Jon Gruden Transcript: Aug. 22

Here is the transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's press conference after practice on Aug. 22, courtesy of the Buccaneers:

On practice

That was a good practice, one of our better practices. I was pleased with it.

On Arron Sears' ankle injury

He's alright. He'll be alright in a couple days. It's nothing serious.

On if Sears will play in the fourth preseason game

I don't know. I would assume so, yes. It's nothing serious. He's going to be out a couple days. I don't know that he'll play in this game, but he's okay. It's nothing serious.

On if Sears' injury was a sprain

Yes, it is, an ankle sprain. It's nothing serious; he'll be a couple days.

On what the team wants to accomplish in the third preseason game

Well, you want to accomplish the same things every week. You want to look good. Obviously you want to look at your football team, too, in the exhibition season. That's why they call it that. You want to go out there and evaluate your players and make sure you make good decisions, keep the right guys. We want to play better on the road. We want to start fast, much like we did last week, and finish stronger than we did in Jacksonville.

On if the third game piques his interest a little more

They're all the same to me. The games are interesting and exciting; I love them. We've got an interesting football team right now, some real competition, some pretty good players. I'm very pleased with where we are right now and yet very respectful of where we've got to go. It's the third exhibition game, we're winding down and we've got a big cut coming up after this game. We've got to say goodbye to 20 guys that have worked real hard. It's going to be difficult but that's what we've got to do. We've got to use this as a final judge.

On if players are trying to do extra things to make the team

Yes, that's been going on for some time. The effort has been outstanding. You've seen them at camp these guys know how to work and they know how to prepare. The guys I'm excited about are the older guys, the veteran players who are picking it up. [Jeff] Garcia was especially sharp today and our defense flew around. I was pleased with them today.

On if starters will play a little more this week

We don't know who the starters are. We've got veteran players who are fighting for roster spots also. We're going to substitute as we always have, and you'll see a few of the starters or veteran players a little bit longer than others.

On Maurice Stovall

He's a magician. He disappeared on me for about 10 days, Stovall. I haven't seen him around here for about two weeks. He's showing up again. I think his legs are coming back. He really showed up at training camp and was dominant. He had a great opening week or eight days of training camp. He did disappear, in my opinion, from what I wanted to see in the next 10 days. He's picked it back up. I think his legs have come back, he's become explosive again and he did some great things today.

On if all of the players are getting their legs back

I think so, a little bit. They're on a one-a-day session now. Once you begin playing the preseason games, there's a little idle time before the game and after the game, and that's helped rejuvenate some of our players. We still have to compete with the heat, but we're not alone in that area.

On if there are still problems with dropped passes

Not with the starters. Garcia hit six in a row. When Bruce [Gradkowski] came in, some of the backup players dropped the ball, and if they drop the ball they won't be here. We've got to catch the ball better. We should have had four or five more routine completions. Sabby Piscitelli dropped an interception. We did have some drops that hurt us. But again, the guys that make plays are the guys were going to play, and there has been some really good play-making going on lately.

On where there is still a lot of competition

The center position is very competitive. On the defensive line we've got some questions that need to be answered. And who's the fourth linebacker here, who's the fifth linebacker, who are our starting safeties? There are going to be some real questions that need to get answered. We like the competition. We've got some good players. The backup quarterback two guys are playing well. I could go on and on. It's at every position. We didn't win enough games for it to be any different.

On if the Bucs have scouted the Seahawks at all yet

We've done a little bit. They didn't play well last week in Green Bay. I think they were down 38-7 at halftime. They rested a lot of guys. Neither tackle played, nor did Hasselbeck. We're just studying their scheme a little bit here and there and staying on top of what allowed them to be effective last year. We're looking at them. We're trying to see what changes they're making. We're doing the best we can to stay on top of them.

On what will separate players at the center position

It all starts with making the right call and getting the ball to the quarterback. It rhymes the call and the ball. And block somebody. That's what we're looking for. It's a big part of pro football. You're going to see the Dolphins this week, they're going to line up in four, five different fronts in the first eight plays. So you better make the recognition, make the call and deliver the ball, and then block. Do it right, do it consistently and that's the guy were going to play.

On all the blitzing in preseason games

A lot of people are whining about it, I'm reading and hearing. There's too much blitzing going on in the preseason. It's a blitz league. People are blitzing 25, 35 times a game nowadays and blitzing from all over the place. Double-corner blitzes, all-out blitzes, zone blitzes all kinds of blitzes. You either deal with the pressure or you don't, and the preseason is a good opportunity to prepare yourself for the reality of this league. It's a blitz league.

On if a lot has been added to the playbook with the arrival of Garcia

Yes, we were in 30 snaps of three wide receivers last week. We were in 30 snaps of three-wides last year, I think. We haven't been in the shotgun. There's a lot of things were going to try to dabble in. Our offensive line some say they're young and inexperienced, but we didn't give up a sack against Jacksonville. We didn't have a ball batted down. I think last year we had about a dozen sacks and another dozen balls rejected. So were making strides up there and that too is going to allow us to be a little bit different.

On if the offense will hold back on some plays for the regular season

There aren't enough plays in the game to get to a lot of stuff. Some of the guys you want to see do certain things aren't active in the second half. So yes, you're not able to get to a lot of things. That goes for everyone.

On if it's possible that veterans could be cut during the first cuts

There are a lot of things possible in this league. I saw Jeremiah Trotter, he's in the Pro Bowl last year and he just got released. You can make your decisions that you feel are going to help your team win, and everybody's going to look at it in their own way. We're not going to discriminate against the young players nor the veteran players, that's for sure.

On how quickly a newly-signed veteran could produce

Well, most veterans are able to pick it up pretty quick; that's why they're veterans. They're able to adjust. Look at Jeff Garcia this is his fifth playbook in five years. That's insane. It's a real credit to him. That's one of the reasons why he's been so effective, because he's been able to adjust. Kevin Carter he can play any position in any front. Some guys can, some guys can't. The guys that can, will be the guys we keep and the guys that can't will be the guys we won't.

On the two rookie safeties

I'm excited about them. I said last week, Tanard Jackson had an unbelievable game, really. His factor grade was tremendous. He also showed up in the kicking game. Sabby [Piscitelli] is getting better and better. He missed a prolonged period of time in training camp and I thought that impeded his development. We've got two safeties who are young playmakers, and I'm impressed with what [Jermaine] Phillips and Will Allen have done also.

On if he has heard from Jake Plummer

I've got no update on that, but we'll keep you posted.

On how many times a player has to fumble before he's concerned

I'm concerned when we fumble. We've turned the ball over three times in the red zone in two games. You can't do that. If you carry the ball, you hold the whole organization in your hands. You can't drop it on the ground. Joey Galloway's caught almost 150 passes in two years, hasn't fumbled. You can't catch a ball and fumble it. You can't run the ball and fumble it. If you're a fumbler, you're not going to play.

On Chas Gessner

He had a good camp last year and he was on our practice squad all year. He took advantage of the offseason program and all the reps that he got behind the scenes. He's playing all the positions, he's a factor a little bit on special teams now, he goes in games and makes plays. He's got a lot of peoples attention here, and in the league, with his everyday performance. He's done a nice job.


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