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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-09-2003 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on Tampa's defense at the end of the game)

"I don't understand that. There was obviously a breakdown. I credit Carolina, but it's been two weeks in a row."

(on the play of WR Keenan McCardell)

"He made big plays for us again today. I thought we had some big penalties, critical penalties in key situations that stymied some drives. Field position again was horrific throughout the game until the latter parts of the football game. I credit Keenan and I credit the offense for hanging in there, but we had some inexcusable penalties that killed us and stymied some pretty good- looking drives.

"I'm not making any excuses about the injuries. Again, those penalties must be avoided."

(on the Bucs current record of 4 –5)

"We've been in every game. We've had games in our pocket and then have been mugged. We've had games taken from us in key stages of the fourth quarter. It's a sick feeling. I'm proud of our team. They came out here today and overcame a lot, including the scoreboard, 20 –7 deficit and put ourselves in position to win once again. Unfortunately we were unable to finish the game.

"I've got to credit the opponent, and obviously we've got look hard at how we can better put our people in position to deliver the big play, whether it be a sack or a turnover. Those are plays that we made last year, and those are plays we have to make this year. Obviously we have to work pretty quick to solve that here in the next several weeks because we are running out of games."

(on T Kenyatta Walker's penalties)

"I can't see them from where I am on the field. Obviously the official saw enough to make those calls. Those are big infractions. I realize that Kenyatta is playing a new position. He's an outstanding player, but those penalties certainly were drive killers and what can I say? I'm disappointed in that."

(on still getting into the postseason as a Wild Card)

"I don't get into all of that. I'm confident that we can put the wheels on this thing and we can play 60 minutes of good solid football for a game. The one thing we're lacking right now is finishing football games. Again, our goal is to make the Super Bowl tournament as the division champion or as a wild card, but we've got work to do. We got to find a way to win our fifth game."

(on what happened on long passes to Ricky Proehl and Muhsin Muhammad)

"Actually we had a weak side blitz. I think Ronde (Barber) got there clean. I give Delhomme credit. The ball's just thrown up. I don't know if he knew where he was throwing it, and Muhammad came down with it. Earlier in the drive they obviously got down the seam to Ricky Proehl and I don't know if he looked up the safety or if we had a breakdown. I'll have to find out."

(on fefensive pressure being there in the first half but not as much in the second half)

"I'm not going to put the defense on trial anymore. Obviously we let the game slip away at the end. The defense got the ball for us a couple of times and gave us a chance to get the lead; the turnover gave us a chance to get the four-point lead. They used all their timeouts. We had to go 80 yards. We know the story. We've got to clean it up. We're disappointed. We're sick about it."

WR Keenan McCardell

(on his touchdown catch)

"When John called my number I'm ready to play. You don't let anything stand in your way of making the play to help your team win. That's plain and simple. If we need a play, you've got to have it. We needed a touchdown. I don't know if it was third down, fourth down, or whatever. Just go out, and if you see the ball in the air, play the ball. That's what I did."

(on the final play of the game)

"The people upstairs say they got a replay. If I dropped it, I dropped it. It's something that I should have…it's the easiest catch in the game, and I dropped it. That's my job, to catch the ball."

DT Anthony McFarland

(on whether the defense believed they had Carolina at the end of the game)

"No, we were just saying one play at a time. Let's put some heat on them one play at a time. We wanted to make them drive it up the field. We felt the odds were in our favor. So we were just trying to put some heat on them up front, not give up the big play and that was our mindset."

DE Simeon Rice

(on another tough loss)

"Perception and reality is all the same thing. The games go as the tempo has gone this year. It's a pattern. It's a pattern that's got to be fixed. It's going to have to change. We have the wherewithal to do it."

(on if the Bucs are a good team)

"I don't know. We'll soon find out. We're still full. We're still burning. It's ugly right now, but trust me when I say that. We're still growing as a team. We're still getting our people back and when we get them back we're still moving forward."

WR Keyshawn Johnson

(on where the Bucs go from here after another tough loss)

"You go in there and you come back tomorrow and you try to prepare and see where you went wrong."

(on the frustration of losing a lead after getting it late)

"Any time you lose a football game it's a little disappointing. You know this is our 5th game that we've clearly beaten ourselves. No team has beaten us. We do things that obviously come back to haunt us in the course of the game. No team has dominated us to the point where you put in the papers... 'Oh, they just wore the Bucs down and beat them.' That's not true regardless of what people say. I think we just do it to ourselves."

(on if the Bucs are frustrated as the defending world champions to be losing such games)

"You don't even look at last year's championship. You lived that. You play it in the back of your mind, but it's over with. You won the championship. You move forward and win one in 2004. We're so far away from that, but yet so close. This team very easily should have, is probably going to have, a winning record and find itself in the playoffs, but it's going to be a tough road ahead. We know that. As we know, we've lost 5 games now and it's just one of those situations where you've got to bounce back sharp."

Carolina S Mike Minter

(on the game)

"We had to work hard to get that win today. You don't want to be a part of setting NFL records for the wrong thing. I hope that guys understand that and we can go out here and get this win next week."

*(on up and down play)

"Like I said, different phases.... We have offense doing well, defense doing well, and then a special teams breakdown. The offense doing well, special teams doing well and then defense breakdown … I can't complain on what's going on other than that we are young."

(on missed tackles)

"We were trying to knock the ball out. That was a key. They had a history coming in here of fumbling the ball. We were trying to strip the ball and knock it out every time. I don't we just thought about getting it down – we were thinking about knocking the ball out every time. Sometimes when you do that it can hurt you."

Carolina WR Ricky Proehl

(on the game)

"It's a big game. It's a divisional game. It's amazing, so many times it seems like at the end of the game that we are down and out and we find ways to fight back to win the game. There's more character on this team than any other football team I have ever been on."

(on the final drive)

"We were in the huddle during the time out…. One thing about this football team is that we believe in each other and we showed that down the field. Jake got everybody together and said let's win this game. I was able to find a seam and Jake put it there and then the next play he found Moose and then Steve.

"It was a great feeling to come back. Things looked so good in the 4th quarter and then looked so bleak after the interception. We fought back and found a way to pull this one off. This is a huge win. It gives us a three-game lead in our division and that's what you have to do."

(on QB Jake Delhomme)

"He is very resilient. The thing about Jake is that he makes some bad plays but he comes back. He battles every play. Like you said, this is his first time in the League as a full-time starter. He's going to learn, he's going to learn a lot. I can't say enough about him."

Carolina Head Coach John Fox

(on the dramatic game) "I am gray enough as it is. I'm not sure if I'm going to have any (hair) left at the end of this year. A tribute to Jake, I thought our offense was outstanding. He made, what he would probably call, a bonehead decision early in the game. It showed great competitiveness for him to come down and do that at the end."

(on RB Stephen Davis)

"Stephen obviously means a whole lot to this football team, confidence wise as well as ability. For a game like this, that we knew was going to be a very physical division game, it was obviously someone we missed a lot. I was pleased with what our offense was able to do. We had to throw a little bit more, protect a little better, catch better and in the end, we did it well enough to win."

(on WR Ricky Proehl) "Ricky is a veteran guy who's done it for years in this league. He's done it for us already this season. He seems to step up big in clutch situations. I think it's because he's been there before. He's brought good leadership in that locker room and good play on the field."

(on the significance of the game) "I think it's way early yet. One of the things we talked about all season is our division. Right now we are 5-0. We have one more division game left. This was a huge game for us as well as it was for them. Any division game is a big indicator of things that follow the regular season. I thought today was a huge step."

(on Jake Delhomme's composure in the last scoring drive) "Especially after what happened to him earlier, I thought that was more unbelievable. He had it in his eyes. He went out there and executed and had good protection in the line. Receivers made some good adjustments and catches. We work on our two-minute drill every week. I was very impressed with the way he handled that situation."

(on the pass to Muhammad during the last drive) "Jake saw him clear in the underneath coverage and he put it up early. Against their very good defense, you have to get things up early because they have quickness on breaking on the ball. It did hang, but it was up early enough to where the linebacker didn't have vision on it. I thought it was a well-executed play."

(on Davis not playing) "We didn't make the decision until today. That is about as close as you can get."

(on Buc players talking during the game) "I kind of expected it to be this kind of game. It was something I talked to the officials about before the game. I talked to our team all week, to stay focused and stay on course and not get distracted by those types of things. I would handle the officials and if they had beef, come see me."

(on Ricky Proehl's long catch) "It's a gimmick route where you start selling an inside route and then go up over the top of the safeties. They play a lot of cover two in their coverage scheme and we tried to organize getting ready for this week. Both of our receivers did it on that play and Jake chose Ricky. Most people call it a six route. It's a gimmick route, sell one thing and do something else." *

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