Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-24-2004 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On injuries) "I am really proud of our team. That was a very physical game on a short week. That was a great victory by our team. We lost Mike Alstott. We don't know the exact severity of the injury, but it is an MCL injury. We will update you tomorrow. Michael Pittman, his injury is more back related than knee related. We are going to be optimistic, but we will know more tomorrow. I thought that the victory today showed a lot of character from our football team. More than anything, I am more excited and proud for them."

(On the effectiveness of the running game and the line) "They are getting better. The running game was pretty good today. We were a bit lopsided towards the run. Chicago plays a lot of coverage at times, much like we do here, two deep. They do a great job with their rotations and their disguises. They are a very violent, very fast, physical crowd. We made an attempt to run the ball. We made that our theme all week. It's a credit to Mike Pittman, who didn't feel good from the beginning, coming back, out of the showers and helping us to a victory. The line deserves credit. We're proud of those guys."

(On the downs leading to the first touchdown) "We weren't pleased with our first and second down plays that put us in that situation. We felt we had a shot to Jurevicius down the middle on second down. Brian got hit as he was throwing it. We expected to see a lot of two-deep and some run-out situations from the Bears. We just got a great play from Mike Pittman, honestly. It wasn't play selection or anything like that. It was a great run and it was well blocked. Certainly, it was a big play in this game."

(On how tough it is to see Alstott go out with an injury) "I can't put that into words. The amount of effort by this guy. It's tough."

(On whether he fears the worst on Alstott) "I am not going to fear anything, other than the next day. It is obviously very disappointing. We just hope it is not a severe injury."

(On Brian Griese) "He's a great quarterback. He's got a chance to be outstanding. In three starts, he's thrown for over 70%. Limited reps in training camp, coming off of the bench. This guy is pretty damn good. I think he is doing a great job for us."

(On Pittman fumbling and the extent of his concern) "It's a guy that historically has not had a problem. The last week's play against St. Louis, you might never see that play again. He has been very good with the football. He had a key reception tonight to ignite us. We were backed up twice and had to come 90-yards to score. I don't like him fumbling the ball, but he has twice in the last two games and we have to correct that."

CB Ronde Barber

(On the game plan) "We knew Thomas Jones is their key and stopping him and the running game, and to put them into passing situations. We felt like we could play some ball against them. We needed to put our best effort forward in this stadium and I think we did that."

(On the upcoming bye week) "We'll wrap this win up and see if we can get better during the off-week. We'll prepare for Kansas City and see if we can get our third win."

(On the Buccaneers offense using a lot of the clock) "It didn't feel like we played at all during the first half. Our offense got their defense out there in that heat and everybody knows how it is today out there. I give credit to them. They won this game, as much as we did."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the defensive effort) "We know 'T.J.' (Thomas Jones) is a great back and we respect his ability. That one series where they scored, we didn't tackle well. We addressed that issue on the sideline and bounced back from it."

(On the Buccaneers offense using up the clock) "Anytime we can hit the field fresh, that is not good for another team. Obviously, the more snaps our offense can get against a team, the better chance they have of scoring. Today, coach wanted to establish the running game and we did. Hopefully, we can use that as something to build on in our next game against Kansas City."

QB Brian Griese

(On first home win) "We are elated – first home win – big game for us. We needed to have this win to go into the bye week with some momentum.

(On Michael Pittman) "Mike played an unbelievable game. He had back spasms throughout the game and he had to shuttle in and out. I think he made more plays today for us than he did all year. And it is a credit to him because he was in pain."

(On long drives) "We were building on what we did in St. Louis. You need to score touchdowns in this league. The game should have been over earlier."

(On his comfort level with the system) "I feel real comfortable in the system and more comfortable with the players. It is great to have Joe (Jurevicius) back."

(On his touchdown to Michael Clayton) "Mike has unbelievable talent. We have counted on him big."

(On the running game) "You need to establish the run in the league. We felt good about running the ball against Chicago."

(On the rest of the season) "You never know. We need to come out of the bye week and play one game at a time."

WR Joe Jurevicius

(On returning to action) "I was excited, anxious and nervous, kind of all molded into one. But it was good to get out there and play a game and make it through the whole game. I was just excited about the opportunity. I think this team is going somewhere, starting with this home win. We now have a bye week to heal up and make for a big second half of the season."

(On Mike Alstott's injury and returning from his own) "I am not exactly sure of what Mike's (Alstott) injury is but right now it is just devastating watching him. I was with him in that position last year and the one thing that I have learned is just how quickly this game can go and it's true. I've busted my tail for a year and a half basically to get myself better and come out and help this football team win. The only thing I can do now for Mike is be the best friend that I can be for him on this football team and help him out."

(On his first catches) "My whole focus this week was to get out on the football field and enjoy it. I wanted to try to enjoy the crowd, enjoy being on the football field, smell the grass, and get the first hit out of the way. The first catches came, I am happy. My feet are now wet, I am on the stat sheet right now, but the most important stat that came out of it is that I came back and we got a win."

RB Michael Pittman

(On his running performance) "The offensive line really blocked great for me. The holes were there. There were a couple times that I didn't get out of the backfield but they were playing hard. They opened up some holes and Mike Alstott and myself were just running hard."

(On his 46-yard reception) "It was just about me running with the linebacker. It was about my speed versus their linebacker's speed. We thought that was a mismatch and practiced it all week. Coach Gruden called it in the game and it was just me against Brian Urlacher and I was just running down the field and Brian (Griese) made a good throw."

(On Mike Alstott's injury) "It's just sad to see. Last year he got hurt too and Mike is a big part of this offense. His presence is a big part of this team. I don't know what happened to Mike, I just know that it was his knee. I just hope that it is not serious but I will just be praying for Mike. When someone gets injured like that, you just wish the best for them."

(On the win) "It was good. We ran the ball well after we had emphasized it all week. The offense played great and the offensive line blocked great. I had a turnover so I have to eliminate that and work on that, but other that we played well."


Head Coach Lovie Smith

(On the game) "We really need a win. I thought the guys played hard. I think we made critical mistakes. It was a tough time starting off the game with a big play called back on a penalty. There are some good things that we did. I think the turnovers kind of kept us in the game a little bit. We still let them stay in on a couple long drives, which really hurt us. Right now, we need to get a win in the worst way. We have San Francisco coming up and really have to go from there."

(On any special blocking plays) "First off anything special, no. We had third and long situations that you have to win. You mention Brian (Urlacher), it's more than Brian (Urlacher). There were a few of the plays where it wasn't Brian's fault and had other breakdowns in other areas. You get them in third and long, you have to be able to convert that. A couple of the touchdowns I know they were really long drives. If we get off the field on one third down we are in pretty good shape."

(On who will start next week at quarterback) "We will evaluate that next week. In my head I wanted to let Jonathan (Quinn) start and get him reps unless things were just really going well in the game, I wanted see to see what Craig (Krenzel) could do. We let both guys play and we will evaluate it from there."

(On Craig Krenzel's performance) "We didn't get the win so you can't be pleased with anyone's performance. I think at times he did some good things and at times he didn't. That's what you normally get when you play a guy for the first time."

*(On still getting questionable penalties at this point in the season) * "Yeah, it surprised me. I would like for it not to happen but they happen. We have to eliminate them."

(On benching David Terrell) "No, we aren't going to bench a guy for one penalty."

DE Alex Brown

(On the Bucs' O-Line helping to produce 100 yards rushing) "We have to get in position and get in our gaps. In certain defenses, it requires people to be in certain gaps. They run a similar defense so they understand what we are trying to do. If they can keep us from doing that, they can get a big play. But it's our job to get in that gap and we weren't able to do that."

(On the offense struggling and having the defense on the field more) "I think we're the ones struggling (defense). We had a series there where there were 10, 12, 14 plays on the field. We need to get off the field. That's not their job. They can't help us get off the field. We have to keep getting on the ball so they can score."

RB Thomas Jones

(On whether he felt that he got a rhythm going in the third quarter) "Yes, definitely. When you start to move the ball and the offensive line starts coming through, and you're running the ball. It just didn't go our way."

(On the penalties) "You can't win like that because they take you backwards instead of going forwards. Especially when you have a little momentum and then you have a penalty. That just kind of takes the air out of you."

(On whether he did much talking with Derrick Brooks) "Not really. I was real good friends with him when I was on the team last year. We just played football. I'll talk to him after the game. It was good to see all those guys. I wish we could've won, but I'll talk to him after the game. It was good to see him."

QB Craig Krenzel

(On Chicago's play after the QB change) "We came out early and did some good things. We got in the end zone, but I think the turning point of the game was the interception. I tried to get it to Bryan Johnson and threw it a little high. You can't turn the ball over against a good football team. They came out and capitalized and it was the turning point of the game. From there we played catch up."

(On his preparation coming into the game) "I felt very prepared for what they were going to do. Even on the interception it was a blitz and I threw it high."

QB Jonathan Quinn

(On his disappointment about being pulled out of the game) "I knew it was coming. Coach (Lovie) Smith said that if we stalled out that there was a good chance they would start Craig (Krenzel) in the second half. You have to admire the man for being a man of his word. He said if you are going to do something you do it, and he did. I'm all for the Bears winning. However that is, and whichever way I fit into that, then I'm all for it."

(On the team stalling) "I'm the quarterback and as the leader of the team, it kind of all falls on you. We did stall out and I was the one leading it in those situations. So I take some of the blame."

(On who is now the starting QB) "You have to ask the coaches right now. I think I'm the starter. I don't know. As of right now it may be Craig."

LB Brian Urlacher

(On recovering from the loss) "We have to go back to work like we do every week. We played well in the second half but you have to play for 60 minutes."

(On the Bucs crucial third-down conversion in the first half) "It was frustrating that they had third-and-long and they were able to run for the first down."

(On the Bears' unsportsmanlike penalty) "If he doesn't hit the quarterback, they were going to run the play. When you are aggressive like that, you are going to get those kind of penalties. We just have to play smart and eliminate those kind of things but that is going to happen to any team that plays aggressive."

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