Bucs Post-Game Quotes

December 29 – Read what the Tampa Bay players and head coach Jon Gruden had to say about the Buccaneers' 15-0 win against the Bears and its first-round bye in the playoffs.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay's 15-0 win against Chicago:
"We're very excited and very proud of our team. We're not into style points. We won tonight and we're 12-4 and we won three games in every quarter. Rob Johnson played well enough for us to win tonight."

Gruden on recording the 12th win of the season, which set a new franchise record for wins in a single season :
"We're very proud of the coaches and the players and our fans have helped us out. This is the first time we've won in cold weather, too. We're going to go home and celebrate. We're going to go home to Tampa. We like it there better anyhow."

Gruden on his No. 1 ranked defense pitching a shutout against Chicago:
"It's nice. We're going to need the No. 1 ranked defense. Hopefully we can get the No. 1 passer in the NFC ready for the playoffs. I think getting the bye week will help us get a lot of guys rejuvenated. We're confident in ourselves, but we've got a lot to prove now."

Gruden on the game-time temperature being below 40 degrees :
"That's the rumor I have, but we're going to make sure that was accurate. But they told me it was 34 degrees and that's a milestone we achieved tonight."

Gruden on Tampa Bay finishing the regular season with a win and a 12-4 record:
"We didn't play well last week, but we won three games in every quarter and the big thing is we get a bye week heading into the most important time of the season – the playoff season."

Gruden on Tampa Bay recording its sixth win on the road this season, which set a franchise record:
"We're really happy about that stat. If you can win on the road and take care of business at home, you're going to be in this position every year. But we've won two road games with Rob Johnson, our backup quarterback, and they weren't the most beautiful pieces of work, but when you can get that done, particularly on the road, that's a great accomplishment."

Gruden on Rob Johnson not turning the ball over:
"Yep, we had no turnovers, but we'd still like to limit some of those sacks. But I credit Chicago, they came in here and blitzed 40 different times tonight and we've got to do a better job of blocking some of them when they come."

Gruden on Tampa Bay having a first-round bye in the playoffs:
"It's big. It's like winning a first-round playoff game. You win tonight and you win next week automatically, so that was kind of the motivation we had. We're in this thing and we're going to get the opportunity to play a big playoff game in two weeks at home. It will give some of these guys a chance to get well, including our quarterback."

Gruden on whether or not Brad Johnson will be ready for the playoffs:
"Brad is making progress. If you watched him tonight, he did suit up and he threw the ball much better in pre-game warm-ups. But that's a mystery that needs to be solved here in the next seven or eight days."

Gruden on Tampa Bay's defense only giving up 196 points in 16 games this season:
"It's a great accomplishment. I want to say it's the all-time record that Tampa Bay defenses have had. They've had some great defenses as you know. To see Derrick Brooks and his defense step up the way they did again tonight is going to put them down in the history books as one of the great defensive units ever, I believe."

Gruden on Tampa Bay's cornerback Brian Kelly's two interceptions:
"He really did (step up to the plate). He made a couple of big interceptions and the guy has really improved as an every down corner. We took some criticism early and we lost a good player in Donnie Abraham for salary cap reasons, but Brian is a standup guy and he's played every week hard and he played big again tonight."

Gruden on Tampa Bay's schedule during the bye week:
"Well, we're going to use the bye week a lot like we used it for Carolina. The difference is we don't know who we play. So we're going to give the players tomorrow and Tuesday off and we'll have a brief meeting and light practice on Wednesday and Thursday in order to keep ourselves sharp in certain areas. We'll give them the long weekend off – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and let the coaches prepare for a couple of potential opponents. But we need to get well, we need to get physically well and we need to get our crowd ready to roll because it's going to be very exciting."

Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica on Tampa Bay's huge win on Sunday night:
"I guess the biggest thing about this is the bye week is going to be great for a lot of the nicked up guys. They'll take advantage of this. Hopefully with the weather thing, they're not going to talk about that anymore."

Gramatica on what the temperature was at kickoff:
"They told us it was 34 (degrees), so we'll take it."

Gramatica on Tampa Bay recording its 12th win of the season:
"It's great. We've had great years before, but to have a 12-win season is just a great thing. Coach Gruden brought a lot of excitement and enthusiasm here and we got that win, so we're very excited about that."

Gramatica on Tampa Bay recording its sixth win on the road this season, which also set a franchise record:
"Well, I didn't know about that one, but that's huge. I guess if Philadelphia wins out, we're going to have to go on the road and win it to get to the Super Bowl, so it's very huge for us to be doing so well on the road."

Tampa Bay CB Brian Kelly on the Bucs taking advantage of Green Bay's loss to New York on Sunday:
"We came out here and we knew what we were playing for. We were definitely scoreboard watching and there was a lot of us watching the game before with Green Bay and the Jets. When we saw (the Packers) go down, we knew we had destiny in our hands and we just had to take advantage of it."

Kelly on Chicago giving Tampa Bay a tough battle:
"We knew they weren't going to lay down. They always play us tough and we had something to play for as well because they swept us last year, so they felt like they could come out and run the ball on us and dominate like they did in the past but we proved them wrong."

Kelly on Tampa Bay's first-round bye in the playoffs:
"It's huge. We're banged up and a lot of guys are not 100 percent right now. To be able to rest those guys and sit back and be two games from the "Big Show" – it's huge for everybody here."

Kelly on not being selected to the Pro Bowl despite recording a league-high eight interceptions this season:
"It's important to play at a Pro Bowl-level, but the Pro Bowl is very political. It's nothing we need to get into right now, but it's more than meets the eye. So, if I'm playing at a Pro Bowl-level and playing good out there on the field, those kinds of things will come. I'd rather take the ring on my finger."

Kelly on Tampa Bay's defense taking pride in recording a shutout:
"We were sitting pretty in points allowed and when it gets to the end of the year you start looking at those types of things. We shutout Baltimore and to have two goose eggs in a season is pretty good for a defense, so we definitely wanted to shut them out."

Bucs running back Michael Pittman, who rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries, on Tampa Bay's 15-0 win against Chicago:
"That's big for us going into the post-season with a bye. That will allow us to get all of the nicked players healed. I just want to give all of the thanks to the offensive line up front. They blocked great for me and I didn't do anything special, I just ran through the holes and just looked for the cutback and the big yards came."

Pittman on having a breakout game against Chicago:
"There was times when I think I sputtered, but I always stayed positive about everything. I'm very self-motivated. I always heard people talking bad about me and this and that, but it never got me down. I just pushed through it. All of the people that talk about me can't run the rock and that's why they're reporters."

Pittman on the Bucs winning in 35-degree temperatures:
"I'm glad we got that off our back. We proved to the world that we can win under 40 degrees and that's what's big about it. I actually played in a lot of cold weather in college and in Arizona, where we played Philly and Washington. I just ran the ball hard and like I said, the offensive line blocked great and I just ran through the holes and the yardage came."

Bucs strong safety John Lynch on the team receiving a bye in the first-round of the playoffs:
"The bye is what you make it and we said that going into our bye during the regular season and we came out of it nice. I think Jon (Gruden) does a great job of handling it and we've got a veteran team that's responding the right way. Our starting quarterback has an extra week to get healthy and getting him some practice time. If we use it the correct way, it will be a huge advantage for us."

Lynch on the team's momentum going into the playoffs:
"We wanted momentum going in and it's the best regular season our franchise has ever had and that's a great accomplishment. But everyone knows that ultimately in this league you're judged by winning championships and we've come close before. We set ourselves up a little nicer in terms of our situation. We had some help from some old friends of ours. (New York head cocah) Herm Edwards and the Jets and that was fun watching that game."

Lynch on Tampa Bay watching the Green Bay-New York Jets game before taking on Chicago:
"We watched it all. We felt like we played two games before we took the field. But it was fun sitting back and being a fan a little bit. As a team, we had ultimately decided it didn't matter what had happened (earlier in the day). If we had to go out and play next week we'd do it. Things just kind of happened and you really look back at that New England-Miami game and when they had announced the Patriots had won in Giants Stadium, I can just imagine the boost it gave the Jets. Our old friends came through for us."


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