Jon Gruden Transcript — Sept. 28

Here is the complete post-practice transcript of Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Friday, Sept. 28:

On the team's injuries

Ike [Hilliard] was limited today. [Greg] Spires, [Patrick] Chukwurah and [Brian] Kelly will all be questionable for the game.

On if he will be looking at wide receivers Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall to step up if Hilliard is unavailable

Obviously, yes. Or maybe we use a different personnel group. Maybe we just go with four tight ends and don't play any receivers. There are options; we're going to play with 11.

On the progress of TE Alex Smith

A lot of people measure it on catches and yards, but we ran behind him on those touchdown runs. He's getting some things done. He's really been outstanding for us as a football player, and that's what I care about more than anything else. When we throw him the ball he seems to catch it. He's gotten down the field and made a couple of nice receptions, and he's made some inside catches as well and he's blocking good.

On Smith's ability to also block

He's been doing that for us for a couple of years. We won a division title with him blocking, catching and making plays. And hopefully you'll see a lot more of him in weeks to come.

On if he thinks David Carr will start at quarterback for Carolina

You have to prepare for the mobility. You have to prepare for both quarterbacks at this point in time. We all know Jake [Delhomme] is the kind of guy who is tough enough to show up and play his best game of his career. I've been on the wrong end of the stick. He's beat us on the last drive of the game I don't know how many times. And Steve Smith, the Carolina football fans have seen him do it. So we're going to prepare for Delhomme to make a Willis Reed-like appearance because that's the kind of guy he is. He is a tough son-of-a-gun. And if he doesn't go, then Carr is going to bring a different agenda to the game, and I'm sure he's eager to show everybody that he is the number one pick in the draft a few years ago and a guy who can lead a franchise.

On the slant pattern

It's a big part of pro football. People who blitz have got to defend the slant. People who don't blitz have got to defend the slant. I've seen slant passes go 80 yards, 90 yards. I saw Roy Williams go 90 yards on a slant, and I saw [Joey] Galloway go 70. It's a play that everybody in the league runs, and the teams that run it well are usually the teams that are throwing the ball the best. You get to the ball to a skilled athlete who can make one guy miss, and it can be a lot of yards without a lot of protection. You don't have to hold the ball for nine seconds. You don't have to pick up a lot of the blitzes that are coming from all over the country, and it's a big part of the league, the slant pass. It's the oldest pattern that I know of.

On watching the 49ers' receivers run routes and catch passes when he was with San Francisco

It was great. It was a lot more than just slants. But with Jerry [Rice] and John Taylor and Mike Sherrard, we didn't mind throwing slants. We came out throwing daggers and dinos and slot combinations. We used to draw them up in our sleep. We used to love running routes there. But the slant pattern is a staple in the NFL. I think it all starts there every year, every summer, every team."


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