HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On if he is concerned with the new surge of the COVID-19 virus)
"Well, the virus issue is concerning because everybody has very, very mild symptoms – things that you wouldn't miss a day of work with in your life. But now you're out 10 days. So that's got me concerned that it can be transmitted that easily. I may sneeze and I test positive. That's the biggest concern for me right now."
(On if the Buccaneers' players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list will be back for the regular-season opener)
"Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, 10 days is still the maximum, so we'll have everybody back. But now these four days off and retesting now with the new protocol, who knows?"
(On how rookie WR Jaelon Darden did in the return game and on offense Saturday)
"Return game-wise, he's fine. We've got to block for him better, give him a chance, but he showed his speed getting around the corner and doing some of those things. Receiver-wise, he's still learning the nuances of different coverages – do you run this route versus that, and this and that? So, the dependability isn't quite where it can be. When he knows what he's doing, it's impressive. We've just got to do a better job of getting him to know what he's doing."
(On if any players 'on the bubble' helped themselves in Saturday's game)
"I guess the only one that really stood out was Dee Delaney – [he] really helped himself. We're still in the process of evaluating those last five spots, but he helped his cause."
(On if Delaney helped himself on special teams as well as in the secondary)
(On if he will be enacting stricter COVID-related rules at the Buccaneers' facility)
"When we reconvene as the Bucs in a few days – our guys are very, very aware of the situation and they're willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't affect our team."
(On making a mandatory mask rule inside the facility)
"It's something we'll talk about as a team. We're definitely going back to last year's meetings, where we're all spread out. Because our facility's so good, we can do that. That's the biggest thing as far as masks. Until I'm ready to wear one, then I won't require anyone else to wear one."
(On how RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn has fared as a runner, a returner and a gunner)
"As a runner he's fine and he did a heck of a job as a gunner. His return ability is up in the air. He's more of a running back looking for a hole instead of just hitting it as a kick returner. But he gets us out of a ballgame. He's a good off-returner for sure because he will block."
(On if he saw more growth from rookie OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka)
"I mean yeah, he's been doing all those things ever since Day One. It's staying in his gap in the running game [that] is his biggest problem right now."
(On if he's concerned about the play of the Buccaneers second-team offense)
"Not really because I hope they don't play."
(On if Hurricane Ida affected the Buccaneers travel on Saturday night)
"Yeah, it set us back, what was it, 45-50 minutes? It wasn't crazy."
(On the new schedule with a large gap between the final preseason game and the first regular season)
"Yeah, I think that was one of the reasons no one played anybody in the fourth preseason game. It was too close to the opener. Having this break, I'm not really a big fan, mainly probably because of COVID, of having these mandatory four days off. I mean, yeah, I'm okay with the four days off but with COVID it's a little bit different, being able to leave town and all those things. But it's not that big of a deal. You get a couple extra practices to get ready for it and then have another day off and then get back into a regular-season [schedule]. Not depending on that many rookies, we're okay because we're a pretty veteran team."
(On how G Alex Cappa played Saturday and if there's still a battle for the right guard starting job)
"No, 'Cap' probably graded out the highest of the offensive line. He had a really good ballgame. So that's pretty solidified. Aaron [Stinnie] is much better on the right side than he is the left, but he got a bunch of left-side snaps, so he did get better that way. We're very confident in both those guys."
(On the offense going no-huddle on the first touchdown drive Saturday night)
"We did a little bit of it in Detroit last year and it's something we always want to have. We've been working on it. We also can run the ball out of it a lot, too. Whether Tom [Brady] is calling them or Byron [Leftwich] is calling them, it's just a matter of speeding the game up, getting some up-tempo work. Byron calls most of them but Tom really operates it fast now. All the words mean something for him, where they didn't – 'What the hell did that mean?' – last year. So it's a lot easier."
(On if he's hopeful injured safety Jordan Whitehead will be ready for the regular season opener)
"Very hopeful. We're seeing good progress. We've got our fingers crossed that he'll make it."
(On when the Buccaneers will start the process of cutting the roster to 53 players before Tuesday's deadline)
"We already started it. We probably won't release anything until Tuesday but we'll be meeting on it all day today."
(On if some players gave extra effort Saturday night while fighting for roster spots)
"Oh, definitely. There was a lot at stake in that ballgame, especially going into that third and fourth quarter. I was happy the game was close so guys could show themselves, and a couple guys did. It really couldn't have worked out any better in that ballgame for us, as far as the evaluation process."
(On if he agrees with the recent NFL proposal to test players for COVID every seven days)
"I don't think it will help at all. I was fine with the other protocols. If your team is 100% vaccinated, I don't know why you have to test at all."
(On if he is considering restrictions on players when the team is at home similar to the rules on the road)
"Here? No, that will be a personal thing. Our guys are very, very smart on who to be with, where to be and how to handle themselves. Whether or not they go to restaurants and those type of things, we'll talk about that at a later date."
(On if rookie OL Robert Hainsey would start the season as the backup center and would come in if Ryan Jensen were hurt)
"We'd probably go with Ali [Marpet] and bring Aaron [Stinnie] in, and just bring Hainsey along as slow and easy as we possibly can."