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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-25-2007 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening statement) "I'm really proud of our football players. Our kickers were outstanding today, Josh Bidwell and Matt Bryant. Our defense made a lot of plays; I give them a lot of credit. Certainly, the Washington Redskins were coming in here down 19-3, they deserve a lot of credit. They are a talented football team, that is a big win for us. Obviously we struggled offensively with the three or four possessions we had in the second half."

(On Jeff Garcia's injury) "Well, I think it was the first play of the game. It was a lower back bruise, that is what we're calling it. He's tough as heck; he wanted to go back in and play several times. He just didn't have the mobility; he just didn't look right on the sidelines. It's a credit to him, he kept loosening himself up, he felt he could go in there and finish a football game. He's a tough customer. It was tough sledding today, obviously, and we hope to have him next week against the Saints."

(On the decision to put Garcia back in the game) "Well, Garcia gives us the best chance to win. Obviously, talking to the doctors and trainers, there was no way he could further injure himself and he performed a lot of things on the sidelines that proved to us that he could go in there. Unfortunately we tried to get him a completion or two and see where he was and Washington wasn't in the mood for that. They played very good defense. I think he'll be okay and we will update you here in the coming days."

(On the Bucs defense) "There's a lot to that. Kevin Carter had his 100th sack today. Ronde Barber broke a record for interceptions here. Brian Kelly is back on schedule with us, he had his first pick in a long time. We mixed coverages and we had a legitimate rush early in the football game. They came in here a bit one-dimensional, throwing the ball; we knew that with Mike Sellers not here. We got some big plays, defensively. We capitalized on one with a touchdown and we knocked three field goals in with the other three, which isn't very acceptable, but it's a credit to our entire defensive team. We went deep into the roster today once again today with Ryan Sims and Patrick Chukwurah. It was an impressive performance to say the least."

(On how tired the defensive players were) "They were tired and I think they'll tell you. The opening drive of the second half, I think, took us off guard a little bit. They got Chris Cooley on a third-and-long play for a touchdown. The Redskins played great offensive football in the second half, too, they were pretty darn good. They used all their receivers and they ran the ball to keep us honest and they made some plays on third-and-long to keep drives alive. They converted a fourth-and-one. We had a fourth-and-one stop. Our guys are tired and they should be."

CB Ronde Barber

(On QB Jeff Garcia getting hurt) "You have got to step up. Bruce has to step up and play. It is a team that is playing Washington with our backs against the wall. We know that sense of urgency. The defense was prepared to play regardless. We knew it was going to be a tough game, and we knew it was going to come down to us eventually. Obviously, we would have liked it to feel less tense at the end. You put us on the field and we will find a way to make a couple of plays."

(On forcing the Redskins into six turnovers) "When you look at the stats at the end of the day, they had 300 some yards in the second half. This is something that we will look at and not be too happy about, but the way we ended it and the way we finished, we always talk about finishing football games and with two turnovers and two stalled drives for them we will be proud of that."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the Redskins final drive) "We look forward to being in that opportunity to shut the door. It all goes back to a few years ago when Coach Gruden asked us to bring in our closers. We didn't panic at all, we understood the situation, and they needed a score. We didn't have to take chances, when it got down to the red zone the field got short for them, and Brian [Kelly] did a very good job of executing his coverage, and finished it off with a pick."

(On the veterans stepping up and making big plays) "We are going to find our plays. Obviously, to me, at the end of the day, as long as the play is made [that is all that matters]. It just happened to be us in that particular position to do our job. I am going to be honest with you; it feels good for the old guys to be appreciated, to make a play every now and again. More importantly, that it is us continuing the hot streak at home. We have only lost one game, and continue to build ourselves. We have ourselves a very big game next week up in New Orleans. We really need to go and get this win, and go up in our division three games. That is probably what a lot of guys think about more than the win today."

(On exceeding expectations and being 7-4) "When you win the turnover battle, as I say every week, we are going to win ball games. It was the same thing today, we won the turnover battle. Our offense is mad at themselves; they tell us they want to turn them into touchdowns. We feel that if we continue to get these guys the ball, they are going to put up points. Today, they did a fantastic job of not turning the ball over."

QB Jeff Garcia

(On his injury) "I am sore right now. It was a painful day, but one that we can fortunately smile about with the outcome of the game. I just took a shot in the lower back, right between the rib cage and the hip bone, almost like a kidney shot and it was pretty deep. I feel like I just bruised muscles that weren't allowing me to loosen up or use those back muscles. It felt like when I tried to bend over, try to utilize my back, it felt like it was giving out. It's just one of those things where I felt like if I continued to work it and fight through it and eventually just continue to tighten my ab muscles to take the strain off of my back, I could get to a point to where I could maybe get back on the field. I just felt like at the time when I went in that the offense needed some sort of spark. That's not taking anything away from Bruce [Gradkowski] because he played his tail off and he did the best he could do out there on the field. We just needed something. As much as I didn't necessarily go in and create a first down or anything like that, I felt like I needed to be out there for the guys. I felt like I was strong enough to be able to do that. I didn't feel like I was going out and jeopardizing my team. If I were to put myself in that sort of position, I wouldn't have gone out there."

(On what a win like this says about the team) "It was an ugly game from our standpoint, as far as offense is concerned, not being able to move the ball like that, not being able to help our defense. It was a tremendous job by our defense. They were out there the entire game, out there a long time. They created turnovers and gave our team opportunities to put points on the board. We win this game because of how our defense played. They have done an outstanding job all year long. That's the type of defense you need to have in order to compete at the high level, but it's important that we get better as an offense. We can't afford to have games like that because without the turnovers, it's a different situation. We need to just be better as an offense, better as a team, but I can't say enough about how our defense played and how our special teams played at times. Josh [Bidwell] did an excellent job punting the ball. Maurice Stovall and the guys covering kicks did outstanding, but defensively they just never backed off, never gave up, especially with how tired they were. I feel bad that we couldn't do better offensively to give them a break, give them a rest, especially at the crucial times in the game."

(On if the Buccaneers are starting to feel like a playoff team) "It definitely feels like a playoff team. We believe and realize that we are very capable of being a playoff team. It's one week at a time but we like what we have going with this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. As an offensive player, I want more out of this offense obviously. Today was a tough day and I know that we can have more out of this offense and I expect more and we are going to be better and we are going to help our team out, that is the important thing. We are taking steps in the right direction by winning football games. No matter which way you look at it, a win is a win, especially against a good NFC East opponent and a team that was reeling a bit, that needed a win. They came in hungry. They came in and got after us a bit, but we showed up defensively and that's what got us the win today and it's going to be important that the offense is much better next week."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(On the win) "It was a huge win for us today. Our defense really stepped it up and you have to give them a ton of credit. We didn't help them out too much in the second half, but we protected the ball today and that's what you need to do to win football games."

(On the defense and the turnovers) "You can't say enough about that defense. They've been playing their tails off these last couple of weeks and they're really coming around and doing a great job for us and that's the reason we're winning football games. They did a great job today, especially [Derrick] Brooks coming up to me [saying], 'Hey man, don't worry about it, just protect the football and we'll get it back.' They kept doing that today and we pulled out a close one."

(On the scoring drive to close the first half) "That was definitely a big drive in the game, getting points before halftime and we went in with a little momentum. Our kickers did a great job today. Matt Bryant kicked the heck out of the football and so did Josh Bidwell pinning them back deep. You have to give those guys a ton of credit. We hung in there, our guys played hard, Earnest Graham played hard again, our offensive line, you have to give those guys credit and we came away with a tough one."

RB Earnest Graham

(On the first scoring drive) "It felt good. We ran the ball pretty well on the first couple of drives and we were able to get a touchdown in the first half. We came out in the second half and stalled quite a bit. We need to work on that. It's the way you start a game and the way you start the second half that makes a big difference in the outcome."

(On Derrick Brooks' play on the fourth-and-goal stop) "Huge, man. It is typical of the guys that we have. We have great players and every time a different guy steps up to make a play, and that's one of the characteristics about defense. There's going to be a lot of great games to come."

(On the kicking game) "Both our kickers played a heck of a game today. If it wasn't for some big punts and some big kicks, we wouldn't have come out with a win today. Our defense played their hearts out for the second week in a row. You have to take your hat off to them."

S Tanard Jackson

(On the play of the defense) "Our main goal was to get the ball back and create opportunities for our offense. We did that. Unfortunately, Jeff Garcia went down and we had some troubles on offense, but it was a good team win and we definitely accomplished what we wanted to."

(On the team's attitude on forcing turnovers) "It is the same attitude that has been here, score and get the ball back. We as a defense pride ourselves on getting the ball back and scoring on defense. We didn't score but we definitely got the ball back. That has been the same thing here before I got here and it will stay the same."

(On if the defense felt more pressure since Jeff Garcia wasn't in the game) "I wouldn't say more pressure, just what we expect. We like to be out there, we like to go out and make plays and create havoc. We didn't look at it as more pressure, we just had to step up and do our job."

CB Brian Kelly

(On making the interception to clinch the win) "We knew that after Ronde's interception, they were able to stop us on offense, and we had to go out there and close it out. It was just one of those situations where he forced the ball in there, and we were able to capitalize and get off the field. He capitalized on some he forced in, so he felt comfortable doing it, but this time he wasn't."

(On battling back from injuries and being able to make a game-changing interception) "When it happened, I knew that I would have plenty of opportunities to make plays, and there is still going to be opportunities to make plays. Regardless of however they play me, nickel or whatever. You need three good corners on the team and right now we have that. It is good to come out here and get a win."

(On the three Super Bowl guys, Barber, Brooks and Kelly, stepping up to make plays) "Ronde mentioned something coming off the field, he said "just like old times," and it is. We have some young guys that are playing lights out ball right now, but we have some good defensive leadership and we are still here playing."

DE Greg White

(On the fumbles) "We're looking for our offense to capitalize off them and once that happens, then we can pin our ears back and start pass rushing. It more or less changes the game, it's going to change the game sooner or later when they need to catch up once our offense scores points."

(On the defense over the past two weeks) "We're just letting it loose. We're just playing, we're going one game at a time. One game at a time, one week at a time."

(On forcing six turnovers) "It was good, but we need more."

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Head Coach Joe Gibbs

(Opening statement) "From a Redskins standpoint this was a real, real big, big game for us. I know it was for both sides. But to start the game off like that is hard to explain, but you're not going to be a real good football team if you turn the ball over like that. I was proud of our guys, I think, at halftime everybody made up our minds and we had a lot of fight in us. Our defense went after it hard all day. The first half was such a mess there with all of the turnover. I was proud of our guys and the way we came fighting back in the second half. I think everybody kind of laid it on the line and we gave ourselves a chance at the end but we could not make a play. I think that's kind of putting it very simply, you can't turn the ball over against a real good football team like that and expect to win the game. Again, I was proud of the way we came back and played our butt off at the end but you're not going to be a good football team for doing that."

(On going for it down 19-10 on fourth-and-one in the third quarter) "It was inches, I felt like, and it was our best shot right there. I thought, hey, if we get that then we have a chance to score right there and I felt like we could get it."

(On if there was any thought of a quarterback sneak with Jason Campbell) "Actually, on that play that was a part of it. We could have, that was his audible, his call."

(On losing the turnover battle and still having a chance at the end) "It was. I think our guys showed fight, showed we would get after it, why we started the game off like that is hard to explain, I don't think any of us can explain. None of us wanted that to happen. We have real good football players and we turn the ball over. I think plain and simple we put ourselves in a real hole and it's one that we tried to fight ourselves out of."

(On Jason Campbell throwing three interceptions in the last two games) "I don't see this as a long-term level of concern. I think he's playing his rear off. I think it's come down to plays like that and I think Jason will find a way to make plays like that and win games. He continues to grow and step up for us. We got ourselves in a real hole today and he's faced all kinds of situations and he's been in front of some real tough crowds. I'm glad now to be coming home and our chance right now is to win two at home. I think that's what we have to be focused on, that's where I see us right now. We have to find a way to win two and there are ways."

QB Jason Campbell

(On throwing two interceptions in the red zone) "It was tough. The one that Ronde Barber picked off was probably the toughest one because it was a route we had been hitting all day. They gave us the same exact coverage, so once again, I got the ball, I threw it up there to Santana Moss and they picked it off. That one I wish I could have back. Then the last one, I was trying to take a shot into the red zone with 25 seconds left. If he was tackled outside the end zone we would have run the clock down and only had one play to score, so I was just trying to take some shots in the end zone. We just have to not turn the ball over as a team."

(On not kicking the field goal on the fourth-and-one play) "The game shapes up differently but you never know what is going to happen after that. Coach made a decision for us to go for it on fourth down and as players that is a situation where we have to beat it. You have to go get the first down. Take nothing away from the Bucs, they did a great job stopping the play. If we get that first down, the game shakes up differently. If we kick a field goal, it shakes up differently."

TE Chris Cooley

On the Bucs defense) "I think it's hard when you come into a game and you fumble three times in the first three drives. It's unbelievable that it happens and I mean, it's hard to even prepare for something like that. You don't think about fumbling, you don't practice a fumble, but maybe give them credit. They knocked a couple balls out. It's a great defense, they play extremely fast, they play hard the whole game, they'll hit you, they won't miss a lot of tackles and I think that's a big reason why they don't give up very many yards or many big plays."

(On what he takes away from the game) "I think offensively, we're the type of offense that we're pretty darn good if we don't kill ourselves. We'll move the ball on anybody, we've proved it, we've moved the ball up and down the field in every game we've played in. It's little things that we're not finishing off, we're not finishing guys, we'll turn the ball over a couple times and we've just gotta play smart, play within our role and make the plays that we're supposed to make, not try to make plays that are bigger than what we need to make."

WR Keenan McCardell

(On the game) "When you put yourself behind the eight ball like we did the first half, just to even have a fighting chance to win [is an accomplishment]. However, at the end of the day, you want to finish this game off. I think we fought up hill, and we got our offense to the top but couldn't get over the top. We have to learn to finish a game like that. It was like a playoff game basically. Give [the Buccaneers] credit, they finished, we didn't. We fought back like that, but we've got to finish."

(On the challenge of fighting back after turnovers) "Somebody has to step us and make a play, so we can finish, that is just what it is. You just have to say, "I am going to be that guy to make a play, to help us finish games out." [The Buccaneers] came up with the plays both times. Both Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly came up with a big play for them."

(On what it is like for him coming back to Tampa) "It is football, I just thought of it as football. Probably the first half I was a little jacked up, a little too jacked up. I settled down and just played football. I spent a better amount of my time here, I won a Super Bowl here, I enjoy the fans here, but I can't really be amped up, I just need to settle down and play football. I think we all settled down and played football in the second half. We really played Redskin football in the second half."

(On the Redskins having four fumbles and two interceptions) "The story of the game at this level is do not turn the ball over. If you don't turn the ball over you have got an opportunity to win. They won the turnover battle today, and unfortunately, they won the game, too."

WR Santana Moss

(On not finishing late-game drives) "I mean, we've been there all year, nothing you can do about it. All you can do is just keep trying and I feel like you keep saying we're not fighting and basically, that's the truth. You know I fought. A play here, a play there that we fight and put our foot down, you know, maybe if we didn't put ourselves in a hole early we wouldn't always have to always be fighting later. That's pretty much what we dug ourselves into and that's why we have to keep fighting so much at the end because what we do early and it's on us, we know that. All we can do is go out there and try to finish the game, it's all about playing for 60 minutes and if we continue to play like that late, we just got to put a whole game together, and I'm sure the scoreboard would be different, it would be in our favor."

(On if the offense let the defense down) "You can say we did, I mean, we know that we gotta score points regardless. You're right, you can put whatever you want, but we know what we need to do, we need to score points to win games and need to put our defense in better situations so for someone to say it, it don't need to be said, we know this already, we've been here before."

(On QB Jason Campbell not making plays at the end of the game) "I don't think it's on Jason [Campbell], it's just on us. We gotta make the play for Jason. Jason will give us the ball and we'll do the rest. It's not on Jason, you know, it's on all of us, and we gotta be there for him, and that's basically what it is."

RB Clinton Portis

(On the fourth down play) "We got to get there. We needed one yard and we gotta get it. No matter if they read it, no matter if everybody falls down, we gotta get it."

On if it was a poor play call) "I don't know what it was, we ain't going nowhere, we went backwards. Just as a team man, we gotta find a way to get there."

(On if that play would have changed the game if they would have attempted a field goal) "If we got a touchdown, then we win the game so it really changed the game. Their defense made a big play and we had our opportunities week in and week out, we had our opportunities and we need to take advantage of them. We put ourselves in a hole in the first half and in the second half it was our team's fault. Nobody gave up, we kept fighting and we came up short."

(On being able to strip the ball in the first half) "They made plays. We go over the strip drill and, right place, right time and they made plays and recovered the ball every time it hit the ground. For us, we just didn't get that bounce."

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