Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-24-2003 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Comments) "I'd like to quickly say we're happy to win, obviously. (I am) proud of our team. Defensively, I thought we did some great things generating turnovers. Offensively, we had some very good moments, although we did some very, very illogical things in key situations, turning the ball over and costly penalties again. But we're happy to be 5-6."

(On the greatest positive and negative of the game) "The plus is we win the game. There were a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. The big minus tonight was turnovers. Turnovers really cost us obviously seven points and a couple of opportunities to put something on the board. Again, we had some key penalties that put us way behind in good field position. Those are big negatives that really typify a 5-6 football team."

(On the decision to go for it on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter) "They needed a touchdown either way, to tie the game potentially, maybe win the game with a two-point conversion. It was fourth down and a foot. We felt we had the play. It was a front we expected. I tip my hat to the Giants. That's an area we take great pride in. It could have been very, very costly tonight, but 10 out of 10 times I would choose to go for it in those circumstances."

(On the passing game) "We were a couple of plays away from having a real big night throwing the ball. I think we had Charles Lee on a double move late in the game - big. (We) thought we had (Michael) Pittman on a swing pattern - big. It was overruled. Charles Lee is a good player. He has a chance to be really good and maybe someday great. What can I say? It's the first start the young man has had on Monday Night Football in a game that he knew we knew we needed him to play well. He did do that for us."

(On the defense) "I think when we failed on fourth-and-one I heard seven or eight guys saying, 'Good.' They were glad. They wanted to have the chance to go out there and prove they can get that job done. We were happy for them. Those guys have been scrutinized, and rightfully so, but they did a great job tonight when they needed to."

(On the play of Warren Sapp) "I tip my hat to Warren. He's a tempo setter here. There's a Buccaneer that we're going to try to model. We're going to try and form a lot of future Buccaneers like Warren Sapp."

CB Ronde Barber

(On defeating the Giants) "It feels good. I hope we can remember this feeling. It has been a long time; three weeks since we tasted success, and we finally got one."

(On playing against his brother, Tiki) "I was geared in. It was a different type of feeling. I was saying all week how much I really enjoy watching the Giants play because Tiki plays for them. It's kind of a bittersweet feeling because I want them to win every week and want them to do well every week. I couldn't let that interfere with my job and couldn't let that interfere with how we prepare to win ballgames. I'm proud of our guys."

(On how his mother, who attended the game, controlled her emotions) "I don't know how she did it today. I'm sure she found a way. She had the support of our wives up there and a bunch of friends. I'm sure she made it through."

(On creating turnovers against the Giants) "A big part of our success over the years has been creating turnovers, and we did that today. The big ones are the one going into the red zone with Dwight (Smith) and John's [Lynch], which brought a closure and finished it. We haven't been finishing games recently. This is one we can look back at the defense and say, 'yeah, we did what we had to do in the closing moments.'"

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the win) "Believe it or not, for us it's forget about this and go back to work on Wednesday. It is a short week. We need to get back to 6-6 and get ready for a new season in the fourth quarter."

(On getting breaks in the game) "We just kept fighting. Whatever happens in the ballgame, so be it. (We need to) be positive about it, come back and do our jobs. We had some chances to make some plays down the end, and we did."

QB Brad Johnson

(On Tampa Bay playing a strong game despite a week of controversy) "This was a huge win for us, obviously. We had to deal with Keyshawn (Johnson) this week. Our backs were against the wall, especially with our record. But we did bounce back. We had some guys step up, especially Charles Lee filling in for Key."

(On if this win proved anything to the Buccaneers' critics) "We had some great courage, and we never gave up on each other. We feel like we proved our worth. Now, we need to get ready for Jacksonville on Sunday."

(On how Johnson's departure affected him) "Key and I have a had a great two-and-a-half years together. We won a lot of ballgames and won a Super Bowl together. But the guys in there, especially Joe Jurevicius and Keenan (McCardell), the mainstay guys helped us. With Charles Lee stepping up, it shows that he was cut, brought back, cut, brought back and for someone to come in and make a big play like he did tonight with two catches and a TD, it says something for his resiliency."

RB Thomas Jones

(On the touchdown) "Offensive line did a good job blocking and I was able to get over the top. The linebackers picked the wrong angles and there was a big hole so I just dove over it.

(On the win) "It is a huge win for us to get back on track. Get our next five games and get a spot in the play-offs. Definitely a huge game.

WR Charles Lee

(On his performance tonight) "First I would like to thank God, give God all the glory. You know it's just an opportunity. You know it was a situation going in, it was something that the team couldn't control. Key (Keyshawn Johnson) is a good guy and we all miss him but it was an opportunity for me to step up and coach let me know that they had confidence in me. Brad (Johnson) came to me earlier in the week and said 'hey I'm going to come to you'. My main thing doing into the week was just to relax and focus and make sure I knew the game-plan."

(On this week) "It was just really like wow, I really didn't know. I got a call late that afternoon from Coach Mann and he just told me the circumstances came up, this is the NFL it's not always fair, guys always get their chance, what are you going to do. I really wanted to come out and show these guys on the team and everyone in the organization that I was a guy that they can count on."

(On his touchdown) "We ran trips to the strong side and I got isolated on the back side. Brad (Johnson) made a nice throw on the slant route. I was able to catch it in stride and make a guy miss and take it the distance."

S John Lynch

(On the interception) "It was a cover 2 spy zone, and they ran a similar route as they ran earlier when Amani (Toomer) dropped the ball down the middle. I got back deep and was just able to read Kerry's (Collins) eyes. After that, I just went up and got it, but it felt good to close someone out."

(On if he felt a sense of relief after the interception) "There was some relief. The ball got knocked out of my hands, and we (defense) would have been back on the field again. It was relief that the ball bounced back to me."

T Roman Oben

(On the team's focus) "As a professional you have to handle distractions, whatever they were. The coaches were confident in Charles Lee and what he could do, and he obviously showed that today. We haven't won a game in what seems like a month. I'm just glad we put it on all cylinders today."

(On the first game without Keyshawn Johnson) "I think everyone outside the locker room was waiting to see how we'd respond with the absence of Keyshawn and all the things that happened. They were confident in Charles Lee that he could step up and do it, and he did."

DT Warren Sapp

(On the significance of tonight's win) "It was one we had to have. We had to have it. We came out tonight, and we played not an excellent game; we had our sloppy spots here and there. Overall, we got the win, and that's what we needed."

(On winning at home) "We understand where we are at right now. We are a 5-6 team going to Jacksonville a week from now looking for our sixth win. That's where we're at. There are five balls on the table now, and it's our turn up."

(On having fun on the field) "I had a good time. I've been trying to get back where we are having fun. When we are having fun, we are making plays. When we are making plays, we are winning games. We just wanted to get back to that."

(On closing the Giants out) "The game has a funny way of working itself out that way. If it was going to be our turn to close it out, we were going to close this one because our life was on the line."

DB Dwight Smith

(On the game) "We came out on fire, period. Regardless of plays that happened and plays that didn't happen. We came out on a mission and had something to prove this week."

(On the win) "It was big. In the big scheme of things, (it was) real big. If we get to seven losses, it's tough to get into the playoffs."

Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel

(On the loss to the Buccaneers) "Our guys gave great effort. We kept fighting and fighting, and we played hard. When it came down to it, we did not make enough plays. We didn't make enough things happen."

(On the Giants' playoff chances) "It doesn't matter. We need to get the team back together, work hard and get better."

(On why the Giants did not go for two on their touchdown) "I was aware of the numbers. I've done that before (gone for two), and it has come back to bite me the other way. I felt it was early enough in the game where it wouldn't be an issue."

(On not going for it on fourth down late in the game) "I felt like if we didn't get the first down, we weren't going to get the ball back."

Giants RB Tiki Barber

(On tonight's game) "The defense played pretty good. They gave us an opportunity at the end. We didn't capitalize on it."

(On the problems) "A lot of it is discipline problems. We're causing penalties on ourselves and giving up sacks in critical situations and things like that are what hurt you. You know going into the half we have a chance to get some points and we come away with nothing and those kind of things hurt you especially when they're getting the ball coming out of in the second half."

(On how much the loss hurts) "It's frustrating you know. You never like to be on a losing streak like we've been and I think it's more frustrating that the same problems keep re-surfacing and like I said I think we're just not disciplined right now and we're not playing up to our potential."

(On playing against Ronde) "It was good. He hit me a couple of times and like he likes to say, he kissed me a couple of times. But that wasn't paramount on my mind, it was winning and I'm happy for him but disappointed in the way it turned out for us."

Giants QB Kerry Collins

(On whether the Giants are out of the playoffs) "By no means is this it. It's been frustrating the way games have gone, but we'll just keep coming back. That's what we've got to do."

(On how he felt he played tonight) "At times, I felt we played well. But a couple of times I made of couple of stupid throws. It ended up hurting us at the end. There's been a bunch of things tonight – whether it's been a couple of dropped balls or some interceptions that I threw. It was a variety of things."

Giants DE Michael Strahan

(On what's next for the Giants) "We'll go back to the drawing board and try to win this week. I think everybody looks a little too far ahead. I think that just because you may not get into the playoffs that you quit. That's just not possible. For an athlete that competes, that's just not in your nature to quit."

Giants CB Frank Walker

(On whether the Giants are out of the playoffs) "There's always hope. We're not going to give up. There's no quitters on this team. Everyone believes in everyone and we're just going to keep pushing an keep pressing. You never know what might happen. The NFL is full of a lot of good players, and a lot of teams could fall, and we might get a our chance to get in there. That's why we're not going to give up on our season at all."

(On the interception that was run back for a touchdown) "Basically, my coaches just called the coverage. I dropped back and read the coverage. There was nothing special about it. My coaches had prepared me for it all week. Actually, in practice, the coaches had me do that play over so I could get the correct reads, so that really paid off a lot. When I made the play, I look at it as doing my job. That's what I get paid to do."

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