Jon Gruden Transcript — Sept. 17

Here's the complete transcript from Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's press conference on Monday, Sept. 17, after the Bucs' 31-14 win over the Saints, including his comment on the St. Louis Rams and the give and take between him and quarterback Jeff Garcia.

Opening statement

Good morning. I don't have any news in regards to injuries. We will update you on Wednesday. I will answer any questions that I can.

On the better feeling waking up with a win and not having any new injuries

Well, we still have Brian Kelly and Patrick Chukwurah. We still have those guys that are injured. It is fun to win. It is a lot more fun to wake up after a win than a loss that is for sure.

On the health of Cadillac Williams

As far as I know he made it through. I haven't seen him today. Our players report later this afternoon. He had to go to the locker room at some point in the third quarter to get an IV, but I do believe he came out ok.

On if the win still looks as good as it did yesterday

It looked good. There are still some plays there that we have to make. We have to improve our pass rush. We also can't take four timeouts on defense. There were some things there that weren't so good offensively. We gave up some penetration on some first-down runs that you can't allow. You can't fall behind in a down or distance. We have plenty of things to clean up, but we had great effort. We made some explosive plays; we got some turnovers and we beat a good team.

On the impact the improved passing game has on the run game

It can help a lot. When you throw the ball successfully people have to account for that. That certainly will help us I think become more balanced. We are counting on (Jeff) Garcia, his playmaking, with his feet, to add something to our rushing game also.

On the ability to open up the passing game more with Garcia

Well, he allows you to do a lot more. He is a much better quarterback, no disrespect to anyone else we have had here, than we have played with, he just is a better player. He is more athletic, more instinctive, he's quicker, he plays fast, and he has tremendous experience. He allows you to do a lot of things. We just have to find out what exactly he does best, he feels more comfortable doing. Hopefully we can do a better job of that in the next game, because St. Louis is very unorthodox. They have a tremendous blitz package, and that showed yesterday against the 49ers.

On the feeling out process with Garcia

You pretty much know what he does. You just have to go through a few games with a quarterback to really get a feel for how it is on Sunday. He has a lot of input, obviously, with me here. I think he has earned that being in the league for as long as he has been. It is hard to describe, but until you go through a game, or two, three, or four with your quarterback, it is hard to truly explain where you want to go.

On the discussions with Garcia on the sideline

You get a chance to preview the next series, a little bit of what plays you're thinking about calling. Maybe at a timeout or at the end of a quarter you get a chance to talk about a play. You like this, you like that, you like this? He has some opinions of his own. It is just an area where we have to continue to grow. Some teams have had the same quarterback for five or six years, seven years, 10 years, whatever years. We have had our guy for two weeks. We have to continue to communicate and work through some situations.

On QB Jeff Garcia's impact in the huddle

He's an above life kind of guy. He's not the biggest, most menacing guy, but he has a bite to him. He's not afraid to say what he thinks. He's a great competitor. He's a charismatic guy. He's demanding of himself and demanding of the players around him. He wants to win and I think it's a genuine, sincere, competitive edge he brings to our football team that we need here.

On run blocking

Run blocking has statistically struggled. We had some good looks. When we had to run the ball late in the game, I thought we did a good job. We came out to start the second half, we ran the ball repeatedly at New Orleans. They knew we were going to run it and we knew we were going to run it, we ran it well. We got a couple first downs. We didn't convert a third-and-one, which was disappointing. But we scored a touchdown on our next possession. We were goal-to-go and we knocked it in for a touchdown, that's not going to help your yards per carry but I was pleased with our goal-to-go offense. We're still looking to break a run. We're still looking for a big gain in the running game and until we do, our statistics won't look very good. There was some good surge. There was some good finishes. There were some spotty efforts at times, but New Orleans is a stout, physical defense that is not easy to run against.

On being a ball control team

"I'd rather score twice. I'd rather score in two plays, than 22 plays. We want to be a ball-control team, but we want to score touchdowns, we want to win games. We want to have success, whether it's a quick strike or whether it's a sustained drive, we want to have success.

On what's not happening in the pass rush

We blitzed 50 times. I think we got to Brees twice. They're getting four to five guys out on every route. It's just not good enough yet, not to say it won't improve. We have to knock the other teams quarterback down, repeatedly when they throw the ball 50 times, and 33 times in a row, and in the seven-step drop. We have to do a better job of getting there. We just didn't get there enough yesterday. Although we did have two sacks, we didn't get enough pressure on him. He was able to set his feet, slide in the pocket, go to the second receiver, find the third receiver; it's not a pass rush that's going to win you championships. There were some good efforts and good individual games, but we have a long way to go.

On the personality of the football team developing

We have a great group of guys. We have a highly competitive team. I think some of the veterans that we got in here, certainly Jeff Garcia and Jeremiah Trotter, you haven't seen him play yet, but you feel him on the sidelines. Cato June, Luke Petitgout, Kevin Carter, these guys are great competitors and some of our young players I think are emerging. Michael Clayton came back yesterday; he's had two pretty solid outings, even though it hasn't really showed up on the stat sheet. We have a lot of guys that will compete and I think that was obvious yesterday.

On the win

It puts us tied for first in the division. We weren't very good last year. We were pretty good the year before. We won 11 games two years ago and we won four games or three games last year. We're 1-1 and we've got another opportunity to get a victory at home and stick around, be a part of this race, see if we can make a couple plays here in the coming weeks to get it done.

On the Rams

They shouldn't have lost that game yesterday. I think they only gave up 150 yards of offense and they had over 400 themselves. They had a couple terrible turnovers, I think to end drives. Between [Torry] Holt, [Isaac] Bruce, and now [Drew] Bennett, they've got three great receivers, and I really think Steven Jackson is one of the top, if not the premier back in football. [Marc] Bulger's a Pro Bowler, so they have firepower on offense. Defensively, they're very unorthodox, and they're talented. They have Leonard Little, [Adam] Carriker is a great acquisition for them in the draft, a big guy that can play inside and push, an athletic group of linebackers and a very exotic scheme in my opinion, and they're not afraid to call it and they confuse a lot of people and create some plays and turnovers with that in mind.

On if QB Jeff Garcia should lead with his feet when running

He's got a reckless style and that's something that you don't ever like to see your quarterback exposed to, a head-on collision like that. It's a credit to him, his desire and his effort to get that first down, and I just get worried about him. I'll be honest with you, but the more you talk to him about it, the more he rolls your eyes. So he's going to compete and hopefully he's going to stay healthy for us.

On QB Jeff Garcia solidifying his leadership

I think it sends a big message to the team, just like last week, he got knocked silly last week, came back in and took the team right down the field and had the chance to make it a 20-13 game with four minutes left until we fumbled the ball. I think his first two outings have shown one thing for sure, that he's a gritty competitor and I just think it sends a real good message to the football team and hopefully everybody is on the same page.

On CB Sammy Davis and WR Mark Jones

They made some key plays. Sammy Davis played really well for us against a really good opponent. Throwing the football, they have some really talented receivers, I thought he made some good plays in the running game and in the passing game and played a lot of football for us. Mark Jones had a couple nice returns and secured the ball and did the things that we asked him to do, and as you say, those guys were brought in here late after the Seattle loss and they helped us win a game, it's a credit to them.

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