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: September 03, 2008, 04:56:16 PM

(On how much his success in the second half of the year gives him confidence going into this season)
“It gave me tremendous confidence, just having that vibe from the players, ‘knowing that he’s coming on and he’s doing a better job.’ Just having that respect from those guys can help a lot.”

(On if he knows his role on this team)
“Most definitely. I’m just trying to go out everyday, work hard and just try to make it happen.”

(On if he’s noticed a difference in the coaches’ respect for his play)
“Let me just speak on last year. Coming into this position, I know I had a lot of expectations and I had a key role in this defense. I started off slow, but as the season went on, things started to get better. I can see a change right now. It’s having a little more smiles and not the frown faces now. It just feels good to know that the coaches are behind you. I know they were behind me last year, but they just wanted me to do well. It just feels good knowing that all that is behind me right now and I can move forward.”

(On the success of the offense)
“I think it all starts up front – our offensive line, our tight ends, our quarterback getting us into a great synch, a great rhythm, great plays. I think it just starts from there. They open up the holes, and we’ve got the guys that can get the job done.”

(On how good the group of offensive linemen is)
“I think they’re up there with the top. You really can’t say how good or how much better they are because we really haven’t had it out on the field for a length of four quarters, all together. I think right now, with us losing Davin for a little while, we’ve got a rookie in there, [Jeremy] Zuttah, who has done tremendously well. We’re expecting big things from him. I definitely think we have a great ground attack.”

(On the offense and QB Jeff Garcia working his way back into it)
“It takes time, but Jeff is a seasoned pro. He’s been around the league. He’s been in big games all his career. I think he’s one of the guys that’s going to lead our team to where we want to be at the end of the year.”

(On his thoughts on how the team has come together)
“We’ll find out. I think, obviously internally, I feel we’re ready to play. We’ve had a great camp and I’m quite sure all of the other 31 teams feel the same way about their chances of winning this Sunday. Again, we have our biggest challenge that we feel so far and that’s a division game on the road against New Orleans. They are a tough team that we tend to always play them one of the first two weeks of the season for the past several years. It’s going to be fun. Again, I like where we are at as a team.”

(On the pressure of playing a team like New Orleans in the first week)
“Again, we understand the weapons that they have on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, we have to be on top of our own details, just finish. We can’t imagine trying to practice every play that’s going to be thrown at us by Coach Payton, but we have our rules within our defense and our big focus is to go out and execute. I feel if we execute our calls and be where we are supposed to be, we’ll have a great shot at winning.”

(On where the linebacker unit is coming into opening day)
“I think we’re fine. I think our linebackers are athletic and we’ve always had that here. I think with the addition of Geno (Hayes) and Matt (McCoy) and (Adam) Hayward and Quincy (Black) are another year better. Cato (June) is another year more comfortable in this system and obviously Barrett (Ruud) playing all 16 games, gaining a year of experience really makes us one of the stronger points of our football team. That’s how we feel. We’re deep and pretty much everyone is going to play and everybody has to be on top of the details. I think that’s where my leadership comes in to make sure we are mentally ready to go because we are responsible for a lot of the checks that go on out on the football field.”

(On if there is a responsibility with younger players constantly looking towards you as a role model)
“No, because that’s what you want and that’s how I carry myself. I feel that the strongest part of my leadership is to show our young guys a consistent man. Coming in and out of work everyday and being here, I’m very grateful to be here. Again, I can’t show them my leadership qualities no more then what they see every single day.”

(On if it was good to finish the last preseason game with three successful field goals)
"Obviously it's a good thing. My confidence has always been there, no matter what. I've probably been more frustrated than anything with the misses. It's just something that I see what I've got to do to correct it, and I will. But, yeah, I've made my last three going into this one. The slate is wiped clean. It's a brand new beginning, a brand new season."

(On how he keeps the coaches confident in him)
"You just go out there and keep doing it. If you can go back and look at my charts for this whole summer, I've probably missed about three kicks out of a 100 kicks. I've never had this kind of offseason, preseason, camp before. You almost wished you would have missed a kick here and there. But it is what it is. It's over and done with, and here we go."

(On playing in New Orleans opening week)
"Well there are a lot of things that are happening in Louisiana and I know the Saints are happy that they are going to start their season off in New Orleans. The crowd I’m sure is going to be rocking. It’s going to be like a big party. It is going to be exciting. I was there a few years ago, while I was with Atlanta, when they reopened up the dome and it was probably one of the greatest atmospheres to be involved in and play in. I know those guys are going to be happy to get back there and have their fans really rally behind them."

(On if he got excited by the atmosphere)
"Well, I was excited to play. I felt like it was one of the biggest games in my life. The crowd was amazing. It was the first time I actually saw the Superdome like that after all the years that I had been there. To see that, I was excited."

(On the start of the regular season)
"I have an opportunity to really just go out and have some fun and play. I am comfortable with the system and I am comfortable with the guys. I am just really looking forward to it. It is going to be exciting for me to be back and play in front of my friends and family."

(On how QB Jeff Garcia has looked)
"Jeff is good. You have to have a game to get all the kinks out and he had that. We really know and understand that we were a ways away from where we wanted to be and I think now he has caught up to where all the other guys are. He didn’t practice a lot in training camp and now he is comfortable and taking charge."

(On being around Head Coach Jon Gruden)
"He is energetic. He says a lot of crazy things in the meetings. He is animated. I think his excitement and thrill is when it comes to offense and wanting to design things for guys and really create mismatches and other things. I like that. A guy who is challenging his players to be better and be the best that they can be."

(On the excitement of being used in different ways)
"It gives you an opportunity to go out and have fun playing the game. He doesn’t want anything out of the ordinary. He just wants you to go out and play your game and do your best. That’s what I look forward to doing."

(On how good the Buccaneers can be this season)
"Potentially we can be pretty good, but you have to go out and play the game. I think now, once the season starts you have to just take it week-by-week. It’s a talented team but there is still a long way to go. It’s a long season."


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2449
#1 : September 03, 2008, 04:58:58 PM

(On the offensive line)
“I think we’re still meshing together, still improving, still working and still heading in the right direction.”

(On when his mindset during game week really amps up)
“I started two days ago. It’s something that once we start rolling in the season, after that Sunday you’ve really got to let it go and start on Monday working to a new opponent. We’ve been doing a couple things this entire camp just getting ready for the Saints.”

(On if he’s been thinking about this game for a while)
“I thought it was kind of ironic to see it on the schedule for the first game of the year. But I really just have to approach it as another opponent. I’m definitely going to see a lot of familiar faces and I definitely have a little bit of insight on some of the personal things with those guys, but for the most part I’ve just really got to take it as another game.”

(On any sentimental feelings after another hurricane in New Orleans)
“I definitely felt for them. I still have property there. I still have my house there, so it’s definitely a big deal still. New Orleans definitely could not have taken another traumatic hit like Katrina was, and probably not another 50 years. It definitely was catastrophic, and I’m excited and happy for the fans and the people there that they didn’t have to rebuild the city again. It’s something that everybody should appreciate.”

(On if he’s provided any insight to the Bucs defense)
“These guys, they’ve got it. They’ve been playing this team year in, year out, two times a year. There’s really nothing much I can bring, other than just knowing the guys personally. The scheme – they’ve got it down. There’s really nothing I can tell them.”

(On if his old teammates are excited to play the Bucs after losing both contests last year)
“Oh, for sure. It’s definitely going to be a huge game for them. It’s a major emphasis from Coach [Sean] Payton to get up for division opponents, as it is for every head coach in the NFL. It’s a big-time game, especially to start the season off in the right way, against a division opponent, against an NFC opponent, and kind of a rival.

(On working with Jeff Garcia and if he’s ready)
“He’s definitely there. With things the way they were in preseason, he’s coming back from the little strain, but I see him sharp as ever in practice and I’m expecting big things out of him, starting off with New Orleans.”

(On if his intensity will be any different for this game)
“No. I play with the same fire every game. It just depends on what I get back from the other guy and how chippy it gets. I come with the same intensity regardless.”

(On how his perception of the offense has changed)
“I didn’t really pay too much attention to the offense when I was playing them, but it’s definitely a little more complex than what it is to the outside eye. It’s something that you have to work at to pick up and it’s something that won’t come overnight. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of preparing for the regular season and all the opponents we’ve got to see.”

(On the preseason being over)
"I think everyone's excited, including me. We're looking forward to going to New Orleans. Preseason is one of those things that we know is necessary but when it's over everybody says, 'Man, I'm glad that thing is over. I'm getting ready to play.'"

(On how he's feeling)
"Good. I feel pretty good. As far as Sunday is concerned, that's Coach's call. He'll let me know if I'll be playing on Sunday or not."

(On if he will lobby to play)
"I've been telling him I've been ready forever, but that's just not my call. That call comes from upstairs and he'll let me know if I'm playing or not."

(On getting the feel for the game)
"If you're a player, you want to play any time you get a chance to play. We've got 16 shots at it to try to get to the postseason. So there is no 'get a feel for it;' if you're one of the guys that Coach says is playing on that day, then you're up and ready to go and giving the team the best chance to win."

(On if he has concerns about not having contact considering his shoulder surgery)
"Coach smacks me around all the time. As far as contact is concerned, those days in camp when I wasn't with the team, later that night he would beat me up pretty good. So I'm ready for some contact."

(On what would keep him out of the game)
"Coach. I think when he made the White Tiger comment – and I think you guys are very intelligent but I think you misunderstood what he was saying. When you go to see the White Tiger, there are always posted times of when he gets to eat. The zookeeper posts those times, and Coach is the zookeeper. That's what he's trying to say: It's his decision when I get to eat. Now, I hope I get to eat on Sunday, but we will see."

(On being cautious specifically to be ready for Week One)
"I'm lobbying to be out there on Sunday. Again, that's his call. All I can do is prepare and hope to be ready, and at the end of the day on Sunday it will be a game-time decision that he'll make."

(On how he's feeling)
"Feeling pretty good. I haven't played football in awhile. Again, it will be Coach's call on whether he thinks I feel good enough to go on Sunday, but I'm hoping to be able to play."

(On how much good-natured ribbing he takes from teammates for not being on the field)
"The funny part is, these guys in the locker room are more understanding than Coach is. These guys sort of smirk and laugh, and they say, 'As long as you're ready on Sunday everything’s okay. Now, the zookeeper's a little different. He likes to see you out there. Those days when I didn't practice, boy he would give it to me later at night. These guys in here, I think they trust me."


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2449
#2 : September 03, 2008, 05:00:11 PM

(On if having little playing time in the preseason inhibits him going into the regular season)
"I can't really think about it. I just feel like last week I had a good week of practice. This week I feel like I will have another good week of practice and just concentrate on the things that I have to do and not think about how much I didn't practice or how much I didn't play in the preseason. I'm experienced enough at this point to know what I have to do to prepare for this first game."

(On where this group is after falling to the N.Y. Giants in the playoffs last season)
"Well I think you start with up front. Even though we lost G Davin Joseph for a few weeks, he will be back with us. But I think that the experience that those guys have had over the last couple of years, yes we are filling in with a brand new guy at right guard, but I think he is up to the challenge. I think those guys are going to be much better then they have been in the past couple seasons especially with the experience that they have. I think we have added more speed to the field potentially with Joey, and with Dexter and some of those possibilities and just strength at the running back position, strength at the tight end position. I think that we have much better depth than we've had in the past and so in those sort of ways I think that our offense has grown. I think that for myself mentally I have grown within the system. I have become more comfortable with the system, so in those sort of ways I think we are a better offensive team."

(On how he has grown within the system)
"I just think that repeating plays on a constant basis getting more familiar with how we call plays, how we read plays, how we potentially check plays. I think those things are things I have become more comfortable with and they have become more natural to me. I think the last think you want to do as a quarterback, and I expressed this a lot last year, was to step on to the field and be thinking about everything that you are trying to do. The main thing for me is to get on the field knowing what I have to do and react and I think that I am in a much better position to do that this year then where I was last year at this time."

(On what Warrick Dunn will bring to the offense)
"He is a very smooth running back. He has tremendous vision, tremendous experience. He is a quality pass catcher out of the back field. I think he brings a change of pace. I think where you have a guy like Earnest Graham who can also catch the ball well out of the back field but is more of a direct hard nose type of runner. Now you bring in a Warrick Dunn who can change up the pace a little bit, a little more shifty, a little bit more illusive and I think it's a quality thing that we have in having those type of backs to change it up with. And then obviously adding a Michael Bennett into the mix who has tremendous explosion and speed. You have three very solid running backs who have great experience who all bring different things to the table."

(On signs that he has seen in practice and training camp that this team is more explosive)
"I think when you look at training camp I think you saw guys like Maurice Stovall and Michael Clayton really stepping up to the challenges that have been places in front of them as far as how they have raised their level of competition, how they stood out in those type of situations. I think they brought more competition to the receiver position. Adding a guy like Antonio Bryant who has tremendous explosiveness that is a quality that I believe we added to that group. I just think that from an overall standpoint I think the overall understanding of what this offense is trying to do is better understood by the players who are trying to work it and run it."

(On if the more experience you have in the league, the less you need to do in the preseason)
"It's a catch 22. I think there are ways that you do want to get some experience you do want to get some reps in the preseason but you don't need to overdo it. But I think the older you get you don't need to play as much. But Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, those guys have been in those systems for multiple years so they have the luxury of having that knowledge and not having to learn anything more."

(On the status of his calf)
"It doesn't bother me at all. I'm free of any pain or discomfort or soreness or stiffness. I feel as close to one hundred percent if not one hundred percent as I have been so that is a good thing for me."

(On the excitement of opening day)
"It is what it is all about. All of the offseason and the training camp. At this point in my career not just the 10 years that I played in the NFL or going in to my 10th year but the 15th year professionally and just a lot of years playing football some of those things in the offseason can become a little bit of a grind but to look forward to opening day that's what we prepare for that's what we get excited about. We are starting on the road for the second year in a row against a very good football team in a hostile environment that just creates a great energy and a great enthusiasm for this team to go in and meet that challenge and hopefully make something positive out of it."


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2449
#3 : September 03, 2008, 05:01:42 PM

(On opening day)
"I think it's very different, as a team and as a country, going over to New Orleans right now. The last couple years have been not so good for that city and to be able to kick off the season with a big game and a rivalry, that city is rallying around the team right now. To be able to kick off the season there is a great deal."

(On how much the offense has improved since last year)
"We're definitely a lot more improved. The guys we had are back for another year, Jeff and Arron Sears, guys that had their first year in the offense. We made some upgrades. We brought some guys in. Antonio Bryant is a guy who's been looking really good right now. We're definitely excited to take the field and see what we've got."

(On the continuity of having Garcia back for a second year)
"It's very big. As everybody knows, this offense is not the easiest thing. For him to be in the offense his second year, to be more comfortable with it, I think it's definitely going to show in his decision-making."

(On WR Joey Galloway as the key guy on offense opening things up for everyone else)
"I think yeah, but we definitely have some more guys that are going to be able to step up. Some young guys, Maurice Stovall with another year in the offense. We brought in Antonio Bryant, Dexter Jackson is a young guy that we brought in. I think we definitely don't want to say that if Joey's not able to go, then we're in trouble. I think guys have to step up. In the Giants game, we really needed some guys to step up and unfortunately, Joey wasn't able to do that. I think this year, we've definitely got some guys that are ready to go."

(On the Saints' defense)
"The front seven is very strong, and that's something they addressed in the offseason. We had some success against them last year throwing the ball, especially in New Orleans. I think that's something they knew they had to address, so they brought in some good guys. They brought in Jonathan Vilma, brought in Sedrick Ellis, brought in some good players there and we've gotten better as well. So it's definitely going to be interesting."

(On the Saints being more jacked up for the game coming off Hurricane Gustav)
"Yeah, it's great. I think it's great for that city. They're really rallying around the football team right now and they need that. For us to kick the season off in New Orleans is a big deal. It's a big deal for the country. I'm definitely excited to over there and play them. They're happy that they still have the opportunity to play in New Orleans for our first game."

(On having a long career)
"I'm blessed and fortunate to be going into my 12th year now. It's the preparation part of it, being accountable to my teammates. If I'm fortunate enough to make those plays in certain situations, I guess it sticks out on film enough to allow me to be around for another year. I take a lot of pride in that. I think accountability is something we all strive for, man to man, so if I continue to do that and put it on tape I can hopefully stay around for a few more years."

(On making so many third-down catches)
"I think you've got to tip your hat to Coach Gruden. He's the guy who calls the offensive plays. He allows me to have a chance to go out and make those plays. He can get you open within the situation. With the illusion of sophistication that we have, we create a lot of matchups that are favorable to us and our offense. Whereas we have one guy who makes the big plays more than others, the other guys have got to take advantage of the matchups and make the plays when you get the opportunity."

(On if he is an under-the-radar guy)
"I can't define my role. Coach Gruden will do that. Last year, I was fortunate enough to start and this year we'll have to see where it goes with the situation. I'll just go out and work every day and let him define what I do in this offense and for this team, and take advantage of it whenever I get the opportunity.

(On playing the Saints in the first game of the season)
"It's going to be a tough challenge. It's a division game and the start of the season, so there's a lot of hype going around this game. They're obviously coming back from Indianapolis and they have a lot to play for, for their home crowd, but so do we. Like I said, these division games count for two, especially such a fierce rival as New Orleans. We're going to have to start fast and keep up the tempo the whole game."

(On DE Jimmy Wilkerson getting a chance here in Tampa)
"Jimmy's been working his tail off. It's all about opportunity in the NFL, it really is. Sometimes, certain situations don't work out with other teams. Maybe it's not the players fault or the coach, who knows? You get a fresh start down here and really if you love to play defense, this is the place to come down and play."

(On if each situation is what you make of it)
"Yes, it's your career. It's what you make of your career. If you want to come in and put in the work in and the effort, if you want to be a great player, then they'll get it out of you down here."

(On there being a lot of pressure playing New Orleans in Week 1)
"It is. It's the beginning of the season. It's kickoff around the league. Everyone is excited. Everyone has tabs on winning the Super Bowl. That's the beauty about a new season. We have to go into a harsh environment. I feel bad for what happened to the people of New Orleans, but we have to go there and we have a job to do and that's to win a football game. We're going to come down there with great excitement, great momentum and hopefully we can take one in New Orleans.


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2449
#4 : September 03, 2008, 05:03:20 PM

(On his reaction to the trade)
"Surprise. I didn't know what the situation was down here. I was surprised and excited after I had learned that I was going back here to Tampa. Now I'm just kind of scrambling. I haven't had any time to kind of think or react. It was just getting packed up and making sure that my wife and kids were good before I took off. It's good to be back here."

(On what he got out of starting for Pittsburgh)
"It was a great experience, playing with a different group of guys, working with different coaches, playing against different opponents. Obviously, the more game time you get, the more experience, the better it is. I learned a lot and I'm grateful for my experience up there."

(On if staying in Tampa last season was his first preference)
"I think if all things would have been equal, I would have preferred to stay, absolutely."

(On if he has any regrets about coming back)
"Oh, no. Tampa's a great city. My family, we love it here. It's going to be great. We're excited."

(On if he hits the ground running)
"Oh, absolutely. A lot of things haven't changed; there are some new things here and there but it's all coming back. It's just back there in the back of my brain, so I've got to freshen up. I've been talking to Bill [Muir] and I'm about to go in there and work with him and just get the playbook and the game plan. I think it will come back pretty quickly."

(On if he feels comfortable getting back in the Bucs' offense)
"Absolutely, absolutely. It's all coming back. A lot of it's the same terminology, the same stuff. I'll just soak it in a little bit and I'll be good to go."

(On only having a few days to get ready for a new team and opponent after working in a different offense)
"It's a lot to handle but it's the nature of the game and you've just got to go with it. You've got to shut off everything that was going on beforehand open up to a new life. It's exciting, it's new, it's a little bit crazy but I'll just roll with the punches."

(On playing a division rival in the first game of the season)
"You can't ask for anything better. Football season is back so you have to appreciate that. This is what we went through training camp for, so when we start on Sunday we're prepared and ready to go."

(On if the defense being ranked number one in the preseason gives them momentum)
"It's nothing that we worry about. We judge ourselves and the value of what we do by wins and losses. You can have all the stats in the world and have be the number one defense, but if you're not winning games then it really amounts to nothing. The preseason is behind us. It's really just time to start it up for real and we start off with the Saints. They have a great offense and we're looking forward to the challenge."

(On the talent on the Saints offense)
"They have a lot of playmakers. They get paid just like we do. It's going to be a good battle when we go out there on Sunday and it's going to a lot of fun."

(On if he still gets as fired up for the regular season like he did when he was a rookie)
"It's just like being a rookie all over again. Going into that stadium for the first time or playing your first NFL game, you get the jitterbugs and butterflies. Right now, I'm very anxious. I'm like a kid at Christmas time opening presents; I just want to know what I'm getting next. That's the best way that I can describe it right now, the way that I feel. Like you said, it happens all over again. I guess when that feeling doesn't happen, it means that I shouldn't be playing anymore."

(On the mindset going into the first game)
"I think we all, including myself, are all pretty eager to get our regular season started. In training camp, we were tired of going against each other every day in practice and we were excited about our first preseason game. Now, we're ready for the games to start counting. We made our cuts and the guys that we have are the ones that are going to carry us through the season. We're very excited and we're getting prepared for New Orleans today."

(On playing a division rival on the road to open the season)
"The Buccaneers and the Saints have a huge rivalry. I think they're one of the hardest teams we play against each year. I don't know what it is about them, but it just seems every time we play that there is just something extra that you bring to the game and that you feel from our opposing team. It's going to be a great game. They have a very physical defense. They are fast out of the perimeter and they're very experienced in the secondary. I think they are very mentally prepared and make fewer mistakes on defense. It's going to be a challenge for us, but we definitely look forward to it."

(On his feelings as he is getting ready for his first regular season game)
"I'm very excited. I can't wait to get out there and make it happen. It's the first time that you're going to play and it really means something. All the other games I've played in were warm-up games. This is finally the real deal and I'm very excited."

(On what he has seen from the New Orleans offense)
"They're very explosive. They are high-powered. They throw a lot of passes downfield, a lot of passes in the game, period. They have a good running game, great quarterback and great receivers. They have a lot of firepower."

(On players improving their careers in Tampa)
"This team is known for its defense, and when you get around a group of guys like this on defense, they make you better and in turn you want to continue your career here."

(On the biggest challenge in facing the Saints)
"We've got to get after Brees. We have to put pressure on him, make him throw the bad balls and just keep our defense off the field and our offense on the field."

Capt Kidd

Posts : 455
#5 : September 03, 2008, 05:45:20 PM

Thanx Yuc, that was fun!


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2449
#6 : September 03, 2008, 05:48:02 PM

Not a problem prefer reading what the players have to say without all the fluff and negativity in between.

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