After Sunday's physical contest against the Chicago Bears, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had two more players come up with pulled hamstrings. Fullback B.J. Askew left the game with a pulled hamstring, but returned to action, and defensive tackle Ryan Sims also has a pulled hamstring.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden addressed the latest players that will most likely be added to the injury report when it is released on Wednesday.
"B.J. Askew suffered a hamstring strain and Ryan Sims also has a hamstring [ailment]," said Gruden. "Both players still are being evaluated."
Linebacker Derrick Brooks played for the second straight week on his pulled hamstring, but cornerback Aqib Talib missed Sunday's contest with his hamstring injury. Galloway missed Sunday's contest with a foot injury. Around the media, the injured players were pretty tight lipped about their injuries.
"We think Aqib Talib has a chance (to play this week), probably a better chance than Joey Galloway at this point in time. We'll have to update you on Wednesday."
Right guard Davin Joseph missed his third game recovering from the broken foot that he incurred during the second preseason game against the New England Patriots. Last week, Gruden said Joseph was close to returning. Leading up to Sunday's game in Chicago, Gruden said that Joseph could be back for this Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers. Whether that return will happen this Sunday has yet to be announced. Gruden said the status of the injured players would be updated on Wednesday this week.
GRIESE IMPRESSIVE IN WIN Gruden continued to rave Monday morning about the job done by Bucs starting quarterback Brian Griese against the Bears. After throwing three interceptions, Griese led the Buccaneers to 13 unanswered points and a 27-24 victory in overtime.
"He was great," said Gruden. "He was really great down the stretch. It's hard to duplicate what he did over the last 25 or 30 minutes of that game. We had some balls that should have been caught that weren't. We had a great touchdown drive in the first quarter. We got victimized on a pass that was caught by Maurice Stovall and then fumbled. We got stopped on a third-and-1. Other than a couple of balls that were intercepted, one of which there was nothing you could do because it was tipped, I thought he played an outstanding game against a very good defense."
Griese set a Tampa Bay franchise record for passes attempted in a game. His 67 pass attempts were four away from setting the NFL record. In the game, Griese completed 38-of-67 passes for 407 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
"That was a lot of passing," said Gruden. "A lot of that had to do with the situations. We had two, two-minute drives. I think one was a 65-yard field goal drive and another was a 90-yard touchdown drive. We pretty much stayed in the two-minute drill in overtime because we felt we had a pretty good thing going. A lot of people don't do that in overtime, but it was working for us and Brian and the offensive guys did a great job."
Another astounding fact of Griese's 67 pass attempts was that he was not sacked during the game. The offensive line, running backs, and tight ends all contributed in Griese having the time to complete passes and avoid negative plays in the passing offense.
"I think it had a lot to do with our ability to come from behind and win," said Gruden. "Our quarterback had time to drop back, see the field, go through his progressions, which certainly helps. It was good pass protection, not just by our offensive line, but by our backs and tight ends, too. There's still some areas we need to clean up, but we put them in some tough spots yesterday and we realize that, but we felt that was the way we were going to win the football game. Guys picked it up and responded to the challenge."
Part of the reason why the Bucs felt that the passing attack was the manner in which they were going to have a shot at winning is because Tampa Bay was unable to run the ball against Chicago. For the game, the Buccaneers averaged 2.8 yards per carry and totaled 47 yards on 17 carries. Starting running back Earnest Graham entered the game averaging eight yards per carry, but was stifled to 16 yards on 12 carries. On the final drive of the game in overtime, Graham had 10 of those yards on two carries.
"We had some nice looks in the running game. Warrick had some nice looks," said Gruden. "If you watch the game they had a guy in every gap on every snap. It's hard to run with a loaded box. It's an aggressive style of defense that they play. We have to do a better job of scheming some runs, certainly, but Chicago is outstanding. They're good at stopping the run, so we chose another route."
TWO IMPRESSIVE INTERCEPTIONS While the Bears recorded three interceptions, the Buccaneers had two of their own. Both of them were impressive plays by some of the Bucs young defenders. Defensive end Gaines Adams played in the contest with banged up ribs, and rewarded Tampa Bay with an interception on a screen pass that he returned 45 yards for a touchdown.
"Go Gaines, go," said Gruden about his reaction to the play. "I was hoping he would get it in there and fortunately I got some information from upstairs that we should challenge that play. That was a big play in the game, certainly. A screen pass, he diagnosed it well, made the play and his first NFL touchdown, I certainly congratulate him."
Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud made a circus catch interception also in the first half, this one occurring in the Tampa Bay end zone.
"What a great play," said Gruden. "He was in a tough situation based on the formation and the coverage that we had. We were in man coverage and they shifted a back out to the strong side that became his coverage in that particular call. I thought he just played the receiver about as good as you could play it. Not a lot of linebackers get, middle linebackers get in that position very often. Not only was it very good coverage it was an unbelievable finish to the play. That might be the play of the year that I've seen in terms of linebackers making plays down the field that's for sure." GRUDEN NOT CONCERNED ABOUT BARBER Bears receiver Brandon Lloyd caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown somewhat at the expense of Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber. Gruden was asked about Barber's performance Monday morning.
"He made some plays, but obviously they have players, too, and they made some plays," said Gruden. "Brandon Lloyd is a guy that has been a little quieter over the years, but he's very talented. That was part of the game yesterday, but Ronde Barber is the least of my concerns."
QUOTE OF THE DAY Gruden on if the team can use the overtime win to gain momentum for the rest of the season:
"I think it should. Winning builds confidence, and it's contagious. Good vibes are certainly nice. But we have a tough game this week. We have a tough football team to play in the Packers. We have some injuries we have to address, but you can get momentum when you get back-to-back wins. That's certainly good for momentum and confidence."
QUOTE OF THE DAY II Gruden on kick and punt returner Dexter Jackson falling down untouched repeatedly on his return attempts:
"I can't [explain it]. We'll have to look into his shoes. We have to try to keep him on his feet."