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Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Opening Statement:

"Hope everybody enjoyed their week. Excellent, excellent. Good start to the week. Bunch of guys not out there, but they'll be fine."

(On if he means some of the players who didn't practice Monday will be fine later this week)


(On if the Buccaneers started the 21-day return-from-IR window on CB Sean Murphy-Bunting and WR Scotty Miller last week)

"Yes, so they could practice."

(On the progress he's seen from Murphy-Bunting and Miller)

"They looked really good today, so we'll see how it goes. See how sore they get and how it goes."

(On which of Sunday's upsets surprised him the most)

"Probably Denver the most, but yeah, there were so many things, watching those games yesterday, that we can learn from. Don't hand the ball off when you're lining up for a field goal, for sure. I think all of us – a lot of surprises, college football and [the NFL]. We talked about that this morning, showing up for work every day and being ready to play."

(On what he tries to watch on Sunday of his Bye Week)

"Pretty much try to see who we're playing next, and with Washington having the same bye didn't help us much. Just enjoy it and see some family and have some fun."

(On if WR Antonio Brown is still wearing a walking boot)

"Yes. Yes, he's still in the boot."

(On what the Bucs' expectations are as the second half of the season begins)

"Our expectation is to win every game, but we can only do that this week. Our expectation right now is just to practice as hard as we can to eliminate the mistakes that we're making in games and play better each week. No long-term goals other than to make sure today was the best day we had."

(On playing against Washington QB Taylor Heinicke in last year's Wild Card game)

"He can play. He can run. And he threw some great balls in that game. I think that team plays really, really hard for him, and I like the way he plays."

(On if he hopes the New Orleans game will be a wake-up call for the Bucs in terms of penalties)

"Yeah, I would hope. I mean, I thought we already fixed it. We hit the quarterback in the head too many times. You have to be very careful if you're jumping to bat a ball on where you land, especially with the rules the way they are now. Again, we'll wait and see next time. We could go with one penalty and then come back with 10 or 11. It's something we have to be very, very aware of."

(On if he was concerned about potential COVID cases coming back from the bye week)

"So far, so good. We haven't had anybody test positive, and I think all the tests are back."

(On if there any injured players other than CB Carlton Davis who won't have a shot to play this week)

"I think you still have to worry a little bit about Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and I don't know if AB (Antonio Brown) is going to make it back. And Carlton will stay on IR. We'll see if those other two guys are game-ready. It's one thing to practice, it's another thing to throw them out there in a game."

(On CB Richard Sherman's status)

"Yeah, he's in really good shape. Now, he really didn't need to play in that game so we were fortunate he didn't have to."

(On if Sherman could play this week)

"Yeah, he should be up and ready to roll."

(On what he was able to do during the Bye Week)

"Me? Uh, relax, go back [to Georgia] like I always do. Yeah, we were at the lake and my son came in. We had a good time. Just go back through the season, where it's at right now, what we did last year, what we want to fix. Just the normal looking in the rear-view mirror for a minute, and then start looking ahead."

(On if the Buccaneers were making any changes after self-scouting at the Bye Week)

"Yeah, we do that so weekly now, with the computers and stuff. So it's not as big of a thing, other than the obvious: penalties and turnovers. That will never go away."

(On this weekend's results underscoring that any team can be beat in a given week)

"Yep, that's one of the things we actually talked about this morning: respecting the process of working. It doesn't show up on Sunday, it shows up Wednesday, Thursday, Friday."

(On how he thinks the schedule lines up for the Buccaneers in the second half)

"You know, injuries and COVID and everything changes every single week. So it's just: It looks good this week. You take them one day at a time and one game at a time from here on out. We're in first place, so let's stay there."


(On what the primary concern is going to be against Washington this Sunday)

"My primary concern is they have weapons across the field. They have Terry McLaurin – he's a threat at receiver – Antonio Gibson and (J.D) McKissic. Obviously, the quarterback (Taylor Heinicke), I remember what he did to us last year, he's definitely a threat to us. At the end of the day, as long as we take care of what we're supposed to take care of and execute our thing on defense and play sound and smart football. It definitely feels like we have a chance."

(On if the last game against the Saints can be a turning point in the team fixing the issues with penalties, similar to the way the Bears game was in 2020)

"Very similar because it was a game we could have won. A game we should have won. We can talk about this because it was the last game, but it's definitely a game we wish we could have back. But we just have to move forward from it and we have to learn from it. Me personally, I feel we all did. It definitely put a bad taste in our mouth when you lose a game like that because of those situations. We definitely have a group of mature men that understand what it was that cost us so we're definitely going to get better from it. Coach 'BA' (Bruce Arians) already made an emphasis on us as leaders and captains in the locker room. Certain other players have kind of already spoke on it. We know that's something that hurt us, so we definitely have to be better at it."

(On what Arians emphasized to the leaders)

"That's just the basic thing: no Bucs beating Bucs. That stuff is just old. We can't have that creeping back up for us to be a team that we want to be. We're a good football team and we're capable of beating a lot of teams when we go out there and play. At the end of the day, we can't win if we're out there with 10 penalties a game and stuff like that. A lot more stuff was added, but obviously that was the main thing. We just can't go out there beat ourselves when we're out there playing football. This game is already hard to win, so when you add on penalties and stuff like that it's going to be even tougher. We're not trying to put that on ourselves.

(On how the team can handle the expectation of winning every game going into the second half of the season)

"Just like I said earlier, you have to respect your opponent, but at the same thing you have to go out there and know who you are as a football team. You have to go out there and execute offense and defense and you also have to be out there and play smart football. Some teams beat us in games because of penalties and stuff like that and we give those people those chances and stuff like that. Then, maybe you have a mental lapse here and there, so once we clean all of that up, we can be as good as we want to be. Once we have that aspect done with, we're going to continue to take it one day at a time and just try to focus on it beating Monday, beating Tuesday, beating Wednesday, each day out of the week and when Sunday is here bring it all together and go from there."


(On what they need to do to eliminate penalties going into the second half of the season)

"The same thing [we did last season]. Staying focused and playing disciplined football. That's what's been hurting us a little bit in some of these closer games we have had. It obviously hurt us two weeks ago in New Orleans. But playing more disciplined football is what we're going to have to do and that comes from players holding other players accountable and just making sure we're doing the right thing."

(On the pride he takes on being nominated for USAA Salute to Service Award)

"It's awesome for my third year in a row to be nominated for the Salute to Service Award. I enjoy doing things with the military community. It's been a passion for a long time with a lot of my family in the military. Last year and this year again, we're actually going to sponsor a service dog for a Wounded Warrior along with getting on Zoom calls and having relationships built with military families. Granted, the last 18 months have been all over Zoom. It hasn't been a lot of in person stuff. It's been awesome. Even with my time back in Baltimore, doing a lot of stuff with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), which is an organization that helps with Gold Star families – families that have lost a member of their family while they were serving. I built some good relationships with that. Every year, being able to continue that work because of what the military does for us and protects us and sacrifices so much. For us to play in all honesty a silly little game it's awesome to be able to give back to them."

(On how he became involved with Southeastern Guide Dogs)

"For me, the Zoom calls and building these relationships with the military families is huge, but I felt like last year I wanted to do something a little bit more impactful. That's kind of where that came up by talking with Sarah Evans, who does a fantastic job here with all of our community relations. She came to me and asked what I wanted to do and I wanted to donate a dog. She did a lot of the leg work for me, which was amazing. She's amazing at what she does. She found an organization down here called Southeastern Guide Dogs that we felt was a great fit for that and we went through with that and donated some money to have a dog. It's amazing on what they dogs can do and what they can be trained to do. Turning on light switches, turning off light switches, opening doors, recognizing when a person is having an anxiety attack, having a PTSD attack. The way they react and try to have them calm down and help them is amazing on what an animal can do for these service members. For me, that's why I wanted to do it again this year and donate another dog just because of the impact these dogs will have on these service members' lives."

(On the battle to stay on top of the NFC and earn home field advantage)

"Having home field advantage is going to be huge with having fans and the traveling and all that. Staying on top of the NFC is something that obviously [you want]. You want to win your division and you want to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It's been all season for us focusing on that, especially with these last nine games with how tight that race is. It's going to be huge."


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