Gruden Quotes

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden talks about what impressed him Saturday, and what to look for in the future

(Opening remarks)
"That was a great trip home. Just quickly to update our injury report—Tony Taylor, our young running back, injured his ACL ligament in his right knee. He's out for the season. It's unfortunate. Cornell Green has a high-ankle sprain. His status is very questionable, doubtful for the game against Miami. We do think he's got a chance to come back and probably play against the Rams. Jack Golden, a linebacker and special teams man, has a stinger in his shoulder. His status is also doubtful for the Miami Dolphins' game. But all in all, it was quite an experience. We are all trying to get ourselves re-acclimated as soon as possible to the American time zone. We are looking forward to cranking it up again on Tuesday morning, and we will meet with our players tomorrow evening."

(On if the team accomplished its goals on the trip to Tokyo)
"The No. 1 goal is always to win. We wanted to look at a lot of players. It was a critical game for a lot of the second and third teamers that had an opportunity to play. I thought Shaun King did an outstanding job moving our team. I was pleased with a lot of things that occurred on offense. I thought Thomas Jones handled himself extremely well for a guy that's been here for just over a couple weeks. Again, I thought our second-team defense, led by Tim Wansley and some of those young defensive linemen, handled themselves well. We are pleased with the outcome although there was some spotty execution in places that we need to clean up."

(On how long it will take to get adjusted to the American time zone)
"It's a new experience for me as it is I think for most of the coaches and players on the Buccaneers' team. We gave everybody today off. We'll have a mandatory three o'clock run and lift tomorrow and evening meeting, so we will try to give our players a day-and-a-half and we'll give our coaches a full day to get their wits back a little bit. We've researched this carefully in terms of what other teams have done on the return from Tokyo. It's just as challenging as going to Tokyo. I'm a little sluggish right now, but we'll get it going here in a little while."

(On preparations for the Dolphins' game Friday)
"It's a very short week and again, Monday night we have a meeting with our players. We'll watch the New York Jets' game film, make corrections and build on some of the things we did well. We'll also pass out a basic Miami Dolphins game plan. We won't get to that until Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday we board an airline and we're heading down to Miami to play the game. It's going to be a challenge. It's a short week. We've got some beat-up players. We're looking forward to competing with a great football team who has had some major offseason acquisitions."

(On what he expects from the Buccaneers' starters Friday against Miami)
"We had an entire preseason last year. We're not going to play our starting players very long. We didn't do that last year, and we won't do that a lot this year. They're going to play. Some starters might play a little bit more than others, but we are going to use this preseason game, as we will the next preseason game, to look at some of the real competitive positions on our football team in terms of who's going to make this team. There will be some guys that are asked to play a little bit longer than others but not for any real lengths of time."

(On if he plans to play LB Dwayne Rudd and S Dwight Smith longer in the Miami game than he did in the American Bowl)
"Absolutely. With Dwight Smith, he never started a game at free safety until last night. He had never played the safety position at all until last night in Tokyo. Dwayne Rudd is a new player here. We tried to get 12-15 snaps out of him. We do have some injuries at the linebacker position with Jack Golden and obviously Derrick [Brooks] wasn't with us last night. There will be a couple guys [who play more against Miami]. The offensive line will play a little bit more probably in Miami than they did last night. We'll see based on how the health of our team is when we talk to our trainer this evening."

(On if he expects LB Derrick Brooks back at training camp tomorrow)
"Yes. All indications are that we [expect him back tomorrow]. I have not talked to Derrick today. I hope to have a chance to talk to him tonight. When I do, hopefully I can have an update in terms of how his mom is doing. He'll return when it's appropriate for him to do that. This is a very emotional time for him."

(On being back in a game for the first time since the Super Bowl)
"It's football. It's what we do. It's what we get paid to do. We've talked enough about defending titles and all that stuff. We don't know maybe what it takes to repeat. You can research that all you want. But we do know what it takes to win a championship, and that's what we are going to concentrate on—The things that we do know. It all starts with a great offseason and a solid preseason. You make sure you make wise decisions in terms of who makes the team. But the unity, the camaraderie on this team is unique. I think we had some fun over there in Tokyo, and it will help us in the long run."

(On winning in the preseason)
"We try to win the game. You try to call plays and work the clock in situations to help you do that. At the same time, you are not going to sacrifice playing your starters into the fourth quarter to win a preseason game. There is a fine line in what we are saying here. We want to win every time we play. Sometimes you have to call on a lot more people to help you win in the preseason, and that's the key I think to having a real good offseason program sometimes. The guys that know what to do, that have been acclimated to the system since the end of May generally those are the teams that have better win-loss records in the preseason."

(On how glad he is to be moving toward the regular season after the Japan trip)
"I'm thrilled. I'll be honest with you. I enjoyed it over there, but it's just not a good time for me to go on a 15-hour plane trip. Maybe sometime when it's February or March maybe it'd be a fun time to go experience Tokyo. I made some friends and saw some great things, but my mind wasn't in the sight-seeing mode."

(On if he was happy that the team picked up where it left off last season)
"Yeah. When you go through 60 minutes of a football game and never punt, there is some good execution. When you convert 11 out of 13 third downs, it doesn't matter who game planned what. The bottom line is you were getting some pass protection, you had some open looks and we caught the ball and threw the ball accurately. It was a good debut for Chris Simms, a very good debut for 2003 for Brad Johnson and Shaun King and it was good to win. I'm really proud of our football team. I've said that from the beginning of our offseason program. We had a lot of guys into it. Whether it translates into winning or losing remains to be seen, but these guys are working their tails off."

(On how much more comfortable QB Shaun King is with his offense)
"He looked more comfortable last night. Shaun is not the lone ranger in terms of changing systems every three or four years. I know a lot of quarterbacks on a first-name basis that have had to go through that. I think I'm doing a better job, Shaun is doing a better job and the Jon Gruden-[Quarterbacks Coach] Stan Parrish-Shaun King connection is doing a better job communicating and working for each other than maybe we did last year. We know each other better. We know the buttons to push and maybe some of the things we can work together on. Hopefully, that pays off. But I was very pleased, very happy for what he accomplished last night. Hopefully, that is the beginning of great things to come."

(On Buccaneers who surprised him in Saturday's game)
"We had some good efforts last night by a lot of guys. I don't want to discount that. I was very pleased with what Thomas Jones did. He had a couple of errors in his pass protection in terms of who he was responsible for, but he made some violent pickups in other situations and had some very good runs. I was very pleased with the skill level that he showed on tape and the speed with which he played. Defensively, I liked what I saw from Dewayne White. There were other guys, but not a lot I can single out right now."

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