Crash & AJ

Crash & AJ

Crash and AJ, Weekday Mornings on 98ROCK


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Post Game Conference 1/24/21

Article Pic: Getty Images

(On the decision to try and convert on fourth down at the end of the first half, leading to WR Scotty Miller’s touchdown reception)

“We didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game. With the timeout and then the interception, I wanted to come out of there with points [instead of] punting it. I loved the play we had – got a great matchup and got the touchdown. I thought it was huge.”

(On his level of excitement following Sunday’s win)

“I couldn’t be happier for our players – they put in so much work – and our coaching staff has done such a great job. Ownership gave us everything that we’ve needed and I just couldn’t be any more elated for these guys and the job they put in. We had both backup safeties in there just playing their [butts] off. It was a great team win.”

(On how the defense stepped up late in the game)

“I can’t say enough about them. They’ve been great in the fourth quarter all year and we got some great stops. Took a couple chances on offense and tried to get more points – it didn’t work out, but they came back and got the ball right back for us.”

(On becoming the first time to play in a Super Bowl at its home stadium)

“So many teams don’t get a chance because they don’t get the Super Bowl in their stadium. It was obviously the goal of ours to start the season, but getting to the Super Bowl wasn’t what our goal is. Our goal is to win it.”

(On if he was surprised Green Bay opted to kick a field goal instead of attempting to score a touchdown late in the game)

“I thought they had a lot of confidence in their defense at that point in time. I thought it was a good move by them.”

(On defeating three division champions on the road this postseason)

“That’s the scary thing about coming to the Super Bowl at home – we’ve been playing so [well] on the road. This was fun because we had loud fans and this was football for the first time this year for me. The fans were great here and what an unbelievable atmosphere. To be able to come home to play a Super Bowl at our place, not have to get on a plane and do all the things that this crazy year has us doing – it will be weird. I will not even feel like a Super Bowl [since] we won’t have all those press conferences.”

(On his personal journey to this point in his coaching career)

“It would be really hard – it would probably take a long time [to explain it]. There were times when I never thought it would happen – I never thought I would get a head coaching job. After the cancer scare in Arizona, sitting out that year and coming back – this has been the most rewarding year of coaching in my life.”

(On when it set in that the Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl)

“I guess when I was holding the [George] Halas Trophy. It’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re actually going to do it.’ We can dream about looking across the street for two weeks.”

(On if he changed his mind about going for it on fourth down at the end of the first half after initially bringing the punt team on the field)

“I sent the punt team out [and then] I went through a couple scenarios in my mind. The clock was stopped and I said, ‘No, we’re going back out. We’ve got a good play. We’re going back out and trying to get some points.’”

(On CB Sean Murphy-Bunting recording his third interception in as many postseason games)

“Sean played that thing perfectly. I thought he was going to get another one later when they hit that same ball on him. Sean has been playing outstanding. He’s got all his confidence back – the whole secondary does, and should, because they’re playing really, really well.

(On WR Scotty Miller’s touchdown reception)

“We just got a great matchup. I think they were playing for us trying to get into field goal range and Scotty just ran right by [Kevin] King. When we lined up, you could tell it was going to be a touchdown. Just had to protect and throw the ball.”

(On the belief QB Tom Brady has instilled in the team this season) “Chris [Godwin] dropped one [pass] but then he makes an unbelievable catch on a ball way down the field. Mike [Evans] never drops a ball and one bounces off his hands. The resiliency of the crew – the defense just gritted its teeth and went out and got it back for us. Then, we make some big, big plays. Chris made the big play at the end and a couple other big plays on first-down plays. It’s just water off his back. It’s just, ‘Hey, let’s go get it.’ Nothing fazes him.”

(On how OLB Shaquil Barrett and OLB Jason Pierre-Paul were able to get into the Green Bay backfield throughout the game)

“Once we tightened up and [stopped giving] them all those quick little throws – he had to hold the ball. We had a great feeling about both of those guys beating those tackles and they did a great job – they turned it up. We had some good interior pressure, too, but man they did a great job.”

(On the offensive line’s performance in the entire postseason)

“Since probably Week 9 or 10, they’ve been playing lights out. Again, Aaron Stinnie stepping in for ‘Cap’ (Alex Cappa), Joe Haeg playing tight end for us, Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) being a blocker, too. Those guys just did a great, great job of keeping Tom [Brady] clean.”


(On reaching the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers)

“It’s been a great journey thus far. We put the work in and a lot of guys just embraced everything that [happened] when B.A. (Bruce Arians) got here last year. There were a lot of great things that were happening and a lot of great, young players. I just made the decision [to come to Tampa Bay]. I love coming to work every day with this group of guys and worked really hard to get to this point. It’s a tough game – we’ve had a few tough games in a row and the next game will be really tough, too. We know what we’re

playing for and we’ve got two weeks to prepare. It’s going to be a great opponent. It will be a really exciting couple of weeks for us.”

(On what it means to take the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl)

“This is the ultimate team sport. We’ve had a lot of people work really hard over the course of a period of time to get to this point. It’s a tough journey to get here, so to go on the road and win another road playoff game is just a great achievement. Now, a home Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history, I think, puts a lot of cool things in perspective. Any time you’re the first time doing something, it’s usually a pretty good thing. Now we’ve just got to go have a great two weeks, prepare for whoever it is and be ready to go.”

(On the defense stepping up in the fourth quarter on Sunday)

“Yeah, they played incredible. I thought the defense was spectacular and they’ve been that way all year. They have a great front, great linebackers, [they] play their butts off in the secondary. Some guys went down with injuries and other guys stepped in. It was an incredible effort by the defense and what they did today was amazing against, really, an incredible offense.”

(On what Sunday’s victory means to Head Coach Bruce Arians) “I’m so happy for him – absolutely. It’s amazing. For me, I don’t think about what it means for me. I do think about what it means for everyone else. It’s an amazing achievement for B.A. I’m so happy for him and the staff he put together [with] Coach [Todd] Bowles, what Byron [Leftwich] has done, what Keith [Armstong] has done. The whole coaching staff has put us in a great position for us to go out there and do our jobs well. It’s taken a lot of different people over the course of the season on offense, defense [and] special teams to come through and that’s why we’re still playing. There’s going to be two teams left playing [and] we’re going to be one of them. Again, just an incredible journey for all of us [and I’m] just proud to be a part of it.”

(On the decision to attempt a fourth-down conversion at the end of the first half and then his touchdown pass to WR Scotty Miller that followed)

“B.A. (Bruce Arians) wanted to go for it – I liked the call and I’m going to do whatever he asks me to do. Byron [Leftwich] dialed up a great play and we got behind the defense. We had a couple other opportunities, too. Just a great job by Scotty running a great route [and] getting open. I just tried to lay it out there for him to go grab it.”

(On if he ever allowed himself to think about the possibility of the Buccaneers playing in a Super Bowl at their home stadium)

“I think it’s hard to envision. This is a goal, but at the same time it’s a week-to-week league. We were at 7-5 seven games ago, not feeling great. We felt like we needed to find our rhythm and [we] played four great games down the stretch the last quarter of the season. After that, it was all bonus. We just had to go play well. We played well in Washington, we played well all the way around in New Orleans against a great football team and then came up here knowing we had to play great. The guys came through, everyone stepped up to the challenge and again, just a great [win]. Football is the ultimate team sport and it takes everybody. Everybody plays a role, [I am] just so proud of this whole team and again, just blessed to be a part of it.”

(On the pass protection he has received in the postseason)

“I think for the last 19 weeks the pass protection has been amazing. The big guys up front set the tone for us all year. Ryan [Jensen], ‘Cap’ (Alex Cappa) when he was in there, [Aaron] Stinnie came in and did a great job, Ali [Marpet] has done a great job, Donny [Smith] has played incredible, big Tristan [Wirfs] has done incredible, Joe Haeg has come in. Everybody who has been out there is doing a great job. Again, when they’re playing [well], we’re great in the run game and really solid in the pass game. We’re going to need another great week of it.”


(On the defense doing its part to help close out the win and send the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl)

“It was big for us. We knew there is no better time to be great. There is no better time to be the defense that we want to be than right now, so we just took the challenge. We knew our offense was going to do what they needed to do. When we need help, they bail us out. When they need help, we bail them out. That’s why we’re playing so [well] right now. We’re just working [well] together and we’re in sync for the most part.”

(On being the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl in its home stadium)

“It’s crazy that we’re the first team to do it – making history. That’s not where history has to end. We could be the first team to win it, as well, and that’s the key. We’ve just got to get back ready to work. It’s crazy, like this has never been done before and we’re doing it. It’s amazing – it’s an amazing feeling. I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m happy that everyone who’s [in] this organization is a part of it. We’ve got some great guys here and everybody [else]. I just love it here, I love them and I’m happy that we’re doing it together.”


(On how his belief in the possibility of Tampa Bay reaching the Super Bowl influenced his decision to sign with the team)

“I just think the guys that were in the building besides the players. Don’t get me wrong, the players played a big part in it too, but I just felt like it was going to be right for me. It was a humbling year for me too, also – a lot of ups and downs. When things were not going my way, a lot of guys were talking to me – A.B. (Antonio Brown), ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy), even Tom [Brady] – and they kept saying, ‘You know who you are. You know you’re a great talent. It’s going to come.’ It’s paying off at the end.”

(On being a part of a historical run for the Buccaneers and QB Tom Brady)

“It feels good just to be a Buc. He (Brady) is a great one. I just thank God every day. I was crying for like 30 minutes – I was on the phone with my mom and my dad just [talking] about my journey. First, in Jacksonville, from me going to jail, from me getting cut – I think it’s a wonderful story how it’s playing out. I come here and had hopes of being a starter [but] it didn’t work out. I had ups and downs this whole season, but with guys like [Tom] Brady, ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy), Coach T-Mac (Todd McNair) and even coach B.A. (Bruce Arians) – we had our personal talks. He asked me during the duration of the season, ‘What do I want to be?’ Don’t get me wrong, I was upset plenty of times after the game when I wasn’t getting the ball or anything. He just sat down and had a real talk with me, and I just had to get my mind right.”


(On what was going through his mind the play before the end of the first half)

“First and foremost, all Glory to God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – wouldn’t be here without him. That was an awesome play. The coaches made a great decision going for it there. There was like 15 seconds left. That last play that I scored on, we were going to try to heave it like a Hail Mary type thing. They played me pretty much man-to-man and my guy didn’t get too much depth, so I was able to just run right by him. Then Tom [Brady] put a great ball on me like he always does. It was a special moment. I don’t even know if I could have dreamed of it as a kid. It’s just so crazy. [I’m] just fortunate to be able to make that play.”

(On the aggressiveness to go for it on the last play of the first half)

“Yeah, the coaches told us, Byron [Leftwich] told us all week we’re going to be aggressive – we were going to go at them. We’re going to take chances with the guys we’ve got. That’s what we do. We’ve got so many playmakers. We’ve got Tom [Brady] at the helm. It was a risk at the time, but there was only 13 seconds left, so if we ran a play and didn’t get it, we probably waste six [seconds]. Then they probably have to throw a Hail Mary as well, so why not us do it? It was just a great execution by the coaches.”


(On what it meant for the defense to get stops to close it out in the fourth quarter)

“It means a lot. It tells you something special about this defense. We closed the game out, Tom [Brady] closed the game out and that was it. Don’t get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback – a phenomenal quarterback. It’s sad that he didn’t make it but I’d rather them than us, you know? The defense just showed up like we showed up last year, this year and the whole year.”

(On what it means to go from playing college games at Raymond James Stadium to being part of the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium)

“It means a lot, man. Just Jason [Licht] trading for me three years ago. It just means a lot. I’m back in Tampa where it all started at. Not where it all started at, but [I] went to college here. The Super Bowl is hosted in Tampa, we’re in the Super Bowl. It’s just history being made, man. History is written – it’s being written and hopefully we win the Super Bowl. [If] we do everything that we have to do, and we play like we played tonight, then we’ll do it.”


(On the defense’s efforts down the stretch against the Green Bay offense despite losing both starting safeties to injury)

“Mike Edwards coming into the game, he’s a splash player so we weren’t too concerned with that. We know Mike’s going to make plays. Then, Andrew Adams – the veteran in the room – he’s on everything. He’s up to speed, [knows] the playbook, [takes] the mental notes every week – he doesn’t get a lot of reps but he’s ready to be thrown in at

any time. Then you’ve got D-White (Devin White) and Lavonte [David] getting everybody’s minds right and setting the tempo.”

(On the keys to the defense forcing turnovers in recent games)

“I think, really, Sean [Murphy-]Bunting started it in the first playoff game with getting a pick. It kind of just set the tone in our DB (defensive backs) room. Then, he got one last week and now everybody’s like, ‘We’ve got to catch up to Sean.’ I think coming into this game we had the confidence coming off last week [as] underdogs. Being underdogs again just put a chip on our shoulder. That’s a big thing that we’ve been working on all year is getting turnovers, and we’re making it happen.”

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