Jon Gruden Transcript: Aug. 7

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 Tuesday, Aug. 7, courtesy of the Buccaneers

On why today's morning practice was held inside

"We had a final examination for some guys. We got about 170 reps, looked at a lot of things, a lot of above-the-neck work today. There were some guys, the quarterbacks, who wanted to stay away from throwing this morning. Guys like Patrick Chukwurah, Cato June, Chris Hovan – there were some guys who wanted to keep off of their feet a little bit. But it really was a final examination for us. We had about a two-hour walkthrough, a lot of reps and a lot of good tape to learn from. We've got a new opponent. We've got a game to get ready for, so we used this morning to prepare a little bit."

On guys looking forward to the first preseason game

"I hope they are. I hope their itching. We had a great offseason. We've been pushing sleds and studying film and working hard. And that's why you do that – to get ready to play games. And New England will be a great challenge, and they're very talented. We think we've got some talent here and some real high-effort players, and hopefully it shows Friday night."

On the plan for players in the first game

"I never really make an official announcement on reps. You never know how a game goes, but we're going to look at a lot of these guys in the preseason, as we always have, like everyone else. We're going to try and keep the right 53 guys. And to do that, we've got to make our evaluations between the lines in games. You'll see some of the veterans play maybe a little longer than others, but there are some key evaluations that we want to get in this game."

On if LT Luke Petitgout was sent to see a specialist for his back

"I wouldn't say a specialist. Luke is doing fine, I'm told. We expect him to be ready to go for the next preseason game. We're just taking our time. It's been a little bit frustrating, but we feel like we're on schedule for next week's ballgame."

On when he projects Petitgout to return to practice

"Oh, I don't know. If I say he's playing next week, I would assume he'll be back the first of next week. So, we'll let him complete what we think is enough time to go by to get well where he can come out here and twist and turn and play like he's capable of playing. That's the key thing because he showcased some real talent in the offseason program. He's going to help this team tremendously, and we hope to have him on the field obviously when we resume practice and for the next game."

On if Petitgout's issues are mobility or pain

"He has some back pain. It's been treated. It's improved tremendously. He probably could have practiced today, maybe this morning. But we're going to let this thing heal. He's been through this before. He's played a long time with it, and there are a lot of players like him in pro football who have had similar circumstances. Look for Luke early next week."

On if Petitgout has a herniated disk

"I don't know what it is. It's a sore back, and again, it's been treated and we feel good about it being ready to go. If he's not ready to go next week, hopefully I'll have some more information for you."

On if Anthony Davis would be plugged in as Petitgout's replacement

"I'm not going to say right now because we have competition, and in fairness to both guys we want both of those guys to not really know until maybe the ball is kicked off."

On WR Maurice Stovall being ahead of WR Michael Clayton on the team's depth chart

"I don't know who's ahead of who. Clayton's coming on. Ike Hilliard – no one ever talks about him. He might have been our most productive receiver throughout camp. Or [David] Boston – David Boston is a guy who's having a great camp as well. Clayton's picking it up, and that's a good sign for us. Stovall had a great start. He's got some lower soreness that shows, but I'm really high on Maurice as well. It's real competitive at receiver."

On putting more emphasis on games than on practice when it comes to position battles

"Games – it's live football. The quarterback actually gets hit hard, and it's a little different standing back there when guys like Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi, those guys – Rodney Harrison – are flying around. We're going to use live evaluation as a final gauge, really, to help solve our evaluations."

On how the heat was today

"It was hot, man. We had well over 100 degrees twice yesterday, and that's another reason why we went inside this morning, honestly. You've got to be smart, and when you're giving out the number of IVs we're giving out — some guys, two a day — health reasons, sometimes, you have to take a backseat to the heat. You have to do what you think is right. Fortunately with Todd Toriscelli, who's been the trainer at the University of Miami, he's been with the Buccaneers a long time. We think he's on the cutting edge of heat understanding. That was another big reason why we did what we did today. It is hot, man. Hot. It's too hot to go outside."
On QB Chris Simms running the scout team

"This is going to be his role for a while until he regains his overall confidence in what he's doing. And he had some balls tipped, he missed some throws, but he also stood in there and made some nice deliveries. And he'll be a work in progress the rest of this week, and hopefully we'll get him ready, like [Luke] Petitgout, for the next ballgame."

On if Simms needs those reps to get his form back

"Yes he does. He needs to regain his confidence and his stroke, and certainly he needs to round himself back into football shape. And the quickness of his decisions and the delivery of the ball has to be accurate and on time, and the only way you do that is when you get reps."

On Simms being third on the depth chart

"I don't have a depth chart, really. We had to put something on paper. We're not a good enough football team at this point to really put a lot of things in writing. You know who a lot of the starters are, but guys are going to earn their right to play and make the team. And we're going to give a lot of people that opportunity."

On if LB Barrett Ruud will also not play

"I didn't say Barrett Ruud. Right now at this point, Chris Simms and Luke Petitgout — in my mind — will not play in the opening game. But we're still upbeat and hopeful that Ruud will show up and play for us."

On G Arron Sears possibly starting the season as a starter

"If he does what he's doing out here, it's not going to be a question. He's got to go out there and do it against New England. Ty Warren and Richard Seymour, [Vince] Wilfork – these are good players. When you're up on the second level and you meet Tedy Bruschi, it's a little different deal. But we are really pleased, really pleased with what Arron Sears has brought to this team – real thump, real athleticism and versatility for a young guy that is rare. He still has a long way to go, but he's really doing well."

On one thing about Sears that has been the most impressive

"Power – he's got power. He's got a real good anchor and I think if you ask the inside guys on defense, they'll tell you. He is a powerful guy who doesn't get fooled by the first move a lot. He hasn't made a lot of mistakes. We're throwing a lot at him defensively, different alignments. He's seeing different kinds of rushers, and he's responding well every day."

On Cadillac mention he would like to get more carries in the preseason

"I appreciate that, but we're real confident in Carnell Williams. He's going to get a couple of carries, and he's going to be an observer for a lot of the time. But I know how he is. He's sending cryptic messages to me, and we've got a battle with Ken Darby to make our football team. We want to see B.J. Askew carry it a little bit if we can. Carnell will get a couple of carries, but he's going to be our opening day starter at tailback, and we'd like him to be running smoothly."

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