Jon Gruden Transcript: Aug. 8

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 Wednesday, Aug. 8, courtesy of the Buccaneers:

On the last half of practice this morning

The last half of the session obviously was scout team cards where were trying to emulate the Patriots, so you're not going to get the precise look all the time. Those practices like that with 85 guys can sometimes be hazardous, but there were some good things early in practice. Later in practice, obviously, our look squads have to improve. You've got to represent your opponent a little bit better than we did today.

On the Bucs tight end unit

We think were pretty good. We've been working those tight ends in there pretty good. We think [Jerramy] Stevens is a good addition for us. Alex Smith has had a solid camp. Anthony Becht has been solid. We feel like we've got three veteran tight ends who know what they're doing, who can function in any formation. And those guys are going to help us.

On if WR David Boston is getting closer to returning to the form he demonstrated early in his career

Yes, I think he is. And our depth chart the one that was released the other day is changing daily. So David Boston is certainly in the mix, not only to make the team but to start. He's had a great camp. It's a credit to him. He hasn't missed a day's practice, and I really like what we see from him. He's 234 pounds, he's running all the routes at different positions and he hasn't backed down to anything. I'm really proud of what he's done.

On the effect of having a WR David Boston opposite of WR Joey Galloway

I can't get into all of that stuff. We have done some good things here. We didn't do so many great things a year ago, but that's for a lot of reasons. Galloway's a very good player. We would like the flanker position to be stellar for us, stellar. And Boston will get a look at flanker against New England, and his versatility is allowing us to do that. Maurice Stovall started out fast. He's had some sore legs here the last few days. I'd like to see him pick it up, honestly. Ike Hilliard has been solid. Michael Clayton has picked it up the last few days, so it's still very competitive, and we're excited about that.

On if FB Mike Alstott will play Friday

I don't know that he will. Again, I'll update you when I can.

On DE/DT Kevin Carters versatility

He can play anywhere for you. That's one of the great things about him. If you just settled him down and left him at one position, he could be outstanding. He's a good pass rusher. I think he's a heck of a football player. He recognizes draws and screens. He can hold up against anybody in football against the run. He'll bat passes down. He's a pro football player. And where we end up playing is where he ends up playing, but Carter will be a big part of our mix.

On FB Mike Alstotts status

He's sore right now. He'll be out for a couple of days, and we'll update you later.

On what has impressed him about WR Ike Hilliard

Ike's a pro. And he's not out of the mix here in terms of being our opening day starter at flanker. He's a pro. He is a pro player, knows how to run routes, (he) knows how to get open. He can stem people. He gets in and out of his breaks well, and he catches the football and he's tough as nails. So, Ike Hilliard is a guy who's going to be a leader in our receiving corps, and his role will be defined here in the next few weeks.

On if he's pleased with where QB Jeff Garcia is at right now

I'm very pleased. I think his preparation is top-notch. He's a creative player. He's a great competitor. He hasn't turned the ball over. Hes running our offense with ease, and I think, to a man, our whole football team is excited about what they see from him.

On what DT Jovan Haye has shown in earning a starting spot

He's made plays. His factor grade every day is putting him in the lead, but again, it's the Daytona 500, and we've still got 480 laps to go. We'll see what he does against Logan Mankins and some of the really good internal players who the Patriots have.

On if he was trying to lighten the mood with music being played over the speakers instead of crowd noise

No, I just got tired of the crowd noise. We've got to work on coming off the ball and making audibles in the noise. It's extremely loud in Seattle, and Walk This Way, by whoever that was I don't know who that was (Aerosmith), sometimes a little jolt in the morning helps our guys get out of bed.

On if the receivers running the gauntlet was a new drill

We've got to catch the ball better, man. We've got to catch the football better. We dropped a couple of balls again today in our passing drill. We dropped 25 or 27 balls a year ago. Dropped them. Good throw, good protection, good decision and dropped pass, four of them for touchdowns. That's insane. We can't win games if we don't catch the ball, so getting a little ball-catching drill for everybody puts the pressure on them. It was something we wanted to start practice with.

On if he's seen progress from his receivers

Yes, I've seen progress in some guys. I've seen a lack of progress in some others. And we won't be very good throwing the ball if we can't throw it better than we threw it last year, if we don't obviously catch it better, we'll struggle to catch the ball.

On T Donald Penn

He's had his moments. He's a young player who's had his moments. He's pass protected at times well. At times, he's struggled. He's been pretty good in the running game. At times, he's struggled. He's taken a lot of reps with [Luke] Petitgout's situation, and I think he's a little leg-weary at this point in time. He's seeing good players every day. [Kevin] Carter's not screwing around with him. Neither is Greg Spires. And the young rookie (Gaines Adams) is not messing around, so he's had his hands full, and he's done some good things, but he's struggled at times. Were eager to see how he plays against New England.

On LB Cato June

He's an impact player. He's all over the place. He chased plays down. He's physical in the hole. He's a versatile, skilled athlete who can fly. I'm really, really thrilled to have him a part of this organization. He's a great kid, he loves football and he'll hit you.

On what he looks for from guys in preseason games

Were looking for production. Were looking for guys who can hit. We're looking for guys who can finish plays and guys who can make plays. Discipline. we want guys who can play the game the way they're coached to play it, within our structure. We want to see guys execute their assignments and make plays and be enthusiastic and have some fun out there. Hopefully we discover some of that Friday night.

On why some guys look good statistically but don't make the team

Statistics are for the NFL Network. I don't believe in a lot of statistics. I think some of the best runs I've ever seen in the league are no-gain runs three-yard runs, two-yard runs, a guy who doesn't turn the ball over. Statistics sometimes are very misleading. You make a lot of garbage yards late in games, things of that nature. I want to see guys compete and get the job done and be realistic in what were looking at.

On what convinced him to elevate WR Maurice Stovall on the depth chart

We don't have a depth chart, really, that's concrete. That depth chart was released two days ago, and that's ancient history right now. As far as I know, well announce who's starting Friday night at the game. We're competing right now. We'll find out who to keep and who to start, and that's a long way from being decided.

On RB Michael Pittman's versatility

His versatility is expanding. He's a guy who plays everywhere in formations. He can lineup in the tailback position or come out of the backfield and line up as a receiver. He's a guy who can play the fullback position. He does a lot for us. He's a very good receiver. He's a very good pick-up guy. And we just think he's a fine football player.

On his impressions of WR David Boston

You've been out here. He might be our best receiver at times out here. He's running all over the place. Lets be honest, we haven't had full-speed drills with our tackling yet. This son of a gun is 235 pounds, and when he catches that ball going north and south, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with. He's doing great. He's doing a heck of a job. I recognize, our coaches recognize it and our players recognize it. I hope you do, too. Hopefully he can do it Friday night.

On WR Mark Jones as a kick returner

In the past he hasn't done that. He's been a punt returner. Once again, we've said it before and well keep saying it, we're looking for a guy who can do a dual role. We don't want to have a guy (where) you just snap, you just hold, you just return punts, you just return kicks, you just be the nickel corner, you just be the third receiver. How about you guys do a lot of things so we can activate the best 53 guys on Sunday? To be able to have a guy who can function in a dual role, like a lot of guys in pro football, you pick up an extra roster spot. Maybe it's the extra linebacker, the extra pass rusher, the extra fullback or whatever it may be. So were looking for somebody who can do both things, and until we find that guy, were going to struggle putting together the game day actives.


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