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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

08-26-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on the game) "Real physical game. I was pleased. I liked having the lead at halftime. I thought we came out very strong as a football team. Defensively, we played great in the first half, not good but played great. We did some great things on defense. Offensively we started well, disappointed we missed a field goal, some things we did in the protection obviously hurt us and another good drive we had back to back sacks. I don't have any injuries to report."

(on the play of Bruce Gradkowski) "Well obviously we turned the ball over three times in the second half. I have tremendous respect for Jacksonville's defense. I think they are right in there with the best in the league. They are the complete package. They are physical. They've been together for a while and they have good continuity. Bruce (Gradkowski) had a shot to Ernest Graham on the first possession of the second half and just missed him for a big play. It's unfortunate. I did think we forced the issue a little bit down the play down the middle there for the interception. It was good in some ways, to see him snap back into the reality of this league."

(on the first-team defense) "We were flying. We came out ready to play as a football team. I was very enthused; we get a turnover on the first possession. Couple big plays, touchdown, we faked the extra point so we jump up 8-0, which is hard to do against this team on the road. Defensively we kept the pressure on; it was a pretty good all around performance defensively in the first half."

(on if Chris Simms is holding onto the ball too long) "Well I could sit here and point fingers. Couple of these possessions, there was no business of us getting hit from the blind side. There's no business. I'm not blaming the line, I'm not blaming Chris (Simms), it's my responsibility. We have to find a way to get the ball out of our hands and throw it away certainly. Jacksonville is as good as there is at sacking the quarterback and applying pressure. They just got the best of us a couple of times and it's too bad because we really could have had quite a first half."

QB Chris Simms

(on the Jacksonville defense) "They're one of the elite defenses in the NFL. They don't have to blitz a lot because they have a great front four, and have size and speed. I was encouraged and thought we did some good things against them. Inconsistency again is the word of the day. We left some points out there to be had."

(taking advantage of the early turnover) "It's getting close to that time when it counts for real. That's the difference between winning and losing. Our defense played unbelievable tonight as usual. As long as we take advantage of the opportunities they give us, we'll be a tough team to beat."

(on being ready for season opener) "We're really close. Carnell (Williams) ran the ball well and caught some passes out of the backfield. Joey (Galloway) got his hands on the ball. Mike Clayton played big and Alex Smith got his hands on the ball. We're continuing to build and hopefully we'll hit it full stride when the Ravens come to town."

DE Greg Spires

(following the loss) "In the beginning, we were able to put them in third down situations and get off the field. There's always room for improvement, but getting on and off the field a lot – in three and out situations – is important for us at this stage of the preseason."

WR Michael Clayton (on the starters) "We came out aggressive, but I think we accomplished what we wanted with a great first half. It's obvious that Jacksonville scored on our backups and we don't want to let that happen. We'll go in and clear up a lot of things on film but as for as the starters go, we really felt confident in the things that we were doing."

(on his expectations for the regular season) "I have a new body from last year when I was banged up. It's been a long off-season for me getting my body back in shape to be a 'go to' guy on this team. I'm definitely looking forward to a big season."

RB Carnell Williams (on returning to action) "It felt good to get a few snaps and get a little contact and hitting a different opponent besides my teammates. I was able to get some game speed conditioning, and I feel I may be ready to go now."

(on the Jaguars defense) "They're tough – especially in the middle with those two tackles. They're tough to move out of there. The linebackers impressed me too. They're very heavy and downhill – a really good defense."


Head Coach Jack Del Rio

(on the game) "I liked what I saw in the second half. The first half is on me. I think what you look for as a coach is you look for in the preseason a lot of individual things. You look for a lot of work, schematic work, and things like that. Another thing you're looking at is how the character of your team is shaping up. I'm really proud of the way the team responded coming out at halftime with a sense of purpose and hanging together and pulling together and going back to work. Obviously the first half didn't go the way we wanted. So, I'll take the first half. On the questions you want to ask me, I'll stand here and answer, but I know this, nothing comes easy in this league. I think what you do is you work hard, you hang together and you make corrections, and you get better. I liked the way the second half went in that we showed a lot of that. The other things that were very good was our offense was four for four. When we got the ball in the redzone we put it away and scored touchdowns. The run defense early was outstanding. For a long portion of the game they had a one yard average and we were playing a very stout run defense. Defensively, we generated five sacks and they were 2-for-14 on third downs. Those are good numbers. I thought defensively we had two guys make outstanding plays on the ball – Dee Webb and Nick Greisen both made outstanding plays on the ball. On the injury front, really good news considering what it could have been. Mike Peterson and Greg Jones both have sprained MCLs and the thought is that they should be back some time during the Dallas week, ready for the opener. The other two guys who were nicked during the game, Nick Sorensen jammed his ankle and it doesn't appear to be anything serious, and Brian Iwuh had a hip pointer. So all in all, a pretty good night's work, a physical night and relatively injury free."

(on the offensive line struggling) "Football is a team game and good offensive play requires good blocking, good ball handling, good crisp routes, the ball thrown on time – all those things. We weren't in sync. It's a good defense. We labored a little bit but the thing I'm pointing to is that I was proud of the way we labored through it and then hung together and kept fighting, kept pushing. Those are the kinds of things where I see us making progress in a game when we're able to do that. Believe me, I recognize that September is coming up here pretty quick but I think when you look at it, at least from my perspective, you have to take it for what it is. It's never as bad as it looks or as good as it looks when you watch it live. To go to the tape and you evaluate it, correct it and move on."

(on the first half) "We didn't score any points. We were trailing at the half, so I'll take the first half. That's on me. Then I'll make sure that I do what I need to do to make our team better. The guys are working hard. They're doing everything I'm asking and I like the way that we're working, I like the way that we are improving and it's not happening fast enough for me to sit up here and gloat about it, but I'm not ashamed of it either."

(on the second half) "We just executed better, ran the ball much better. When we did throw it we blocked it, threw it and caught it. It's a lot more fun when you do it right. So, there are always going to be rough moments. The thing I'm encouraged about again to go back to it is I look for signs about character. I believe in character. I like the way the team came out and stuck together and stayed on task, continue to work at their trade, and that's what I'm asking them to do and they did exactly what I asked them to do and they did exactly what I asked them in the first half. I just have to do a little better job myself in the first half."

(when will you make the first round of roster cuts?) "This first round (of cuts) is not going to be real difficult. The league has allowed us to stay with 75 people. We have a few guys that are banged up and candidates for IR (injured reserve) and when you get right down to it, there is just not going to be a lot of movement. We're just not going to have to do a lot of cutting. I think it's a good step by the league to allow us to have a bigger roster to play the whole preseason with. I think it makes a lot of sense."

WR Matt Jones (on the importance of preseason games) "They are important but I don't know if you need all four of them. You definitely need a couple of them and it's good to get out there in that kind of environment to see that the game is a lot faster in a game instead of in practice. It's definitely important to get out there and get some things worked out. As long as you keep winning everything is alright but we definitely need to help our defense out by putting up some points earlier."

QB Byron Leftwich (on first half performance of team) "I think there was some adversity early but we kept our composure. I take the blame for the whole first half. As the leader of the offense, you have to find a way to make a play and I didn't."

(on the protection time) "We are going to get better and continue to do things we need to do. Don't get discouraged because we are ok and will be ready to play on September 10. There were a few bumps on the road and the first half was a big bump when nothing went our way. However, you have to understand that you are going to have those kinds of halves in football. The thing is we came out in the second half and began to make plays and once that happens good things come in buckets."

(on first half opportunities) "I missed some but I need to see the film to see exactly what happened. When it happens you have to know how to keep fighting and we are going to fight for four quarters. We found a way to make some things happen and put some points on the board."

CB Rashean Mathis (on where the team is right now after three preseason games) "We feel good and we feel we accomplished a lot. We have gotten better and better each week and that's the plan. We're ready for the opener. It's football. Things are not always going to go as planned but as long as they turn out the way you want in the end that is all that matters. There are going to be some mistakes, some penalties, some touchdowns scored against us. As long as we come out with a "W" that is all that matters."

(on Mike Peterson's influence on the team and his injury) "He's a great influence. He's one of the leaders on the defense so hopefully the injury is not too serious and we will have him back soon."

LB Nick Greisen (on the interception) "I give credit to my defensive line. They made him scramble around and he had to get rid of it. I saw him roll out and went with him and when he threw it behind me I just reached back and got it with one hand. The tide was turning to their side and after the pick everything changed. I wanted to be a difference maker and a playmaker and to help the team change momentum when it needs to. I want to help this team win and if I continue to that the coaches will notice that."

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