Head Coach Jon Gruden
(Opening statement) Im proud of our team. We fought hard. Give credit to the Saints. Theyre a very good team.
(on if receptions by the Saints running backs played a big factor in the game) "If you had Reggie Bush you would probably try to get him the ball whether it be split out as a receiver or coming out of the backfield. They caught us in a couple of man to man situations. I thought (Drew) Brees checked one time and caught us. They had a little pick screen going out there that they executed perfectly and it hurt us. Obviously, Devery (Henderson) made a big play. We had chances to make plays on them on the offensive side of the ball as well. Unfortunately, we didnt get enough done today.
(on what happened on the deep throw play late in the game where Joey Galloway stopped running) It was a blitz situation. We had the one on one that we were looking for. We didnt get much man to man today until that play. Ill talk to Jeff (Garcia) about it. I dont know if he was trying to throw a back shoulder throw. I dont know for sure. To be honest, we needed that play in that situation. I credit the Saints for making that on their end.
(on if the injury to Derrick Brooks hurt the team) "We had to burn a timeout or two here and there because of our personnel. We had guys coming and going throughout the game. Maurice Stovall went out early. There were several guys that their status changed during the game. I can only update you later when we get the information. Obviously, Derrick is a big part of Buccaneer football.
(on what happened to the Bucs' defense) They (Saints) made big plays. The reason that we havent given up a lot of yards historically is that we dont give up the explosive plays that they were able to get a couple of big ones today. The opening drive they got a big one for the first touchdown. I credit them. They are an explosive team on this surface.
(on Jeff Garcia's play) I think there were some opportunities there with some routine plays that he normally makes.some third down plays particularly in the game. Ill take a look at the tape. There were some good. There were some that, obviously, were a bit uncharacteristic. Hes a great competitor.
(on how Antonio Bryant looked) He did some good things. It was his first time back on an NFL field in a regular season game in a long time. He is a force after the catch. He is going to continue to get better. I believe that.
(on struggling on third down) Its my bad. Its obviously bad coaching. There were some plays that we normally routinely make, a couple of shallow crosses. I know (we missed) one to Alex Smith), one to Joey Galloway early in the game that are game changers. We just didnt make the plays. I didnt call a very good game.
(on taking the lead after being down) We battled back a couple of times. I like our football team a lot. I like our guys a lot. Weve got to get ready for the Falcons. I dont know how they did today. This is a dog fight. This rivalry (with the Saints) is taking shape. Theyre a very talented, explosive team. Well be back.
(on if the Saints pass rush pressure surprised him) A: We pass protected pretty good, honestly. We threw the ball 30 times or so. Theyve got Sedrick Ellis. He is the real deal. Charles Grant and Will Smith are factors. (Bobby) McCray is a hell of a pass rusher. They beefed it up here. Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton deserve a lot of credit. They will be a handful for everybody this year.
RB Earnest Graham
(on the game) We were trying to win the game there in the end. You have to hand it to them and give them credit. To me, the Saints just made one more play that we did at the end.
(on the offensive line) I thought our offense line did a terrific job today. On that one long run, I thought the hole was there all during the game. I was just able to get into the secondary and make a play.
WR Ike Hilliard
(on the game) It was a situation where they made the play that counted. We as a team just have to get better, hopefully. We had a good game plan coming in; but I just feel we left a ton of points out there all during the game.
WR Joey Galloway)
(on the game) Unfortunately for us, our best player (Derrick Brooks) wasnt able to help us today. But they played well today. They made more plays than we did. Anytime you have a chance to win the game on the last play of the game, you have to take advantage of it. And we didnt get it done, and for that, Im disappointed.
(on the offense) We really moved the ball well today. As far as the crowd noise, we practiced to adjust to that all week. This place (Superdome) is one of the loudest places we play, so we knew coming in that it would be tough. But it wasnt a factor at all because we were prepared for that.
CB Phillip Buchanon)
(on the game) Our goal this entire week was to start fast. Unfortunately, the Saints, they came out there and they played a better game and made more plays.
(on his interception for a touchdown) It was a regular possession play. It was more of a man zone conversion for me. I made my read and saw Brees look up. I saw the ball floating up there, and I saw a good opportunity to make a play. I just caught it and my whole goal was to score a touchdown. It was definitely one of my goals to score a touchdown in the opening game of the season.
(on the loss) The Saints got us today, so were 0 and 1 against them. But we have 15 games left and well wait for them in our place.
QB Jeff Garcia
(on the end of the game) We had a chance down there in the end. We didnt have any timeouts and we called a play. I tried to force it in there to make something happen, but the linebacker made a play.
(on the loss) Were disappointed because this was a division game. But we will re-group and now have to focus on Atlanta.
CB Ronde Barber
(on the loss) In our minds, this was a game we should have won. But you have to give them credit. Well wait for them the next time; well have a chance to see them again.
(on Reggie Bush's touchdown catch) On that one play with Bush, we had man-to-man defense called and we were kind of out of position. We had our opportunities. Were a good team with good players, but its a game of making plays and today they had more than we did.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Head Coach Sean Payton
(opening statement) A couple of things just in regards to the game; obviously it was an exciting game. It went back and forth with two good teams just kind of punch each other back and forth with momentum swings. And it wasnt always pretty, we had a lot of penalties early on and then fortunately at halftime we seemed to settle down a little bit and I think we only had one penalty in the second half but I know we had six at the half. We have a lot of guys to recognize. The biggest thing I was pleased with was that we played hard. The lead changed back and forth and the guys kept fighting. Defensively I thought we were strong. We gave them that one touchdown early in the game offensively on the pressure. It is a good team. It is a team that represented our division a year ago in the playoffs and I know it is just the first week of the season but that was a hell of a test for us. We have a lot of things to clean up; we have a lot of things to get better. Antwan Lake was the one injury with the groin that did not return to the game. We reported him, but I was proud of the effort. It is a good win. It is a real good win considering everything that went into that game and the preparation. Any questions?
(on what he was looking for from the new guys on defense) "I think we are going to see when we look at the film, we are going to see a lot of good things and we are going to see some things we need to clean up. (Tracy) Porter stepped up and made big breakups. Without having to look at the tape, (Jonathan) Vilma was very active. I was pleased with the push we got on (Jeff) Garcia. I thought we did a pretty good job containing him for the most part and keeping him from extending plays. He is a good player and he is hard to contain. I think they played hard so it was good to see some of those new guys step in there. When we had some guys get knicked throughout the course of the game and we had to play some other guys so when that happened those guys were ready.
(on how important was it for Reggie Bush to have a great season opener in front of a home crowd and set the tempo for 2008) "He has had a great off season. When I hear people critique him and they lump 2006 in there, it tells me a little bit about the person that is critiquing him because he had an outstanding year two years ago. He is looking to get back in stride. I thought he was dynamic today. He changed the game around in a few situations. He was outstanding. He had a great off season. I was happy for him. He was explosive. He seemed faster than everyone else on the field, at least to me he did."
(on Jeremy Shockeys first game as a Saint) "He came up with some awful big third down completions. It took us a while to get him touches early in the game. We got him a few, but somewhere in that third quarter he came up with a couple of big third down receptions for us. We have just had to be patient with the injury and it is pretty tough with him because he is not really a patient guy. Drew (Brees) found him on a couple of big plays today.
(on containing Joey Galloway) "I thought our technique was good. We did a good job staying on top of the over routes and we kind of challenged him this week. We heard a lot of talk about this white tiger so we kind of challenged our guys on the back end and I thought they responded very well."
DT Sedrick Ellis
(on the play of the defense) I think our defense played really well. The defensive line went after it today and I thought we played really well. The defense stepped up and the offense stepped up. It was a great game
(on the pressure the defense put on Jeff Garcia) We played a lot of base coverages. We went after them mainly with a four man rush. I think our defensive line did a great job of getting after him. I thought overall it was a great experience.
DE Charles Grant
(on the defensive pressure on Jeff Garcia) A lot of people have been harping on the defense to put pressure on the quarterback. We worked hard on that in the offseason. We have a great rotation between Bobby (McCray), Will (Smith) and myself. The guys inside did a great job today as well. They changed their whole game plan at halftime. They went to quick passes. Our defensive backs played an outstanding game. We are going to get better and better each week.
(on the importance of play on the defensive line) Every game starts with the front four on offense and defense. You are going to have a great game if your guys up front dominate the line.
LB Jonathan Vilma (on the importance of sealing the victory on defense) It was very important because Tampa Bay started to get into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. They hit a couple of big plays. It was very important for us to finish the game like we did. We finished on a good note. That is really all that you can ask for. We stopped them on downs and it was great to get the victory the way that we did. .
TE Jeremy Shockey
(on how it felt to be playing) It was good to get back out there. It has been a while since I played a regular season game. It felt good, but I have a lot of areas I need to improve on. It was a great feeling playing out there and contributing to the team. I think I answered a lot of questions today about still playing at a high level.
(on his emotions after making big plays) That is how I have always played. Obviously, it felt a lot better on the drives where we punched it in the end zone. We have a lot of work to do as a team. I thought the defense played great. On offense we did some great things, but we let some situations control us instead of us controlling the situation. The talent on this side of the ball is amazing. It is exciting to be part of something explosive.
QB Drew Brees
(on the importance of the win today) It was a great way to start the season off. It was great to start out fast and beat a divisional opponent at home. It was important to get a win after the city of New Orleans was displaced all week because of the hurricane. It was great having the fans back in full force.
(on the importance of Reggie Bushs play) It was great for him and his confidence. The one-two punch of he and Pierre (Thomas) was very effective. That opened up some things in the passing game. Reggie out in space is a big weapon. We are going to try to utilize that. Once we get (Aaron) Stecker back and Deuce (McAllister) in the mix, then we have a pretty formidable group of running backs.
RB Reggie Bush
(on the touchdown scoring play) It was really nice to make a big play in a crunch time situation. I was trying to be patient all game and wait for my opportunity. We ran a play that we worked on all week and we thought we could take advantage of them if we had the right coverage. We called it and I was able to make a play. It was a huge play for us. It obviously feels great.