Speaking to the local media as a group for the first time since his introductory press conference, new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians met with the local writers and news stations who traveled to Indianapolis to cover the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is a full transcript of his press conference:

(On how he feels about his team after watching the tape of them)
“I can honestly say I’ve never walked into a situation with skill players of this magnitude, quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends, and running backs that are there already. Obviously we got a little bit of work up front and then defensively, I love the speed that we have. We’re young in the secondary but I think they’re really quality guys so the nucleus is here, it’s just finding the right pieces and putting all the puzzle together.”

(On his meeting with DeSean Jackson and how do you talk him into sticking with the team)
“I don’t think you can talk anybody into it, they got to want to be here. And after that meeting, I thought it was extremely positive, I can’t speak for DeSean but for me, it was extremely positive, and we were looking for the future.”

(On if he got any type of assurances that Jackson still wants to be on the Bucs)
“Yeah, I mean that’s basically how the conversation ended. Obviously financial things, I know those things that all come at this type of the year, but as far as him having a role, me knowing what to do with him and respecting his abilities, I thought that was very positive.”

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

(On if it’s problem that Jackson wants to do his own workouts in California instead of the team voluntary workouts, and if he’s dealt with players doing that before)
“Yeah, there’s been a couple of players over the past that we’ve had that with and we urge them to be there especially the first year, then you can do what you want after learning the system. But please come in, learn the system, and give us as much time as you can.”

(On if Jackson was agreeable to that)
“We really didn’t get that far into it. I think he knows he’s got to learn this offense, so he’s got to spend some time in it before we ever get to camp.”

(On his evaluation of Ronald Jones)
“I think like every time he got the ball, someone was catching him right in the backfield. I think having seen him, knowing a little bit about him in college, he’s a very talented guy, very young player and he’s got some room to grow maturity wise. I think the talent wise, his opportunities were slim and none. He’s shown flashes of the things he can do.”

(On Peyton Barber)
“I love him. When you watch him on tape you don’t see his 230 (lbs), you would think he’s a 205-pound running back because he’s got great feet. Not every back’s going to be a homerun hitter, but if he gets those 10-15 yard runs, breaking tackles, power runner, punishing runner, that’s kind of how I like to start. When we’re building something, that’s the kind I like to build around.”

(On how Todd Bowles thinks Gerald McCoy will fit into his defense)
“Gerald’s played three-technique in his life, and we have a three-technique in our defense. We’re penetrators, we’re not two-gap, when people say 3-4 they all think of two-gap. We’re not that at all, we’re penetrators, we’re attackers, so for him it’s probably going to be no change for what he’s done in his career.”

Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

(On if he sees Gerald McCoy being on this football team)
“I see him under contract and I see a heck of a player that you still have to game plan for, so I hope so.”

(On what are fans missing with Gerald when they say his overpaid, overrated, and should get rid of him)
“Interior pass rushers don’t necessarily get a lot of sacks, but they create havoc, and he can still create havoc in the middle of the pocket. That leads to outside guys outside getting sacks because he can pressure the pocket, he’s still a premiere pass rusher. I think he fits our defense, he’s a three down player, so yeah, I mean the stats don’t always say how good of a player you are, especially at that position.”

(On inheriting Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib as pass rushers)
“Like I said, some of the pieces are there. Vita Vea I think is going to be a premiere nose guard, and again he’s playing a shade, when we line up as a zero. I think he’s going to be an outstanding player, we got speed at linebacker, we just got a young secondary that has to grow up.”

(On his philosophy on who will backup Jameis Winston)
“Fitz did a great job, but you don’t want to split the locker room. I want this guy, I want it now, we got one quarterback, if you have two, you don’t have any, that’s my opinion. So, he’s our guy, hopefully number two never plays. Tom Moore had the best saying ever when he was here in Indy with Peyton (Manning), somebody asked him ‘why doesn’t the number two guy get any reps?’ and he said, ‘it would be shitty, and we don’t coach shitty.’”

(On losing Carson Palmer to injury when he was coaching in Arizona and having to use a backup)
“We lost him too and got another one ready. Were going to have guys and I think we’ll get somebody re-signed, you never know what’s behind door number two in about a month from now. There’s some guys there that have a bullet to you and haven’t fit the system, so it’s just seeing how free agency goes and getting our guys back, that one isn’t a big of a concern when if you don’t have a one. When you don’t have one, it’s like “Ugh ” I’d still be at CBS.”

(On the origin of having two practices)

Bucs DE Noah Spence - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DE Noah Spence – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It really goes back to my days in college. We always had freshman practice, I know varsity, there was always guys trying to make it. I think coach (Bear) Bryant, we had four fields going with him and he had that tower, and he can see them all, it was amazing. You can’t find a diamond in the rough if he’s watching, and you draft these kids, they’re different then year’s past, I think they’re a little bit less fundamentally ready, so we have to spend that time fundamentally, but then again, can they learn? How fast can they learn? What volume can they handle? So we find out on that practice field, and that’s why I’ve always asked our owners for a big coaching staff instead of paying one guy at 450 instead of two guys at 200, so I have smaller classrooms and those are two practices, and we don’t have to stay on the field that long. In Arizona it was very hot, here it’s going to be very hot, so we can cut the number, get the minutes down and still get the reps. We’ll get 80 to 90 reps, maybe it’s only an hour practice.

(On if this is primarily for OTA’s and training camp)
“OTA’s for sure. We didn’t have the ability in Arizona, we went outside maybe twice, eight o’clock in the morning it was already 100 degrees. I want to see how much we can handle it with the rain and everything else, I want to see at least two 7-on-7’s and some blitz drills where young players are getting reps and I want to see their progress. We have what I call an accountability board, and every meeting starts with every penalty and every missed assignment, and if you’re on there too much you’re either not smart enough or you don’t give a shit, and you’re give a shit meter better be real high. If you’re going to make up statistics, they caught eight balls, six of them were behind the line of scrimmage, but you got them involved. When you have premiere guys and you script those first 15 plays, you hopefully you have them involved early, get them going, get their excitement level going, they’ll block a little bit better, they’ll do everything a little bit better because they know they’re part of it. When they see those first 15 plays right before the game, ‘oh that’s my play’ so, they’re into it.”

(On if he expects not to have as much of a roster change as he did when he took over in Arizona)
“ I wouldn’t doubt it. I think Jason’s done such a good job with this roster. There’s always change, but to the point, I think we had 50 something in the first two years, we were always churning, now those last five guys better never feel comfortable. We’ll be trying, looking for somebody to replace you. So, yeah, that part of it never stops.”

(On if a football team has to have that accountability of a fear of losing your job or moving down the depth chart)
“I think all of us in any workforce, the fear of losing your job might be number one. Then you try to do the best job that you can, but don’t get fired first. So yeah, every player should have that fear.”

(On his guess of the amount of roster turnover this team will have)
“I’ll probably know more after voluntary mini camp, and just looking at these young guys that I’m not very familiar with, other than their practice tape because I don’t have much game tape on them.”

(On what’s it like being back at the NFL Combine)
It’s fantastic, I mean, just knowing so many guys and being with CBS last year I got to see a bunch of guys. For me, this is the beginning of next year. This is getting the juices flowing real good, this is the beginning of next year’s football team.”

(On if there was a player on the Bucs that popped out at him while watching tape that he didn’t realize how good they might be)
“Well I knew Mike Evans is good but I didn’t know he was that good, you know what I mean? And I can honestly say Peyton Barber. I’ve watched this guy and I’m like “woah,” he’s so subtle with the things he does for a big man. Peyton probably on offense, I knew Lavonte David was good, but man he’s really good.”

Bucs RB Peyton Barber
Bucs RB Peyton Barber – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

(On the tight ends)
“Yeah we’ve always have had a receiver and blocker, not since Heath Miller did we have the same guy in one package. Heath was a big part of our offense in Pittsburgh, in Arizona Ricky Seals-Jones was a wide receiver that we made tight end, Jermaine Gresham was our guy, he was our tough guy, he set the tempo. But these guys, they can catch, they can run, they can block, some can block better, but it’s a great group of tight ends. I asked Rick Christophel our tight ends coach ‘what else you need?’ and he said ‘I don’t need anything.’ Just a just in case guy. Let’s get some young guys that we can think can become something because we got players.”

– Transcription by Matthew Matera

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11 COMMENTS

  1. BA made one mistake. He never should have said practices might be only an hour!!!

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  2. Sounds like hes in love with Barber at RB. Good to hear. The off season should be all OL and defense.

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  3. “Obviously we got a little bit of work up front and then defensively, I love the speed that we have.”

    Sounds to me like he is going to prioritize the offensive line.

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  4. I’m curious if the response to the JPP/Nassib question is a typo by chance. BA is asked about them, maybe spends a sentence on yeah we have some players, then goes into detail on Vea. I’m not trying to conjecture anything here. I’m sure not all questions are answered perfectly (especially during the hustle of combine week); but I would have liked to have heard a more thoughtful response on that. JPP was a hero last year and a true professional. Years ago after a poor season, SR wrote an article referring to Davin Joseph as “A Jewel in a Box of Rocks.” That was JPP last year. Show that guy some love! I’m sure JPP doesn’t care and will continue to work – and will get the accolades he deserves.

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    • If you had to choose between keeping JPP and McCoy, who do you keep?

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      • Good question. Right now, JPP. I say that based off current roster depth. Tampa has Vea if McCoy goes, but who is the backup edge rusher? No sleight on McCoy. I think both are great locker room guys so either would be a loss in that regard.

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      • Both, you can do that to.

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  5. After listening to Bruce Arians’ comments for myself and then reading a couple of articles that followed I want to throw out these observations.

    I believe Arians when he says the stars aligned for him to lure him out of retirement. He loved the situation he saw here with the Buccaneers and the coaching staff he wanted was available. The stars definitely aligned for us long suffering fans as well. We are in a win-win situation here.

    Arians likes the job Licht has done building our roster. That is good enough for me. His opinion carries more weight for me than the opinions of some of our unhappy fans and some of our local pundits.

    His practice plan sounds more well thought out, more enlightened, than those of any of his predecessors. This shows me that he is all encompassing and thorough in his approach as an NFL head coach. This bodes well for expecting much better results also.

    There were several other things that he said that caught my attention. That’s enough for now.
    _________________
    Go Bucs!!!!!

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  6. Excellent statements by BA. He just exudes his long years of football experience and it is very encouraging that we at last have a Coach who knows all aspects of what it takes to win in the NFL. He also does not show his full hand of what he is going to do in Free Agency and in the draft which will keep our opponents guessing. He also shows he will work very well with Licht and respects the players that Licht has acquired already. That means he sees our situation to be just the result of inferior coaching without saying so. That is how I see it too with a few exceptions.

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  7. When you study closely the top NFL Teams they all are experts at developing talent. They don’t consist of all stars. They also have undrafted free agents and players from schools you have never heard of and players who don’t all have top specs of speed, strength, or smarts but have the winning attitude and knowledge with determination and great coaching. It is great to hear BA praising Barber, a hard working undrafted Free Agent who does not have run away speed but has great determination and work ethic and never complains.

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  8. Retaining Jackson is a $10 million dollar mistake. Him and Winston do not connect. Should spend about 7-8 on Humphries and save about 2-3 million in cap space. Hump is not a grand slam burner like Jackson, but he and Winston work. The special teams work of Hump is good. I do not like Hump and Kwon going to the market, which looks like that is going to happen. With a comparable LT in Cleveland signing for a base of $7 million about a week ago, it does not sound good to be franchising LT Smith for over 14 million. Further, RG Benenoch was the worst OL last year. Benenoch was a revolving door and could not block anything and gaining only penalties. Benenoch is due over 2 million. He should be cut. Unrein DL did not even play last year. Unrein cost 3 million for a total lost. He is due 3.75 million this year alone. If they lose Hump and Kwon proven performers and keep people like Benenoch and Unrein, all I can say is, “Here we go again, same old sh…. again.” Then watch Jackson hardly do anything, because you can not make Winston hit him on target.

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