Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-16-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Statement) I would just like to say Im really proud of our team. Defensively, they were great down the stretch. Obviously, in some key situations I like the way the offense moved the ball, particularly to start the third quarter. It was a big win against a very good, hot Minnesota Vikings football team and we needed it.

(On the nature of Earnest Grahams injury) I dont know. Obviously, that was the first play of the game. Its his ankle; not the same injury, its a different injury. We felt the best thing to do was not bring him back into the game. Geno Hayes hurt his knee and we have had a lot of injuries and are concerned.

(On the stripped ball by Will Allen and the recovery by Brian Clark) It was obviously a big play. We had some turnovers toward the end of the game that clearly turned the game today. I think Jimmy Wilkersons strip of the ball at the end of the game was as big as any. What a great effort, pursuit play, and its a credit to our guys. Theyre hustling, good things happen and we have some good players that really made big plays today down the stretch.

(On the play of Warrick Dunn) He had to play in every situation all the time. Clifton Smith again came in and we moved the ball extremely well. I dont even know if we punted today; maybe one time at the end of the half. We were poor on short yardage early in the game on third and fourth down. Warrick had not been practicing a lot at that. Short yardage has been Earnests [Graham] cup of tea. I think we had a terrible penalty on third and two the next time and lost five yards on first and goal at the two. I thought Warrick Dunn caught the ball, made some really big plays, made some really good traffic runs and at the end of the day, protected the ball for us, which really was big against a team like that.

(On the play of Jeff Garcia) Garcia was great today. Hes completing almost every pass. I thought the pass protection, for the most part, was very good. We wanted to run the ball and try to get some balance today. We didnt have much success at times running it, but I thought Jeff [Garcia] played a great game. He ran himself, kept some plays alive and really competed. He got hit early in the football game, we were concerned about him. He gutted it out, and that was one great performance against a heck of a defense today.

(On containing Adrian Peterson) They did a nice job in the first half moving the football. They got two or three pretty good drives. I thought our defense really came out in the second half and did a great job. We just kept our patience. We didnt lose it in frustration when Adrian made a nice run. We were able to hang in there and keep battling. We got a lot of people to the football and I thought we tackled well. We got them in some passing situations today, and I thought our pass rush was much better today, also.

(On the defenses ability to stop the run) We are going to see some more backs down the stretch, but [Adrian] Peterson is great. Hopefully, some of our defensive players start to get some recognition. I dont know why people dont talk about our middle linebacker [Barrett Ruud] more; why people dont talk about our defensive players more. If youre listening out there, we do have a heck of a defense here. We really do.

DE Gaines Adams

(On the defense) It was a good overall stand by the defense, and we have to come back next week and do the same thing.

(On the changes in the second half) Well we were frustrated at first, Adrian Peterson is a great back, so we just had to come in at halftime and settle down and just get it done. Its a boost for us knowing that we can get after the rusher and we just have to keep it rolling. We cant stop here.

S Will Allen

(On the physical nature of the game) Yeah definitely, we were up for a challenge. We had Adrian Peterson coming to town and he is a physical, hard runner. He forces his will on his opponents and he plays very hard so everybody had to come ready. Their special teams are pretty decent and they had a great defense, so our offense had to come ready to play. It was just a challenge for us and we stood up to it.

(On containing Adrian Peterson in the second half) Our defense played lights out and everybody played together, unselfish defense. Everybody just has a willingness, a willingness to just go all the way for each other.

FB B.J. Askew

(On the short yardage play for a touchdown) We practiced that play this week and we have practiced it since I have been here, we just never ran it. When I was hurt we ran it with Earnest Graham and it was in the game plan and what coach decided to call.

(On his first career touchdown) Yeah, I had one last year but it was in the preseason but yeah that was my first one in the regular season. I wouldnt necessarily say it was a reward. My job is to block, be the fullback and that is what I love to do. I dont see it as a reward but anytime you get to score a touchdown and put the ball in my hands I love it.

(On getting back onto the field) Oh yeah it was nice. I missed seven weeks and forgot how it feels, kind of anxious for the contact. Finally coming back, I was ready for it and excited and I am just kind of glad I was able to get back out.

CB Ronde Barber

(On the defense in the second half) It was not like we felt like we played terrible in the first half but we felt like we gave them some opportunities. The second half was the way we like to play football. We came out of the locker room saying put it on us and we did. Plus we got some great play out of our offense, they kept the ball a long time. But we finished today and that is as important as anything for us to win this football game.

(On containing RB Adrian Peterson in the second half) It was a challenge man. The guy is tough to deal with; when you think you have him down he is still breaking tackles. There are not a lot of guys that I can think off the top of my head that are better than him. So we knew what our challenge was and in the second half I think we stepped up to it.

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the coverage on RB Adrian Peterson on the fourth down play) I was thankful I was in position to see the whole play. We knew going in that their backs really break away from our leverages. Barrett [Ruud] actually was playing him outside-in, so I saw the whole play. When I saw he jumped to the side of Barrett and took off upfield, I just took off running after him. I saw him reach his hands up, I went for the strip of the ball to knock it out, just like I did on the first one with the tight end. Except the tight end got on the ball earlier, he did a good job of really using his body to take my hand out. Adrian wasnt into position to do that, and I was grateful enough and thankful enough that I could knock the ball out.

(On experience and instincts on being featured on the fourth down play) Some of it is, to be honest with you, I just thank God for that innate ability sometimes seeing the whole play and running for the ball. A lot of our big plays on this team have come when guys just run to the ball. Its a thing we preach everyday, especially on defense. Thats how a lot of our plays are made.

(On the win) It keeps us going at 5-0 at home. Again we really want to come out and defend our home turf. Secondly, were just trying to find a way to win. A lot of it, self inflicted wounds, we found a way to overcome that. As coach said again, weve got to stop doing that. We did for one drive. If you want to talk about the resiliency of this football team, we got 30 yards in penalties and we didnt let any of that stop us from getting a touchdown. Again, thats just the type of team we have, were not looking to make excuses.

WR Michael Clayton

(Outlook on being 7-3) Its sort of opening up right now. We have to stay the course as a team playing one game at a time and just getting ready for the Lions. We fought hard all season and we havent let any distractions creep in and its real important that we just keep this mindset and roll this thing out for the rest of the season.

(On the Carolina Panthers) Well see the Panthers when we see the Panthers. But right now, we are where were at and were happy to be where were at right now.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On his long reception in the first half) It was just a broken play and I was out in the flat. I could see Jeff [Garcia] running towards me so I just tried to go up field and he threw the ball. I was just there to make a play. I think it was key for us to get something going at that particular time of the game, to definitely get some points on the board.

(On filling in for RB Earnest Graham) Any running back relishes that opportunity, and it was tough because I havent really played a lot in the last few weeks so I had to get a feel for the game again. It was just stepping up for the team, it is important if a guy goes down, the other guy comes in and steps up, covers any slack. I need to do better in short yardage and in goal line situations but I will pick it up.

QB Jeff Garcia

(On the game) We are excited about this win. We knew it was going to be a slugfest going in. They are a good defensive football team. The have done a great job at keeping teams out of the end zone when they get in the red zone. Sometimes, like what has happened throughout the season, weve been our own worst enemy at times with penalties and unfortunate turnovers. We are grateful for the win because it was a tough game. The defense did a great job at the end of the game. The offensive line did a great job all game long of keeping a really good front four off my back.

(On if DE Jared Allen came near him during the game) After the game, he came up and we shook hands. I dont know, but Donald Penn did a great job. Jared Allen is a great defensive end. He has been a menace in this league over the last few years. Donald Penn, you cant say enough about how well he has played at the left tackle position having to face some of the best defensive ends in the league week in and week out. I am really happy for him and what he has done, especially against his old team or temporarily his old team. Its just a great addition for us and he just continues to grow and get better week in and week out.

(On the long pass play to TE Jerramy Stevens) To me it just looked like they played a cover-two man and he was matched up against a linebacker with the safeties playing somewhat wide, playing the halves of the field. That was a tough stretch of plays because we had some great things happening and then some bad things. Fortunately, I was able to put a ball in a place, a position where he could make a catch. He made a great grab and was able to extend that drive in a very difficult situation and get that touchdown on the board which was our only touchdown of the day, but it came on the opening drive of the second half. That was a big drive for us.

(On if he takes pride in the way he plays the game) I think so. Its that fountain of youth I walk up to every single day trying to keep myself as young as possible. But these types of games definitely wear on you and you cant play like this every single weekend but there were opportunities for me to utilize my legs today. Guys did a great job of moving with me and creating space when I was able to get the ball out of my hands and then also being able to convert a couple of first downs with my legs. Thats something I used to do a lot more of in the past. Its nice to know that I can still do that. Its not something that I necessarily rely upon as much anymore, but when the opportunity presents itself you have to jump on it. This was one of those games, because of their pass rush, because of some of the things that they do, they opened up some lanes for me to take advantage of and thats pretty much what I was able to do today.

DT Chris Hovan

(On the defense) Its great! An NFC team, the first place team in the North that came out with a stud running back and high powered offense. We know we had to shut them down, we shut them down and all of a sudden we get the pass rush going and five sacks later we came out with the win.

(On the difference in the second half) We knew we could stop the run, it was just getting them in certain situations where we could take advantage of it. Adrian Peterson didnt get half the carries he got in the first half, so we knew that they were going to go back and pass the ball. We were going to have to get after him with our front four.

(On mainly scoring with field goals) Well its Buc ball. I remember when I used to come down here early in my career and play against the Bucs, same formula for winning, Buc ball; play great defense, score 16 points, and get a win.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On the win) Nothing has been easy lately, but like you said a win is a win and well take anything we can get. Especially against this team, because they were hot coming in so its really a good win for us.

(On containing RB Adrian Peterson) In the first half we were a little out of whack at times, but like you said give him credit because hes probably the elite back in the NFL. Hes probably the top guy right now. But to our credit, we came back in the second half and played him a lot better, a lot tougher. He had one or two breakout runs in the first half, but other than that we kept him pretty much under wraps.

(On getting sacks) Its fun. Sometimes its not always me. Sometimes, like today, I just came free. That ones on [Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin] so Ill take credit for it. I dont mind doing that.

(On where the team stands right now) With our division right now, as competitive as it is, one loss means you have to make up ground. Every week is important right now. Its going to come down to the wire in this division.

TE Jerramy Stevens

(On if he thought he had a touchdown reception) I didnt know if I was on top of him or not, I was a little bit dazed when he came over and hit me so I just knew I was close. So I stretched out to see if I could get it across the plane. I didnt know exactly where I was at, but I knew I was inside the (five-yard line) though.

(On reception that put the offense at the one-yard line) Its just a play we run all the time and its not supposed to go to me. Im supposed to clear the coverage but I felt like I would run past the linebacker and give Jeff a heads up. He gave me a chance on the ball and I was able to make the reception.

(On QB Jeff Garcia) He does what he does every week. He doesnt turn the ball over. He makes clutch throws, big plays, runs when he has to and makes great decisions. He was huge for us today. Every time hes been in the game, hes really been a great leader for us and hes been making huge plays.

T Jeremy Trueblood

(On the Vikings defensive line) Theyre a good defensive line, thats obvious but I think were a good offensive line too. So Ill have to watch the film to tell you exactly what happened but I feel like we came out there and just came with our attitude and tried to impose our will on them and just play our game and more times than not if you win thats all that happens, so thats a good thing.

(On being 7-3) We just have to keep on plugging away. We have to get as many wins as possible. Its the NFC. Everyone keeps on winning. 7-3 is good but its not good enough. We still have a lot of work to do.

DE/DT Jimmy Wilkerson

(On the game plan) We have been hearing so much about Adrian Peterson breaking tackles on certain teams and just from watching him week in and week out and what he has been doing basically getting 100 yards every week and we are known for stopping the run and we only had one running back go for more than 100 yards against us and we didnt want Adrian Peterson to come in here and run all over the place. So we really focused on that throughout the week and we figured if he is going to run on us he is going to run through all of us, because we are going to swarm and gang tackle.

(On watching film this week) It was basically the same; we didnt take anything for granted against Gus Frerotte as far as throwing the ball. They have another running back, Chester Taylor, he is also an explosive back so we didnt just focus on Adrian Peterson, they have other weapons and we just practiced against them like any other team.

(On your play today) I basically tell myself throughout the week, I have to contribute more than what I have in been in the past. I have to help this team, this defense get more pressure on the quarterback, get more tackles, things like that so that is what I have been going through during the week and I think it paid off.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Head Coach Brad Childress

(On the game) We knew we would have to come down here and play error free football. The last 12 games, those guys are 10-2 down here, theyve got 21 takeaways and we knew we werent going to be able to do that, yet we were going to have to take some from them. Hard fought, probably the only positive is that we have a chance to win the NFC North with everybody 5-5. So you dont focus on the past, you look at the future. We learn from this one. There is nothing wrong with the fight of this football team. They grinded and we all believed there at the end that if we can hold them to three, we had a chance to come up the field and get seven points. We did a nice job in the second half. Hard to get a rhythm from the offensive standpoint. Got to give the credit to them and their football team.

(On what threw them offensively) I just think the rhythm thing ends up being huge tonight from the standpoint of I dont know how many plays we had in the fourth quarter, for or five plays, six plays, I dont know. But I didnt think it was anything out of the ordinary. We had opportunities driving the football down there. I think we took three lost yardaage plays there in a row which we were driving for points there. Rest of the quarter ran out and we have to make the most of those opportunities when you do have them.

(On the pass rush) Yeah, I mean when you are in those must throw situations at the end of the football game that stuff is going to happen. I think Gus [Frerotte] was out of the pocket once; he probably could have thrown it away. But it was a good pass rush out there today. Not overly concerned about that. Like I said, when everyone in the house knows what your going to do, it is tough to protect.

(On the time Gus Frerotte had) By and large, I thought it wasnt too bad. Again I dont know where all those sacks occurred. I think he got hit one time when he was throwing; I thought he had an opportunity downfield with Bernard Berrian there. He just couldnt quite follow through with that, but that is football. Again, they are a good defensive football team.

DE Jared Allen

(On how the game played out) It played out like crap because we lost the game. We had two opportunities to win it at the end and we didnt capitalize. We just let it slip away from us. The only positive is Green Bay beat Chicago so were still tied for first in the division, so you know its anybodys game, but we got to get back on a winning streak.

(On how tough QB Jeff Garcia was keeping the plays alive) Extremely tough. You have good rushes and he takes off on you. Its hard to know what to do, you rush outside, he steps up inside, you go inside, he steps up outside. So, kudos to him and their offense. They worked well. They executed what they needed to do and they scored more points than we did.

(On being affected by RB Earnest Graham not playing) We prepared for both of them. I mean we expected all of their running backs to play and I didnt think they hurt us in the running game. I think field position hurt us and turnovers hurt us.

(On being affected by QB Jeff Garcias elusiveness in the pocket) You got to rush the same. You go to try to corral him and he did a great job trying to keep plays alive and we knew thats what he was going to do. I mean they have only given up 10 sacks this whole year and hes the reason for it. Like I said, hats off to them, but we had opportunities to finish this game and we didnt do it.

(On how frustrating a mobile quarterback is) Normally you like when quarterbacks run around because theyre throwing off rhythm, but he was able to make a couple plays and keep some drives alive and stuff like that. But, hes a heck of an athlete and he did a good job.

WR Bernard Berrian

(On second half time of possession) We had some costly turnovers which allowed us not to be on the field too much. They really drove the ball down and ate up a lot of the clock and we had the ball and a couple of three and outs. We really werent able to produce.

(On not being able to get the offense going) I mean its real tough, its hard to get going and put points on the board when you arent on the field. You have to give credit to them for keeping us off the field.

(On the quarterback pressure and not being able to get open) Its not tough to get open, its tough for him to get the ball off when he has someone in his face and he has to slide and get away from the pressure. We have to go back and sure things up and get ready for this six game stretch.

(On not being able to get in an offensive rhythm) You cant score if youre not on the field, they did a great job of keeping us off the field and when we got on the field they did a great job of keeping us at three and out and sitting us right back down.

DE Ray Edwards

(On defending Tampas offense) They did everything. Garcia was mobile and passing the ball pretty good, dinking and dunking, making five yard throws and getting yards after the catch. Thats what happened.

(On if the play action confused the defense) Not really. We were in good position to make plays and we didnt make them. Thats what it is all about, outplaying the other guys defense.

(On if he feels if they let this game get away) Absolutely. We played hard defense. We have to make more plays, get more turnovers and give our offense more opportunities to get the ball in the end zone.

QB Gus Frerotte

(On how the game went for you today) What we wanted to do in the first half was run the ball, get play action passes, and get the ball out. In the second half they tied it up and took the lead, and we had to play catch up. Then we were going to get the ball with time left and we had a turnover. They get the ball and kick a field goal so we get the chance to get the ball again, go for it on fourth down and we dont get it. We had our chances, we just didnt make the most of them. Youve got to give them credit, they played a great game. It was a tough battle and we had them where we wanted them but we let them out of the bag.

(On the fourth down play to RB Adrian Peterson) I thought we had that one. Thats a tight one. People were saying that Brooks was grabbing his arm and everything. I turned around and thought we were picked up but Ronde Barber was right there. So I made him miss and I knew I had to get it up to Adrian because he was one on one and thats exactly where we wanted to go. I thought I threw a pretty good ball, but we just didnt make the play.

(On what the Bucs did to take away the running game after the first quarter) Well, I dont know. The second quarter we were still able to do some things. But the second half we had only (20) plays and we got out of our game situations in what we wanted to do. That made it a lot tougher on us. Obviously, we are good at running the ball and at the end we just didnt get it done offensively.

(On if the sacks were due to good coverage or pressure upfront) There are different things. One, I was trying to move the defense and come back, the last one there the guy just came through, another I was trying to get out of the pocket and make a play happen. Sometimes you have to hold onto it and stay in the pocket and sometimes you have to get rid of it. Its a little of everything, I was trying to be cautious. I know they tip a lot of balls up. They know everything because they run the same offense. It doesnt feel like we had five sacks, but I guess we did.

(On having only 20 plays in the second half) That was a crazy game, the clock kept ticking and it seemed like we stood on the sidelines forever.

RB Adrian Peterson

(On the game) They really got us out of our game in the second half. We had some opportunities to make big plays, we just didnt come up with it.

(On Tampas defense) You have to give credit to those guys. They did a good job. In the second half we didnt have as many opportunities to run the ball. They took us totally out of our game.

(On taking tough hits today) We knew they would come into the game with guys flocking to the ball. I dont think it was anything dirty; its just how their defense plays. Guys flock to the ball trying to get the guy down. Im very mentally tough and Im in pretty good shape so I was able to endure.

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