08-16-2004 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Remarks) "Obviously penalties are a thing we have to clean up. We lost Edell Shepherd, I don't know for how long. It looks like a broken foot. Other than that, we came out of the game without injuries. We played a lot of people and we played them early. We wanted to see them against very good competition and we were able to do a good evaluation. I'll answer any questions that you want."

(On which strong performances stood out) "All of the quarterbacks looked very good. I'm very pleased with the way they moved the team. I thought Michael Clayton had a nice debut, as did Bill Schroeder and Ian Gold. I thought Will Allen did some good things. I thought the energy was good, I felt the kickoff coverage was excellent and I felt we had the chance to get something going on our punt return team also."

(On the special teams performance) "We missed a field goal that we think Martin (Gramatica) will hit. We did have a punt return called back for illegal blocking. We did do some good things. We had good energy, good distribution in our lanes and we tackled."

(On the tribute to the hurricane victims) "I think it's great and a tribute to the Glazers. My sympathy, my heart goes out to all the people. We're very fortunate here in Tampa to be at this game tonight. Hopefully, we can do as much as we can in the hour of people's need. I know I've got to get more involved and I hope everyone else feels the same."

(On the mindset changes that come with all of the recent schedule changes) "It's going to be a challenge for us. We've had a disrupted schedule. It's been hard to really get in some quality work in the last three or four days. But you know we have to give the players a day off tomorrow, they're entitled to that. I've got one day to prepare this team for Jacksonville on Wednesday and you're going to see a very physical, very talented defensive team up there. Fred Taylor's healthy, (Byron) Leftwich is not a rookie and they're a talented offensive team as well. I think they are going to be one of the surprise teams of football this year."

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FB Mike Alstott

(On running out of the tunnel for the first time since last October) "It was awesome. It has been a long time and the reception from the fans was great. It was a dream come true."

(On returning to action) "I have been waiting for this moment for awhile. I have been working all offseason to run out of this tunnel and be back in the huddle. There was a lot of hard work to put in for this moment."

(More on returning to action) "It's time to turn the page and to start a new season. I don't have to worry about the injury hanging over my head. I feel comfortable and my neck is fine. I'm confident that I will do well."

(On Tampa Bay's first drive) "I think that's the key to put points on the board to start a new season. When we come back and look at the tape, there will be some issues that we will have to work on, but overall guys are playing hard and it's great to get the season started.

(On his performance) "I expect a lot from me. It was great to get some carries right away. I would have liked to gotten some more yards, but I'm the biggest critic of myself."

CB Ronde Barber

(On negatives during the night) "I think we had some breakdowns; way too many penalties for the team. We gave up too many plays on defense."

(On the penalties tonight) "They killed us last year. It was a big problem for us and we have to deal with them again this year."

(On playing again) "It's definitely good to get some fresh meat out there."

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WR Michael Clayton

(On the team's chemistry so far) "The chemistry that we have developed over a short period of time has been tremendous. Everyone is putting in the effort to get to know guys and step in and help each other where we can. That is one of the main things that will keep us going strong"

(On being a Buccaneer) "It is a blessing to be here and to be close to home and playing under Coach Gruden has been excellent for me. In this league you have to try and get all the knowledge and teaching you can get."

(On whether he was surprised that the Bucs took him as their first pick) "I was definitely surprised. I didn't have any conversations with the Bucs up to that point. I was thinking San Francisco all the way, but they took me before San Francisco and I was happy."

**

LB Ian Gold

(On his first game with Tampa Bay) "I got some cobwebs out. It is all about getting the game speed back. The D-line gets after the quarterback and it makes our life that much easier."

(On how long he has been wanting to play) "Ever since I got hurt. I think it's proven to my work ethic and to God's blessings that I got back and I'm healthy and ready to go this season. I look forward to getting out there and getting better and better each week, and get more comfortable with the defense and get to know the guys more."

(On if this is a good place for him to play) "Oh, yeah. Most definitely. No regrets at all."

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QB Brian Griese

(On his next step in learning this offense) "You can only practice so much. I can sit there and read it on paper and do it in practice, but until you go out there and it's unscripted, and you have to be creative as a quarterback, you don't really know how much you've mastered it. And so tonight gave me a good indication of where I'm at (and) some of the things I need to work on. And I'll go from there."

(On how much of the offense he has mastered) "Not enough. I'm a perfectionist at heart and I want to do everything perfectly. I made some mistakes tonight. But we made some plays offensively and you just hope at the end of the day that the plays outweigh the mistakes and that you win the game."

(On the 80-yard touchdown drive he led the team on) "It's nice. And to have some of those young guys in there who have never played in the NFL before (and) to come together. And it's not easy to go 80 yards in the NFL, so I was proud of those guys."

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S Jermaine Phillips

(On filling John Lynch's shoes) "That crowd loves that guy. I love that guy, too. But I don't look at it like that. I look at it as I'm taking over a position. I can't fill the shoes of John Lynch. He was a great player, always will be a great player. And is one of the best safeties in the NFL. So I don't look at it like that. I just try to take one day at a time, get better each day and hopefully the crowd will learn to love me before long."

(On tonight's performance) "I think it was a stepping stone for us. I think we definitely took steps forward but I think we definitely have a long way to go."

(On being able to hit somebody else) "It was great to get out there and finally hit somebody else and play against somebody else besides ourselves. I think we're definitely taking steps in the right direction."

(On his shared sack with DE Simeon Rice) "We just came on the blitz and I think they mis-protected it and it left one of us wide open. It was good because it was the first sack ever in my life."

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QB Chris Simms

*(On Tampa Bay's offensive performance) * "So far, so good – We had a few penalties, but everybody is playing well and really hard."

(On the touchdown drive) "Well, the touchdown drive we got off a turnover that our defense made. We got in there close and Jamel (White) made a few good runs and we got in there close. And E.G. (Earnest Graham) slammed it in there for the score."

(On his overall performance) "It was great to be out there and play someone else besides our defense. I had a lot fun and definitely got some good experience."

**

S Dwight Smith

(On getting back on the field for a new season) "I feel like I'm back home. It was a long off season."

(On a win in the first preseason game) "It was a good start. Anytime you can get a win it's big. We can't take it for more than what it is though. It's a preseason game. It's a tune up and we have a short week, so we need to bounce back and try to get us another one."

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C John Wade

(On the offensive line's play) "It's an ongoing process of learning, this is a first step. Whatever we learned tonight we have to take it into Jacksonville and try and get a little better."

(On what he needs to improve on) "Everything. Even if we played excellent, we could always improve. It's the first set of building blocks, and we just need to improve next week, and stay on an upward incline."

(On that first drive down the field) "Would've liked to have the touchdown but scoring points is always good. You take what you can at times."

**

Cincinnati Bengals Quotes

Head Coach Marvin Lewis

(On mistakes made during the game) "We want to be better in that. We had a couple of line misses and dropped a couple of balls. We have two turnovers early in the football game, which you can't do."

(On positives during the game) "The first half I thought we did a lot of good things. We threw the ball accurately, we executed the running game very well, and played well on defense. Those are key parts of the game."

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T Willie Anderson

(On the team's performance) "First and second team played well. We are not where we need to be."

(On the Bucs defense) "Everyone thinks because Warren Sapp left that they are not going to be good. They are a very talented defensive line. They get up field very quickly."

(On having any goals tonight) "Our goal was to win the game. We didn't do that but I feel like we did some things well."

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WR Chad Johnson

(On the Bucs defense) "It is hard to evaluate with only a couple of plays. The Bucs defense is going to be the Bucs defense. I did not play long enough to get a real feel. It is going to take a little time to get my rhythm back."

(On his performance) "I feel like the first team offense played well for the time we were in the game."

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RB Rudi Johnson

(On feeling comfortable playing with Carson Palmer) "Oh, yeah. We have been practicing that way. It's the same as practice, going out and playing the game. We were definitely comfortable. Practicing all through training camp made us definitely comfortable. We went out and tried to do what we do."

(On the offense running smoothly) "It did. That's the good thing because we have been practicing that all season in training camp. So it was good to go out there and go against another defense and see what they were doing. For the most part we did alright and we will continue to do that everyday."

(On the biggest positive and the biggest negative) "The biggest positive was that we moved the ball. We did a good job moving the football on offense and moving the chains, being consistent. But the negatives outweighed the positives when we turned the ball over and that kind of hurt us a little bit. We turned the football over but once we get that out of the way we will be fine."

(On facing the Bucs defense) "They were what we predicted, small but fast. They were quick to the ball, moving around and making plays, just getting to the football."

(On moving on to the next game) "We are going to leave this behind us. We are going to just continue to get better in practice. We have a couple of days, about a week and a half left of training camp. So we will try to get better in preparing ourselves for New England."

**

QB Carson Palmer

(On the outcome of the game) "We're not happy about the outcome, but luckily we still have a few more games left."

(On whether he felt he ran the offense smoothly) "I thought it went alright. It can always go better. We still have three more preseason games. We still have room to grow and a lot of improving to do."

(On how it felt to get back out in the starting lineup) "It felt weird. I felt real rusty. It's been a whole year since I've played in a game. It just felt good to get back out on the field."

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