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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-15-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the overall game) "I would just like to say I am really proud of our football team. We beat a really good team today. It wasn't always pretty. I thought defensively we did some great things against a team that really has a lot going for it offensively. We did enough on offense to find a way to win."

(On Bruce Gradkowski and how much it helps a young quarterback to score a late touchdown to win) "It helps any quarterback certainly. He had some moments of frustration. I think he'll be the first to tell you that, but it again just shows, I think, the promise that this guy has, the will that he has and his ability to put things aside, whether they have been going good or bad and continue to compete. He made some great plays today and he made some that he'll learn from, but to bring your team down the field and score with seconds left is a great accomplishment."

(On the defense proving the critics wrong) "Yes, they did. They have been playing well. I felt last week we only gave up one defensive score that was after a turnover. I am as accustomed as you are to turnovers and interceptions and things of that nature, but we haven't given up a lot of points on the defensive side of the ball and that's a credit to our guys. But they have been criticized and I think condemned in some ways by some, but we have a lot of pride and we still have a lot of talent over there. I thought they showed up and proved that today."

(On Gruden being one of those critics) "I privately do some things. Sometimes it gets out publicly. I have high expectations for them and I think it's important to say some things behind closed doors, but I love those guys. They are a big reason why we won today and why we have the chance to win again next week. Our team is blessed with a lot of veteran players on that side of the ball and those are the guys that are showing our young people the way. I don't give a [darn] about what anybody says, I am proud of that. For Davin Joseph and some of our young players like Bruce Gradkowski to see Shelton Quarles get hurt and go back in there and finish the game for us. I am proud of that and that is something that I am going to rely on down the stretch."

(On Michael Clayton and the winning touchdown) "It is a controversial play. I would like it to be a little cleaner score but what can I say. It wasn't the primary option on that play, but it is a slot combination that we like down there and for him to make the play in that situation and just kind of get back into circulation in terms of scoring touchdowns is what we need from him. He played great today, did some really good things catching the ball and blocking for us. That's a real good, good sounding board for him to really get going."

CB Ronde Barber

(On the history of teams that start 0-4) "The heck with history. You can believe it as much as you want, and you can write about it as much as you want, but you know what, this is the 2006 season. We finally got a win under our belts and we are just going to build from here."

(On the defense) "It was a team that got after it. We didn't miss tackles. We gave up some big plays, but we buckled down when we had to. That is the Tampa of old. I give our offense a lot of credit. They dominated the time of possession in the first and second half. That always makes it easier to play good ball on defense."

(On Bruce Gradkowski) "He has a lot of confidence and it shows. He's just a winner. Some guys are just winners. No matter what, they find ways to succeed and Bruce [Gradkowski] has got that. We are fortunate that a young guy, put under a lot of pressure, has the ability to handle it. We will see how far he can lead us."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the make-up of the team) "We're not looking at youth on offense and age on defense. We're going out trying to win a ball game, period. We're not concerned about who's been in this league how many years. At the end of the day, we're a team. We have to dig ourselves out of this hole one game at a time."

(On not forcing a turnover and holding the Bengals to 13 points) "Once again, it's another area we can improve in. They protected the ball very well. We had our chance there with Juran [Bolden] and I think a couple of balls on the ground they were able to get back. We know those thing are going to come in bunches. We just have to continue to dig and take advantage of the opportunity when the turnovers do happen."

WR Michael Clayton

(On his feelings on instant replay) "They tried me. It's been a long time of waiting for a moment like that. A lot of people have been a victim. I know I caught the ball. I know I stretched out across the goal line. I didn't have any doubt. Some calls like that have been a little fishy. So I was a little scared. Not really a big fan of it, until today."

(On the touchdown play) "The first look is Joey Galloway on the out-and-up and they double-covered him and I came underneath. Bruce [Gradkowski] got it there. Coach Richard Mann says you have to 'bow up' because there's a little contact down there. He made a good throw. I was able to catch it and stretch out over the goal line."

(On his reaction after the touchdown) "The monkey is off my back. Like I said, it's been a long time waiting for a moment like that. A few people saw comments in the paper, 'Give me the opportunity to make some plays.' I am a competitor and I want to be out there. When I walk off the field, I want to feel like I helped this football team. It came true tonight. It's the start of something special. We needed a win like that. Especially in the second quarter [of the season], we have a lot of great teams coming. The bottom line is, I'm just doing my job and everybody accepted that and hopefully we can come in and keep this thing going."

(On a contract with Jon Gruden) "Definitely. The main thing was to get back healthy. After last season, I went to work. I didn't want to go through what I went through last year. I lived that out. It's the reason that I'm able to make plays right now because Coach Gruden pushed me to the point and I accomplished that."

(On Bruce Gradkowski's play) "He made big plays. When we needed the quarterback to make the play, the guy ran and got the first down. There were a lot of key plays that he made. He got a little pass-happy today. But as a rookie, there's nothing that can explain this guy. He's a guy that's full of composure. My hat goes off to the guy. It's such a great thing to see a young guy come into this league, keep his poise, and be able to lead his team to victory."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(On how it feels after his first career win) "It feels unbelievable. After I hit [Michael] Clayton, he's a big target coming through. We tried to give [Joey] Galloway a look and they covered him pretty well. Mike Clayton coming across the middle like that, you just put it on him and have him make a play. At the time, I thought he caught it, that's a touchdown. So I was pretty confident about the decision, but the way things have been going I wasn't too sure. I thought we deserved this call. I can't tell you how excited I was when they came out with the call [reversal]."

(On leading the team down the field at the end of the game) "The biggest problems that quarterback faces at the end of the game is that they try to do too much too soon. That's one thing that Coach Gruden reminded me of at the end of the game. He said 'Hey, remember, you were in this position against the Dolphins in the preseason and you got a little excited and threw an interception. So relax and take it one play at a time.' That's what you have to do at the end there, take it one play at a time. We knew we had four downs. No question about it. We needed four downs. I threw the ball away a couple of times. It was just trying to be smart and make the right decision and fortunately we had enough downs and enough time to pull it out."

(On his confidence) "I feel pretty confident and I was pretty confident coming in. Just knowing the guys I have around me. The offensive line has been doing a great job and the way John Wade handles the center position makes it easier on me. The way Carnell "Cadillac" Williams has been running, [Michael] Pittman, [Michael] Alstott and the way the receivers have been making outstanding plays. It's a lot easier on me when those guys are doing their jobs. I just try to do the best that I can."

G Davin Joseph

(On how the team needed this boost) "Well, we needed it from the jump, but I think coming back home, we just put a little more focus in it. Michael Clayton, his play at the end, just really put an exclamation point on the way we played today. I think it's really good momentum going into next week."

(On the atmosphere of his first home game) "It's great every time, even when I was in the stands it was great. Nothing is going to change about the Tampa area, they are always going to love the Bucs."

TE Alex Smith

(On Bruce Gradkowski's play) "Bruce has definitely shown his maturity. In his second career start, he marches all the way down the field. I tip my hat off to him making plays and stepping up."

(On working through early offensive struggles) "We just had a few misses here and there. It's bound to happen. I guess after the great start he [Bruce Gradkowski] had last week, everybody's expecting the world from him. Like I said, it's his second career start. He made some big plays when we needed them. That's all that really matters. The little things we were missing, that can be corrected. But to drive at the very end of the game, that speaks volumes of where he is right now."

(On his touchdown catch in the third quarter) "It's funny, it's the same route I ran last week. The whole defense was expecting it. Bruce [Gradkowski] hung with me and I was able to shake loose. I think he had a pretty good hold of me, but I was fortunate to get loose and he stuck with me and made a great pass."

RB Cadillac Williams

(On his long run in the third quarter) "To be honest with you, it's not much I did. It was a misdirection play. [Jeremy] Trueblood and Davin [Joseph] cut out the back side and the guys got up on a linebacker and it was me and the safety. I feel like if you ever get me to the safety, you know those guys are in trouble."

(On getting the first win this year) "It's real important. If we were sitting here 0-5, it wouldn't be a great feeling right now. We're 1-4, and I see a little light at the end of the tunnel. We're going to continue to take it one game at a time. Teams better watch out for us."

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Head Coach Marvin Lewis

(Opening statements) "That one hurts, when you lose a football game. We did some good things at times, but you have got to have an opportunity to close the football game out. Whether it be offense, defense, special teams, and we didn't get it done. And it hurts, we played hard. We did some good things, but again considerably not enough, obviously, to put them away when we had our opportunities. We got to get points, we got to do a better job. We didn't do very well on offense today on third down. We got to do better than that in order to win a football game."

(On the roughing the passer plays) "What can I say?"

(On what DE Justin Smith could've done differently on the play) "I don't know, I guess you have to cuddle him to the ground."

(On timeout usage toward the end of the game) "I don't want to give them the opportunity, with a young quarterback, to have an opportunity to sit in the huddle and call the play and get their guys lined up correctly. Plus, I believe [at that time] we're going to stop them, frankly as well."

(On the long field go with six seconds left in the game) "We thought we had an opportunity to kick the field goal if we got a little bit further than that. But he said, 'Give me a shot.' Your chances of making the play there from the 40 aren't very good the other way. So, that was our best shot to get the points."

(On what concerns him about the offense) "Our inability to run the football consistently. You know, I think that's the biggest thing. We had some good runs up in there, but consistently we're not getting on folks, we're not knocking them off the football or doing a good enough job."

(On if the running offense is struggling because of the injuries on the offensive line, and having to move linemen into different position) "That probably has a little bit to do with it, but still, that's football. You have to get it done."

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

(On the loss) "We're not protecting. We're not running. [We're] barely throwing. As of right now, we're not playing that good on offense, but at the end of the day we had the ball, regardless of how the game was going, with five minutes left. You get a couple of first downs and with that one timeout, the game was over. We didn't."

(On if he felt the game was over after Chad Johnson's 51-yard catch) "We were saying, 'Let's run that play,' the whole game. We finally run it and what happens? [A] 60-yard completion, whatever it may be. But, we only got a field goal so it kept them in the game. A one possession game and they went down and scored."

(On the factors contributing to the loss) "It was a combination of everything. If everybody was doing what they were supposed to do, we would win games. Bottom line. If everybody did what they were supposed to do we would win. Myself included. I'm not out there playing a perfect game, but that's the reality of it. We had the ball with five minutes left and we probably gained a yard."

CB Deltha O'Neal

(On the overall game) "It was frustrating. You want to get back out there and get on the winning track. To come out on the losing end of a tough one like this is always hard."

(On what they're plan was against Bruce Gradkowski) "Just trying to confuse him, trying to disguise, show one thing, be in something else, and just move around and never give him the same look twice."

(On whether it worked) "It worked good most of the time, but it didn't work enough. So we got to get back to the drawing board and figure out a way we can come out and do it a little better next week."

*(On Justin Smith's fourth-quarter sack getting taken away) * "Anytime you get a play like that, a sack, and they call roughing the passer on a sack, you really don't know how to tackle the quarterback nowadays because at any given time they could throw a flag on you. There's no right and wrong way."

QB Carson Palmer

(On losing the game) "It's a tough loss. It's a team that we think we have a chance to beat and that we should beat. We just didn't play well and we got outplayed. We have to go back to the drawing board. We are 3-2 and have two big games coming up, two big home games. We have a chance to get to 5-2 and turn this thing around. It's early. It's a tough loss. Every loss is a tough loss. The season is still young and we have a lot of games left and a lot of football to play."

(On the long second-half completion to Chad Johnson) "We don't run a ton of deep stuff with Chad. People have been giving us some underneath stuff with all of our receivers. We were very explosive last year with a lot of big, deep plays and teams have done a good job of trying to stop us and game-planning us. We need to do a better job of getting the underneath stuff and hopefully it will open up some of the deep stuff."

(On the last drive) "We were just trying to get the ball downfield. We got the first play off. T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] made a great catch. I am not sure; I need to look at it on film, but it looked like he was out of bounds. They kept the clock going and I am not sure why that happened. The second play we took a sack, I took a sack. I need to do a better job of getting rid of the ball. The next play we got another deep ball with T.J. over the middle and got us as close as we could get there. We put a lot of pressure on our kicker. Not a lot of kickers in this league can make a 62-yarder."

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