Buccaneers' HC Bruce Arians Quotes 7.28.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On if he knows of any players on his team that might opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, particularly tackle Donovan Smith)
"I have not had any discussions with Donovan. I expect him to report on time. Obviously, it's a personal choice for guys to do this and I respect their choice."
(On who might replace Donovan Smith at left tackle if he decides to opt out of the season)
"Well yeah, we'd work out a bunch of guys. Joe Haeg has played over there. Tristan [Wirfs] could play over there. Brad Seaton [too] – we've got some guys that if he (Donovan Smith) decided not to play, we'd be ready to go."
(On if the multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus that have spread around the Miami Marlins clubhouse concerns him that a similar thing could take place in the Buccaneers locker room)
"I don't think our guys are going to get sick in the locker room. I don't think they'll get sick in our facility. Everybody here is tested [and] they're clean. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen outside the facility. Is it possible? Yeah, [but] I don't see it happening. We don't stay in cities as long as baseball does and that can be a problem [for them]."
(On if he has made any decisions on what personal precautions he will take this season)
"I'm very comfortable with our protocols now that I've gotten used to the protocols. We had a week of staff meetings where we went through the protocols, how to teach with a mask on and all of the things that we are going to do differently. I'm very, very comfortable with it. As far as on the field, I'll maintain a mask and probably a shield just for personal use, and coach like I've always coached."
(On his confidence level that the NFL will be able to pull off a 16-game season)
"I'm very confident. Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe. It's going to [take] coaches, players and staff being smart outside the building. Nobody is going to get sick over here because everybody's got a negative test that's in the building, so you're going to get sick somewhere else. We've just got to have a lot of discipline this year and I have a lot of confidence we'll get it done."
(On how much he communicated with the team about their group workout sessions they held over the offseason)
"We really had no communication. We couldn't film it or anything like that. I didn't really have a lot of conversation with Tom [Brady], other than that there was a good turnout, they were getting a lot of things done [and] it was a good team-building experience. It doesn't replace practice, but it's the closest thing you can get."
(On if the quality of play will take a hit from the start due to the lack of offseason practices and preseason games)
"I think it's definitely going to take a hit. You're not going to be in the same football shape you [would have been in if] you had all the learning that takes place in the spring and a true training camp with four preseason games to look at a lot of young players. So yeah, it's going to take a hit."
(On how he feels about the veteran leadership on his team to be able to navigate the challenges this season will present)
"I feel very, very good about that. I think one thing, especially defensively, is we've got some great veteran leadership on that side of the ball. When you add Tom [Brady] and Rob [Gronkowski] to go along with the guys we have on offense – we're still young on offense, but they're very, very mature people and players. Mike Evans is a great leader, [and] Chris Godwin. We've got tons of leadership. Even our second-year players were very mature players last year, especially in the secondary, so that's no problem."
(On where QB Tom Brady is at in terms of grasping the Buccaneers offense)
"He's way ahead of the curve. He's a very bright guy – the terminology was the big thing. As we now get together starting tomorrow, we'll start to collaborate a little bit more. So yeah, I think he's in a great spot right now as far as that goes."
(On how critical it is for Brady to be an expert on the playbook considering the challenges this offseason has presented)
"Yeah, I think that's the big thing. Again, it's a dual thing – him learning what we do, me learning what he likes, meeting in the middle and doing a lot of different things. I'm not going to ask the other 21 guys to learn something new when they've already had a good year and good experiences in the offense. I would've liked to have had a couple of preseason games, but it didn't work out that way."
(On how much K Matt Gay will be practicing in the south end zone at Raymond James Stadium to prepare for the season)
"At least two or three times a week. We really don't need lines over there; we just need a goal post. When it's available, he will be there."
(On his confidence level in Gay heading into his second NFL season)
"Yeah, I think he learned a lot of things about life off the field in the NFL and how it affects on-field performance. Up [through] November he was having a heck of a year and then he had a bad December. We'll find out if it was a rookie wall or if it's a problem. If it's a problem, we'll fix it."
(On what interactions he had with QB Tom Brady his first time walking into the Buccaneers practice facility and what he has heard from other players about their interactions with Brady)
"All positive things, obviously. All of the guys that have been working out with him see his intensity level at even those type of workouts and they only know they're going to intensify when we get out there for real. It's been great. You would've hoped we would've had spring practice so all of them could get over the awe – especially the young players – with Tom Brady walking into the locker room, and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). We'll get through that I think in maybe a week – each guy will have enough [confidence] to go talk to him.
(On how he can best utilize the talents of John Franklin III)
"Yeah, he's a very interesting athlete, even though he had never played defense. He's one of those guys that he's got so much talent and athletic ability, you're trying to find a place for him. We ran that little Wildcat package with him, and he did a great job with it. He can throw [and] he's coming in as a wide receiver, so he'll be in the offensive rooms. He could possibly give us a third quarterback on Sunday with his ability, so he's got a lot of options, and it's up to him to make the ball club as a wideout."
(On which position is most affected by limited offseason time)
"I think both lines of scrimmage – the offensive line and defensive line not being able to work on pad level. We're going to have 14 days in pads – that is not a lot of time to get ready to play in a ballgame against really quality opponents, but we're going to have to get it done."
(On what he did during the offseason with his extra time away from the team)
"The rest of my time I stayed where I was as safe as possible. I stayed up in Georgia and played golf a lot. I'm really anxious to get guys [in the building] and get going."
(On if he did more self-scouting, watching film of QB Tom Brady or anything else football-wise during the offseason)
"Football-wise, we did everything that was possible before we left. We came back for a week to get adapted to the new teaching methods that we're going to be going through, so we're all ready for that. We did self-scout [but] we did Tom Brady before we signed Tom Brady, so that was already done."
(On if there are any players he expects to have limitations once practices begin)
"Justin [Evans] will probably be on PUP. We'll see how the right foot reacts. He doesn't have a lot of time, but he needs to get out there. He's the only one right now that I think will be on PUP."
(On what the priorities are over the next few weeks)
"We'll spend the mornings with the 60 minutes of weightlifting and 60 minutes of conditioning. In the afternoons we will meet and have a 60-minute walkthrough. You can get a lot done in a walkthrough [and] there is a lot of teaching that can go on. I kind of equate it to playing Thursday-night games when you don't practice on Monday and Tuesday and you play Thursday night, and you play very well. You got all that through a walkthrough, so we're going to take that approach, install everything, do our mock situations [and] everything in walkthroughs while we have them in there."
(On if he anticipates having to make roster moves at running back after RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list)
"He's in the protocol – that's all I can say. It's just like concussions. He's in the COVID protocol and we'll see where it goes. We won't make any adjustments to that position."
(On if he plans on having a third quarterback that is isolated from the team)
"We'll go through training camp and then we'll try and decide whether or not we want to keep somebody on the roster and keep them away, or allow them to come in or do things virtually, just in case. We'll know the protocols – we'll have plenty of time by then to see how it's all working out. But, it's still a possibility."
(On if he is planning on using that strategy with any other positions on the roster)
(On the kind of confidence Brady and Gronkowski can bring to the offensive huddle)
"I think it's amazing. You guys know – when he walks in the huddle it's different. This guy's got six rings and he knows what he's doing. There's going to be a ton of confidence in him, not only on offense, but on defense. Our defensive players are going to feel the same way and look forward to going against each other. There's a ton of confidence that they automatically bring in. They've got a pretty good resume."
(On if he has considered coaching from the coaching booth)
"No. There's no chance of me coaching from a box. Once we get a [face] shield that I like, I'll have my mask and shield on. I won't be able to spit on them anyway."
(On if he or his family ever had a reservation about returning to coaching this season and if coaching Brady factored into his decision to coach this season)
"There was never a doubt that I was going to coach, especially once I had seen the protocols and everything that's taken place. Whether it was Tom or whoever the quarterback would be, I'm going to get excited. I really like our ball club. Knock on wood we can stay healthy this year and do the things we want to do. We want to get in the playoffs. Having Tom adds to the excitement, obviously, but I would have been all in either way."
(On what the team is doing to try and stay healthy this season)
"I've got my [contact tracing device] on right now. It tells me how close I am to anybody and is tracking. We've all got them. I think you've got to be smart. You're not going to find me out at any of my favorite restaurants or bars, so you're welcome to come over to the house. That's about the only place I'll be – in the office and in the house. You've got to be as safe as possible. It's going to take a lot of discipline."
(On if he feels confident about the defensive pass rush and if there's young players he's looking at in that role)
"I'm very comfortable with the pass-rush. I think Anthony Nelson was slowed down a little bit last year with his knee, but he showed a lot of good stuff in practice and then when he was in the games, he was very solid. We've got some young kids I'm really anxious to see. Kazhin Daniels, Quinton Bell, some guys who got a lot of speed off the edge – [Michael] Divinity, some of these young guys coming in. I'm anxious to get them out there and see what they can do. We need Lavonte [David] and Devin [White] to continue to grow as pass-rushers. I think that part of it is fine."
(On if CB Carlton Davis is ready to take the next step in his career)
"I think Carlton made that move last November. What he did to DeAndre Hopkins was outstanding. He basically shut him out of the game and that's not an easy job. He did a really good job on Julio [Jones] – we realize Julio's a little stronger. The penalties have gone, he's one of the top 10 guys – in my opinion – right now."
(On if he has paid attention to the COVID-19 outbreak within the Miami Marlins organization and if the players are also aware of it)
"I'm sure they're aware of it. Like I said, baseball's got to travel to the cities and stay a lot longer than we do. We're in and out. There won't be any going out to restaurants and that type of thing. We'll try to sanitize the hotel that we're at as best we can, and the visiting locker room. Then, just get back on the plane and come home. Our travel – as far as what baseball's going through – is totally different than what they're doing. Obviously, the bubble's not going to work with as many guys as we have. We have 120-something on the field every day."
(On who the backup center may be and which young guards may stick with the team)
"Again, I'm anxious to see the guys that we're bringing in - [John] Molchon [Zach] Shackelford. Aaron Stinnie's a kid that really came on for us last year – I really liked him. [We're] working him as a snapper and a guard. We still have Ali [Marpet], who could play center, [Zack] Bailey, who was doing great until he broke his foot last year. He's a big strong kid. We've got some kids in there that I really like and am really anxious to see. Again, we need to get them in pads so they can do their thing."
(On if he expects to add any players to the roster between today and the first practices)
"Never say never, that's for sure."
(On if he anticipates the need to tackle more in camp this season compared to previous years)
"Yes – as far as tackling to the ground, we did it a couple days last year. We had some live stuff with Miami and then preseason games. You have to be very careful tackling yourselves, but you've still got to tackle somebody. We'll probably have more than we've had in the past – maybe one or two days where we're actually scrimmaging each other just to get the contact, facing cut blocks and all those things you're going to see in the first ball game."
(On what ILB Devin White needs to do to elevate himself as a pass rusher)
"Devin White – just continue to [grow]. Use his speed, maybe a counter move. I think he's working on some stuff for if we stick him out on the edge and let him come, he knows what he's doing."
(On how behind the rookies across the league will be this season without a full offseason program and preseason games)
"I think it's definitely hurting the younger players – especially undrafted free agents, also. In the past we've always had one or two make our club, especially on special teams. All the rookies missed over 400 snaps in the spring. We'll try to catch back up and do two fields of practice when we're in limited, 90-minute to 125-minute practices – we'll probably do a lot of two-field stuff like we did in OTAs. It's going to be very hard for them and I don't have anybody penciled in as starters until I see them play and not make mistakes."
(On what undrafted free agents need to do in practice to earn a spot on the team)
"That's going to be the hardest thing. Like I said, say it's a wide receiver – 'Could he be a core special teams player and get into the top five or six on gameday?' Those kids aren't going to have those options this year because we probably won't do special teams full speed other than once. I think it's a shame for all of them. It's a nice thing that the practice squad went so high to 16, so you might be able to keep them around longer and continue to evaluate them."
(On what Brady's biggest concern is at this point)
"I think his biggest concern is having no live reps up until now. Missing all those reps in the spring – especially against a defense like ours where he's going to see multiple looks all the time. Then, just getting into game shape and getting that reaction time down. I think he'll know where to go with the ball, it's just a matter of us putting him in enough situations – full-speed situations – that he's ready to play a game."