Buccaneers' Training Camp Team Quotes 8.18.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On WR Scotty Miller and if he could be a similar player to Patriots WR Julian Edelman)
"Yes and no. What has stood out about him is he's put on some weight. He's gotten stronger [and] his speed is showing up every single day. He's not Edelman because he's real fast. He plays in the slot some, he plays outside more. Julian's pretty much a slot guy and we don't put guys in just one position. Chris Godwin normally plays in there and we're not taking those catches away from him."
(On the reserve defense not running to the ball during Tuesday's practice)
"It happened yesterday, we corrected it. Two times becomes a habit, so they're still outside running, and running to the ball. Whether you thought somebody tagged him or not, you've got to run to the ball. That's what our defense is built on – it's hustle and speed. We're going to break that habit really fast."
(On OLB Michael Divinity)
"He's a very bright player. [He] needs to gain some upper body strength, but he is a very aware player – picks it up really easily. His pass rush against tackles – he's got to open up the toolbox a little bit. He can't just try to run them over."
(On if he feels the defense had the stronger practice on Tuesday)
"No. I thought that was a really good ebb-and-flow practice. We stopped them a couple times down there coming out. Offense got out – too many big plays by our defense right there at the end. In that situation, we want to hold them and make them punt from back there. I thought offensively we ran the ball the best we've run it in a long time, against a really stout run defense. That's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for sometimes defense wins a day, offense wins a day. There were periods where they both won. But, no, don't get fooled by the hype of guys jumping around thinking they did a hell of a job."
(On S Mike Edwards making plays on the ball in practice)
"The one was about five yards out of bounds, but it was a good catch. That's good to see. [He had a] great break on the ball and Tom [Brady] put it where only we could get it, and it was a heck of a play by Mike. He's shown some good range – he did last year at this time, also. Just stay away from those injuries. He has good hands and he can catch the football as good as anybody back there."
(On sending a message to the team early in camp to set the intensity for how things will be this season)
"It's that way all the time. I don't expect to have to send that message once we correct it on film, whether it was a young group or not. That's what training camp is all about – we wouldn't even have had to have this conversation had we had spring and mini camp."
(On the adjustment the wide receivers have to make to QB Tom Brady's ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly)
"There's not really a big adjustment. Jameis [Winston] did a really good job on his intermediate stuff. When he got the ball out, it was pretty accurate. Tom might process it a little bit quicker, so the ball comes out fast. We've got to get our head around and the guys know when they put their foot in the ground, the ball's probably going to be there, so get your head around faster."
(On how WR Mike Evans can improve this season)
"Well, it's pretty hard to improve much. Just continue doing what you're doing and understand the offense. We had a little pick play run today, Tom threw it and he wasn't quite ready for it. He came back, he understood right away. He thought he was going to outrun the guy rather than just taking it right now and getting the first down. Just little things – in the second year of any offense, the intricacies of little things like that, I'd like to see Mike doing, which he is doing every single day. [I] can't ask for much more out of him."
(On how T Tristan Wirfs has performed in training camp)
"He's doing good. He's doing fine for a rookie. He's got his hands full with some pretty good guys over there against the run and the pass."
(On S Justin Evans' injury and if he'd be available soon)
"You'd have to talk to Jesus – I have no clue."
(On the Catapult GPS technology the players wear and how that provides the coaching staff with insight and information)
"There's so much data – we've got a number of guys who know how to study that data and pretty much can predict possible injuries. One leg is working harder than the other, the speed they're running, how long they ran – all that mathematician crap [isn't] for me, but they tell me. This guy [has] potential to go down? Well, let's ease up his load. It's amazing technology and the people that are here that handle that for me are outstanding."
(On DL Rakeem Nuñez-Roches)
"Nacho is always a high motor guy, he's in great shape. I love the way he practices. He brings energy and if you're not going full speed, you're getting your [butt] kicked."
(On what allowed the offense to run the ball effectively in Tuesday's practice)
"I think it's all of the above. The blocking unit, the tight ends, the wide receivers [are all] doing a good job. In passing situations, especially, I think RoJo (Ronald Jones) looked really, really good out there. That's when I was like, 'Is this all real?' That's why I started tackling – it gives the defense a chance to not pull up. Let's see it. I was really happy with the runs down there and stopping some runs, too, down on the goal line."
(On if the final cuts process is harder without preseason games)
"It helps to see guys under the bright lights if you don't know them very well. Those final cuts are all going to be done on special teams, so that shows up in practice time and time again. We're doing more live special teams than we've ever done. We had a full speed block field goal today, not only for the block team but for the protection team and the kickers. We'll be doing more and more live special teams so a guy can show up."
(On if he already has an idea of the deeper position groups and where cuts may be the hardest to make)
"Yeah, pretty much so. There's a group of six or seven guys – as [Larry] Foote said yesterday, there's just one bone and about six or seven guys."
(On the challenge of picking from the group of running backs going into the season)
"You can catch passes, but if you can't protect [and] if you're getting your [butt] knocked backwards in pass protection, you're not going to be back there anyway. You're not wide receivers, you're running backs, so first is protection and catching the ball is second. I thought we did a pretty good job – that's another reason why we started going full speed. I think Ro (Ronald Jones II) pulled up and a linebacker hit him. We're allowed to hit those linebackers. If they bull-rush our backs, cut them. One of the young guys wanted to show how tough he was, and he got his [butt] knocked back pretty good. He should've easily just cut the guy. It's learning how to play full speed like that as a back. Coming out of college, the hardest thing to be taught is pass protection, technique-wise, because they're not taught how to really stop a powerful man."
(On QB Tom Brady not taking every snap of the quarterback rotation and if that is intentional to manage his arm strength)
"No, he's just taking his repetitions. There's no pitch counts of any kind – he wouldn't let me anyway. [He thinks] throwing the ball makes his arm stronger, so it's nothing like that."
(On the trash talk during practice and how feisty the young defensive players are after a strong finish to last season)
"Yeah, there's a lot of trash talk going on during practice, too. I love it – they're very feisty. Devin [White] is a guy that brings a ton of energy, you saw Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) every day, the DBs are getting a lot of swagger. I love it. That's what competition's all about, nobody talks more crap than me. I have to watch it now that I'm not calling plays – I used to be really bad."
(On signing DL Kyle Love)
"Good run stopper, [he's] still got a little juice. [He] ade a couple of nice plays on interior pass rush. Adding a veteran to help just throw him in the mix with the young guys and see who comes out on top."
(On his confidence in the offensive line and his message to them with Brady at quarterback)
"It's not really any different. We've got to run the football. When we run the football, that play action stuff is real easy. Protect the quarterback. For them, I really like where they're at right now as a group. It's a good working relationship, there's good communication in there. I hate the word chemistry, but there's good communication in that group and they're helping Tristan [Wirfs] as much as they can. That's not a worry of mine at all is the offensive line."
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH KEVIN GARVER
(On how WR Scotty Miller and WR Justin Watson have improved in the offseason)
"Both of those guys came in in great shape, came ready to work. I think they took advantage of this time. Obviously, we all had to deal with this in the offseason, but it was great for them because they already had the experience of being in the offense the first year, so they have a little bit of a head start over some of these other guys. I think that plays a big part into it. J-Wat, specifically, he came in a little bit lighter, and I think that helped improve his speed. Scotty, the thing that's really shown up for me with Scotty, number one, coming in as a rookie it's always hard, it's challenging. The one thing I noticed from him last year during the season that I liked is that he still tried to play fast through everything. Even though he wasn't always right with technique, seeing coverages and all those things, he played fast. That's usually one of the harder things to get rookies to do, but I think that helps him moving into his second season. But, the one thing that stood out to me was his releases at the line. He's a lot more patient as a releaser at the line of scrimmage. It doesn't mean you're slow, it just means you take a little more time to set up the defender. Instead of always just taking this wide release and getting pushed out of bounds, I think those are the things he's really starting to learn and it's really helping him as it relates to press coverage."
(On what it's like for the wide receivers to be coached by QB Tom Brady)
"I think it's great. Tom has been around a long time, seen a lot of defenses, a lot of different receivers – played with some great receivers. He has some ideas of certain things as it relates to routes. Some of those things we collaborate on, whether it's him and Byron [Leftwich] and then Byron passing the message on to me, or Tom and I having conversations about where he sees things and where he wants receivers to be. [Then] the other side, 'Hey Tom, this is where we're running these routes, this is where our landmarks are.' I really kind of see it more as a collaboration and working together to get on the same page. But, definitely, when it comes from a guy like Tom, I think it definitely goes a long way."
(On the impact WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin have on the younger receivers)
"I think it really goes a long way when you have two guys in your room at that level, but they're not divas at all. They really try to be the best leaders they can be – they're both different in the way that they lead. But, I think they really see that within the room and even within the offense and within the team, and continue to develop that every day. Also, part of my responsibility is to give them the opportunity to do that and allow them to lead. I really commend both of those guys because they take that on, and I think they get a lot of credit. Like you said, we all know their attributes and what they do on the field, but off the field I think they're both great men in just who they are, what they represent and just how they carry themselves. I think that that's great."
(On what Brady can do to further Evans' career)
"Mike has a lot of respect for Tom, so I think Tom's going to help him push through things and compete at the highest level. I think that's the number one thing that will help Mike. Then, just the little things. That's really the thing I've been stressing with Mike all offseason. Getting in at the right depths, being in the right catch-reception area, using the right technique. I think those are the things Mike is focusing on. Obviously, he's got to do those things on his own, but playing with a guy like Tom I think does help just from a motivational standpoint when you're playing with a quarterback of his caliber."
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
(On if QB Tom Brady coaches his teammates hard and is very meticulous)
"He's like everybody else. He gets fired up at practice. He was making plays today [and] making really good throws. He gets fired up just like everybody else. When it comes to routes, he's very detailed in how he wants us to run certain routes to protect the throw. Other than that, he's just like everybody else – he's just real excited to be practicing and to be playing some football right now."
(On the unity shown from the players over the offseason in regard to both social justice and safety regarding COVID-19 protocols and the platform that athletes have)
"As professional athletes, we have this platform, and a lot of people in the NFL are minorities. This is the best time for our platforms [because] everybody is watching. The teams and the league coming together – it means a lot and it gives a lot of people hope out there."
(On the wide receiver room as a whole and how good they can be if everyone produces)
"Every year it's our goal to have the best wide receiver room in the league. Last year, I thought we definitely had that. This year, we're going to be even better top to bottom. J-Wat (Justin Watson), he improves every single year – like the quickness at the line of scrimmage, his routes, he's more physical, he's running faster [and] he catches the ball better. Scotty [Miller] is improving. All of our guys keep improving year-in and year-out and that's a testament to coaching and just our work ethic. This year hopefully we have a great year and can be a catalyst for this team."
(On what QB Tom Brady is like away from the field)
"He's the G.O.A.T. on and off the field. It's crazy. He's a superstar – the most accomplished player in our game in history – and he's just like everybody else. He works extremely hard, he's always taking care of his body, he loves his family, he loves family time and he's just cool. He's a real down-to-earth guy. He's already up there as one of my favorite teammates and we've only had a few practice together, so that says a lot. I'm learning a lot from him and hopefully we can tear it up this year."
WIDE RECEIVER SCOTTY MILLER
(On the key to his increase in muscle this offseason)
"Really just hard work this offseason, just getting in the gym. It was a little bit more difficult this offseason with the circumstances, but just finding a way to find a gym [or] a place to workout, whether it be my garage, other guys' garages, whatever it may be. Just working hard because I knew that was going to be important for me. In all aspects of my game, just being a little bigger and stronger. I really tried to focus on that this offseason and now I just have to try and maintain what I built and not lose it with running so much in camp and everything like that."
(On the bond he developed with QB Tom Brady during the offseason)
"I think it's been good. Like you said, we built it up this offseason a little bit. As you guys know, we were working out, trying to get on the same page because we didn't have the chance to do OTAs and stuff like that. I think we meshed well together right away and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from him. He's trying to help us all because he has so much knowledge, so I'm just trying to catch on to everything he's been telling me. He's worked with so many receivers that are similar to me – so many great receivers in general – so I'm just trying to learn from him. I think if I'm on the same page as him, I'm going to be in a good spot."
(On catching a deep pass from Brady to begin practice on Monday)
"That was pretty cool – it was a fun one. I love going deep, that's my favorite thing. When I heard the play call I was excited and we got a good look for it from the defense. He just put that thing perfectly. He couldn't have handed it off better 40 [or] 50 yards down the field, whatever it was. It was exciting. I love making those type of plays, so any time I can do that, I'll be ready."
(On if he is more confident at this point in his career compared to his rookie training camp last season)
"I am so much more confident this year than I was last year. Last year coming in, the biggest thing was that I was thinking so much. I'd get in the huddle and so much was going through my brain, trying to figure out where I go, where I line up, who I'm hot off of – so many things going through my head and I couldn't just be me, ball out and just be confident. This year, I get in the huddle [and] it's easy for me to understand where I go, my assignment, and then I'm free to just be myself and make plays out there. I would say that's the biggest thing, just being in the system for a second year and being able to understand the terminology more fluently has been huge. Also, I got to stay here in Tampa this offseason to get used to the heat [and] workout with the guys. I spent a lot of time with Chris [Godwin], so picking things up from his game – he's one of the best receivers in this game. So many different things that have helped me that I know I'm going to be a way better player than I was last year."
(On if he thought he'd go from a day three draft pick to his current standing on the roster with Tom Brady at quarterback)
"It's crazy. It's like I'm living a dream. As a kid, this is all you could ever ask for. Honestly, this is what I expect for myself. I expect to be great, I expect to go out there and work every day as hard as anybody and just put myself in a good situation. That's what I'm going to keep doing. I just want to be able to go home at night, look myself in the mirror and know I did everything I can to make myself the best football player I can be. I'm going to keep doing that and hopefully it will pay off for me."
TACKLE DONOVAN SMITH
(On if he feels comfortable playing with the protocols put in place)
"With the protocols and stuff, they're pretty good. You're following them – spreading everybody out, hand sanitizer and stuff, masks everywhere. So, with the daily testing and everything and having those results, for me it boiled down to having an ability to go a different place from my lady and my child if anything was to happen. That was the deciding factor there."
(On NFL players having a united front this offseason on making an impact in social justice)
"I feel like it's just our platform and it's just a matter of guys just using it, voicing their opinions and saying how they feel. At the end of the day, we're all humans, whether you're a superstar athlete or not. With everything going on, it is a great opportunity for everyone to come together to make a change because we make a lot of things go in the sports world and everything. To be able to sit there and get everybody on board for a greater cause, [there's] nothing better than that. Being a part of the social justice board here with the Bucs, I already know we're planning a lot of things to do, barring COVID. It's a great opportunity for a lot of us to come out there, step out and say something [to] make sure we project what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. We have to come to a solution. We've protested, we've done things, but we've just got to keep the foot on the gas to make the change – you can't stop."
(On the offensive line playing their second year in the offense)
"I think it's all of that. I think the more comfortable you are in a system, the faster you're able to play. You're able to see things better the more comfortable you are. That [contributes] to being able to go out there and play well. Guys getting experience – I think [Alex] Cappa's first year last year. We added a new one with Tristan [Wirfs] and everything. Just being able to have the comfortability of each other and guys being around there and knowing how each other play and all that other stuff. It all plays a part. Obviously, the biggest thing is protecting the quarterback [and] opening lanes for the running back. Without the O-line, there wouldn't be any football, so we just have to take pride in carrying the team on our back and that's what we're going to do."
(On the offensive line improving)
"It's a great opportunity to be able to have Tom [Brady] come into the building, and obviously, all the attention. At the end of the day, we still have to go out there and compete and put our stamping mark out there on the field. Like I said, it's a great opportunity that we had four guys play together last year and then we're just going to bring Tristan [Wirfs] up to speed and it's not going to be an issue there. We're going to come out there ball, work, have fun with it. Yeah, that's it. It's nothing more to it."