Tampa Bay Buccaneers

09-14-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Statement) Im very proud of our team it was a hard fought game. Joey Galloway hurt his ankle. Well update that later. Aqib Talib had a hamstring. We had a lot of penalties today, we have to address that; an area we have to stay away from to be a factor in this league. Clearly, we were able to overcome those. I thought our defense played extremely well.

(On todays pass rush) When you are behind two scores and you get them behind in the down and distance, that was our goal to try to stop the run, get some second and eights, nines and hopefully some third and longs, where we can unleash a pass rush. I thought our guys got some good looks today and got some things done.

(On Brian Grieses play) He managed the game. In his first start back here, he won the game as a starter. That is a big compliment in pro football. I thought he missed some guys that he normally hits, but he managed the football game and made some timely plays on third down. I think he will get better and better.

(On if Griese is now the starter) I am going to talk to both guys (Griese and Jeff Garcia) before I say anything. I think I need to do that. I think Brian Griese is a good quarterback. If we can get him some help and stay away from multiple penalties, I think he can play a lot better.

(On third down production) We got some early third down conversions. I thought we were a bit sluggish in the second half, and a lot of it had to do with negative field position and penalties. We had some holding calls on receivers and offensive linemen. When you get third down and 12 or 13, and you are backed up on your own end with a two score lead, you have a tendency to get a little conservative. Griese made some plays particularly in the first half to keep some things alive.

(On the play of John Gilmore) I dont want John to get confused with his role. He is an outstanding tight end. We had a play where we had an all go, where we got him down the seam. Brian did a nice job looking off the safety; it was a heck of a throw and a really nice play by John. Hes a good addition to the team. I think some of the things he does wont show up on the stat sheet, as a blocker and special teams performer. Hes going to be one tired guy tonight. I am proud of him.

(On Derrick Brooks play today) I just want to tip my hat to all the Buccaneer fans for Derrick Brooks. They need to know what he did today for our team. Geno Hayes practiced to prepare to play a lot today. I am sure he is pretty disappointed that he did not get the playing time that he looked forward to. When you have an opportunity to see what Derrick Brooks did behind the scenes to play and today, I will reserve comment on Geno Hayes until next week. I will just talk about our captain and I am really proud of Derrick Brooks.

DE Gaines Adams

(On the victory) You have to give it up for the guys, the defense came out playing well, and the offense did a great job. It was an overall great performance by the whole team.

(On forcing two turnovers early) You have to say that those plays right there are huge. Coming out in the beginning of the game and establishing yourself and making good things happen is huge. You have to give it up for the defense, they came out ready to play and we knew what we had to do this game.

(On playing both end positions) I play wherever the coaches tell me to be first of all; I go out and try to do my best. Right or left end it doesnt matter, my objective is to get to the quarterback and we did that today.

(On the need to win this game) It was big, real big. We kind of let up the first week but we knew what we needed to do this game. We came out with the mindset to do it.

CB Ronde Barber

(On the defenses performance) They played right into our hands. We were able to stop the run more so than Detroit did last week. They put it in Matt Ryans hands.

(On the game next week) You always want to build week in and week out. Getting it on the road to Chicago is obviously a plan of ours; a goal of ours. We gave ourselves a chance last week in New Orleans on the road and didnt get it done. It will be a challenge for us and were excited about it of course.

LB Derrick Brooks

(On playing in todays game) Im good at following instructions. That was our plan, to rest me during the week and lets see what God has in store for us on Sunday. If you looked at my leg on Monday, you guys would really understand that it was a miracle that I was out there playing today. Its nothing short of that in my opinion.

(On how he is feeling today) I feel a lot better then I did after last week. I dont think I did anything to hurt myself. I think I contributed when I was on the field. Obviously, I played fewer plays than I normally play, but the most important thing is God blessed me to play today. Ill get a little bit better next week and were going to need it going up to Chicago.

(On how proud he is of the defensive performance) To a man, its humbling. We did some things that were uncharacteristic, but we hung in there today big time. To give up the points that we gave up against the Saints and today, to see Atlanta, the type of game they had last week and to hold them to nine points, its a tremendous effort. A lot of people contributed. I think thats what Im most proud of when I look at us today. We got the turnovers, but more importantly, we played a lot better and a lot more people played today, which is going to help us down the line.

(On being an extra coach on the sideline) Thats me, yelling out stuff when Geno (Hayes) and Cato (June) were in, just stuff Im seeing from the sideline. Thats more keeping me into the game too, because at any moment, I have to be ready to go for one of those guys. Its just who I am, a very humble man that doesnt care who gets the credit as long as we win.

CB Phillip Buchanon

(On the defensive game plan) We came with a plan and our whole goal was to stop the run. They came out passing the ball. That is kind of what we wanted them to do.

(On the Falcons coming out passing the ball) From the start of the week the plan we had we had hoped was going to work. We had to go execute it and Brian Griese did a good job and Earnest did a good job and the offense turned it on this week. It was definitely a team effort. They caught a couple of plays. If you look at it overall, it was a good team win for us.

(On the biggest thing overall on defense) The biggest thing on defense is we kept them out of the end zone.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On the victory) It is just important to get a win after last week. You always want to come back and rebound from that, and we did that today. We played hard for 60 minutes and it was important. Defensively, our guys played well; they played their butts off and this is a great win for the team overall.

(On his touchdown run) I think it was a draw play and I pretty much just tried to make some guys miss and go to the end zone. The guys did a great job blocking, I tried to set blocks up and it was really just a great team effort.

RB Earnest Graham

(On the victory) It was a great victory. We werent on all cylinders like we would have liked to have been, but it is a win and in this tough division you have to be happy with a win. I am glad that we fought down to the end and we made the plays we needed to make to win the game.

(On his long touchdown run) It felt good, actually I have to give credit to Warrick [Dunn] because I watched Warrick run the same play about a series earlier and I saw him cut all the way back, so I kind of had it in the back of my mind when I got the ball. I just made a cut and played football.

(On running out of gas at the end of the run) It didnt look like an Adrian Peterson 70-yard run but I made it. It still counts. I had some guys in front of me blocking and I was good for the last 40. I fought the last little bit. It was a good play and I have to give credit to everybody for that one.

QB Brian Griese

(On his performance today) I thought that early in the game we had some good tempo on offense. We took advantage of some situations early in the game and got a lead. I think after that we shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties. We have to eliminate that, its two weeks in a row now for us offensively with the penalties; we had a first and 20, a second and 15. We just cant do that as a football team and succeed on offense. There are some things that we need to work on specifically and get better at. But its better to do it after a win than after a loss.

(On how helpful it was that the defense set the offense up) Our defense is unbelievable, they are really great and I love every one of those guys. They fly around and get to the ball and make plays. For us, as an offense, it obviously makes our job easier when they do that. Were very thankful for those guys.

(On the versatility of the running game) Earnest (Graham) is a great running back, in my opinion, and has been for awhile. When I was here prior I had the chance to watch him in the preseason and in practice, he just has that power and that elusiveness that a great running back needs. Obviously Warrick (Dunn) and what he did today, not many backs can do that. I had a great shot from behind. He made a couple of guys miss, spun out of a tackle and dove for the end zone. That was just a special play and he is a special player as well.

(On how it feels that Jon Gruden said that he foresees him as the teams starting quarterback next week) I wanted to come out today and get the win. First and foremost that was my goal, to win the game, because this was a huge game for us. Secondly, was to come out and knock some rust off of myself and get out there and play with these guys and get some rhythm going. I think that we did some good things; however there are some things that I think we can improve on and I look forward to that opportunity. But Im excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us and 14 games is all thats guaranteed to us. Ill show up to work every day and work hard with these guys.

(On going back to Chicago) It will be fun. I love the city of Chicago and I still have a lot of friends on the team. Im very familiar with their defensive scheme and Im looking forward to going back.

WR Ike Hilliard

(On making major contributions and impact plays) Coach Gruden calls the plays based on the defense he thinks theyre going to run and it just so happened today that I was in a position to make a grab and fortunately I was open to make those plays.

(On his ability to find the open space) Its just the way the patterns are drawn up and we happened to execute a few of them to the T. There was only one situation where I had an option route where it was my decision to make the right choice based on coverage. But we were fortunate enough to get. Other than that, it was a situation where coach Gruden called the play. Based on the play, if I happened to be the guy that is first in the read or third in the read he got it to me and I was able to make the play.

(On working with quarterback Brian Griese) We have a lot of work to do. We had some false starts and some other things going with situational football that we rep a lot. So thats something that we cant have. I wouldnt say that the timing was off, but we just missed a few opportunities on the grass that we feel like we should have connected on. We will figure that out.

(On how quarterback Brian Griese fits into the system) When you look at the stats of Buccaneer quarterbacks of all time, this offense is perfect for Brian. I think he loves it and has a good feel for it. He understands what coach Gruden wants to do.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On Atlanta coming out throwing the ball and the performance of QB Matt Ryan) It was not what I expected at all. I give him credit, he got better as the game went on, but Im not sure where he was throwing the first few. He made a couple of good plays. In the second half, he made some good throws when we were blitzing. Ill give him credit, he had pretty good pocket awareness when he stepped up in the pocket and made some good throws.

(On their run defense today) Besides a couple of little gimmick plays, I thought we shut down the run. I thought we did a good job with it. They had the one reverse which was the only real breakout they had. I thought we played the run well.

CB Aqib Talib

(On this weeks game compared to last week) A lot better this week. We got the win, first of all. I got the chance to get my first interception, so it was definitely a lot better than last week.

(On his first career interception) It felt good. He overthrew a screen and it kind of came right to me. Of course Im not going to complain. It felt real good to get that one out of the way.

(On fitting in with the defense) Its wonderful. I couldnt ask to play for a better defense, for a better defensive back coach and a better defensive coordinator. I love it.

DE Greg White

(On if the defense can tell if their hits on QB Matt Ryan were effective) Hes a good quarterback. He threw some real nice passes, give all the credit to him. But you know, we came to win and thats what we did.

(On why Ryan never seemed comfortable in the pocket) We dont want him to get comfortable back there. We worked hard in practice and well work hard again getting ready for Chicago.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Head Coach Mike Smith

(Opening statement) Id like to start off by saying that as a team I thought that we started out entirely too slow both on offense and defense. Our third down efficiency wasnt what we needed to have both on offense and defense. We were one out of eight and they were six out of 10. When you dont get off the field on third down, youre usually going to pay for that. So I thought that was something that we have to improve on. We want to start fast, thats the way we want to approach this game and we did not start like we needed to start. Well go home, well take a good look at the tape, this will be a learning experience. As I told the players in there, this is a 16 game season, its a marathon. Were going to get back to work tomorrow, watch that tape and move forward to get ready for Kansas City in the Georgia Dome.

(On their young players) I think that Matt [Ryan] saw a whole bunch of different things today. My hats off to Coach Kiffin and his staff in devising their game plan. But I thought that its always going to be for all of our young players, not just Matt, but all of our young players, Sam [Baker], Chevis [Jackson], Thomas DeCoud, Harry Douglas, all of our guys its going to be a learning experience. This is just their second game as National Football League players so its going to be a learning experience every time they go out there on the field.

(On the Buccaneer defense) The thing that they did is loaded the box. They forced us to have looks that we had to make checks to get out of the run game when they load the box. As weve said often times, that defense can dictate the offense and we have to be able to counter punch. And that, I think is the most important thing is that we have to be able to counter punch and thats where the coaching comes in.

(On DT Grady Jackson) Grady at about 3 oclock this morning, Gradys knee blew up. When we woke up this morning it was a decision that we had to make at game time. We went out and took a look at it. It was unexpected of course, but that was the decision that we made on Grady.

(On the play on first and goal when the score was 17-6) Well it depends on what the look is. It was a run, pass option and if the look was there we were going to throw the football and if the look was where we could run it, we were going to run it.

(On their field position) We want to play penalty free football, especially on special teams. The special teams penalties are not just five yard penalties, theyre tack on penalties. It can change the field position immensely and we were not able to get out of that hole in the first half of the football game. We were playing on a long field offensively and its very difficult to operate in those situations.

(On the game) I thought our guys did a nice job. I was a little ticked off because I thought the score should have been closer than it was. But that again, its a bias opinion. I thought we had opportunities to stop them on third down, when they score on third down and 17 and then they convert on a third down and 10 on the opening drive you think percentage wise that you would have an opportunity to get off the field.

(On the confusion with the penalty calls in the fourth quarter) Well I dont want to get too far involved in it because I dont want the Commissioner coming to talk to me about the officiating. But obviously he didnt have it right and I wanted to make sure and voice my opinion to them and just get a quick clarification on what was said. After we had a chance to talk, I think that the crew did a great job at unwinding what happened and got the right call.

(On Sam Bakers injury) He just got his bell rung and the doctors felt like it was in his best interest and our best interest to keep him out. Well evaluate that as the week goes on. I really havent had an opportunity to talk to some of the guys that got banged up. But it was a very physical football game, my hats off to Coach Gruden and his staff. They played better today.

DE John Abraham

(On the game being a tough one to lose) It was tough man, they came out to a good start at the beginning of the game and we couldnt battle back and get it close enough. They showed what good defense should play like and they played very good. We can take notes on this, just personally, and try to see if we want to be good, thats what we have to play through.

(On the Buccaneers having a short field) Thats part of football. It wasnt nothing we did not feel like we couldnt stop and if we want to be good thats what we have to stop. We got to keep our team in the game.

(On the defense playing well overall) Couple runs scooted at the end but we were holding them pretty good on the run. They got that 65 yard and 17 yard draw that was big at the end. Thats a part of the game and we have to brush this off and get ready for next week at Kansas City.

LB Keith Brooking

(On the loss) Obviously we kind of dug ourselves in a hole and we were kind of in our area down there inside the 20 when the balls turned over. We have to at least limit it to three points defensively. They scored on us quick and we held them to a field goal on the one. So pretty much in this league, you lose the turnover ratio, you lose that turnover battle, nine times out of 10 youre going to come up on the losing end of the stick. It hurts, its tough but we have to be professionals about it and come in tomorrow and watch the film, and get better. We left a lot out there. You leave a lot out there every week, but win or lose when you lose obviously the little things are magnified so we just got to be accountable and stay together and stay tight, the guys on this team will do that.

(On the big run at the end of the game) Yeah, its unfortunate that we held pretty well against the run all day long and they had that one big run, but that counts. So, like I said, explosive plays, the big plays, the turnover ratios, the teams that win in those two categories on Sundays, most of the time will win the game and unfortunately we didnt do that today.

S Lawyer Milloy

(On the defenses performance) As a team we came out, knowing we were coming into a hostile environment, we turned the ball over and they had the field position, really the first half. Defensively we settled down towards the end of the first half and we gave our offense a chance to get back in the ball game. I look at it like a total team picture; we had too many mistakes early in the game to win that ball game.

(On how is was to play against Warrick Dunn) It was good, he still has it, he lowered his head on my thigh one time. I was trying to get him back the rest of the game. I have the utmost respect for Warrick Dunn, I love him as a friend but I respect him as a ball player. I cant say that about too many people in the league.

QB Matt Ryan

(Opening statement) Obviously, I think everyone was a little disappointed with the outcome. We got off to a bit of a slow start. When you turn the football over in the NFL, its tough to come back from that, but I thought the guys fought hard from top to bottom. Coach Smith was out there fighting for us. The offensive line, wideouts, defense, everyone fought hard but we just came up a little bit short. Well learn from it and try to get better for next week.

(On the first interception) That one was on me. I just threw it a little high trying to get the ball out of my hand quickly. The most important thing is being accurate and I was not on that pass. I will learn from it and hopefully not make that mistake again.

(On the running game) They did a good job up front and its a credit to their defensive front seven. They did a good job. The secondary did a good job of making tackles and coming up in run support and we just couldnt get it going today.

(On if he thought the game would get away from him after missing his first nine passes) As a competitor, as a football player, as a quarterback, no matter what happens youve got to go out there and continue to throw the ball and continue to make plays. Obviously you dont want to start 0-9 and throw two interceptions, but youve got to keep battling and everybody on our team did that today, you have to love that. The offensive line was out there battling until the end, wideouts were making plays and working as hard as they could. The running backs were doing their best and the defense was busting their butts to try and get us the ball back. The effort we had today, obviously we dont like the outcome, guys are continuing to battle.

(On what he saw from the Buccaneers defense) They had some good coverage and its a credit to those guys. They have some talented players in the secondary that did a good job of coverage. A couple of times there might have been throws that were there that I have to be on time a little bit better. At the end of the day, they did a really good job.

RB Michael Turner

(On how things went today) We kind of expected it going into the game. After you run for over 300 yards the week before, teams are going to try to take that away from you the next week. We just have to learn how to play through fronts like that and still get good plays off.

(On how can they get the running game going next week) Thats something we have to do. Thats a must. We are just going to keep practicing, keep working hard, maybe practice against those eight and nine man fronts a little bit and make sure we have everything in order.

(On Buccaneers taking away the cutback lanes) Yes, when everybodys up there, the line cant block everybody. There is always going to be one or two men free when you have everyone committed to the run like that.

(On how the game started) We just started off slow. Thats something we cant do, especially on the road. We just have to work at it, work to take care of the football, no turnovers. Once we settled in, we started rolling a little bit.

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