Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.
(Transcribed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
(On what goes into deciding the players who start) – "It's a balancing act – a lot goes into it. I talked to the players about it. I waited all the way until Thursday evening to finally stamp it. I talked to the players on Friday that it wasn't necessarily a punishment or a reward – it was every individual and where they're at and who needs it to perform Week 1, best guess. So it wasn't that we were just sitting guys because they've done X-Y-Z. It was more protecting guys against themselves, realizing specific positions that guys can get a little taste of in a game – get them in, get them out. It's a balancing act that we'll continue to do during the preseason to get ourselves best ready for the regular season."
(On the decision to play TE Mike Gesicki) – "Just in general, it is not an easy job to play tight end in the offense, so we thought that it would benefit him to get him in a little bit, but again, we're trying to protect people too so you're just trying to manage all of those things. Having a scope for the whole preseason, we thought it would be good. We wanted to get him a touch and get him orchestrated in hearing the offense, but also protect him, so I was happy. Before watching the tape, I was happy with the way he played and how he approached it – again, it a punishment at all."
(On the reaction from his team when the Buccaneers missed the potential game-winning field goal) – "It made me very happy because that's what I want to see from the team. There's a lot of guys – not a lot – but there's probably 16 or 17 that didn't play snaps that weren't even suited, but what I was happy about was the whole team stayed locked in for their teammates. They genuinely wanted to win and you better have a competitive nature in this business to be able to succeed. It was cool to see that they wanted to finish what they started so I was happy with that."
(On his impressions of his offense's debut in Tampa Bay) – "You're never going to be completely happy with a performance. That's the point of being a coach. The day they have a perfect game, I feel like you should walk off into the sunset. I was happy with how they handled adversity. When things didn't go their way, and we started behind the 8-ball a little bit – they were running a bunch of pressure so we were struggling to get the run game going because they were committing to stop it – so I was happy how they responded, but there's a lot we can learn from it."
(On QB Skylar Thompson) – "I have to check myself when certain things will happen during a game or practice where I'll feel myself getting impatient with him because I've completely forgotten he's a rookie. But he is a rookie, and to his credit, we rely on him as a veteran. It's a hard thing in this league with a night's sleep to go in as a starter – we were pumped to give him that opportunity. I know he feels like, and we'll all feel like, he left some plays out there. But the biggest thing is we didn't have any turnovers as an offense. I think we had one penalty, so that's something to build on positively and you can't have those types of statistics there, specifically, if you don't have efficient, good quarterback play. It was cool to watch – he was pumped. He was very salty, I think, every series because he was mad at himself for whatever happened the previous series and that's a good starting point because he didn't shy away from making plays either after he was frustrated."
(On seeing poise from QB Skylar Thompson and him running the offense as a rookie) – "That was one of my favorite parts. At the beginning of the game, I thought the operation looked slow. They were trying to get the play in pretty fast and I don't know what he was saying exactly in the huddle, but it was just taking a long time to get them lined up. I took the opportunity to tell him, "Hey dude, you need to get the guys in and out of the huddle." He was able to adjust that – he did better with that while also taking each play, one play at a time. That was an encouraging thing you don't know until it's real. There's a lot of rookies out there that I think felt more rookie feelings than he did, and he touches the ball every play. I'm happy with that. There is a lot to get better from, but he's a stud. We are happy to have him."
(On WR Lynn Bowden Jr. through training camp and tonight against the Buccaneers) – "I was talking to the team about it – the receiver position in general you have so many variables that are compounding for you to get opportunities. A couple people have mentioned to me that he's maybe had a quiet camp or whatever. All I've seen him do is do his job. So that sets you up for success when you continue to do your job then all of a sudden you catch the right coverage or you get the right play call. I was happy with that – I think it's a lesson for a lot of guys to take – just be ready for your opportunity and I thought he was ready for his opportunity tonight."
(On if he has a status update on CB Trill Williams after being carted off the field) – "I don't – we'll always try to defer to [the medical staff]. I don't want to start pushing a direction – we try to have science in our statements with regard to injury. There was some concern definitely for his lower extremity but we'll find out more tomorrow exactly what it is. But he's a competitor. He did not want to be hurt and I think that's what you saw from him – was the emotion that he felt that he was making plays. This is a setback but that's all it is. However long it takes him, it's a setback."
(On his first game as an NFL head coach) – "It'll be interesting to maybe reflect on the plane for five minutes, but really in the moment, I feel such an obligation to the organization, the players, the coaches that it just felt like I was trying to fixate on what my job was at the time. I guess I did feel some goosebumps during the national anthem, for sure, but you try to do your best. For me, there was a lot of it that felt like practice because if you put yourself in the right mindset each and every day at practice, practice should be like a game in theory, right? I was just focused on doing my job for all the players, the coaches and the organization. It was cool to get that out of the way so that we can continue to focus on getting better and making everyone the best they can be for the regular season."
(On depth of the cornerback position and if there are any concerns going forward) – "I'm very happy with the group. They've been very competitive and there's a lot of guys that have really gotten better through the last couple weeks specifically. Now that you get some dings, you kind of have to reassess and you have to figure out exactly the timeline. But I know Chris [Grier] and his staff is probably – I saw he had his backpack on – so he has probably already started to look at it just in case we get unforeseen or really any bad news tomorrow on some injuries. We'll just be prepared for whatever is dealt and we'll find out first and foremost what those injuries are and the extent of them and move forward from there."