Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-12-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Statement) I would just like to say Im very proud of our team. We had a collective effort today starting with the special teams play. Geno Hayes came up big for us. Our defense played outstanding throughout the game. I was really pleased with the offense and our ability to run the ball and sustain some drives against a great defense was a great accomplishment. I thought Jeff [Garcia] did some things.

(On Earnest Graham) I would just like to tell our fans what Earnest Graham did today is what this game is all about. He played fullback, led block, caught the ball and played fullback today. We have two injuries, obviously. B.J. Askew and Byron Storer are out and Earnest Graham stepped up, unselfishly so and played as good a fullback as weve had a fullback play since Ive been here. I just want everyone to know, although he didnt show up on the stat sheet, what he did today makes coaching worthwhile. I want to thank him for that.

(On Earnest Grahams history playing fullback) It was part of his training when he got here. He was a jack of all trades He was a guy that played fullback, tailback and was on the punt and kickoff team. He was a guy that was our personal protector and all those years and preparation paid off for him today. Earnest didnt just go into the hole today and just curl up. He laid himself into the hole with as much authority as he runs the football with. I got a lot of respect for what he did and our team is very impressed by that.

(On if the two-back set with Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn was used by design) Were a two-back team. After we lost Byron [Storer], we ran some single-back plays and had some success. Then, we regrouped on the sidelines, got Alex Smith ready to be a fullback, which is a contingency plan every week. Earnest Graham came out of nowhere and said, I can do this. He did a great job.

(On the defenses interceptions today) We had pressure and mixed coverages. Monte [Kiffin] did a great job again with his staff. Our players played their hearts out today and we have some opportunistic guys. We let three of four interceptions get away. We could have had three or four others. You saw the game. They were impact plays. We have guys with range and tremendous ability and they hit today. I was really impressed with the way our football team hit today.

(On if Jeff Garcia was back to form today) I dont know. Everybodys got their opinions; we did what we thought was right. I think Jeff [Garcia] is a great quarterback and I believe in him. I just think that today he showed you his mobility and his ability to throw the ball and work the pocket. Hes a guy thats a creative player and hes won four or five games in a row I think against Carolina and thats a great accomplishment. Thats a heck of a football team we beat today.

(On the importance of field position today) It was big. We started the game backed up and got a big play to Alex Smith to help turn the tide. Defense set us up with some nice field position and our offense did a nice job. I dont know how many three-and-outs we had today but there might not have been many.

WR Antonio Bryant

(On this statement game) To be honest, I think thats what we have been doing since day one, trying to make a statement and stake our claim in the league not just the division, because there is lack of respect for us as a team overall but we are doing what we are supposed to do and eventually we will get where we need to be.

(On possibly being the best defense in the league) That is certainly an argument there. I said it before, I like our chances with our defense. Id pick them over a lot of defenses in the league.

(On the amount of interceptions left out on the field) There was a numerous amount of interceptions that they could have capitalized on but thats great, theres room to get better there, a lot of potential on our defense and the skies the limit for those guys to do well.

DE Kevin Carter

(On the goals of the game) What we really want to accomplish in a game is stopping the run, putting pressure on the quarterback, getting turnovers, winning the field position battle, all those key elements. Things that you really try to do as a defense to help your team, not only your offense score and we did all those things today. We were very fortunate, they are a good team, they have a good quarterback, and they have been playing really well, and they have been playing with a lot of confidence, but today we made some good things happen. We played sound and strong against the run. We hit them and got some turnovers early and we were able to shift the momentum on our side and keep it there. Today was a good effort and were definitely proud of that.

(On the offense) Im really proud of them, really proud of our effort all around. Were always proud of the efforts, I think everyone on this team really cares about the man next to him and we always try to play hard and this team does fight no matter what, but we are just proud of execution today. Our offense took advantage of everything that we gave them and when they had to drive, they drove. It was a good day. It was good to see Jeff (Garcia) back in there, it looked like his normal self and just proud of our team overall.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On playing well on both sides of the ball) We got started early with the blocked punt for a touchdown. I think that really got us going. We just came out and pounded the rock. We took some chances early, but we just continued to pound the rock and made plays to win the game.

(On the running game) You cant say enough about Earnest (Graham). The guy sacrificed his day to get in there and block and he did a great job. He was reading it the right way, putting hits on guys and hes the ultimate team guy. Im speechless a little bit because of what he sacrificed for this football team today. Thats one of the most unselfish acts Ive seen on a football field in a long time.

(On playing well today) We feel like were a good football team, but at the same time we havent put it together for 60 minutes. Today, we had an opportunity to put it together. We played well for 60 minutes, all three phases. So this was a huge game for this football team.

C Jeff Faine

(On taking care of business against a division opponent) Huge, its huge. You know these guys would have gone up two games on us; its huge for us to be able to get this win, especially at home. You know we had trouble playing them away at their home. The style that we did it, coming out there for the first series and getting pumped up for that touchdown is huge and then to keep it up the entire game.

(On the offense) I think that we also had a pretty good balanced attack. We ran the ball well today against a defense that is very, very good, a very talented defense thats good at run stopping. We ran the ball well and Jeff Garcia made the plays that we needed to make. Even that first down that he made, running the ball, giving up his body and diving head first is the type of guy he is, it shows the type of character and personality he has to want to win the game.

QB Jeff Garcia

(On being back out on the field again) It felt great to be back out on the field, to be in a position to be able to contribute. I thought my performance was solid from a standpoint that I didnt turn the football over. I thought that execution wise we did some good things, enough good things to put us in a position to win the football game. The offensive line, running backs, receivers, everyone did their job throughout the day. Obviously, you cant say enough about our defense. Our defense really put us in positions to be successful with field position and then special teams with the big block at the beginning to give us that momentum in the first quarter was a very positive thing for our offense.

(On the energy he brought to the field) I think the main thing for me as a player, I need to play with emotion, I need to play with energy, I need to have a certain excitement about myself when I step out on the field. If I dont have that, then I am not who I need to be and Im not who I need to be for these players, for my teammates. It wasnt so much being away from the game for the past four weeks as much as it was realizing what I needed to do to in order to get myself back to where I can be myself on the field. I feel like my preparation and my work ethic over the past four weeks have been good and I did not want to be that guy who is going to turn it around and say why me, not be selfish in any sort of way, but be positive and supportive towards my teammates and toward Brian [Griese] when he was in the game. I had to realize that because the way this game is, that opportunity can present itself again and when it does present itself, do what you have done in the past and take advantage of the opportunity. This is just one game. We dont know what is going to happen next, but to be out there on the field today was exciting for me. It felt great. It felt great to be at home in front of a great crowd and playing against a good football team. Now if we can just build on these things, we have a lot of good things to look forward to.

(On how hard it was for him to not be playing and running scout team) Its tough but it keeps me involved. At the time, not being the starter, not even being the back-up, I had to find ways to keep me involved, to keep me energized, to keep me going. To be able to step out on to the field and help our defense out by giving them a quality look, if thats a positive thing for them, then thats what I am going to do. It allowed me to stay involved, stay in the game and stay in a way where I was getting practice reps because I wasnt getting reps otherwise. Thats just the approach I had to take. I cant dwell on the things that happened after the first week, thats all behind us. I wasnt going to be that guy that was going to create negative energy amongst the rest of the team. I wanted to be a positive influence. At this point in my career, at this age, I should know to handle things and I wanted to handle things right.

RB Earnest Graham

(On the game) It felt great to finally come out and start fast on both sides of the ball. We played against a great Carolina team. It was a very physical game. We felt like we came out hitting on all cylinders. We made the plays we needed to make.

(On playing fullback) I had a good time. Byron Storer went down today and I had to play some fullback. I had a great time blocking for Warrick (Dunn). We had a lot of fun on that long drive that we had.

(On the play of Warrick Dunn) He did fantastic. Growing up all the kids in the neighborhood wanted to be Warrick, and now Im blocking for him. He ran for like 115 yards today. I had a great time and this is something I will always remember; playing with him and blocking for him.

LB Geno Hayes

(On the win) It was a great thing. It was lovely. Everybody came out capping off like were supposed to on defense. The offense came out and put points on the board and the defense just held it up. We feel pretty good about it and well take that momentum to the next game.

(On his blocked punt for a touchdown) We called a little blitz stunt and I had a one-on-one with the tackle. He took a step too far to the outside, so I got to the punter and took it to the house.

(On Carolina having a punt blocked earlier in the season) It was a little bit different from what was on tape. The one that got blocked in Chicago was from the outside. I came from the inside, so it was a little bit different.

(On the defenses play) Just being on the details, like Coach Kiffin is always stressing. Doing what youve got to do, knowing your job, capping off and making sure you put a little force of will onto them so that they wont give up anything.

(On making a statement) We had the attitude going in that it was a playoff game. Its a game showing that Tampa Bay is a team to be reckoned with in the NFL right now.

(On playing with veterans like Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Kevin Carter) Ill tell you right now, you really cant explain it. All you can do is live it. If you dont live it, you really cant explain it. Its a real good thing. You learn a lot from all three of them, and more than that, you learn from everybody around whos been in the league more, too.

(On what hell do with the ball from his big play) Its going on top of the dresser right now.

S Tanard Jackson

(On the victory) Definitely was a complete victory from both sides of the ball, all sides. Special teams got the block punt early. Defense, was able to create turnovers on defense and they definitely controlled the ball on offense.

(On getting the block punt early) Anytime you get a block punt in a game and return it for a touchdown you get an advantage. It happened so early in the game, that was definitely a momentum swing that we needed and it happened early in the game.

(On his interception) It was actually off of a tipped ball. I was in the right place at the right time, it fell in my hands and I wasnt touched. We were able to create another scoring opportunity for our offense and they were able to capitalize off of it.

(On the game having a playoff atmosphere) We try to come in with that attitude every game. Playing against Carolina, who beat us here the past five times at home; its a rivalry game that has built up over the years so I definitely think that we came out with the mentality that it was a championship game.

DE Greg White

(On the Carolina Panthers and the Buccaneers performance) They are a very good football team. We played well today. I think we outplayed them this afternoon. We outplayed them and we are looking forward to seeing them again.

(On what this win does for the team) Were not shy to say that we dont think we are a better team, we can perform every week that we play and today it showed. We are going to keep going and keep going game by game.


Head Coach John Fox

(On the overall day) My hats off to them. They played really well. We were outplayed in all three phases, in particular their defense. It started off early with the blocked punt and they created a score and then the early turnover defensively set up a score. And before we broke a sweat it was 14-0. They did a terrific job and we didnt do so good.

(On the punt block) It was a miscommunication on the protection. I dont even believe it was a rush. I think they had a return set up and we made an error in our protection.

(On that miscommunication) Again without seeing the tape, you know standing there on the sideline, you guys have a better view then I do.

(On if there was pressure on the long pass to Steve Smith) Im not really sure. To be honest with you, I didnt see it. It came out kind of wide and outside. Steve made a good adjustment to catch it, but again, thats kind of how our day went.

(On the running game) Obviously they did a terrific job. You have to give them credit. We werent able to get much of anything going in the running game and they were a large part of that.

(On their effort as a team) The effort was fine. I thought they just played better. Sometimes its not effort, its who plays better and I thought theres no question of who played better today.

(On the injuries) Theres no update on injuries. As for WR Muhsin Muhammad, I think they said a knee, but he came back to play so theyre not saying anything at this point.

(On RB Warrick Dunn) Warrick Dunn is a heck of a player. I think Earnest Graham is a heck of a player. We knew that coming in. They got into a situation where they had a pretty good lead and they pounded it in there pretty good on us. My hats off to both of them, they did a terrific job.

(On the loss) Anytime you lose, its a wake up. As I mention to you guys all the time, whether you lose it on the road or you lose at home, lose it in hot, lose it in cold, it still bites. It still stings when you lose. Well take it for what it was, it was a loss. They got after us pretty good today and well just learn from it and move on.

QB Jake Delhomme

(On todays performance) It was pretty much pathetic. Lets be honest, it didnt start out good, and obviously it didnt get any better. They were the better team today. You never want to play from behind in the NFL, but this is one team you dont want to play from behind. Certainly, second half we didnt do anything and by that time we were just trying to move the ball down the field. In the first half we came close, some interceptions killed us no doubt. A big third down, it was almost a good play by Dante (Rosario), and the ball just kind of bounced their way. In our two minute drive, they had two of their backup cornerbacks and we were trying to take a shot because (Phillip) Buchanon and Ronde (Barber) were not in the game on either one. (Muhsin Muhammad) and (Aqib) Talib fought for it and Jermaine (Phillips) got it. We tried to get back in there but we just didnt. It wasnt a good performance.

(On what Tampa Bay did to make it tough on Carolina) Well one, they swarmed to the football today. The running game, we just didnt get it established. And the passing game, we tried to find things there, but they have very good cover guys and their linebackers were excellent, and there wasnt a whole lot there. They are very sound in what they do. They do it well, they know where they belong, and thats what makes them so tough. They are just so well-coached.

(On if this loss a wakeup call) I dont know if its a wakeup call. We got beat. Its so early in the season, and I thought we had a good week of work. We didnt play well, its very simple, we didnt play well. They get paid too, and they played well. Its very disappointing. We all know its a division game, and we have to come back to another division game. We need to regroup and go forward. Its hard to find positives right now, theres no doubt. After you watch the film tomorrow, you let it sting, then you have to move on. But right now its kind of hard.

S Chris Harris

(On why the team performed poorly after playing so well) I dont have an answer for you other than we played terrible. They just outplayed us. We didnt execute in any phase of the game and I dont know why. I wish I knew why.

DE Julius Peppers

(On if he was surprised with the outcome) No, obviously we would have wanted it to go the other way but its a good football team we played against. If you dont play well and execute youre going to get beat and thats what happened.

(On if this was a wake up call) I cant really say it is a wake up call. We just didnt play well. This can happen every week, if you dont play well youre going to get beat, period. Like I said, I expected to play better, we expected to play better, but we didnt.

WR Steve Smith

(On the loss) You have a good game last week. You dominate defensively, offensively, you run the ball, and pass the ball and then just come in here and basically lay an egg. A loss is always a letdown. With the kind of success weve had and we showed so early the way we had it. You know its a letdown, you cant take away that they are a good team. A team like this, you cant start 14 down or seven in the hole, you just cant do that. You know you put yourself in a position where you have to do things you necessarily dont want to do, and thats what happened.

(On the letdown from last weeks game) I dont think last week softened up this week. I think we were playing a good team and we got down on early. When you get down early, you cant do anything about it. You got to get off your game plan. You got to start changing up the routine that you thought you were going to have. I dont think success softens you up. If youre soft, youre soft, either you win or you lose. I dont think we are over confident. We were down. The first set of downs we open up, you look up, and its 7-0, or 6-0. Thats hard.

(On if the ball hung up on his deep reception) The ball was perfect. I caught it. The only thing I was battling with was the sun. Other that, thats it.

(On his dropped ball late in the game) I just dropped the ball, just lack of concentration. No excuses, perfectly thrown ball, great route, terrible finish. Bottom line I had a terrible finish on that last part.

(On what John Fox says after a loss like this) He says a lot of stuff. I have been in the league eight years, Ive seen a lot worse. Its just one of those where you take it and move on. Wednesday will come along and well get ready for New Orleans.

RB DeAngelo Williams

(On playing in a hostile environment with early turnovers) Yes, it does put you behind the eight ball. I dont know many teams in the NFL that you can give three turnovers to and expect to win the game. But, we still went with the mindset. We did not give up and we kept on fighting.

(On next week) We have to eliminate turnovers. We didnt give our defense much of a shot today from an offensive standpoint. Special teams did not help us out. I think we played bad in all three phases. I got to give it to the Bucs, they did a great job of playing us today.

(On if this game still shows the growing pains) It does. Fortunate for us, we get a chance to play them again. I think it will be a different outcome when we play them again.

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