Press Conference 4/20/15 transcript: LB Bruce Carter

Coming to Tampa Bay:
“I guess it was during the offseason, when guys are going here and going there and getting signed. My agent called me and told me I had a visit to come to Tampa, and then after that I’d probably be visiting Houston depending on how this trip [to Tampa] would go. When I came down here I was very excited. The coaching staff was really nice; they welcomed me. Things obviously went well and I’m excited to be here.”

Playing in a similar defensive system:
“They do a lot of similar things that we did in Dallas. Our defensive coordinator, Coach [Rod] Marinelli, he and Lovie [Smith] are really great friends. So as far as the scheme and the plays, what they do here and in Dallas is pretty much the same. They may have little calls here and there that are a little different, but I think that phase, as far as me learning what they do here, I don’t think it will be difficult at all.”

Thoughts on playing multiple linebacker positions:
“In Dallas, our position coach always taught us to know all three positions. And Coach Hardy [Nickerson] – they do the same thing here. In case a guy goes down, somebody steps up and there’s no second or no fall off from the guy who is coming in to step up. I think that worked out well for me and I think it will be great.”

Whether he was surprised that Dallas did not re-sign him:
“Yeah, I mean, obviously the relationships we had there were good. I know they really wanted me to come back, but I think that they had other issues they had to deal with. It worked out well for me. I’m not mad at them and I don’t think they’re mad at me, so it’s all good.”

If the issues in Dallas were financial:
“Yeah, I think they had a lot of cap issues and stuff like that.”

If his playoff experience will be valuable to Tampa Bay:
“Yeah, definitely. My first time going to the playoffs last year, we really put in a lot of hard work. And just seeing some of the guys [in Tampa], even like Gerald [McCoy], who have never been there – and he’s an outstanding and a great player, I’ve never played with him, but I know of him – just for me to come in and show those guys and help lead and show them exactly what it takes to make it to the playoffs and even win the division and Super Bowl and so forth. I think as far as that aspect, my experience will definitely help.”

Necessary qualities for a middle linebacker to have:
“It’s got to be somebody that can lead on and off the field. He’s got to be somewhat of a captain – offense having the quarterback and the defense having the middle linebacker. Guys have to look up to him, not only vocally, but in your play and how you carry yourself. That’s something I’m going to work on and hopefully I can do a great job at it.”

If he is comfortable calling plays as the middle linebacker:
“Oh yeah. I’ve done that numerous times in Dallas. Sometimes where I’ve started off games where I was making calls and sometimes where we had a middle linebacker go down and I would have to step in and do it. It’s really not hard at all.”

Regarding his comfort level in pass coverage:
“I think that will be quite easy for me. Obviously it’s something I’ll have to work at because it’s different, but I think me using my athletic ability and my athleticism, I don’t think that will be an issue with me covering. I wouldn’t say that I’m ideally your traditional middle linebacker, but I’m more athletic. I can move, I can cover guys; I won’t have problems where I need help double-teaming or stuff like that. Things will be good.”

If he has spoken to Dallas Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli since the move:
“He sends me text messages and we had a conversation where he called me right before I came down here and he just talked highly of me, he told me he was really proud of the progress that I had made in the two years that we were together. Marinelli, he really taught me a lot. He’s a very demanding coach and when you don’t do something a certain way, somebody else is going to step up. When you have a coach like that, it’s either you’re going to get it right or not. Most guys are going to respond to that and I think that’s really what helped us out as far as our defense in Dallas. I’m sure Coach Lovie has the same aspect and mindset, so I think it’ll be good.”

Thoughts on new teammate Lavonte David:
“He’s a great player. When I was in Dallas, me and Sean Lee would watch highlights of him, how he plays. He’s very athletic. He’s always around the ball; he’s a playmaker. I think that’s a great thing to have with him playing weakside linebacker. I think it will be great for me and him, for Gerald, and all the rest of the guys on defense to come out here and get this thing back rolling.”

If he has always wanted to play middle linebacker:
“I’ve actually done it before in college some, and then when I came to Dallas, I played middle linebacker in the 3-4, so it’s not like something that is entirely new to me. Making calls and calling out fronts and stuff like that, that’s just part of playing linebacker, whether you’re in the middle or outside. So it just goes with the territory.”

Opinion of former Dallas teammates Henry Melton and Sterling Moore joining Tampa Bay:
“Actually, when I was coming down here on my visit, I ran into Henry in the airport. I had no clue he was coming down here, so I was like, ‘Yeah, that kinda worked out well, to know somebody coming down here.’ He previously worked with Coach Lovie in Chicago. As far as Sterling goes, he told me he had a visit down here, and I kinda tried to recruit him. Sterling, he’s really a good corner and DB. I think he goes underrated sometimes. He’s a guy who’s really going to come in here and compete for a job. I think he’ll do a great job of helping the DBs out and coming in on special teams and doing exactly what he needs to do.”

Regarding his success with turnovers:
“It’s not all about getting turnovers, but when that opportunity comes for certain players to make plays, you have to step up and make it. You don’t want to have dropped balls or when you have a strip attempt not go for it and things like that. It’s really got to be drilled into each player’s head that our job out here is to go and take the ball away and score. When you see most guys in the games when they’re behind and they’re all of a sudden trying to strip, strip, strip, the way that Coach Marinelli preaches is that we need to start the game like that. I think that’s something that I’m going to try to embark on and help guys do once I get out there and just keep telling them strip, strip, strip and stuff like that.”

The experience of helping turn around the Dallas defense:
“It just goes to show that we can be one thing one year and come in the next year and be totally different. It’s the same thing with this team here, unfortunately being 2-14 [last season]. We can turn this thing around. At the flick of a dime we can turn this thing around. I think a lot of guys are excited about it. I wasn’t here when they had that record, but I’m sure they have a lot of fire in them to turn it around and go out here and show what they really can do.”

Thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft:
“I actually don’t follow it at all. I’m just coming here just trying to do my job, focusing on making this team better and making this defense better. Everything else will play itself out. I just have to focus on me and helping my teammates be better.”

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