From the Media Room: Eight is Enough!

In this motherlode of Wednesday transcripts, Seahawks.NET begins the pregame prep by bringing you the thoughts of coach Jon Gruden, FB Mike Alstott, LB Derrick Brooks, DT Chris Hovan, TE Dave Moore, QB Tim Rattay, QB Chris Simms and C John Wade. Subjects include the team's disappointing season, the future, the season finale agains the Seahawks, and a great deal more!


(On where Chris Simms goes on the depth chart next season after re-signing with the team Wednesday)
“Well, he’s out for the year, so we’re not going to say a lot about that. I’m pretty much on record in terms of how I feel about him. We want to concentrate on Seattle right now and try to finish the season with as much as authority as we can. But we’re pleased to have him back, obviously. That will all take care of itself in the coming weeks.”

(On if he anticipates competition at quarterback next year)
“Again, I don’t really want to go any further. I’ve got Seattle on my mind right now; we’ve got a lot of injuries. But there will be competition at every position, you bet.”

(On how important it was to get Simms back)
“No, really, I’ll address that in the coming weeks, but right now our focus is on Seattle. It is, it’s great to have him back. It’s unfortunate he had an injury to disrupt his season. He’s a young guy that’s paid a price and we’re excited to have him back. I wish he could play this week, but we’re looking forward to seeing what Tim Rattay can do. He’s doing a good job for us.”

(On building on the team’s recent momentum being important)
“Yes, it is. We felt we played pretty well in the second half against Chicago and I think collectively it was a pretty good outing in Cleveland. We would have liked to have finished some drives better but I think the last five or six quarters have been pretty solid. It’s going to have to be a lot better to beat a team like Seattle. This is a very talented football team coming in here Sunday.”


(On thinking about walking onto the field for possibly the last time)
Ever since 03, when I hurt my neck, I walk on the field never knowing when its going to be the last game. Right now, it is the last gameof the season, of the 06 season. You dont know. I dont know right now. I dont. I dont know what my future is. I dont know what my decision is going to be. As a whole, contractually and my decision right now, it potentially could be the last game.

(On if he feels good enough to keep playing)
The 2004 season was difficult for me after coming off my neck injury, and then playing 05 and then going through 06as far as playing at a high level and competing and doing some good things, I know I can play. My body feels good. But do I continue? That decision is to be made later.

(On how long hell wait to make his decision)
I dont know. No, really I dont know. I dont want to put a time frame on it, because thats not fair either. Well think about it and see what happens. Im sure there will be some conversations with the Bucs if I do want to pursue going forward and maybe playing, and see what their interest level is of me playing. But Im kind of excited about this week. It is the last game of the 06 season and it is at home, an 11-year career in front of a great crowd, a great community. They back me and Id like to go out on a high note.

(On if he has ruled out ever playing for another team)
I dont even want to get into that. I havent even thought about that, I dont even want to think about that. Ive said Im a Buccaneer and Ill always be a Buccaneer. I dont even want to get into that discussion.

(More on the same question)
I dont know what Im going to do. I dont even have an idea of what I want to do. It was frustrating this whole year. It wasnt just frustrating for me, it was frustrating for the whole team, the whole organization. It wouldnt be fair of me saying, Yes, I want to play; no, I dont want to play, right now. Its just mixed feelings on a lot of situations right now. I love the game; its my passion and love, obviously, going this far into my career. I dont want to make that decision right now.

(On if he was as sore as hes been in a long time on Monday)
Yes, for a long time, and I still am. But I always say, if youre sore waking up after a game and its a win, its great soreness. Thats a soreness you look forward to waking up to.

(On if he has been energized by the last couple of games)
My numbers called, and I look forward to it. Its been a long time. Youve got to thrive on the moments that your numbers called and the opportunities you get. Football doesnt last forever, and I enjoy everything that has come about right now and whats going to happen in the future.


(On facing Seattle)
From an offensive personnel standpoint, especially their receivers, theyre probably the most talented group that weve faced all year long. Were looking forward to the challenge.

(On finishing the season at home)
We want to continue the momentum we gained last week in terms of putting up points, playing well on defense. You always want to win your last game, and it will be even more special for us at home being able to do it.

(On if the defense had its best game last weekend against Cleveland)
Well look at that when the season is over. Right now, weve moved past that, and were getting ready for Seattle. We havent played them in a while, and right now theyre in a rhythm, offensively, and they want to continue to be strong heading into the playoffs. So, our focus is really on Seattle and doing what we can do to get a win.

(On if its more painful having an off year during a season in which 9-7 would probably qualify a team for the postseason)
Were in the position were in because of the way we played. Its just unfortunate that our record isnt a little better, or wed still be in the playoff race. But you wish teams well. All we can do is go out here and try to finish on a high note.

(On the way the fans embrace Mike Alstott)
I get excited, too, seeing Mike run. Obviously, most people like his running style. As for me, hes gaining yards most of the time hes running. Im kind of like the fans, too; I dont know if this is his last game here or not. So I just want to win. If it is, at least he went out on a winning note.

(On what Alstott contributed this year)
Mikes a constant pro. He leads by example. Hes one of these guys who doesnt talk a lot, but when he does talk you know he means what he says. Obviously, his style of play tends to ignite players around him. As a friend, you always want to be selfish and hope that he comes back, but at the end of the day hell make his decision and when that time comes well all find out.

(On how far away the Buccaneers are from turning it around)
As I said, weve just got to finish strong here with a win. When that time comes, Ill look back and address it. Its just right now we all dont have the answers. The only thing we have answers for is Seattle, so in my opinion thats the only thing we need to be worried about at this point.


(On facing Seattle)
I think its going to be a great challenge. Seattle is already playoff bound, and theyre going to come here and finish off the season, so who they play, who they dont play I really dont care. Theyve got to suit up a team, and were going to play them on Sunday.

(On any connection with him and Matt Hasselbeck since they are both Boston College alum)
I was a freshman, and he was a fifth-year senior, so I was probably a peon back then to him. I dont think he thinks of me the same way right now, but well see.

(On the way the defensive line has performed well over the last few games)
Weve got to keep picking it up. I think that it starts with the O-line; it starts with the D-line. That sets the tempo for the game. I think we need to take that tempo into Ray-J Sunday.

(On finishing the season on a winning note)
Going out with wins is always better. We didnt make the playoffs this year; so be it. But we do have a chance to go out there and play great football. Weve got great Tampa Bay fans who are going to be there. I know its going to be a rowdy crowd for the last game of the season, so lets go out on the right note.

(On if he ever thinks that with a few more wins, the Bucs would be in the playoff hunt)
Couldve, shouldve, wouldve didnt. Thats the way the season went. We have time right now to build on next season, and I think next season starts with the game on Sunday.


(On Mike Alstott)
He was the figurehead for the turnaround Bucs, coming from where we were to where we are today. He was a guy that obviously was a pivotal part of that. But hes one of those guys that everybody can relate to. Weve talked about it so many times. Joey Galloway kids around because hes just a normal guy that everybody in the community kind of sees a piece of themselves in the way he plays and the way he runs. He takes a pounding and runs guys over. Hes not going to go blowing by anybody or jumping over anybody, hes just going to keep his head down and run them over.

(On Alstott exciting the crowd with a two-yard run)
Thats just the kind of player he is and I think the fans appreciate exactly that, a guy who can be there week-in, week-out. Hes a durable guy that kind of does everything the team asks him to do, and still when they call his number he does well.

(On if there is a particular play of Alstotts that he remembers)
There was a couple. I remember his rookie year he caught a pass and he was getting driven out of bounds and he kind of reached out at the last second and put it over the goal line. I think that might have been one of his first couple touchdowns. You kind of knew that he had that in him, that relentless running style. There were a couple on the goal line where hes been hit by six, seven, eight guys and still spins and turns. Ive even fooled around with him in practice. Youre running from one drill to another and you kind of grab him and spin him around. Eight out of 10 guys would go down; he hit a tackling dummy, went over and landed on his feet. I was like, Damn. He just has really an uncanny sense of balance. His center of gravity is so low. Hes one of those guys who appears to be pretty normal, but if you look at his feet they almost look like hands. That could be the reason why.

(On how Alstott's success hasn't gone to his head)
Hes a pretty normal guy. Im sure hes not as verbal about things. Im sure if he was more verbal youd hear more opinions. But he kind of hides and keeps to himself and I think thats what kind of makes him special like he is. A lot of times, talking isnt necessarily the best thing.

(On what it takes to come back year after year)
You always talk about being a professional. A lot of people have different opinions of what that is, but its simple concept. Its just knowing what to do, knowing how to do it and going out and doing it. Its a lot easier said than done. Physically, speaking from experience, after you hit about year seven or eight you never feel good. You never feel like you did when you were young. So you just become a professional and it becomes your job. You go to work every day and this is what you do. But at the same time, it has to be your passion, because if its not it shows. You can tell guys that are in here just doing it for the paycheck, and you can see the guys that arent. Its pretty obvious.

(On if you pay a heavier price in the offseason as you get older)
Well, not exactly. You always work hard, but what happens as you get older, you cant stop. Normally when youre young you take the middle of March off. You can take three months. You can go on vacation, go home. As you get older, you dont work out as hard as you do once you get to the prime time but you still go two or three times a week. Because once you get out of it, its impossible to get back in it in time. We were just talking about it this morning, when were going to start working out again. It seems like were not going to get much time. Thats a little disappointing. Within a couple weeks afterward youre riding the bike, doing the low-impact stuff and staying on the weights. Its kind of what you do.


(On Seattle)
Their defense, they have a lot of good players. With their front seven, theyre very active up there with a lot of guys that can play and rush. And they do a good job with coverage and stuff. So, its going to be a good test for us. I think were looking forward to it.

(On playing the last game of the season)
Its the last one, its at home, which is nice. Wed like to just get out there and get a win, finish the season strong. Take some of this momentum that weve got and keep it going. So, itll be a good test. They are a good football team, going to the playoffs. Itll be a good game for us.

(On being hit again)
It just feels good to get out there, get hit and make some plays while you get hit. And thats kind of football and playing again.

(On if the defense getting turnovers helped the offense)
Yes. Field position is huge and when we were backed up on our 20, we were able to move the ball and change field position. Thats kind of the first thing you do, and we were able to do that. Then continue drives and get into the redzone. Obviously our defense, with the way they created turnovers, was huge for us. The defense played a great game, obviously.

(On Maurice Stovall)
When youre trying to throw into some zones, theres a lot of guys underneath, and you have a big guy like that, you can just kind of lob it over the underneath guys and let him make the catch. Especially on those third and 14s, stuff like that. Thats what he brings, you dont have to try to throw it through somebody. Especially when theyre dropping eight guys, which they were doing a lot in the game.

(On how much winning the last game of the season makes the offseason easier)
I wouldnt say easier. But it just would keep us going, give us some momentum and just finish off a season. I think thats key to last games at home. This season hasnt gone the way we want it to. But to win one more, win the last one at home, would take a little bite out of it.


(On his new contract)
I do have a new contract. I am happy about that. Its definitely a load off my shoulders, and I am just happy to be back more than anything. Thats all I can really say about it. I like living here, I like the people here and I definitely like the organization. Im happy its all done with and I can get focused on next year.

(On why he didnt test free agency)
Nothing is guaranteed anywhere. I think, all in all, it comes down to what I am comfortable with and what I like. The grass, I know I said this before, the grass isnt always greener on the other side. I like the offense, I like coach, I like the direction the organization is going. At the end of the day, there are a lot more ifs as far as whats going to happen out there in free agency than whats going to happen here. So Im definitely comfortable with my decision.

(On if he received any kind of assurance that he would be the starter for next season)
There is always going to be competition, and Im sure, the way coach is, hes going to try and sign every free agent quarterback that comes out this year (laughing). Thats the way he is. Im totally prepared for that, and Im really not going to worry about it. Im completely confident in my skills, and Ill just deal with that when the time comes.

(On if it was a priority to get a new deal before the season ended)
I wanted it to be done before the season ended, but if you wouldve asked me this about a month, month-and-a-half ago, I didnt know what was going to happen. I was almost preparing myself to be a free agent. I was unsure. I just didnt know. I was definitely happy to hear when they did offer me, and once we got rolling and talking, and my agent talking to Bruce [Allen], then things went along smoothly. I was glad it got done before the year was over, but at the same time, the reason I almost didnt want to talk today was, we still have a season going on. Im not doing anything. Im just sitting on the bench. We have guys who are busting their butts and practicing, and I dont want to be the center of attention.

(On what tells him that the organization is going in the right direction)
Three more wins and we are in the playoff hunt right now. I dont think its that far-fetched. We have had a lot of injuries, and we have a whole lot of salary cap room. We have a first-round pick, two second-round picks, and at the end of the day, Im confident in the players we have in the locker room and the coaches upstairs in the offices.

(On if he expects free agent quarterbacks to be brought in)
I wouldnt be surprised. I dont know. I think the contract somewhat speaks for itself. They gave me a pretty good sum of money, and I think that shows, at least, they are committed to me in some way or form.

(On if he received any advice from his father)
He didnt say a whole lot. I think he was very comfortable with my decision. I think it is a weird year for the quarterback position, as far as free agency goes, too. These are things that my agent has looked at, and I have looked at. Just evaluating team-to-team, I dont know if there are going to be a whole lot of positions open, as far as the quarterback position goes. Of course, off the top of my head, there are a few, but some of them are going to draft quarterbacks and so on. Like I said, there were a lot more ifs as far as the free agency goes, as compared to here.

(On what makes him believe that this is the best system for him)
There were a lot of things. We started out the season with some injuries on the offensive line. Of course we didnt play well, and I didnt play as well as I wouldve liked. But at the same time, a lot of people I know right now look at the numbers. The numbers are overrated. I think Ive always said that. When you are good, the numbers arent always as good as where you think your level of play is at. I dont think I was playing as bad as my numbers showed. I knew I threw a lot of interceptions, but I had some tough breaks on interceptions. I had three or four that were pretty crazy. At the end of the day, I think it just goes back to my confidence in myself, and I just think we have a lot things here that can go in the right direction and we can pull this thing together.

(On if it is the right system for him)
I feel like it is the right system. I really do. You guys can say all you want about the batted balls and the three-step drops, but those are things that have worked here for a long time in this offense. Will some of that have to change, well see. The plays are great, its just that defenses have gotten better defending them. Like we said all along, weve had a number of balls batted down after I got hurt, too. I dont think you guys talk about it as much, but its just the nature of the game right now. Defenses are becoming very aware of it, and its the revolving cycle of the NFL.


(On if a win would make the offseason easier)
No question. Wed like to finish on a positive note. Weve got a little spark. It started in Chicago and carried over to last week. We got the win obviously, so thats the main thing. Wed just like to finish it off.

(On TE Dave Moore having played in more games than all but two other tight ends in NFL history)
I did not know that. I know hes played in a lot of games and its unbelievable what hes done over his career. Playing for 15 years is unbelievable in itself, and its not like hes just been around, on the team. Hes been playing. Wow. My hats off to him. Thats a great accomplishment, no question. Top Stories