Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Opening statement:

"A good start to the week as far as the physical part. Big home game, division opponent so it's a huge, huge game for us. I like the way we're starting to prepare."

(On S Jordan Whitehead's readiness in practice)

"He's full speed. He's ready to go."

(On if there is an update on the status of CB Sean Murphy-Bunting)

"No not yet."

(On how LS Zach Triner's injury will set the tone moving forward)

"Those guys don't have the reputation of being really, really tough guys. Nobody knows their name until somebody screws it up. He exemplifies everything that we talk about. Obviously, finishing that ball game was huge for us."

(On who stands out on the Falcons)

"A bunch of them – you have [Calvin] Ridley, [Kyle] Pitts, [Russell] Gage [and] Cordarrelle Patterson playing running back. They have weapons. A lot of teams didn't look good in the first week for whatever reason. Don't put any stock in that. We know how good the Falcons are."

(On the offensive line being one of two in the league to not give up a sack in Week 1)

"They're okay. We didn't give up a sack, but we had a couple of hurries and the quarterback had to get off the spot a couple of times when we had guys open. It's still a work in progress."

(On Falcons WR Calvin Ridley becoming a top receiver)

"I think he already had last year. Over there in our last game with them, he had a hell of a ballgame. He's a premier receiver in this league."

(On how much he is paying attention to other teams in the NFC South)

"Not very much. It doesn't mean shit. It's just who we're playing next week. That's all that matters."

(On getting back to a Sunday game routine)

"Sunday football at one o'clock is kind of gone. But yeah, it is. We'll get into that rhythm until we go to Philly. I'd much rather get into that rhythm now."

(On his relationship with Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith)

"I've known Arthur for a while when he was a GA at Memphis way back. He has worked his way up and he is a hell of a football coach."

(On how different this Falcons team is)

"Totally different defensively. Dean Pees is very multiple – every front known to man, every blitz known to man – and I think they're all still feeling each other out on what they can do and what they can't do. We have to be ready for everything offensively. Arthur is going to run the ball and it's going to be the wide zone, wide zone, wide zone, boot leg, boot leg. When they drop back to pass 'Matty' (Matt Ryan) can put it out there and he still throws deep-seven routes as good as anybody."

(On his thoughts on the run game against the Cowboys in Week 1)

"Thursday night is over. It doesn't matter. That game is over, and they didn't even run the ball so it doesn't matter."


(On what he remembers about the Week 15 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons from the 2021 season)

"I do remember that game. We didn't really put our best football out on the field in the first half. Then in the second half we came out on first just as an offensive unit. [Tom] Brady was just finding the open guys, we were running good routes and we came back and won that game. That was, I would say, one of the turning points of the season. There are many turning points, but if you think about it now, that really doesn't matter – what happened last year – but speaking of it, we didn't play good football in the first half and then we came out playing real good football in the second half."

(On the amount of fun he is having playing football again)

"Like I've been saying this year, it's not as complicated for me this year. Just going out there and hearing the play in the huddle – it was a whole new system I had to learn (last season) – now, I hear it and 'boom' I just react out there. Last year a few times I'd put my hand down and be like, 'Oh man, I kind of forgot who I've got.' You're thinking about it and then it's snapped, and you're stuck in the middle. This year it's definitely a lot more enjoyable breaking out of the huddle and just going out there and doing what you need to do. Your body and instincts are just taking over instead of thinking about the game."

(On Falcons TE Kyle Pitts)

"Yeah, I've seen him, and I've been hearing a lot about him since he was coming out for the draft. He's just an athletic freak – he for sure is. I've seen some highlights of him and he can play. It's just unbelievable – his build, his speed, his size, his route running – the capabilities that he has are just second to none. It's going to be a fun ride to watch him play ball throughout the years."

(On his 100th career receiving touchdown connection with QB Tom Brady including regular season and postseason combined)

"It's cool. I didn't even really know about it in the moment. But obviously after the game I heard about it and everything. I just listen to Coach [Tom] Moore. He said, 'I'll keep counting for you Rob, and you just keep catching.' I said, 'I like that one. I'll just keep catching.' That's what I'll do. Coach Moore gave me a nice line there – I appreciate him."


(On being named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week)

"Winning player of the week is really a punt coverage award. You do your job, but the guys out there have to do theirs, too. It's an award that goes to the whole punt coverage team. The unsung hero of it all is Zach [Triner], having a messed-up hand and still being able to snap all of those and the game winner. I personally think that he deserves it, but a long snapper is never going to get it. But I think he is the unsung hero."

(On how much of punting a ball inside the 5-yard line is skill versus luck)

"I mean you work on it – that's what you hope for. Like I said, I wish it went out on the 1-[yard line] and gave me 66 yards. Instead of tying my record, I would have liked to have beat it. Honestly, winning Special Teams Player of the Week is an honor, but one week is one week. You have to do it every week. That's my mindset. It's a great honor, a great team honor. I want to go back out there and win it every single week. I want to put this team in the best position possible. When you have to drive 90-something yards on our defense, it's nearly impossible with all the guys we have on our defense. That's my goal is to pin them deep every time and hopefully it works out."

(On the pride he feels when Bruce Arians said that special teams won the game against Dallas)

"It gives us a ton of pride. To be honest with you, we were a weak note last year and we want to change that. We have to be better as a unit, as a whole, and we're going to be better as a unit and as a whole. It starts with the specialists. It's start with those guys protecting, those guys covering and like I said this is a team award, it's not just a one-person award. We're on the right track. We just have to keep stacking. One game doesn't mean anything."


(On how much it helps to have S Jordan Whitehead returning)

"It helps a lot. Having him out there making calls and just his overall presence out there on the field has helped us out a lot with communication and everything. He's the vet out there so it's always good to have him back."

(On what the secondary learned from the Week 1 win over Dallas)

"A lot it was communication – it was things we can fix, things we've been working on in practice and things like that. I feel like our communication was a little off, but it's something that we are going to work on and improve in."

(On what stands out the most to him about the Atlanta Falcons offense)

"I would say the receivers and the tight end. I feel like those are the guys that are going to make plays for them, so we've got to try to do our best to slow them down."

(On how the secondary felt practicing today knowing the things they want to focus on improving moving forward)

"Yeah, just our mentalities – after the first game we were kind of like woken up. We know what we've got to do. We know we've got to do better. We've kind of just been emphasizing that in our practices."

(On what he remembers about the team's Week 15 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons during the 2020 season)

"I remember halftime everybody was kind of like, 'All right, we've got to lock it in. We've got to come out here and play, especially being down [17] points.' I feel like the huge turning point was in the locker room and coming out in the second half and just doing our jobs."