Jon Gruden Transcript: Aug. 28

Here is the transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's press conference after practice on Tuesday, Aug. 28, including updates on free-agent linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and injuries to Alex Smith and Jeremy Trueblood.

On any updates on LB Jeremiah Trotter

"We're still looking into his situation, and obviously he's looking for an opportunity. I don't believe he's in an immediate rush to solve his next destination at this point in time, but we're staying on top of his situation as we are many other players'."

On the possibility of playing starters on Thursday night

"There are some guys who won't play, and there are a lot of guys who will play extensively. When you get to this stage of the preseason it's an opportunity for a guy to get one final opportunity to earn a right to be on our football team, and I'm sure Houston and a lot of teams in the league look at it that way."

On if he'll be using this game to look at guys strictly trying to make the team

"Yes, we're looking at that. We're certainly looking at A, an opportunity to get a lot of guys playing experience in games that might not be starters when we play at Seattle. And secondly, we're looking for guys who are good enough to play in the NFL and play on our football team, so we'll use this as an opportunity to get some questions answered."

On the strides the team has made offensively

"We're making a lot of strides offensively, upfront in particular. We had a good game, I thought – a very physical game we played upfront. Pass protection is much better than it's been around here. We still have a ways to go to get it where we want it, but there were some real positives. [Jeff] Garcia made some plays. [Bruce] Gradkowski made some plays. I was pleased with a lot of things that we did passing the football. And once we established that we could throw it with some success, we ran the ball with, at times, authority."

On if he's comfortable enough with his players to implement new things in the passing game

"Yes, we got 30 snaps of three receivers the last two weeks. I don't know that we had that much in the last year-and-a-half around here. [Luke] Petitgout is a real pro football player, and Arron Sears has really got our attention. Davin Joseph is going to be stellar in there at right guard, and Jeremy Trueblood has improved. So we like some of the things upfront."

On if he's happy with his receivers

"Yes, I could say that I'm happy with them. [Joey] Galloway's had an outstanding camp. When he plays he makes big plays. He's a factor. Everybody knows where he is. We went to him on third-and-two, and he got a pass interference call down the field. He had a touchdown, and he looks outstanding. His legs are fresh; he's fast as heck. We have a group of other guys, and they're all pretty darn good receivers – physical guys, man, that have size, have traits. So we like our receiving corps."

On WR Maurice Stovall

"I'm not going to separate the guys. These guys are all good players, and there's going to be a place for Maurice Stovall on our team. There's no question about it."

On the biggest differences he's seen in QB Bruce Gradkowski's game this year

"He's just on time. He's not late with his throws. He's not late with his decisions. His recognition is better. His overall command is twice what it was last year. And with that, comes a little bit more personality. He doesn't have his head in that steel bucket, throwing up like he did last year. He's composed. He was outstanding again today on the practice field in the two-minute [drill]. He's doing some really good things."

On if the backup quarterback job is settled yet

"That will be something I'm sure that we have to make a tough decision on. It might be a situation that changes during the season. We just want the starter to stay healthy and enjoy great success for a change. That's our number-one goal right now."

On the injury status of Trueblood and TE Alex Smith

"Oh, they're inside. They're in there doing their rehab. We have this beautiful facility, and we're putting it to good use."

On some people saying LB Derrick Brooks has lost a step

"Who said that? Everybody has an opinion, and we have to respect everybody's opinion this day and age, but I think he's a stellar football player. He's a blue-chip leader for us. I wish we had more of Derrick Brooks. I wish we had four or five more guys like him."

On LB Barrett Ruud

"He's done good. He did good last year. Shelton [Quarles] missed several games with miscellaneous injuries. I think he asserted himself a year ago. He'll be a much better player if we can play better upfront. We're hoping [Kevin] Carter, [Gaines] Adams, a healthy [Greg] Spires, Ellis Wyms – all these guys who we have – [Chris] Hovan – can help our linebacking corps get to their keys quicker and make explosive plays."

On addition roster cuts

"We'll announce those around 4 o'clock today."

On how he feels about this team

"I feel good. I really am excited about what our quarterbacks have done. It was a problem position for us last year, to say the least. I think we had seven interceptions in the first three games, and we struggled throughout the season. The right guard and the right tackle are a lot better. Arron Sears and Luke Petitgout have upgraded us on the left side. Defensively, we've added some players. Cato June shows you his flash-playmaking potential. We've got some size, we've got some speed and I think we have a chance to be a pretty good team if the coaching doesn't get in the way."


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