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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

08-19-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the overall game) "I don't have any injuries to report at this time. We had some penalties; two on defense, one on offense in the first half. Third-down plays that hurt us in this game, turnovers; you can't turn the ball over in the areas of the field that we did tonight and expect to win. There were some good things."

(On QB Bruce Gradkowski) "He's going to be a heck of a young quarterback. He is a heck of a young quarterback. He made a couple great audibles. The Dolphins do a great job as we all know, blitzing. The next play it looks like a blitz and it isn't. It's a tough defense to move the ball against and he made some great plays, decisions, throws. It is unfortunate the game ended the way it did, but [he] stood in there tough and [I'm] really pleased with what he did tonight."

(On the starting offense and defense) "Starters, some of our guys did not play tonight obviously, but our starting defense played two series, got off the field quickly. I thought our offense did a nice job taking the first drive down for points and then once again a key third down play, a big play, Ike Hilliard in Dolphin territory called back for penalty. We weren't able to take advantage of that offensively, but I was pleased with the way our offense and defense started this game tonight."

(On QB Chris Simms' performance) "Well, I thought the opening drive was good. I think the decision on a first-and-10 play on their 15 on a naked bootleg is one he wants back, but he put points on the board in the opening possession against a heck of defense. I think the following possession he was victimized with a great throw on third down. Once again, we had some penalties to start us on the third possession, but I thought he did some good things. We don't want to take sacks. I would like to see us get rid of the ball a little bit better in some situations, but I thought he did a good job. I was pleased overall with what he did."

(On the running game tonight) "Well, you know, Miami is a good defensive team. They have a lot of veterans in their front with [Keith] Traylor and obviously, Zach Thomas and Kevin Carter. These guys have played the run very well for a long time and we knew it was going to be a great challenge. I thought [Mike] Alstott had three or four great runs early. We're short on back right now. It was coach's decision not to play [Carnell] 'Cadillac' [Williams]. [Michael] Pittman wasn't really wasn't ready to go tonight, has a little soreness in his foot, nothing serious. Once again, we rely on Carey Davis. No disrespect to Carey, but that is a tall order in a short week against a team like Miami. A credit to Miami, they are a good run stopping defensive team and we didn't do a good enough job."

CB Ronde Barber

(On the defense) "We had four guys that didn't start for us; Simeon [Rice], Will [Allen], Derrick [Brooks] and Shelton [Quarles]. Overall, I think I was impressed with the first group. We were in there for two drives, we had two three and outs, and I think we had two or three sacks in our drives. So we got off to a fast start and that's what we were talking about all week."

(On how he felt the replacement starters faired) "Those guys are ready to play. Monte [Kiffin] always talks about having quality depth and it definitely showed up on that drive. We know what K.P. [Kalvin Pearson] can do in there, he's been in there for us before. And with Barrett [Ruud] getting some time, that's good for him in the long run. Overall, I was impressed with their play."

WR Michael Clayton

(On the offense) "We came out aggressive as an offense. We ran the ball well. We came out aggressive in the passing game, and we were able to get a couple of first downs and completions. That's the mode we want Chris [Simms] to be in when we come out early for our regular season."

(On his performance) "I felt good. My legs are definitely 100 percent back. I'm feeling a little bit more into game-mode than I was last week. We will just take it game-by-game, and I know it's going to get better and better and better as the season goes along."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(On completing big passes and his comfort level) "I think I'm more and more comfortable each game, but you just have to go with it and just come out and execute the plays that are called. Coach called a good game. You just have to execute them. The guys did a good job tonight, made some good plays and like I said, we fell short, which stinks, but we have to learn from it."

(On his touchdown pass to WR Edell Shepherd) "Edell was streaking through there. It was a great call at the time for what the Dolphins were doing and with his speed down the pipe like that, he made a great play. And I just threw it out there. I said, 'Hey, let me just put air on it, let him make a play' and he made a great play. That kind of sparked us and we have to come back and finish at the end."

(On the fourth-and-one play) "[Coach Gruden] showed great confidence. It was a great play call. They were just loading the box because it was fourth-and-one and Paris Warren made a great catch, great route, and we were fortunate enough to get it there. That's what sparked us to get in the end zone."

(On the Dolphins' defense) "It went pretty well tonight but we didn't get the 'W' and that's the most important thing. It's hard to swallow not winning, but we have to learn from it, build for next time and see what happens."

RB Earnest Graham

(On building momentum each game) "Yeah, I definitely feel that we're building momentum. Coach said that we weren't as physical as we were last game or as he would have liked. So, I think we need to take note of that and come out this next game and play a lot harder and more physical."

(On whether he feels we could have been more physical) "Yeah, I think we could have been more physical. We really didn't get the ground game going. We had some penalties and some fumbles and stuff. That means that we didn't just play Buc ball. Regardless who was in there, starters or guys no higher up on the depth chart. Coach just wants us to play Buccaneer football. Did we do that? No, we didn't because we didn't win the game."

DT Anthony McFarland

(On getting off the field with a three-and-out) "We came out early, that was our emphasis, not only for our first group but for the whole team, to start fast. We want to just come out and set a tempo as far as the first group and let everyone else carry it on all night. I think we did a good job with that."

(On getting the first sack) "We were just trying to come out and start fast. We had a good training camp. Barrett [Ruud] stepped up big tonight. Shelton [Quarles] couldn't go tonight. And he stepped up big. And it showed that if something happened to Q [Quarles] and Q [Quarles] can't go, then Barrett [Ruud] is ready to go."

WR Edell Shepherd

(On the touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski) "Like I've said plenty of times already, we knew it was going to happen from the snap. When the safety steps up on that kind of play, I'm going to go right by him. Or any of our receivers will go right by him. So, it was a good play for us."

QB Chris Simms

(On the first drive of this game compared to last game) "We were sharp, definitely were. We did some good things and, I think in a few weeks, we probably capitalize on that drive. I didn't make the greatest throw in the world. And we're getting there. That was the most important thing."

(On taking his first hit of the preseason) "They have a good defensive line and we had some long developing routes down the field and it just happened that way. I think maybe a case of me maybe holding the ball a hair too long just waiting for guys to get open downfield. All in all, I thought we pass protected pretty good tonight."

T Kenyatta Walker

(On returning to the field after missing some time in training camp) "It felt good. I'm just trying to get my legs under me and get ready for the season. But it was good, it's always good to be back on the field."

(On how he felt physically) "I felt in shape. I didn't worry about that. I'm just trying to get better out there and be at my best once the regular season rolls around."

LB Jamie Winborn

(On the defensive performance) "We have to keep getting better. We didn't win. It's a fine line. We didn't win. We did not play as well as we needed to play to win."

(On his personal performance) "Not as good as I wanted it to be. Some people may think it was. For me, I don't ever play good enough. I know [there is] a lot of stuff I need to get better at. I made some plays. I just feel that I have to keep working."


Head Coach Nick Saban

(Opening comments) "Like I said earlier, the thing we wanted to do was improve as a team. We wanted everybody to challenge themselves to raise the bar, whatever their level of performance was. Maybe in the beginning of the game you might say we didn't quite get that done. We tried to go on a silent count for the first time on offense, we had some illegal procedure penalties and some false starts and it affected our field position, and we weren't getting off on the snaps, we weren't getting [off] the block. But the good news, of what I think was most important [is] we didn't play well in the first series on defense. They got a field goal, we didn't do well offensively for a couple of series, but we kept on focusing on what we needed to do and put a couple of decent drives together. Daunte [Culpepper] certainly came back and put a great drive together and we were really pleased with that. So the idea that we persevered it, we didn't melt down, nobody lost their poise is how we played through it and that was a really key ingredient. The focus in preseason as a team needs to be on improvement, just because we won this game doesn't mean we don't have to have the same disposition towards that. So we can get better because we are getting ready for the regular season. We are getting ready for the first game. Daunte [Culpepper] probably ended up, because of the long drive, with that going to be his last series, ended up playing a few more plays than what we anticipated by allowing him to complete that series. I thought Joey [Harrington] did a good job while he was in there. Once we settled down a little bit, we did a much better with the offensive line and controlling the line of scrimmage and kind of running at them, which they are very quick and fast. Sometimes, when you have those kind of guys that you're playing against, that's the best way to try and attack them. Defensively, I was pleased with the way we played. But again at the end of the game, we gave up a big play for a touchdown and allowed them back in the game. It gets a little nerve racking sometimes when you have guys playing new positions. Jason Allen is playing corner for the first time ever, made a mental error, but I'm sure he will get better. He is trying to do everything he can do to help this team and the guy practiced like three or four days at corner and went out there and played pretty well except for that play and did a nice job for us. I'm sure he will continue to get better. He also played safety and sub for at least a down or two, so he is wearing more hats then is beneficial to him right now. Dan Wilkinson, we went ahead and played [him] in the game, he probably played about 10 plays, six to 10 was what we wanted to do. I know he had a sack and some pressure and probably part of another sack. He wanted to play and thought it was really important to his development to coming back and being able to play early because he is playing some new techniques and some new positions. So it will be interesting to see how he did. All in all, it is a learning experience and a learning opportunity for this team to try and grow and get better. Big disappointment to have the undisciplined type penalties. We probably had at least five false starts and that is the type of stuff that needs to be corrected. We haven't had that for a while."

(On Daunte Culpepper being knocked down a couple times and his confidence) "Well, I hated to see him get hit, but I think it probably does help with his development to know he can get pushed around a little bit and get knocked down and he'll be okay. I think it's all part of the process and procedure of him coming back."

(On Sammy Morris' performance) "Sammy [Morris] did a really good job. I thought Ronnie (Brown) did a really good job early in the game. We tried to keep to that six-to-eight carry level, but I thought both of those guys did a really good job. I thought Travis [Minor] did a good job in the game, as well. I was kind of disappointed that we weren't able to play both younger running backs maybe a little more in the game, because we need to have a good look at them."

RB Ronnie Brown

*(On the importance of taking hits in the preseason games and his feelings on other running backs being held out) * "I think it's kind of important. You don't want your first game of the season to go out and the tempo is a little bit faster. It takes a week, then the next week and the following week. Your body will be real sore and whatever, just not being used to those licks. I think it's kind of helpful. It has its positives and its negatives. Unfortunately for Clinton Portis, it was a negative, but for the most part it's helpful as far as getting adjusted to the game."

(On Daunte Culpepper taking a couple of hits) "I think it's a good thing we got that out of the way. He was able to take those hits. I think now he's a little more settled in. For the most part I don't think he was worried about it. It just shows what kind of person he is following the rough start we had as an offense, for us to be able to come out and overcome some of those things in the drive that we had. Unfortunately we got a few penalties and put ourselves in a bad hole. We were able to work out of that, it was a good thing."

QB Joey Harrington

(On if he is playing with a sense of relief) "I don't know if I'd call it relief, but there is a weight off my shoulders. It's a pressure that doesn't exist anymore. I guess externally, the pressure is always here from me, but I don't feel it from the guys that I need to be the one to make a play. I feel confident and feel comfortable that I can get it in the hands of the right guys and we can continue to move the chains. That is what being on a good team is about."

(On the depth on the offense) "It's good. I like how you framed that. A lot of depth and every team can use some depth because it is a long season. My job right now is to be ready when called upon and stay polished and focused. If I can push Daunte [Culpepper] at all and make him a better player then that's what I am going to do."

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