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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-09-2007 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on the outcome of today's game) "The Houston Texans deserve a lot of credit today. They're a talented football team and we're disappointed, obviously, with the outcome of the game. We had two turnovers deep in our territory, one at the end of the game and gave up a 100-yard return, and really didn't get off the field very well on 3rd downs today. I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can."

(on the possibility that Tampa Bay could still wrap up their division today) "We are going to take care of all of those scenarios later. We didn't play enough today to win. The goal is not necessarily just qualifying for playoffs- the goal is to win a championship. We have to play better to do that. We lost a couple of players today and it's getting very difficult, but I'm proud of our team. We've won two out of the last three games with our backup quarterbacks and we're looking forward to (QB) Jeff (Garcia) returning next week against the (Atlanta) Falcons."

(on his decision today to not play QB Jeff Garcia) "I'm sure there has been a lot of debate and I have done the best I can to not let the whole world know what we are doing. It's hard enough to make a 1st down in this league, without everyone having your game plan. The medical people said that the injury would take two full weeks as you know, Garcia would tell you, he could've played. And he could have. He played against Washington (Redskins) after he got hurt, but the injury took two weeks to heal. We have to let the injury take it's time to heal. When I walk in the building Monday, #7 will be back."

(on the performance of backup QB Luke McCown) "Luke has got to get rid of the football. There were some times when he needed to throw the ball away. Sometimes that's the best play you can make. There were four or five situations where that came into play today. When you get guys wide open, as we did in the 3rd quarter, you have got to make those plays. We had (TE) Alex Smith and then we had (WR) Joey (Galloway) on back-to-back plays and that would have tied the football game and get us some real momentum. There were some positive things and also some things to learn from."

(on if they were able to bounce back from the kickoff return) "We did bounce back from it. We bounced back with an immediate score and we got the ball back and we had two wide-open looks to tie it. That's the kind of football team we have here. We lost (WR) Ike Hilliard today, which really compromised us. He is a clutch, go-to guy for us on 3rd downs especially. We're searching right now to find out his availability for next week."

(on his decision to go for it on 4th & 2 early in the game) "Was it 4th & 2 or was it 4th & 1? I was right there and I thought it was a little bit closer to one. That's always one of the toughest plays in football. We were on the 34-yard line. Last week we kicked a field goal, it was a 52-yarder and we missed it. Today we had two shots and we felt pretty good about our short yard points selection. We didn't get it on 3rd down and we didn't get it on 4th down. I don't believe I would do any different there. We're not going to punt and we choose to go with two runs in succession that we thought would get it done. In fairness to (Texans DE) Mario Williams and (Texans DT) Amobi Okoye, they thought differently."

(on the fumbled snap in the shotgun) "Obviously, it was a blitz situation and it looked like we were changing the play. It's the first mishap we've had in the shotgun all season, but obviously, (C) John (Wade) and (QB) Luke (McCown) weren't on the same page in terms of their communication."

(on the injury suffered by WR Ike Hilliard) "I don't know exactly. He's had a number of nicks and nags here the past couple of weeks. He's the toughest guy that I've ever coached at that position. I don't want to take anything away from anybody else, but I'm concerned about his overall health right now. He's beat up a little bit right now, but we need him back."

(on the Bucs pass protection) "It's pretty good. At times we had some good protection. When there is a blitz coming there's going to be a free guy. You don't change the play. We just weren't able to recognize it a time or two. Let's give these Texans some credit- they're not easy to block, but I thought overall the pass protection was good enough. We just didn't make the plays."

(on 3rd down conversions on both sides of the ball) "We had a 3rd down conversion and we made the 1st down, but then fumbled the football. We had some opportunities to make some plays, but we overthrew a couple receivers. We had a couple of 3rd and extra longs, which are tough, but that's football"

(on if the possibility of clinching the division title comes into game planning) "I just try not to get so wrapped up in playoffs and advantages and scenarios and things of that nature. As I said several weeks ago, we do have the train on the track again and we're competing every week. I'm proud of these guys and looking forward to getting our QB back for the rest of the season. Everything else will take care of itself. Our goal is to improve and clearly there were some areas today that weren't good enough to be a great football team. That's what this team here in the locker room wants."

(on if his team has had a drop-off in focus) "There's no drop-off in focus. We missed a couple of tackles. We missed a couple of open receivers. I'm not going to get into lack of focus. This team is working their tail off. I want to say that perfectly clear. If anyone deserves blame it's me."

DE Gaines Adams

(on the biggest difference today versus when the team rolled off four straight wins) "We just didn't get it done. Houston came out and executed very well. They played great. What we did today was unacceptable. We'll come back tomorrow and try to solve this problem."

(on 3rd downs on both sides of the ball) "We just didn't execute, that is the bottom line. I can't say what the problem is. We just didn't get it done."

(on how disappointing the game was after coming off of four straight wins) "Four game win streak or one game win streak, it really doesn't matter. We just didn't get it done. Everything we did today was unacceptable."

RB Earnest Graham

(on scoring a TD in five straight games, tying a team record) "I think we are where we need to be as a running game on crucial third and fourth downs and around the goal line to cap our drives and we have been able to do that. We would have liked to have done that better today."

(on Bucs QB Jeff Garcia saying that he is the key to the offense) "That is flattering, but (QB) Jeff (Garcia) has played his butt off. I am playing well right now. Jeff has been playing his butt off. (QB) Luke (McCown) came in and stepped up. The guys in front of me are doing a hell of a job blocking. I'm just doing what I do, as is everybody else on this team."

(on the improved play of DE Mario Williams) "The guy is a physical specimen. He has a presence. Just like our defense end Gaines Adams, those guys find their grove and understanding what they need to do out on the field to be successful. He (Williams) is showing that it was not a mistake for this team to draft him where they did. He has been doing a hell of a job, just like the other guys on the defense.

(on the play of QB Sage Rosenfels) "He put together some long times. He didn't turn the ball over, and took what the defense gave him. He managed the game very well."

QB Luke McCown

(on what the miscommunication was about) "Yeah I take full responsibility for that. It's a situation were I had a change in play and I was making sure that everyone on the offensive line got it. I didn't know if (C) John Wade got the signal, the snap was called, so I was giving it (play) to him (Wade) again, and when I did I missed the snap. So there was miscommunication, but I take full responsibility for that."

(on what about getting the ball out of your hand) "There were certainly two or three plays that I would have liked to get it out of my hand quicker, but again you know what they (Texans) did a good job on was cutting down our options with a single safety, zone coverage, and blitzing one guy which takes away your check guy. So in a game like that try and make something happen, get something going. Just got to do a better job of getting back and in depth and finding your check guy somewhere. "

(on what the understanding that this would be your game) "You know, this week (QB) Jeff (Garcia) is kind of working his way back into it, but I was fully prepared, fully prepared to play. I felt fine and confident of what we had going and you just got to tip your hats off to the Texans.

(on what his feelings were about going for it on 4th down during the 1st drive) "That was the play that was called, they gave us a look that I wasn't necessarily ready for. It brought a free safety off the weak side. In my thinking it was a situation were we lost about a foot or foot in a half and we got hammered in there. So we are going to have to take a timeout in the situation, regroup."

(on feeling the pressure from incompletions like WR Joey Galloway and TE Alex Smith) "The rollout were Alex pops out just surprised me, I certainly was expecting him to pop wide open like that. And then I didn't know if I had enough time to gather myself and give my throw so I just tried to pop it up in the air and give him a chance to catch it. I was a little wide with it and he's not our primary on that particular play. And the on with Joey was 12 inches to far. I understand that you aren't going to get every play, but when you get opportunities like that (to score a touchdown) you got to take advantage of those situations and get those guys the football."

(on turnovers being a factor) "Oh no question, turnovers are a brutal fact that they will lose the game for you. And one way or the other the bad snap by me, (TE) Alex's (Smith) play; we just got to do what we can to take care of the football. And we got to capitalize on the ones that we get from them and we didn't capitalize on all of them. And so we got to do a good job on that.

(on your emotions) "We got to do a better job, taking care of the football, finishing drives and a lot of things go into this game. If we would have done that the outcome would have been different."

(on the summary of your play) "That's not for me to say, it is for you guys. I try to help this team win the best way I can; that's my goal."


Head Coach Gary Kubiak

(on the effort of the team) "I am just so proud of the effort of these guys. Like I just told them in the locker room, we've got some problems. We've got enough guys nicked up to fill a couple of rooms, but the heart of this football team and the direction of the future of the young kids it's just so bright. I'm so proud of their effort. We played a great football team today, and we said we had to do three things. We had to play great defense, and we did. We had to take advantage of every offensive opportunity we had to score points, we did that, and we had to make a big play on special teams, we did that. My hat is off to the kids and the coaches who did a tremendous job. That's a heck of a team. I think you're going to see them playing a lot of football in January. It's just a great effort by our kids and coaches."

(on RB Ron Dayne) "It's not good. It's just sore, and he took a shot at halftime. He tried to go for us. He's battling. The kid (RB Darius Walker) went in there and there was nothing spectacular, but he was very solid. He got to play in a football game against a heck of a team. He held up he did a good job of protection, he protected the ball, he made a couple of plays in the game, so that's a step forward for him and we'll continue to try to get him better and better."

(on the defense) "I don't even know where to start. We told them last night they would have to play tremendously for us to beat this football team. They just kept battling. We had our struggles offensively, they're a very good defense. Our guys kept having to go back out there, but they just kept stepping up. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) played hurt. We played with great effort. (DE) Mario (Williams) put the icing on the cake with his effort on the last play of the football game. I told Mario and I told (WR) Andre (Johnson) and I told DeMeco last night in front of the team, 'You guys are great players, but the key to this team and this organization is that you guys are able to lift everyone else and find another level.' If we can continue to get that we're heading in the right direction."

(on RB Darius Walker) "You guys know me pretty good after a couple of years. I just think that you have to earn your stripes in this league. I don't think you just go out there because you're next in line. I don't believe in that. I think players have to prove to their teammates that they're ready to go. He's a kid who's played a lot of big football. (Running Backs Coach) Chick (Harris)'s done a great job with him. He got a chance to get an opportunity a few weeks ago, and I didn't really like the way he responded to his first chance. I challenged him. He went right back this week and had a great week of work. Chick's done a good job with him. At the end of this past week, his teammates felt like he deserved to be out there. That's what you have to do. This game is about respect and everybody earning their way on that field. I'm proud of the kid. It's a step forward now let's keep moving forward."

(on Andre Davis's kickoff return) "It was huge. We talked about it at half time and said, 'we keep saying we've got to get back to this spot. Well we're here, and nothing would be bigger than a return to start the third quarter. Let's give him a chance.' We talked about it and that play was huge. We had some struggles there, but there were some great things that went on in the football game. I'm going to pull from the positive, and we'll continue to try to get better in the third quarter."

(on the moving players around on the offensive line) "We had no more players. (G Kasey) Studdard was out. Lights out. He's got a neck, head…he was lights out. We were out of players when (G) Chester (Pitts) left. As a matter of fact I told the official, "Would you do me a favor? If something happens to another one of these linemen would you all go to a commercial because we're just going to take some time." He just started laughing, but I was serious. We had nobody else. We suited seven. Chester jumped off the ground, came back, and played. That's the type of effort our team gave."

(on QB Sage Rosenfels) "He's a gutsy player, and I told him last night in front of his teammates. Sage has the desire and the goal to be a starter in this league. Him and I talked about that last off season when we acquired (QB) Matt (Schaub). I told him, 'you'll get an opportunity.' He's always taken advantage of his opportunities. He knew what type of defense he was playing today. He would have to play big, and he sure did. He got pretty beat up to, and I'm just very proud of his efforts."

(on Rosenfels in the offseason) "It was difficult but it was great. That's why you're in this business. When we made the trade for Matt, he was waiting at my door the next morning. I liked that it was awesome. He walked in and he said, 'You know I can do this, you know I can be the starter.' I said, 'I know that. I believe you can too, but you get your tail back to work and you prove it to everybody.' He knows that because he's been around long enough to know that's what he has to do. When you step on the field and you win games, nobody's going to take that away from you. He took a big step forward in his career today."

(on Rosenfels as a starter) "He hasn't had a lot of starts in this league, and when you get a few they carry a lot of weight. If you get one or two and they're not good they carry probably too much weight. If you get one or two and they're really good they can carry a tremendous amount of weight as far as your future. The bottom line is this group he stepped up against today and the way he played today is very good for him and our football team."

(on the short week before playing Denver) "This is a new thing for our team. This team has never been through something like this. We've got to turn right around here. I've got to go take a shower then head up to the office with the rest of the coaches, and come up with something between now and 9:00 in the morning because these kids will be right back. For us to continue to take steps forward we have to learn to do all these things. This is a new one for us. We'll go right back to work tomorrow. We'll get a break next weekend, but we get a chance Thursday night to play in front of all of America. I just want us to get ready to play, and go out there and play with the same effort we did today. The kids are excited about it. It's a great win, but we've got to let it go really fast and get ready to play Thursday night."

(on playing Denver) "It counts for one like everyone else. Is it special? Yeah, it's special. Across the field from me is going to be my NFL life. That's all I've ever been with, and we're trying to do the same thing here. My respect for (Broncos Head Coach) Mike Shanahan, their organization, (Broncos Owner) Pat Bowlen, those coaches, those players that I was with for so many years, that will always be there. From that standpoint, you bet."

(on the former Oilers players present) "That's great for today. Our kids in the locker room probably don't know how important that is to have those guys come back and to watch this team battle like it did today. I know how important that is. Before the game I had Robert Brazile and a couple of the guys screaming at me in the end zone. I went over and they remember me when I was a 16 year old kid. For our team to play with the heart they did today, that's what those teams did back in the day. It was great to see them." Texans CB Fred Bennett (transcribed by Nick Scurfield)

(on CB Dunta Robinson) "You guys see him out there; he's giving 110 percent every time he steps on the field. But he kind of took me under his wings in college and also when I got here, so that made it a lot easier for me to adjust."

(on the defense forcing turnovers) "That's what happens when you have a defense being aggressive and being physical. We were out there flying around, trying to knock some helmets off today – I don't think none came off, but that was our main objective and when the defense does that, we create turnovers like that."

(on backups stepping up) "Everybody knows the story; I think we've got like 16 people on IR, but it doesn't matter. People don't understand the heart and the character we've got in this locker room. We have guys that step up, that put the weight on their shoulders and say, 'Hey, this guy's down, but I think I can get the job done.' Today, it proved itself."

(on WR Joey Galloway) "He's a fast dude to be so old, but a well-respected receiver in the league and I respect him. Even though he didn't get out on us today, I still respect him. I thought our defensive backs did a good job of containing him and our front seven gave us a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That helped a lot."

(on the secondary developing continuity) "We've been in battles together, throughout practice, through OTA's, through mini-camp. People kind of rotate in different groups play in and play out every week, so I think we've got that chemistry back there in the backfield."

(on what the win does for the team's confidence) "It builds our confidence extremely high going into our Thursday night game. It just gives this team a lot of confidence to say, 'Hey, we can win the big games."

(on if the Texans are close to being a playoff team) "Yes, I think we are. With our coaches pushing us and putting in the work that they're putting in, my hat goes off to our coaches. I think they're doing a tremendous job with the game plans, with practice. I think our players are just taking that it and say, 'Hey, our coaches believe in us; we've got to believe in ourselves and we've got to go out there and perform,' and today it showed."

(on playing with a lot of emotion) "That's just me; I love the game of football. When you love the game of football, it kind of comes out of you at times. I really don't know I'm doing it, but it just happens to come out."

(on if he hopes to energize his teammates) "Yes, I want the team to feed off me. When (CB)Dunta (Robinson) went down, I kind of said, 'Hey, put it on my shoulders and I'll take it,' and that's what I try to go out there and implement."

S C.C. Brown

(on the defense's solid performance) "We just took it upon ourselves to go out there saying that we need to take over the game, we need to help the offense out as much as possible."

(on the win) "This is big, man. We were kind of down and out on each other, but this game right here is a confidence builder and it helps us out a lot for the next game."

(on playing well in the third quarter) "I think pretty much we drilled this all through practice. We took it upon ourselves saying, 'OK, it's the third quarter – we need to step our game up,' and it helped out big in the game."

(on what that did for the offense) "The offense, they were walking around with smiles on their faces instead of just looking at each other confused. It helped them out big."

G Mike Brisiel

(on playing in his first NFL game) "There's a lot of improvements still to be made, but I can't say nothing, it was so fun to get that victory under my belt. It meant so much to the team too. I'm still on cloud nine right now, I can't talk."

(on how he feels after the game) "Right now, like I said, I'm on cloud nine, and my dream is right in front of my face. I've just got to go grab it, and get consistent. I've got to work on some things, come back tomorrow and go back to work."

(on what his teammates told him) "They just said 'congrats.' Everybody is so fired up for me, because I've been working with them and trying to help them out every week, when I was on the practice squad, and now I get a chance to have some fun myself. Everybody has been real supportive and I'm just ecstatic."

(on playing this season after the NFL Europe season) "I got about three weeks off before training camp, so I'm feeling the effects of a long season, but its so worth it. This last game, I can't even talk right now, I'm just mumbling."

TE Owen Daniels

(on how big this win was for the Texans) "Its huge. I think everyone knows the injuries we've had. We had tons of guys step up and play really well; (it was) the same thing today. (G) Mike Brisiel played really well for us. To beat a team like Tampa Bay; they're a good team. They're going to be a playoff team. They'll probably go pretty far in the playoffs. To get a win against them was huge, really huge for us."

(on Texans QB Sage Rosenfels) "The last couple of years, Sage has done a great job when he's come in and played for us. We know he's going to play well when he comes in the game, whether it's stalling (QB) Matt (Schaub), or as a starter, he went out and executed, had all the assignments down, made the right reads, and played really well for us."

WR André Davis

(on the Texans play in today's game) "Once again, it was a great job by everybody out there today, all 11 guys out on the field. That's what happens when everybody does their job, and we just need to get used to doing that; we need to get used to making big plays. I think now that we've got a taste of it, hopefully we'll be able to finish the season strong."

(on what his 97-yard kick return for a touchdown meant in this game) "Any time you can make a big play like that on special teams, it helps everybody out. You want to make sure that all three phases of the game are working together. A lot of times only one side of the ball might be playing well, but today we got a good effort out of all three phases."

(on how the backup players filled in today) "That's what it's all about; being able to have that depth so when your starters go down, guys can go in there and step in, and hopefully they don't skip a beat. I think everybody who had the opportunity to get in there today, really stepped up their job and did really well."

(on Texans QB Sage Rosenfels) "Sage did a great job today. He made sure that he didn't really take a lot of risks. The throws that he had, he took them, and guys made plays. It was a great job for us to go out there and just be very efficient with the way we ran our offense today."

(on how satisfying the win was today) "It's so hard to get wins in this league right now, so for us to go out there and get a win against a good team, it just feels great. Hopefully we'll be able to take this into our short week this week and try to get another one."

S Will Demps

(on the defensive mindset today) "Its same thing we had all year. We always focus on to just finish."

(on the win today) "It was great. We knew going into the game that (QB) Luke McCown was going to play. We knew he was an athletic guy he makes some runs and throws and we were able to eliminate that. We just came out in front of the home crowd and executed our game plan."

(on the hope of ending with a winning season) "Right now it's just week by week. Just one week at a time. We are going to sit here and enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we got to come in and clean up our mistakes and get ready for Denver. It's going to be Kubiak vs. Shanahan. It's going to be exciting."

(on hitting Tampa Bay hard and setting the momentum) "All year you hear about Tampa Bay's secondary and how their whole defense in general is so tough and more physical than any other team. We just had to challenge ourselves to be more physical than Tampa Bay's defense. We took ownership to ourselves and wanted to show the world that we can hit too. It's an impression of our coaches and getting us opportunities to make plays around the ball."

WR Andre Johnson

(on shuffling between two quarterbacks) "We feel comfortable with both quarterbacks. They both get reps during practice. (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) has been here for two years, and we have played with him before. We are comfortable with both guys. If one goes out, the other one comes in, and we don't miss a beat. We feel very comfortable with both of them."

(on overcoming injuries and the continuing effort to play) "Coach (Kubiak) challenged us last night, and guys were willing to come out and do what we needed to do to win. We've always sputtered in the third quarter, but (WR) André Davis got us going with a big kickoff return, and we kept it going from there."

(on the 6-7 record) "We've never been in this position this late in the season. We usually would only have about three wins or so. Our goal is always to try to get to the playoffs, because we've never been there before. At the same time, we've never had a winning season around here. With three games left, that's possible for us. So, we'll just have to take one step at a time."

(on his feeling about Coach Kubiak putting the win on the shoulders of the team's captains) "When he said what he said, I told myself we need to be ready to play and make sure the guys around us are ready to play. That's what it is about when you're a captain. Guys look at the captains to see what the captains are doing. If the captains are going out and giving it their all, the other guys are going to do the same thing."

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