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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-29-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden (Opening Statement "I would like to congratulate the Giants. They are a very good football team. Obviously the weather was a factor in the game today and I will answer any questions that I can."

(on how difficult were the swirling winds on the passing game itself) "It was hard for both teams. It was hard in pre game warm-ups and it was hard throughout the game. Not only was it hard to throw it obviously, but it was hard to catch it, it was hard to snap it, it was hard to pitch it, it was hard period."

(on if the the wind affected the drops) "I could say it did. Obviously we had some key drops in the football game. It was hard to do anything with the football today other than hand it off and it is a credit to the New York Giants offensively. In the first quarter they got a lead and obviously it is hard to play catch up in weather like that. We had some chances to do that but we didn't get it done."

(on the two fourth down conversions that failed in the game) "Those were big plays. We had a third and one and a fourth and one that we did not convert. We had a conversion on another fourth down attempt and we turned the ball over to New York on a fumble. What can I say? We had some opportunities to make it a one score game as we headed into the fourth quarter and we weren't able to do that."

(on if the pitch to Cadillac (Williams) was okay) "Oh it was. Once again I think the ball may have knuckled a little bit and that was a big turnover in the game."

(on if, given the conditions, it was a lot to ask Bruce (Gradkowski) to throw the ball forty-something times) "No question. Also down two scores we have the wind in the second quarter so you had better take advantage of it and we did. We had a couple of good drives mounted but unfortunately we did not make the plays when the plays were there to be made. We came out and got a field goal and with an eleven point deficit to start the third quarter we said we are going to take advantage of the wind. We were going to use the passing game because we knew we could get some guys open and we missed (Joey) Galloway on the first possession on a big play. I think it was third and five wide open on our sideline and after that we had another good drive but we fumbled the football after a first down. Then we had the final drive in the third quarter that ended in a fourth down stop. We were going to try to take advantage of the wind because we knew it was going to be a real problem in the fourth quarter as it was in the first quarter."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(on how much it was the wind and how much it was the offense that contributed to the problems) "The wind was a little factor out there. Anytime you're playing in conditions like that, but I've been in that situation before. I never played in the best weather in Toledo and coming from Pittsburgh. It was a little bit of a factor but they played in the same stuff we were playing in. You just have to get the job done; you've got to find a way. We didn't do that today, but we had some good things out there, a lot to build on, but we have to learn from our mistakes."

(on what he attributes the dropped passes to) "It's tough out there. It's tough judging the ball coming in the wind, but you're going to have that in games and you need to fight through it. We were still in the game at the end so those drops didn't mean too much. I could have given better balls on those, and we just need to make plays."

(on if the wind affected the pitch to Cadillac Williams) "The wind really did feel like it really picked up during that pitch. It's tough, like I said, the ball was kind of floating around differently and you just have to try and get it done. But turnovers are turnovers and you can't have that against a good football team, and they capitalized on that."

(on if it was frustrating to have chances and be unable to capitalize) "It's very frustrating. This is a good football team we faced, but we had chances out there. And when you don't utilize your weapons and capitalize on chances then you're going to lose to a good football team. But we fought hard, we fought to the very end, we just have to learn from our mistakes."

(on if he feels like he left some big plays out on the field) "We left some big plays out there. It was definitely tough but even with that we were still in the game. Our defense did a great job today holding them down, and we need to score more than three points. We have to work harder and get the job done no matter what the weather conditions. We'll be OK though. We're going to move on and we'll definitely be ready for next week."

CB Ronde Barber

(on the wind) "You have to deal with it. There were a couple of situations where Eli threw some balls that just floated around up there. We knew we had to deal with it. That is why Jon brought a couple of guys here yesterday to see if they could deal with the wind."

(on the Giants) "They played well on defense. They were efficient on offense and didn't turn the ball over which we felt we needed to do if we were going to win this game. They are a good football team and they have a lot of good players and we knew that coming in. They outplayed us a little bit."

(on the missed opportunities) "We had a couple of opportunities on offense that we didn't capitalize on and the defense was out on the field a long time and didn't make enough plays. That is what it is going to come down when we look at the film on Monday. We felt like we matched up well against them. They made some plays when they had to make them."

(on playing against Tiki for the last time) "If it is, then good for him because he got back in the win column against us but he is still down three to two. If you give him some room, then he is tough to deal with in space. I think for the most part and he even said so after the game that we did a lot of what other teams couldn't do. I don't know how many yards he had on the day but he had only one really breakout run against us. Tiki is really good and we all know that.":

(on the touchdown pass) "I saw the ball. I saw Eli throw it. I thought I was in pretty decent position but six foot five and five feet nine and a half and that is not a battle that I am going to win very often."

(on Brandon Jacobs) "He is a big guy. It is hard to get your arms around him to bring him down. Brandon is a finisher for them and a goal line back and they have a good one-two punch there."

RB Carnell Williams

(on turning the ball over on downs) "That was a tough series. Those guys really did a good job. On fourth down, it was a play that we have been working on for three weeks that I thought was going to hit big. You have to tip your hat to the Giants because they came to play."

(on the fumble) "It was a ball that I definitely should have caught. But when the wind came it kind of died on me. The ball hit both of my hands so there is no excuse and I should have caught the ball."

(on the wind) "I've never been part of something like that. The ball was just moving and swirling and it dies on you quick. We fought hard but we definitely weren't productive today."

WR Michael Clayton

(on the missed opportunities) "It was tough. We didn't execute at times and that hurt us big. It cost us the game. If we do the things that we are supposed to do, that we normally do, then we walk away with a victory. It hurt us bad enough to make us lose."


Head Coach Tom Coughlin

(Opening statement) "We knew that this would be a very difficult game today, coming off the Monday night game. I was pleased with the way the players responded throughout the week, knowing full well that this was a football team that, as I mentioned, could very well have come in here with four wins in a row. We were able to overcome the conditions and so on and so forth. Both teams had to play in it. I think the fact that we didn't turn the ball over was critical in the game. Both teams seemed to handle the long snap and punting very well. I thought maybe that would be a factor. But definitely when we did have one score into the wind, I thought that was huge. We had the first quarter score, the first goal, with the wind at our backs. It's difficult to win in this league. That was not an easy football game. It was a physical game against a team that has been in the top ten defensively for nine straight years. (It was) an outstanding game that they played, and we're very fortunate and very happy to have won."

(on how the weather affected play calling) "Well, you had to be very careful what you did with the ball when you were going into the wind. It was a strong, strong wind to start out with, but then the gusts would also be there. You saw the way it affected the ball when it was down the field. It was one of those days when you really had to focus on the ball all the way into your hands. It was a factor, there's no doubt about that."

(on injuries to Brandon Short and Brandon Jacobs) A: No. Short is…I won't know the total story, but he obviously couldn't go back in.

(on Jeff Feagles) "We knew that the kicking game was going to be critical on a day in which the wind was a factor such as it was. When kicking off into the wind, we thought it was going to be a factor, and when kicking off with it, it would be a factor. He did an outstanding ,job early on, even to the point where we punted the ball very close to the 34-35 yard line. We were fortunate that we forced Tampa to take the ball at the five. That was a call based on the wind. We decided -- I just felt it was too rough, too long and too risky of a field goal. I didn't want them to have field position very far out. He did an outstanding job all day."

(on how Eli Manning managed the game in the wind) "I thought he managed the game very well. Obviously I think both sides would say that we left some yardage out there, but he managed it, he never got down, he never was frustrated, and that was the important thing. The object is to win, and whatever you have to do to win, you do it. We were able to come away with it."

(on DE Mathias Kiwanuka) "He's a good young football player that we've worked in and tried to get him in there some as we've gone along. He had a big opportunity today and I'd just say on the surface he looked like he played well."

(on how Jacobs changes the personality of the offense) "He had some big runs there in the fourth quarter. We finally found an area where we could make a couple of yards. We did have a few good runs there, and then of course they made an adjustment and took that away from us. He came in and ran it and had some power, and we were able to get something going there in the fourth quarter which ended up with a field goal. I was hoping we would be able to drive it in."

(on if he said anything to Jacobs about the taunting penalty) "What I said is private between he and I. He's a very energetic, enthusiastic young kid who loves to play, loves to have the opportunity. Sometimes you have to temper that a little bit."

(on the play of the defense) "We had the three starters who were out of the game. We knew that early on going into the week, we made the adjustments. We talked about having good players and guys would have to step up and play well. We were able to come away giving up just three points."

(on how much the penalty against David Tyree hurt them) "Well, it hurt us. There's no question. That was the factor which gave them the ball and allowed them to continue the drive. In that situation, you want your defense off the field, regardless of whether you ended up backed up or not, you wanted to be in a position where the offense had the ball and that wasn't the case."

QB Eli Manning

(On the wind) "It was windy, especially in the far end zone. It was a tough day, especially with the defense. They were stacking eight or nine guys in the box because they knew it would be hard to throw the ball downfield. We found a way to hit the big plays and our defense got some turnovers and good field position. It was one of those games we had to play smart. We couldn't turn the ball over or give them any easy touchdowns."

(On the coverage on WR Plaxico Burress on TD play) "We were hoping to get some kind of man or single coverage on Plaxico on a corner. He was going to the corner of the endzone and [DB] Ronde [Barber] was on him and I knew I had to throw it at a place where Plaxico could catch it or nobody [could catch it]. He did a great job of going up, one-handed, and making a great play. He is a weapon in the red zone."

(On playing in the wind) "This is the first time I have played in a game where the wind affected your play calling. Even though they were putting eight guys in the box, we were forced to run. It was one of those days where you had to just tough it out. We have had a few practice days where it has been windy, so we know how to work with it. You have to just throw it the same way and hope it gets there. By the start of the fourth quarter, we were in the huddle and I was trying to call plays and you see guys losing their footing. It got bad there late."

(On the Giants establishing themselves as a team) "I think we are finding ways to win. We have played a bunch of games where you have to score a lot or our defense has scored for us. Our offense has found ways to run the ball and also be effective in the pass. We are working hard and improving on things from week to week. I think we need to keep our focus right now and know that it is a long season and we have a lot more tough games ahead."

(On RB Brandon Jacobs) "He is a force in the third and fourth quarter. He comes in fresh when their defense is getting tired and he has that big body to run in there and pound them. He is a tough guy to bring down. He gives you a different tempo and when the defense gets tired and tries to arm tackle him, he runs right through those."

(On the chemistry between him and WR Plaxico Burress) "We work hard during the week and he did a great job today finding ways to get open. He was able to catch the ball with the wind and concentrating on getting the catch. I told the receivers before the game to concentrate on catching the ball and not the yards after the catch."

LB Antonio Pierce

(on the Giants' performance today) "This is a different team than we had in '05. In this '06 season everything matches up. It is a different team with a different mindset than last year. The wind was a big factor for their quarterback today, but for our quarterback as well. So you knew it was going to be a game where we were going to have to stop the run. And we tried to do that early. Once we did that, it played into our favor."

S Will Demps

(on game day conditions) "The wind was a factor today, and we knew that when they had the wind they were going to take vertical shots. They did but they did not make those plays that they needed to make. We bounced back from it and overall stayed focused knowing that it was our game to lose. We went up early and on the back end we just had to make sure we communicated and kept everything in front."

T Luke Petitgout

(on the Giants performance) "It was a windy day and they knew that we were going to run the ball. They are a fast defense that moves a lot. They played a good game defensively. We have to throw the ball, though, because you can't just run the ball every play. We just had to hope we could take our shots and hope that the wind wouldn't pick up too much when we were passing. The wind doesn't affect me, but I definitely know it is going to affect our quarterback and receivers. It was definitely a factor in the outcome of this game today. But it was there for both teams. This is a tough place to play especially when the wind kicks up."

DE Mathias Kiwanuka

(on his first start and overall performance) "Overall I thought we got off to a great start. I think that set us up to make a lot of good plays. We have to, obviously, go to the film, but I think we played well. I think the wind was definitely a factor in all phases of the game, not just for their offense but for both sides of the ball on special teams. It was something we had to come out prepared for. My first sack felt good. It is something we have been doing and things just came to me this time. It felt real good to get up and see the quarterback down there. I think for me personally, coming off the ball and exploding like that makes all the butterflies go away. I was just ready to play after that and make another play."

TE Jeremy Shockey

(on the game) "It was a great win; it was a great team win. It wasn't pretty and the conditions were pretty bad out there. But overall we saw it through and this team has no quit in them and we're on a roll. We just have to keep this thing going and keep studying and not be complacent in any manner at all."

RB Tiki Barber

(on the win) "The wind played a significant factor in today's game because we couldn't get the ball downfield for two quarters because we were into the wind in second quarter. They took the wind in the third quarter. And so we were limited to just running the ball and fortunately, as is the concept of a team game, our defense played great and held them and allowed us as an offense to just shovel along and ground up yardage and ground up the clock. We had a big win. They used their advantage by putting eight or nine guys in the box at all times trying to stop our run - which has been huge for us the last three weeks. You have to give them credit for that. We were fortunate enough to get the turnover and score on a big drive in the first quarter to get us down close and give us enough points to win."

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