Jon Gruden Transcript — Oct. 14

Here is the complete transcript from Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden's postgame press conference after the Buccaneers defeated Tennessee, 13-10, on Sunday, Oct. 14:

Opening statement

I'd just like to tell you that I am very proud of our team. We beat a very good football team today. Any way we can win, we'll take it. Even though it got a little dramatic there today, we're very pleased with the victory. I think our team showed a lot today; we have several key guys out. For Tennessee to go out there and score with their back-up quarterback and overcome the third-and-long situations that they were in is a credit to them. Jeff Garcia was superb in the last minute of the game and a credit to Matt Bryant for a clutch kick.

On Alex Smith's injury

We are giving him x-rays and until we get the results we won't know. It is an ankle [injury] and we won't know the extent of it until we know the results.

On the resiliency of the team with all of the injuries

Sometimes it's been hard to swallow. The last couple of days, with (injuries to) Carnell Williams and Michael Pittman and Luke Petitgout and Brian Kelly amongst some other guys. Barrett Ruud [and] Ike Hilliard, two guys who weren't feeling real good today stepped up and had big games. We have some pro football players in our locker room who are giving us everything they have. I know you see it, I know our fans see it. We have some young guys that are learning some valuable lessons from some great veteran football players. That's exciting. We've got a long way to go, but that was a huge win for us today.

On Jeff Garcia

Well we knew it was going to be very difficult to run the football. Forget about our injuries and whatnot, we knew it was going to be a very hard day at the office running the ball. Obviously we tried to put Jeff in some situations where he could make some plays for us and he did. He did. Donald Penn held his own, he had [Kyle] Vanden Bosch. He is a great player. But Jeff Garcia never gets rattled, all he needs is one more shot and if you give him one more shot, he's capable of going in and that's what he did today. It's a credit to Jeff and what he's brought to our football team. I can't even tell you how valuable he is.

On Ike Hilliard's awareness to run out of bounds

It goes back to training camp when we answered all those questions about what is Ike Hilliard going to do and does he have a role. He is a heck of a football player. He understands the game, he's a complete football player from the neck up. People tend to forget sometimes he was a first-round draft choice. He has a lot of talent and he's been very productive for a long time. I know Jeff feels very comfortable with him and Ike Hilliard is a specialist in those kinds of situations and that's one of the reasons why we throw to him.

On the difficulty of running against Tennessee's defense

There are a lot of teams that come into a game like that with the understanding that you're going to have to throw the ball and protect (the quarterback) to win this game. Be realistic. The Tennessee Titans are a team that plays well. They bring a lot of blitzes. I don't care what anybody tells me, (Kyle) Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth are two of the best defensive players at stopping the run. I don't know if I've seen a defensive end with more tackles than Vanden Bosch.

On the pass rush and whether there was enough pressure on third downs

Our pass rush is not good enough. I've been saying that since training camp. Today clearly we had numerous opportunities, and not just in passing situations, to close the door. Our players understand and recognize and feel the same way — we need to pick it up there, or these quarterbacks are going to be too good for us to stop.

On Ronde Barber

He played very good today. He's probably unhappy that I didn't challenge a couple of those (near-interceptions). What can you say? Earlier I talked about the Jeff Garcias and the Ike Hilliards. (But) Kevin Carter, Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks. I'm real pleased with those guys (on defense). Barber's a guy when, we win, he seems to have a big impact.

On what the Bucs got out of the running game.

We got a lot of things. We got some good (blitz) pickups. We didn't make a lot of yards when we ran, but we didn't have a catastrophe run, like a minus-2 or a minus-6. We picked up a yard here and there. I think if we would have had the ball more, we would have tried to run more. Give Tennessee credit. They had long, time-consuming drives, particularly in the second half. Whether you're calling the plays or I'm calling the plays, when there's no time on the clock, sometimes it's hard to really establish the run.

On Tennessee's ability to convert on third down on Sunday

I'm not disappointed. I'm very unhappy with that. We gave up 12 out of 16 last week (against Indianapolis) and we gave up 12 out of 16 today. Some of the third downs weren't 3rd-and-1. Some were 3rd-and-7, 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-15. That doesn't happen in pro football. You guys will do the research, but I can tell you that.


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