09-23-2007 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening statement) "I'd like to say that was a very good victory for us. It was a gut check, there was some peaks and valleys there in the first half particularly. I thought the opening drive of the second half was the signature drive of the game. It was a great drive by our offense and defensively, we gave up some yards between the 20's, but we were able to make some big plays in this game to get off the field. It's a credit to our football team, obviously. Earnest Graham exploded onto the scene today and the big question is why in the heck hasn't he been playing. I just want to tip my hat to him, that's a tribute to a guy that has really been a team guy. [On] Mark Jones' long return, the guy who throws a great block on that play is number 34 [Earnest Graham]. He's done a lot for us, and I'm really proud of him."

(On the running back situation) "Well, we feel good about our backs. Obviously Carnell had the fumble and I talked to [Head Athletic Trainer] Todd Toriscelli, I felt to a degree that maybe he got nicked up a little bit. We had the fumble and I decided that it was best to give Earnest Graham an opportunity. He's run the ball well when given the ball and he took advantage. I also thought Michael Pittman was stellar today. He made some great plays, runs and catches and we have good backs. No one's going to talk about it, but B.J. Askew was the winning edge for us today. He made some unbelievable plays as the lead back in this football game and he deserves a lot of credit as does our entire team in there."

(On RB Earnest Graham's playing time) "You have one ball and we think Carnell Williams is a great back. I think he's proven at times to be tremendous and I believe he has an unbelievable future ahead of him. Michael Pittman has been given a lot of the leftovers and rightfully so, he's an outstanding football player. Obviously, now we have to put our minds together and figure out how to get Earnest more involved because clearly he's also deserving of the football and that's a good problem to have."

(On the way the team finished the game) "I can't be more pleased. We were punishing at times offensively, just the way you want to close out a football game. For two weeks in a row we weren't really creative with play selection. Anything like that, we got some big plays that set up our second touchdown to make it a 17-3 game. After that there wasn't a lot of smoke and mirrors, it was pretty much [Jeff] Garcia handling the running game, taking us to some premiere looks and our guys blocking theirs and we made some plays in the process."

(On the defense playing well for three weeks in a row) "We don't want to tell them that because it's just not good enough. We have to do a better job getting off the field quicker. We gave up some six or seven minute drives and we gave up some field position in the process. I want to hold them accountable to revving up the pass rush, it's just not there yet. We're pleased with the performance and obviously giving up three points is a tremendous feat in pro football, but we're expecting a lot more from them. The effort's good, but it's not great yet, collectively. Nothing's good enough yet on defense and we're going to hold the standards where they belong here and until we get some quick three-and-outs and we start scoring touchdowns on defense, we're going to be asking for a lot more."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On RB Steven Jackson) "That was part of our game plan. Number one, to stop Steven Jackson, not only with the run, but with the passing game. The guy had over 80 catches last year. He was really the start of our game plan. The next phase of it was not giving up the big play downfield. We have played St. Louis in the past and they have beat us because we have given up deep balls. Today we didn't do that."

(On if he is surprised the Rams didn't take more shots downfield) "I can't speak for them. I just know that we were very conscientious of it. For our defense, we were guarding against it. So maybe we did a good job of taking it away, and they didn't take their shot."

(On the defensive performance) "We are doing a good job of getting two or three guys to make the tackle. I said last week that one guy is not going to bring [Jackson] down. Probably every tackle you had two or three guys making the hit. To me, that is us starting to build back our mark and make our identity, to get a lot of guys around the football."

CB Phillip Buchanon

(On they key to the success of the secondary as a whole) "[The] biggest thing for us is our communication. We have some real good communication back there. Jermaine Phillips, Brian Kelly, Derrick Brooks and Barrett Ruud. Communication is going real good and we want to keep that positive."

(On what he was going to keep Bulger from getting deep) "I'm just doing my job. I'm just doing what the coaches tell me to do. They make the coverage calls and I play. I'm just Phillip Buchanon, just doing what I can do to avoid making any mistakes"

(On if it was different going from playing Cornerback to Nickel) "No it wasn't for me. I am just going out there and doing what I do. I am not worried about the whole rotation thing, anytime I get a choice to get in there and make some plays, that is what I am going to do."

QB Jeff Garcia

(On efficiency of offense) "It was a grind it out mentality today. I think there were going to be some times, some opportunities for some big plays but we really never got into that sort of rhythm. I think from my standpoint it is about efficiency, it's about not putting us in bad situations, bad positions, not forcing the issue. I think we have enough good plays, good opportunities, good looks where I can make the right decision to give our guys opportunities to make plays when we are throwing the football. The fourth quarter, the offensive line just took over. Earnest Graham and Cadillac and Michael Pittman did a great job of running. B.J. Askew leading the way and our tight ends. Everyone just stepped up in the fourth quarter. Really took the hammer to the nail. Defensively again, a great performance by our defense. Key turnovers that they created in critical times. Keeping that explosive offense out of the end zone all day long. It's not an easy thing to do, but a credit to our defense and how they have played."

(On the running game) "Last week we struggled early on with the running game. That was a critical emphasis this week; to get going early on, to have better success. Especially on first down when we do run the football and not creating second and third-and-long situations. We can still be better; we can still be a lot better as far as an offense is concerned. There were some times on the field today where we didn't establish a drive; we kept our defense on the field too long at times. But to finally get it going, giving those guys enough of a crack for them to pierce it, make something happen. They're going to make plays. They're great running backs. All they need are little opportunities. The offensive line played awesome football today; physical football. That's what it is all about. It was great to see that we could just pound the ball; especially in the fourth quarter and create a sense of advantage, controlling the line of scrimmage, and the running backs making big runs."

(On wearing down the Rams' defense) "You could really see that in the fourth quarter. Our offensive line, our offense was just starting to wear them out. They didn't have an answer for what we were doing. They were trying different things. They were bringing extra guys in the box. We were still pounding it at them. We were still finding creases. Running backs were still gaining positive yards. I think it became very frustrating to them and obviously we wore and tore them down. It is just one of those things when you have a team on the ropes like that, you just keep pounding it at them."

RB Earnest Graham

(Waiting on his time to shine today) "I just come to play football. I've been playing football all my life. I've been playing a lot of special teams. Then I just came in. Then it just so happened that [Coach] Gruden let me run the ball. I just play football. It's all football to me. When I was in, I got yards. When Michael Pittman was in, he got yards. Cadillac Williams got yards. It's just all credit to the offensive line. They did well today and it showed on the scoreboard."

(On his second touchdown) "I've been playing football for a very long time. I've always had a pretty good stiff arm. Cory Chavous was there in the secondary and he was a smaller guy so I know I could push him off for the next five yards. That's what I did. That wasn't even my favorite play of the night. My favorite play was on the punt return. On the punt return, I got a chance to crack back on one of the Rams."

(Performance of the team for back to back weeks) "It's a great feeling. I've been here for a couple of years playing football. It's a great feeling. We have had that confidence during the offseason workouts all the way through camp. We knew we could do this. It's a great feeling to show it on the field. We have the next game. It's a big game and we are going to try to go out and play with Carolina."

(On waiting for his opportunity) "I just feel like I'm playing football. I was playing all special teams. I held my role when I was just playing all special teams. So I held my role when I was running the ball today. I was doing my best to be the best player there. When it was my time to run the ball I ran the ball. I've played five sports all my life. It's just sports. It's just plan sports. It's just football. I just had to run the ball and score tonight, and I did."

LB Cato June

(On the key to the defense) "Intensity. It is all about getting 11 guys to the football. Anytime you keep attacking them, keep attacking them. They tried to establish, but we didn't allow any big plays. We kept hitting them, kept hitting them over and over again. Sooner or later we are going to win."

(On turning into a big play defense) "Definitely. We expect to go out there and make big plays – three turnovers a game. That is what we are expected to do. We have to go out there and get the ball back for our offense."

S Jermaine Phillips

*(Importance of getting after the ball) * "It's very important. If you're looking at film, it's intimidating to see 11 guys going to the ball. You know what they say, let's make it snow in Tampa. Especially when we have the white jerseys on."

(On Bucs offense answering after the Rams scored) "That's what it's all about. Making plays and opportunities for our team. Last week, coaches called some plays that put us into position. It's a credit to our coaching staff and to our players for going out and executing."

LB Barrett Ruud

(On the fans chanting his last name) "I am glad that they picked up on that down here. I was listening to the Nebraska game, my brother plays there, and they yell his name [after he makes a play]. So I was glad to hear it a little bit down here."

(On the key to his success) "Preparation. For me, that is what I think it is. I work hard during the week to prepare for Sunday. It is a process from Tuesday to Saturday evening. It is a week-long process and we try to take advantage of it."

(On the defense's standards) "Like [Coach] Kiffin will tell you, he's going to make some great calls, but some calls are not the best ones for what the offense runs. But if you hustle and hit, you are going to make up for it. We played a great back today. He is going to make yards but we didn't stop hustling and hitting."

ST. LOUIS RAMS

Head Coach Scott Linehan

(Opening statement) "Two injuries to report, Mark Setterstrom came out in the fourth quarter after the field goal with a knee injury. Until tomorrow, I won't be able to give you any information on the seriousness of it. Any time you get a guy carted off there is a concern there, but we will give you more information on that tomorrow. Isaac Bruce basically got hit, was a little dazed. We are being very conservative with those kinds of things. We took him in and did several tests at halftime and he was cleared for some play in the second half. As far as the game, the score doesn't indicate it, but we were right there. Missed opportunities again, I know it sounds like a broken record. The idea is not to miss them and we are working at it. We are not seeing the dividends of our hard work yet. We have to keep our eye on the final part of that, and that's executing and finishing our drives and getting the points. Believe me, that is our goal and that is what we have been working on. May not look like it, but I feel very good about how we planned this football game. We stayed with it, even when it is easy to get away from it. We just have to be better finishers and that is where our mind set is."

(On if there is any plan to change the system) "No changes. We have to change things, but playing calling [is fine]. We have to check things, don't get me wrong. We can't keep doing things the same way or we will get the same results. When you start laying the blame, on whether it be the way we were calling plays, or any of that, no. I just think we have to get better at it."

(On the interception thrown by Marc Bulger in the end zone) "I couldn't see from my vantage point. We have to keep working on that. Working on where we throw that ball. It is a new tool for our offense. I'll look at it again on film when I watch it, that may have been the case. There are other plays in that game, other than that play that were significant as far as the game goes."

(On the struggles of the offense) "It's difficult. I know we have some guys that made the Pro Bowl last year and all that, but we have to play good football as a team. You can have the greatest football player in one position, but if we are not doing things, all 11, it still doesn't work, not in football. We are certainly not getting it done and we have to find out ways and work on the solutions to anything that needs be to be improved, and there is a lot that needs to improve."

(On his frustration level) "Losing is frustrating. Stat wise, having teams that have been part of the number one offense in the league, top five offenses and all that. Bottom line is we came here to win the football game. Whether we gain 200 yards and win, 500 yards and win, that is what the goal is. The frustrating part is that we haven't won a game yet. Part of winning is we have to score more points; there is no question we have to score a lot more points. We were in position to and we squandered some opportunities. That part is frustrating but to stand here and say this is the worst I have ever felt or anything like that, it feels about as lousy as any loss, which is pretty lousy. To stay in that state of mind is going to do nothing for us. We have to find out, seek the solutions it takes to get this done. We are working hard. We are spending a lot of time, a lot of extra time playing this game, making up for areas that we need to make up for. The bottom line is that it is not good enough. I acknowledge that, trust me I acknowledge that 100 percent. I am certain that it will be well-documented that it is not good enough, but I acknowledge that, too. I understand that we have to do better."

S Oshiomogho Atogwe

(On the slow start) "We're starting slow. There's a lesson that needs to be learned and we haven't learned it yet. We have to keep going back to the drawing board and study what it is we're doing wrong and why were not coming out on the victory side of these games."

(On giving up the big plays in the second half) "We're not focusing. You have to stay consistently focused for 60 minutes. It can't be you're up in the first half and then in the second half you come out and you have a lull. Because in this game, that's all it takes. To have one lapse of judgment, one lapse of a moment of focus, and that could be the play that costs you the game."

WR Drew Bennett

(On what to do to improve) "It's always the case when you go back and look at game film, what can I do differently here, well, if I could have done this differently there that would have changed. On one of those touchdowns, what if I don't get bumped? I'm not saying there should have been a penalty, I should make that play, but if I can make that guy miss, that's seven points, that changes the whole complex of the game. In the end zone, if I stay closer to that guy and knock that ball down, there's a chance for a field goal. It's the little things like that, that good teams do and we need to figure out how to do these things. I don't think there's any broad problem or anything like that, I just think it's those little things like that, that we need to start focusing on. That way things will turn our way. Those little bumps and balls falling will roll our way."

QB Marc Bulger

(On why they aren't scoring touchdowns) "I don't know. It's not from a lack of trying. We're trying as hard as we can, but something needs [to be] corrected. Trying only gets you so far, and maybe in high school and grade school it works, but in the NFL no one wants to hear about that. It's about productivity and no one is getting it done."

(On if the playcalling needs to be more aggressive) "No, I think it was fine. We ran the ball well. We had a run-check and they loaded the box with eight on their interception to Drew [Bennett] and it was just a matter of trying to make it happen. Whether we were on the same page, or you know, this play that play, excuses. My parents taught me a long time ago that excuses are like you know what. No one wants to hear that right now. It's my job to get us in the end zone and there's no need to blame playcalling or players. If you want to blame someone, blame me because as the quarterback it's my job to get us in, and I'm not doing it."

*(On if he ever imagined this team would start out 0-3) * "No, but it is what it is. We're not going to sit here and complain and point at what's going on. There's no time for that. We're on our butt right now, and we have to get up and get ready for Dallas. Simple as that. Sitting here and complaining, we can let the fans do that. We have to come closer as a team, because we're going to get a lot of scrutiny, and it's deserved. We're not doing our job right now and it's our job to come together as a team and find a way to win."

WR Dante Hall

(On frustration on offense) "It's very frustrating. Extremely, because I've been on some bad teams early on in my career and this is nowhere close to being a bad team. We're a great team. We've got a great coaching staff, but for whatever reason, when we get to the red zone, we're just not scoring. I don't know what it is. We tweaked some things, we've had some opportunities and it's like the bad luck truck is in the neighborhood right now. We just have to go back to the drawing board, but it's not a situation where we're a bad team, or a bad offense, by any means. We're just not gelling right now."

(On the playcalling and execution) "There will definitely be some heat, that's the NFL. I know it's not the playcalling, it's not the execution, it's a combination of both. It's the ultimate team game, players have to execute, coaches have to make the calls and we have to execute whatever they call. We have to go back to the drawing board and see what it is."

RB Steven Jackson

(On why they haven't been successful in the redzone through the first three games) "I don't know. I go out there and run the ball, try to protect Marc [Bulger] the best I can, be a leader and be supportive. We have to go to the drawing board and definitely check the film out. I can't tell you we should have run this play, that's not my job."

(On if he feels the offense is inconsistent) "I definitely do. I'm losing my offensive linemen every week it seems like. Now it's getting to the point where I'm not concerned about my production. These are my friends as well. You see Mark Setterstrom go down today during a field goal and your heart goes out to him. This is a guy that went up through training camp and mini-camp with you and you know he's one of your best offensive linemen. For him to go down on a play like that, it's just very disappointing. I'm upset for him and I just hope he gets well."

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