Jon Gruden Transcript — Dec. 26

Here is the complete post-practice transcript of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007:

on roster moves

We had a couple roster moves. We put Maurice Stovall on injured reserve. We waived Keith Heinrich, a tight end. We signed two receivers off of our practice squad; we signed Chad Lucas and Brian Clark.

on the goal for this week

The big picture's Carolina. This is a rival game. This is as physical a team as we'll see all season long. We've got to get ready to play. We've got to get ready to play. We've got to find out who's up, who's out and who's going and get ready to go.

on who will start at quarterback

I'm not really going to comment on that other than Jeff [Garcia] is practicing today. We're trying to keep him sharp. We've got a number of injuries that will impact who plays at every position. The best I can say right now is we'll prepare Jeff, we'll prepare Luke [McCown] and we'll make the announcement late in the week.

on what he would say to somebody saying this week's game doesn't matter

You can be accused of us not trying to win last week – we tried to win. We did everything we could to win. We're going to try to win on Sunday. I think that's hogwash. We're going to do our best to physically go out, play a heck of a game and win.

on the injured players

We've got a number of guys – Joey and Ike and Brian Kelly. We've got a number of guys that didn't go today. I'm sure there are a couple others. Jeff will update you on that.

on if having a healthy team for the playoffs takes precedence

Yeah, I believe that. Given the fact that we have already more injuries probably than I've ever seen. We're now out six receivers, which is a little insane, if you ask me. We've lost two fullbacks, we've lost two tailbacks and we've lost our left tackle. We just got [Greg] Spires back, [Patrick] Chukwurah's been disabled and obviously Greg White went out of the game. So health is an issue, and it's not being overly cautious.

on if he doubts that John Fox will lead the Panthers to a bounce-back next year

No, I don't have any doubt at all. They coach hard, they work hard and they have talent. He and [General Manager] Marty [Hurney] are going to get players, they've already proven that. They're a handful. In any state of mind, they're a handful in my eyes.

on knowing what it's like to lose a quarterback early in the season

Yeah, thanks for reminding me of that.

on what impresses him most about the Panthers' defense

The multitude of their scheme has always impressed me, and the talent which they have on their roster. I think [Kris] Jenkins and [Julius] Peppers and Thomas Davis are great. Their secondary's vastly underrated – [Richard] Marshall and [Ken] Lucas, [Chris] Gamble. They have talent and they're reckless in how they play. They're the biggest team in our conference, and as I said it's going to be a real physical battle for us.

on if this is a similar situation to when Brad Johnson was rested in 2002

I'm not really resting anybody. They're working out here. They might not play as much on Sunday but they're not resting. We don't have bunk beds in there. They're working.

on if he cares when the Bucs are playing the Giants the following weekend

I'd just as soon not talk about them until we get done with the regular season. The NFL will decide that. They always do a great job of scheduling games.

on Jerramy Stevens getting more opportunities with all the receivers out

We were able to isolate some things for him last week. He responded. When you lose as many receivers as we have, you have to generate some playmaking from other positions, and the tight end position's one of them.

on if he snuck into the office on Christmas

Oh, yeah. Sure did. After the kids opened up all that stuff and made that mess in the house, I was out of there.


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