Shelton Quarles Q&A

July 30 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Shelton Quarles addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon. How has the transition from strongside linebacker to middle linebacker gone for Quarles? How does Quarles think the defense will do against the run this season? What does he think of Bucs head coach Jon Gruden? Read Quarles' answers to these questions and more in this Q&A.

DOES YOUR SIZE (6-foot-1, 240-pounds) HELP OR HINDER YOU AT THE MIDDLE LINEBACKER POSITION?
"I'm confident that the way I move around out there and the way I react to certain things that happen out there will allow the speed to overcome the size. We've always had small linebackers here. The most I've ever weighed was when I weighed 240 (pounds) yesterday. So, that's a lot of weight for me to carry. I still moved around good, and I didn't think it hindered me at all. By the end of practice, I had lost nine pounds. So I had got back down to where I'm used to playing at. Today, I was a little lighter. I just got back to keep pounding the fluids and keep eating as much as I can to keep the weight on during camp."

WHY DID THE DEFENSE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE RUN AT TIMES LAST SEASON?
"With some of the things that broke down last year with run defense, it wasn't the scheme that was bad. It was just certain plays if somebody broke down in the gap they should have had, the play broke down. We had a few breakdowns. We play together as a team, so I'm not going to blame it on one person or the other person. We play together as a team, we win as a team and we lose as a team."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU"RE CUT OUT TO BE A MIDDLE LINEBACKER?
"My wife tells me that I like to tell people what to do, so she said playing middle linebacker is ideal. You get everybody lined up. You tell them this, and you tell them that. They have to listen or somebody is going to get screwed up. She told me that was the position I should have been playing a long time ago."

WHAT'S IT LIKE PLAYING FOR COACH GRUDEN?
"It's pretty fun. He has his own mentality, that our defense applies pressure, and he wants our offense the same way. They want to apply pressure to the defense. But we are pretty confident in what we do over there, and we know what we do and how to get it done and get it done fast. I'm pretty sure he hasn't seen that kind of speed and talent on our side of the ball, so we have a battle out there every time we play defense."

WILL THE DEFENSE BLITZ MORE THIS YEAR?
"I think coach Gruden will allow us to blitz a little more than we have in the past. That will give us more opportunities to make things happen fast and make some plays."


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