Jon Gruden Transcript: July 28

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Here is the transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's morning press conference at training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports

On Derrick Brooks' injury

He has just a slight hamstring [injury], I believe. Although I say that, it seems a lot. Well see how he is in the next couple days but were confident hell be back soon.

On working some of the veteran players in and out of practice

We have a creative plan that were putting into action. We did some things research-wise that were going to try to put into action, and well see how it goes. We've got to earn the right to have a day off, if you know what I mean. There are some guys that are under the medical watch of our staff, some guys that I think need time to lift properly during this time and guys that need to stretch more properly and obviously some guys that could use some additional rest and rehab to be explosive and physical when they do show up in practice. I'm counting on that getting done. I think its something that these men have earned and I'm confident that it will work.

On if that pays off in November and December

Well, if were in the playoff stretch, yes. It ain't worth a darn if were not in the hunt. We're going to try to take advantage of the young players. We've got some guys that we don't know very much about that will really be put under the microscope with the absence of some of these guys. It will help speed up their learning curve, it will help us put them in some awkward situations that we can learn from and hopefully they can also.

On putting on pads on Sunday

I think we should put on pads, yes. We've been in shorts for a long time. We had so many injuries last year that I don't think we practiced often in pads all last season. I think our guys are really excited about putting the pads on and getting on with business.

On being a more physical team

We have been a more physical football team, and I think our players would attest to that. We have some guys that are without a doubt physical, but we need a collective physical show, every play, every day. That's what were after, that's what were all about here and that's what were looking for.

On Luke McCown

Luke missed last season. He was injured, and when he did come back he was very limited. As you can see, he has athletic ability, can throw the ball. The quarterback rotation will be unique throughout this training camp. You'll see a lot of Chris Simms this afternoon, you'll see a lot less of somebody else. But Luke is a guy that has earned the reps and he took advantage of some of them today. Some of them he has to learn from, but I thought he did some good things.

On who's winning so far between offense and defense

I don't know. We argue about that every night. Until you put the pads on three or four days and you see some type of consistency in performance, it's going to be awhile before we can make those statements. David Boston has showed up, [Maurice] Stovall is really flashing. Those two skill guys offensively have done a great job the first three days. Phillip Buchanon looks good, quick, active out on the outside. I thought Tanard Jackson made a couple great plays today also.

On how Stovall has improved since last year

He's done nothing but work. It's the legendary Michael Irvin-Jerry Rice work ethic. I'm not comparing him to those guys, but from a work-ethic standpoint this guys insane. He is a great worker. He's faster, he's much more in shape than he's ever been and he can move for a big guy. It's a credit to him and what he's all about. He's going to make things real interesting.

On Chad Owens

He's from Hawaii, the University of Hawaii, so a lot of us haven't seen him. Were in bed when they play. But he has had a knack for making huge plays in the kicking game. [He] struggled hanging onto the ball, it's been well documented, at times in Jacksonville. But he's got a real compact build. He's got some power and instant acceleration and quickness. He'll be a guy that will make the kick-return game interesting, I think. And as a luxury receiver, a guy that can come in and play three or four positions, he has a knack for making plays.

On the tight end position

We like our tight ends. Jerramy Stevens comes over after being a starter on a perennial playoff team and Super Bowl contender. He's a big guy that has range as a pass receiver. He can run a lot of different routes down the field; inside he's a big target. We'd like him to be a more consistent blocker. Not that he isn't a good blocker. But we'd like to see him be much better. Anthony Becht is a pro football player, a leader here, and Alex Smith is a guy going into Year Three (and is someone) who we think has a big upside. It's time he steps up and explodes onto the scene so everybody in the country knows who he is. So we like our tight ends. Were going to try to use them as much as we can. They're competing with the third and fourth receivers to get on the field.

On the onus on the offensive line

Well, you know I've been saying that; we say it every year. It all starts up front. Last year was really tragic in some ways when we lost Davin [Joseph] and Kenyatta [Walker] and Dan Buenning before the opening game. But the right side looks good. Davin Joseph right now is exactly where we thought he should be. At the same time, he's got a long ways to go to really put it on tape; he's got to do it. [Jeremy] Trueblood's getting better and better. I can say we've got a real battle on our hands right now at center. The left side? It's a work in progress. These guys are new players [Arron] Sears, [Anthony] Davis is new at guard and [Luke] Petitgout just got here. So we've got a long way to go.

On players who didn't practice

[Michael] Pittman is not hurt. We felt his biceps could use a little work. Derrick [Brooks] has a hamstring injury; I don't know how severe it is. Sometimes they say it's tweaked and that's two weeks, sometimes they say it's tweaked and that's two days. We'll just bring you up to date each day and right now he's out of practice.

On being $15 million under the cap

It's better than $48 million over.

On having that cap space if new players need to be added

It's something that gives you great flexibility. You can make a trade. You can sign a player in free agency. You can keep your own. That's exciting. That's something that every team that's active in those areas needs. Salary cap space is certainly a big part of pro football these days.

On if he's confident with the current group of quarterbacks going into Seattle

I can't answer that right now. I have a lot of confidence in these guys but that doesn't guarantee that you're going to win. I want to see it out here for three weeks in training camp. I want [Jeff] Garcia to really assert himself. He makes four or five plays a day that we haven't had out here, instinctive, scramble plays, sidearm throws. I want Chris Simms to come back. He's going to get a lot of reps this afternoon. I want McCown and [Bruce] Gradkowski to compete. One of those young guys has to clearly step up.

On if he is comfortable with a number-two option

We've got three young guys. We've got three young guys, period. Chris Simms has done some good things and he's had his share of troubles. Physically and on the field he's been up and down, but he's had some ups and that's a great thing to lean on, a guy that has made plays and you know he can make plays. Great kid, great worker. All I can say is that he's in a competitive situation with Jeff, a competitive situation with the rest of the guys and the world. I want him to look at it that way and I think he is.

On Joey Galloway leaving the field early

Two things. He has some cramping and he also was excused from the afternoon practice and he's got to fly to — I let him fly to New Orleans. He is the owner of the Columbus Destroyers. I would like somebody here to do their work and find out, maybe privately, what percentage of the Destroyers he owns. That is being investigated and I have had no success. Maybe with the media's help I can get a discreet answer.

On DE Greg Spires saying he's an AFL owner, too

Yeah, Spires, he owns the San Jose SabreCats. And I got two phone calls that one of our players owns a dog at the Tampa Bay greyhound track. We're going to let Joey go because he's put a lot of work in with that franchise. He's from Columbus and God bless him. He's a guy were going to let go.

On who Jay Gruden thinks will win the Arena Bowl

I don't know. Jay's at the game himself. He shows up for his first day of work [with the Buccaneers] on Monday. As an underdog, he's won that game several times. It will be a heck of a game. San Jose's a great franchise and you've got to tip your hat to Columbus.

On when he's going to buy a team

I'm having a hard time buying groceries so far, so I'm not going to worry about that right now.

On if he's pleased with camp so far

Yeah, I really am. We're working four different quarterbacks, four different centers; not a lot of wasted plays; the efforts excellent; the teams in shape; and the enthusiasm is there. It's competitive, just like we expected.

On McCown's attitude

Luke's a little different, a quiet, reserved kind of guy. A great guy, smart guy. He's listening, listening, listening, taking the mental reps and I think his personality on the field is going to surface the more he plays. Lets give the guy a chance; none of us have seen him for over a year. You see a six-three-and-a-half guy that can run and throw, and he is tough and he is a football player. We'll address that as time goes on, but I don't really know Luke as well as I'd like to. Until you go to war with a guy in a football game, you really don't know someone.

On Garcia having a lot to ingest

Well, you can do it a lot of ways. You can give it to him easily or gradually, or you can give it whole-part-whole. We like to get a lot in because I like our defense to see a lot also. Our defense has to prepare for the Detroit Lions' attack. We've got to prepare for a lot of different things that were going to see from Drew Brees and company. I think in fairness to everybody you have to have a multiple attack early in camp to get everybody ready to play.

On if the skill players have to adjust to Garcia's tendency to keep plays alive

Yes, we do. We have to manufacture drills, scramble drills. Basically, we've got to have study of the scramble. Some of the biggest plays in football aren't drawn up. Wow, the guy got away from somebody and somebody sprung deep. Those are things we have to show to our players, those are things we have to get into the practice format, sometimes in seven-on-seven. Just break the pocket and run. You saw that several times today. Were trying to script some plays where we get that, and sometimes we've just got to coach it.

On Cato June

He's really fast. You see why he's really good in this scheme. He can play the outside linebacker position with an effortless style. He's got great familiarity with our defense, certainly, but he's also got great athleticism. His legs are alive. He can run. I know he'll hit. He's had a knack for making plays. Whatever position you play him at, weakside or strongside, he's going to be a guy that shows up where the ballcarrier is.

On if it will be hard to take June off the field in passing downs

Heck yes. It's hard to take him off the field in any situation. You've got a chance to kick off or cover a punt, you want that guy out there. He runs and hits, and he's instinctive as hell and he's a never-say-die kind of guy. That's something I'm really, really pleased with. I think Quincy Black and Adam Hayward, two guys that can also run, that's exciting to have those guys on our team.

On if he has ruled out moving June inside on passing downs

We haven't ruled out very much. We've got a lot of change on this football team. With that being said, you understand that you're two days deep into training camp, so just keep coaching, keep working and keep studying.


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