Jon Gruden Transcript — Dec. 12

Here is the complete post-practice transcript of Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007, including his comment on the coaching situation in Atlanta:

on Ike Hilliard

He was limited today but he did practice so we're optimistic that he'll be ready to go.

on Hilliard's injury

To be honest with you, it's a sore body. He's had examinations and things of that nature on his ankle. He's had ankle problems, he's had upper back problems – he's just a sore guy. There's nothing structurally wrong with him, he's just very sore from the game. But he'll be okay, I think.

on how Jeff Garcia looked

He looked good. Yes, he looked good.

on if Bobby Petrino's departure in Atlanta makes it hard to prepare for the Falcons

Well, [Interim Head Coach] Emmitt Thomas was the defensive coordinator of the Eagles when I was out there in Philly, so I do know Emmitt. He's a great coach and a great man. But we have to take care of our own football team and our own situation. I know Atlanta will be ready to play, that's for sure.

on the opportunity to win the division on Sunday

Well, it's an opportunity. We've had the opportunity before; we had it last week. We have to take advantage of every snap. We've got to play great to win. That's what kind of league it is and that's without question. We're anxious to play. We're certainly respectful of the Atlanta Falcons and we know Emmitt will have them ready to play.

on if he's ever faced a team in Atlanta's current situation

I'm not going to get into all of that. Whoever we play, wherever we play, we've got to play better than we did last week. We're going to focus our concentration on our team and I'm sure they're focusing they're concentration on their team. We'll play the game Sunday at one o'clock. We know we've got to improve on what we did last week.

on B.J. Askew's status

I don't know, really. I just list him as questionable. He didn't do anything today, so hopefully he comes around. We signed Zack Crockett, a fullback, and we moved Ken Darby up to the active roster. Obviously we're minus Jerramy Stevens at this point. We've suffered a lot of setbacks offensively and it's going to be a challenge for us.

on Emmitt Thomas

I think he's outstanding. He's a great guy, he's a heck of a man and he's an NFL Hall of Fame-caliber player and coach.

on Thomas being up for the Hall of Fame

I hope he makes it. I'll root for him. But that's beside the point. He's got a talented defensive football team. Offensively, have they announced who their quarterback is? I'd be just as interested in that.

on it being important to get Garcia back

It is. He's missed basically three football games. We need to get Jeff back in the groove. He's a big reason why we're alive. He's a big reason why we have a lot of optimism for the future around here. He's really laid the foundation in terms of a work ethic and a competitiveness on offense that I think our offensive team has rallied around. I know our team is anxious to have him back.

on what his fifth division title would mean to him

I would rather win that second Super Bowl. You want to qualify, you want to have a chance to compete for a championship. I try to keep myself very shallow with these guys. The pressure and all that stuff, everybody can handle. We've just got to take a good look at what we can do to improve, and keep improving, and stay on the gas pedal in terms of improving. That's what I'm most interested in

on if the idea that no one in the NFL is 100 percent right now includes coaches

Yeah. I've never been less percent than I am now. This is a grind. But you've got to love football. All of the people out there that come to the games and watch the games, this is the greatest game that there is. The passion that we have on our football team more than anything, I just love coming in here and being around these guys. They're going to play hard and they're going to give you everything they've got.

on if he draws on 2002 experiences in getting the 2007 team ready for the stretch run

This team's a lot different than that team. We're in the process of putting this thing back together, putting it together. We have a lot of guys that were here and gone, unfortunately. There aren't enough guys around here to draw from that and compare this year to those years. We're going to earn our stripes as we go, and we've got a lot of work to be done.

on if Joey Galloway is a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver

I said this a few years ago and this is just my opinion. He's had some physical setbacks. He hasn't a quarterback, really, of any consistency. I think he went to Dallas, had a chance to play with [Troy] Aikman and Troy went down right away. Or Joey went down right away; one or the other. Guys don't come on this planet like Galloway very often. Hopefully he makes it. Hopefully our voters out there will head to the computer and type his name in there, because he is one heck of a football player, I'll tell you that.

on Bill Muir and the offensive line being under scrutiny over the years

I don't know about scrutiny. They're a lot of people scrutinizing, maybe. He inherited a line. It's not like he put the line together that he came to coach. I think he got a hell of a lot out of some of these guys that have played here, personally. We're putting it together around [Davin] Joseph and [Arron] Sears and [Jeremy] Trueblood. And if Donald Penn can get it together and be consistent, we'll put it together around him. We're in the process of putting it together and Bill Muir's a big reason around it.

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