Live Coverage of Bucs facing the Panthers on Thursday Night Football 8 pm kickoff.



Tampa – The Bucs need a win and they head to North Carolina hoping to find their offense. It is a primetime showdown on Thursday Night Football and they could use a statement win.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) vs. Carolina Panthers (0-1)

Thursday, September 12, 8:20 p.m. ET

Bank of America Stadium (capacity: 73,778)

Charlotte, North Carolina

Television: NFL Network (local TV: WMOR)

TV Broadcast Team: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst), Erin Andrew and Kristina Pink (sideline)

We have the quotes from Head Coach Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich and Quarterback Jameis Winston as they get ready for the Panthers.

The conversation starts with head coach Arians:

“The only guy not practicing was Blaine Gabbert. This is one of the teams I hate having to defend on a short week. This offense is a little bit different, especially the things that Cam [Newton] can do with the option and some of those things. It’s hard to defend them on a short week, but I think our guys are getting it down pretty good right now. Defensively, it’s just the opposite. We kind of know what their defense does, but their offense is a very hard one to work on without going full speed.”

(On the Panthers’ creativity on offense)

“Norv [Turner] does a great job. He’s got his traditional offense – you’re going to have to stop the power-O – that’s Norv and [Christian] McCaffrey. Then you’ve got all the gimmick stuff with Cam [Newton] and the option, and then defending Cam on runs, which limits your coverages. It limits your coverages when you have to play assignment football for the option.”

(On how T Josh Wells fits in on the offensive line and how open the competition is at right tackle)

“We’re continually looking for guys and he came in [and] he had a heck of a workout. We made that switch. We like [Jerald] Hawkins right now, so there’s two or three guys that will be battling it out and showing us each week as we continue to look for other people.”

(On signing S Andrew Adams)

“With Justin [Evans] going on [injured reserve] – [Adams] looked really good on film last year. We tried to get him back, so I was happy he was available and we’ll see how fast he can pick it up.”

(On S Justin Evans’ timetable for his recovery)

“That would totally depend on if he decides to have a procedure done. He was really pain-free for about a week, everybody was excited, then it all came back. It’s really hard to deal with right now.”

(On if it is an Achilles injury)

“Yes and no – it’s some fluid in there somewhere.”

(On how frustrating it is to see a player with Justin Evans’ talent have to deal with injuries)

“It’s a shame because he is such a talent and we had high hopes for him, and when he got well, I really started getting excited about it. That week of practice, he looked so good, and to have it all come back that Friday, it’s just not supposed to happen.”

(On what the biggest challenges are going on the road in a shortened week)

“That’s the harder part [going on the road]. You’re condensing everything to walkthroughs. We sped it up to a jog today, we’ll actually run tomorrow just to get some sweat, and talking to the doctors and stuff, [we’ll have] about an hour’s worth of full speed work before we get on the plane.”

(On if it is an advantage to have the Thursday night game early in the season since the coaching staff had time to prepare for it over the summer)

“Yes and no. You’d hate to come off that Thursday night preseason game, play a game and go back into a Thursday night routine and have two days off. I’d rather get into it [and] have that mini bye week later in the season.”

(On how difficult it is to prepare for an opponent in such a short time)

“We get the same number of reps. It’s the mental time – we were here from 8 [a.m.] to 8 [p.m.]  yesterday, and then a normal day today, a normal day tomorrow – we’ll get all our reps we always get, it’s just no-pads walkthrough. That’s it.”

(On if he looks at Panther RB Christian McCaffrey differently than other running backs because of his ability in the passing game)

“No, not any different than some of the other guys in the past who have been traditional running back-wide receiver type of guys.”

(On Panthers LB/DE Brian Burns)

“[He is] really fast off the edge, he’s got some power – he’s a good rusher.”

(On how surprising TE O.J. Howard’s performance was on Sunday)

“Very surprising because he had such a great spring and such a great camp. I think he was just pressing a little bit, and those things happen when you’re pressing. Those were huge plays in that ball game.”

(On what his message to O.J. Howard is going forward)

“Relax and play.”

(On how he will go about rotating running backs)

“It’ll be the same. Peyton [Barber] will be the starter, RoJo (Ronald Jones II) is ready, Peyton gets a little tired, [Ronald Jones will] get in there and if he has the hot hand, he stays in there until he gets tired.”

(On how important it is to avoid losing the first two games)

“It’s huge – especially a division game. When you can get one on the road, it’s big, but you never want to start 0-2.”

Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich

(On QB Jameis Winston’s performance on Sunday)

“[There was] some good [and] some things we want to correct, but that’s going to be every week. I think we did some really good stuff in this game and we’ll just learn from the mistakes that we did make during the game. He’s got to let this one go and move on. We’ve got a game here in two days, so he’s got to move on from that and just get ready to play.”

(On if Winston has to bounce back this week)

“Yeah, that’s part of this league. That’s what this league’s all about. You can’t have any hangovers, no carryovers, so he’s just got to stay locked in. The good thing is we had to get in this thing the next day and get to rolling with this game being so quick. We’re on to the Carolina Panthers and trying to do what we can to find a way to win that game.”

(On if Winston was late on his throw on a fourth down play on Sunday)

“No, not really, because the fact that they blew the coverage is the reason that Chris [Godwin] was so open. Chris wasn’t really one in the progression. It all happened really quick on everybody – on Chris too – it happened so fast on Chris too, Chris didn’t even know he was open. The good thing [is] we can actually learn from that play because those situations are going to happen throughout the year. The one thing when you’ve got a new offense – sometimes guys are, ‘Should I have done this, should I have done that?,’ because moments happen in the game that the game doesn’t allow you to practice for. Two guys just chase one guy and it just popped. I think the next time we’re in that situation between the both of those two guys, we’ll get the job done.”

(On if he was able to relate to Winston after being in similar situations as a quarterback)

“Yeah, I remember being younger and being in those situations. You feel like the whole world’s on your shoulders, you feel like you didn’t do things well enough, but then when you sit back and watch it, you come in and watch the tape and you see it. It’s just the quarterback position. If you’re playing quarterback on one of these 32 teams in the league, you’ve got to be willing to accept all blame that comes your way when it comes your way – that’s just part of the position. Jameis is fine with that, he understands that, he knows the most important thing for us on Monday [was] to come in here and turn the page and move on to the Carolina Panthers, and he did a heck of a job of doing that. That’s just part of it. We watched the tape, we learned from it and we’ll continue to get better.”

(On if Winston should have thrown the ball in the ground on the interception late in the fourth quarter)

“Yeah, we’ve got to find a way to get that ball in the ground. That’s the key. The defense did a heck of a job of playing the play – we’ve just got to find a way to get that ball in the ground, and Jameis knows that. Jameis knows that inside and we will get better from that moment. A lot of teaching went into that moment, not just because of that play, but the fact that that play happened, it allowed us to teach our team really, from that aspect of what we’ve got to do in those situations, because games in this league come down to that possession anyway. I don’t care you’re playing … That’s the National Football League, and we’ve just got to have awareness from that aspect. I think we learned as a team from that play. We’ll get better from that play. I know it’s easy for me to get up here and say it two days later and look like I’m trying to sugarcoat things, but honestly, we will get better from that play as a whole, as a group.”

Quarterback Jameis Winston

(On what the main challenge is in facing the Carolina Panthers’ defense)

“[They are] very disciplined, [have a] great front and it’s a rivalry game. When they’re playing at their home field, they’re going to be loud and they’re going to be ready.”

(On facing Panthers’ defensive tackle and former teammate Gerald McCoy)

“I’m definitely excited to see him, but in between those lines, we’re going to be competing. Again, I can’t speak more highly of Gerald. He’s definitely a great influence to me and a wonderful human being. He also is a great competitor, so I’m going to be prepared for him and I know he’s going to be prepared for us, as well.”

(On having a quick turnaround after Sunday’s loss)

“This is a week-to-week league, so every opponent is a new opponent and we approach that week with the same objective, and that’s to win. We’ve got to go out there and play a great, clean game to beat these guys.”

(On how his avoiding a sack from 49ers DL Nick Bosa reflects the work he puts in during the offseason)

“It’s always great when you’re watching film and you see your hard work being applied on the field. It’s always good when those moments come up and that’s what you prepare for. You prepare for things that you probably never think will happen, but you’re ready – you’ve always got to be ready in this league.”

(On his excitement level this week getting set to face a divisional opponent)

“Every week is fun because I’m blessed to be a quarterback in this league. The outcome is what makes it even more fun, so I enjoy working with my teammates. I believe we’re getting better and better every single day. This is an early year, so we’ve got to go and take care of business this game so we can have better spirits.”

(On how much time the team spent looking back at the film from Sunday and preparing for Thursday’s game)

“Even in preseason, we’ve always got to do a great job of eliminating negatives and building on the positives. With a short week, we had to do that in a more sped up process because we have a division opponent. We cannot overlook Carolina and that’s why we’ve got to put that last game to bed – it’s been to bed – and we’ve got to focus on this opponent and go out there and play our best game.”

(On Panthers CB James Bradberry)

“I think Bradberry’s a great corner. I’ve been playing against him my whole life. I think he gets a lot of credit, but he’s definitely one of the best cornerbacks in this league.”

(On being a part of the group of black quarterbacks in the NFL)

“I think the people that have paved the way – Doug Williams, [James] ‘Shack’ Harris, even a throwback, Marlin Briscoe – people like that who helped pave the way should be given thanks to. Even Byron [Leftwich] helped pave the way. It’s definitely exciting and I’m proud to be a part of that group.”