Head Coach Jon Gruden
(Opening Statement) I would just like to say that was a great win for us, a team effort. Our defense was tremendous today, particularly at the end of the football game. I thought our offense came out and started the third quarter with back-to-back scores that were big. Clifton Smith once again made a huge impact, and I thank our fans for hanging in there today. It was a tough day. Not a great day to watch a football game but were happy to be 9-3. We won four straight games now in the third quarter [of the season] to set the stage for an exciting finish to the season.
(On the return of Jermaine Phillips to the lineup) It was big. Hes a clutch player. He made some big hits and obviously, some big plays in the passing game, but hes got a presence about him that exudes confidence. Hes a great playmaker and it was great to see him do what he did today.
(On the defensive game plan today) It was a tough day to throw the ball. We couldnt throw it very well; it was hard to grip. The wind is going sideways, the footing isnt good and both defenses are pretty good. We tried to run it. I think we were a little bit more deliberate in trying to run the football and they put the game in Drews [Brees] hands, and rightfully so. I think the conditions were hard on them to throw and I thought Monte [Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin] did a great job once again mixing up his defenses. We played some man-to-man, we blitzed, played some different kinds of zone, and our guys played well. Our defense played really well and I hope they get a lot of credit. The players, theyre playing their hearts out and Im really proud of them.
(On the play of Josh Bidwell) We asked him to do the impossible today. Hes a great punter and an outstanding directional punter. Sometimes we try to kick the ball left, right but we dont ever want to kick a bomb down the middle of the field to give these guys a great look. We asked him to do a hard thing today; directional punt in these conditions. He did an excellent job, making it hard on Reggie [RB/PR Reggie Bush] and their return guys to get great looks and set up their returns. I think he just mishit a ball, but for him to step up when we needed him most, just goes to show what kind of performer he is.
(On the performance of RB Clifton Smith in recent weeks) Hes the real deal. It has been a long time, for Tampa Bay fans, since we have been able to return kicks and punts like were doing now. I said it a couple weeks ago: Clifton Smith, get a ticket if you want to see him play. Hes something else. He is really helping us.
(On the speculation of Monte Kiffin joining his son Lane at the University of Tennessee) Theres going to be a lot of speculation. That is a big job that Lane got. This was addressed to me a couple weeks ago. Its an outstanding opportunity for Lane and Im happy for him. Hes a good coach and a great guy. Monte can answer those questions. I know this, we dont want to lose him. Hes my friend, and obviously, I want for Monte to handle those questions. He knows the internal work as to whats going on. I have said all along Im a big Tennessee fan, my wife was a cheerleader there and Im happy for Lane Kiffin. I wish him the best.
DE Gaines Adams
(On knowing if he got a half a sack) I was not even aware of that. It was a great overall performance by the defensive line and we just got after them today.
(On the learning curve from last year to this year) Just being able to get more snaps under my belt and play with these veteran guys. It has been a blessing.
CB Ronde Barber
(On Drew Brees) Well we knew he was going to throw the ball 45 times, thats just what he does. Im not sure, but I believe that the first 15 plays were passes, so you know youre going to get your opportunities. Weve got to relish, we feel like were one of the best secondaries in the league. We had the opportunities today, at least in our minds, to prove it. Its always important to play well at home. Obviously the weather conditions helped a little bit in that regard. Drew Brees is awesome. Hes tough to deal with, hes smart with the football, he sees the field better probably than anybody we play other than Peyton (Manning), but we just got after it. We had a good push with the front four, and in the second half of this football game, when we had to make plays, we got three interceptions and that won the game.
(On the NFC South) We have the situation we want. We have to do it ourselves, and we got that chance. We have Carolina this week on Monday, we have Atlanta in two weeks in Atlanta. Thats the best scenario we can ask for, because we dont have to sit around and wait for anybody. We can take the NFC South the way we want to.
WR Antonio Bryant
(On catching the touchdown pass) The win is what is more rewarding than anything. I am just out there playmaking, trying to make the plays. That is the types of games that we are finding ourselves in, the close games. It is great for a guy like myself, that gets up, to make the big plays but you dont want to put yourself in that position too many times.
(On if the touchdown was a planned play or a read) It is a play that we probably went over maybe two or three times in practice, but the coaches trusted us enough and when the number was called we were successful at it.
(On beating an offensive team like the Saints) Most definitely. Give our defense and the linemen, both offensive and defensive line a lot of credit. Those guys did some amazing things in the trenches today. If there is one thing that we are consistent at, it is team effort.
CB Phillip Buchanon
(On his interception) I was reading his eyes. An opportunity presented itself, and it was my time to make a play to help this team win.
(On defensive performance at home) Pretty much at home, we definitely get the job done. Sometimes it doesnt look good, sometimes it looks good, but Drew Brees, I have to tip my hat off to him, because hes one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but we just happened to get the victory.
C Jeff Faine
(On being 9-3) We will take it and love it. We still control our own destiny.
(On playing Carolina) That is what we have to do. It is going to be a playoff atmosphere. It is going to be a huge game, everything is on the line, with division titles, playoff placement, everything. It is going to be huge.
QB Jeff Garcia
(On if the game plan changed because of the weather) I dont think so. I think it was pretty much the same, normal stuff. I dont think coach really tried to adjust things. There is really a run emphasis here and that was something we were working to establish throughout the game. I dont think the weather necessarily took away from what we were trying to do.
(On if the footing was bad for the receivers) Not necessarily. I trust that they are going to be able to make their breaks because they know where they are going. I think if anything it makes it more difficult for the defense to clamp down. New Orleans did a pretty good job today, throughout the day. They played tough. They were tight on the receivers at times. More so than anything in the second quarter when the rain was really coming down, it was probably more difficult to grip the ball than anything else. It probably took away from my accuracy or being as efficient or accurate as I need to be.
(On why he decided to run with the ball more today) There were a couple of times when I stepped up and probably forced a throw or tried to make a tight throw and there were lanes for me to take off and run and I probably could have moved the chains. When those opportunities presented themselves later I was able to do that and convert some first downs and pretty much do whatever I had to do to make something work. It wasnt happening as easily through the air today so we needed to basically just battle through it and do what we could do. Thats where I just thought if I could use my legs at times then I would just go ahead and do that.
(On the touchdown pass to WR Antonio Bryant) He had a double move and its a play that we pretty much have built off of the things we have done in the past, some of the plays he has made running a similar route and their defense sat on the initial route and he broke through beyond them. I was able to just get enough on the ball to reach him, fortunately, and he made a great play to get it in the end zone. It was a big play for us at that point.
(On how big the win is) Its huge. You cant downplay the significance of this game to further separate ourselves from an explosive, scary team like New Orleans. Again, we cant say enough about our defense here because they just have played outstanding football and did a great job today once again. But now, to put this one behind us and focus on a big game in Carolina, one step closer to potentially grabbing a division title, thats something to be excited about. To play it on Monday night is a great opportunity for this team.
G Davin Joseph
(On getting a win in these conditions) It is unrealistic to think that you arent going to have days like today. It is going to be a sloppy game sometimes, things arent going to be as clean as you would like it to be, and they are going to change things up. They did a good job on defense, holding us in the fourth quarter. But really, you have to lean on your defense a little bit to make a few plays.
(On if weather was a factor) Not really, not really, we just werent converting. We werent getting first downs in the fourth quarter. We really got ahead and it just seemed like we took our foot off of the gas pedal a little bit and let them back into the game. The defense really stepped up, made some plays for us, big plays for us in the fourth quarter.
(On the team overcoming adversity to win) We have been able to overcome a lot of different things this year; on the road, playing bad with turnovers, losing the turnover battle, penalties in the red zone, we have been able to overcome a lot. When it is time to make a play, there is always somebody to step up and make a play. It is not something we take pride in doing, but it is something that if you have a good team, you can do sometimes.
LB Cato June
(On the win) It was a team victory, and that is what it is all about.
(On your interceptions) Its all about getting to the ball and on that, CB Ronde Barber made a great play on two receivers and knocking the ball down and when you hustle to the football great things always happen as you can see in our defense all year.
(On finishing the game strong) Its a standard, we have a standard as a defense to score and get the ball back and when we went out there up by three we had to stop the offense and no matter where the ball is put thats our place to stand and we will go out there and make plays. We are an opportunistic defense, and we are ready to go out and make plays and have fun hustling to the ball.
(On a big game next week) It will be a great atmosphere to go down there. Its a division game and its for all of the marbles, for right now at least, and its put up or shut up time. Someone will rise up to the occasion and become a premier team in the NFC and why not us.
S Jermaine Phillips
(On the challenge of playing against Drew Brees) It brings out the best in you, our whole team, period. I mean the Bucs are used to having this type of game that comes with the rivalry with the Saints.
(On his interception) We were just in a zone coverage, and I was just looking at Drew Brees, following his eyes, and he just looked to who he was trying to throw to.
LB Barrett Ruud
(On the defense) I thought when we needed to step up, somebody always did, and that was what was great about today. When somebody had to make a play; and it came from everywhere, somebody did it. That was the best part of today.
(On playing against QB Drew Brees) When guys needed to step up, like S Jermaine Phillips first game back from a broken arm, make a great play. S Tanard Jackson had a great pick in the end zone that should have stood, I thought. And then CB Phillip Buchanon made a great break and you could see him come flying across the field and makes the pick to seal the game, and those DBs, they really stepped up today.
(On S Jermaine Phillips) The one thing is when he was hurt he would come into meetings. He wanted to stay in the game, and he is always a guy that works extremely hard at practice, and even when he was hurt and couldnt practice he was out there running and stuff and he really stepped in like he hadnt missed a beat.
TE Jerramy Stevens
(On the win) It is a huge win. We know that we have to take care of our division first to reach our goals. It was a hard fought game but our defense stepped up big, made some huge plays. Anytime you try to throw against our defense that much, they are going to get after it and that is what happened.
(On playing another close game against New Orleans) It just seems to be that in this series against New Orleans, it is always close. We would like it to not be so close one of these times, but as long as you get the win, and that is we got.
(On the offense) I think we made plays when we had to and that is kind of the way we have been all year. We werent really moving the ball all that well in the fourth quarter, end of the third. We came out with two big scores early in the second half but we kind of stalled out a little bit. Everybody just stepping making plays when we really needed to have it, had huge plays out of Antonio Bryant and Jeff Garcia and Cadillac Williams, everybody just stepping up when they have to.
(On the touchdown pass to WR Antonio Bryant) It was a huge play, especially in weather like this, you dont expect big plays like that. We did a great job up front giving Jeff time to get that ball out to Antonio and he was wide open.
DE Greg White
(On the win) We went out there and played Buccaneer ball and anytime we do that, its a W. So far so good. We are 9-3.
(On the second half performance by the Buccaneer defense) We went out there and kept playing relentless. Jermaine Phillips came back and made big plays. Ronde Barber is the man. Everybody is taking turns. Everybody is playing unselfish football.
(On winning games and pulling them out late) We find a way to win. It may not be pretty but we always find a way to win. We have been doing it a lot lately this year. So we keep finding ways whether it is high scoring, low scoring, exciting or boring, we are going to find a way to win.
RB Carnell Williams
(On his touchdown run) I was just like, Wow! It just put me back to all the hard work I had put into the rehab. For me to go out there and score, I was just ecstatic.
(On the win) Its one step closer to our goal. We want to come out of the South, we want to continue to get better, we want to finish up strong. So I just feel like if we continue to get better, continue to work hard, this team can do great things.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Head Coach Sean Payton
(Opening statement) First off, just from an injury standpoint, really S Kevin Kaesviharn was the only one. He had a stinger. Well evaluate him tomorrow to see where hes at, to see his progress. That was a hard fought game, its a tough one obviously to lose. Credit to Tampa Bay for making the plays in the end. Its a good football team we played. I was proud of the way our guys battled. We came back when we were down 20-10. We were proud of the effort, especially our defense. I thought they played real good today. Ill just tell you what I told the team, we were a few plays short against a good team and it ended up being the difference. Certainly you look at the turnovers. There was an imbalance in the penalties, I think that hurt us some, but I was proud of the way we fought through. We were down 20-10 and kind of got that momentum back, we tied the game up at 20. In the end, we just didnt have enough in us and we ended up losing a close game to a good team, so congratulate Tampa Bay and we have to get back and get ready to work next week and play good at home.
(On the interceptions) Each ones a little different. I thought the very last one, obviously, hes under duress with some pressure and hes scrambling, trying to make a play on the move. Earlier in the drive before, where he was working [WR Marques] Colston inside on a basic cross the safety made a good play on it and ended up making a play. The one in the red zone was the one that was the most costly. I thought [CB] Ronde Barber did a good job at getting his hand on the ball, it tipped up and was intercepted by the linebacker, so that ended up being one of the things I need to look back on. That sequence, the first one was difficult.
(On RB Reggie Bushs play) I thought it was up and down. He struggled with punt return and he had a couple of drops, so we just got to keep getting the rust off and getting him acclimated to game speed and hell be fine. I just thought it was just okay.
(On the decision to limit RB Reggie Bush in the second half) I thought he dropped a couple of balls, I thought RB Pierre [Thomas] was really playing the best for us, the most consistent. RB Deuce [McAllister] gave us some runs there in the second half. I think the plan going in was really to feature Pierre and Reggie. The possessions we had in the second half we mixed Deuce in there and then started working Pierre a little bit more. We wanted to play all three of them and all three of them played. But I thought Pierre, by in large, was our best option on the first and second down snaps.
QB Drew Brees
(On the interceptions) The first one, the safety was robbing the middle of the field. I didnt see him until the last minute. I was trying to get the ball in to WR Marques Colston and he stepped in there and made a nice play. The other one I was trying to get it to WR Lance Moore before the corner could dive on it and he ended up cutting in front of him and getting that one. Both of them were balls that I thought I forced in there. I wished I had them back.
(On being frustrated with the interceptions) Short memory. It hurts right now. It hurts a lot. I know how well we played. I give them a lot of credit. They played very well. You try to be in a position to win in the end and we were.
(On not being able to close teams out in the fourth quarter) We talk about it all the time. We work on it, we emphasize it. The fact is despite what happens throughout the course of the game, all you can ask for is a chance to win the game in the end and we had a chance.
(On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense) I felt like they were pretty effective. At times, I felt like we had some pretty good drives tonight but the three turnovers were costly.
(On what adjustments he had to make due to the weather) With the wind combined with the downpour, I just felt like I could get a lot better grip and be able to throw the ball a lot better with gloves. We felt like they were pretty effective while it was pouring.
RB Reggie Bush
(On how he felt out there and his performance) It didnt feel good. We didnt get it done. I felt kind of rusty, thats about it.
(On if the knee hurt at all) It didnt hurt. It felt good.
(On the Bucs defense) They shut us down. They stopped us. We didnt get it done, and they won the game. At the end of the day, thats all that matters. They won the game, we lost.
(On how the weather affected the game) No, the weather didnt affect us too much. I felt like we were good and we just didnt make plays.
(On if the field conditions affected his knee) It didnt affect me at all. The rain probably a little bit with catching the ball, but thats about it.
WR Marques Colston
(On reason for costly turnovers) Theres no doubt we played a good defense but its not the first or the last were going to play. We just need to play better in crunch time.
(On how weather changed the offense) No more than it changed things for Tampa Bays offense. In our eyes, its really not an excuse; both teams have to play in the same weather.
(On the confidence of the offense and being in position to win) Yes, especially considering the fact that we fought back from 10 down. We left some plays and they made some great plays at the end. We werent able to get it done.
WR Lance Moore
(On the Buccaneers defense) They are aggressive, if there was a play out there to make, they made it. We kind of hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers and things like that. But they played well. We have to give them credit for that.
(On the week one win and this game) It was so long ago, we looked at film but anytime you play a divisional opponent, they are going to give you different looks. They played well today.
(On if weather was a factor) Both teams have to play in the weather; you cant really use that as an excuse. We have to play better than that. What it comes down to, execution. Especially when the conditions are the way they were. We have to try to bounce back.
LB Scott Shanle
(On how they contained QB Jeff Garcia in the second half) We just used a little bit more of a spy coverage on him and paid more attention to him. He converted a lot of first downs in the first half and that was a back breaker. We made some adjustments and I think we played a lot better defense in the second half, but we gave up a big play that cost us.
(On if the weather presented problems) I really dont think there were any problems: To me, its a defensive advantage. It limits what the offense can do; they are the ones that have to throw the ball around.
(On difficulty defending Dunn in these conditions) Yeah hes a tough back when its dry, but when it gets wet hes even more slippery. For the defense, I think we did a great job of gang tackling him to limit his yards as much as we could.
RB Pierre Thomas
(On the loss) This one hurts. We came out fighting, both teams did. We played against a good defense. The running game, we had a couple of successful runs, but their defense did a good job of stopping most of us most of the time. It is a battle out there with the weather going like this, some things, as a running back, you have to make sure to hold onto that ball. The texture of the grass was slippery, so you had to watch your steps, too. You cant use that as an excuse, you have to go out there and play ball, which was tough, and we did the best job we could.
(On the running game) I knew the running game would be a big step in this game but it is tough going against this type of defense. They have a good defense. They play a lot of zone and they cover the ball too. We tried to use both of our schemes, passing and running the ball. They did a good job, but we battled back and we were not out of it. We tied the game up but they out beat us at the end.
LB Jonathan Vilma
(On the big plays New Orleans defense made) We thought that we would jump out and stay out but unfortunately for every big play that we made defensively, we gave up a big play, with the long run for a touchdown, long pass for a touchdown and that eventually did us in. We had to fight from behind, the offense did a great job taking us out of that 10-point hole that we dug ourselves in and then we couldnt finish it in the end.
(On being proud of New Orleans fourth quarter effort despite the loss) I dont take moral victories, a loss is a loss. Obviously whatever good we did, we obviously didnt do enough good. They got 23 points up on us and they won the game.