Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-13-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the game) "I'm just sick about the outcome of the game. Carolina is a good football team. We turned the ball over and we missed some opportunities to make some big plays. The first series, we had Galloway wide open. You've got to make those plays. We had Clayton at the end of the half. We didn't make that play. It was a turnover. We shuffled the ball, I think in successive series to start the second half. That's the big reason why we lost."

(On Bruce Gradkowski's performance) "He did some good things. Obviously, he was under a little duress today. Carolina is an outstanding pass rushing team. They are a very physical team, as physical a team as I have seen this year, and they forced some errors. I'm not going to be too critical of my young quarterback because he did do some good things."

(on the celebration penalty) "You can say that cost us a score, but we had a big play at the end of the half. We had a chance to make that play. When plays are there to be made, we've got to make them. We caught the ball the first play of the game. We dropped the ball in the red zone late in the game, and we missed some opportunities to score, and we turned the ball over. It's not a good day at the office offensively. I credit our defense. We're minus some great players. Some guys stepped up. We played a lot of young people today against an outstanding team that was fresh. I think they proved their point today. They are a little better than us right now."

(on Bruce Gradkowski missing some deep throws) "He threw two nice deep balls last week. He missed a couple today, but we'll just keep working and hopefully we can improve those areas."

(on if Gradkowski was under pressure on the interceptions) "No, I'm not saying he was under pressure on the interceptions. I'm saying there were times tonight that our pass protection wasn't good enough. But it's not all him. I'm not going to point fingers at Bruce Gradkowski. He missed some opportunities. We all know that. Obviously that hurts."

(on if the defense was on the field too much the second half) "I don't know. They (Carolina) got off the field three and out a lot as well. It wasn't like Carolina had some long sustained drives in the first half. I thought we moved the ball pretty good. I was shocked we had seven points a half-time."

(on if he is at a point where he has to re-evaluate Gradkowski's performance) "He's played six games. It's not like the evaluation period ends when it's a young quarterback after six games. I've got some good footage of some of the game's good quarterbacks that didn't exactly flourish as rookies. So, we're always evaluating quarterbacks. We're doing the best we can. We're a team that has a serious injury at the quarterback position. We're playing with a young backup. We realize it's a challenge. We expect better results, and we've just got to keep working."

(on the performances of Dewayne White and Barrett Rudd) "They played very good. I thought they played hard and they made a lot of plays. Not just in the paint, but they made some great pursuit plays laterally. We were flying around, and hustling. I was proud of those guys."

(on the Bucs' record) "I don't care what our record is. Pain is pain. Whether they are growing pains or headaches pains or whatever, I don't like pain; nobody does. We loss Luke McCown in the pre-season. We've lost two quarterbacks, so right now we're working with our young guy, and we're going to continue to do that."

(on the play of the Bucs' offensive line) "The guys were pretty good. These guys are as good up front as anyone in the league. These are the highest priced pass rushers in football, and they have a humongous presence inside in Jenkins, and two crafty, skilled guys in Ruckers and Peppers. They got to us a couple of times, but I thought we held our own a lot of the time."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(on his deep throws) "I missed Joey (Galloway) on the first series of the game. I just over threw him. He was wide open, so we've got to take a look at that. Later on in the 2nd half and in the 1st half I missed Clayton. If I had just put it out there a little bit more I think we would have had it."

(on the offensive coming out throwing) "I think we came out and wanted to start out aggressive. It felt great. We definitely started out the way we wanted to. We wanted to finish with that touchdown and I just missed the throw. We've got to have those in big gains."

(on the turnovers) "We just can't have that. I threw two interceptions and fumbled, then Cadillac fumbled it. You just can't turn the ball over like that against a good football team. That's what hurt us tonight. You're not going to get away with a victory if you turn the ball over."

(on if the game was more difficult than others) "Sometimes I just have to try not to do too much and just go out there and play. Tonight I felt pretty good actually. I felt like I was out there competing and I just missed a couple of throws. It stinks that it happened tonight when I was feeling good. I just have to learn from it, get better and make those plays."

(on if the protection was there) "For the most part the protection was very good. The offensive line did a good job hanging on to those guys. We had a lot of plays on offense that could have been big."

RB Cadillac Williams

(on what happened on his fumble) "It was just one of those situations where I was just trying to make a play. I got careless with the ball."

(on problems in the second half) "We came out to a slow start. I think my turnover created momentum for Carolina. From there on it was a stalemate."

(on why the turnovers keep happening) "It's hard to put my finger on it. I honestly believe we have a good football team. For some reason, we're just not showing it out on the field."

WR Michael Clayton

(on getting off to a good start before things went sour in the second half) "That happens. We really have to put an emphasis on protecting the ball. It's not us to fumble the ball like that in the game. We're going to have to go back to the drawing board. Other than that, it's all about execution. It's not working for us this year. It's going to take a lot of us to get together and keep this thing together and finish off the season strong."

(on if he has any concern that things could begin to fall apart on the team) "Not at all, not at all. There's a lot of pride on this team. That is not a concern, not one bit. It's tough. It's a whole lot tougher when the playoffs aren't in the picture. But there is too much pride on this team to let something like that slip by. We're going to take the opportunity to get better as a team and if that is the case, we'll be a better team for it next year.

WR Joey Galloway

(on if Bruce Gradkowski was out of rhythm) "I think offensively, we were out of rhythm. "

(on how the team prepares for next week) "We're all professionals. That's what we're here for – to play. Everybody's a little down now because we didn't play well tonight. We'll go back to work on Wednesday and get ready for next week."

(on what he tells Bruce Gradkowski being that he's a young guy) "He'll be fine. It's a tough road for a young guy in a struggling offense. It's going to be tough. As long as he continues to work, he'll be fine."

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Head Coach John Fox

(On the game) "I think we helped our second half totals. I can't say much about the first half. We got it finished. We had some guys step up, kept swinging the sword and were able to pull it out."

(On turnovers turning the game around) "This game is about momentum, and we needed that. Our defense kept us in the game in the first half. We had some struggles offensively. We made some adjustments and got a little better organized. We continued defensively in the second half and got on track on offense. Those are always big plays. It takes players making plays and they did."

(On the last touchdown drive) "We wanted to eat the clock and move the ball and ideally score a touchdown. That is what we were able to do. These games in this League are so much won or lost in the fourth quarter. We lost more than our share and now we finally got over the .500 mark with this victory. Hopefully, it's a lesson we've learned and we can continue to improve on that as the season moves forward."

(On the Panthers running game) "Usually when somebody plays Cover Two, you can have some effectiveness running the ball. We had to make a couple of adjustments. They were doing a couple of things stirring the front up inside. We were able to make those adjustments with both play calls and some schemes."

(On wide receiver Steve Smith playing despite throwing up in the second half) "He gutted it up and was able to get back in and help us. That last play was a huge play. He's a tough young man. We needed him to be tonight, and he was."

QB Jake Delhomme

(On the difference between the first and second halves) "The first half we didn't run it well enough; we didn't throw it well enough. We needed to come out and play better the second half. That was said at halftime. It was pretty much an embarrassment the way we were playing in the first half. The second half we answered. The defense got some turnovers and cashed in. We made more plays."

(On finishing games) "We've either been all or none. We haven't been in between. We've either finished well in the fourth or we've laid an egg. Coming off of the Dallas game, we wanted to come out and play well. We played okay. We got the win. We have a short week with St. Louis coming here. We need to somehow build off of this and get better."

(On the Panthers offense) "Defense gave us great field position on some of those turnovers, and we cashed in. The first drive we were able to go down and get three, which was nice to at least put some points on the board. We were able to get a score to Keyshawn (Johnson) on a third down. That was a big thing, too. We did better on third downs tonight. We got another score with (Brad) Hoover running and then again to seal it at the end. That was more important to me than anything else was to get the ball in the fourth quarter and make first downs and then getting Steve on the big play down the sideline. That was the big thing. We were able to start to run it effectively. The running game is the quarterback's best friend."

(On wide receiver Steve Smith feeling ill) "I could tell in the first half that he wasn't feeling up to himself. He's a fighter. We didn't know if he was going to rotate series in the second half. He felt well enough."

DT Kris Jenkins

(On the importance of the victory) "Tonight was very big for us. One of the biggest issues we've been having is that we haven't been finishing strong. We start off fast then we let it slide. Today was actually the opposite. We got off to a slow start, but everybody stuck with it, we played hard and we kept each other motivated. As the game went on, we got stronger and stronger."

CB Ken Lucas

(On putting pressure on the Buccaneers) "That was key. We knew our backs were against the wall from this point on. We can't afford to lose any games."

(On the two different halves) "No one said that this season was going to be easy for us. We knew that everyone was going to try to come in a beat us. We had to dig deep and get a win. We won this game the way we've been losing the last few games. It felt good to come out on top."

DE Julius Peppers

(On his game) "It's been a long time since we've played, so I was just trying to bring some energy and keep us going. We finally got it going in the second half."

(On his three sacks) "We got some pressure on them. The d-line helped me out a little bit. I'll take those three. I'm happy to get them and, hopefully, I can get three next week, too."

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