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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-16-2005 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the overall game) "I am really proud of our team. That was a great win for us. It wasn't always easy. Miami is a very good, physical football team. I think we all know that. We had some injuries that obviously we're concerned about. I am very proud of the work Chris Simms did today. He came in there and really made some big plays for us in the third quarter. Michael Pittman with his shoulder stinger played hurt. Shelton Quarles played hurt. I don't know the status of Juran Bolden. He sprained his shoulder. Dexter Jackson tweaked his hamstring. We don't know the severity. Brian Griese will be given an evaluation on his knee."

(On the decision to keep Carnell "Cadillac" Williams out of the game to rest him) "I am not trying to keep guys out to rest them. We're trying to play the guys that are healthy. We are running out of players like everyone else. We don't have the luxury here to keep a guy out. If he could go, we would have played him, but the answer to the question is he is not ready to go yet. Hopefully, he can use this next week to get himself some rest and get ready to go. We certainly need him. I am really proud of our backs today. In his absence they played really well."

(On whether he has a report on Brian Griese's injury) "No, I don't. Anytime you have your starting quarterback taken away from you with a potential knee injury you are just very concerned."

(On the team stepping up today) "I look out there today and I am really proud of our team. I am very pleased with the job our coaches are doing; Mike Tomlin, the secondary, we were depleted a little bit with injuries. Those guys have stepped up, with Jermaine Phillips out. I am really happy with the work they did. Barrett Ruud played extensively today for Joe Barry. [Rod] Marinelli rolled his guys as he always does. Offensively, we had a lot of young guys playing today and we did enough to beat an offense that has been very good on the tape that I have seen for this season and previous seasons."

(On Earnest Graham giving some quality carries today) "Yes, he did. He played hard. Some of the things he did won't show up on the stat sheet; picking up a couple of blitzes. Some of the yards he made were very, very tough at the end of the game where the clock was the enemy. I thought he did some very good things."

(On the team being re-energized by the defense) "I can't speak for the team, but I thought we got energized by the opening possession that the offense scored. That is what really energized our defense. They like playing with the lead. Obviously, the scoop and score by Will Allen, that made it a 27-6 game was an energizer. I think our whole football team feeds off of each other. We are not just feeding off of the defense. We are not just feeding off of Carnell Williams. We have to feed off of each other because that is all we've got."

S Will Allen

(On the fumble return for a touchdown) "I was just thankful for the opportunity that the sack by Greg (Spires) created. I knew once I picked up the ball, I was going to score and that's the mentality you need to have. I am just thankful for the chance to score my first career touchdown."

(On Miami running back Ricky Williams) "He's still got it. He's a hard runner, but our defense was up to the challenge today."

(On the Buccaneer secondary) "We have some depth in the secondary and the coaches preach to the backups to prepare like starters and I think you can see that on the field. When all of the guys, from the veterans to the rookies, are playing hard, it makes us a very difficult team to beat."

CB Ronde Barber

(On the team's defensive effort) "We are very critical on ourselves, but overall I think we did everything that was asked of us. We stuck together and had guys in the right spots. When it came to crunch time we were able to make the plays."

(On the injury to QB Brian Griese) "You hate to see any of the guys get hurt, especially a quality guy like Brian. I really feel for him and hope he isn't gone for a long period of time. "

(On QB Chris Simms) "This is his second opportunity to lead this team and I know he is well prepared for the job.

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the penalties) "We have to cut down on the penalties. We are doing enough good things to overcome them at this point in the season, but we don't want this to be a problem as the season goes on."

(On Ricky Williams) "We just came out, and knew we had to stop him. He was a concern of ours from the things he did against us in preseason. We definitely didn't want him to get going, because if he gets going, their running game gets going. So, stopping Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were tops on our list."

(On only facing 18 runs in the game) "Our offense got out and started fast and got us to a lead. If they can give us a lead, it helps our run defense because they tend to go to the pass more when they are behind. In our mind, we were ready to stop the run all the way up until the last play. Miami, in the games they won, they ran the ball real well."

(On having Shelton Quarles leave the game, only to return right after) "It tells you what kind of guy he is. The commitment he has on the football field and his toughness, can't be put into words. He really sucked it up today and played through a lot of pain."

(On if he was surprised to see Quarles back so quickly) "No. Shelton is a tough guy. I was concerned when he went down, because I didn't want the injury to be serious and I didn't know what it was. But, at that time, I had to calm myself to make sure Barrett (Ruud) was calm. If he saw me panic, I didn't want Ruud to panic. So, I gathered my thoughts, said a prayer for him, and three plays later he's back in the game."

(On going into the bye week 5-1) "It feels good. It feels good to be in first place in our division. The best thing about it is we have room for a lot of improvement. The bye week, the next two weeks, hopefully we can get some guys healed up that we are going to need coming up here to finish out the second quarter."

(On if he is concerned with how the team will come out of the bye with the injuries) "No. We are going to take it one day at a time. We are going to, as always, enjoy this win. We are going to be very critical of ourselves tomorrow, and look at getting better on Wednesday, from a health standpoint and also start looking at the 49ers.

RB Earnest Graham

(On starting in today's game) "I wasn't sure. I knew it was a possibility. I knew 'Caddy' (Carnell Williams) wasn't feeling too well. I knew 'Pitt' (Michael Pittman) wasn't feeling too well. It was a game time thing. I was expected to do some work today whether I started or not."

(On how he played) "When you fumble, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what else you did. There's no worse feeling than going to the sideline and having to look at the faces of the guys you play with and you just gave up the ball, which led to a touchdown on the next play. It totally swings the momentum in favor of the opposition. Whatever else I did, I don't think about it."

RB Michael Pittman

(On his touchdown run) "I saw Jason (Taylor) coming off the edge and it was just instinct, trying to make a move and make him miss. And, I did that. I thought he fell. I was running, (and when) I was in the open field, I slowed down a little bit. All of a sudden, I felt somebody clip my feet and it was Jason Taylor. My offensive line blocked great today. It was tough facing a rough defense all game. Coach gave me the opportunity to make plays, and I went out there and played my butt off."

(On players playing hurt and others stepping up in their place) "We want to win. Sometimes you have to step up. If you're injured, you're injured. If you're hurt, you have to play. And, I was hurt. I didn't feel like I was injured. If I was injured, I knew I couldn't go. But, I felt like I could go, and just fight through it. And, I did that. I felt like my team needed me out there today. And, I went out there and just fought through it. And, I had a pretty good game."

(On Chris Simms stepping in for Brian Griese) "I was very confident in Chris. Chris practices hard every single day. He just wants the opportunity to play. Chris, he came in and did an excellent job. We have confidence in Chris, and he has confidence in himself. He came in fired up and ready to play. He did a good job."

(On if this is the perfect time to head into the bye week) "Yes. Going into the bye week 5-1 is big. We have a lot of confidence right now. We definitely have to stay focused on what we have to do to keep this going. Miami had a great defense, a great defensive front. There were a lot of times I had just one-yard gains. But, we just kept plugging and just kept hitting them. And, we won the game."

LB Shelton Quarles

(On his injury in the first half) "I am a little sore right now, but our team has the mentality that if you can walk you can run, so I went back out there. Everyone is held accountable for what happens on the field and I wanted to get back out there."

(On the team's defensive effort against the run) "I am sure they (Miami) have seen how we have been able to stop the run early in the regular season and today we were able to continue that. We expected them to try and establish the running game, but we made it very difficult."

(On the upcoming bye week) "We are banged up on both sides of the ball and the bye week is happening at a perfect time."

DE Simeon Rice

(On today's defense) "We knew we had to stop the run. It was very challenging with a dual backfield. Both running backs are able to run for over 100 yards at anytime, so we had to play with a sense of urgency. That is what we worked on all week and we were very successful today."

(On playing well with team injuries) "When you see the character of the team, you have to give kudos to the coaching staff. We have a class 'A' coaching staff. It is a special group of guys that bring special things out of the team."

QB Chris Simms

(On coming into the game) "It just tells you what a crazy game it is. You never know when your number is going to get called. It's physical out there, week in and week out, and if you're not ready to play, you are going to go out there and look like a fool."

(On substituting for injured players) "I think it shows that we have some depth at all positions on this team. We have a lot of heart. We felt like we were overlooked going into this year and we're looking forward to the opportunity of going out and showing people week-by-week."

(On whether the game plan was changed at halftime) "We didn't say much. We kept the game plan the same. I think the coaches have the confidence in me that I know the offense and that they don't have to change a whole lot. We just knew that they were going to blitz me, being my first few snaps in a long time."

(On going into the bye week) "It's a great way to go into the bye week. It keeps the coaches in a good mood."

(On the first six games) "We've been explosive at times and our defense is the same defense it has been for the last 10 years. It's constantly overlooked, but definitely, one of the best defenses in the NFL. We played with some dinged-up players, too. The bye week is coming just in time to get us healthy and ready for the stretch run."

(On the team's depth) "Injuries are going to happen week in and week out in the NFL. It's how your depth responds to that. You see some teams that are demoralized by injuries. I think we're one team that has depth at just about every position. We're confident we won't miss a beat whether it's the first string guy or the second string guy."


Head Coach Nick Saban

(On the whole game) "We had some issues today. I think Tampa Bay had a very good game, but we didn't tackle well. Our inability to get off the field on third downs on defense was a critical issue and some of the long runs they [the Buccaneers] had, which is a bit unusual for our defense, was created by poor tackling. The last long run, we had three guys miss a tackle, two that could have had them behind the line of scrimmage. It was a short yardage situation. So, that's not what we need to do. Offensively, we had some opportunities in the first half to make some plays, big plays. I didn't cash in on them. We still had some bad penalties that put us behind the eight ball on the down and distance, which is very difficult against a team that can rush the passer. Obviously, the sack and the fumble for the touchdown that kind of broke the game open for them [Tampa Bay], with that big play run and then right after that getting the sack for a fumble for the touchdown. I believe in our players and our team and I believe that if we start to execute the way we are capable of executing, play a little smarter as a team, that we can have a good football team. We're going to continue to focus on our improvement and what we've got to do to get better. Jason Taylor hurt his foot. It affected him for awhile, but he went back in and finished the game. He's probably going to be pretty sore for awhile, but I don't think it's something that's going to keep him out long term, at least, based on what we know about it right now. Other injuries that we had, I don't think anything is significant. I'm sure you want to know about Ricky and Ronnie. We tried to use them together. We tried to use both guys. Both guys did some good things and we're going to continue to try to feature both those players. I think there are some other players on our offense we've got to get involved, whether it's Randy McMichael a little bit more. So, we've got enough playmakers, we've just got to keep ourselves in a situation where we can dictate how we want to use them, rather than the defense dictating by the down and distance. What we have to do, we've got to get a first down. That's probably the most disappointing thing coming out of this game for me was we continue to make some of the same mistakes that cost us that we kept making the same mistakes that cost us internally in the game. We had too many difficult situations to overcome."

(On RB Ricky Williams' play) "He hurt his back a little bit in the second quarter. He said he was alright, but rather than wear him out, we played him only about as much as we had originally planned to. We will play him more and more as time goes on. I wasn't disappointed with the way he played at all. His best run got called back because of a penalty, but he looked great. He looked fast and he made the right cuts. I am not disappointed at all in the way he played for the first time out of the box."

(On third-down conversions) "I think that's the difference in the game, really. They're 8-for-17 on third down. It's important to get off the field on third down. In their scoring drive in the first half, they must have converted two or three third down situations. So, it's a third down run, third-and-two when they broke the long run. Obviously, that's a big difference in the game for us to be 3-for-14 and them to be 8-for-17, or whatever. That means they're playing good enough to get off the field. They're playing good enough to get off the field, and they're getting off the field and we're not. So, that's an issue. It's an issue in field position. It's also an issue in giving them more opportunities for their players to make plays. That's something that we need to get better at. We started off the season pretty good in that regard, but in the past few weeks it has not been as good as it needs to be."

(On coverage) "I think we've got to rush. I think we've got to pressure. I think we've got to execute the coverage. We've got to tackle better in the secondary. We've got to tackle better as a defense. All those things are factors and issues that help you get off the field on third downs."

RB Ronnie Brown

(On whether there was a let-down with RB Carnell Williams not playing) "I spoke to him during the week and we talked about him being smart. He has a long season and he has a lot of games (left). There's no reason to go out there and hurt yourself. It really wasn't too much of a let-down. You understand the ins and outs of the game. You have to make sure your healthy for the long season. It's just one of those decisions that you have to make."

(On whether it was tough to find a rhythm alternating with RB Ricky Williams) "Not really, it's just, as an offense, we need to eliminate the mistakes. It's something that we have talked about in the last couple of weeks. We need to continue to do that. If we keep (hurting ourselves) in bad situations, we can't expect to win. We just need to get out of those situations, work on all that stuff next week and hopefully we can eliminate (the mistakes) next week."

(On what the team needs to do to improve) "I don't know, but we'll have to figure something out. We need to come out and eliminate all that stuff that is shooting us in the foot. Once we get going, and have everything down, we look like a good offense. It's a matter of eliminating the mistakes."

(On Tampa Bay's defense) "They did a good job. A lot of the time we stopped ourselves. We had some opportunities to make big plays, that we just missed by a few inches. We just have to keep working and get better each week."

WR Chris Chambers

(On the game) "Our game plan was to start of with the run and get thing going a bit and when we had big plays, make them. We definitely had the opportunity for big plays today, but did not make them."

(On the team's third-down efficiency) "We needed to keep their offense off the field and we needed to make plays on third down."

(On missed pass down the middle) "I lost the ball in the sun. I dove and tried to make the play, but can't let that happen again."

(On the offense's performance) "I thought we would be hitting our stride. It's very difficult to play the No. 1-rated defense and not we at your best."

DE Jason Taylor

(On his foot) "It hurts. I did something to it. I'll find out more tomorrow."

(On the run defense) "They didn't run the ball the way we wanted them to without their marquee runner supposedly. They did a good job. You've got to give them credit. I think we did a good job of playing the run at times. It was just the big plays that (really hurt us). They had a 30-something yarder and, I don't know how long the touchdown run was, but it was about half their rushing yards."

(On whether the Dolphins took a step back today) "I don't know. We didn't take a step forward, so I guess if you're not going forward, you're going back or staying the same. We didn't improve."

(On Michael Pittman's touchdown run) "He made a good move on me in the backfield. You want to make a play in the backfield, but at the same time, you want to force it back to everybody. I don't know what happened from there. He beat me to the end zone."

(On how much the foot injury affected him and reduced him to being used mostly on third downs) "Obviously, it was different than my normal role. I'm not going to stand here and make excuses and cry about it. Did the thing hurt? Yeah. It did affect my game. But still, you've got to fight through things and try to make things happen for your team."

*(On whether he would have caught Pittman from behind on the touchdown were he not injured) * "Absolutely."

(On third-down defense) "We didn't get off the field. It's as simple as that. I don't know what was happening in the back end, but I know up front we didn't provide enough pressure and I didn't make a play on third down. It's what I get paid to do and I didn't do it."

(On whether that's demoralizing) "It is. You can't let it demoralize or frustrate you, but it is tough. You win first and second down and get a chance. I've got to do a better job. I just didn't get it done."

LB Zach Thomas

(On a key point in the game) "The first drive was key. The Buccaneers went 80 yards. They put us in a hole and it changed the whole game."

(On preparation for the Buccaneers) "We practiced horribly this week. We had it coming. We had some of our worst practices of the year this week, and we got out-played today because of it."

(On fixing things) "We are going to have to practice harder. I'm going to have to be a jerk, but I don't care. I didn't say anything all week. We let guys slide and got too comfortable. We've got to work harder and answer on game days."

RB Ricky Williams

(On his playing time) "I don't make those decisions. I talked to Coach Saban this morning; he was worried I might not be able to get enough snaps. I felt that Ronnie (Brown) has been on a role and I don't want to try and break the rhythm of the team, so whatever he feels is right is fine with me."

(On his performance) "I think I played well. As a whole, I think our offense could have played better and I am part of the offense. Like Coach Saban says all the time, it's a process. For me, starting my season this week, I felt like I did pretty good, but I think I can do better."

(On the offense) "There wasn't any rhythm on offense and to be a good offense you have to have a certain rhythm. Because of penalties, and dropped balls, and things we weren't doing right, we couldn't establish a rhythm."

(On the two-back offense) "It's a little different now. It's the first time in my life I really haven't been the starting running back, but it's a new experience and a new opportunity for me to learn how to do things a little different."

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