Garcia's, Gruden's relationship growing

After Tampa Bay's 31-14 victory over New Orleans, both quarterback Jeff Garcia and head coach Jon Gruden said the pair are discussing play choices during games, and those discussions helped lead the Bucs to some big plays on Sunday. Plus, a link to Gruden's entire Monday press conference.

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When someone likened the give and take between quarterback Jeff Garcia and head coach Jon Gruden as the relationship between a pitcher and a catcher, Garcia just smiled.

There's no way you shake off Gruden, as a catcher might a Devil Rays battery mate. But it's obvious that Gruden trusts Garcia as he has no other Buccaneers quarterback in his six-year tenure.

A few times during Sunday's 31-14 victory over New Orleans, Garcia and Gruden went back and forth about what play to call. It wasn't an argument, or even a difference of opinion, according to both.

They were just trying to maximize their chances of success.

"I appreciate him understanding when I'm comfortable and when I'm not comfortable," Garcia said on Sunday. "And I've played this game a long time and he's coached this game a long time, and I have great trust in him in what he suggests and what he brings to the table. He made some great calls today. But there were a couple of times in the game, certain plays, I just wasn't as comfortable with them, whether it's we didn't get a chance to work them as much in practice or just based upon what I'm seeing and feeling, (so) let's work something else."

The give and take worked out, as Garcia threw two touchdown passes to Joey Galloway in the win and finished with a 145.8 quarterback rating.

Gruden echoed Garcia's words on Monday.

Maybe at a time out or at the end of a quarter, you get a chance to talk about a play," Gruden said. "(Do) 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."

Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck are in their seventh year together, and they were able to lean on that relationship last week during the Seahawks' win over Tampa Bay.

Even though Gruden and Garcia have known each other since their days on the west coast, playing together is another matter.

"It is hard to describe, but until you go through a game, or two, three, or four with your quarterback, it is hard to explain where you want to go."

Garcia said that as long as Gruden's willing to listen, he's willing to speak up.

"We have 5,000 plays in our playbook, so why not try something else?" Garcia said.

Other notes from Gruden's Monday press conference:

Gruden did not report any new injuries. Cornerback Brian Kelly and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah are the only two players in doubt heading into Sunday's game against St. Louis.

He reported that running back Carnell Williams needed an IV in the third quarter, but otherwise appeared to be all right after Sunday's game.

Gruden was generally pleased with the running game, though he's still looking for a big run from that department.

And the defense blitzed 50 times on Sunday, according to Gruden, and said that two sacks from that number of blitzes needs improvement.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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