Jon Gruden Transcript — Nov. 21

Here is the post-practice press conference for Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007:

on injured players

We had three guys that did not participate: [B.J.] Askew, [Michael] Pittman and [Greg] Spires. We had a number of guys that were limited.

on if he feels the roster is as healthy as it's been in awhile

I don't know about that. We've got some guys who didn't practice, we've got a number of guys that didn't practice very much, so to answer your question I don't know that that's affirmative.

on playing the Redskins frequently

We've played each other a lot in the last few years so I think there's a mutual respect. These guys are very good players, the Redskins. This year's unlike last year and the year before that. There are a lot of new characters and a lot of new variables now. It's a big game for both teams, that's all I know.

on Jason Campbell's maturation in the past year

Yeah, he's gotten a lot better. He's a first-round draft choice, he's doing some great things at the quarterback position and they are blessed with a lot of skill around them. He can turn and give it to a great back, he can throw it to [Antwaan] Randle El or Santana Moss. Keenan McCardell's a factor here and [Chris] Cooley's an outstanding tight end. This staff has been together for a long time and they've made some adjustments along the way. They're a handful on both sides, believe me.

on the defense picking up

They're getting better. Again, what we do here in the next few weeks will determine how good we are on defense. This is the time of year when good teams have got to play really, really good to win. I know this, that's never going to change.

on the team having a great opportunity ahead of it

We've said that every week.

on there being a playoff "feel" in the locker room

Well, we have added some players that have brought some veteran leadership and experience to us – [Kevin] Carter, [Jeff] Garcia. Askew's been in these situations. We won 11 games two years ago, so this isn't foreign to everybody on our team. I think we all understand the magnitude of every game we're going to play from here on out. We also understand that we need to play better to win.

on Keenan McCardell

He has a lot to do with our championship. He was a team captain here and a clutch receiver. He's still showcasing his savvy and his abilities, and he's a great guy, too, off the field.

on if June will start this Sunday

Yeah, he's starting. Yes.

on if it gets him charged up to go against Joe Gibbs

It's great. I have a lot of respect for every coach in this league. When you see a guy like Coach Gibbs, who's been on the cutting edge of pro football for as long as he has, it's a great opportunity for all of us to see if we're any good. He's a measuring stick.

on his plans for Thanksgiving

There will be a lot of football involved. I'll try to take a couple hours with the family and get back on the game plan.

on what Thanksgiving is like in the Gruden family

Usually my brother [Jay] and his boys come over and we have a nice meal and a flag football game out in the yard. It's his kids against my kids and we're 26-point underdogs right now.

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