Bruce Arians spoke to the media on Sunday following the Bucs’ 45-20 win over Las Vegas, a game where the Raiders would close the gap to just four points in the second half before Tampa Bay rattled off 21 straight points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
It was also Arians’ first time speaking publicly since Tampa Bay announced the signing of Antonio Brown, a former player under Arians when he was an offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Read the full transcript below.
On Tom Brady, Scotty Miller and the Bucs’ two-minute drive “I thought that the drive at the end of the half was big in the ball game, I thought it flipped the whole game around to get a touchdown before the half and finish it. That and then Scotty, we knew that the way they were going to play Mike, Scotty was going to have a game and have opportunities. We’ve just got to get him back in shape so he can do more of those things. We had him one more time and he almost ran out of gas but I thought that Tom did a good job of finding him every time we had a shot.”
On adding Antonio Brown with so many talented receivers already “It’s an insurance policy. When we don’t have Mike [Evans] and we don’t have Chris [Godwin], why not have another Pro Bowl-caliber player that’s available and fits our cap and fits everything else? So why not? We have good players but you can’t have enough of them. In Chicago we had one of our top guys out there on one leg (Evans), why not have another one of them?”
On Leonard Fournette getting a first down on third-and-13 in the fourth quarter “It was huge. We knew that they were going to play a soft Cover 2. Look downfield and then check it off to Leonard [Fournette] and Leonard did a great job just getting straight north and getting that first down.
On Brady with just one interception over the last five games “I think it’s just knowing the guys better, knowing the system better, everything that we change each week. There’s such good communication of what we’re trying to get done, where the ball should be going against each coverage and I just think that it’s total growth in the offense.”
On what makes him confident that Brown will fit in with this team and that his off-the-field issues won’t be a problem “I think he’s matured and I believe in second chances. Everyone wants to say that Tom picked him, Tom didn’t have anything to do with it. This is something that Jason [Licht] and I have talked about for weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys. And when the time was right, would we see if we could pull the trigger and fit it into what we want to get done and we’ll see. If Antonio does what I think what he’s going to do, he’s going to be fine.”
On what he says to the Bucs’ female fans after Brown’s sexual assault allegations “I think just let the court system do its job. I’ve been around a lot of players that have had allegations that weren’t true, some were. So let the court system handle it and if it’s found out to be true then he won’t be with us.”
On Godwin’s development as a complete receiver “He’s right there with some guys that I’ve had. Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Hines Ward. The type of receiver, the dirty work receiver, but he also can go downfield. That’s the thing he has over all of them. He’s a deep threat when he’s healthy. To me he’s the ultimate football player. He blocks like a tight end, he runs routes like the best wideouts in the league, inside or outside, and that’s why he’s so valuable to our offense.”
On Mike Edwards “Every time Mike gets in the ball game he makes a play and it’s like, get him in the game. He got the interception that got called back but then he got the tip where Antoine [Winfield Jr.] got the interception. So yeah, Mike’s a playmaker and when it’s a passing situation we’ve got to have him on the field.”
On limiting the penalties for another week “I think we had one penalty offensively, Tom changed the snap count and got Tristan [Wirfs]. We had that little lapse on defense that I didn’t like. We had like three in that series that gave them a touchdown when we were off the field with an interception. We’ve still got to clean it up a little defensively but four penalties is nothing to shake about other than we gave up one drive. But nothing offensively.”
On if Brown has enough familiarity with this team to keep him away from off-the-field issues “I don’t think there’s any doubt and it’ll all be up to A.B. I think the support system is there and he wants to play football, we’ll see.”
On Devin White setting the tone with his pass rush and tackling “We always knew he was a great blitzer, (White and Lavonte David) both are. That’s the beauty of it, when he comes up the middle he’s a force. If we can get him on the back or… they run twists so well together too. He’s a dynamic player and both of them, with the speed they have, it makes them ridiculous in the pass rush game.”
On how big Edwards’ forced interception was “It was huge. I thought that the touchdown before the half in the two-minute drive and that interception were the game-changing plays.”
On how satisfying it was to see the team put the game away on both sides of the ball “I think that I’ve seen the growth that I was hoping for since Chicago, we learned our lesson. We were a beat up football team but there’s never excuses and it’s fun to see us grow as a football team in all three phases.”