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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-26-2004 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On overall game) "I would just like to apologize to our fans and thank the fans that did stay. I am obviously very disappointed about the defeat."

(On the interceptions really bringing the team down) "The first one, yes. That's the play that first and 10, obviously, there are going to be times when the best play you make in a game is throwing the ball away or throwing a check down underneath against a deep-dropping zone defense. The second interception is a freak play in a two-minute drive where a defensive lineman tips it. That's what happens when you throw the ball. There are a lot of bad things that can happen."

(On whether he feels the team didn't give it their all since they were already out of the playoffs) "North Carolina is playing for their lives. I thought we showed resilience today coming back to tie the game. I make no excuses. I don't like where we are. We have a long way to go; a lot of work to be done. It is a good thing the electricity works at One Buc Place because we are going to need it. We are going to continue to work hard and we are going to find the right combination of guys to return this football team to where it needs to go. I can assure you that. That is going to happen."

(On where the work is going to start) "We're going to finish this season. A lot of people want to talk about next season, this season. We are going to finish this season in Arizona on Sunday. Obviously, we will see exactly where we are from a health standpoint and where we are from a salary cap standpoint. There are numerous questions that we will have to answer here a little bit later."

(On whether he hopes all the bad things that are going to happen, happen this year) "I don't like the feeling of being knocked on my you know what. I don't think our players do. Everybody tells me that I will learn from this experience. I realize there will be plenty of critics. Bring it on. I just have to be able to rally our coaches. I am confident in the veteran staff that we have. I am really confident that we will find a way out of the darkness. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to be easy for a lot of other teams that are in similar situations as us."

(On Reggie White) "That ruined my day. Reggie was a very close friend of mine. It was a tragic loss for mankind and certainly for a lot of us that knew him. Stunning. You can measure defeat easily. It is a sick feeling, but death is final and I am not really good at that. I certainly wish Sara White and her family the best."

(On Simms warming up and whether he was thinking of playing him) "I thought about it. I have been thinking about a lot of things lately, but I thought there might be an appropriate situation to get him some snaps, some throws. I am excited about him. I am intrigued by him, as I am Brian Griese. I look forward to working hard. I think [Brian] Griese hit 30 out of 40 today. He had a couple of balls dropped and obviously, an undisciplined area on the interception and a kick pass, but it is hard to do when you see what Carolina has done against other quarterbacks in the last seven or eight weeks. There are some positive signs, but it is hard to see through the fog right now."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On why Carolina has their number) "There isn't any team that has done that to us. We just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. I know I sound like a broken record but you never get tired of hearing it as long as we keep doing it to ourselves. It's very disappointing to see that."

(On the defensive breakdowns) "All of them, I don't know until we watch the tape tomorrow. We just didn't get the turnovers we needed and we didn't tackle as well as we wanted at times on the big runs. Right now, it's just hard to assess everything that happened. Whatever it was, it all added up to a loss."

WR Michael Clayton

(On what he has accomplished this season) "It's an accomplishment when you look in the books and see your name at the top of the list, it's a happy moment. My dad pulled me aside after the game, and it was a warming feeling for me, for him to recognize that. I think it's more rewarding coming from my family than anybody else because they've seen my transition from when I was a little boy. They know what type of person I am, and the good things that happen to me, it really blesses them. To see them react, it really blesses me."

(On how important it is for him to get away from football for a little during the offseason) "It's not really get away. I'll take some time off, but the time that's given to us to take off. When it's time to go to work, I'll be here, leading the pack. I'll just wait for this incoming draft class. I want to get with those guys and teach them everything that I've learned about life, about football, so they have an easy transition. That was the role I played at LSU and I think that was one of the main reasons why Coach Gruden drafted me, for my leadership. Just to get those young guys coming in to help this ball club. Be around, show my face here, it's going to be real important. So, I really look forward to that."

(On his season and what he did today) "It's just rewarding to know my family can enjoy it. They'll enjoy it more than I can at this particular point because of how the season has been going. Years to come, years down the line, I'll look back and say, 'I accomplished this.' And one day the records will be broken, just like the ones that were held that I broke. You just look and see what you've accomplished. The definition of how wonderful that is, is how long that record stands."

WR Joey Galloway

(On the team's performance) "I think that the score indicates how we played today. We did not play well. We made too many mistakes as usual and lost."

(On the offensive's will to win) "We never felt that we didn't have a chance to get back into the game, till the end of course. But that is what we are supposed to do, keep trying to keep fighting and crazier things have happened. It just didn't happen for us today."

(On the team committing mistakes) "Every time that you take the field and have the kind of mistakes that we have it surprises you. We work extremely hard throughout the week to eliminate mistakes and we didn't do it today, we didn't play well."

QB Brian Griese

(On the loss) "It's tough. You give everything you have as a football player and it isn't enough. You have to learn from it and try to stay strong."

(On the offensive attack) "I felt that we moved the ball pretty well. I thought that we did pretty well in the passing game, but it takes a toll on the quarterback. I feel beat up right now. At the end of the day, we just didn't make enough plays."

(On his role as the quarterback this season) "I came into this season as a third-string quarterback, trying to learn the system and contribute to the team in any way that I could. Circumstances changed, I was called upon, and I was grateful for the opportunity to go out and play with these guys."

(On the team's performance throughout the season) "We have had our ups and downs, playing well at times and pretty bad at times. I am not going to be pessimistic. I am not going to sit here and cry about anything. We've had our opportunities to win games and make plays, but I'm going to continue to be optimistic and try to get better as a football player."

DE Simeon Rice

(On his thoughts on Reggie White) "He was a great man and hopefully this league finds a way to really pay tribute to him."

(On whether he should be inducted early into the NFL Hall of Fame) "Definitely. Especially on this account, because he was one of the greatest to have ever played. He opened doors for myself and for the younger guys that came after me even as a man, which is greater than anything, the way he lived."

(On remembering Reggie White's visit to training camp this summer) "Of course I remember. I had a private conversation with him. Reggie White was exemplary for any man who is going to grow up and raise a family. When a guy like that comes along, he leaves good footsteps to follow."

T Kenyatta Walker

(On what the team needs to work on in the offseason) "I am not a coach, so I don't really know. I just try to work on my game and just improve by that."

(On his performance as a player despite the team's struggles) "This has been my best year as an NFL player. It was something that I fought through at the beginning of the year when I wasn't playing and hopefully next year and this offseason, I won't have to worry about having a job. I never know, but as far as the team, it is tough. To win the Super Bowl and then to come back and then not make he playoffs the next two years, it is tough. When I first came into the league as a rookie, I thought that we were going to make the playoffs every year. It is frustrating. But my performance this year has been better. I have heard the saying that I have been playing well, so I am going to use that."

(On Carolina DE Julius Peppers) "He is a pretty good player and this match-up always gets me pretty riled up. I am not losing sleep over him anymore. I've faced him many times now and I know what to expect."

(On the offensive play calling) "We need to run the ball. It was frustrating looking at the other side and them knowing that a pass was coming."

Carolina Panthers

Head Coach John Fox

(On his team not letting up down the stretch during the end of the season) "Well, I'm real proud of them. We've given ourselves another opportunity next week, we get to play another division foe at our place and we'll see how it all settles. These guys have believed all year that it isn't where you start but where you finish and we have one more step to get into the next tournament."

(On the Panthers' defense) "Our defense over the last seven or eight weeks has really picked it up. They've created a lot of turnovers, created a lot of pressure, and it's a tribute to the leadership on that side of the ball. Our defensive coaching staff, Mike Trgovac and all of the assistants, they did more of the same today."

(On Jake Delhomme's effort) "Again, our whole football team has really gotten better the last eight weeks. Jake and Moose (Muhsin Muhammed) have really spearheaded the offense, and Mike Minter, Julius Peppers, and Dan Morgan have spearheaded the defense. It's a team game and we needed some guys to step up and they did."

(On whether he has seen Jake Delhomme play better) "That's hard. He was outstanding today, but I've seen him be outstanding before."

(On the progress of Kindal Moorehead) "Kindal has stepped his game up. He went right in against Kansas City, in a very tough game that we happened to win out in Kansas City with the Kris Jenkins injury, and I have seen him continually grow and picked his game up. The game is slowing down for him and he is doing an outstanding job for us."

(On his level of expectation for his team after the disappointment of Atlanta) "This bunch has a whole lot of heart. I can't say enough about the guys in that locker room. That was a very bitter loss, a very bitter defeat and a game we wanted very badly. We just came up a little short and I expected them to rebound like this today."

  • (On the maturing of Jake Delhomme during the year)* "Even last year, I thought Jake coming out of the regular season, before we started the playoff run, had accomplished and developed a lot. But watching him in huge spots, it doesn't get much bigger as far as a game than tonight. I put a lot of stock in how big a guy is in big games. When you play like you do in a championship game, and playoff game against St. Louis, even in the Super Bowl – unfortunately we didn't win – I never saw that (a lack of maturity) at all even with the struggles early in the season."

DT Brentson Buckner

(On his feeling before the game) "It's one game at a time. You can't look forward, because if you don't take care of the one in front of you, it will come up to bite you."

(On this game after a tough loss last week) "We had to put last week behind us. We had one extra day to prepare. We kept moving forward and didn't worry about last week."

(On the four-game winning streak against the Bucs) "They are a great team. They have a group of warriors over there. I am certain they will come back next year and be ready to play us. You don't have a team's number forever."

(On the loss of Reggie White) "We lost a great citizen, not just a great football player. My heart goes out to his family."

(On next week's must-win game) "This is playoff game 1A. The atmosphere is going to be electric. The loser goes home."

QB Jake Delhomme

(On the Atlanta loss and how it affected the team this week) "We are all professionals and we didn't get it done last week, so this week we came out and prepared hard to get ready for this week. This team bounces back and we have since we were 1-7, so we knew we would be ready this week."

(On whether he has ever played better than he did today) "I don't know. Things really felt good today. I didn't get touched but one play today. I know it was a sack, but other than that I didn't get touched. You have to give lots of credit to the offensive line. We had success running the football and that helped. It felt great coming in here with the game plan. When guys make plays, it makes it a lot easier."

(On the biggest difference for him in the second half of the season) "Just the team as a whole playing better. We sifted through injuries and found five up front and on my end I quit pressing so much. I tried to make the perfect play too much early on. That was due to so many injuries. I felt someone had to make a play and I was trying too hard. Now I am just going out there and playing and the rest of the guys are stepping up. That makes my job a lot easier."

RB Nick Goings

(On coming back this week after the team lost to Atlanta last week) "We played our hearts out last week. It was a tough loss. We laid it out there on the field, but we know we still have an opportunity for the playoffs so we wanted to come in here and play well and we did."

(On winning six of the last seven, but still not being a definite for the playoffs) "For us to even have an opportunity for the playoffs after starting 1-7 is great. Next week is a huge game and we're excited for it. We just have to handle our business."

(On the character of the team after starting 1-7) "We have a lot of character on this team; a lot of players with a lot of heart. The coaches did a good job of keeping us motivated."

T Jordan Gross

(On what was learned about his team through their performance) "It is the same thing that I knew last year, there's just a lot of heart and it is really kind of a cliché. You can never count us out."

(On QB Jake Delhomme's performance) "He didn't have any turnovers, he was smart with the ball, got it out in a hurry, didn't really move in the pocket, and stayed where he needed to stay. I think that he is making real good decisions right now, and making our job a whole lot easier."

(On how well Carolina moved the ball) "We moved the ball like I wanted to, last week we didn't run the ball that well. It was great to win another road game against a good defense and be able to get some yards on the ground."

LB Dan Morgan

(On the teams play since starting 1-7) "We have come a long way since 1-7. Our play has been huge and it has put us in a good position going into next week with New Orleans at home. It's pretty much going to be our playoff game next week. We have put ourselves in this position by working hard and it is paying off now. We have to go out there and win that game next week."

(On playing with the lead) "We did a good job of getting the lead and keeping it. We ran the ball well and did what we know how to do."

(On what he attributes the Panthers' mastery of the Bucs to) "The Bucs are a good team. They are the kind of team that when we started playing them a couple of years ago in the division, they used to beat us. Now, it has kind of turned a bit. A big part of that is our confidence coming in here and knowing that we have a team that can win."

WR Muhsin Muhammad

(On needing to make the playoffs) "I don't know what kind of help we need, but I am pretty sure that if we win this next game, everything will take care of itself."

(On setting franchise records in touchdowns and yards gained) "I had no idea how close I was to those records. After you finish the season and look back, you realize that you accomplished a lot of things."

(On Carolina playing the best football in the NFC) "I know that we have a tough game ahead of us. The New Orleans Saints are also coming together ad are playing well. We have to get them at home and it is going to be a tough game. We will have to be ready to play that game and I think that we will be."

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