Bucs coachspeak: Gruden on Thursday

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to prepare for Sunday's clash with the Dallas Cowboys. Get the inside scoop straight from head coach Jon Gruden on the game, Carnell Williams' progress and more.

on injured players

Joey [Galloway] practiced today, much like he did last week. Warrick Dunn was very limited today and both of their status is very limited still. B.J. Askew did not practice. Ike [Hilliard] really didn't do much although he ran around today early. We've got a number of question marks that we won't know much more about until game day.

on if he feels better about Galloway this week than he did at the same time last week

Yeah, I feel better. How much better? I'll let you know tomorrow when you ask again.

on how Cadillac Williams did in practice

He did good, he did good. He ran a lot of the service cards trying to emulate Marion Barber. He wears the same number. He ran with some authority in the hole and he's getting back, I think, into football, which is really exciting. We said that yesterday but he took another step forward today.

on the Bucs' next win making him the winningest coach in team history

Again, I try not to think too much about those types of things. I feel like I have a great responsibility here. I'm very fortunate to have been surrounded by a lot of talented people, and I just want to win the next game. Whether it's 28 games or 33 games you've won in your career, it really doesn't matter. We need to win our sixth game. We need to win our sixth game bad, this year, because that gives us a chance to win seven. I can't say much more than that.

on having a team where the players genuinely like and support each other

We had that last year. It's not all of a sudden just dropped in our hat. We have key veterans -- I think it starts there -- in every room. We talk about having a [Kevin] Carter, a [Ronde] Barber, a Warrick Dunn, a [Jeff] Garcia. You've got some veteran guys -- Derrick Brooks -- that set great examples. The Galloways and Hilliards. And we try to find guys that love football, that want to be part of a team. Not the Pro Bowl team necessarily, but a team. We've got great leadership on the coaching staff here -- Monte Kiffin, Rich Bisaccia, Bill Muir. Our assistant coaches do a good job and our players have really worked hard and bought into that. And they're good guys. We've got a lot of good guys here. I'll give them credit.

on not hearing much about Jovan Haye and the Bucs' run defense

Well, he and [Chris] Hovan have done a heck of a job. Kevin Carter, those guys up front have done a heck of a job. You haven't heard much about any of our players, and that's just the way it is, I guess. People have got to do their reporting and they've got to write their stories. But Jovan Haye is one of the leading effort players in the NFL. Whether or not he goes to the Pro Bowl or he's on the cover of a magazine tomorrow I don't know, but he is one of the top effort players in football and he's a great run defender and he's got some movement and can create some disruption in the passing downs. He's a very good football player.

on how quarterbacks like Jeff Garcia and Brad Johnson can remain in the league in their late 30s

Well, you've got to be good. They're pretty good players. But I'll say this about both of them, and you do the research yourself: They take care of the ball. Those two guys take care of the ball, and they do it in a rare fashion. They don't come into a game and throw it into double coverage or make a decision that puts the offense at great risk. They're great team guys. They're both proven winners.

on Johnson getting the "Captain Checkdown" nickname

Well, you play against Tampa Two every day, you don't have much choice. Every day in practice you're going to have to find those passing lanes. He's had 4,000-yard seasons. He's wearing a Super Bowl ring. He threw for 280 yards in the Vet in the NFC Championship Game. I've seen him throw five touchdown passes in a game. Call him whatever you want, he's a hell of a player. He's a good player, a good player. A great guy, too. A winner.

on Jameel Cook in his first game back

He played a lot. He did play a lot, and I thought that was one heck of a performance. He played about 16-18 snaps in the kicking game, on special teams, and he played 30 plays or so on offense. He'll be okay. He'll be the fullback and we'll lean on him. We think he's pretty good.

on the Wildcat formation

We ran it last year in the preseason against Houston with Luke McCown. We do have some plays that are in the playbook that we would like to get to. As everybody knows, Warrick was a very good high school quarterback. It's a long season. We have a lot of plays. We tipped the iceberg last week.

on Earnest Graham at fullback

To be honest with you, I really like having him in there, because we have been a Rocket team in the past and I think we've been labeled as a team that most generally breaks formations and throws it when we're in our two-halfback set. But not anymore, man. Those tendencies have been disbanded, or disarmed. We will run it. And he's not just going in there as a liability, now. He is a thick guy, he's got muscles on the back of his neck. Earnest Graham is a stud. He's a very good fullback, and he likes it in there, to be honest with you. Marcus Allen did it at a point in his career for Charles White at USC, and certainly at Oakland with Bo Jackson. Other teams have employed that type of attack. But we want him at the halfback position. We'd like him and Warrick to be the two-headed monster that we have. At the same time, we need help right now.

on if a team really needs to run the ball against Dallas

Oh, I don't know that. Steven Jackson got a big long run last week, but they also play the run pretty good. Philadelphia chose to throw it; Washington made their plays throwing the football. They're good against the pass and good against the run. I promise you we're going to see a great Dallas football team Sunday. We're going to need to do both. And in key situations and if you were to get a lead obviously, goal-line and short-yardage situations, you have to be able to run the football. We're going to do the best we can.

on Brian Griese's status and if he is comfortable with Luke McCown as the number two quarterback

I'm comfortable with Luke, if we go that way. Brian is coming back. He threw the ball a little bit better today. Again, he's another guy that's a work in progress. It's all up in the air right now. We'll have some tough decisions to make on the airplane to Dallas, unfortunately.

on playing in Texas Stadium for possibly the last time

I've got a lot of memories, yeah. I've got a lot of great memories. The Philadelphia days, that was our big rivalry. If you grow up in the NFL, grow up a fan of football, how can you not just sit back and say, 'Man, this is Texas Stadium,' every time you're in there. Bob Hayes and Tom Landry, now Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson, the great days that they've had. So it will be a special trip; it always is when you get a chance to play there. A lot of tradition.


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