Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: The Buccaneers’ opposing quarterbacks have staggering numbers. What kind of stock do you place in that?
A: I don’t put any stock in it. We watch the tape, we see how they play, and we have a plan to attack them. Sometimes it doesn’t always play out that way. They’ve put up points in the games they play well and so other teams then throw the ball. We’re aware of it, obviously, it does help paint a picture, but it doesn’t always play out as some people may predict it might.
Q: If a player is looking at that, can there be a danger in that?
A: No, we have a plan and we want to try to execute that plan. It will always involve running the ball, but teams that have given up some yards passing, certainly we’re going to try to take advantage of that.
Q: What did your offensive tackles work on during the bye that helped them have such a good game against the Niners?
A: Normal fundamentals, and then we did a good job of changing up the protections. They just did what they do better. You don’t reinvent the wheel, you just try to do some of the things that you’re doing well more, and some of the things you’re not doing well less, and then work on the fundamentals. They had a good night.
Q: Are there things you found offensively last week that you feel like you put your finger on some things?
A: No, it’s important and it’s a team thing, I really do believe you have to run the ball throughout the game, and sometimes early in the game, it might be an ugly three-yard run, but that’s okay as long as you’re still getting first downs and scoring points. Plus, it’s smart to give Saquon (Barkley) the ball. But games play out differently. There are some teams where it’s better to throw the ball early, get them to loosen up, then run i. It just all depends on the team you’re playing.
Q: What kind of difference do you feel like Jamon (Brown) made for you last week?
A: He’s a big, sturdy guy. I think that’s a settling force for the quarterback when he’s pretty certain that the interior of the pocket’s going to be firm. He did a good job with that.
Q: You have had success in the no-huddle offense. Do you plan on doing that more?
A: Yeah, tempo and no-huddle are part of what we do. There’s a difference between no-huddle and two-minute, and when you’re in two-minute mode racing up and down the field, that’s something that Eli’s good at. Because that’s not always the scenario, you don’t see it throughout games. Most teams have it and use it strategically, just not all the time.
Q: What did you make of Jerry Rice’s comments saying he didn’t think Eli Manning was a sure Hall of Famer?
A: Everybody has an opinion. That’s his opinion. I’m not going to get into all that.
Q: Isn’t what you worked on with Chip (Kelly) kind of two-minute drill all the time?
A: Yeah, so it’s part of my DNA. I was there and helped develop the NFL version of Chip’s offense, and so very well aware of how to do it. We do it strategically and it’s been successful for us. When I say strategically, it’s not all the time, it’s when we choose to do it.
Q: That’s a little different than regular no-huddle, that was like two-minute drill, right?
A: No, it was no-huddle. The two-minute drill is where you’re going fast because time is a factor. No-huddle is you’re just standing at the line, you’re not in a huddle. It’s like the throttle on a car, you go really fast, or you can go kind of fast, or you can go slow. So sometimes that gets misunderstood, just like there’s probably 50 definitions for the West Coast offense – zone-read, read-option. I cringe when I hear read-option, it’s really zone read. It’s just the way it gets phrased sometimes, but the difference between two-minute and no-huddle, so to speak, is you just choose not to huddle.
Q: Is there a temptation because Eli is so good in that to use it more to get more up-tempo?
A: Yeah, and again, I think it’s important that we use it strategically. We had a lot of tempo plays the other night. It didn’t appear that way, but that’s actually what we were doing. You can do it a lot of different ways.
Q: Given how well Lorenzo (Carter) has done with increased responsibility these last few games, do you think you’ll add to that down the stretch a little more?
A: Lorenzo had his best game (last week) and I think we need to build on that. It’s always good to see. Rookies get better at a faster pace sometimes than veterans because it’s new for them and they’re doing it for the seventh or eight times, and I thought he had a good game. We’ve just got to keep building on it.
Q: How was your commute last night? I know it was crazy with traffic.
A: I did alright. I just did it Michigan style, I put a jacket on, put the wipers on, and took off.
Q: Did you sleep here?
A: No, I didn’t sleep here. It wasn’t bad. It was busy, but it wasn’t bad. Fortunately, the path I took, at least we were moving.
Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells
Q: (TE) Evan’s (Engram) playing time slightly went down. How do you present that to him to make sure that doesn’t affect him at all?
A: I think it’s one of the things where you don’t necessarily look at it as going down. Just trying to utilize all of our personnel, all those guys in that room. It wasn’t necessarily directed towards him. It was just more so schematics and more so gameplan in terms of what we can do to take advantage of what the other team is giving us.
Q: How can he become a better blocker so that he can remain on the field in certain blocking situations like (TE) Rhett (Ellison) and (TE) Scott (Simonson)?
A: I think he’s getting better at it. Obviously, his redeeming quality is what he brings to the table in the pass game. He’s still working at it, and he’s getting better. I think he’s made tremendous strides in the right direction, but again, at the end of the game who was in, who wasn’t in, was all predicated on trying to put guys in the best position to be successful.
Q: I know he’s been injured and missed some time, why do you think he hasn’t had the same frequent success as your receivers? [Engram]
A: I hadn’t really evaluated him as not having success, because again, numbers only tell half the story in my mind. He’s has some success. We’ve missed on some opportunities earlier in the year that limited the numbers, but I can’t say one way or another what pinpoints him directly not having the amount of numbers that he’s had. Again, we’re making strides in the right direction to do things that we do to help win games.
Q: Should he have caught that pass over the top in the fourth-quarter? [Engram]
A: Should he have had it? Some might say yes, but he threw a hell of an effort at it. The guy got his hand in there and broke it up.
Q: How have you seen him handle the drops mentally?
A: At times, you get down a little bit, especially right after the game because he’s a competitor and he wants to do his best to give the team a chance to win. So, he feels more so that he let the team down, but after that, we’ve just been moving forward and keep doing a lot of hard work and effort at it. Like I’ve said before, as a batter, you can’t bat .500 with the bat on your shoulders. We just keep taking swings at it, and I think that’s been his mentality. Just keep catching balls, and keep catching more balls.
Q: Are you working with him at being a more versatile threat so that he can be on the field more? Or, are you guys comfortable with him not being on the field in run-heavy packages?
A: No, he’s a tight end. So, he does everything that goes into play with being a tight end – as a run blocker, as a pass protector, and is catching the football and is running routes. We emphasize all of that. He’s not sitting over there with the wide receivers catching balls while we’re doing run drills. Individually, he’s right there getting his run stuff in. He’s developing in every aspect.
Q: This game seemed different in that regard as far as his usage. [Engram]
A: Yeah, we saw opportunities to utilize all our personnel within that room in that game. So, that’s what we did. It wasn’t like a direct reflection on him. It was just taking advantage of our 53-man roster.
Q: How do you think Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison did in their roles?
A: They did really good this past game. They moved some guys around their role. It was good to see that. Also, they did some things in the pass game in pass protection that, again, it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but it contributed to some of those plays that we made. They had a really good day. It’s probably the better game out of the unit, overall, because again, we utilized the personnel, they guys relished in their role that they had, and you saw down the stretch Evan had some big catches, some big plays down the stretch to put us in a position to win a game.
Q: Do you expect your guys to play a bigger role moving forward, considering the array of two-tight end packages that this offense entails?
A: How much of a role they play, I think, is predicated on how well they relish in the role they’ve been given, and also what scheme and what things help us put ourselves in a position to be successful, depending on the team that we’re playing against.
Q: I think the Bucs have allowed the most yards to opposing tight ends this season. Is that something you guys noticed when you see the success that other teams have had against them at that position?
A: Again, we don’t spend a whole lot of time focusing on what they’ve given up. We kind of spend more time focusing on how we can attack them schematically and individually in terms of matchup wise. Looking at the previous tight ends’ numbers, we don’t really focus on that. We want to focus on us and being able to take advantage of what they give us, and play our best.
Q: No (Buccaneers LB) Lavonte David, that should work in your guys’ favor. He’s the guy that’s used to cover most tight ends.
A: Correct, correct. That helps, but we focus on doing our deal and focusing on us. It’s about us.
Q: When Evan has struggled with the catches, have you worked with him on how to overcome that mentally? Or, are you exclusively coaching him from a technique standpoint?
A: My perspective has always been at some point in time, you don’t want to put them in panic mode. When he’s struggling, that’s when you kind of be more of an encourager. The catching and the football, that just comes along with how we prepare. It’s not like, hey, let’s catch 10,000 footballs. Let’s just continue to be consistent and catch like we normally do. Then, it’s just the encouraging part so that he knows, hey, he’s been put on this Earth to catch footballs. Let’s just continue to emphasize and get it done on Sunday.
Q: How much does he fight that in his head?
A: Immediately after the game, it messes with him, but after that, we turn the page, we come back here on Wednesday, turns the page, and moves forward and throws all effort at it.
Q: Do you think the end of last game should help his confidence?
A: Yeah, it gave him a little confidence. Like we say, you go out there and hit a homerun, you’ll start to feel pretty good about yourself, but you never lose the fact of continuing to throw hard work at it and keep working at it.
LB Lorenzo Carter
Re: your commute last night in the snow
A: It took hours. I was alone in the car. (Olivier Vernon) was in front of me, Kareem (Martin) was behind me. It was a long ride.
Q: What kept you busy?
A: Everything. I had the whole playlist on shuffle. I think I heard probably 75% of my music.
Q: You had experience before (with snow) in Georgia, you said?
A: A little bit, nothing like that. An inch of snow in Georgia, you’re out of school for a week. It was coming down, and I had to get home. It was tough.
Q: What time did you guys get out of here?
Q: Did you order delivery on the way?
A: I figured I might as well not because they’d get stuck in the same traffic. We’d be sitting there with each other. There was people walking. People were out there walking on the street.
Q: So when you call people in Georgia and tell them what you went through, how did you describe it?
A: I really didn’t feel like talking to anybody. I was in the car. I let my mom know I’d call her when I got home, but she kept calling back. I was like, I’m still here, I told you I’d call you when I get home.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, how awful was that?
A: The ride was a 9. I didn’t run out of gas, I had a phone charger, so I was straight, but the snow was a 10, awesome. I love the snow, but the drive… No. I got home at 9:30, five-hour ride, still had to make a snowman. First snow.
Q: What did you use for the eyes there?
A: Starburst gummies. I had raisins for the buttons, and then I found some twigs in the snow and put them in his arms.
Q: Is the snowman still standing?
A: We’ll see.
Q: If he is you can sack it.
A: No, I’ll keep that one up.
Q: We noticed and Coach also said it was your best game of the season last week. What is it that’s coming together for you now that’s allowing you to play at a high level?
A: I think it’s just playing confident, just playing fast. Not thinking, just coming out and playing football, listening to the guys, (Olivier Vernon) giving me great tips, Connor (Barwin) giving me great tips and just trying to use what they say and try to take it out on the field.
Q: What would be the next step in your progression as a player?
A: Keep playing. Keep playing aggressive, keep playing fast and physical. Everything else comes with it. Just get play time, get experience.
Q: How comfortable are you with the increased responsibility and what do you expect in the coming weeks?
A: Yeah, I’m comfortable with it. We go out in practice, we execute plays in practice, so it’s just the same translating to the field on game day. Increased role, it doesn’t matter. I’m out there, it’s the same thing. I go out there and take it one play at a time.
Q: What do you think is the key to getting your first home win of the season?
A: Just go out there and build off our win in San Fran. We had some good plays, offense made plays, defense made plays, special teams, so we just have to keep that same mindset to keep chopping and keep trying to make plays.
Q: Did you hear Jerry Rice say he doesn’t think Eli Manning is a Hall of Famer?
A: No, I didn’t hear that.
Q: What do you think about that?
A: I think that’s tough. Eli’s a Hall of Famer in my eyes. He’s my quarterback, I love him. Two Super Bowls… Hard to talk against that.
Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern
Q: What kind of growth are you seeing from Lorenzo Carter? Obviously he had a pretty big game the other night and seems like he’s making some strides.
A: He’s definitely making strides, he’s working at it each and every day. Happy with the progress that he’s made so far and again the last game probably a good sign of that.
Q: Do you think his workload is going to increase more down the stretch?
A: We’ll see. We’ve been trying to increase it as it progresses and see how much he can handle, but he’s handling more and more, and the more he shows he can handle, we’ll try to give him more work.
Q: Seems like you guys want to continue to rotate guys in there, though. You don’t want to put too much on his plate. Why is that?
A: You don’t want to overload a young guy and just kind of put too much on him. He’s also playing special teams. There’s a lot going on and this is obviously the NFL, the season is a lot longer than the college season, so you’re just trying to give him a good foundation which to build off of.
Q: What do you think B.J. (Goodson) has done with his increased opportunities these last several weeks?
A: He’s doing a good job. B.J.’s been the same guy. He comes to work every day, does a great job preparing, he’s attentive, he’s taking notes in every meeting. He wants to do good. The opportunity arose for him on Monday night and he took advantage of it, so happy for him, happy for us.
Q: With the opposing tight ends, (George) Kittle had a pretty good game. What can your guys do to help – you’re going to play some good tight ends down the stretch here. What can your guys do to sort of limit the damage?
A: It’s one of those things that like all things, the catches the wideouts make, everybody makes. It’s apart of everybody. There’s going to be times we’re covering them, there’s going to be times where we could be underneath coverage. At times, we could be man, there’s times we could be rushing, so it’s all going to affect every catch that’s made or not made, so we just got to continue to work and prepare. The guys are doing that. The guys are putting in the time, the film study, everything else. We’re just trying to put him in a situation to have some success.
Q: How can Alec (Ogletree) be better in coverage? It seems like sometimes he’s getting isolated and beaten. I know it’s tough against running backs, but just curious from your standpoint.
A: It’s one of those things we talked about it. I talked about it with him, we’ve met about it, we’ve looked at some film study about it and in individual time, we’ve spent a little more time on it. It’s things that he’s a true professional. He’s a guy that wants to be better, wants to be as good as he can be, so he’s working at it, he’s trying to take care of the little things. There’s sometimes we can help him better as coaches. He can be better in his technique and we could – maybe somebody else in the coverage even could help him.
Q: Is it mandatory for these guys, not just him in particular – guarding some of these running backs, they’re used to going against Saquon (Barkley), it’s a tough matchup for these guys. Is it mandatory that almost these days to get their hands on guys early?
A: Ideally, you’d like to, yes, but because you see all those rub routes and pick routes, the offense does a nice job of kind of trying to keep that separation in terms of what they can do, in terms of where their run fits are and your pass responsibilities, so it is. Ideally, the closer you can get to them, the better off you are. Space is not always necessarily your friend in coverage.
Q: When (James) Bettcher cycles Landon (Collins) down to the point where he sometimes is kind of playing linebacker, do you ever coach Landon on things he’s doing down there at that level of the defense?
A: No, he knows things. He’s taken that. There’s times he’s in Lou’s (Anarumo) room and Deshea’s (Townsend) room and they’re kind of going through everything. They handle that like it’s all we kind of handle each other. If I’m there, if I can help him with something, I’ll gladly do it, but it’s one of those things we kind of – he’s being told, ‘hey you’re playing man’, ‘you’re playing this zone’, whatever it may be, ‘you’re blitzing’, whatever it may be.
Q: He seems kind of like a Swiss army knife.
A: He’s a guy that obviously his workload has increased. We ask him to do a lot of things, but he’s done a nice job.
Q: OV (Olivier Vernon) hasn’t put up the sack numbers that maybe he’s done in the past. Is he fully back in your mind from the injury or is he still working his way a little bit back?
A: I don’t think anybody’s 100 percent after they start playing, but he’s been out there, he’s been working. He is being disruptive. He hasn’t – like all of us, we all kind of quantify it by what’s your sack numbers, but he’s there, he’s giving pressure. He’s the guy that they know is coming, so he is. He’s working his tail off. The quarterback knows where he is, the offensive line knows where he is. Hopefully they’ll come in time.
Q: How much are seeing that, guys putting extra attention towards him?
A: You see when you watch the tape they know where he is.
Q: They’re sort of sliding guys towards him?
A: They know where he is, yeah.
Q: Is there anything you can do to combat that when they do that or does that kind of just free space for –
A: It’s schematically. Like I think Bettcher always talks about schematically working. We’re trying to get a bunch of one-on-one’s and we need to win the one-on-one’s. Other guys need to step up and try to make some plays, too, and it’s one of those things we’re trying to give guys opportunities to win in a one-on-one situation.
Q: Can Lorenzo do anything differently on his penalty? It seemed like he was, at the end of the game, it seems like he was leaving the ground –
A: I don’t think I’m allowed to comment on that. I don’t make that kind of money. I’m not going to say anything on that.