Jon Gruden Transcript — Nov. 14

Here is the complete post-practice transcript of Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007:

on injured players

Greg Spires did not practice today and we had a number of guys that were limited.

on if Michael Pittman and Alex Smith will play on Sunday

As far as I know. Again, Mike Pittman, [Michael] Clayton, [Patrick] Chukwurah, amongst others, were very limited today. They have been out of use for some time so...I don't know. I do not know.

on if turnovers have been the biggest issue in the Bucs' road losses

Well, Peyton Manning had a lot to do with one of the losses. We turned the ball over self-inflictedly – if that's an adjective – in Detroit, fumbling snaps and exchanges. That certainly was a big problem. We didn't play particularly well defensively against Detroit. We had a punt blocked – that had a lot to do with the outcome of that game. Yeah, turnovers always are a big reason why you don't win.

on preparing for Atlanta

I think Bob Petrino is a great coach. He's doing a hell of a job, if you ask me. They've won back-to-back games, they lead the NFC in turnover ratio and their defense is unbelievable right now. They are all over the opponents that I've seen them play against. Pressure, full pressure...and it's a credit to them. They've got a lot of really good players and they're playing hard and they've won two in a row.

on Warrick Dunn continuing to excel despite having doubters

I don't know who ever questioned his ability. He's a great back. One of the sick days in my life is when we lost him. He's, I think, 60 yards shy of 10,000. You don't get 10,000 yards unless you're a Hall of Fame talent. He's one of the great guys there are in football. I just hope he doesn't get that 10,000 milestone against us. But we're proud of what he did for our franchise and we look forward to competing with him, as always.

on this game being particularly important

You say that every week. ‘Huge game this week.' Big game – any time you play, it's big. And when you play a divisional game on the road against a common opponent like Atlanta it's certainly going to be exciting. We've got to have the game. We're no different than anybody else that's in business in this league.

on some players talking about struggling to get restarted after a bye

That's their problem. We'll get our butts kicked if that's the case. A couple years ago we came off the bye and we beat Minnesota at home. It was a convincing victory, probably our best performance as a football team. If you're sluggish coming off the bye or you're sluggish coming off the great win you just had, you're going to get beat. Our players understand that. Hopefully, my message gets to them here today.

on how different it is this year to have a quarterback staying healthy and bringing continuity to the game plan

It's a miracle, based on what we've been through. Unfortunately, we've lost continuity all over the place, especially on offense. It's something we've never had but hoped to acquire this year. But losing our tight end, our left tackle, our running backs and multiple receivers has hurt us. I'm really excited about what these young guys have done, stepping up in the last three games. They've clearly gotten better and proved they belong. Now we'll see if they belong in a playoff stretch.

on how imperative it is to have more than one reliable running back

It is imperative. I think it is important. If you've got a great back that's got the whole package, you'd like to get him the ball as many ways as you can.

on if he has gotten the health news he wanted after the bye week

No, not really. We still have 13 players on IR and we have 10 or 12 guys that were very limited today. It's still a challenge and it will be a challenge for this season. But we are optimistic that some guys will have a chance to play this Sunday that haven't played in the past. But at the same time, I don't see it right now.

on John Abraham

Abraham's a great player. I've got a lot of respect for the job they've done there in Atlanta, bringing in Abraham and Roderick Coleman. I think DeAngelo Hall's stellar; he's at the top of his game. Lawyer Milloy is still one of the ringleaders of this league. Jamaal Anderson and [Chris] Houston – those two guys come in from Arkansas. And Keith Brooking has been a pain in my rear end for five years; he's just a great player. You put that together with the job [Mike] Zimmer and his staff have done with pressure, it's been very effective for them.


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