Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-21-2007 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening statement) "Obviously hard to lose a game like that. I'm proud of our team and the way they competed until the end of the game. We had some breakdowns that are obvious to everybody: fumbled the ball first-and-goal at the one, fumbled the ball in their field position, punt blocked, field goal blocked. Jeff Garcia was superb today. I don't know how much better you can play than that. We had some key injuries that really hurt some of the things we wanted to do. Mike Clayton, we don't know the severity of it. He went out in the first series, and Mark Jones went shortly after that. But I'll answer any questions I can."

(On how frustrating the botched handoff was "Again, I don't have an explanation for those plays. If I did, I would do my best. That's football - as they say sometimes - and usually the teams that lose inflict those mistakes upon themselves, and that hurts."

(On the variety of defense the Bucs saw) "Well, you know they're playing a lot of cover 2 on every snap and that's what this defense is about; the Tampa 2. They got a lead, they played snap after snap after snap. Ernest (Graham) did some excellent things as a ball carrier and as a receiver to say the least."

(On what happened today) "Well, you know we had a couple of situations where we got beat. I thought all-in-all, we moved the ball very well when we had the ball. We didn't finish drives worth a damn today and that should be the storyline here today. I think we had a couple of occasions where we do have some special protections that we didn't execute and that hurts."

(On whether these kinds of "troubles" are inherent with road games "Oh, that's an excuse for weak people. We're talking about professionals. We're a better football team than that; there were some things that showed up today that were exciting. I'm really proud of our coaches, our players - we're missing a number of key guys and we need to overcome it. The Jacksonville Jaguars will have no mercy next week."

(On whether they need to clean some things up) "I mean we moved the ball; they're a pretty good defensive team. They're coming off the bye week. You know, when you have your top three backs, you lose two receivers, you're out tackled and Alex Smith is home in Tampa icing his ankle; guys have to step up and play and we did that. We just made some uncharacteristic plays in critical situations. That's hurts, it really hurts."

(On the 4th-quarter fumble "Well, they got instant penetration and it disrupted the course of our back. We need to take a look at that and I'll give you an explanation tomorrow. That was a big play in the football game."

(On making a late game push to stay in it) "We executed excellently. In the corner we tried for an alternate kick; which was pretty good actually, but they just made the play. I was pleased with us getting the first onside kick; sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't."

(On whether crowd noise was a factor "No. I have no excuses whatsoever. The crowd noise wasn't a factor. There's great disappointment with our play and we're going home today to get ready for the next game." QB Jeff Garcia

(On whether the fumbled snap slipped out of his hands "No. I mean it just didn't happen the way it's supposed to happen. I cant really explain it, it's just something I needed to take care of."

(On whether the two fumbles cost them the game "Fumbles and penalties at the wrong time. Just unfortunate breaks; I give credit to their defense for not necessarily breaking throughout the game. Kind of a bend, but don't break type of situation. I thought their front four did a good job of coming hard off the edge and yet clogging the middle when I stepped up to try to find lanes to work the pocket. They did a good job of rallying to the catch, making tackles, doing what they needed to do to keep us out of the endzone. But I think we were our own worst enemy today too at times, crucial times; critical times with turnovers, which we've been really good at throughout the year of not turning the football over. That's disappointing, because in a game like this, that becomes so critical and it definitely came back to haunt us tonight."

(On the Lions' defensive play "Pretty much cover 2 zone all day long. It forces you to find your check down, not a whole lot of open zones down the field, more so in front of them. That's where we had to be patient and had to just utilize the backs and some flaps and those types of things. It was just one of those games where they weren't going to allow you to beat them deep. They weren't going to allow one play to be the difference maker; they were going to force you to earn it and we weren't able to earn it. I mean, there were some good solid drives, but we just couldn't complete the drives and that's an unfortunate situation of today. That's just something we need to find a way to be better at."

(On the key to the Lions' defense) "Well I felt like they felt good about their pass rush and forcing us to check the ball down and then just rallying to the ball carrier. They did a good job at that all day long."

(On the Lions' defensive front and DE Dewayne White's three sacks "Dewayne did a great job of coming off the edge and just being aggressive in his pass rush. He got me, I know on the first sack of the day. That's another thing that we've been good about all season long, is not giving up sacks and being able to get the ball out and not take negative plays. That's credit to their defense again; that's credit to their front four and how they were disruptive today and how they flew around as a defense and just made plays."

RB Earnest Graham

(On the team's performance "They did everything that they could do. I mean coming out and getting a blocked punt, two fumbles exchanged. Everybody knows you can't do that. You can't do that in the NFL. You can't have turnovers. It's pretty simple. Other than that we throw the ball well. We played pretty well on defense with the exception of one drive. Shooting ourselves in the foot, that hurt. To play with as much effort as we did and not come away with it..."

(On how he felt out there) "I felt pretty good. I just wanted to do better then last week. Last week I kind of felt like I was out of sync with Jeff. Things are starting to pick up for me. I'm starting to feed my leads and get better in the passing game. I'm trying to improve every week. I'm kind of somewhat happy with that tonight."

(On if the signing of Michael Bennett got his competitive fire going) "No, I don't think that had anything to do with it. When other guys went down, there have always been other backs around. Tonight, I was a little bit more in sync as far as playing the game."

(On if DT Shaun Rogers caused the fumble on the goal line) "I felt the ball hit off my top arm. I was trying to make a cut. I saw the ball coming. It was just a tough thing for us. We were driving and doing well and it happened a couple times tonight. It was my fault and I need to go back and fix that and make sure it doesn't happen again."

CB Ronde Barber

(On the Lions) "They are much improved over a year ago, but I really feel like it was the things that we did that beat us today. They are frustrating things to deal with. It's football, right?"

(On the two big drives they gave up on defense) "One was for a field goal (at the end of the half), then the stupid-insane one at the end of the game. Our turnovers, a blocked kick, those things are a big part of getting you beat. For as good as we've been in that regard all year, we were equally bad today."

(On being 4-3) "It's the seventh week of the season, so it's not something you hang your head on and say it's who we are, but we had a good opportunity today to give ourselves some distance especially in our division and we just let it go."

(On this being the most annoyed he has been in a while) "I felt like we had a good chance to win this game, and to play like we did was extremely frustrating. I don't know."

(On if this is a game that in January they could look back and know they blew a chance) "I'm sure we will. You always hate to lose. I thought we came in a made a whole bunch of mistakes which got us beat. It's different when a team comes in and physically works you. It didn't feel that way. Yeah, we will look back on it. Hopefully it won't matter, but we'll look back on it if it is and say that's one that got away. One that we gave away."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On getting turnovers on defense) "We've got to find more ways to create turnovers in situations. We just have to get turnovers on the road. Again, we did some dumb things; self-inflicted wounds; to overcome that and the things that Detroit did. We really have to get this out of our system because we have a tough game next week. It's going to be at home. We have a chance to be a good football team, and if we want to be one of the better teams in the National Football League we're going to stand up. It's just unfortunate we have to wait seven days to get this out of your system."

(On the WR Calvin Johnson touchdown run) "Me personally, I was on the front side of the play. I really don't know what happened on the back side. I turned and ran to the ball. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get over there quick enough to prevent him from scoring from the back side. Again, there were probably some missed tackles on that play. Who knows? I just know we had some shots at him, I saw some guys take some shots at him, but we didn't bring him down. That drive didn't really lose the game for us. We had our chances throughout the game and we didn't take advantage of them."

DETROIT LIONS

Head Coach Rod Marinelli

(Opening statement) "We had just one injury I think; it was (Idrees) Bashir and it was ribs. Other than that I think we came out pretty clean. It wasn't pretty like the last time we played at home. We just fought. Time of possession hurt us a little bit. I thought Coach Gruden did a heck of a job just trying to control the clock and we couldn't get our offense on the field enough. Our defense, they fought and fought and I thought it was really big in the second half, that first drive. They had some field position and went three and out. That was big. We had a good rush most of the day; trying to contain (Garcia) as much as anything. I think we gave up one explosion play which was important. I thought we ran that ball well and I thought Mike Martz called a great game, I really did. He did a heck of a job with that thing and our whole staff."

(On QB Jeff Garcia's fumble) "It looked like it was a handoff from where I saw it. Jared DeVries just made a great, great effort hustling on that. If you just keep playing the snap - and we're doing that well at home, we just have to do that on the road."

(On what this means to his players and to him) "The biggest thing honestly for me, honestly, I want to get this franchise turned around. My focus is on that and my focus is on this team and we've got to keep finding a way to win a game. We still have to play better; we've got to play better. When we get that done, I'll be a happy man. I'm wired in on that."

(On whether the energy of the defense is different at home) "Other than the Oakland game. Yeah, that Oakland game we had great energy; the last two, no. Energy or tackling, that's on me 100-percent. I have to get that right."

(On why Tampa wide receivers were open in the first half) "Breakdowns here and there; I thought they did a nice job with some formations. The biggest thing is they did a nice job coming out running the ball and some of the play actions off of it. Then we did a nice job of adjusting to it and you come out and play some cover two and they ran the ball and you're going to get to some eight man looks. I thought Coach Gruden did a great job."

(On the play calling being good because RB Kevin Jones was back) "Oh yeah, we think Kevin has a chance to be - he is a special back. I thought T.J. (Duckett) just came in and did a nice job too as a fresh, big, strong back and they had a really good week of practice too."

(On why the running game has been tough on both sides of the ball) "I think sometimes it's the clock. Your defense gets a little chance to rest there. When we're throwing the ball and we're on it too, that clock is moving. We did a nice job. We did what we felt we needed to do to win today."

(On QB Jon Kitna's scramble) "That's who he is, Billy Kilmer or Joe Kapp, whatever you call him. That's him, that's what I love about the guy. He just competes and that what this team needs. I've said that from day one. If you understand the game of football, it's about, for me, it's about competitiveness and doing what it takes. Is he the prettiest guy? No. Is he a real leader and fighter for this town and this community? You bet he is."

(On why he doesn't want to talk about the Tampa aspect) "Because then it becomes about me, and it's not about me. It's about our game of football; it's about for the fans who watch it; it's about young kids who watch it; it's about the players who put in the effort and the work. It's about the coaches who stay up to 2:30, 3:00 in the morning who put the work in. This is a team game; it had nothing to do with me. The least is me."

(On WR Calvin Johnson's run) "Wow what a play. That was special. Man, that was a big old tall guy running around the end like that. That was impressive. We had a couple great blocks. I think Raiola had one down there and somebody else. They were blocking and playing as hard as you can play. That was really impressive to me."

(On not normally seeing a tall guy do that) "No you don't. You don't. He is a tall guy. He is a quick athlete. He's got great - you know, you guys saw him in camp and everything. He is a playmaker for us and that's special."

(On the importance of having Jones back in the game) "We've got three really good backs. He is a heck of a back, you saw it. You saw it the last three years here, what kind of back he is. You add another weapon into your arsenal and that's big for you."

(On protecting the home field) "Oh yeah that's important to me. I think one thing, we've got to play extremely well at home. We've got great fans. If we go out and just fight and fight, these fans will be behind us and they help us win. That thing is so loud there, and they love football in this community so much. We want to go out and play great football at home. I've got to figure out a way to go on the road and do a better job."

(On the second onside kick, if the Lions did something different) "No, they did something different and we were able to get off. That was a great play on their part, just a great play. That team fights. That team has a lot of fight in it. They competed. That was a tough football game, hard."

(On if he had seen the onside kick strategy) "I've seen it before, yeah. I couldn't tell you (who it hit). It might have been Jared DeVries. Yeah it hit Jared. That was a heck of (play on their part)."

(On if he worried about bunching his return men like that) "Your flanks are open a little bit. That's where they try to hit your flanks. It's tough. Now you worry about that thing coming slow. Now it's a line drive coming at you, hitting you. Now your flanks are open. If they drop it over your head you like that because you've got a chance to get the ball."

(On if he would spread out a little more next time) "I would think, yes."

QB Jon Kitna

(On his first down run) "That play was a one-man route, and the second option was to run it and they did a good job covering up the route. I don't know, I felt like that was the only chance I had to still be heading forward after he hit me. As it was I don't think I was going forward once he hit me. That's what this game is about, you just do whatever needs to be done to move the chains and to help your team win."

(On the commitment to the run and having RB Kevin Jones back) "We're going to run the football, I've been telling you that all year. But we've gotten ourselves in situation where we couldn't run the football in some games. We're not going to run it just for the sake of running it. We'll run it when the situation dictates that we can. That was the case today. Our defense played well, kept us in the game, got us turnovers and we kept playing from ahead. That's what you need in this league to sustain the run."

(On the end-around by WR Calvin Johnson) "That's why he was drafted second overall. Not many people make that play. He stiff-armed one of the better linebackers in this league and then made a guy miss and then carried the leading tackler in the NFL into the end zone. What else do you need to say about it really. That's why he is who he is."

(On the commitment to the run in the Mike Martz system) "I think that is pretty rare, but I think like I said it's a commitment to this football team that if teams are going to play us the way they play us today, mainly in cover two, we're going to run the football. We feel very good about our fullback. Jon Bradley just came over from the defensive line in the last week of the preseason and he does a great job of being a lead blocker for Kevin and whoever else is in there."

(On if he had better pass protection) "I think the balance of the game and being ahead helps dictate that. When you have two backs in the backfield and doing some of those things, that's going to help you. Not necessarily that he is helping protect, but it just gives the threat of the run."

(On whether the players could sense this game meant more to Coach Marinelli this week in practice) "He would never ever say that, but every player who has ever played against his former team knows how big it is. Especially for somebody who has so much respect for that other coaching staff like Coach Marinelli does. He knew, we knew it was a big game for him."

(On if the offense will stay balanced or go back to a passing attack) "I think the strength of our team is our wideouts, but I think we'll move closer to a balanced football team when we stay in football games No 1. Having Kevin back there, just his understanding of the system helps us. He just understands the system. Tatum (Bell) is where we were last year through six games. That is a hard thing. We were all growing together. Now we're kind of out there and we're trying to help him catch up with us. It's kind of a hard thing. Kevin, he played great today, and if we can stay balanced or something like that. I think ultimately we'll be more of a throwing team."

(On the 93-yard drive at the end of the game) "Our last two wins, Chicago and this one, were the same thing. You get the ball and you're up and you have a chance to put the game away ultimately and the offensive line, you just put it on those five guys up front. They did a great job. We mixed it in, we threw a couple passes in there, but ultimately it was the running game that kept getting us down the field and got us in the end zone."

(On why Jones works so well in the offense) "I think it's the understanding of the scheme and where we're trying to attack because we don't have a normal running game. We try to attack different areas on a defense and things like that. We're trying to get guys out of positions with the shifts in formations. I think the more you see it, the more you can trust it. I think that's what makes him big for us."

(On already winning more games this year than last year) "It means we've had a good start. You all might not have expected it, but we expected to win. That was the belief that we had as the season wore on last year, that we had the right pieces to win. It was just a matter of us putting it together. Right now we are playing well at home. We need to play better on the road."

(On whether the home crowd energizes this team) "All of our home games we've been in the game. Our last two road losses, we've just have kind of gotten out of the football game. I don't care what team it is. You lack energy when you are down 14 or 17, that is an issue. When we stay in football games, we know our defense is going to make big plays and this week we didn't turn the ball over. That's huge for our defense. It makes them have to go the length of the field."

RB Kevin Jones

(On how much it helps getting into a rhythm) "It helps; the confidence, coaches believing in you to do the job that you do every day, that always help. We got with it early and we stuck with it, so that was good."

(On if he thought the Lions would be a smash-mouth football team like they were today) "We have. It gets away from us sometimes, but that's what (Mike Martz) does. He's still a genius at what he does. He throws the ball well, and then he can run the ball well. So, those are his plays, the running plays, too. We just try to do what we know how to do to win games. It worked for us today."

(On if he feels like the media doesn't give them respect) "We feel like, I mean, we know about the past and not being able to win. Even when we are winning, people are still down on us and don't believe in us. It doesn't matter; we've just got to believe in ourselves. Not really think too much about it. Just go out and play and win."

(On the defense getting takeaways) "The defense played big. That's all they do for us when they play big, because a lot of times when they do that, we drive the ball down and either we get a field goal or a touchdown out of it. So, it was big that they did that today. It helped us out a lot."

(On if having RB T.J. Duckett helped him out) "Yeah, definitely. I had that little stinger on one of the plays, and he came in and spelled me a few times. That definitely helped me, because I got a little winded a couple of times. But, it's nothing bad; I've just got to work on my endurance."

(On if he's where he was before the injury) "I'm close to it. I just have to keep playing. It comes with games, and just going and going and I'll be there."

(On how important having long drives is) "The offense is explosive. We're just not consistent where we want to be at right now. We've got to show consistency all the time, and that's where we need to be. It was definitely important to get that drive in there and get points out of it so we can win the game."

WR Calvin Johnson

(On his touchdown run) "I'll give it all back to my linemen right there, all the guys blocking for me, they did a great job on that run."

(On his reaction when the play was called) "You've just got to go ahead and make a big play out of it. That's how we are all the time, just like we did in practice."

(On how he feels physically) "I feel real good now. Those last three weeks were kind of rough on me, but that bye-week was big for me."

(On how big of a win this was) "It's huge. Especially since last year, we won three games. We already have four and half of the season is not even up yet. So we're on the right path right now."

(On the offense clicking today) "The offense did a great job, you know. We had some good drives, then we drove the ball all the way down field, took the time off the clock we could, and we did a great job."

(On how long he'll celebrate this victory before looking ahead) "You look ahead to them right now. This is already behind us. We won it, but tomorrow we'll watch this film, get on it, and start watching the film for the next team."

DE Dewayne White

(On his three sacks and pressure being the key to the game) "Yeah, he doesn't want to throw interceptions. Everybody played; we played exactly like coach wanted us to. I was just the beneficiary of everybody playing. We had a system where we knew where he was going to escape to, we cornered him and I just got to give it to the whole defensive line, we all played great; I was just the beneficiary of it."

(On the defensive line leading the defense) "Yeah, you always put it on the line first. If we play well, the team plays well, so we try to put it on our shoulders and do good. I think everybody played great; we made tackles, got pressures, got hits. It was a team win today."

(On bouncing back from Washington and picking up the win) "I mean, we should win every game. Washington was over when the clock read 0:00. I didn't think about that, it was about what we do and how we do it week in and week out. It's never what they do."

(On what it means to this team to be 4-2) "We should be undefeated, that's how we feel. We're still playing like we let two go already, so we're trying to do that."

(On when they start thinking about next week's game)"In the morning. Right now. It's a win, but we need to let it go and start focusing on the next game; it's the most important game we've got."

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