Crash & AJ

Crash & AJ

Crash and AJ, Weekday Mornings on 98ROCK


Buccaneers Post-Game Press Conference 12/26/20 #TBvsDET

Source: Buccaneers Communications
Article Pic: Getty Images


(On what the team has accomplished this season by earning a spot in the playoffs)

“It’s just the beginning. Our goal when we started out – especially in this year – was just to get in the dance. Now it’s to win 11 games, see where we stand, where we’re going and know who we’re playing. I’m really, really proud of our guys. Our guys did a great job of preparing this week. You could feel this was a playoff practice week – even with the holidays they handled their business well.”

(On what has clicked that has allowed the offense to have success recently)

“I think we’ve attacked more and kept a really nice mix of protections, running the football, taking our shots down the field, getting third downs [and] making first downs on first and second down. We’re an explosive football team. When we can keep Tom [Brady] standing, he’s going to deliver for us.”

(On the lack of turnovers and penalties the team has committed in recent weeks)

“We had the one dumb penalty where we had the audible and we didn’t audible. We had the illegal man downfield and that wiped out a big gain. We’ve had good discipline. I didn’t like the fiasco there after the interception, but overall we’ve had good discipline. We’re giving ourselves a chance to win.”

(On what a win by a large margin can do to build momentum toward the postseason)

“It was a good win. It was exactly what we talked about – you want to go out and get a good start. We’ve deferred the kickoff most of this year – we just decided to put our offense out there [first today] and they delivered. It was exactly what we needed. Our special teams were a little shaky today. Ryan [Succop] just hates this turf and it showed today. I really wanted that [shutout] and we gave up the punt return [touchdown]. Everything can’t be perfect, but I’m always looking for perfect.”

(On QB Tom Brady’s performance in his 300th career regular season game)

“It was great. Any time you have a 158[.3] quarterback rating and throw for over 300 yards in a half back-to-back [weeks], it’s pretty special. He’s a pretty special player.”

(On what earning a spot in the playoffs means to him personally)

“It means the world. This is why you coach – you want to get a chance to win a championship. What a great group of guys we have to coach. [They are] very resilient [and] a fun group. They know their business and they do a great job. Ever since I’ve gotten to Tampa, we’ve never had to ask our guys to work hard. We’ve gotten smarter [and] we’ve gotten more disciplined and it’s starting to show.”

(On if winning by a large margin will impact how the team prepares for the postseason)

“It always matters. When you play a half like we did last week and then a half like we did this week, you start stacking those together. We’re going to be a pretty tough out. I just like the way we’re playing football right now in all three phases, although Ryan [Succop] did struggle today.”

(On how it feels to have the team get off to a fast start on both sides of the ball)

“We like to have [the ball] coming out [for] the second half, so we always defer the coin toss, try to score before the half and get the double score. This week we felt like we could attack, so we took the football if we won the coin toss and our guys went out and went right down the field. It was something we need desperately just so people would quit talking about it. We were winning, but we weren’t winning nice enough. Today, hopefully it was nice enough.”

(On why the team has performed well in road games this season and how that could help in the postseason)

“I think we’ve finally gotten used to playing in empty stadiums – it took a while. Today, we had a lot of energy and it was like, ‘OK, we’re learning how to play in these empty stadiums where there’s absolutely no crowd.’ It’s different than having a partial crowd. We’ve always been a good road team – even in Arizona we were a good road team. This year without the crowd noise it’s so different. Every game is really a home game. It’s just, ‘Hey, let’s go play ball in the parking lot and let’s go.’ Anytime you go 6-2 on the road, you should be in the playoffs – that’s for sure.”

(On WR Mike Evans’ big day and him moving closer to his seventh-consecutive season with 1,000 receiving yards)

“We knew – especially [against] this team – Tom [Brady] went against this defense for 20 years in New England [with] all the calls and everything. He was very confident that we could get Mike the ball in this ballgame. It was forcing it to him in the second half. Every time Blaine [Gabbert] had a chance, we were going to try to get Mike that record. I was hoping he’d get it today and we wouldn’t have to play him next week, but next week will take care of itself. I desperately want that to happen. Whatever he needs – 50 [yards] or whatever he has left – I’m sure Atlanta’s not going to want to give it to him, so we’ll have to find some creative ways to get it for him.”

(On how QB Blaine Gabbert and RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn performed)

“Blaine hadn’t played in a year and a half and we know how good Blaine Gabbert is. He can really spin a football. It’s a shame that one got knocked out of his hand because we would’ve had another drive going. We’ve known what Ke’Shawn is, it’s just getting an opportunity. He’s so quick and sudden – a different style runner. Leonard [Fournette] is a big, powerful guy. He just gives us another good change of pace. Herb Miller, a bunch of young guys got out there today. Tyler [Johnson] did a great job, Tanner Hudson – there’s a bunch of good guys that got to play this week.”

(On the offense’s efficiency in the game)

“I think that’s what we’re capable of. If you can get first downs and chunk plays on first and second down, you can score faster and score more often. We went with no huddle without fastbreak. We’ve been working on it for a few weeks just to get it in the game. It was a really nice drive that we handled extremely well. I was really happy to see that because we might use it in the playoffs.”

(On how the team has come together over the last two season)

“It was putting the secondary together, first, and letting them get guys back last year. Hopefully we’ll get Carlton [Davis III] back out there [next] week and bring them along.

[We needed to] get a defense. We needed a defense if we were going to win. I knew we’d score points – we’ve always scored points. It’s just a matter of getting a defense [and] getting those guys re-signed. Hopefully we’ll keep them all here this year and continue to build on defense. Then, just add those pieces offensively. Obviously Tom [Brady] was huge, Rob [Gronkowski] was huge and they were more, ‘We know how to win.’ That’s what they brought. ‘We know how to win.’ Tom’s done it a couple times this year where we’ve gotten down and brought us back. I like where we’re at now in the second year – I think we’ll continue to build. Anything can happen. I’ve been a six seed and gone all the way to the Super Bowl and won it right here in this stadium. Anything’s possible. Now that we’re in the dance, we’re going to see what next week brings and where we’re going.”

(On how Detroit’s penalties on Tampa Bay’s opening offensive possession allowed the Buccaneers to get off to a fast start)

“There’s no doubt their discipline – or lack thereof – helped us tremendously. It was exactly what we needed. I think had he not jumped offside, I think we would have had a better play. They are what they are. We had them go the other way, but I love what our guys did with that opportunity – went straight down and scored.”


(On the Buccaneers earning a spot in the playoffs and what has clicked for the offense in recent weeks)

“We played pretty good in the first half today. [We] played really good the whole game. Blaine [Gabbert] went in and did a great job – it was great to see. A lot of guys made plays. Mike [Evans] made a bunch, Chris [Godwin] made a bunch, A.B. (Antonio Brown) made a bunch, Tyler [Johnson] made one, Ke’Shawn [Vaughn] made some, Leonard [Fournette] did. It’s just a great effort by the whole team. Just happy for all of us to win the game and it’s great to be 10-5. We were 7-5 at the Bye Week and then won three straight. It’s been really important and we’ve got another big one next week against Atlanta. Whatever happens after that is bonus for all of us.”

(On the team earning a Wild Card spot in the playoffs and if playing in empty stadiums will make the playoffs easier)

“We’ve got a home game next week against Atlanta, so that’s what I’m thinking about. I’m going to try to go out and play great football next week. Didn’t play very [well] in the first half in Atlanta and I only played one half today, so I’ve got to go out there and play well next week.”

(On his appreciation for his teammates who will be making their first appearance in the postseason)

“I’m certainly just happy we won the game. We’re 10-5 and I know that gets us a spot, but I think there’s still a big week ahead of us for preparation and improving as a team. We’re playing better, we’re playing more consistently and it’s been great to see. There’s a lot of guys who have worked hard to get to this point. Ten wins gets you something this year in the NFL – it gets you a spot in the playoffs. There’s going to be a bunch of teams that make it this year and there’s only going o be one team that ends up happy. The

more time we can spend improving as a team, [the more] improving as a quarterback that I need to do, the better it is for us.”

(On how special his performance in the game was for him) “I love playing and the teammates that I have, I always feel like I never want to let them down. I know it’s been that way for 21 years of my career. I just try to show up and do the best I can do every week and every day and realize that the competition isn’t only on Sunday, the competition is every day of the week. I’ve got a lot of guys on this team this year that have made a great commitment to one another and we’re committed to being the best that we can be. I know at different times we haven’t played the way that we’re capable of playing, [but] when we do play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re pretty tough to beat. We’ve got to figure out how to do it more consistently in the best possible way. We play another divisional opponent [next week] at home. I’m going to be excited to get out there and play and see what we can accomplish.”

(On the importance of the offense not turning the ball over and committing many penalties as it prepares for the postseason)

“It’s important. Turnover differential and turnover margin is one of the great stats in football. Any time you don’t turn it over, you’re making the other team score on a long field. If every drive ends in a kick, I think you’re doing pretty [well] on offense. I try not to turn it over – I know I have turned it over a few too many times this year. I’d like to [never] turn it over and it always feels good when you come out of a game without turnovers.”

(On what allowed the offense to get off to a fast start in the game)

“Just good execution. Guys were making plays for me all over the field and I try to just give them opportunities. We have a lot of playmakers and they just went up and made a bunch of great plays. The [offensive] line did a great job blocking [and] we were just really consistent [and] dependable. It was needed – it was a big game for us.”


(On making the playoffs first the first time in his career)

“Bittersweet – it’s amazing. Great feeling – everybody knows what it took. Coach made an emphasis on it throughout the year [that] nothing is going to be given – we have to go out and take what we want. We’re here, man. We did it. We clinched a playoff berth, but that’s not it. We’re going to enjoy this moment – I’m going to enjoy this moment for sure. It’s definitely a great feeling to be a part of something like this. I’m definitely grateful.”

(On the key to the defense not allowing points in the game)

“Just being consistent and understanding what we’re supposed to do. Understanding what we want to do and understanding how they’re going to try to attack us in ways that we’ve been attacked before. We just try to fix that and then get back to working on us. We put together a great performance today and it was a great effort by everybody. Obviously, we definitely wanted the [shutout]. Even though they had players down – they were dealing with a lot of stuff over there – but that’s not our issue. What we had to do is go out there and do our jobs and dominate. That’s what we wanted to do. It started in

practice and it transpired over to the field. We’re happy to be in the position that we’re in – we just have to keep on stacking.”

(On if he shared moments with other teammates who will also be making their first postseason appearance)

“After the game, me and Will [Gholson] hugged each other. He was one of the guys who was here next to me. Mike [Evans] in the locker room – I broke it down and Mike just gave me a big hug in the locker room. A lot of guys, staff, everybody was like, ‘It’s about time.’ They [said] they’re proud of me and they’re happy for me. It’s a great feeling. Gerald [McCoy] – we talk throughout the week. Gerald is one of my closest friends and one of my biggest supporters and vice versa. He’s happy for me [and] I’m sure I have a bunch of messages from him being excited for me and everything. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m blessed to be a part of it. Now the question is, what’s next? We have to keep on climbing and keep on grinding. We’ve got a chance to get in the tournament, so now it’s about what you’re going to do while you’re there.”


(On clinching a playoff berth for the first time in his career)

“It was a great moment [and] a great experience. We’ve been scratching and clawing every single year to try to make the tournament. It’s been seven years for me, nine for Lavonte [David] and eight for Will Gholston. It’s been a journey, but we are happy we finally accomplished it and that’s just where it starts. We want to go as far as we can.”

(On what has clicked over the team’s last two halves of football with QB Tom Brady under center)

“December football – really locking in and honing in on the details of everything, [such as] knowing what coverages they’re going to run on certain downs and distances. We’re really hitting it hard trying to be as best we can late in the season.”

(On the team working to get him 1,000 yards on the season, which would make him the lone player in NFL history to record 1,000-or-more yards in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL, and what it means to him)

“They care about me, and I appreciate that a lot. All of my teammates – they definitely want me to get the record [and] to be the first in NFL history. It’s a huge accomplishment. I’m just appreciative that they care about me like that and that they want me to get it. Hopefully next week I can get it.”

(On setting the franchise receiving touchdown record)

“Getting records [is] great. That’s why we work hard as players. If we’re in position to get those records, then we definitely want them. It just means a lot that I’ve been able to be healthy and make plays when the ball comes my way.”


(On what it feels like for guys who have been with the team for years to make the playoffs)

“It’s amazing. To have the performance we had to be able to clinch, for me to be able to clinch in my hometown, [and] to know all the hard work we put in all these days through the pandemic – to be able to achieve one of our goals – it’s a beautiful thing.”

(On the defense not allowing points in the game)

“That was beautiful. I think it was a great defensive performance. We have to tally it all. To do that performance to clinch, [we have] to do something good next week, and then take it to the playoffs.”

(On how much it means for the new guys who have played in playoff games and how much it means for them to help teammates get in for the first time)

“They have a lot of leadership that they gave us – a lot of tips. They know what it’s like to get to the playoffs, some of them know what it’s like to win. We have somebody that’s won six Super Bowls, so to have that type of leadership, to have those guys show us the way is good. It made it an easy transition for us.”

(On memories that will come with this moment because it happened in his hometown)

“When I was warming up today, I was thinking about the first time I had an opportunity to get on Ford Field. It was a big thing. I was in little league. It was a POW All-Star practice and just knowing I wanted to play there as a little kid. I think I was 11 or 12. To be able to come here and win is great. It’s a great feeling for me and then I get to come home and smile in front of my family, so they don’t get to talk any trash.”

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