position)
"I'm just out there playing. It doesn't matter how many snaps I take or how many snaps I take off. Coach [Larry] Foote does a great job of rotating us, but if I have to be out there for the whole game, I will. I think when we're in good situations like that when we're up, we'll let the young guys take snaps and that's good for them."
(On the challenge of facing Saints RB Alvin Kamara)
"He's a good running back. We face a lot of good running backs and he's one of the best running backs that we're going to face probably this year. Like I said, I don't really too much worry about other people's games. I just worry about my game and when it comes to Sunday, we just want to hunt. That's basically it."
(On going against Saints QB Jameis Winston)
"I can't wait, I can't wait. I'm actually going to text him and tell him to get ready. I can't wait to play Jameis. It's going to be fun. He's like a brother to me. I remember we were hiking in the offseason in Colorado, but I can't wait to hunt him down. It's crazy, Jameis is a different type of breed."
(On the importance of the Week 8 matchup vs. the Saints)
"Every game is important, but every division game it seems to bring out the best in players. Because they know how [important the game is] and that will probably justify your season. It will make your season or break your season. I know they'll be coming after us and we're going to be coming after them. That game is important to both of us. We're going to be playing our hearts out and that's basically it. There really isn't too much to talk about. It's going to be some hard-playing football coming out on Sunday night. I can't wait for it. Hopefully we come out with a W. We already know it's going to be a tough game, and we know what the Saints can bring but this time it's Jameis."
SAFETY JORDAN WHITEHEAD
(On facing former Buccaneers QB and current Saints QB Jameis Winston)
"It's been a couple of years, but Jameis, he makes a lot of plays. He has a great arm and throws it deep, so we'll have chances. He's playing [well], making the right decisions, making smart reads, running the ball [well]. It's going to be a good test and I'm excited to get back and play against him."
(On finding continuity in the secondary despite the lineup changes)
"It's about just communicating, really. Every guy has the athletic ability to play, so it's just about them learning the defense. They've been here a couple weeks so they're getting more familiar with it. It's just on me, Antoine [Winfield Jr.] and Mike [Edwards] at the safety position just communicating with the corners [and] the linebackers. They're all smart and we've got [Richard] Sherman out here, an old vet, that's helping us out a lot getting those guys in the corner room ready to go."
(On what CB Richard Sherman was contributing from the sideline in Week 7 vs. Chicago)
"He was being a coach just how Coach [Kevin] Ross would be. He was taking place of that. He was out there coaching us up, saying what he saw every drive and coming back with his input. We all respect him and listen to him very well, so it definitely was helping us out."
(On the challenge of containing Saints RB Alvin Kamara)
"Kamara – knowing him the last four years – he is one of the best backs in the league with his balance, his speed [and] how he breaks tackles. He doesn't go down easily, so you're going to have to bring everything coming against him. You know the Saints are going to run the ball. [They have a] great offensive line – [they are] strong and physical, with Taysom Hill coming in too, so it's going to be a good matchup."
(On the Buccaneers defense having prior success against Kamara)
"Versus the Saints, everybody [has] to get to the ball. You can't take a play off, you can't get out of your gap. It's just the Saints – they capitalize on when the defense messes up."
(On if CB Richard Sherman was bragging about his coaching abilities after the Buccaneers defense tallied three interceptions in Week 7 vs. Chicago)
"He wasn't bragging about it, but he was excited for all of the guys coming in getting interceptions – a couple of backup corners, especially coming off the bench. That's exciting coming in and making plays, so he was excited for us."