Jon Gruden Transcript — Nov. 5

Here is the complete transcript from Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's day-after press conference on Monday, Nov. 5, 2007:

His thoughts about Sunday's win over Arizona

Obviously we don't have a game this week. It will give our players a chance to get a little time to hopefully get well for the second half of the season. Our guys did play very hard (Sunday), and it was a big win for our team.

Update on Greg Spires and other players that missed Sunday's game

No, (we'll) take it day by day and we'll let you know when we get started next week

On the practice schedule

The coaches will work on the Falcons and do some self-scout things that you need to do during the bye-week. Wednesday we'll have a practice. Pending on how that goes we might give the players Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. One of the big reason is we have a number of guys who are not going to practice, therefore we're going to use it as a time to get some players well and get them some extra treatment so we come back on Monday, our bonus day and take advantage of it.

On if the bye week schedule is a little different than normal

Usually we practice Wednesday and Thursday. As I just said we're going to practice on Wednesday and a lot of that has to do with the number of players that can and cannot practice. We really don't have enough players, to be honest with you, to service a full-fledged practice.

On what it would take to not have a workout on Thursday

You got to be sharp. You got to be sharp. The guys have to be attentive, got to be enthusiastic. This is a reward system that we work on in this league. You play good you get paid well, usually. You don't play good and you're out of the league, coaches, players, all of us. We like to give our guys some incentive to have an upbeat, above the neck meeting and an enthusiastic practice. Our players deserve some time off. They've played really hard and I'm proud of them, and I think at the same time we need to play better to be a really good football team. We're good right now, but I think to be a really good football team there are a lot of things we need to do better.

On how much have injuries affected practice

It's been a problem. On Wednesday we haven't had a practice the last two weeks, we've had more of a walk-though because of the injuries, and they've mounted at certain positions. We used Wednesday as a day when we've gotten all our reps in, maybe some bonus reps, but not full-speed, not physical, not normal. We've not been accommodating. We've done what we need to do to prepare our team to play, but what we want to do is get back to a normal schedule if we can following this bye week. To do that we need guys to practice.

On whether he's ever been beat up like this entering the bye week

The last two seasons we were replacing our starting quarterback heading into the bye. (Brian) Griese went down. Last year (Chris) Simms went down. We had a number of injuries last year, obviously, with Simeon Rice, Brian Kelly, (Shelton) Quarles, our quarterback, our right tackle, our right guard. That's part of the game. What I'm most proud of our team we had some guys step up, some of our young players in particular, some of our veteran newcomers have delivered for us, so that's one reason to be excited.

On whether there will be fines for RT Jeremy Trueblood after his ejection

I don't know what to anticipate. I was disappointed in that last sequence of plays. We fumbled the snap, but obviously when you look at the replays, they swatted the football. They missed that call. Then they tried to swat the ball again. There were some after the whistle things going on there the NFL should look at, and I'm sure they will. I don't anticipate any fine. I just thought that was an ugly sequence of plays and we'll let the league handle it.

Do you look at the playoffs and sees a certain number of victories you need to make it?

No. We just look at each game, honestly, because the Saints have won four games in a row and are playing as well as anyone in the league. There are some real surprises going on in pro football during the first half of the season and that means there will probably be some in the second half of these season and we'd like to be one of those surprise teams. All you can control is what you can control, and that's prepare and practicing and getting ready to play your best.

On what having a healthy Jeff Garcia has meant to this football team

It's been great. He's played so well for us, meant so much to our team. Given the circumstances he's really been superb. You lose Cadillac (Williams) and (Michael) Pittman and (Mike) Alstott, you lose your tight end, your left tackle, (Michael) Clayton's gone, Mark Jones is gone, (David) Boston's gone, Paris Warren is gone, all the guys you work with in April, May, June and July, August, are gone. It's a credit to him. He's been a great leader. He's been a consistent playmaker, and his poise, I think, shows through these times. He's been outstanding, I think, from day one. He's missed a few throws here and there, but he's completing close to 70 percent of his balls. He's made some incredible effort plays and some really heady ones indeed. He's a big reason why we have a chance.

On not scoring on those long drives on Sunday

We've had three 18, 19, 20-play drives. Two in Detroit, one yesterday, and we got no points. We fumbled a snap on first and goal at the one. They had a penalty and a missed field goal at Detroit. Missed a wide-open play yesterday. We dropped the football. We missed a short-range field goal. As I say to other players, for us to win and beat good teams and move on, we're going to half to make those plays. I'm really pleased with the drives we've mounted, and some of the results we're getting, but there is nothing like going to whole day working throughout the week and not getting paid. We have to cash in on our hard work, and some of this playmaking that I'm talking about are routine plays and those are inexcusable.

On the steadiness of Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway

Ike has playing hurt. He's been playing with a variety of injuries. Galloway is still a very dangerous deep receiver and we're trying to get him more and more involved in other things. Those two guys have been leaders and playmakers and consistent ones for us. We're hoping (Maurice) Stovall, you see yourself he's on the rise, and we're anxious to see him help those guys in the coming weeks.

On his plays for the weekend

Next weekend? I have no idea. I have three sons and I plan on spending a little time with them. A lot of those guys are involved in some things in school and out of school. I'd like to be there for them and spend a little private time with them. It will be nothing exciting, that's for sure. Maybe I'll go catch a high school football game. It's playoff time now. I'd like to do that.

On injuries during Sunday's game

(Fullback B.J.) Askew earlier in the game got an ankle. He was able to get through it. Trueblood got a stinger in his right shoulder. Alex Smith re-aggravated his ankle, but I do believe all those guys are going to be OK. I don't think there was anything significant to report today.

On the progress of the offensive line

I'm very pleased. I got to tell Bill Muir and (Aaron) Kromer they're doing a very good job a lot because those are two rookies basically on the left side. They had two rookies on the right side last year. That's four games with a combined NFL experience of two years. We're picking up a lot of blitzes. We're handling a lot of offensive football quite well and we're really excited about the development, the progress and the future of those guys. John Wade has really done a great job as the veteran of the bunch making calls and delivering the ball and putting our people in position to execute. It's been a real plus for us through the first nine weeks.

On the progress of Donald Penn

He's doing good. As I said to somebody last week, I try not to compliment him very often because he has a head that swells. You can't handle praise too well Donald. You got a long way to go, but we do like some of the things you are doing. You're doing well.

On Gaines Adams

He had a couple of pressures. He was on a couple of run blitz drops. He almost intercepted a pass. It was his first start. I thought he did some good things. We're going to need a lot more from him, but anytime you hold a quarterback of Kurt Warner's status to 10-for-30 – he came in with a 95 rating. He had been throwing the ball well. A lot of it had to with excellent coverage and we certainly got some hits and a pretty good rush, but it's still not good enough.

On the secondary

They played great. I think Tanard Jackson had five breakups. He had the interception and a another near-pick. He had a couple of big hits. Jermaine Phillips, what can I say about Jermaine? He's really playing good for us. He's capping off plays and showing some range and striking ability. He made a lot of adjustments and a lot things happened back there for us.

On other players stepping up on Sunday

Ryan Sims came in and made a couple of nice plays for us. Kevin Carter played real solid for us again. We do have some opportunistic people. It's great to get Brian Kelly back. Phillip Buchanon has played well for us. The safeties and our pass defense is really good at this point. We're going to need to rely on that down the stretch.

On the progress of Earnest Graham

His stamina, his ability to make hidden yardage. A lot of the runs he made there wasn't a lot of big holes. But he makes good reads, he's a north-south guy, he protects the ball. A great touchdown run, honestly, inside the 3-yard line. Some good cutback moves with the pile type run. He carried the ball 33, 34 times and I think 31 of those plays had positive yardage. He moved around well. What can I say, he played well.

On why the Cardinals threw so much

Well, they're capable of throwing the ball well. Their football team is structured where they can do a lot of things. They're capable of throwing the ball with anybody. I wasn't totally shocked, but we did anticipate Edgerrin James to get some good looks at us, and for whatever reason they didn't choose to do that.

On Michael Pittman coming back from injury after the bye, as anticipated

He's always been a big part of our offense. He's a great receiver, one of the top third down nickel backs in football I believe. He allows us to move formations. He's a Joker, a guy that can line up in any eligible position and function and he's just going to supplement what we're doing I think and give us a good runner, an excellent receiver and a very good pass protector.

On how tough it is to be a play caller these days

It's big. I just caught the tail end of the Indianapolis-New England game, there's a lot going on before the snap with those two guys. It's not the play that's called, it's the play that's run. It's their recognition, their communication, their ability to pull it off. No disrespect to rookie quarterbacks or some other quarterbacks, but not a lot of guys can do that in 15 seconds, 12 seconds, seven seconds, adjust the play, adjust your setup and create a totally different decision for you right as the ball is being snapped and Garcia in his first year doing this really, and he will admit to you he may not have liked it when he first started. He's one of those guys, hey, I'll make it work. But now he's bought in I think and he's excited about some of the thins here's capable of doing if he chooses to do it.

On Matt Bryant

He missed a long field goal, 57 or 58 yarder. We would have liked to have done better than that for him, set the stage and give him a more makeable opportunity. I just think he was very upset with himself after that long miss and sometimes golfers, kickers, men that play an individual sport can become their own worst enemy. I think Matt is a tremendous kicker and he just had a bad swing on the 26-yard field goal and he's got to get over it and show resolve and I'm sure he will.

On the camaraderie on the offensive line

As I said, there's a certain etiquette that is part of football. At least the competition committee goes over those things ever year, what's good for the game. And what occurred at the end of that game was ugly. I'm not going to be tolerant of us getting a 15-yard ejection penalty where we have a chance to ice the game. We do appreciate loyalty, OK? And guys believing in one another, but there comes a time when you've got to settle those things outside of the lines. That's just not good enough yesterday, we have to show more poise than that.

On Pats-Colts ending

It was just a great game. It kind of ended the way you expected it to. I'm sure they'll meet again and it'll be a similar outcome. It's two very good football teams and it went down to the wire and the Patriots just made one or two more plays.

On Adrian Peterson

I don't think he's a rookie. That's Jim Brown wearing No. 28. What he did yesterday, what he did at Chicago, what he's done in eight game is unbelievable. I've never seen a guy do what he's done in eight games, come into the National Football League and dominate like that. He's a power runner, a finesse runner, he's a great receiver, he's as hard a running backs as I've ever seen. And he's unbelievable and that's good for Vikings fans, I guess.


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