Newcomer Ayers says much to learn with Bucs defense
Defensive end Robert Ayers just joined the Bucs last month in free agency, but to some extent, nearly all of Tampa Bay's defense is newcomers as it relates to the defensive scheme that new coordinator Mike Smith will be running this season.
After a walkthrough practice on the opening day of the Bucs' first voluntary minicamp, Ayers said it helps to be able to see the defense on the practice field, but there's much to learn between now and September.
"Right now, we're terrible. That's expected for this time of year," Ayers said of the early learning curve. "Nobody knows anything. It's expected, and you have guys who are willing to learn. If the stat told you they wanted us to come out and get 100 percent right, or 90 or even 80 percent of the things right, they'd be lying to you. We have high expectations, but the reality is you have to come out and get better, have the intent, the want-to to come out and get better and learn. As long as you've got that, it'll make up for everything else."
Asked if he'll be used exclusively on the outside as a pass-rusher or occasionally inside as an interior lineman, Ayers said: "I just want to win, make plays and kick the other team's ass. That's all I really care about."
Ayers joins linebacker Daryl Smith and cornerback Brent Grimes among the team's biggest additions on defense, and said it was great for him just to line up next to the key players he'll be working alongside this season.
"A lot of guys are new -- I get to come out and be next to Gerald (McCoy), be next to Clint (McDonald), be next to 'Vonte (David) and so forth," Ayers said. "They can see who I am, I can see who they are. That's the good thing about this time right here."
Ayers said he's been encouraged from what he's seen in two weeks of conditioning workouts and now his first interaction with his new teammates on the practice field as well.
"Guys are hungry to win," he said. "Things haven't gone the way we, this organization would have wanted it to go the last couple of years, but these guys want to win. They're eager for knowledge. ... We have high expectations. It's a group that's ready to win and ready to work. I love it."