LB Deone Bucannon -- October 23, 2019
Q: So how was the first day?
A: It was good. Happy to get back out there. Iím blessed to get another opportunity.
A: Oh yeah, very familiar. The defense is familiar to me, I know Coach Bettch (James Bettcher) and of course, everybody here is great. Great people, Iím excited to be here.
Q: I know you had a stop in between in Tampa Bay, but whatís the learning curve like going from what you did before to what theyíre doing here?
A: There are a few different terminologies as far as they just have different words for the same things. Like I said, Iím fortunate enough to get in a system that I understand and Iíll be able to hit the ground running instead of having that extra handicap. So, Iím excited to go out there.
Q: How much do you lean on someone like Markus (Golden) and Antoine (Bethea) who have now been hereówhat has their reception been like since you got here?
A: Huge. I go back with Markus and Antoine. We had a lot of success together in this defense, and Iím happy and fortunate because theyíre playmakers on this team and maybe I can continue to piggyback off them and be behind them and see what theyíre doing right, and of course whatever form of role Iím going to have, Iím going to be able to hit it running.
Q: The Giants were interested in you in the offseason, as well as the Buccaneers. Obviously, you knew coaches in both places, but what made you pick Tampa in the first place?
A: Just different scenarios, and it is what it is. You never really know when youíre a free agent. Thereís different things that happen, thereís the draft, thereís people that they pick up, thereís different things, different situations just like there was here. Thereís people that come in and out of this team, and people that come in and out of Tampa. At that time, that was the situation, but Iím happy to be here now and this is the place Iím meant to be and I hope I can plug in and just do whatever the team needs me to do.
Q: Are you a hybrid in the sense that youíre a linebacker and a safety?
A: Yeah, I can do both. I feel like Iím a playmaker. Iím an athlete. So, Iím comfortable, I can play the run, Iíve always prided myself on doing that. I donít like being categorized into a one category kind of player, I can do everything. Like I said, Iím looking forward to adding whatever it is, special teams to playing on the field, whatever it is, Iím looking forward to plugging in and doing what I need to do.
Q: What do you like most about this defense? What makes you so comfortable in this defense?
A: You can fly around. It just lets you play. Based on just what you guys are watching, the safeties are really involved, they blitz a lot, and then the linebackers play free to roam, and the D-linemen get downhill, they stress on penetrating gaps. Then, the linebackers play off the D-line, and then the safeties are making plays when they need to make plays, so just all in all I feel like this defense allows everybody to fly around and justóof course you have your responsibilities, but at the same time it lets you be the player that you want to be.
Q: Do you come here with a bit of a chip on your shoulder that you have more left in the tank than you showed in Tampa?
A: Yeah, for sure. Itís all about opportunities in this league, and thatís all itís about. Iím the same player I was when I was a rookie, thatís just what it is. Situations arise, whatever it is, some things that I canít control. Iíll control what I can control. What I can control is when Iím on the field. So, Iím not worried about everything else. Iím not worried about this, that, and the other. When I go on the field, I know what I can do, people know what I can do, itís just about me being on the field, or being whatever it is, being whatever that role is, special teams, being like I said, just being on the field, period, whether itís a little bit, whether itís a lot a bit. Either way it rolls, Iím just going to go out there and make some plays.
Q: What have the coaches told you about plugging you in right away against Detroit?
A: Like I said, Iíll roll with the game plan. Itís the first day, Iím not here to ruffle some feathers, Iím here to be like a puzzle pieceóIím here to fit in, make plays when my name is called upon, and continue maybe to be a guy to voice things to some of the younger players, or maybe even having to listen here to some of the older players, or some of the younger players that can maybe just tell me something about the system or about the atmosphere. Itís my first time in New York, so Iím just looking forward to catching it in stride and doing what I need to do.
Q: Do you like the money backer, just the name of the position?
A: Yeah, I mean Iíve always been a money backer since Iíve played in this system. So, like I said, itís an easy fit. Iíve only played in this system, I had one year where I didnít play in this system. So, itís a system that works, like I said, as you can see, the defense is already making plays. They make plays, they fly around, there are a lot of playmakers on this team, and like I said, Iím going to flow in like water. Thatís all it is.
Q: Back around the time of the draft, I remember talking to James Bettcher about finding a guy who can play the money backer position like Deon Bucannon. Now, Deon Bucannon is here to play that position againówhat does that mean for you and for this defense?
A: Like I said, Iím here to flow in like water. When Iím on the field, I enjoy being an expert at my work, just like you with your craft. You take it very seriously, I take my craft very seriously, I handle it like a job. As far as the money backer and things like that, we have money backers here. Iím a money backer, but we also have other money backers as well that can do the job as well. Iím just here to be a playmaker, be another voice, and hopefully someway, somehow, be helpful to this team. Thatís all Iím worried about and if my name is called upon every play, if my name is called upon three plays, whatever it is, Iím going to do my best each and every play that my name is called upon. Like I said, thatís all I can control, just like every other player on this field, thatís what they can control, too.
Q: What would you say are the big differences between the money backer versus just being a traditional backer?
A: Money backer, when you play it, itís different. A box safety, when theyíre covering a lot, theyíre outside the box. They do a similar thing, but theyíre outside the box, the fit is different. When youíre a money backer, you still have to plug that hole, you have to go against them pulling. The majority of the time youíre a safety, youíre a free hitter. So, when youíre a money backer, you have to be able to plug the gaps, you have to be able to go against the 315-pound guys, and at the same time you have to be able to cover running backs and tight ends. So, you have to understand linebacker fits, but you also have to be able to cover like a safety.
Q: What was the timeline that brought you here? When did you first hear from the Giants?
A: Well, I got here yesterday, so thatís when I heard from them. I heard from them yesterday and then came in, did a workout, talked to a few of the people, and now Iím here.
Q: How hard was the 10 days that you were out?
A: I was out for almost two and a half weeks or something. It was tough, just because I love to do this. Itís like taking what you all do awayóif someone tells you that you canít be a reporter or talk to people anymore, that would be tough on you all. So, thatís tough on me, thatís a tough thing to do. Thatís just the nature of the business. Itís unfortunate, but at the same time, youíve just got to be able to take your opportunities and be thankful to God for them and then run with the rest.
Q: Did you hear from any other teams during those two and a half weeks?
A: Iím sure my agent did. But when New York called, it was pretty much a no-brainer.
Q: Do you have extra motivation now, since youíve been out for two and a half weeks, to show these guys?
A: Of course. Iím always motivated. Even when I was out. Iím working every day. Iím not going to take a day off. Itís not going to change me. Certain circumstances happen to everyone. Everyone has highs and lows, everybody has things they have to fight for in life. Iím going to take mine in stride, keep my faith, my faith in God, and continue to power the way. Then when I get my opportunity, Iíll be able to shine.
Q: Where did you stay for those two and a half weeks?
A: I was in Tampa for most of it, then I was in Arizona for a little bit.
Q: What would you say the main difference is between James Bettcherís defense compared to (Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator) Todd Bowles?
A: Thereís a lot of similarities. Itís a lot of pressure on the quarterback, itís a lot of man schemes, but there are just tiny differences. There are tiny differences, whether itíll be one play is a little more zone, the other one doesnít do as much, one may blitz a lot more or play a lot more zero. They are two different people, so they call the game a little different. But at the same time, for the most part, the system, the schematics are all the same.
Q: Did you watch the Giants game on Sunday?
A: Yeah, I did. I watched a little bit of it, I did.
Q: Were you thinking it might be a possibility at that point?
A: We played a tough game. The defense was flying around. It is what it is. Weíre just one or two plays away. Something here, something there. Itís things that happen in football. Sometimes that ball rolls your way, sometimes it doesnít. Itís not a talent thing in here, thatís for sure. Iíve been through a lotósix years. I have been through a lot of locker rooms, I already see where the talent is. Itís not a talent issue.
Q: When you were watching that game on Sunday, did you have in your mind that might be your next home?
A: I didnít have anything in my mind, I was just watching football. Itís nothing I was anticipating because at that time I canít control anything, thatís my agentís job. Iím not thinking anything. Iím just watching football because I love watching football.
Q: You were in Arizona probably, so that was the game that was on?
A: Yeah, exactly. But Iím excited.
Q: When you said before when youíre out of the league, itís almost like an idea that you canít play. I got the sense that the circumstances in Tampa werenít that simple. It wasnít that they told you they didnít think you could play anymoreÖ
A: It wasnít that at all. It was never a matter of me not being able to play or not having the talent. It was just, like I said, the situation, personnel. Free agency is before the draft. Iím doing it in my mind trying to figure out, okay who are they going to bring in, what gives me the best chance to be able to compete and be on the field. Iím not an expert, all I can do is go off what my gut feeling is, where my heart is. As far as me, I know I can play, so I donít really care even if they say you couldnít play. I know what I can do even if they said that. But, that was not the case at all.
Q: In your position, do you line up depending on where the play is called, you could be lined up as a safety one play and linebacker on another? Are you floating more?
A: It depends. Some packages they can do that. Majority of the time Iím in the box, just playing the system simple. The only difference is, like I said, is just who youíre covering. Sometimes you might be spread out in space a little bit more than a regular linebacker is. They are doing so much nickel, dime, mismatches. The NFL is all about creating mismatches nowadays, thatís all it is. Itís not power, itís not lead, itís not two-back, fullback, big fullbacks, itís not that anymore. Itís all about spreading them out or creating mismatches so we can have our athletes on lesser athletes.
Q: When you guys started using that moneyback position, were you a little ahead of the game? It seems like now more and more teams are trying to go to that to deal with those mismatches.
A: Yeah, I feel like we were probably one of the first ones to do it, for sure. Us and the Rams.
Q: Barron, right?
A: Yeah, Mark. Heís a hell of a player. I definitely think us and LA were some of the first ones to do it. Then you see Green Bay was also one of the first to do it, as well. I mean, you can go back to guys way before to Troy Polamalu, guys like that, Kam Chancelloró those are guys that were really trying it. Troy Polamalu was all over the box. All over the box blitzing whenever you see him, being all over the field. He was a moneyback. Those are the people who kind of brought it here, it was guys like that.