Tampa Bay Buccaneers



(On what the coaches were able to accomplish during the bye week)

"We did a lot of self-scouting, number one. Obviously, you try to get a head start on next week – well, this week now, with Cleveland – so we got a lot of work done that way."

(On if the coaches noticed anything new that had previously gone unaddressed)

"No, it's been kind of the same. We kind of do it every week – it was just the totality of it and learning how we can get better with the guys we've got and using them the correct way."

(On the timetable for C Ryan Jensen)

"They haven't told me anything right now. We're going without him – we expect to go without him. If he gets better somehow then we'll welcome him back, but right now we're going with everybody we've got."

(On if he feels like the offense is trending positively)

"Well, we got the win but we've got to do it every week. We've got seven games left so we've got to produce and we've got to execute every week going forward. We're 5-5, we know what our record is, we know what we've got ahead of us. We're working on things – we've just got to do it consistently."

(On if the performance of RB Rachaad White changes the offensive gameplan)

"Well, you saw what he can bring. He's very athletic [and] he gives us a lot – 'Lenny' [Fournette] gives us a lot as well. Depending on who gets hot at a certain time, we'll ride that hand. Right now, we need everybody back there – 'Sneak' (Ke'Shawn Vaughn) included with Gio [Bernard] coming back. We've got guys [that] if they get in the game and they get going pretty [well], we'll probably leave them in there."

(On what he plans to do at left guard moving forward)

"Well this is Luke [Goedeke]'s first day, he's got to get acclimated. It's his first day in pads so we'll see as time goes by. Right now, we're planning on starting [Nick] Leverett – Luke isn't ready right now, it's his first day back in pads."

(On the status of RB Leonard Fournette)

"He's sore right now"

(On Fournette's status as it relates to playing Sunday)

"He's pretty sore – we'll see how the week goes. If he progresses and gets better to where he can run full speed, then he'll play – if not, then he won't."

(On the play of LB Devin White after being criticized a few weeks ago)

"For us, we've never had a problem with Devin here in the building. We don't look at it that way at all. Anybody on our team can have one or two bad plays…the fact that he got scrutinized, that's just the way football goes. We expect everything from him – he's one of our leaders, he's one of our best players, he produces for us every week at a full clip. Everybody has full confidence in him and we expect him to be ready to go Sunday just like he was in Germany."

(On if there's a key to maintaining momentum following the bye week)

"It's just focus – getting our focus back. After having a week off, get your focus back, get used to hitting again, understand what our mission is going forward."

(On how to ensure everybody is mentally locked in after the bye week)

"Really it's just execution. Everybody is locked in – some people make better plays than others and we make an excuse as if people weren't locked in or weren't ready to play. We know what our schedule is, we know who we play – we don't take anybody for granted. We understand where we've got to be and going forward we'll be ready to play on Sunday."

(On facing the Browns rushing attack)

"It's going to be tough, you know? They've got two good runners, they've got a great offensive line, their tight ends and receivers block as well. They've been in the top five the last couple of years and it's going to be a challenge for our guys – gap control, understanding where we've got to be. But when you do that, they have play action passes and throw the ball – they have a great screen game [and] they've got some good receivers outside. All the way around, we're going to have to be disciplined."

(On why the run defense was so good against the Seahawks)

"Just gap control – everybody doing their job. It was just gap control – nothing special."

(On if he has been encouraged by WR Julio Jones over the last few weeks)

"It's great to have him here healthy, finally getting health. [He] gives us another guy so they can't really double Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin] all the time. He's very good in the run game as well, he can do a lot of things for us. We've just got to keep him upright that way. He's been good the last couple of games, he's been good this off week. We'll just try to keep him healthy going forward."

(On NT Vita Vea not practicing today)

"He did not practice – he has a foot. We'll see how it goes during the week."

(On the status of WR Russell Gage)

"He did not practice."

(On Gage's outlook moving forward)

"He's getting better. He looks better. We'll see how it goes."

(On if he feels like the trip to Germany was a bonding experience for the team)

"I think it was a great experience. Everybody looked forward to it. Not many of us have been over in Munich, so it was a great experience. The crowd was great, the energy was great and it got everybody going. The fact that we were able to win the game is a great momentum booster – then you get a week off so now you've got to pick back up and forget about that trip and move forward from there."

(On if the coaches identified an area where they will make changes moving forward)

"We make changes every week – we identify areas every week, it's not just the bye week. We don't wait to try and make changes. You make changes – some of them don't work, that's just football. Some of them don't work, some of them do. We keep tinkering in that department, trying to find the right formula for everything."


(On the team performing better in several key offensive areas in Week 10)

"I think the most important thing to realize is it's week to week, too. As good as that was, it was one game and you've got to build on it. You've got to put together a bunch of those games. So we've just got to keep the pressure on – practice hard, prepare hard and ultimately when you go out there, play your ass off and see what we can make of it. We've got a big stretch ahead and it starts this week in Cleveland. It's going to be a tough game [against a] tough, hard-nosed football team, [in a] tough hard-nosed city. They're fighting hard so we've got to figure out how to go out there and win it."

(On if he saw the level of effort he was hoping to see in Week 10)

"I thought we did it…again, it was two weeks ago. We've just got to play hard, we've got to give everything we've got. [Offensive Coordinator] Byron [Leftwich] made a good point today: We've got seven games, we've got 21 practices. And we're 5-5 – it's obviously not a great record but it could be worse, could be better. It doesn't really matter. Our whole season's ahead of us and we've got to go out there and play well. If we do it, we'll feel good about what happens. If we don't, we'll feel very disappointed. It's all ahead of us. It's going to be up to us what we make of this season, and it starts this week."

(On keeping momentum during a bye week)

"Like I said, I think every week is a new week. There's different challenges. I think we're relatively fresh and healthy, and we've got to go play well. We've got to play with great intensity and effort and enthusiasm and we've got to go execute well. We've got to throw and catch it, we've got to finish our blocks in the run game, we've got to make tackles, we've got to get to the quarterback. We've got to do all the things that winning football really demands. I think the hard part about football season is it's a marathon, and everyone's got to buckle down and give everything they've got. I think this time of the year, some teams get worse and stop believing and lose hope, and other teams do the opposite. And I think that's where you really see – whether it's a championship boxing match, whether it's football season, whether it's the middle of the third quarter of a game – that's when you begin to separate yourself. You can't really separate yourself four games in, but when you get to 12 games in you can start to do that. We've got to play well."

(On having WR Julio Jones fully healthy to pair with wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin)

"Yeah, really important. I just think it's production outside of what Chris does and what Mike does. That third-receiver position, whoever is in there, has to be productive, and the tight end position made some plays too, which helps the production. The run game helps the production. You always look at 400 yards of offense as kind of a baseline number. Well, how do you get there? If you throw for 250 you've got to rush for 150. If you throw for 300 you've got to rush for 100. So if you rush for 150 and you throw for 300 you've had a hell of day. And you've still to throw that 350 to somebody and they've got to catch it for 350, too. If Chris and Mike go for 90 each you've still got to come up with 170, so it's the third receiver, it's tight ends, running backs. Everyone's got to figure out how to produce and add to that yardage total. And then ultimately it comes down to third down, scoring points in the red area, and that's where you see numbers pick up. And turnovers – you can't score if you turn the ball over. That's why it's a team game. It's the ultimate team game. The better you run it, the less pressure it puts on the pass game. If you're not running it then you've got to throw for 400. Well, that's hard to do, it's hard to throw for 400. We're going to a place that has inclement weather. We're going to have to run it well, when we pick our spots throwing we're going to have to throw it well. We're going against a team that's got a good pass-rusher, good cover guys. They play really hard. It's going to be a tough game."

(On if he has told teammates about being on teams that were 7-5 and 5-5 and still won the Super Bowl)

"I don't think you can think that far ahead. I think it's kind of pointless. You've got to think about what's in the moment and what we have ahead of us this week, and it's a tough game. It's a tough opponent. Everyone wants to jump ahead and think about things that are so far down the road. It's kind of a waste of time. Really, just focus on having a good practice, correct what we messed up, put together three good days of practice and then be prepared to play. Again, you can only win one game this week, and that game's on Sunday. So, build what we can to make sure we play our best on Sunday."

(On how important is to be coming off a game in which they were able to run the ball well)

"Yeah, super important. That was great that we ran it like that, but we're going to need to do that every week, and that's just the reality. We're going to have to control the line of scrimmage and make yards running and make people miss and finish blocks and not get penalties and be balanced. The games where we've done that we've done a really good job. When we haven't, it's been a struggle."

(On G Nick Leverett)

"Yeah, he's done a good job. Certainly the communication's really important, he does a good job of that. He kind of has a little bit of a center background to him. Everyone has a lot of confidence in Nick. He goes in and he fights his tail off. That's all you can ask for, and everyone loves having him in there. He's working really well with 'Donnie' [Smith], working really well with 'Hains' (Robert Hainsey) and he's done a great job."

(On what he's most thankful for this Thanksgiving)

"That's a good question. I'm thankful for a lot, I have a lot of blessings in my life. I'm a very lucky guy."

(On having his son Jack at practice with him)

"It's the best. I had him out here for training camp last year, which was amazing for a dad, so that was pretty special. I just loving him around. The more I can be around him, the better it is."

(On RB Rachaad White)

"He's done a good job, and when he's got his opportunities he really took advantage of it. I think he's a hard-working guy, it means a lot, [he] cares a lot. He's got a good skillset in the run game and pass game. He's done a great job for us and I think just more of what we saw, that's what we'd all love to see. More of it, and every week we'd love to see that. If we can get that from him and 'Lenny' [Fournette] and Gio [Bernard] and 'Sneak' (Ke'Shawn Vaughn), it's a good backfield."


(On how much having DL Akiem Hicks back has helped the defense)

"He helps the whole defense overall. He's very gritty – I think he scares a lot of offensive linemen [with] his demeanor and how physical he is. He takes two [blockers] every time. There was one play in the run game, I can remember me shooting a gap just because they tried to combo him. If you're going to give me a split second, I can kind of have a little room to work."

(On the drive that he has to put forth high-level performances like he did in Week 10)

"I just want to win. At the end of the day, I never want to let those guys down because just being on the practice field every day, we put in a lot of work together. I just want to hold myself accountable and do my part. Every time you get down, you've got to have that mindset in the back of your head that another person is depending on you. Lavonte [David], he holds me to an even higher standard than myself because he's been doing it for so long and winning feels good for him. He knows what it's like to lose and he's always telling me, 'I'm not going back down that road. Whatever we've got to do as a group to get everybody going, we've got to be that glue for the team.'"

(On what the last few weeks have been like for him)

"It's been hard. It's been really hard. Moreso off the field it's been way harder for me. I've just been going through a lot. I still come to work and try to do what I do best and have fun here, but at the end of the day, it's life. Everybody is going to go through a lot of bad things off the field, whether you want to or not. You've just got to be able to accept it and keep your faith high. I think that's one thing that keeps me going. I don't wear my emotions on my face. I deal with my problems the way I deal with them, but I keep God first. I think he keeps blessing me, keeps me going and help me be there for my family and also come in here and be there for my teammates."

(On preparing to play the Browns)

"When I looked at the game, I said, '15 tackles. Getting off the bus, this is a game for 15 tackles. Come down here and be ready to make plays.' I was just telling Antoine [Winfield Jr.], I look at these games and I get excited because it's a chance to make a name for yourself against other great players that have established great names for themselves. We've just got to be dialed in. One of the things we've been doing a lot is going over our run fits and being gap-sound – everybody having integrity on the defense of where they're supposed to be. I think that's what we were missing a lot – people being a lot of misfits. Now, we're getting everything under control. We felt that way going against Seattle and I think we did a great job so we're just trying to keep the momentum going."

(On what Head Coach Todd Bowles means to him)

"He means the world to me. Obviously, drafting me from LSU, believing in me, taking a chance…I was a raw talent type of guy, I was just a great playmaker. Now, he's grooming me into a great player. I think I've got to keep being consistent, that's kind of been the number one worry for me. I look at him as a father figure, you know? People don't know, I always [am] out here by myself…his wife is from Louisiana [and] they send me food every time they cook. It's always more than just football with Coach Bowles. That's what I respect [about] him. I've got an open policy to go to his office or to text or call his phone [and] he's going to always answer. I'll go to Jesuit [High School] and I'll watch his son play and everything. We've got a great relationship all around – it's bigger than football with him and I'm pretty sure he treats a lot of players like that as well."


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