Jon Gruden Transcript: Aug. 27

Here is the transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's press conference after practice on Monday, Aug. 27, courtesy of the Buccaneers:

Opening statement

We're going to announce our roster moves at about 4 o'clock, so I don't have news on that front. We'll update you right around 4 o'clock.

On roster cuts being a difficult decision

It's always hard, but you've got to do it. You've got to reduce your roster when it's time to reduce your roster. We've made some tough decisions today, and it doesn't mean that these guys' careers are over. I think there's a chance some might come back, some might move on elsewhere. But it's always tough. You spend a lot of time with these guys, and you want them to do well.

Talk about the decision to give Chris (Simms) a couple of snaps the other game

I ain't going to talk about it anymore, really. I've talked about it all year. He's a guy that we're trying to get into the game and into the groove, OK? But every day, geez.

On if Simms will play more Thursday against Houston

I don't know how much he's going to play; I really don't. We like what the quarterbacks are doing – [Bruce] Gradkowski, [Luke] McCown, [Jeff] Garcia. We've played three great defenses. We've done some good things. I don't know how much he's going to play. We're going to do our best to get him on the field.

On the increased competition benefiting the team

We've been able to add some players in the draft and in free agency who have not only improved our team but also enhanced competition. We feel like we are a deeper team. We feel like we've got some legitimate battles at certain positions where maybe in the past we haven't been able to have that luxury. I think competition is always a great motivator for these guys, and hopefully at the end of the day it helps us become a better football team.

On the team's health status

We have some injury concerns. Jeremy Trueblood I believe will be ok. Alex Smith has an ankle sprain. Patrick Chukwurah hurt his knee. He's a week-to-week-to-week decision, but we're concerned about all those guys, obviously, for the beginning of the season.

On how serious TE Alex Smith's injury is

I think he'll be ok, but he has an ankle sprain. And how well he comes around, I'm confident he'll be ready to go, but he couldn't go today if we went today.

On the health status of G Arron Sears

He's getting better. He's working at his rehab, and we feel confident that he'll be ready to go for the opening game.

On if T Jeremy Trueblood left Saturday's game early due to injury

He didn't get hurt, per se. He has symptoms of having a problem. It's not a severe injury. We don't think he'll miss any time in terms of the opening ballgame, but he's on a day-to-day basis right now getting treatment and we'll update you here in a couple of days.

Coach, what did you think about the left side of the offensive line on Saturday? It seemed like Anthony Davis and Luke Petitgout did a pretty good job the other night.

We've seen some good defenses, great defenses. We've seen Top 5 defenses every week. Donald Penn did some good things. Our offensive line played physical at time, and put some things on film that we haven't had on tape around here. ‘The Beastie Boys' I call them. They're getting better and I think they're gaining confidence, and that's a good thing. We're hoping Sears can come back soon, and we're hoping Trueblood is out shortly.

Jon, what's your sense of the competition at the under tackle position?

We have competition, but we need someone to step and be great. We're used to having a great under tackle here. We had the best under tackle in the world here for a long time. That's what we're after. Right now I don't know that we have that, but we have some guys that are working hard and competing, and Jovan (Haye) is still the leader in the clubhouse. But Ellis Wyms and some other men have shown the capability of playing there. You have to like what Greg Peterson did in the game. He's a young guy, two sacks, two or three passes where he rushed the quarterback and great pursuit plays. So he's coming on.

On the chances of him keeping four quarterbacks

I don't know that. I'd like to use one quarterback.

On if he's ever kept four quarterbacks on the roster I don't think so. I'd have to check my memoirs, but I don't believe I have. I don't believe I have. I can't say that we wouldn't do that. We're going to try and keep our best players and certainly we've got some good quarterbacks.

On how much of a progression he's seen from QB Bruce Gradkowski from last year to this year

What he's done is really, really good. A lot of people want to say it's against the thirds or whatever, but he's brought our team from behind to win a game. He's put us in a position to score. He's doing some great things with the football. Experience is a great teacher. He's clearly a lot further along than he was a year ago, and I think Jeff Garcia has really helped the development of Bruce and certainly Luke [McCown] because they all play the game with a spontaneous style sometimes. They create plays. They're creative players. I think all three of those guys feed off each other.

Is Chukwurah's injury one that could result in Gaines Adams starting on opening day?

I don't know about Gaines Adams (starting), but his injury could result in somebody else starting. We haven't distributed our depth chart for the opening game yet, and we have competition at defensive end.

On Gaines Adams

The light is definitely on. He's had some great pressures. We were in some games where we stunted really for the first time – in that last game. And we're really pleased with A, the effort and B, the raw natural talent that he has. And it's all coming together.

On how well safeties Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips have played in the preseason

They've played pretty well. We missed some tackles early in the Miami game that we've got to take responsibility for, but I've been pleased with Phillips capping plays off, finishing plays. And Will Allen's been solid. Those are two guys who have played a lot of football. They've had solid camps.

On if S Tanard Jackson will return to action this week

Yes, he'll be back. He'll be back. [Phillip] Buchanon will be back, so there's always some good news to go with some of the daily grind.

On if DE Greg White's penalty at the end of the half could hurt his chances of making the team

We didn't like that penalty. That's a serious penalty at any time in a game, let alone in that situation to give Jay Feely a chance. These kickers are like snipers now, and they're deadly. They can knock it right through the uprights, and to give someone an opportunity to score is not a wise move on our part. But Greg is a guy who we think has talent, and he's in the mix.

On preparations during a short week

We obviously didn't get back until two or three in the morning Sunday night — — Saturday night or Sunday morning, whenever it was. Yesterday was the players' day off. We wanted to take a couple of hours honestly this morning and watch the Miami Dolphin game film and make the corrections. Then we had to get ourselves familiarized with the Houston Texans, so there was another lengthy meeting involved. We ran about 120 plays today in a walkthrough fashion, trying to simulate Houston's offense and defense, and we'll have a good run around tomorrow.

On if David Boston's off-the-field situation impacted his playing time Saturday

No, it did not. It did not – had nothing to do with it. There's no evidence to support that. Whatever happens will obviously be determined, but there's no evidence that we have to support those accusations. So that had nothing to do with it. We wanted to see [Ike] Hilliard on the first play of the game because he's a good player.

On if he's looking for someone to step up at the second receiver spot

I don't think guys haven't stepped up. They've done what we've asked them to do. They've worked their butts off; it's just close. With that being said, we might have a committee playing flanker for a couple of games. A lot of teams do that, and that's not a bad thing. We feel like we've got good players there, and there's nothing wrong with that.

On if he's closer to naming a starting center

Well, we're getting ready for Seattle, so we're closing in on that.

On if anyone has stepped up at center

Yes, John Wade has done some good things. Matt Lehr took a lot of snaps at guard. Somebody's got to have the capability of being a backup center on gameday and a swing guard. You can't dress 12 guys for a regular-season game, so there are a lot of things that people don't think you're looking for, but you're looking for. Lehr just got here, and to master the calls and master all the things that we want to do is one thing and then let alone make him a guard is another. So Donald Penn, Matt Lehr, Dan Buenning – a lot of these guys, Jeb Terry, have got to be multiple position players like Anthony Davis. And what a great opportunity to do that in these preseason games.

On T Donald Penn's performance

You just go back and watch the game. That reverse play to [David] Boston, he makes one of the great plays we've had here, athletic finish plays. He did some great things; he did some things that weren't very good, that he's going to learn from. But to play 65 snaps or whatever it was at left and right tackle against those caliber of players was a great opportunity for him, and he held his own in there. I was proud of him. I was pleased with what he did.


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