01-02-2005 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

On the game: "I'll just say that defensively I thought we did some very good things. That's as bad as I have been associated with offensively. Poor coaching by me and unacceptable, but I will answer as many questions as I can."

On offense: "We had the opportunities to make some great plays. Credit to them, they are going to blitz every play from different alignments. The 3-3 nickel, the four-man line, the five-defensive line, a very difficult game for a quarterback. I credit Chris (Simms) for hanging in there. We mishandled four or five snaps, I don't understand it. Those were all very crucial plays. I credit Arizona."

On Chris Simms: "He's tough and he has a lot to learn. Obviously this was a good experience for him, he does have talent. This is an extremely tough defense to go up against. I saw what they did to [Chris] Chandler here a couple weeks ago with the Rams. I saw what they did to Seattle's passing game last week, on the road. This is a very skilled, very diverse defense. This is a credit to a very good Arizona Cardinals. I was trying to build confidence. We tried to start the game with an intent to get the running game going. I think we had back to back penalties to start the game. I don't know if I was real positive or optimistic the rest of the day."

On 2004 Buccaneers: "They fight hard. I meant a lot of guys, that's for sure. We played a lot of different people. I know they have a lot of spirit. I know we have a lot of good players here and I know we have a couple great ones. We've got a way to go to get back to being a contender and being a championship team. That's my opinion."

On Mike Clayton's dropped pass: "It is stunning. He has great hands, he has had a great year, and it's just unfortunate that that play had to happen. It does kind of epitomize a lot of things that happened. In a 12-7 game, I am flabbergasted by that. I am stunned, but I will show some resolve. We have missed short field goals; we've fumbled snaps; we have fumbled with leads with two minutes left in games. I hope they got it all out of their system this year. For the next hundred years, I hope they got it out of their system."

On Cardinals momentum: "I was disappointed, but it's a credit to the Cardinals. They have got a couple high-pressure receivers in Boldin and Fitzgerald and in just a matter of time [Bryant] Johnson. They have three guys that are good looking stallions. They make plays, get in range. They've got a hell of a kicking game here. We should have had it, we had three great looks to win the game today in the fourth quarter. We did not make the plays."

On bobbled snaps: "We lost the Seattle game basically, bobbling the snap on the one foot line. If it is a problem with Chris [Simms] then it is a real problem for me. I have never been associated with that, and I won't be. Whether they run me out of here or not, we will not allow that kind of play. The quarterback-center exchange is the most fundamental technique in football, and I will be damned if it's going to be tolerated here. I don't know what it is. I don't want to fault anyone but myself. I'll say this, that does not happen here."

On critical penalties: "We had a critical special teams penalty at the end of the first half. We had to hustle off the field, you have to get off the field. You have to allow the punt return team and vice-versa to get out there. Five, six or seven offensive penalties on running plays is just on me, and it's going to be very humiliating for me to see this tape. I don't want to be associated with penalties. We will hire a full officiating crew again and double the damn total to try and get this thing straightened out."

On young players: "It is very frustrating, I'll be honest with you. I look out there and see Billy Baber and Nate Lawrie playing tight end today. With so many new guys playing, hopefully we get some experience, we learn from these experiences and we try to acquire a nucleus of players. It just allows us to compete more in the training camp. We do have to get our injured players healthy. My God, we have to stay healthy, it has been two years that we have been out of injury reserve people and when you look at One Buc Place, there is just not enough room in the training room for these guys to get treatments. So we have to get that resolved and hopefully we can."

On frustrations: "I feel like I have let a lot of people down. Players, coaches, fans, family members. I do like a lot of the things structurally. When I look at the tape, I see options, I see potential. Potential is the worst word you can use in football. I believe in production and execution. Potential is for the birds."

Wide Receiver Michael Clayton

On dropped pass: "That is going to continue to haunt me in the offseason. I had a great year, you know, but to go out like that is just not me. I saw I was wide open but maybe I was thinking a little bit too fast. It was a dropped ball, it was my mistake. You make up for your mistakes. I'm going to work on that all year, I never want to feel like that again. It is a situation a receiver doesn't want to be in. It could have been a game winning catch, so we are going to put it behind us."

On Chris Simms: "He did a great job. I think opportunity-wise for the quarterback, we have to help our quarterback get more time to throw the ball. Sometimes we're limited in what we can do, and those guys definitely do the best that they can in those situations, and hats off to those guys, they have been taking a beating all year. We have to work on our offense as a whole. It doesn't have anything to do with one individual. It is the offense as a whole, we have receivers, offensive line, quarterback. When we can establish a strong positive running game, and we can next year, we will be there."

On offseason plan: "I will take some time off. I will go home and visit with my daughter and get here until she goes back to school in late January, and spend some quality time with my family. They really miss me all season, so I can't wait to go back home and spend some quality time with them. I know exactly what I have to do to make myself better. I've viewed all season, I've taken notes on myself all season, and I have taken notes on every defensive back this season and I know I will face those guys next year. I know what I have to do. I know exactly how much rest time I have. I am the type of guy that can't sit out too long. I have to stay in tune. After I finished up in January [2004] and had to wait for the draft, it felt like it was forever. I felt like I didn't touch a football, pads, or anything in so long. I hated it. That is something that me, myself will work on. Getting with Chris [Simms] so we can get that chemistry started early next year."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive End Simeon Rice

On today's loss: "They [Arizona] had a great game plan. You have to tip your hat to Denny [Green] and company. The D-line played great today. You can definitely see that they [Arizona] are going in the right direction."

On discipline of the team: "It was a little bit of everything today. First off, I missed practice this week, so I fall right in suit. I am the first one to let you know that. We just have to clean a lot of things up, from a non-football standpoint. Jon [Gruden] is going to do a good job with that. I think he is going to bring us back to what we were accustomed to. I am excited about '05, I know Jon is excited about '05 and the rest of the team is excited about '05. You can only sink so low, before you bounce so high."

On seriousness of the team: "If we are 5-11, that's obvious. That goes without saying. We have to correct a lot of wrongs on our team and I think we will do that. I think the management will do that also. We have a great head coach and unfortunately we wound up in this situation. We are going to bounce back, I can guarantee you that."

On how today's game was lost: "It doesn't matter how we lost, not at this point of the season. I can tell you about close games and that we competed. I could tell you games that we were right there in the thick of things and we let that go. It doesn't matter, a loss is a loss. We'll bounce back and we'll stick together as a team. In the end, it's going to be OK. If we apply ourselves the right way, it will be a good lesson in the future."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Dexter Jackson

On the season coming to an end: "You can learn from all your mistakes. There's no question that it's been a tough season. The effort was always for this team to stay in games and eliminate turnovers. This has been the same story almost every single time we lose a ballgame. The effort was there. Creating turnovers is something I am going to work in the off-season and I am going to come back much better."

On first time being back in Arizona: "This was my first time back. It was kind of weird seeing some of the guys that I played with for awhile. At the same time, this is my job and this is what I have to do. I went out there and played as hard as I could today. Arizona did a great job against the run and on defense overall today."

On the upcoming off-season: "I'm going to come back fighting next year. Maybe I can learn from my mistakes. Of course, that is what I am going to try to do. I'm just going to work hard in the off-season to come back. We're going to put the season behind us and look ahead to next year."

On how tough it is going into an offseason losing four straight games: "The season is over with. Of course, it is always tough to lose. At the same time all of our guys fought hard all year. At the same time, I play hard every single game. I am just going to bounce back next year. I am going to work hard in the offseason and get back to where we want to be."

Arizona Cardinals

Head Coach Dennis Green

Opening Statement: "Sixteen teams won today. I look at that as a good sign for next year. Nobody likes the fact of being 6-10 unless the sixth win came just now. It was a game where we had chances to win it and chances to lose it. They had chances to win it and chances to lose it and we got it, so we'll take it from there. We held (Michael) Pittman to under 100 yards. When we've held guys under 100 we've won. When we had trouble stopping the run we have not won. I think that's going to be a big part of our focus for the future. We did not give up a sack on the quarterback. Sometimes Josh (McCown) slipped away and got away, but for the most part we had pretty good pass protection. It was that kind of a game. Anytime you play Tampa Bay it's going to be a defensive struggle. Their one of the best defenses in the National Football League and have been since 1997. Injury-wise, Freddie Jones had a slight neck injury. I'm not sure how serious it was. They're probably doing some tests. He did not finish the game. Everyone else, I believe, finished the ball game."

On winning the game: "As a coach you're really down to the bottom line. I don't think anyone in the world is more disappointed than me because we're 6-10. But today I'm not disappointed because today was one game. This season is a different issue. Today, you're emotions should be short-term. My short term emotions are that our guys played hard and earned a victory."

On not turning the ball over in the red zone: "I don't think you can afford turnovers. I think that if they're having a hard time moving the ball we can't afford to give it to them. You go to Atlanta and see what happens to you when you in the red zone if you don't hold on to the ball. We lost four games this year by a field goal. In every one of them we had turnovers in the red zone. Today wasn't one of those days."

On Darnell Dockett: "He's a playmaker. He did not play every play. You look at the number of plays he played and the number of big plays he made, he's just an explosive ball of barbed wire. He's very hard to block and very hard to keep out. He plays with a lot of intensity. If you look at him and (Karlos) Dansby, both of those guys can fly around. They make plays. If you look at Adrian (Wilson) and the plays he made today, including the last play, it was well worth the confidence he had in us. He could get $24 million somewhere else and he got it here because he believes we're going to win. It's my job to justify his confidence."

On playing competitive football: "You want to win first, but many times you've got to play competitive first. I relate it to when Tony Dungy got the job in Tampa back in 1996. They were 6-10 the first year and 10-6 the next year. Six and 10 was a lot better that it was the year before. It's called progress. He expected to be a playoff team and he was. If you take that type of offseason approach and use unrestricted free agency, draft, trades and developing players then you will be a playoff team in the next year. In 1997 he was."

On the offensive line: "I think that gives us flexibility because Reggie (Wells) played left guard the whole time and with the injury to Leonard Davis he played left tackle. He got a little help now and then, but for the most part Reggie did a good job at the position he played last year but did not play it at all this year. With that adjustment we moved Cameron (Spikes) to left guard, Jeremy Bridges was back in starting at right guard the guys did a pretty decent job. We were able to control the ball a little bit."

On Emmitt Smith: "Emmitt (Smith) hasn't talked about that. He hasn't talked with me about it and I haven't talked with him about it. Tim Brown is the same way. Those guys are great players and there wouldn't be anyone who wouldn't vote for them on a Hall of Fame ballot. Those guys will go in whenever they're done playing and five years later. I don't think either one of them asked for a farewell tour or has made up their mind whether they're playing or not."

On Dexter Jackson: "In the National Football League there are a lot of guys that have played on each other's teams. There are guys on this team that played for me at Minnesota. There should not be any hard feelings. It's a business. There are three guys that were drafted here that play for Tampa. I don't think they took offense of it. If that's what a guy needs to get himself stoked, that's fine. We really focus on one thing, we won the game."

On this season's surprises in the NFL: "I think it's been the competitiveness of the different leagues. I think everyone has been a little bit down on Carolina or the NFC. But please tell me one team that says 'I would love to play the Vikings.' They may be 8-8, but tell me who wants to play them. Who wants to try and tackle Daunte (Culpepper)? Who wants to go against Randy Moss one-on-one? They may be a little cold, but who wants to play them? Who wants to play against Carolina? Who wants to go up against Dan Morgan? I think Carolina made a good run and they just ran out of steam. New Orleans beat Carolina on what we call G.P. (general principle). All of a sudden New Orleans is 8-8. They had a great late charge one game too late. But they made sure Carolina didn't go. I think it was exciting. Minnesota is going to go up to Green Bay. Green Bay is going to have a lot of things but they don't want to play them. Since I was there in 1992 we never played them in the playoffs. We didn't want to play them and they didn't want to play us."

On using the middle linebacker less: "We used much more of the three-man line. We used a lot of the big line. On a five-man and a three-man line the middle linebacker comes out. It was just those circumstances."

On the upcoming offseason: "We start tomorrow. As coaches, you keep your mouth shut until the Super Bowl champion is declared. If you're still playing you've got something to talk about. If you're not, you gather up your stuff and get out of the building and start working. When the Super Bowl is over and there's a new champion everyone is on the same play."

QB Josh McCown

On the game: "You know, you would like things to go better, but bottom line is to win the football game and we won the football game today. The win wouldn't have been any different if we would have won 45-43, it goes down as a win and both these teams are still not going into the playoffs. I would have liked the offense to do better but you're talking about one of the better defenses in the NFL. In the last five years, probably the best defense. Very very tough defense to play against. Passing wise they're not going to give you a lot because they cover so well and they get a good rush on you. It was hard on us and we lost some check downs because we needed help on the rush because their athletes are so good up front."

On his mindset going into the offseason: "Just to build and to get better. I know that's all we say but I think that's what you have to be striving for. It's nice to win the last game of the season. This season is an improvement from last season. I think that's one thing we should all keep in mind is that it is an improvement. Now it is just doing some of the things offensively that we have been doing the last few games especially with my comfort in the offense to be able to check things. Doing that from the jump just wasn't there early this year because of not having experience in the offense. So having experience in the offense, you'll see that on day one, I think will be a big help."

On his interception: "I scrambled up and Freddie saw me scramble and he normally breaks in the corner on that route where I threw the ball. When he saw me scramble he quit running his route and turned back in and I anticipated it. You know you kind of throw it before they come out of the cut and obviously Freddie never came out of the cut. It's just one of those things that happens. Thank God they didn't get points off of it. I'm thinking he's going to be there and he's getting ready to make a move because I am scrambling. It's just one of those things that at the right time you do something like zig zag and it just off-sets each other. It's just one of those things that happens and it's just a good thing they didn't get points off of it."

On if it's frustrating to have conservative plays called: "Definitely. I think as a competitor you want to stay aggressive and we certainly all did, but you also have to do what you're told. The plays were called and we had to go with it. Obviously, whatever we did today worked and that's the main thing. Like I've said, we have to go with what's called and what's in front of us. It is hard at times as players because everybody's competitive and they want to get after it and everybody wants to throw it into the end zone but the coaches have a job that they do."

On the pass he completed to himself: "No, that's a first. Everyone was coming up and telling me I should have knocked it down and I probably should have but my first reaction was to jump up and catch it. Then I agree with everyone else that I probably should have knocked it down because I got hit pretty good after that."

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