Tampa Bay Buccaneers

08-17-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening statement) Im proud of our football team and the way we came out in the first half, particularly with a very good drive to start the game. We converted some third downs and got a lot of people involved. I though Brian Griese was exceptional to start the game and our offensive line did some good things against a very good football team.

(On getting consistency with the same players producing as last week) I thought that our quarterbacks, both Brian (Griese) and Luke (McCown) did some good things and Michael Bennett flashed and made some plays. It was also good to see Warrick Dunn, hes going to add a lot of life to our team. Again, it was an effort that I think was pretty universal by the guys that played in the first half. We were pretty pleased with them.

(On WR Antonio Bryant) Hes a talented guy and hes going to be held to high standards because hes been blessed, with great talent, rare talent. He made some exceptional catches, and he made a great run on a reverse. Im proud of him. At the same time, we expect him to deliver like that. Hes been blessed with that kind of skill and Wide Receivers Coach Richard Mann and Antonio have done a great job working together. Thats a bright spot tonight, Antonio Bryant.

(On having no turnovers for the second straight week) We made a big deal about that and the players responded. I dont know what our win-loss record is the past six or seven years when we havent turned the ball over but I would venture to say its outstanding, its exceptional. Thats the key to winning in this league. You dont beat yourself with turnovers and useless penalties, you have a chance to compete at a high level in pro football and if you dont, you wont. Im proud of our team, weve emphasized it, weve enforced it and the players are getting it done on the field. It is a credit to them.

CB Elbert Mack

(On his interception) It is a great accomplishment. When I was getting interceptions in high school I always dreamed of getting interceptions in the NFL and I finally got my first one. It feels good.

(On his big hit on Matt Cassell in the first quarter) It was my first real contact for me. I got a little contact last week but it was not enough for me. I finally got a chance to put my helmet on somebody and it ended up being a big hit, so I am happy.

(On the hard work through training camp paying off in the game) This was my first training camp and we were getting after it the whole time we were in Orlando. One of the things Coach Gruden talked about today was starting early and getting on top of the Patriots quick and I think we did a great job of doing that.

QB Luke McCown

(On the offenses performance) We did a better job of finishing off drives this week. We had a few where we got down there close, but I missed a touchdown pass. We had just a few stalls down by the end zone, but I think we did a little bit better job at finishing.

(On the touchdown pass to Byron Storer) You have to love that. Probably the most likeable guy on the team, and he works his tail off. He got an opportunity to catch the ball, and I just tried to give him something to handle, right there in his bread basket, and he did and I was really excited for him. It was a good play by him.

(On the quarterback competition) We all want to get better and we have a lot to get better at. Our collective goal is to help our team win, and aside from that, the competition is our goal. We push each other, try to make each other better and that is going to make our team better.

(On playing mistake-free football) I think that is something we can build on. That says a lot for being a smart team, being a team that executes. There is a lot that can be said for that but there is a lot to build on as well. We want to keep that going and look at the film and get better from it.

S Sabby Piscitelli

(On the fumble recovery for a touchdown) It was definitely a Christmas gift. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin made a great call, he called a great blitz on the strong safety blitz. It was just being in the right place at the right time and making a play. It was instinct, see the ball, get the ball, and make a play. That is the biggest thing you can do. Like I said, Coach Kiffin made a great call on that blitz in that package so it worked out well.

(On his camp so far) I think I have a lot to improve on, but getting back out there running around was fun again. I am going to keep on growing and analyzing my play, and go out there and try to make plays. That was my biggest emphasis in camp, go out there and make some big plays, and make plays in practice so it will carry out in the games. Hopefully that keeps continuing and we will go from there.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On causing the fumble) It was one of those plays where it was just a form tackle. I must have either gotten my head or my arm on the ball because it wasnt a huge hit or anything like that but it was just a form tackle and I think I must have caught some of the ball because he dropped it. It was one of those things where you just get to the ball and good things happen.

(On the mixture between old and new players on the defense) It is fun, and its good to see because you need that. You need guys that have been there before and know all the tricks of the trade, and then you need up and comers that bring the energy there. I think it is a good mixture and we are enjoying it.

DE Jimmy Wilkerson

(On the teams performance tonight) I thought it was a decent performance. There are a lot of things still to correct. It is a good thing it is the preseason, because we can always go back and look at the film and see what we have done and correct those mistakes. But, overall as a whole, we did pretty well.

(Oh his first game in Tampa) I was real excited and to make it even more exciting, we got to play the Patriots. The Patriots are the team that everybody wants to really beat. I am just glad we came out with a win. I thought it was a pretty good home game.

HALFTIME QUOTES

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the first half) We came out ready to play, we got into a good rhythm, a nice 17-play drive to start the game was impressive. We are still coming together, and we have a long way to go.

(On the game plan for the first half) We came out trying to do both [run and pass]. You have to do both in this league to win. Brian Griese made some great decisions. We are going to challenge him above the neck, he is a good football player and we are going to ask him to do a lot for us.

(On what to expect in the second half) We will see a lot of the other plays. You will see Chris Simms and hopefully Josh Johnson. We have a lot of guys playing hard and these guys deserve the right to play and they are going to.

RB Michael Bennett

(On his performance in the first half) The biggest thing is to come out and play. Being able to come out and get some work in with the first group of guys felt good. I was able to get into a good rhythm early. I ran behind Byron (Storer) and I believe he is doing a great job and he deserves his shot and was able to get a touchdown at the end. Offensively, defensively and special teams wise we are really playing well and hopefully come out and bring the same intensity in the second half.

(On the offensive line effort in the first half) Tremendous job, each and every week they keep getting better and better. They are the guys that are going to take us all the way, so we have to ride them and keep riding them until the wheels fall off.

WR Antonio Bryant

(On the reverse he ran in the opening series) It felt really good and I could not have done it without my blocks. I think Ike (Hilliard) did a great job with his block. The offensive line on the left side did a great job so when I came around the corner I had plenty of room. I think it was a great call by my coaches trying to get me the ball early.

(On his play with Luke McCown) I played with Luke (McCown) before so it was an opportunity for us to run some old plays. He and I played together in Cleveland so we have a way of connecting. I kind of had an idea he was going to throw it because of the way that the coverage looked. We just happened to make the play.

(On playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) It feels great. The best thing about it is being around the whole organization, the whole operation day-to-day and being with my teammates. We are all working to accomplish something great. It is just about being a small part of something big.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On getting back on the field) It felt like everyone missed me, so it was good to get introduced to the crowd and they all welcomed me back with a standing ovation, and that was great. It was great to come out in the first quarter just to establish ourselves defensively, because I didnt play last week. It was good to get a feel for the game a little bit, and just get into it. It was good, a great atmosphere.

(On the first drive) It was a good drive; I think it was 17 plays. We did a good job of running the football, mixing it up with the pass and being efficient. It was a great job overall, the line did a great job and guys were out there making plays and having fun.

(On how he feels with the offense) I am starting to get comfortable, and once I get comfortable I can just go out and play and have fun.

RB Earnest Graham

(On getting back out on the field) I feel great, any time you come out against the former world champions, a team that played in the Super Bowl last year, and go out there and have a 10 minute drive is great. We did a lot that first drive, and it is a lot to build on but we still have a lot of ways to go.

(On getting his first action of the preseason) I felt good, and it felt good to go out there and bang around a little bit. I got some live protection, some live goal line and it felt great.

(On the difference between this year and last) It is very different, but it is cool to sit back and watch the other young guys in the position that I was in to get a chance to play and really show what they have.

QB Brian Griese

(On the first scoring drive) It was a good opportunity for us to go against a quality defense. I know they had some guys out but this team is a really good team, and for us to come out and put a drive out from the start of the game was good for our confidence and good for our team.

(On his comfort level with the offense) I feel really comfortable. I feel the most comfort in this offense more than any other offense I have been in. I really enjoy the fact that the quarterback has a lot of responsibility for getting the team in and out of the right plays at the right time and I take that responsibility seriously.

(On WR Antonio Bryant) Antonio has come in and really worked hard. He has put everything that has happened prior to being here in Tampa behind him and really has dedicated himself to working hard and just doing what the coaches are telling him and it is starting to show on the field. He has great talent, it is just a matter of him learning the offense and getting the touches.

(On the offensive line) I dont think I got hit at all. Our offensive line is going to continue to get better and better as the year goes on and I dont know if they are going to face a better defensive line than what they faced tonight and they did a great job.

DT Chris Hovan

(On the defensive line performance thus far) I thought we were very fundamentally sound. Everyone met their gap assignments and got off the blocks and met the ball at the line of scrimmage.

(On the defense as a whole) Day-in-and-day-out, we are working harder, coming together as a unit. That is the thing about training camp and preseason, it gives you a chance to gel as a unit and come together and be a great D-line.

(On his performance in the first half) It has been good but not great. I am very hard on myself, I am my worst critic. Until I play at an All-Pro level I am not satisfied.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On the defensive play in the first half) It went pretty well. We got a couple of turnovers, got a couple three-and-outs, they had one little drive on us, but other than that it was good.

(On his performance thus far) It was good, and I have had a chance to make a lot of tackles off their short passes.

(On getting to play against his brother Bo Ruud tonight) It is pretty weird actually. I keep looking over at the sidelines to see if he will go in. He has been on one kickoff so far and will probably get more special teams as it gets going. I will just have to keep an eye on their bench.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Head Coach Bill Belichick

(On tonights performance) We have a lot of work to do based on tonight, really in all three phases of the game. I did not think we played as well and competitively as we are capable of playing. A lot of little things, but those little things add up to big things. We just really need to do a better job. We see another good team this week in Philadelphia. I hope we can get a little bit better performance than that.

(On John Lynchs play) He was only in there for a few plays, but at least he got some exposure in our system and got in on a few plays.

(On losing Brandon Meriweather to injury) We will see how that goes and hopefully it is not a serious problem.

(On Tom Brady not making the trip) There were a lot of players that did not make the trip. The guys that were here played and the ones that were not didnt.

(On Tom Brady's injuries giving backup quarterbacks an opportunity) All the guys that were down here got an opportunity to play and I think that was a good experience for everybody who played in the game. Not saying that we all did a great job, but it gave them an opportunity to play and gave us a chance to evaluate them.

QB Kevin O'Connell

(On coming into the game tonight) You want to get off to a good start. I think I was just trying to do a little bit too much on the first play. Its another learning experience for me. Im just going to try to move on and one of the things Im trying to do is learn to move on to the next play; do whatever I can to move the offense. I was excited we got some big time catches and some protection on that touchdown drive and we were able to pound it in there with Heath (Evans) down there. You know going into the situation and coming into the game you want to come in right away and help be a catalyst. With that turnover, it kind of set us back a little bit. Its just another learning experience.

S John Lynch

(On learning the playbook) Last night was the first good night of sleep this week, because I have been in that book trying to learn it all.

(On playing next to Rodney Harrison) I have always had great admiration for the way Rodney plays. Our careers have kind of coincided in terms of his being in 15 years. I have been in 16 years. I think he plays the game with tremendous passion and excitement.

RB Sammy Morris

(On tonights game) I do not think we executed or I think the scoreboard shows that we obviously did not execute as well as we should have on offense, defense or special teams for that matter. But it is preseason, once we get between those white lines, it is time to play.

(On what the team needs to improve on in practice) To pick something, just overall execution in all three phases of the game.

(On the young players performances) Rookie or not, no one is really executing to the level that we expect for ourselves. We have to go back to work and see what we need to correct, rookies, veterans and anyone in between.

LB Mike Vrabel

(On tonight's loss) Yeah, I mean not making enough plays and then giving too much on first down and giving up short conversions on third down. Missed tackles, big plays. That will about do it.

(On if the preseason has anything to do with the level of play) Not for me. I would hope that no one else on the team would say that they game planned and we didnt. We game plan to try to win every time we go out there. That would be our game plan.

(On if he was surprised or concerned that they were not able to get off the field) Surprised, concerned. No, I wouldnt say concerned. I just think that we got a lot of work to do and were going to try to do that. There is not a lot of time before our first game.

TE Benjamin Watson

(On how the team should improve) We have a lot of things we need to work on. We did not go out there and do what we wanted to do. The theme of the day was, everyone working on doing their job and we will get better as a team.

(On Matt Cassel's performance) Everybody has something they need to work on Matt, myself, everybody. Coach Belichick told us after the game that we all have to work on stuff and that we all just have to worry about what we have to do, we will be alright.

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