Press Pass: Jeff Garcia

In this edition of "Press Pass," Bucs QB Jeff Garcia talks about the final scoring drive, Joey Galloway's live legs and how he became a scrambling quarterback (think cow pasture) after the Buccaneers defeated Tennessee on Sunday, Oct. 14:

On the final drive

It was gut-check time. Not giving up, finding a way to persevere. Third-and-ten situation, not an easy situation against a good football team, a good defense like Tennessee has, but finding a way to create time in the pocket and Ike Hilliard doing a great job of getting to an open spot, giving him a chance to make a play. Then everybody being on the same page when we followed that play up with the next set of plays. Just doing a great job protection wise up front, giving me time to see the field and move around and receivers just working with me; staying alive, staying available, knowing I'll buy time, I'll create time for them to continue to work. Joey [Galloway] making a clutch catch, Ike making another catch and getting out of bounds at the end there. Just giving ourselves a chance to put Matt Bryant in position to kick the winner.

On if there is a heightened sense for him in the two-minute drill

It seemed like today, things didn't come easy. We had to scratch and claw your way for every yard that you were able to gain. You just never know what you are going to get in those situations. We felt like we would obviously see zone coverages, much like they were playing pretty much all game long against us. I really try to put the pressure on the defense in that sort of situation. We were tied up, so the main thing for me was not to force a throw or make a poor decision and give them a chance to create a turnover. The first two incompletions obviously didn't take any time off the clock, so that was a critical third down because we would have punted and given them time to work with the clock. I really tried to just to stay within myself, understand what we have going on as an offense, understand what they are going to be doing defensively and just try to allow guys to work and give them an opportunity to make plays and that's what happened.

On the third-down completion to WR Ike Hilliard on the last drive

He was really the third receiver in the progression in that sort of situation. I was working the two-receiver side, with Joey [Galloway] and Michael Clayton, with just my vision and what I was seeing I didn't feel like that was real positive over there. Ike was working basically over the ball, between 10 and 15 yards, so I knew I had him as a potential outlet if I were able to create a little space, buy a little time and allow him to work around the linebackers.

On his ability to buy time in the pocket

When I was young, my Dad put me out in the pasture to avoid the steers [laughing], to bob and weave. It's just one of those things. I have played this game a long time and I don't really know how that sensory comes in to play. I just think through experience, knowledge, understanding and awareness, it's really just a feel I am fortunate to have. I can't say there is any way you can necessarily prepare for it. I think there are probably times when I am a little bit too quick and that's something I can continue to work on. But more so than anything else, it's just a feel. It's something that I have developed over the years of playing the game. There is a natural clock ticking in my head at all times and just understanding what we are trying to do an understanding what our route concepts are and protection schemes and just trying to make plays.

On how hard it was against Tennessee's defense

They're a tough defense and we knew that coming in. We knew they were going to be stout against the run game. They proved that. They have a really solid front four, good active linebackers and good zone corners. They mixed up their coverages quite a bit. They really keep you off guard. They bring blitzes at certain times that create difficult situations for the offense. I knew it was going to be one of those games where it was going to be a hard-hitting game. I knew I was going to take some shots. I thought the offensive line for the most part did the best job they could possibly do against a very good front four. They kept them away from me long enough for me to get the ball out of my hands. I know there were times when I threw the ball to receivers that took some good shots, and I take a lot of pride in not leading my receivers into big hits. But that's how they (Tennessee) play defensively. They do a great job of reacting to the football, of staying in their zone and understanding what offenses are trying to do. That wasn't surprise. We had to fight and find a way. I don't like putting our defense in the position they were in so much today. That's two weeks back to back where we didn't do a good job of sustaining drives and moving the football. But that's just something we have to work on. Against good defenses like this we have to find ways to create a running game, we have to have more balance in order for our offense to be that much more effective.

On Joey Galloway's TD catch

That play, where fortunately we got the right coverage for him to press down the field. I thought he did a great job of getting the safety to turn his hips to the sideline, and when he came back across the field to the post, I just stepped up in the pocket. I thought the offensive line provided me with a nice pocket to step up into. I felt the backside corner react to the play, but I just believed that if I threw it to a place that brought Joey across the field that there was no way the corner could react to it. The main thing I was hoping for is that there wouldn't be a collision. Joey got across and made a great play and obviously when you get him down the field like that, it's hard to catch him when he's on his way to the end zone. That was a huge play for us. It was one of those games where you had to optimize your rare opportunities to make big plays.

On Galloway's speed for a 34-year-old

Nope, sure haven't (seen a 34-year-old receiver that can run like Galloway). The guy can just fly and he saw a lot of could coverage his way today, a lot of safety over the top. He's a big play receiver and teams are going to try to keep him from making the big play. Fortunately we had the right call at the right time and gave him a chance to make that play. We're glad to have him on this team.

On how much pride he has in no throwing an interception in the first six games

I feel very good about that, about not letting the defense get their hands on the football. I'm not saying there isn't a little bit of luck involved here and there. But I feel good about my decision-making, what I do with the football, not allowing them to have opportunities to pick off the ball and create that sort of momentum swing. Who's to say how long it will last? I hope that I can continue to take it one play at a time, every single game and make the right decisions with the football. When I do those types of things, it gives us a chance to win football games.

On how important it is for this team to win a close game

It's important to see what sort of character this team is made out of. When the going gets tough, how will this team respond? How will we fight through adversity? How do we keep it together as a team and plays 60-plus minutes, potentially? Today was one of those days where, offensively, it was tough all day long. We had a couple of big plays that gave us opportunities to put points on the board. But other than that we really didn't sustain drives. To put that drive together with a minute-plus on the clock in a difficult situation really brings a lot of credit to our offensive group as a whole and what we believe in as a team. There wasn't any disappointment on that sideline after they (Tennessee) scored. Our defense had worked their tails off all game long and they were put in difficult situations all day long. It was time for us as an offense to step up and make something happen.


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