Buccaneers' Training Camp Team Quotes 8.24.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On if he has spoken with Washington Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera after he was diagnosed with cancer last week)
"I did. I texted him a long text and told him if he needed to talk about it to give me a shout. Ron and I are pretty good friends, so I'm sure if he needs it, he'll call me. I think he's in great hands and everything he's going through – I think – is very curable and he'll whip it."
(On if reaching out to Rivera is part of the coaching fraternity)
"Ron's come out to my golf tournament in Arizona a couple of times – he and his wife – so yeah, it is. There's times when it's competition and there's time when it's just family."
(On the progress of RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn)
"He's improving. The game is pretty fast – blitz pickups and all those types of things that go with it. He's got good vision as a runner, good patience as a runner. He dropped some balls today. He's got good hands, he shouldn't be dropping, so it's a matter of being more consistent."
(On CB Parnell Motley making plays throughout camp)
"He keeps making plays every single day, he's going to get a job."
(On who has impressed him among the defensive linemen)
"Will Gholston's in great shape – he's been really, really tough in there. Vita is Vita, Suh is Suh. I think Vita will play better when he gets that [club] off his hand – a little frustrating. I think [Jeremiah] Ledbetter has shown some improvement, Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) has been having a heck of a camp and Pat [O'Connor] has done a great job. We're moving him around now. Even Khalil Davis is handling the run well. He can rush the passer – that's for sure – but he's handling the run pretty well."
(On how the wind during Monday's practice impacted the kickers and quarterbacks)
"I wouldn't even consider that a hard breeze. That was just a left-to-right wind – the kickers were 100 percent. That type of wind is not going to affect a quarterback."
(On WR Tyler Johnson missing Monday's practice and if the injury is the same as what he dealt with earlier in training camp)
(On how QB Tom Brady has interacted with his younger teammates)
"I think it's the same it has been for him in New England the whole time. Young players come in every year and you're going to be with Tom Brady. The awe factor is long gone, I think. He does a great job of communicating to a younger player what he's looking for, special things on routes, things like that. He's like having another coach on the field."
(On how the younger skill position players help Brady)
"He enjoys it, that's for sure. It's just getting on the same page with Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin]. I don't consider those guys young – they're veterans. Scotty [Miller] is young and some of those other kids. He's having a good time."
(On if the risk of injury during live-contact periods has made him rethink the scheduled scrimmage for Friday)
"No, I think we've got to block and tackle. Defensive linemen have to play low blocks, linebackers have to play cut blocks by the [running] backs. It's a catch-22. You have to do some of it – you don't do a lot of it, [just] enough of it. Friday, hopefully the storms don't take us away from the stadium, so we can get in there and get some good work and we'll go from there."
(On who is standing out at the cornerback position)
"[Parnell] Motley for sure – he doesn't drop any. When they throw it around him, he catches it. I think Carlton [Davis] is having a great battle with Mike [Evans]. He wins some, he loses some. They're just getting each other better. Same thing with Sean [Murphy-Bunting] and Jamel [Dean] going against those guys. We did a little more one-on-ones, really for Tom [Brady] more than for anybody else. I think all the corners [are] progressing very nicely."
(On when he will determine if rookie T Tristan Wirfs and rookie S Antoine Winfield Jr. are ready to start in Week 1)
"We still have a couple more weeks for that to happen. Tristan is on schedule right now – he looks pretty solid. Antoine is making plays every single day. Both of them are mature players coming from good programs. I don't think the lights will be too big for them. They're progressing nicely."
(On if he would have doubts about Winfield's ability to start Week 1, should the team decide he is the starter)
"No, I don't."
(On where the team is meeting expectations and where he feels it needs more improvement before Week 1)
"I think we're about 75 percent as a team where we need to be. We still have a lot of practice time, a lot of things to install and look at. We're in no hurry. I think if there's one area – just because you can't judge it very well – is special teams. But, I like the intensity out there [and] what they're doing. Until you see a guy go up against a Pro Bowler, you never know."
(On if CB Parnell Motley could play his way into a cornerback role as opposed to a primary special teams player)
"If he's not starting, special teams takes precedent. It's as simple as that. If you're a backup, you might be the second best corner, but [if] the third best is a good special teams player, he's taking your job."
(On if QB Tom Brady's ability to call audibles and read defenses pre-snap will impact Tampa Bay's run game)
"He's got great experience in that. We'll have more run checks than we've probably had in the past – more than last year for sure."
(On Brady's ability to pump fake and move the defense)
"That was a well-done pump-screen thing, but he does a good job with his eyes. He can lean guys and move them, especially zone players. They're taught to break on movement, and he's got enough experience and knows how to do that to get guys open."
(On the earlier trade talks surrounding TE O.J. Howard and how Howard has performed well in camp while working with TE Rob Gronkowski)
"I think the trade talk was outside the building. I never talked to him about it. All I talked to him about was getting better and he was going to be here for a while and believe it. I think with Tom [Brady] helping him confidence-wise and watching Gronk work, they've been a good combination helping each other – him helping Gronk learn the offense. It's been great for him. He's still a young player, and to be around a great player [will] elevate your game."
(On the depth at both inside and outside linebacker)
"Kevin Minter is a solid guy – we can always count on him to start if we have to and he's a great core special teams player. The rest of the guys on the inside, it's up for grabs. Noah [Dawkins], Chapelle [Russell], Jack [Cichy], whoever is in there, it's all special teams. Like I said, if you're not a starter, you better be a hell of a special teams player if you want to get a hat. Same thing at outside backer. [Anthony] Nelson has his spot and the other four guys are fighting. It's not about pass rush, it's about special teams."
(On his message to the players when there are more dropped passes in practice)
"I don't think the running backs dropped any today in live stuff. But, if you drop the ball, you're probably not making the team. You better be really special at something else. I thought yesterday was kind of an aberration with the running backs because that's the first day they had it. It's all about concentration."
(On RB Ronald Jones II having a strong practice on Monday following his performance in Sunday's practice)
"I've got all the confidence in the world [in Jones]. He knows what he's doing and he knows how to do it. But, you've got to have your mind focused on every single play you're getting a rep on. There are times he'll go through the motions and it will show up real quick – like a dropped pass when he knows he should have caught it. There are still some little things in the passing game he's still learning that each rep he learns something from. He's a pro [and] he's getting there."
(On TE Rob Gronkowski's blocking ability at tight end)
"[He's a] big, big man. He can cover you up pretty quick. He knocked the edge back pretty good a couple times today. His size and his length – you put him and O.J. [Howard] over there, that's two pretty powerful blockers together. It's something he loves to do [and] he takes a lot of pride in it, too."
CORNERBACKS COACH KEVIN ROSS
(On how football has changed since his time as a player and how that makes coaching cornerbacks more challenging)
"You have a lot more passing involved in the game right now. A lot more spread formations, teams have a better way of exploiting your weakest guy out there. You just have to be ready at all times for everything. I'm trying to get them in every game situation I possibly can [in order] to get those guys to think the game as they practice situations and things like that."
(On coaching both Antoine Winfield Jr. and CB Antoine Winfield Jr.)
"They're identical. They each have a six-inch punch. [Winfield Jr.] practices very hard, he's very smart, very instinctive. I see a lot of similarities between them both. I think he's going to have a hell of a year. He's doing some good things out there for us."
(On CB Parnell Motley)
"First of all, kudos to our scouting department for bringing him in here. He's done a hell of a job, he has his hands on balls pretty much every day. He's very coachable, quick out of his breaks. You still have to see him in game situations, though. You don't want to get too high on him, but he's doing what he needs to do right now. He's practicing the right way and I'm pleased with him. He's a pleasant surprise for us."
(On how the performance of the corners in the second half of the 2019 season can carry over into 2020)
"The experience – now they know how to prepare, now they know what to expect. They should be very excited about this upcoming year. They're practicing the right way – we have to still get our execution part down a little better than how we're doing it right now. But, they're going in the right direction, I believe. Great attitudes out there."
(On how competing against QB Tom Brady and Tampa Bay's wide receivers has been beneficial for the cornerbacks)
"You're practicing against Pro Bowl receivers, you're practicing against a Hall of Fame quarterback, you can't help but feel good about yourself. If you do well against those guys, you can't help but feel good about yourself going into game situations. I had a very similar situation like this happen to me when I was playing in Kansas City when Joe Montana came there. He gave us the boost that we needed to get over the top and end up getting to the championship game. It's a very similar situation."
CORNERBACK CARLTON DAVIS III
(On Head Coach Bruce Arians calling him a top 10 cornerback in the NFL, if he feels he belongs in that group, and if he sees himself as the leader of the cornerbacks room)
"Yeah, I definitely feel like I'm one of the top 10 corners in this league. Yeah, I'm young, but I've got a lot of experience over these last two years. We have a young group, but if I have to fill that [leadership] role, that's something I'm willing to do and think I'm prepared to do. If our coaching staff trusts me to do a job, then I'm going to do it to the best of my ability every time."
(On facing off against Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin)
"It's been a great battle. Each day I'm getting better and better. Between Mike, Chris, Scotty [Miller] and the rest of the receivers – they're all so dynamic and different. I feel like every day we're pushing each other to get better. When the season comes, we'll be able to show how hard we worked against each other and how much it's going to pay off."
(On how going against QB Tom Brady makes him better)
"He's so good. He's just really, really good. That's the first thing that came to my mind – he's just so good, his precision, his timing, his accuracy. Going against him in practice every day has definitely made me better. I've never faced a quarterback like him. Just to go against him every day and have so many reps at it is just making me better, even in my film study. I'm starting to see what he sees, how he's kind of dissecting us before the play and what I can do to be better. Having him here and having him to go up against has just been tremendous for me. It's been kind of like a dream come true to be able to go against one of the best ever, or the best ever. I can't even put it into words."
(On what he took from his strong performances in the second half of the 2019 season, while going against some of the top receivers in the NFL)
"What I can take from those performances is just confidence, but in actuality, that's in the past. I have to prove myself again this year. I have to put in the same work I put in those last several weeks to be prepared again. That was a good stride for me, but coming into this year, it's a completely blank slate and I've got to put it on film again. I've got to continue to show up. I'm not really living off the past. I'm more focused on the future and creating new memories."
(On S Antoine Winfield Jr.)
"He's a really fundamentally-sound football player. He does everything right. He is always on point. He's a head-smart kind of guy. You can tell he thinks the game before he plays the game. He does everything the way it's supposed to be done. I think he has a bright future ahead of him. I have seen nothing negative in his play. I haven't really seen a time where I felt like he should've done this better or done that better. If there was, he always immediately got it corrected [or] asked for help. He's one of the better rookies on the team."
CORNERBACK JAMEL DEAN
(On his confidence level going into his second NFL season)
"Really, I've been excited for year two because all I could think about was how I finished my rookie year. I was like, 'I need to build off this.' Then, when COVID happened, I was still being positive about the situation. I [said], 'There's no way football can be cancelled. It can't come to a pause.' Luckily, they made some adjustments to where we're back in the facility. Now I'm just waiting to start playing again."
(On the secondary growing together)
"It's almost like growing up with siblings. It just feels like everybody is learning the same system and then we all just have that confidence to play with one another because we all started off in the same position."
(On facing Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in practice each day)
"Each one of them has their own special talents. Going against Mike, we know that he's one of the top receivers, so he's going to give us many different releases that we're not familiar with. It's almost like playing a game of chess with Mike – and the same with Chris. You don't know what to expect because they mix it up every time. It's even good to talk to those guys after practice to get an understanding of how they're playing us."
(On if the offense receiving more attention than the defense puts a chip on their shoulders)
"[The] offense is getting a lot of attention because it's Tom Brady and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). They've been to where we're trying to reach as a team. Honestly, I don't feel like the defense is getting less attention because of how we played last year. I guess it's more of, 'Will all of us come together as one and then reach the goal we're trying to get to?'"
(On CB Parnell Motley's performance early in training camp)
"He's just out there playing. [When] you have good instincts, it just comes naturally for you. Seeing him flying around making plays, it's exciting to see."
(On what went through his mind the first time he lined up against QB Tom Brady and how Brady has helped him in training camp)
"The first time I lined up against Tom, I couldn't believe it at first. The guy I grew up watching play in the Super Bowl – I was actually practicing against him. It was almost like a starstruck moment. Going against him, I realized that the little details are very critical because he will take advantage of it, if he can see it. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the game."
WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS GODWIN
(On if playing with QB Tom Brady has lived up to his expectations)
"Honestly, I would say it's either right on par with my expectations or even exceeded them. I would say that just because of the type of person that he is on and off the field. I wasn't really sure what to expect in that regard. Ever since he got in, he's been the same guy. He's very humble, he's very hungry. You can tell that he's really working to not only trying to find his place on the team, but also to be the best leader he can be to put us on [our] game and really give us as much knowledge as he can. On the field, you see why he's so highly regarded as he is. There [are] some passes that he throws that I'm just like, 'Man, that's unbelievable.' The amount of touch that he has on his passes, he can still drive the ball when needed and he has a really good idea of where to go with the ball at all times. It's been really good so far."
(On playing alongside WR Mike Evans)
"It means the world, honestly. I've been so fortunate to be in this position and to be able to ascend in my short career thus far with Mike Evans to lean on. Everyone knows how dominant Mike is. I think he's still one of the more underrated receivers in the league. Every time we go out there and work, we just go out there and we push each other. He knows he can lean on me, I know I can lean on him. We know that together we're going to push each other to be the best that we can be. Like B.A. (Bruce Arians) was saying, we're team-first guys. I think the biggest thing with us is if we're winning – yes, we feel like us contributing is going to be to the team's benefit, but at the end of the day if we win, that's the most important thing. Now we have myself, we have Mike, we've got Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), O.J. [Howard], Cam [Brate] – we have so many weapons that are going to be on display a lot more. There are going to be games where we're not necessarily featured as much, but we're here to win. We're not just here to win a couple of games, we're trying to every single game."
(On the advantage of a wide receiver having a large catch radius, and if it's something you can work to expand)
"I think it gives you a really, really good benefit, especially when you have a quarterback like Tom [Brady], who is so precise with his passes. There are some times where you may appear to be covered to the untrained eye, but with great ball location and a really good catch radius, you're able to make some spectacular catches or make some tough catches that most guys can't really make. It's not really something I work on. I really just try to work on catching the ball wherever it comes my way. I feel like as receivers it's our responsibility to be the eraser, so if there's a bad ball thrown, for me I'm like, 'I can still catch that.' I can get really hard on myself when I don't make the play or when I'm not in a situation where I'm like, 'Yo, I should've made that.' That's kind of my approach."
(On how the team will respond to QB Tom Brady's competitiveness in the intensity of a game and if he has seen it yet in practice)
"We're starting to see the fiery edge of him come out. I fully expect that we're going to be in situations where we hit adversity and there's going to be tough conversations, but like I mentioned earlier with all of our guys being team-first guys, we understand that these things aren't coming from a place of malice. We're not out there attacking people's character. It's just the fact of the matter of we have to be better in order for us to get to where we need to be. We're going to have to hold each other accountable, so I fully expect for that to happen, and when it does, I expect guys to take that criticism and really flip it and make the play the next time."
(On what it would mean to him to be able to stay in Tampa and continue playing alongside WR Mike Evans in future seasons)
"I think that would be really dope. I think me and Mike have grown so much over the last couple of years. Like I said, that's someone I really look up to. I admire him and he has helped me so much. Keeping that intact would definitely be something that is beneficial for all of us. That's my guy. Anything I can do to roll with him, I'm rolling."
(On if he thinks the Buccaneers offense is 'unstoppable')
"I don't know if we're quite there yet, but what I will say is that if we're able to significantly reduce, not only the turnovers, but the mental errors on everybody's part – if we're able to keep pulling the rope in the same direction, I think it's pretty scary what our offense can be. I'm not really sure if there's a limit on that. We've still got a long way to go. We've done some really good things so far in camp, but by no means are we where we need to be. We've got some time and we've got the right guys with the right mentalities, so we should all keep getting after it."