Press Pass: Quinn Gray

In this edition of Press Pass, Jacksonville quarterback Quinn Gray talks about preparing for his first NFL start against Tampa Bay this weekend at Raymond James Stadium.

On making his first career start this week

It's an opportunity. That is all it is. It's a fun week, just preparing for the Bucs and that is what it is.

On if it helps working with the starters this week in practice

Of course. When you are the starter that is what the job entails, you get to work with the ones. We have been working hard and will continue to work hard today and tomorrow and cut it down on Saturday and get on to Tampa.

On his expectations

I just expect to be able to lead this team hopefully up and down the field and put points on the board. You can't ask for much more than being able to take control of the offense, use the clock to run the game and the passing game, and put points on the board and hopefully come out with a win.

On being asked to replace David Garrard last week against Indianapolis

It was pretty tough. I prepared all week. I didn't get any reps last week, but at the same time I tried to prepare mentally as best you can if your number is called. It was pretty tough. The Colts have a great defense. They are fast, they fly around. Those defensive ends really get after it. It was a tough situation, but we are past that. We are going on to Tampa and we are preparing for them.

On the hardest part of getting acclimated to the starting role

The playbook has never really been a problem. It's just getting timing down with the receivers, running the offense in practice and getting the timing down with certain plays or routes. I'm pretty confident right now we will be able to go in and execute our game plan.

On always having a notebook in meetings

That is all the mental part of it. I haven't been able to get any reps in practice with the first-team offense or anything like that. You have to be an excellent note taker and you have to be an excellent mental guy when it comes to things like that. You have to be able to prepare mentally more than physically when you are a backup quarterback.

On when he started using the notebook

It always came from college. My dad always taught me before he passed away that being prepared is the best thing I have. When my number is called, you have to be able to go in and execute the offense the best way you know how. Note taking is a part of it. The little tidbits you get here and there watching film you write them down and keep it in the back of the rolodex and you go with it.

On the team rallying around him

We have a great bunch of guys here. This team is a family. We preach family around here and that is what it is, now more than ever for me. These guys were here for me when my dad passed. I love these guys around here.

On the journey from undrafted free agent to starting quarterback

It's been a long time coming and I am looking forward to the opportunity.

On if he ever doubted he could start in the NFL

I knew it would come one day, but I didn't know when or what situation it may be. I always had confidence in myself that this day would come. It's kind of bittersweet that (Dave Garrard) had to get hurt and things had to come that way. At the same time, it is what it is and you have to be able to take advantage of all your opportunities. That is what it is. It's an opportunity for me to go out and show my coaches they made a great decision in keeping me here. That is what I have to do.

On if he feels any added pressure

There is really no pressure to do anything except for the pressure I put on myself to go out and help this team win a football game. That is what it's all about. We are trying to win a football game. Tampa Bay just happens to be the next football game. We have to try to beat Tampa. Of course, they have a great veteran led defense and it's going to be tough. At the same time, we have a great offense, a great offensive line, a bunch of guys just trying to come together and put points on the board. That is what we are going to try to do.

On how proud his late father (Otis) would be of him

My dad would love it right now. I'm quite sure he's loving it anyway. I sort of speak to him. He doesn't speak back. I speak to him night in and night out. I go home all the time and I am by myself more often now. I'm quite sure he is smiling down. This is always what he has wanted for me.

On David Garrard helping him out this week

Just a little comment here or there. David (Garrard) has been more concentrating on his treatment to try and get back healthy. That is what we want for David, to get back healthy and make sure his ankle is right. David hasn't been really involved with the game plan this week simply because of his injury. We wish Dave luck as far getting back, but right now we are concentrating on Tampa Bay.

On if he ever lost confidence in his ability

I could never lose confidence because if I did I wouldn't be here. That's plain and simple.

On if he thought about not returning to Jacksonville in the offseason

I wasn't really that close to that at all. I love it here. Coach (Jack) Del Rio gave me the first real opportunity to play in this league and I really love him for it. I appreciate the opportunity he has given me and I'm really ecstatic about the opportunity I have now. The tender offer was a little frustrating because I love it here and I would have rather signed a long-term contract, but right now that is not even an issue. I'm here to play football. That is what I am going to do this week. We will worry about the contract stuff later.

On the opportunity

That is what it's all about. When the opportunity comes to show people you can play this game, you have to take advantage of it. That is all I can do right now.

On the Tampa defense

Veteran leadership. Those guys fly around down there. They have (Kevin) Carter and (Greg) Spires on the line. Derrick Brooks, I know him personally from his days at Florida State and from Tallahassee. Ronde Barber is still flying around. Those guys are real savvy vets. They play that Tampa-two and they play single-high with the safety down in the box a little bit more now to try and stop the run. Those guys are still flying around regardless of their age. We have to be able to go up there and match their intensity because I'm quite sure their fans are going to come with it and they will, too.


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