Buccaneers' Training Camp Team Quotes 8.25.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On the developing relationship between QB Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich) "It's excellent. They're basically peers as far as age and the type of ball that they played early in their careers. Having played quarterback in this offense, Byron has a unique set of eyes – they have great collaboration all the time."
(On how the defensive front played in Tuesday's goal-line session of practice)
"It's tough to run the ball down there and they did a great job of stopping the run. They just have to do a better job on that one pass."
(On how DL Vita Vea has matured through his career and what his next step is)
"I think sacks. He did a good job of pushing the pocket, but he's nimble on his feet. He should be a heck of a pass-rusher with that bulk. But his quickness, also, and just continue to put moves in his toolbox, continue to get better and use that strength."
(On if the players sitting out of Tuesday's practice were scheduled maintenance days)
"All maintenance days, except for Tyler [Johnson]."
(On if he's concerned with the lack of interceptions and pass break ups by the first team cornerbacks in training camp)
"No, because they're going against a different quarterback (Tom Brady) most of the time and he's putting balls in places that you can't intercept. You really can't cover much better than they're doing. I'm happy with where they're at. [Parnell] Motley has done a good job catching balls that have been thrown to him. He's making most of his balls down the field or overthrown balls. I'm not concerned at all with where our corners are."
(On if there is a position that may end up having more spots on the roster than he anticipated)
"It would have been probably at running back and receiver had those two guys (John Franklin III and T.J. Logan) not gotten hurt. I think right now it could be in the secondary depending on how the safeties play out. [Javon] Hagan had a good day yesterday, [Parnell] Motley had a good day yesterday. Again, all that is going to be predicated on special teams."
(On if he was nervous someone would hit QB Tom Brady when he scrambled up the middle in Tuesday's practice and if he addressed the team about not hitting the quarterback after Brady was reportedly knocked down on Monday)
"I never saw him get knocked down, so I don't know where that came from. I didn't see it on film either. Nobody was going to touch him – they know better. That was an easy one."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD BOWLES
(On if the defensive backs have shown growth after competing against QB Tom Brady in training camp)
"They're learning the scheme from that standpoint. The thing I'm encouraged about [is] they came back in shape and they're running around and moving well. As we see more routes, Tom gives us a challenge because if he doesn't throw it to his guys, it's hard for him to throw it to us because he throws great incompletions. I know that's hard to do, but he's very precise and specific in what he does. More importantly, our guys like focusing on our scheme and trying to get ready for the season without missing all the small, fundamental steps. That's what we're preparing for."
(On what the biggest impact from going against Brady will be for the defensive backs)
"Again, just being where they're supposed to be and working on the fundamentals. I think he challenges you to do everything right and everything precise. We try to do that anyway but having him as a quarterback makes them even more tuned in and locked in every day on doing the little things they have to do to get better."
(On CB Parnell Motley)
"He's flashed a lot of ball skills when the ball has come his way – he's come down with some interceptions. Obviously, he has a lot to learn from a schematic standpoint, so it has a lot more to do with that, and he's got to be able to play special teams. He's making strides, he's showing us that he's here and we notice him every day. We just have to see how it goes as it goes along, but so far we like what he's doing."
(On DL Vita Vea and what he has to do to become a better pass rusher)
"I think he just has to use his hands more. We know he's big and powerful, but he's also fast and athletic, as well. He's just got to get his hand placement down, use his hands more and not settle for the first time when he puts his hands on him and then try to bull [rush] him after that. He's just got to swipe and rip and do all those things that Coach [Kacy] Rodgers is asking him to do. He does that more [and] he'll be a little more effective."
(On ILB Devin White's biggest growth)
"I think it's the maturity in the defense, as well as leadership. I think he's a natural leader, guys gravitate to him. He's the first one up to bring everybody into the huddle and his command of the defense this year coming back in has had a lot of recall. I think that will make him play faster."
(On if playing defensive back has gotten harder since his playing career) "I don't think it's that difficult. It's still the same thing [as] back when I played. You have to understand where your help is, you have to be able to tackle, you have to be able to read routes and you have to make plays when they arise. That hasn't changed. It's just understanding the scheme [and] what you have to do every play that is a full-time job, so making sure when you have a bunch of young guys [and] there's really not an older guy in the secondary to lead them, you have to make sure they dot their 'I's and cross their 'T's so they're ready to play come Sunday."
(On the rule changes making it more difficult for defensive backs)
"It does, but within the rules, football is football. You can't chuck after five yards – we get that. It still comes down to covering, blocking and tackling."
(On what OLB Shaquil Barrett can do for an encore after a strong 2019 season)
"He came in great shape, number one. So far, he's having a very good camp. I don't know what he can do for an encore, but he has to be himself and we're going to give him some chances to rush the passer along with JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and a lot of other guys up there. Just him drawing attention would help us, but we have to move him around some – we understand that. We know they're going to be keying on him a lot as well as some of our other guys. We just have to put him in a position to make more plays and I think he'll be able to do that."
(On what challenges the versatility of the safeties can present opposing offenses) "You just try not to give [offenses] a pre-snap read – [that is] the biggest thing. If they can play strong and free [safety], then they can't just say 'They're in this, they're in that' all the time. That's really the biggest thing. We try to let them play to their strengths as we go through everything. They'll do a lot of things in practice, but come game time you kind of know who can do what and you try to put them in a position to do just that."
(On the importance of returning a lot of players and using the same scheme from the 2019 season) "It's important to have them all back from a chemistry standpoint, but you have to re-create that chemistry. Obviously, the times we're in right now and them missing the whole offseason doesn't help much, but having them back and the communication's got to continue all the way up to Week 1 – [it is] important. They've got to stay healthy as well."
(On if ILB Devin White's role this season will expand and could result in more blitzing opportunities)
"Game plan wise, it's yet to be determined. But, he will get to run some – he'll get to do everything. He'll get to cover, he'll get to blitz, he'll get to play the run, he'll get to do everything an inside linebacker does. He's a three-down backer and as long as he's in the right place and he understands what to do – which he does, and he's coming to camp with that mentality – the sky's the limit for him. He's only going in to his second year – the more he can grasp the defense, the better he'll be."
(On how S Antoine Winfield Jr. compares to where top safeties around the NFL were in their rookie seasons)
"He's a rookie – those guys had spring training. Obviously, all good players, all instinctive players. I think Winfield is his own player in his own right. Very heady, very studious – he comes prepared all the time. He takes coaching, which is the biggest thing you could ask for a rookie and he applies it. Not just from the classroom – you can talk to him passing by him in the hallway and say something, and he'll retain it. That's very encouraging and he puts it to use once he gets on the field. I really like that about him."
(On if Tampa Bay's offense looks better than the 2019 offense)
"We haven't played any games yet. You guys have it on paper, we understand it on paper, but defensively, we're worried about getting ready for the season. I love having Tom [Brady] here, but I can't focus on that. If we don't stop anybody, we won't win any games."
(On if Winfield Jr. could step in as the backup nickel cornerback)
"We have a lot of guys that's taking reps there. That's yet to be determined right now after a week and a half. I can't really tell you who the backup nickel is yet because there's about four guys vying for that spot. Winfield can do a lot of things at that spot, as can [Mike] Edwards, as can Mazzi [Wilkins], as can Ryan Smith, so we're going to keep working them and that will sort itself out in another week or so."
(On DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches)
"Right now, in a week and a half, he's been the most improved player. I think he's changed his upper body – he looks more stout and he looks quicker. He's more explosive, he looks more powerful right now and he's adapted to the scheme and understanding things well. He's taking advantage of the situation – he's always the first one out stretching, he's always the loudest one in practice on the field. He gets the other guys going [and] he's been a joy to be around. He's been great – I can't say enough good things about him."
(On the young outside linebackers on the roster)
"Physically, they're all still learning. This is their first year really in the scheme. Physically, they're very good athletes. Mentally, they have some things to learn. Until we start scrimmaging and having those things, I can't say one or the other has impressed me one way or the other. [Quinton] Bell has a lot of speed, Kahzin [Daniels] has been very strong, Cam Gill has some speed and power, [Michael] Divinity is extremely smart, so we have to let them sort themselves out as we go forward."
(On what he's seen from OLB Anthony Nelson in training camp)
"He had some good snaps last year when he got back. This camp he's been very studious, he's been very tough at the point of attack. I like the things I'm seeing from him. We have to get better all the way around from a schematic standpoint, but he's a smart player, he's a very heady player, he doesn't get fooled more than one time and he plays strong. I just look to keep him healthy."
(On what it's like watching QB Tom Brady from a coaching perspective, as opposed to being a competitor)
"Again, I'm on defense, so I don't get the chance to watch him much. The biggest compliment I can give him is that he throws great incompletions. Meaning that if his guy doesn't get the ball, he puts it in a place where you really can't. He's really like a pitcher – he can paint the outside part of the plate, he can throw it down and away, he can throw it high and tight. It's very understated, but it's very important as a quarterback. That's probably the biggest compliment I can give him. It's easy to complete them, but to throw a great incompletion is very hard to do and I think he does that well."
(On CB Mazzi Wilkins)
"He's a hard worker. He's going to be the hardest worker out there – at least one of the hardest workers out there. We're trying to learn him in a bunch of different positions as far as nickel and corner right now. We know he can play gunner and do a lot of things on special teams, but it's a lot of competition back there at corner for the back end part of that roster and he's right in the mix with that."
GUARD ALI MARPET
(On the developing continuity of the offensive line and how T Tristan Wirfs is fitting in)
"I think it's huge. I think the fact that we've been out there every day together just figuring things out and communicating has been awesome. The fact that we get to go against a really competitive defensive front makes it that much better. Tristan [Wirfs] is doing a phenomenal job of fitting in and doing what he does to do. It really does feel good."
(On how QB Tom Brady's experience will impact Tampa Bay's offense)
"I think the knowledge base and his communication skill – for us as an offensive line – is huge. There are times he can see things that I'm not seeing and he's like, 'Hey, I want you guys to do this.' I'm like, 'Done.' Amazingly, he'll pick something up that I didn't know was coming. Just his veteran experience and his ability to communicate it across the line and to the receivers and everything is really impressive. That's been extremely helpful."
(On what people who have not followed Tampa Bay will learn about the team this season)
"I think that people who are unfamiliar with the Bucs will understand how hard we compete. I think that's something that we've done a pretty nice job of. It's just that we haven't executed well enough in the past. Ultimately, we're still going 100 miles-per-hour, we're still competing. I do think that's something that people unfamiliar with the Bucs will see."
(On the younger offensive linemen and how they have performed in training camp)
"I kind of want to shout out the rookie offensive line, the whole class, honestly. It was impressive – the fact that we had no OTAs and we just did virtual meetings, they came to training camp prepared mentally [and] physically. Kudos to them – I thought it was one of the most together group of rookies that I had seen coming in. Of the younger guys, I think [Aaron] Stinnie has done a really nice job. I think all of them are playing at a pretty high level and competing, and I think that makes decisions moving forward very challenging. But, I do think they're playing really well. Again, I think there's actually some really good depth at D-line, too, so those battles are really great."
(On players using their platforms to speak on topics regarding social justice and inequality)
"I definitely think that you've seen a couple guys feel more comfortable about speaking their mind, speaking their peace and speaking their truth. I think that's great and I think you'll see more of that moving forward. I really do think there are a lot of great leaders in our locker room that do a lot of things in our community. I think as we talk about the national spotlight being closer to the Bucs, you'll see some more of that. I'm really impressed with a lot of my teammates and their perspective, their values and what they want to share with their community."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN VITA VEA
(On what he has done to improve the pass-rush aspect of his game)
"The first step starts in the film room, watching film and seeing what's available, what moves I can do and learning from other people. And, watching film on the opponents and seeing how they pass. Also, just taking coaching from the coaches and working on what they tell me to work on."
(On going against the Buccaneers offense in practice)
"It's definitely competitive during practice. Some days you may go back and forth. Some days they might have a good day and we might have a bad day. Some days we may have a good day and they may have a bad day. I think those are the steps we're taking that are helping us improve."
(On veterans like DL Ndamukong Suh and OLB Jason Pierre-Paul choosing to return)
"I think it's great. I take it as it's not every day that you line up next to a JPP or a Ndamukong Suh. For us young guys, I think we've got to take advantage of it and also learn from them. I think it means a lot that they came back, and that we stayed together. We definitely have that chemistry within each other, so that's always good."
(On the advantage of lining up next to Suh)
"It actually helps a lot. It's hard to describe. Sometimes I can ask him out there like, 'The O-lineman did this to me, what should I do?' He's played so long that he's seen everything, so he can help me right then and there and tell me what to do next time if it happens again."
(On what the team needs to do to be prepared for the New Orleans Saints in Week 1)
"I think we just have to hone in on our technique since we've been here for three weeks. We didn't have any OTAs, we didn't have a real camp or a preseason. I think everybody has to hone in on their techniques since we're trying to make up for lost time. I think just studying the film, watching yourself and being your own worst critic about that and focusing on your technique. I think that's the biggest emphasis for us right now."