Jon Gruden Transcript — Dec. 19

Here is the complete post-practice transcript from Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's press conference with the media on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007:

on his reaction to the Pro Bowl announcement

I just congratulate the guys that were picked to the Pro Bowl. I'll just leave it at that. We're proud of our players, and that's the best way I can say it.

on which players did not participate in Wednesday's practice

Patrick Chukwurah did not and Ryan Nece did not. We had a number of guys again that were limited.

on if Patrick Chukwurah will be out for a while

Oh, I don't know. We'll play it by ear. That sounds like a broken record but we'll see how he is in the next couple days.

on if Greg Spires will return to action this week

He's been out here the last couple weeks and we think he's closing in on being ready to play, that's for sure.

on B.J. Askew's status

I'm optimistic. Again, I can only say that he was out here today and that was a good sign. He's closing in, I think, on being ready to play.

on if there are still goals for the next two weeks

There are always [goals]. Let's be honest – we signed up for the regular season. It's our responsibility as players and coaches to finish the season. We're excited about the opportunity of playing. We realize the circumstances are a little bit different than maybe they have been around here, and we'll try to use the best judgment that we can. At the same time, we don't have a lot of options. We don't have as many options, maybe, as people think. We certainly will consider everything and try to win the football game to the best of our ability.

on Frank Gore

They've been picked by a lot of people to be a force in the West, and they're a very talented team. Their defense – they've done a heck of a job on every film playing defense. And on offense, they've got a great young tight end; they have a great young running back; Larry Allen is still one of the best interior linemen that I know I've seen this year; and the young quarterback played good last week. I tip my hat to him. They've added a real good receiver, [Darrell] Jackson from Seattle. So they have components to be very good on offense and we understand that.

on what he sees in Shaun Hill

Well, he played in his first start against the Bengals and protected the ball. He distributed the ball to the open receivers. He has a good playing speed, he's got functional quickness and I think he showcased pretty good the first time he was out there. I have a lot of respect for the job he's done.

on if Hill moves well

I wouldn't say he's a guy that's going to run 50 yards on you, but he can create with his legs and he has a great sense of bodies and congestion around him. He's able to keep plays alive and that's a real strength of his.

on Jeff Garcia seemingly passionate about going back to San Francisco

I would imagine he is. He's proud of where he's from, I think. I can't speak for Jeff, but he grew up in Gilroy. I think his Cinderella story that he had in San Francisco was an awesome thing. I lived it. I was there. I'm sure there's going to be some real emotion going through him; there should be.

on DT Jovan Haye

He plays hard. He's a great kid and he's really worked hard. I give him a lot of credit. That's all I can say about him. He's a guy that was very obscure coming in here. He was on the Browns' practice squad and has really taken over for us at the under tackle position. Not only has he recovered fumbles, he's been disruptive at times and showed us some pass-rush, which we definitely need at that position.

on what he's proud of regarding his coaching staff

They've all worked hard. I don't want to underestimate the job they've done. We've pushed each other and we've pushed the players and they've pushed us. It's been a collaborative effort with 20 coaches and the players. We still have a long way to go to get what we want, but hard work gives you a chance.

on feeling good about the teamwork on the roster coming out of camp

Yeah, because I knew we'd added some blue-chippers in free agency. When you bring in Kevin Carter and Jeff Garcia and Cato June and Luke Petitgout and Jeremiah Trotter, you have really added some high first-rounders in terms of attitude, professionalism and work ethic. We had some of that going here, obviously, with [Derrick] Brooks and [Ronde] Barber and [Chris] Hovan. We've had others. But we came back here from training camp with a better football team than we were last year, and hopefully we can continue to get better because it's a hard league.

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