Tampa Bay Buccaneers

09-11-2005 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on the game) "I just wanted to say that I am very proud of our team, very proud. We obviously had some penalties in the second half that disrupted some offensive opportunities. But I am very proud of our football team to come down here and win when not a lot of people gave us a chance. I am very excited and I will answer any question I can."

(on the impact of the rookies) "One scored two touchdowns; another one scored the last one which was the decisive blow in this game. I thought Dan Buenning did some good things. You never know until you see the tape and watch the guard. There were some good things that we are going to build upon. What a great start for those young guys."

(on how Alex Smith played today) "He had two touchdowns. The first one was a great catch. The second one he didn't get out on the route. He got knocked down and got up and made a great play. Brian Griese was solid on that one. But, I thought he did some good things. He will help our team. He gives us a dimension that we need here."

(on the Bucs' defense closing down the Vikings offense) "After they ran back the interception for a touchdown, this place was shaking. I thought we answered quite nicely offensively with a couple of long drives of own. Our defense was dominant in the first half of this game for sure. If we could have given them a little more help in the final thirty minutes, it could have been even better in the second half."

(on whether the performance by Cadillac Williams was the impact he was looking for) "Cadillac Williams is off to a very good start. He is what he is. He is a durable guy that can run inside or out. He is a guy if he can break through there, he can get going pretty good. So, I guess the short answer is yes."

(on what was going through his mind when Williams took off on the long TD run) "That nobody is going to get him. We took a lot of heat from coaches on the other team(s) making comments that if they were us they would get into three tight ends and run the ball and throw the ball quick as you can. I thought they took some shots at us. And, we did get three tight ends at times and we did run the ball. We are proud of that and we will build off it."

(on how important it is to win the first game of the season) "The team today was predicted to be the best team in the league and it might be when it is all said and done. So if that is a evaluation of what we are capable of doing that is a good sign. But I live a very short-term life. We have a long way to go. We made numerous mistakes. We have to address those things as the Buffalo Bills are for real next week."

(on if it was emotional seeing Brad Johnson on the other sideline, and if he thought they might pull Culpepper and put in Johnson) "I don't know all about that. Brad Johnson, I owe a lot of my career to. And some of the great moments I have had, have been with him. I told him before the game I miss him and that he looked great. He looks like he is ready to roll. But he is one of the great guys I have been around. He is a big reason that we had success that we have had in the past."

LB Derrick Brooks

(on what he would think about the Bucs if he saw Sunday's game on television) "The first thing I would do is give credit to our offensive line as a fan. They get beat up so much. I think today these guys stepped up and played well with basically two rookies starting Anthony Davis and Dan Buenning. Mahan played center all last year and now is playing guard. Kenyatta has been one of the leaders out there. John Wade is coming off of knee surgery. Come on man these guys stepped up and played big for us. If I was a fan and a teammate, I am going to give them credit where credit is due. These guys kept pounding and pounding, they handled the noise well, didn't get a whole lot of penalties. Give them the credit that they deserve. They had a good first game. But like Coach said after the game, 15 other teams are 1-0, and we are just one of them."

(on his impressions of the debut of the Bucs' rookie class) "They worked hard. They played well enough, we deserved to win, and we got the win. As Coach said, we didn't win the Super Bowl today; we just went 1-0 like 15 other teams. As far as I am concerned and as far as the team needs to be concerned the best team in the league is coming into Raymond James Stadium, the Buffalo Bills."

(on what the Bucs did to confuse Culpepper) "We did our job, disguised a little bit. Four man rush, he might have escaped out of there a couple times, but for the most part not making those great plays with his legs outside the pocket throwing the ball deep. We kept the ball in front of us, the one time we did Wiggins got called for a penalty, so we got very fortunate on that."

(on how much confidence plays into a successful defense) "It gives us momentum. It's something that we didn't do well last year. It was something that was emphasized way back in mini-camp, turnovers, closing games out, starting fast. For the most part we did that."

(on the defense getting five turnovers) "Brian had two picks, maybe he will get defensive player of the year. He certainly deserves it. We just played collectively as a unit. Everybody did their job and pitched in. When necessary not giving up the big plays. I'm quite sure we made our fare share of mistakes, believe me. It's the best thing about next week, we get a chance to correct them."

(on getting contributions from all three facets of the game) "Defense, field goal, offense, teamwork, trust, foundation, detail today we all did that and thank God we came away with a win."

DT Chris Hovan

(on what he was thinking after the Vikings' interception return for a touchdown) "You know, it's just the highs and the lows, I never knew that a high could follow a low that quickly."

(on how it feels to see Cadillac closing out the game like that) "It's a beautiful thing man, the way the whole offense played, the way we controlled the clock in the first half, obviously the way they finished, I thought Brian played great. That second touchdown pass to Alex Smith was probably one of the best throws I've even seen. I'm real excited about everyone's performance. We played together."

(on what the win does for the team's confidence after a losing season) "Right now it feels great, but you know it's still a long season, you know it's not the Super Bowl, shows we got some confidence in ourselves. For as good as we think we can be, it might translate into some more victories."

(on the Vikings without Matt Birk) "Matt Birk is a Pro Bowl player, I have the utmost respect for Matt and what he has done, just so happened he has had a number of injuries. Matt is going to rehab and move on."

(on the Vikings not doing much offensively) "I just liked the way played defensively, it's how coach tells us, it's not what they do, it's what we do, so we just keep going out there and playing away."

(on playing against the Vikings and being disruptive) "I think that's how I make my stamp in this league by being disruptive and I guess I hibernated for a year and I got back and I got another chance, another chance for myself, and go day in and day out and I'm looking forward to it."

(on how satisfying the victory is) "[It's] satisfying to be 1-0 and go home and sleep a little better tonight."

(on what he thinks of playing the Vikings) "It's fun, if you can't go out there and have fun, you are in the wrong business you know. But what happened here, it's fine, they moved on, they made decisions that benefited the organization, I moved down here to play with one of the top five defense so you know. I respect the guys in the front office, Paul Wiggin, Scott Studwell, Rob Bryzinski, I made great relationships with those guys, I respect what they did and what they are going to do. I am just going to win down in Tampa now."

CB Brian Kelly

(on getting his second interception right after the Bucs missed a chance to recover a fumble) "Yeah, that was the first thing in the huddle. We have to get on that ball and close it out. We can't let that opportunity slip, and they recovered and we couldn't let that opportunity slip by again."

(on the emphasis on starting games quickly and finishing them out well) "Good, good it's very important to get off to a good start. It's important for us to get some confidence in the locker room, knowing that if we get in a tough situation we can close a team out when we need to."

(on the Bucs' defense getting older) "Age isn't anything but a number. We all feel good and we are healthy. Coach Gruden is taking good care of our bodies out there. We are having good practice schedules where we are able to come in and be fresh, not really focused."

(on if a dominant first half sent a message) "Absolutely, you want to get off to a fast start. It starts with the first half, starts with getting the offense back on the field when are out there on defense so that has a lot to play into it."

(on the fact that, despite the Bucs' dominant play on defense, the game came down to a very thin margin when he caught the tipped ball) "It's going to be like that every Sunday. That's for every team in the NFL; good teams close teams out."

(on if it seemed like pressure on Culpepper led to mistakes) "We knew we couldn't just let him sit back there. He's a mobile quarterback; he can create space for himself. We couldn't just let him pad his feet, pad the ball and let it go. We had to get some pressure on him, let the front four eat and throw some blitzes at him."

RB Carnell Williams

(on how he felt about his debut) "Not a bad debut. The Vikings have a really good defense. They did a really good job all night of stopping me. I had that one real long run, thanks to my offensive line. It really wasn't me, that hole was as wide as ever. I just want thank the guys up front."

(on if he exceeded his expectations) "To be honest with you, my dad and I were talking and I was telling him I wanted 150 yards plus. I didn't quite get 150 yards but I am looking forward to next week."

(on how the 71-yard run happened) "It was tough. It was third and one and really I was just looking to get the first down. Like I said the hole was wide as ever. The linebackers kind of ran over top and from there there was nothing but green grass."

(on making one mistake on the night, throwing the ball to a Viking fan) "I threw the ball to a Viking fan but I want to thank that fan for giving it back. Actually they went and got that ball. I just want to thank that fan for giving that ball back for my first touchdown."

(on how the Bucs' rookies fared) "Not a bad day. Alex Smith got two touchdowns. They did a great job blocking overall for us. Not a bad day."

(on how he felt about carrying such a heavy load) "It definitely felt like a days work. I think I ended up with 27 carries. It was tough, hard running. Those guys have a defense, they were throwing some blows. It did feel like I carried the load."

(on if he feels fresh or tired) "A little of both. I was fresh but a little tired at the same time. But overall it was a great feeling to be out there and it is a wonderful situation to be the face of the team as far as running back."

(on if it's sweet to have three touchdowns from rookies) "It makes it real sweet. That just goes to show that the future is bright. We want to win now. We feel that with the team we have, with the defense, the coaching staff we have; we feel like we can win now."

(on how the game was different from the pre-season) "The intensity, it is a different ball game from the pre-season. The intensity is sky high. There is a lot of trash talking going too. I guess when you are a rookie, the guys want to say you are a rookie. No one gave me any respect. They are always pushing me down and talking trash, saying they will be hitting me all night. But those guys have a good defense."

(on if he said anything after the touchdown) "I didn't say much. At the time when they were talking trash I was telling them they are going to have to come with it all night because I am going to be here. It is football, you are going to get hit, you are going to have your shots."

(on if he gained confidence as the game went on) "Definitely gained confidence, I kept telling coaches and players that I was about to break one. The guys were doing a good job but I was so close a couple time of breaking. The whole time I was saying I am going to get me one. It couldn't have come at a better time."

(on turning losses into gains) "Derrick Brooks said something to me in training camp that was very important to me. He said the big runs are going to come but it is those two or three yards that count. It is getting that extra yard here and there and not losing yards. With his wisdom that he told me I kind of took it in stride. Whatever the defense was going to give me, I was going to take."

CB Ronde Barber

(on if the pressure on the quarterback was good) "It's not always about the sacks; it's about the quarterback pressure. We obviously forced him into a lot of mistakes, 5 tough turnovers though."

(on if it seemed realistic to come in and not allow an offensive touchdown) "For us yeah, not to anyone outside of the locker room probably, but according to last year our standard is really high. We still set ourselves to pitch shutouts and found a way to do it."

TE Alex Smith

(on his two toucdowns) "I was one on one with the linebackers, so we always like that match up. Griese threw a great ball and before I knew it I was in the endzone. The other one down on the goal line, we tried to run a couple of times. Then we hit them with the play action pass. I almost stumbled and fell. I was able to keep myself up and Griese found me in the back of the endzone."

(on if the is looking for one-on-one matchups with linebackers) "I always like to think that is a match up I am going to win when I am one-on-one with the linebackers. I didn't know what it would look like today but I am glad it worked out the way it did."

(on if he exceeded his expectations) "Most definitely, I couldn't have dreamed that in a million years. I was just happy I was able to make the plays. That is just how it kind of went. I was happy with it and I was just trying to play well and not make any mistakes."

(on not getting a lot of attention in the pre-season) "That was one thing Coach Gruden said, to be patient because we are not trying to show all of our cards right now. I knew sooner or later my number was going to be called and I just wanted to make a play when it was."

(on his emotions on that first touchdown) "Just like wow, I can't even remember it. I was on cloud nine. It was nothing that I was expecting to do and I am happy I was able to make that play."


Head Coach Mike Tice

(opening statements) "Well it's not the way you want to start out at home, with a loss and to turn the ball over so many times. I thought we were on the field too much defensively in the first half. We didn't get anything going offensively, and then once we started getting things going in the second half, we gave ourselves a chance to win the football game. We just didn't finish the drive. We didn't finish the drive. It was unfortunate for a guy that makes very few mistakes to make a mistake in there. I thought our defense kept us in the game in the first half, and I thought in the second d half they were very, very good except for the last run when we had a chance to stop them and go back into the game. We seemed to be out of rhythm a little bit on offense. We'll look at why that is and make sure we tighten that up. We just have a lot of things we have to do better."

(on how serious Bryant McKinnie's injury is) "It happened on the last play, so I didn't really even check. I'm sure he just got rolled up on and he'll be okay. Chuck (Barta) didn't give me a list of anybody."

(on the play of the offensive line) "I thought the young guy – we'll look at the film; it's so hard to see in the middle there really all the time if someone is edgy or if somebody has their head down. I thought the young guy struggled a little bit. We made a change with (Adam) Goldberg, and quite frankly, that seemed to settle things down a little bit. We'll see how that works out when we look at the tape though, but I think the young guy had a hard time today."

(on whether Ronde Barber's one-on-one coverage of Nate Burleson made things difficult) "Yeah, he did, and the backside gave us some things. We'll probably look at the backside a little bit more in some of the things we're doing. Like I said, we got some things going there in the second half. We didn't get much going in the first half. We changed up a few of the things we were trying to do and approached it a little bit differently, and I think that settled things down a little bit. That and putting Goldberg in there helped in pass protection a little bit."

(on if Daunte Culpepper's struggles were his problems or a matter of pass protection) "I don't know. I think early on he was getting some pressure in his face up the middle. I think that got him a little bit off rhythm. He got hit from behind on one trying to make a play outside the pocket. If there's nothing there, he understands what he needs to do with the ball there. I think it was a combination of a little frontal pressure in front of him, not from the outside. That's a little bit different when it's from the outside. A little frontal pressure tends to make it tough; that's why we talk about keeping their quarterback off-kilter a little bit. It's not so much the sacks all the time; it's that pressure in your face."

(on Darren Sharper making plays to lead the defense) "Well it's nice to see Pat (Williams) and Fred (Smoot) and Darren all make plays for us. That's what we brought them in to do. I don't know if we afforded Travis (Taylor) enough opportunities, but when he had some opportunities, he also made plays for us. When you bring guys in and you ask them to go in and make plays and they do, I think that's an encouraging thing. There will be some things, believe it or not, when we look at the tape that will be encouraging. Those are a couple of them, and then there will be a lot of things that weren't encouraging."

(on the Bucs going after Sam Cowart's replacement while Cowart missed a play) "Yeah, he had a little burner. Yeah, they went right at (Rod) Davis. They would have went right at Cowart too because the call was two man, so everybody was man underneath two deep, so it really wouldn't have mattered if you or I were in at linebacker. They called a seam route, and we had man-to-man coverage. We knew they liked seam routes down there. If you have man-to-man coverage underneath, they have to make the perfect throw, and he made a nice throw."

(on the performance of rookie punter Chris Kluwe) "Well I'll tell you, the kid went out there and did a nice job. He looked unrattled and stroked the ball pretty nicely. It comes off his foot really big. He spent the day with a smile on his face and looked relaxed and poised, and it looks like he could be a good addition. Today certainly was very encouraging. He gets the ball off quick, and that's the good thing. The last time we had a young punter, he didn't get the ball off quick, and that was the thing we were trying to get him to do. We never could get it done, but this young man gets the ball off very quickly."

(on if he hesitated to send Paul Edinger out for the 53-yard field goal) "Yeah, I'll tell you, I think anything from the 36-yardline and in I'm not going to blink. I think he's shown enough consistency from 54, it doesn't bother me anymore. And then the defense is better so you're not concerned about them taking advantage of the field position as much. He certainly is a weapon; we need to continue to get him to be more consistent with his kickoffs, but the coverage was very good today, so that makes up for it."

(on if the heat caused body cramps) "It's hot out there. We were on the field for 20 minutes in the first half; all the cramping was done on the defensive side of the ball. I don't believe we had an offensive player cramp. We weren't out there but 10 minutes in the first half; I don't see how they could cramp. It was all defensive players. They were out there a very, very long time, and it was very warm, and they were playing at a high level. But they all came back; we didn't lose anybody."

CB Fred Smoot

(on Darren Sharper setting the tone early) "Like I said, we did some great things out there. But, you know when the situation comes – you need to be great when the situation comes. And, I don't think that we did that tonight. All the guys and I talked on defense and we want to be the reason that we win ballgames. We did not play up to our standards today. So, expect us to come out and play ten times better next time. We needed to make plays when it counts in the fourth quarter. You switch that play out (Sharper's interception) and put it in the fourth quarter. We would win the game. So, it is never what you do early in this league. Just like they learned. It is never how you start out, but how you end up. And, that is what we have to get right – right now."

DE Lance Johnstone

(on how he feels about the Vikings' new defense) "I don't know. It is a little hard not watching the film. Just the way we were flying around today. We can definitely build on that. Whatever we see watching film, we will fix that."

(on if he feels the defense jelling) "Yeah, we have been jelling. We are still working on it. As long as you fly around and run to the ball, you can overcome a lot of things. That is what guys are doing. As long as we continue to do that – tightening up, gelling, and all that good stuff – we will be alright."

(on if it was hard to be one the field for 20 minutes in the first half) "Yes, it is a little hard, but when they call for the defense we have to go out there. We tried to rotate guys as much as we can to keep people fresh."

C Cory Withrow

(on having two touchdowns called back by penalties) "You know it's tough, but we are professionals and have to be able to get over that kind of stuff, and that kind of stuff happens. We are a mature enough team that we did a good job adjusting to that, and trying to get over it and just move on to the next play. That's just what you have to do."

(on how he felt about the performance of the offense) "Very disappointing. We practice a great defense every day. It's just very disappointing that we couldn't get into the end zone."

(on getting an opportunity with some turnovers but not capitalizing) "We had a hard time getting into our rhythm. As hard as we were trying, changing things up, changing the snap count, we just had a hard time finding our rhythm. Our offense needs to be very rhythmic to be successful and we had a hard time doing that today."

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