Michael Clay

Q. What stands out about the Tampa special teams? Anything different from the last time you guys faced them? (Tim McManus)

MICHAEL CLAY: [Buccaneers Special Teams Coordinator] Keith [Armstrong], he’s been doing this for a very long time, and he has a very physical unit. They do a really good job playing clean football.

On the outside, on their punt coverage, they have [Buccaneers CB] Zyon McCollum, who is [CB] Tristin’s [McCollum’s] twin brother, and [Buccaneers DB Josh] Hayes, who I think Hayes leads the NFL in tackles. They’re a gritty bunch. They play hard. They play disciplined. We’ve got our hands full.

I know we played them, seems like a long time ago, but they’ve done a really good job just progressing throughout the entirety of the season.

They have a good group of specialists in [Buccaneers LS Zach] Triner and their punter [Buccaneers P Jake] Camarda. They do a really good job flipping the field, big league punter. And Chase has done an unbelievable job — I think he’s at 92 percent in terms of field goal percentage.

He’s got a really good group. We’ve got our hands full come Monday in Tampa.

Q. How big of a loss is S Sydney Brown and who fills that void? (Dave Zangaro)

MICHAEL CLAY: Obviously for Sydney, you feel terrible for him. He’s been doing such a good job both defensively and special teams-wise. But again, just like anything else, in the special teams room, it’s next-man-up.

You saw Tristin take some reps at gunner in terms of taking his place. It will be hard to fill the void. We’re ready in this room. We’ve got all the guys in this room ready to get their name called up to play whenever at a high level. We’ve done a good job at that for the entirety of the season. You just feel bad for Sydney. He does such a good job and plays with such intensity and it’s hard to replace a guy that has that much ferocity out on the outside, but [Special Teams Assistant] Tyler [Brown] does a good job getting all those guys in the gunner room to be ready to perform at a high level.

Q. Could you imagine having a better kicker/punter combination than you’ve had; they’ve had unbelievable seasons? (Merrill Reese)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah. It’s really a credit to all three of them. [LS] Rick [Lovato], [K] Jake [Elliott], and [P] Braden [Mann] have done an unbelievable job all year. Kudos to them for setting Philadelphia records in their respective positions. But those guys, they come in to work every day trying to get better. You could be in whatever year you’re on and get kind of complacent. They never want to look for complacency, they’re always trying to get better. Best thing about it is all three of them together they have fun, which is awesome. It takes a lot of the stresses of the job away when you’re just coming in here having a great time, not with those three, but everybody else in this room.

So just kudos to them for going out every time and being a difference when their number is called.

Q. Speaking of DB Tristin McCollum, what has he brought to special teams unit? (Chris Franklin)

MICHAEL CLAY: He brings some speed. A guy that can run 4.4. Good size. He’s very cerebral. He’s always intent. When he’s not called up on game day, he helps with the practice squad, give us looks of the opposing team; but when his number is called, he’s very attentive. He knows exactly what he’s supposed to do on his assignment, and he’s helped us a lot. He did a great job for us in the Washington game moving around different positions, and last week coming in for Sydney after he, unfortunately, got hurt.

Tristin has done an unbelievable job, not just Tristin, I think everybody who got their name called from practice squad helped us out on special teams, from [LB] Brandon [Smith] to Tristin, to [CB] Mario [Goodrich], all those guys. So, it’s just one of those things that Tyler and Joe P. [Assistant Special Teams Coordinator Joe Pannunzio] do an unbelievable job not just getting the guys who are active ready, but getting the practice squad guys ready just in case their number is called throughout the week of practice.

Q. How much time do you spend kind of encouraging those practice squad guys and just reminding them they could get a shot, because it’s easy to feel like you’re not part of the team when you’re on the practice squad, but so many have been promoted to the 53-man roster or game day elevations? (Reuben Frank)

MICHAEL CLAY: I think as a special teams coach, that’s why you fall in love with the position because you get to work with everybody, regardless if they’re active or on the practice squad because at times guys may get nicked up during practice, so you have to be able to flip, you’re going to take a couple of reps with the active roster just in case you are called up, if the guy can’t play on game day.

It’s one of those things where we always try to have everyone ready because you never know what’s going to happen throughout the practice week. But I think that’s what you fall in love with when you do go on special teams; you don’t just have a group of three guys, but you have the entire team you have to get ready for that game.

It’s one of those things you fall in love with, you want to keep getting better and better at through the entirety of your career.

Q. Anything unique about Tampa Bay’s stadium from a special teams perspective? (Tim McManus)

MICHAEL CLAY: [Jokingly] It’s better than playing in Kansas City or Buffalo with the weather. I’m not going to be mad at 76 degree weather. But obviously anytime there’s a little bit of wind or possible rain in the forecast we’ll be ready for that. 76 degrees in January, I don’t think I’ll be too mad at that.

Q. Having seen as much rain as you have this year, does it give you an advantage if it does rain? (Dave Zangaro)

MICHAEL CLAY: I don’t really know if it gives you an advantage. They play early September. It’s kind of their hurricane month. They’ll get some rain as well. But everybody in the NFL is always ready for bad weather. It is a luxury that we’ve had so many games in kind of weather type situations, but, again, we’re ready for anything.

They’ve got to play in it; we have to play in it, but we have to be able to get back in here tomorrow, get the game plan down. There’s nothing to look forward or behind or past us right now. It’s a one-game season, obviously, when you get into the playoffs. If you don’t perform at a high level on that given day, your season’s over and you’re having an exit meeting the next morning. So, for us, it’s just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, for us to come out Monday night, put our best foot forward, and help the team any way we can to move on to the next round.