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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

09-09-2007 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening statement) "I will just say that Seattle is a good football team. This is a hard place to play. I thought that we did some good things particularly early. You can't turn the football over in your first offensive possession and your last, in a tight football game and expect to win. We had some critical turnovers offensively. Defensively we gave up a big play on third and long. Credit to (Matt) Hasselbeck for keeping it alive.

"On special teams, there were some big impact plays in this football game. There were a couple of penalties on us that nullified long returns, and there was a return by Nate Burleson that set up a big scoring opportunity for Seattle. There were six or seven plays that clearly determined the outcome of this game. Field position was horrific and hard to come by offensively today. I don't know how many drives we had, but I would believe that maybe six, seven or eight in a row started deep inside our own 15 yard-line. That's hard duty."

(On Tampa Bay's injuries) "(Jeff) Garcia got dinged up, but returned to play. We believe that he will be okay. Carnell Williams is being evaluated with a rib injury. We don't know the severity of it yet. David Boston is a scratch. He got hurt in pre-game warm-up. He hurt his foot. We don't know the severity of that. And Brian Kelly left the game with a groin strain. It's unfortunate we lost some key guys that could have possibly helped us. But Seattle's a good football team, with a chance to become great."

(On his thoughts when he saw Garcia go down injured) "I can't comment publicly…it's tough. As you can imagine we have had a lot of injuries at that position. But I thought offensively, we moved the ball extremely well in the first half. We were eager to come out and get going in the second half. I think uncharacteristically Jeff maybe came off a couple of reads early to start the third quarter. But losing your starting quarterback and losing your start tailback, guys your counting on to help you win the game in a 10-6 ballgame, is tough."

(On if Bucs' quarterbacks were under a lot of pressure) "We didn't get blitzed much today, we got blitzed two or three times. Garcia made a great throw down the field to Galloway. He made a couple of great competitive scrambles. He did some good things. We moved the ball. We got out of tough field position. We were able to keep a couple of sustained drives. Unfortunately we couldn't finish them. We weren't perfect offensively today that's for sure. When you get six points to show for it, there's a lot lacking."

(On the play of the offensive line) "I thought that they did some good things. Again we moved the ball pretty well in the first half. It was very hard to communicate, very hard to hear. Seattle is a very talented defensive football team. I was pleased with some of the things that we did do. Obviously we struggled in some areas in pass protection, but overall it wasn't all bad."

QB Jeff Garcia

(On the play that caused him to temporarily leave the game) "I just got my bell rung. It's just one of those things where I took a shot to the head, and that with the combination of my head bouncing off the ground—it didn't create a real positive effect. I had to shake it off and get my rhythm back and find my equilibrium and find my thoughts. Once I did that I felt like I was to the point where I could go in a compete again."

(On what determined that he was ready to re-enter the game) "Well, I touched my nose a few times and counted down from 10. I didn't miss any numbers. It was one of those things where it's up to me, and it's hard to stay out of the fight. I'm just one of those guys who wants to be out there contributing and helping the team. I felt like I had my bearings back enough to be able to understand what was going on. I didn't have any loss of memory as far as what had gone on prior to the hit. I remember the play I got hit on, I remember what I was trying to do, all of those things. So I thought I at a point where I could get back out there."

(On how he was feeling) "I was just a little wobbly. I was a little disoriented, yes. I didn't have everything where it needed to be in order to stay in the game. I felt like I was going to try and walk it off, but I wasn't right, and I needed to take a knee and give them a chance to let Luke warm up and get off the field and get back to the point where I could be right again."

(On not scoring touchdowns early in the game) "When you play on the road, in a very hostile environment, very difficult environment, you need to capitalize on your opportunities. They were third-and-short situations, and we need to find a way to create a play to give our guys a chance to make a play, and I need to be better in those type of situations in order to help our guys out. They played a lot of zone coverage. They did a good job of reacting to players and shutting down lanes and doing the types of things that they needed to do. We knew that they would be stingy inside the Red Zone. That wasn't any secret. They do a good job inside the Red Zone. But we need to be better than that. We need to find ways to put touchdowns on the board instead of field goals. I think when you look at the game, [we had] too many errors in certain ways. Obviously, third-and-short we need to be better. Protecting the football we need to be better. Penalties at inopportune times, we need to eliminate those things. We can't afford to put ourselves in holes like that and put our defense on the field and wear them down. We need to find ways to be more consistent offensively and eliminate the errors. If we can do that—I think we were doing enough good things in the first half. We were moving the ball well. We were moving the pocket. It's just a matter of finding ways to execute. I think there a lot of things we can take a look at and learn from and we're going to better ourselves because of it."

(On Coach Gruden commenting that he came off reads too early) "I agree. I think there were a couple of times, especially when we were backed up, where I felt like I need to allow the play to develop a little bit more. I think I was over-thinking at times and coming off too soon in situations where I need to give the play a chance. That's part of the learning process that I'm going through right now with this team. Those are things I'm going to be better at. I knew. I talked to him (coach Jon Gruden) coming off the field after those situations took place. I need to allow things to materialize, not be so quick in making decisions. Those are things I'm going to go back and see on film. I already know where I could improve and I'm going to improve."

QB Luke McCown

(On Tampa Bay's lack of success in completing drives) "That's the name of the game on offense. When you have opportunities and you're able to put things together and get into the scoring zone, you've got to be able to finish and get points out of it."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the Bucs' performance today) "Defensively, we gave up the long ball. We kept being one play away. We got the ball out a couple of times, but they got it back. Again, it comes down to, like it does in most games, one or two plays."

(On special teams) "Again, our big plays got negated. It's the NFL, so like I have said before, you have to remember it is one game, you can't hang your head. You can bounce back and we will bounce back."

(On the positives to take away from this game) "To be honest with you there is no silver lining in losing. I am not going to sit up here and tell you that there is. We can build on some things, but it goes down to us not holding our heads down, picking our chins up and going out there and earning a win against a very good team next week."

(On the long touchdown pass to Maurice Morris) "I was with him stride-for-stride. I just never saw the ball. I am not making excuses at all. The rule is 'find the ball.' I was just running with him, covering him and the next time I saw the ball it was between his legs and he caught it. I give Morris credit on that play for making a good play. I thought I had good coverage on that play. He made a play and I didn't. One of my strengths is coverage, so again you have to give him credit. I just never saw the ball and sometimes it goes that way."

DE Greg Spires

(On a great Tampa Bay start) "They had a few big third downs that they converted. And, we turned the ball over a couple of times. But, as a defense we played pretty sound."

(On the impact of a few big plays from Seattle) "Hasselbeck did a great job of getting the ball up and getting the ball to his guys. And, on the return, they did a really good job; those two plays really helped them win this game."

(On the impact of travel to start the season) "We came out here early; everyone was well rested. I don't think that had any impact on the game. There are no excuses for loosing—and that is certainly not one of them. We felt pretty good. I felt like as a defense, we should have won that game."

(On the impact of 13 new starters for Tampa Bay) "I wouldn't say that is the reason we didn't win. We just have to come together as a team and find a way to win. We are going to do that next week against the Saints."

RB Michael Pittman

(On not scoring a touchdown) "Yeah we got the ball down to the end zone a few times and we couldn't finish the drive had to settle for field goals, we turned the ball over a few times, just little things like that. When you are facing a good team you can't make mistakes, you have to put the ball in the end zone you have to put points on the board and we just didn't do that. Turnovers will kill you every time and you can't finish the drive, you have to score to win."

(On if the Seattle defense was doing anything different that caused the problems) "No what they did is what we prepared for. They didn't do anything that we didn't prepare for they just executed well on defense. They played a great defense and as an offense we just have to finish. We didn't finish a couple times when we got down in the red zone and those plays are big. If we had gotten those touchdowns it would have been a lot closer of a game and with the two turnovers we may have even won the game."

(On if the long trip contributed to the sloppy play in the first game) "Even though we had the long trip it was no excuse to play the way that we did. We played hard of course but at the same time we are a lot better team than what we showed today. Hats off to Seattle they have a great team, offensively they moved the ball well, defensively they played well. As an offense we have got to play better to help our defense."

WR Joey Galloway

(On if he saw any of the Galloway jerseys in the stands) "Not many people remember when I was playing here. The last time I was here it was in the Kingdome; it is a whole new breed of fan that you guys have in here now. Not many of them remember those days."

(On how he has been able to retain his skills as he has aged) "Number one I have been blessed. I work extremely hard, I continue to do the things that I did when was younger. And fortunately it has worked out for me and I feel good."

(On if the corner should have had help on his long completion) "Well it was one-on-one, Jeff made a great throw, I don't know safety wise if one should have been there or not. Jeff made a nice throw and it was a nice gain for us."

(On if it was the injuries that slowed them in the second half) "I don't know; number one we didn't protect the ball. Any time you are on the road in a hostile environment it's going to be very tough to win if you don't protect the ball. We didn't sustain our drives, we gave them some opportunities and we hurt ourselves with penalties. We gave them opportunities and when you come to an opponents place if you give them opportunities eventually they are going to take advantage of them."


Head Coach Mike Holmgren

(Opening statement) "It was a typical first game, I thought. You don't know quite what to expect from the opponent, and [also] in some cases some of the guys that haven't played too much for you. I have tremendous respect for Tampa Bay and their coaching staff and Jon [Gruden] and Monte Kiffin do a great job of getting their team ready to play. And they came in here and it was a battle. I was proud of our team and how they hung in there. We overcame some adversity. I thought we finished the game strong, I felt we got better as the game went along. It is always nice to win the first one, so we are going to be very happy about this one."

(On the call on the touchdown pass to Maurice Morris) "We had not done a great job on third down during the game. So, I called a time out, because I wanted to think a little bit more about the call, and Matt came over, and we talked upstairs about what we thought we were going to get, coverage wise, and they told me. I picked the play. What we had done during the week, we had talked about any time a back goes outside anybody, they don't really ignore him, but it's not quite the same as a wide receiver. Mo was not primary on the play. I would like to tell you that I said throw the ball to Mo, but I didn't do that. Matt, during the week, I had talked to him about plays like this, where they sometimes ignore that guy. Bless his heart, he made a great play, and then Mo made a great catch. So, you have two athletes who prepared themselves well during the week and came through when we needed them to come through. It was a huge play in the game."

(On the whistle from the stands) "I've had a lot of people whistling at me over the years. A different kind of whistle. But that one shocked me. Did I hear it? No. It's loud. And there is a lot of noise. No, I did not hear the whistle. The punter apparently heard the whistle, because he stopped. And everybody kind of stopped. Then, Larry Nemmers, who is the referee he came over and said in fairness I can't let this play go on. It really hurt us, but had it been my punter in a stadium away, I would hope that if that happened, I would hope they would handle it that way. I thought the referees handled it pretty well, actually. I know it went against me, but in fairness it was probably the right thing to do. I don't know if by their rules it was the right thing, but in fairness it was."

(On whether the defense is ahead of the offense) "I think so. In Tampa's development, right now, their defense is ahead of their offense, I think. It doesn't surprise me that the game went like that. Our guys came to play defense today. They are still getting to know one another. We have some new people in there. I thought we were very physical, and I liked that part of it. I thought we rushed the passer pretty well, and, yes, our defense played a good game today."

(On Marcus Pollard) "Marcus is a good player. My challenge is not to wear him out. He's not a rookie any more. He is good for us, he is a nice fit for us, and he's a good person. Today he really contributed, as did our second and third tight ends, because they had a pretty good game I think."

(On the wide receiver play) "Hackett was our one injury. I can't give you a time on his return. He hurt his ankle and we will know more tomorrow. The plan going in was to platoon Burleson and Hackett anyway, so when Hackett went down, Nate just played a lot more. He played the rest of the game. As far as running those plays, that's just part of what pops up when we call the play. I think it is partly the style of defense that Tampa runs. If you look at our hit chart, our backs caught a few more passes than they normally do, our tight end caught balls. They are crowding our outside guys, so our quick game was a little problematic. They had a plan on how to do that, so instead of forcing the ball, I was really pleased that Matt didn't force the ball. Because they can frustrate you just a little bit. For that matter, Deion Branch, as an example, what a professional. A good receiver going through a game and not seeing that many touches, sometimes they get a little cranky, and he was the biggest cheerleader I had on the sidelines. That showed a lot about that young man, too."

(On Shaun Alexander) "I thought he ran hard today, and I like it when he does that. He wants to have a good year. He came into camp prepared to have a good year and in very good shape, I thought. If he could have a year close to his 2005 year, I think we will probably have a pretty good year as a team."

QB Matt Hasselbeck

(On spreading the ball around) "That's how we like to do things anyway. We spread it around. Losing Hackett early on, was not a good thing. It took away our four-wides package and took away a lot of what we came into this game hoping to do. I thought they other guys stepped up. They played us differently than I expected them to. They threw the ball underneath a bunch and our running backs and our tight ends did a nice job of catching the ball and getting a little bit, and being patient that way."

(On whether Tampa's defense did what he expected) "No, I didn't. I expected to see a lot of Cover-2, a lot of single safety fire zone, some man to man coverage with press technique, but they are very well coached. We know them, they know us. They threw some new looks at us, and we handled some of them OK, and we didn't handle others very well. All in all, it was typical of a first game. We were a little sloppy at times. We had opportunities and sometimes we made the play, and sometimes we missed the play. I think it is a good starting point for our offense. We just have a lot of stuff to correct. I think it will be easy to correct, and we'll just move forward."

(On the touchdown pass to Maurice Morris) "His job is to clear that out, and I have been saying to Mo for a long time, and the coaches are saying it to him as well, to be alive, you could actually get the ball. I think it has been about four years, and he has never gotten the ball. So, I don't know if he's lost faith or not, but he had an opportunity there. It was 3rd and 5, I think, and we were trying to get the ball to Engram, and they doubled him, and we had tight man to man coverage, and we gave it a shot. I think we were in field goal range, so if it doesn't work out, we have Josh Brown to get us 3 points, but if it does, it's a great play."

(On the throw) "I wanted to give him some air. There was part of me saying that I hope that he looks. He truly has been a decoy for us. He's very fast, and very talented and he is good at running people off. I am happy for him, it was a good play for us."

(On the flea-flicker) "I think that stuff is in our game plan, especially through training camp, it just never gets called. We are not really a trick play team. The play could have worked, we just happened to catch them in a tough defense, with the safety on the line of scrimmage and man to man coverage, and he made a nice play. I think he was covering the tight end, and the tight end blocked, and he was just a football player, and he blitzed. It was a good play by him. We should call it again; no one will be expecting it."

(On the offensive changes) "It's a huge game plan, so what's in the game plan, and what gets called, those are sometimes two different things. I think you can kind of see a different look to our offense. It looks a little bit different than the last two years. We are fighting our way through that. We are trying some stuff, I'm sure some stuff will stay and some stuff won't. Like I said, losing 4 wides changed things a little bit, and it changed a little bit of what we were trying to do, especially in the red zone, we had some things and on third down we had some things. It happens."

RB Shaun Alexander

(On the game) "hey are a good defense. Everyone knows that Tampa Bay is going to come and they are going to try to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. They played their typical good defense today. We have a good offense, and it took us a while to catch up. Once we got it going it went better for us."

(On hitting his stride in the second half) "We just play. Our line just got up on people, and after a while they said, "Shaun, you'll figure it out." That's part of the groove. It takes a while for us to get used to putting our best against their weak spots. Once we find it, things go well for us. It just took us a while to figure it out."

(On the win) "It's always exciting anytime you give up field goals instead of touchdowns, that's a good thing. Matt said earlier, you always feel upset whenever you have to punt the ball, especially in our case, because I am always trying to break for a long touchdown run on every play. When you start calming down and saying, let's just get some yards and get things going, and we have to punt, it's OK because our defense will be able to handle it, your mindset changes a little bit, because now you are feeling a field position game instead of an outscoring game. I think that will be good for us down the road."

(On Tampa's defense) "I'll have to watch the film, I don't know who I was getting tackled by, or breaking tackles of. They just have a good defense, so any time you play against them and you get 100 yards, it's a good feeling."

RB Maurice Morris

(On his touchdown catch) "First of all I was just happy that Eight (Matt Hasselbeck) threw the ball my way. Second, I was fortunate enough to catch the ball. Just thanking Eight that he took a chance on me. Hopefully Coach Holmgren's not mad at that."

TE Marcus Pollard

(On the offensive timing) "I really think it was Nate's (Burleson) punt return. He really blew that one down the field and gave us an opportunity to get some stuff done; feeling good about our confidence. On the next possession, I don't know if we got a field goal, but we moved the changes and after that I think the guys just felt comfortable about making plays and that's what we did, made plays."

(On offensive cohesion) "It takes time. It was our first game. There are some things I'm sure we'll have to clean up. Some things we didn't do as well as we think we did. It's never as bad, but it's also never as good as we think it is either."

S Deon Grant

(On being comfortable with defensive switches) "I felt good this week. All the guys were together going over what we were going to do in the game. Once we got to the game we had a good turnout. I was just very anxious to see what it was going to be as a whole and I'm very comfortable with it."

DE Patrick Kerney

(On being nervous in his first home game in Seattle) "Well any game you have to calm down the nerves, and certainly a season opener there is a lot of anticipation and a lot of fire out there. It will take some time to settle into your own and start playing the way you're really capable of."

(On defensive movement) "We have a lot of very effective pass rushers in our linebackers and in our front four. We do what we have to do to make sure that we have four fresh, good rushers on the field at all times. That involves moving guys around and that's a good thing. It makes the opposing team change their game plan in certain ways."

WR Nate Burleson

(On his special teams play) "On that particular punt I just went to the sideline and they told me I had room so I was looking for gaps. You use your peripheral vision and start looking for creases and once I found one I was heading for the end zone. I thought I was going to score but somebody got me towards the end. Once I got passed the punter I was thinking about what touchdown celebration I'm going to come out with, but they got me."

(On his fumbled reception) "I did make a mistake on the ball, but I did come back later and make a catch , we got the victory and that's really all that counts."

LB Julian Peterson

(On defensive performance) "They made a couple of big plays; two or three plays, but for the most part we bent. We bent but we didn't break. We didn't want to give them any touchdowns and I think we did a good job of doing that. We stuffed out in the red zone two times so that was good for us. After that we came back in our heads and started playing relaxed. Of course, in the beginning, being a defensive guy, we always want to be aggressive."

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