Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-28-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Statement) First of all, I would just like to congratulate the Raiders. They came in here and played a good football game. I am very disappointed, obviously for our players and our fans. A 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and again, we had a hard time stopping the run in some key situations late in the football game. Carnell Williams, I think that scene didnt help us at all. It was a very emotional downer on our sideline. Its not the same knee; its the other knee, and thats the real tragedy here today.

(On RB Cadillac Williams performance prior to the injury) Well, he scored a couple touchdowns, caught the ball out of the backfield, showed some elusiveness and swagger again. For it to all end like that, its just awful. But I thought he did some good things. He gave our team life. I thought, offensively, he came out in the third quarter and did some good things and its just very disappointing.

(On the teams inability to hold a lead in the fourth quarter in the last four games) As a coach, you have to take responsibility for that. Im not going to make excuses, but we have a number of players that didnt play, and a number of players who did play today that arent physically at their best. Thats no excuse. Everybody in the league has the same plight that we have but youre the head football coach and have to take responsibility for it. We had some opportunities you take a good look at it. We just didnt make the plays when we had our chances.

(On starting the season 9-3 and losing four straight games) We lost to some pretty good teams. We lost to Carolina at Carolina. A short week at Atlanta with a quarterback change and San Diegos a good football team at this point in the season. I think we gave up 900 yards rushing in the last four games. No matter who writes the story, thats not a recipe for winning football games in this league. You dont get field position, you dont possess the ball enough, that had a lot to do with it. Our inability, really, to stop the run on a consistent basis, I think we gave up close to 200 yards today.

(On the recent inability to stop the run) Im not going to stand up here and list all the reasons. Derricks [Brooks] been playing through a lot of things, our defensive line has had some issues and weve seen some really good backs that had no knowledge of all our problems. They came in here, ran downhill, finished their runs and had success.

(On the disappointing finish to the season) Its very disappointing, and at the same time, Ill be very realistic in looking at the entire facts that we have. Im sick for our players and our fans more than anything. Thats about all I can do to sum it up that way to say Im very disappointed. We did not play our best football in the month of December and there are a lot of reasons for that. The competition we played and obviously, I didnt do a good enough job.

(On the direction of the team in the future) I feel good about the nucleus we have on the offensive line, I really do. I still think Earnest Graham is a fine football player. He was going to have a big year for us. He proved that. Antonio Bryants for real, hes the real deal. We found a receiver. Thats something weve been looking for here, [a guy] that can run all the routes, play in all the games and be an every-situation type guy.

DE Gaines Adams

(On his performance this season) I am not going to say it was a disappointing year, obviously, I can say I did some good things, but I still have a lot more room for improvement. I am not just going to be down on myself because things are not going as properly as I wanted them to at the time. You just have to be patient in this game. I understand this is only my second year, not making any excuses or anything like that, you just have to get the job done.

(On if the season wore the team down) Nope, you just have to find a way to be consistent. That is what the main objective was, to find out if we could go the long distance. 16 games, you have to come to every one of them. Last game this year, we just have to dwell on this game and come back ready to prepare for next year.

(On losing the last four games of the season) Things just didnt happen. This is a tough league to play in, if you have any kind of mess ups, it can hurt you. Obviously, we had little let downs, injuries and everything like that, but you just have to find a way to get it done.

LB Derrick Brooks

(On his emotions) I wish I had words to explain. Not just today, the last quarter of the season. The things we talk about in terms of finishing. Not able to finish the season the way we intended to. It hurts guys, to be honest with you. Thats the one emotion thats going through me right now. Hurt.

(On the end of the season) No, especially what we did the first three quarters. If you would have told me 9-3 going into the last quarter of the season with this team, no one could have put anything in my mind to tell me we couldnt finish. Thats what were known for. Thats what were built on. Thats what we talk about from the first meeting in March. Head Coach Jon Gruden preaches finishing and for us not to do it, Im really apologizing because I dont have the words to explain why we were not able to do it.

(On his play with this being Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffins last game) Thats me every week. God gives me the ability to go out there and compete and the best way I know how to send a message is through my play. Thats all I was trying to do today, play this game like I do every game. Lay it on the line.

WR Michael Clayton

(On the loss) Its unfortunate. We put a lot of work in. We felt like we had a lot of energy coming, but its no different than the last four games. We left a lot of plays out there, and we knew we couldnt let that happen if we expected to come in and win. We knew Oakland had a good team; theyve lost some close games down the stretch. We knew that they could compete with us, we just had to bring our A game. We didnt, and we left too much out on the field.

(On the season ending) Its tough. To work so hard, and to go through ups and downs all season, we played great sometimes and we played horrible sometimes. To be a complete team, youve got to be able to sustain. By no means am I not proud of playing for this team, because weve got a lot of guys who put forth their best effort. At the end of the day, thats all you can ask for. We fought hard this year; there was a lot of character that was exposed by a lot of guys on this football team. Its been a pleasure to be affiliated with these guys.

(On why the team had a December collapse) Im a player, I go out and play the game. For me to make comments on why we didnt get to do what we wanted to do is out of my boundaries, its out of my control. I know that we played hard. I felt like weve done our job, but we can do a whole lot better, and thats to come in the future.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On his emotions and disappointment of losing today and the last four games) Today is tough. When youre fighting for the playoffs and you never know what happened in the second game, to not win your game is tough. Its just hard in a sense because we had our opportunity to play well, and we didnt do it.

(On the injury to RB Cadillac Williams) Its tough. I think he started to show signs of getting back to being Cadillac, having fun and really enjoying the game. To me he had fresh legs too. To come back in the middle of the season like that and gradually get in to it, his legs still fresh, he was just starting to show everyone. Its tough and Im sad for him. A guy who fought back and did all the things to get to this point, to get injured again, its tough.

C Jeff Faine

(On the season ending) Its difficult, its difficult to accept. Four weeks ago, you wouldve never thought wed be in this position. Its really something thats unacceptable. Its a shame it just didnt go better down the stretch.

(On struggling offensively early in the game) It was just one of those things where you start off a little slow. I felt like we had a pretty good rhythm as we kept playing. The running game finally took off and it felt good. We were making some plays in the running game, and down the stretch I thought we put together some good things, we just shot ourselves in the foot one too many times and just let it get away from us.

(On Cadillacs injury) I was crushed; words really cant describe how crushed I was. It was the worst thing that could ever happen to him. Hes had a long road, and has fought back from the first one. He rehabbed that amazingly, and worked so hard to get back onto the field. In the last game, on a play where he really broke out and made a great play and made a great run. For him to end up like that, its a shame.

QB Jeff Garcia

(On his frustration) I cant even explain the disappointment of how we played this past month. Its just been overall as a team we havent done enough things in any aspect of the game. Defense, special teams, offense, we havent been good enough as a team to find ways to win the games. Its disappointing, this collapse in this last month of the season is something that neither of us would have ever envisioned and I dont think any of us ever would have expected. It definitely hurts and it is going to sit with us for a long time after this day.

(On if it is more frustrating because the team has led or been tied in the fourth quarter of the losses) It has because throughout the first 12 games of the year we found ways to win football games in the fourth quarter and to just self destruct like we have in the fourth quarter in these last four weeks, I dont even know where to put a finger on it. I dont think there is really one direction you can look at it. We lost these games as a team and we won games as a team. Unfortunately, we just didnt do enough this year.

(On RB Carnell Williams) Cadillac was running extremely hard. He was exciting to watch on some of the runs he had today. He looked somewhat like his old self in the sense of how he attacked the line of scrimmage, how he stepped out of tackles. He was running with great determination and it was sad to see him on the sideline at the end of the game.

(On if Williams injury affected the team the rest of the game) I think anytime you see a teammate who has fought back from what he has fought back from and all of a sudden see him go down again, you feel for the player. You feel very emotional for the player, but somehow, someway you need to find your way through that. We just unfortunately, didnt make it happen on the fourth down. That in a lot of ways turned out to be the difference in the game. Not being able to convert the fourth down, keep the drive alive and give us a chance to put points on the board, it turned into points for them. That was a major negative for us in the game today.

WR Ike Hilliard

(On the game) It is a situation where we didnt make enough plays, obviously. We obviously didnt want to end our season today, however we didnt do the things necessary to keep control of our destiny, so we took another tough loss today and the season is over.

(On the Raiders getting the fourth down stop) It is a 60 minute game, especially in this league, it is the NFL. It is the highest level of competition; you have to expect guys to make plays. You have to tip your hat to those guys, they made enough plays to get it done today and we didnt.

(On what it will take to get through this) We just have to look now towards the offseason and see how we can get better. We can work on all phases of our play. That is the best that we can do after our meetings tomorrow.

S Tanard Jackson

(On the fourth quarter) We let a big run get out on us late in the game. Just attention to detail, which is something we lacked in December and carried over to this game. But what can we do but start over at square one in the offseason at OTAs and come back at training camp and hit it full stride.

(On S Sabby Piscitellis interception in the fourth quarter) It was a play in the game at a time when we needed as a defense and Sabby was able to come up with a huge interception and get some yards after the catch.

G Davin Joseph

(On closing out the season) Disappointed would be a word that I would use. We had so much momentum going into December and to basically lose the last four games in the fourth quarter of every game. We have had our chances to convert, we have had our chance to make plays and we just failed to do so.

(On having negative thoughts) You always have to stay optimistic in our sport and understand reality is reality, and we will have to deal with it.

(On the month of December) Playoffs were in sight the whole month of December, they were never really out of sight and we had such a strong start. We had some injuries, we had some guys miss some time, but the make of a champion is being able to overcome and we werent able to do that.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On how the loss of Cadillac Williams affected the team) As for the scoreboard, I dont think it did. I came in with Cadillac, he was in my rookie class and to know what kind of a guy he is, and you saw how hard he worked to get back, now he has to do it all over again. It really was tough. You all saw today, he looked like the Cadillac from 2005. He had the same type of cuts and he was running the ball hard, but that is the tough part of football, when stuff like that happens.

(On what happened to the defense the last quarter of the season) In my offseason, I am going to be looking back, I am going to try and look at the games that we played great, which we played a lot of good games against some good backs. Today, their third string back had a lot of yards on us. I have to look at it because it is frustrating and I know that we are definitely capable, but for whatever reasons, we just didnt execute well these last four weeks.

(On losing the last four games) If you would have told me we were going to finish 9-7, after that start, I would have taken that bet any day, but that is where we are at right now. Everyone is frustrated, but you cant do anything about it now. You just have to try to learn from it and get better.

DE Greg White

(On the game) They came out and played hard. It was uncharacteristic of us to lose at home, but kudos to them; they came in and got a victory.

(On what the Raiders did different in the fourth quarter) They didnt, they just came in and had the desire to go out there and play. We played hard but at that time, I guess they won, the best team won.

(On losing four straight to end the season) It is hard to swallow. We worked so hard in the offseason and during the season to get where we are at. It just didnt work out for us.

(On what they can build on from this year) We have a lot to build on, we have a lot to prove and that is most important. We didnt want to do what we did at the end, lose four straight. So we can build on to be more consistent. We have good players, we have a whole host of guys that we can build on from. We just have to keep going.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Head Coach Tom Cable

(On the game) That was our best effort from top to bottom. We went after the game the whole way. Our goal was to match the intensity of a team trying to make the playoffs in the first 10 minutes. We were able to do that. We kind of traded with them early then we went down and got a score, then they scored. But from there, we just stayed together as a team. We became a team, I thought last week, we proved it today. I said that would be the issue if we could back it up. The thing Im most proud about is that we lost a bunch of guys and we have someone like RB Michael Bush step up and run for so many yards like that against a good defense. The biggest thing is that we stayed together as a team. We got down by 10 but it didnt matter. The first time all year, it didnt matter that we were behind. QB JaMarcus [Russell] led us down the field. The trick play obviously helped with the big pass interference penalty. We made a big throw to WR Johnnie Lee [Higgins] for the touchdown and now its a ball game. I thought at that point we took the game over up front and with our runner. Were just happy to win.

(On if todays win was enough to become the next full time head coach) Its all I can do. Its the best I can do. I want to be the head coach of the Raiders but its not in my hands. I know I put this team together and got it going in the right direction, and today proved that.

(On QB JaMarcus Russells play today) He was 14-of-21 today, made only one bad decision the whole game. He led us unbelievably. The guys said in the huddle said he was off the charts terrific with his leadership.

(On if he noticed a drop off in the Buccaneers defense in watching film of the last four games since Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin announced he was leaving) Monte is a great football coach and has been for a long time and they have great players over there. I just thought we did what we needed to do to win the game. You have to give them credit, there were a few series where they really shut us down and gained momentum but we stayed in it as a team. I didnt really see a drop off, but there were some issues in the secondary in terms of some coverage things, but not up front.

RB Michael Bush

(On this year) It has been a long year for me, so the offensive line did a good job. Luke [Lawton] did a good job blocking and it just all came together today. We wanted to come out of this with a win and we did a good job at it.

(On using this win for next year) It is something that as a player you look forward to the season coming back around. You know next season, see what is going to go on and who is around. Then see if we can pick up where we left off. It will be fun.

(On what was going through his head during his touchdown run) All I know is, I saw my line block a guy on the inside, on the guard Cooper Carlisle and I saw my tackle, he had a good kick out block and I hit it up in there. I just saw a guy with arms and I felt someone grab me, and I saw daylight as well. I thought to myself, I cant just let them bring me down with an arm tackle. So I picked up my legs and tried to take off and hope nobody would catch me. They didnt, so it was a touchdown.

RB Justin Fargas

(On Tom Cable being coach next year) Hes my coach; Im not sure whats going to happen. We never know. You know all of us, nothing is guaranteed in this business. He definitely did a good job and the guys around here respect him for what he did.

(On if he will talk to Al Davis about keeping current coach) If he wants to ask or if hes interested in our opinion, Im sure any man in this locker room would vouch for him. From just the way hes treated us with respect and raised our expectations.

(On if they would have come back from 10 down earlier in the season) Theres no telling. There was definitely a time that we werent that tight into where we could have gotten down losing the lead it would have been hard for us to come back. But, the character and heart of this team showed and we wanted to end on a high note and give us something to build on in the off-season and the guys came out and got it done today.

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins

(On the game today) Exciting, down to the wire. We just kept going back and forth, back and forth. We both wanted it; they wanted to go to the playoffs and we wanted to end our season on track with a good ending. It was a battle to the wire.

(On knocking Tampa Bay out of the playoffs) It just feels good to win. Coach said last week when we won, he said, remember what that feeling feels like. At the beginning of the week he said, erase that feeling, we have to go out and do it again. We wanted that feeling back, so we all just came back and beat each other in the mouth and played football.

LB Kirk Morrison

(On the defensive performance) It was tough. We knew what we had all week long with [QB Jeff] Garcia. Garcia was going to be a scrambling quarterback and with him scrambling we just knew we wanted to keep him in front of us and limit the big plays. The got a couple big plays on us but we just stuck with what we were doing and in the end it came out perfect for us.

(Motivating factor for this game) Keeping them out of the playoffs. We dont go, theyre not going. A lot of scenarios, we wanted to come out and be a part of. Go out and win this thing and go out on a winning note.

QB JaMarcus Russell

(On being down by 10 with 10:00 left) I guess we knew that when you go out there you have to leave everything on the field in our last one. In the course of the last few weeks, we needed to do it right, and as the game progressed I think the guys did. We pulled together. We kept fighting. Had we not, I dont think it would have happened. But, we went in the right direction as a team together. Our offense and defense played together, behind each other. Today I think it showed.

(On Tampa Bays defense) We knew it was going to be a dog fight and that they were relentless. Coach Kiffin has been in the game a while, so he knows how to rattle, especially a young guy. But, they all fight to the ball and swarm. The defensive backs have good ball skills; they protect the ball when needed. Knowing that, going into the game where you have a veteran corner as far as Ronde Barber, hes been in the game for a while. You have Derrick Brooks, not just the defensive front and guys that have been there that swarm to the ball at all times. Coach told us it was going to be a dog fight.

(On a possible drop off in Tampa Bays defense after Kiffins coaching decision) I thought the guys kept fighting. But, on the other half of that, I thought it was pretty much worrying about ourselves, what we were going to do. Not too much of worrying about what was going on over there, just our group as a whole and I think it showed today.

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