Buccaneers' Team Quotes 8.28.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On his thoughts about Friday's scrimmage and his impressions of QB Tom Brady's performance)
"I thought Tom was very, very efficient. Good job of leadership – I think when you get the first long drive of the year, guys start dragging. He got their [butts] in the huddle and got them rolling and keeping under the 25 second and 40 second clock pretty good – we weren't close at all. He was commanding that pretty good, and overall, I thought he had a hell of a day. Overall, I was pretty pleased. I think that [opening] drive and a couple other drives showed that we're not quite in game shape coming out of it. The field was very soft and mushy – we're used to a hard, fast surface over here on the practice [field], so it was a little different feel, too."
(On the health status of RB Ronald Jones II and CB Carlton Davis III following the scrimmage)
"I'll wait and see. I don't think either one is very serious."
(On how the first-team defense performed)
"I wish we could have gotten a few more snaps in, but I didn't want to force it. I sent them back out once on a drive where there was a three-and-out to try and get them more conditioned, also. I thought they were outstanding."
(On how the kickers performed in Friday's scrimmage along with WR Jaydon Mickens' contributions as a returner)
"Obviously, [Elliott] Fry didn't have a very good day and [Matt] Gay was OK. Jaydon, he's been Special Teams Player of the Month before, so he's got a little résumé as a returner. He's getting better and better as a receiver, so we'll see how that plays out. I thought [Cyril] Grayson had a nice return, also."
(On if he learned anything new about Brady having seen him in a situation similar to a real game)
"No, not really. I would have expected him to snap a little harder on some guys when they were struggling with the heat, but he was solid. He was everything I thought he would be. Nothing new, nothing drastic."
(On if he saw the next level of Brady's competitiveness during the scrimmage)
"He was fired up. He was ready to go. It was the first time in a game atmosphere and, like I said, he had great command. He was getting them in and out, forcing his will a little bit on some guys who were tired – they need that."
(On how T Tristan Wirfs performed)
"I'll have to grade the film. Being the referee, it was hard for me to watch anybody in particular, other than the quarterback to make sure he didn't get hit."
(On if anyone stood out on special teams)
"Again, I'll have to go back and watch the film – it's too soon. I think a couple of guys – [Quinton] Bell and [Cam] Gill – looked like they were flying around a bit. Hopefully that's what shows up on tape – it looked like it out there. But, sometimes it lies out there and tape tells the truth, so I'll wait and see the tape."
(On if he learned anything about his team on Friday that was either encouraging or worrisome)
"The competitiveness, I think, is encouraging. I think guys were getting after each other pretty good. I thought the tackling was really solid by our first group. A couple of guys stood out and made some plays. Again, I'll watch the film. Discouragement, I didn't think it was that hot for us to wilt a little bit in that heat, especially on the long drives. So, that's something we can address easily in the next two weeks."
(On what he didn't get to see in Friday's scrimmage that he hopes to evaluate in the future)
"I cancelled the last two-minute period – I didn't want to risk an injury. I think our numbers were pretty high to that point. Maybe another couple situational blocks. We got coming off the goal line, we got going in, we got a bunch of scenarios covered. There is nothing I would say we have to have for the next one, and I'll evaluate whether or not we even have another one."
(On how satisfied he was by the offense's execution)
"I thought the first offense was outstanding on that 98-yard drive getting it in the end zone. I thought Tom [Brady] was outstanding on third downs the whole way around. I'd like to see them score on that two-minute drive with 31 seconds [remaining]. We got it down there and ended up kicking a field goal, which is fine before the half. You're always looking for a double score, but you want that touchdown right there. That would be the only disappointing thing on the first-team offense. I thought the second-team offense made a couple of plays. I didn't expect them to make a bunch, but they moved the ball. They made a few first downs against our defense and then our defense shut them down."
(On if he will be tough on the rookie running backs when it comes to ball security)
"Oh yeah. You'll be real hard on them. I don't care what year you are – you're not fumbling the ball and being a running back here."
(On CB Parnell Motley's health status)
"It could be the rest of camp. We'll wait and see. He was doing great. Everybody's trying to make him All-Pro, but he's still a rookie just trying to make the team."
(On how RB Ronald Jones II and RB LeSean McCoy ran in the scrimmage)
"I thought it was outstanding – both of those guys. RoJo,(Ronald Jones II) his quickness and explosion showed up big time on a couple runs. Again, that turf was so mushy. I think had we been on our practice field, he would have made a couple big ones. I think Shady (LeSean McCoy) made a couple nice runs also, so I feel really good about those guys."
(On if Arians has a response to NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith commenting that Arians is "woefully misinformed" about the history of protests)
"I have a history – it might be a little bit longer than his."
(On TE Cameron Brate's performance throughout training camp and if it is because he has fully recovered from any injuries) "He's moving real, real well and looking good. I think the hip surgery and some of those things are well behind him now."
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On his thoughts about Friday's scrimmage and the 98-yard touchdown drive)
"That was kind of an eye opener for all of us. Basically, every period is probably four plays and you're out, four plays and you're out. That was 15, 16 plays in the heat and we came straight from the warmups right on to the field, so I think everybody was a little gassed and probably pretty expected. I think getting used to that heat, humidity and then the crowd noise – I think all those things were different variables for all of us. Hopefully we can use the lessons and just give us a little bit of experience with one another. It was definitely a bit of a challenge, but something we really need. We're going to need more of it because it's only going to get tougher from here."
(On if his intensity level on the field with his teammates will increase once the regular season comes)
"I'm trying to just feel it out. When we need a little spark, try to provide that. When we need a little pick me up, provide that. I try to just get a feel on a daily basis, and I try to keep a really consistent level of intensity. I think the competition is on. It doesn't start in two weeks – it has already started Every day that goes by we have to learn from what we're doing, learn with each other, the plays, the corrections, all the different things that we're trying to really get up to speed with because it's very different with no preseason games and learning against our own team constantly [and] not traveling at all. We can try to maybe take advantage of the extra time we have – because I think there is a little extra time for practice – but it's coming fast. I think today was a good indicator for all of us that it's right around the corner and we're going to have to tighten some things up so we can be ready to go against a great football team in a couple weeks."
(On his thoughts surrounding the recent events in the sports world and athletes choosing to miss postseason games to raise awareness about social justice)
"I think everyone makes the choices that they feel are best for them and I think everyone is very sensitive of everything that's happening. I think the communication that we have on a daily basis about social injustice is important for all of us. Just trying to just continue to listen and learn, certainly to the guys on my team and the guys that I connect with and do as much as we can to help things going forward."
(On taking the field for the first time as a member of the Buccaneers and if he thought about that on Friday)
"I think I felt that. I think this is just another step in the process. For me as a player, it's preparing myself the best way I can. Getting to the stadium, getting there with my teammates – it was a good dress rehearsal, so to speak. Like I said, it has its challenges and hopefully we can use those as opportunities to grow and learn from one another. I thought today was a good step for us."
(On what he has learned about TE Cameron Brate)
"He's really been fun to work with and I really love having Cam as a teammate. I met him when I first got out here and had always kind of watched him from afar. He's in the NFC playing for the Bucs while I was in the AFC East, but you always pay attention to the other great players in the league and are always watching players that are just that – been in the league for a while, they're real pros, consistent, dependable. I think Cam plays a lot of different roles for us and embraces all of those. He just does a tremendous job. I can't say enough good things about him and really, all the tight ends this camp have done a great job. They're working their butts off and we've got a really strong group there – and we're going to need it. That's a great position to have a lot of depth at, and we've got a lot of playmakers and guys that could really do great things in the run game and in the pass game. It's a really great position for us."
(On if he felt he was able to see what he wanted to evaluate from his teammates in Friday's scrimmage)
"I think we're going to have another one of these – from my understanding – so I think just our first time, new environment for all of us as a team. For the 2020 Bucs, that was our first time in the stadium together, running plays, playing with tempo. Communication was an issue, calling plays from the sideline, substitutions, real football. It was a little tricky because of the crowd noise, so you didn't really know what was going on all the time. It's hard because you don't know if people are talking because the faces are covered. All those things are adjustments. Normally, somebody says, 'Hey Tom!' [and] you can kind of read their lips. When someone looks at you, you don't know if they're calling your name, you don't know – 'Oh, someone fumbled.' I think those things are going to have to be really worked through, because communication is so important to the game. So, for all of us, really locking in on our non-verbal communication – it's such a critical part of football. Today was a good dress rehearsal for that experience and again, we're going to have to learn from it and try to apply it as we move forward."
(On if he had butterflies playing in an event similar to a game for the first time in a new uniform)
"No butterflies – I've been in a lot of moments on the field. You know what it is? It's more excitement than butterflies. You're on the field, you're prepping with your teammates, we all got to dig a little deeper. 16-play drive to start the scrimmage, guys are getting hit, going in and out. There's a lot of great things to learn from what we were doing."
(On if there is value in scrimmaging at Raymond James Stadium before playing a regular season game there)
"I love the idea of practicing in the stadium. You get the proportions, you envision plays that you make in practice happening in the game. For example, you throw a touchdown in the corner of the end zone [in practice], [then] you're on the first [or] second drive of the game and you're going toward that end zone and coach calls that play. I remember a lot of practice touchdowns in end zones in the stadium. I think we got to the point where the stadium wasn't that big of a deal. It was kind of like another great place for us to go perform. Then you add the crowd in and that's what makes the real excitement, the energy and so forth. I really think there's a value of going in there, feeling it out, seeing where the sun hits. [For a] 1 o'clock game, which side do we want to be on if we're kicking off [or] if we're receiving the ball, which routes you can throw into the sun. All those things are really important any time you are getting accustomed to a stadium. When it becomes your own stadium, you have more knowledge about your stadium than any other team, which hopefully you can use to your advantage."
(On his chemistry with WR Scotty Miller)
"He's just another great, consistent, dependable, trustworthy player. Everything we talk about, he retains, and he takes it to the next practice. He's displaying things and he's showing to everybody that he deserves a big role. You can trust where he's going to be, he makes the plays when they come his way. He's really been fun to work with and fun to see grow from the day that I got here. Justin Watson, same thing. Cyril [Grayson], J-Mick (Jaydon Mickens), obviously Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin] set the tone for that group. A lot like our tight end group, we have a really strong receiver group. Guys that really want to make plays, they are in the right spot, they're very selfless. I love my time with Mike – I can't say enough good things about him in a short period of time. Love working with Chris – he was one of the first guys that I met when I came out here. We're all developing a nice rapport. Us being around one another, learning different things about one another, just only develops trust, dependability, consistency. Then, these guys [are who] you go to battle with and you compete hard with. You gain a different level of love for them as people because you see the way they compete, the way they treat people and the competitors they are on the field, what they do off the field with their families and the community. It's just been really great to see."
(On the piped in crowd noise and how it will be adjusting to it)
"I thought it was one of the Colts' old tapes when they used to pump all that sound in the RCA Dome. I was telling Coach Clyde [Christensen] he must have pulled that one out of his basement for today's practice. We had a great time with it – something to get used to. That definitely has its challenges. If that's how loud it's going to be, that's going to be tough for everybody. The communication is tough, and you don't have a down moment, so you're screaming the whole day to people on the sideline, which is very unique to the game because normally it ebbs and flows. With that pumped in crowd noise, it doesn't ebb and flow – it just flows. We're going to have to get used to that. I'll have to draw on my earlier days. That was a joke, everybody – just want to make that clear."
(On the Week 1 matchup with the New Orleans Saints and QB Drew Brees)
"We're going to be tested by a great football team and a team that's been great in this division for a long time. Coach [Sean] Payton and Drew have been together – they always have a very good offense. They have really great players on defense. They have a tough scheme, they challenge you in every way. They're great in the secondary, [a] really athletic group of linebackers. Cam Jordan is one of the best defensive ends and really, one of the most underrated players in the league. They have a strong D-Line – they don't make it easy on you. They're going to make us earn everything [and] we have to be really sharp with our calls, with our communication. They challenge you in protection, they challenge you in the secondary to read coverages and then make good decisions. If you're going to beat the best teams, you've got to be on your you know what. You can't let anything kind of come and go. We're going to have to be sharp all day and everything we do from here on out has to be with an intense focus on doing just that. We've been through enough camp, we've made the mistakes – we have to start building on all the different mistakes that we made and really start tightening a lot of things up and get us in a good position so we can play with a lot of confidence here in a couple of weeks."
(On if he enjoys competing against a veteran quarterback like Brees)
"I love getting on the field against anybody. I love the sport of football and competing. Whoever it was on the other side of the field, I'd be excited to play. Obviously, when you go against great players like Drew, and a great team like that, you know there's not a lot of margin of error. That's the biggest difference. Sometimes you go up against lesser experienced players – at certainly the quarterback position – maybe some defenses or some teams aren't as well-rounded as others. But, the Saints are not one of those teams. They have a great quarterback, a great offense, incredible skill players, great continuity in their organization. Defense, they rush the passer, good in the secondary, great at linebacker – they've got everything. There's not going to be any margin of error, which is why they're tough to beat [and] why they're always in the playoffs, always competing for Super Bowls. I have a lot of respect for them, their program and how they run it. It's going to be a tough game, but we'll be excited to take the field when we do in a couple of weeks."
(On how he feels about the makeup of the team and its ability to reach the postseason)
"I think that's obviously a long way away. We're taking it one day at a time, trying to improve and not look beyond what's ahead of us – which two weeks from now is our first game. B.A. (Bruce Arians) has been stressing our communication, our fundamentals – he's a very detailed coach. He wants things done the exact way they're supposed to be done. There's a perfectionist about him that everybody respects. We believe in him as our leader and we all want to go play well. On offense, our communication between Byron [Leftwich] and myself, and then it filters down to all the different coaches and players in their position. We have to work hard at that communication, we have to build trust with one another so that the trust we can anticipate. Good anticipation leads to great execution and great execution over a game is going to lead us to a great margin of error in terms of winning and losing. Then, if you build on that, it leads to a good month. That leads to a good two months [and] it leads to a good season. I think you have to focus on what the process is, and that's a daily basis. Today was the most important day because it's the only one we had. It was in our stadium, pads, hitting, live contact and it was some learning for us. We've got to take it, understand what we did wrong, learn from it, move on and then put it behind us to go get back to work tomorrow and try to be better tomorrow."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TRISTAN WIRFS
(On his first experience in an NFL scrimmage and what he learned from it)
"It was fun being in the stadium. It kind of brought me back to my sophomore year when I was at Iowa – we played there in the Outback Bowl. It was cool getting to see the pirate ship again. I don't know if that's the tunnel that we'll come out of for games, but that's the one we came out of a couple years ago, so it was cool getting to be back in the stadium – and this time being in a Bucs uniform. It was good and I thought it was a pretty good day. A lot of stuff was well executed [and] a lot of good effort."
(On where he feels he has made the most progress after his first month practicing in the NFL)
"I think settling down a little bit. I think the first day or two in pads I was all antsy, seeing everything. I think just slowing down and focusing in on the little things. I'd say that's the biggest area where I feel I've progressed."
(On which defensive players have helped him the most in training camp)
"I usually go against Shaq [Barrett] and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) the most. Shaq's a really good rusher – they both are really good rushers. I think being able to see that every day in practice and you have [Ndamukong] Suh down at the three [technique] – those caliber of guys every day in practice [and] getting to go against them – I know they're making me better. Hopefully I'm doing my best to make them better. But, I think being able to go against them is really nice."
(On how T Donovan Smith and G Ali Marpet have taken him under their wing in training camp)
"I think Donnie's definitely kind of taken me under his wing. There's times during practice when we'll come off and he always asks me, 'How did it go? How did that set of plays go? How'd you do?' During our individual periods he'll show me little things that he does that, if I wanted to implement into my game, I could. I remember the first couple days we were in pads, we were doing individual and I was all antsy and he told me, 'Just slow down. You don't want to do this whole period with bad footwork or bad technique and then go out and try and do it in our team period.' Just a lot of little things like that – he's been a lot of help. I don't know if there's much that I can give him, really, but I'll joke around with him that I take the stress of camp off a little bit. I think I'm pretty good at that – I can make people smile."