Jon Gruden Transcript — Dec. 5

Here is the complete transcript from Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's post-practice press conference on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007:

on injured players

I have the injury list. We have several guys in various stages of injury.

on Jeff Garcia

He was limited today but it was great to have him back. He took some reps and it was very encouraging.

on if Garcia will start

Well, if he can go, he'll go, but right now I don't want to say anything until I see how he feels tomorrow when he comes back. But he did a lot more today than he did at all last week, so he's really on the way back and we're excited about that.

on so many players stepping up into key roles

I don't want to say too much right now because we have so much football left and we're asking so much of them yet to come. But you can't underestimate what some of these guys have done and you have to really tip your hat to them.

on the Texans

They're a good team. Their front four is covered with high draft picks and athleticism. The middle linebacker is arguably one of the best in football, the rookie of the year last year. Offensively, Andre Johnson is outstanding and Gary Kubiak, they have a very diverse attack. They can run it and throw it, and they're hard to beat in Houston. They play very well in their own stadium.

on how much better Mario Williams has become

A lot better. He is one of the better players in football. They took a lot of heat, I guess, for not taking somebody else, but at the end of the day they look pretty good if you ask me for taking the big guy because he's a heck of a football player.

on if Michael Spurlock was the odd man out with the game day actives last week

A little bit, yeah. But the return game is something we've got to pick up. We've got to pick it up. The punt returns weren't very good last week. We need to get some mileage out of our return game to get some field position.

on if he feels good about the team's offensive balance

We've had some days where we've been pretty good, we've had some days where it's been lopsided. There have clearly been improvements and we're happy about the improvements that we've made. But we have to finish. We have to finish. We have to prove we can run the ball in December and that's always the hardest time of the year to do it.

on if any consideration is given to starting Luke McCown and the

hot hand

No. Jeff's hot. He's got a hot hand. Jeff's our quarterback, Luke has shown some promise and there's no debate about where we are at quarterback.

on if he uses attainable goals like higher seedings as motivation with the team

No, not really. I really haven't been that deep in all that stuff. They can watch TV. They have an NFL show that's committed to stats and numbers and all that good stuff. We know what we're playing for and we also know what we need to do to win. If we don't play great, we aren't winning. We have to step up our game now because it's that time of year. Every play is a crunch-time play and we've got to make the plays.

on if there is a chance McCown will start

There's a chance for just about anything if you hang around here long enough.

on Donald Penn

I've got a lot of respect for what he's done. What happens is, when a guy plays pretty good you expect him to play good too. That period of shock is over. Go out and play good now. Play better than you did last week and if you do that you've got a chance to be a full-time starter in the National Football League. If you don't, we'll keep looking.

on Penn being on the practice squad a year ago

That's what I try to tell Earnest Graham and all our practice squad guys...Ken Darby. If you can't see what hard work is all about and have a belief in yourself, keeping yourself ready and taking advantage of the opportunities, you're missing something. Luke McCown's another example. He was on IR the whole year last year. Earnest...there have been a number of guys that have done it. What can I say? It's a great teacher to sit there and see a guy come from nowhere, out of obscurity, to the front line and get it done. But it ain't done yet because we still have a lot of games to go.

on John Wade

He's a veteran. He's the one veteran out there. One thing he does every week is he makes the calls and he delivers the ball. He studies hard, he's a great competitor and he's a leader. I really think a lot of him and of the job he's done. He deserves a lot of credit.


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