Jon Gruden Transcript: Sept. 5

Here is Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's post-practice press conference transcript for Wednesday, Sept. 5, courtesy of the Buccaneers:

On injuries

"We just have one injury. Patrick Chukwurah's got a knee injury. He's out the game, and no one else missed practice because of injury."

On if DE Gaines Adams will start at right defensive end

"I don't know who's starting at this point, but we'll have 11 out there, and we'll use a lot of guys. Who we start might depend on what they start with, so we'll leave it at that."

On signing LB Jeremiah Trotter

"I think it's a shot in the arm for our team. He's not only been a great performer in the NFL, inside those doors he's a great leader, and I really believe he's going to help Quincy Black, Adam Hayward, our young defenders. He's a pro football player; he's a physical guy. We have our work cut out for us to get him ready to play."

On how important it is to have a leader such as Trotter

"It's great. We feel like Jeremiah Trotter is a good player, at times he's been great. And the quicker he learns our stuff, the quicker you'll see him on the field. In the meantime, he'll be a real good leader on our football team."

On if he's talked to Trotter about losing weight to fit in the Bucs' scheme

"We're trying to get a little bigger, honestly. There's nothing wrong with having some bigger players. It's a big man's league. We have some size. We have some smaller, quicker guys. The bottom line is that we're not going to ask Jeremiah Trotter at this stage to change much about his game. He's here because of what he's put on film. He is a very good, physical middle linebacker who will help us. Just because he's not exactly like who's played here in year's past doesn't mean that he can't play here."

On how excited he is for opening day

"I'm excited. I think our players are excited. We realize the Seahawks are the defending champions of their division, a couple plays away from being in the NFC Championship game, two years removed from the Super Bowl. And it's a very difficult place to play. It will be a great opportunity to see where we are as a team, and I know the guys are excited to play."

On Seattle's defense

"They've got a very versatile scheme. They're a team that relies on creative pressure on third down, and they rely on their crowd to make it difficult for your offensive team to communicate who blocks who. They do have some speed rushers – guys like Tat[upu]. They brought in [Patrick] Kerney from Atlanta, paid him a lot of money to do good things. And I think Julian Peterson's game speaks for itself. They've added two veteran safeties in free agency. I give Tim Ruskell a lot of credit. He's done a great job in free agency. They're a good defensive team, no question about it."

On if there's a noticeable difference leaving for a game two day's prior

"I'm actually happy about that. It's a five-hour flight – or eight hours or six hours, something like that. It's a long flight, indeed. And you give your players a chance to get off the plane, stretch a little bit. Saturday morning we'll wake up, have a nice breakfast. We'll head over to the stadium, see it for ourselves, have a little walkthrough, get a good night's sleep and see where we are Sunday."

On what he does on such a long flight

Well, you try to do something. You reach out to your friends and see if you can get a little Credence Clearwater Revival – the old school stuff. And you concentrate on what you want to do, and you spend some time with your coaches and your players and you have a little camaraderie on the plane."

On the advantage a west coast team has when an east coast team is forced to travel to play it

"I try not to get too much into it. It's a disadvantage when a west coast team comes east coast, if you look at it that way. If you're a good team, you can play anywhere. If you're not a very good team, you're going to struggle playing at home or on the road or in practice. I think we're a lot better team at this point to start the season than we were last year. We're going to have a number of new starters, and we're going to have a lot of new guys playing key positions who weren't even here last year. So I don't think too much about it. These are professionals, and the good teams play good wherever they play."

On what he's most anxious to see about his team

"I'm just anxious to play the games. I anxious to see the starters go wire-to-wire for 60 minutes. We know who the 53 men are. We have an idea of who the backup players are and who the role players are. We'll let them play for 60 minutes against a quality team on the road where it's going to be very difficult. We'll see where we are."

On if he's determined who will be handling punt returns

"Yes, it's going to be based on the situation in some regard. We've got a number of candidates, and I think you've got a pretty good idea of who those guys are. But to say this player is going to take all the punt returns would be foolish on my part. You're going to see two or three guys involved in that."

On Garcia jokingly confronting Gruden about not digging up his CFL tapes when he first tried out for Gruden and the Oakland Raiders

"Actually, we did dig them up. Jeff can kiss my rear end on that one. I did dig them up. That's why we brought him in for a workout. We were one of the few teams that worked him out. We did watch his tape, and we screwed it up by not signing him. But we had just signed a guy about a week before that – [Rich] Gannon. And Jeff was 38 at the time we worked him out, so we had no interest in him."

On if he loves guys who prove people wrong over the years

"Yes, I like that. I like guys who can play, especially at that position. I like guys who can play. And I do love the fact that this is a never-day-die guy, but I like guys who can play. And if you've got a guy who can really play at the quarterback position, those are the guys who we've been after here. We've coveted the guy for three or four years, and we're happy to have him here. I think you'll see, we'll all see, that is a great competitor. He'll overachieve, and beside that fact, he does have a lot of talent. He's not just an overachieving survivor; he's a hell of a quarterback who's been to three Pro Bowls and is a big reason why the [San Francisco] 49ers did come back under his direction."

On if he's talked with the Glazers about the expectation for this season

"Yes, I talk to them every once in a while. Again, what we talk about is what we talk about. They've been very supportive. I know they want to win, and they're expecting to win as always."

On if he relishes matchups against guys he knows, such as Seattle Head Coach Mike Holmgren

"Yes, we've been so far removed from our coaching days that it's great to reminisce a little bit maybe after the game or before the game because I do respect him so much. But at the same time, this is an NFC matchup. If you want to make the playoffs, things get sticky at the end of the year. They always look at tie-breakers and things of that nature. Whether this is a playoff game or not, I don't know. But I'm looking at this as a real good opportunity for this football team. We have rebuilt in some areas, and we needed to do that. Obviously we're excited that we did, and we'll see where we are."

On if DE Gaines Adams is ready for Seattle LT Walter Jones

"We've all got to get ready for Walter because he'll be ready for you. Walter will be ready for you. Whoever is on Walter Jones is going to get as good a football player as there has been in the league the last seven, eight, nine years at left tackle. Gaines Adams, Joe Adams, The Addams Family – anybody who plays – better be ready to go. That's what I call our defensive line – The Addams Family."

On why he said there was no pressure on him in 2002

"You do the best you can. You either feel pressure and turn into a basket case, or you just keep doing what you do. We feel like looking at the film, looking at the cut- ups, looking at our personnel now, we're better. And that will give us better chances to succeed. Monte Kiffin's still with me, Rich Bisaccia – a lot of guys who won a world championship here. We're just going to keep with the program, keep steering it in the right direction and we're confident that we can get it going."

On Michael Clayton saying he's in the best shape he's been in, in a while "If you're a pro wide receiver, you should be in great shape. That's what you have to be in to play at a great level here in the NFL. He has had a good camp. He does have more life in his legs, and we're expecting him to explode back onto the scene."

On how unusual it is to see a player such as Jeremiah Trotter get released at this time "We released a player – a very high-profile player – early in training camp. I don't know how often it is. I just know it's hard, hard on a football team. And you do the best you can to move on and do the best you can when you have to make a decision that's tough like that."

On him feeling like Trotter still has a lot left

"We feel like we need a little more depth and versatility at the linebacker position. We lost Antoine Cash early in preseason, and Shelton Quarles, by the way, retired. Barrett Ruud's the MIKE linebacker, and Ryan Nece has done a nice job going in there, giving it go. Ryan is more comfortable – I think more suited – to play on the outside. No disrespect to him. He's done a good job in there. But Jeremiah Trotter's done a great job in some situations, and if we had a problem there, it's good to know you've got a guy in the big house here who can come in and help you."

On how long it may take before Trotter starts playing

"I don't know. I don't predict that. I just met him really for the first time. I confident he'll be a quick study and be ready to play at some point soon."


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