Jon Gruden Transcript — Sept. 12

Here is the transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 12, including injury updates and his reaction to David Boston's release:

on injured players

The only player who is definitely out for the game is Patrick Chukwurah with his knee injury. He's getting better but he will not play in the game. We had three guys who were limited. Brian Kelly, excuse me, did not practice today. His status for the game is still questionable. Carnell Williams with his ribs and Chris Hovan with an ankle were limited on the practice field today. That's our update in terms of injuries. We re-signed Mark Jones, a return man-wide receiver to give us a lift in an area where we need it.

on Carnell Williams

He was very limited today, but he did get a little bit of work done, certainly above the neck. He is making progress, and that's about all I can say on that front. We obviously need him in the game so we'll hold out hope that he'll be ready to go.

on Williams feeling better today than he did Monday

Yeah, he does. He feels much better. It's hard to say...when you're on an airplane, a five or six-hour flight, to go back there and ask him too many times how he's doing. We're going to find out here in the next day or so, I think, his true status and availability for the game.

on if Williams will have to wear a flak jacket or extra padding

I don't know about that. I'm going to hold out hope that he's ready to go. He's got sore ribs. We did the tests. There are no broken ribs there so we do expect him to be back at some time, hopefully soon. But obviously he's a guy that we need.

on if the team will wait until Sunday to decide if Williams will play

We might. We might do that. Hopefully in the next 24 hours we'll have a better gauge on where he is.

on if Williams was able to practice in pads

He did not wear pads, no. He did not practice but he was limited in some of the individual work, certainly.

on if he was disappointed in the outcome with David Boston

Well, yeah, I'm very disappointed, not only for David Boston but for our fans. The guy got hurt in a pregame warmup, turned his ankle or whatever it was. There are some pending things going on off the field that will be resolved by people of a higher authority with more knowledge than me. For two years, it was a Cinderella story. We had hoped that he could come back and rejuvenate his career. Unfortunately, it did not work out, and we gave it everything we had. I'll say this – he certainly elevated the play of Ike Hilliard and Mike Clayton and all the receivers, really, in training camp. It's disappointing, very much so. At the same time, we've lost Paris Warren, and it's a difficult situation, one we'll have to overcome.

on the last thing he said to Boston

I'm not going to say all that stuff. I like David Boston. I like a lot of these guys. Unfortunately, as I said, this Cinderella story was a lot of work put forth by him, by Richard Mann, myself, our entire organization. And it's a tragedy in my opinion that it's not going to have a chance to present itself. But once again, we're moving on and we're excited about the game Sunday.

on if Mark Jones' return frees up Earnest Graham to play just running back

Mark Jones is a good returner. He's a guy who was [fourth] in the NFC in 2005 returning punts. We actually got some great looks in the punt return game in Seattle. We had a couple called back. Mark will assist us in that role. Obviously, with the David Boston situation we're going to have to lean on Ike more and more and more, and certainly [Joey] Galloway. So Jones gives us versatility – a guy who can play the position at wide receiver and a guy that can return punts and kicks.

on if it's a huge advantage for the Saints to have played Thursday

Well, it's not a disadvantage to have two or three days to prepare for anybody. I'll put it that way. You can look at it that way, or you can look at like you have no control over the schedule. Just go to work, try to get better and correct the things that we need to do to win a football game.

on if Brian Kelly's groin injury is a tear

No, we don't believe it is a tear. We don't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, Brian's doing quite well. His status for this game is very much in question, but I don't believe it's going to be a long-term injury. That's unfortunate [that he was hurt]. He was really good in the first half. He's a guy that we need. Obviously, Sammy Davis is here to pick up the slack. We're already minus Torrie Cox, so that's a tough break for us.

on if Phillip Buchanon would start at cornerback and Sammy Davis would play nickel back if Kelly can't play

Most likely, yes. Buck played really good. It depends. Maybe we won't go nickel. Maybe we'll stay in base, who knows? We'll have 11, I know that.

on the temptation to rush Kelly back

We're going to rely on Brian Kelly and the training staff to make that decision for us. He's a pro. He's played a long time and when he's ready to go he'll play. When he's not, we'll have to do the best we can without him. We're all crossing our fingers that he can get ready to play. In a game like this, you certainly need him.

on his thoughts about the New England Patriots spying story

I don't know, man. I really don't have much of a comment. It's going to be handled by the commissioner. We've just got to concentrate on our football team. I was really proud of the effort we had in Seattle; I really liked the game film. We've just got to clean up the turnovers and some other things that are going to prohibit us from beating good football teams. That's what I'm more concentrating on.

on trying to stop spying

I'm going to wear a disguise. I'm going to have our coaches wear mustaches and disguises. If that's the biggest problem in this world today, I really don't think much of this. I think the commissioner will handle this. He's doing a great job; he's doing all he can to make sure there is parity and everybody is on a field that's level. I just can comment on that regard, really. I've never heard of this. I know we're all trying to get signals. We're all looking for an edge, and that's about all I can say. I would like to say I hope Kevin Everett from the Buffalo Bills gets better. I think I speak for our whole football team.

on if the release of Boston is another opportunity for Maurice Stovall

Yeah, Stovall's in our mix. We didn't get him in the game much in the last ballgame. That's partly my mistake, but Ike Hilliard played very well for us and Mike Clayton's on the right track. He's on the way back. And [Joey] Galloway was outstanding in the game. He applied a lot of pressure to Seattle for 60 minutes as a returner and a receiver. We need to convert a couple first downs early in the first half and thus sustain some drives and maybe we can get a little bit more creative with Maurice's usage.

on Derrick Brooks having a couple of unsuccessful plays

He had some good plays, too. You get opened up sometimes, you're going to be sometimes vulnerable to a great player in space. Derrick Brooks is, again, the least of my concerns. We're going to need Derrick, we're going to need the whole defense, against this offense on Sunday.

on if it's frustrating to hear people talk about Brooks "losing a step"

It's frustrating to hear a lot of people talk period, if you want to be honest. We just try to work hard and let the people have their opinions. Derrick Brooks is a Hall of Famer and he's given us everything he has. And by God, that's pretty good.

on preventing long punt returns

We obviously did great on special teams until the one return. We had stellar coverage. We had four or five guys in on every tackle. The kickoff coverage was excellent. We had two great punt returns [called back]; one of them was a marginal call, if you ask me. We didn't have clean hands on the other but we can tighten that up. We are getting better. We're a faster, more dynamic special teams unit than we've been. Obviously, Josh [Bidwell] has a lot of pressure on him in terms of directional kicking. He's not going to be perfect all the time. When he mis-hits a ball or hits it down the center of the field, we've got to get off of blocks, we've got to find the football, we've got to break down and make the tackle. We had a couple young guys over-pursuing that didn't get that done.

on Ike Hilliard

He's a great player, I'm just telling you. He's a pro football player and whatever you need, Ike is there. After the catch, he looked good. His legs are fresh. He made some real good blocks on the perimeter. He's a guy that's going to allow us to have some success, I believe, on offense.

on the NFC South

Obviously, there's a changing of the guard at quarterback in Atlanta now. There's a changing of the guard here at quarterback, although that's a common trait around here. [Jake] Delhomme has been with Carolina, although they're running a new system. And certainly Drew Brees' status in New Orleans gives them real stability and continuity at a key position. Normally, those are the teams that start off pretty good early. This is a wide-open, up-for-grabs NFC South. I'll tell you, each team has got some really good players, and we're excited about 15 more games to see where we can stack up.

on winning division games leading to playoff berths

Winning home games, too. You've got to be stellar at home and you've got to take care of business not only in your separate division but in your National Football Conference, because those are the tiebreakers. Those are the things that come down to making the playoffs at the end of the season.

on how badly the Bucs need a win

Oh, we need a win. We need a win. We've got a lot of guys sick of losing. I can honestly say I'm sick of losing. Our fans are sick of losing. This is hard. It's sickening. I'm tired of losing. We've got a lot of young guys here – first, second, third-year Bucs – that have got to understand the torch has been passed to them and by God they need to do something about that and help us win a football game. I think they got that message loud and clear.

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