In addition to the following post-game comments, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris disclosed that the team is looking into injuries sustained by center Jeff Faine (triceps), wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) and guard Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) during Sunday’s 34-21 loss to Dallas.
Bucs head coach Raheem Morros' opening statement. "Obviously we're disappointed in the loss. Lot of good things on offense. Too many big plays on defense. Did a good job on stopping the run, or playing the run tough, not necessarily stopping it. I don't know if you can stop a guy like Marion Barber. But when you hold them to what we did today, it's not as bad as you would like to think. You know, Tony Romo, he did exactly what we thought he would do; hold onto the ball, create big plays on the field. That just kills you in the long run. We have to have more pressure. We only had the one sack with Ronde Barber. We did get to him, hit him a little bit. We have to get more pressure in his face. We have to get more people around him. We have to have more people making him uncomfortable. We knew if you allowed him to hold onto the ball, he can make plays. I was really pleased with the way Byron Leftwich played today. He played like an absolute stud. He went out there like a warrior. He got hit a lot. My offensive line did not allow a sack, but he did get hit. He did stand in that pocket and threw the football down the field. I think he completed the ball to 10 different receivers today. I'm really pleased with some of the things we did on offense, but we've got to get better. We ran the ball well. Cadillac Williams got us going. He got us off the blocks. Derrick Ward kind of got some things going in the second half. We have to find that comfortable zone for those two and those three where they can take over games and really finish them. At the same time, you can't keep those guys going if you get big plays."
Morris on Tony Romo touchdown to Patrick Crayton down the sideline. "That was what we talked about. That was the play with Romo holding onto the football, holding onto the football, steps up to create the play. You lose your eyes downfield. The play clock in your head has to be longer with Romo, it just has to be. He held onto the football, he looked back at the quarterback, Romo threw a dart and there goes Crayton rushing down the sideline. It's still not an excuse. You have to get ready to play. You have to get ready to play faster. You have to get ready to play better. That's just the nature of the beast. That's how he is. He makes plays with his feet. He makes plays with his eyes. He makes plays downfield. He throws it down there."
Morris on what he said to Sabby Piscitelli. "He knew exactly what he was supposed to do. There's no secret about it. I looked right at Sabby. I grabbed him right next to me. He looked at me and said ‘plaster." You can't make that mistake. It's part of being a young football team. You have to just do it. You can't come off the field and know it's too late. They got a touchdown already. You have to know that while it's going on. You have to realize who you're playing. You have to realize the situation and know what's going on. You have to plaster them. You just can't have that stuff happen."
Morris on being in charge for his first game. "It was great. I thought we managed the situations of the game fairly well. We'd like to have done that halftime situation a little better. We wish we could have gotten a first down there, that first time we had the ball, not the second time, the first time we had it. Maybe extended that game a little bit. Maybe went to halftime with the lead. I could have done some things there a little better. I'll get better with that stuff too. For the first time out, I was pretty pleased with how the coaches communicated. How the coaches got things across. How I communicated with those guys. How we handled situations. It wasn't a bad situation. We just gave up too many big plays on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, we created some things. We have some big plays. We just have to score touchdowns. Earlier we had the two, one was a blocked field goal, one was a missed field goal. Those were the ones on offense we have to convert so we're not necessarily in those situations. But when we do get in those situations we have to make them."
Morris on Byron Leftwich getting hit a lot. "Byron Leftwich got hit a lot. That's going to be what Byron is. Byron's always been that. That's why he's so big. That's why he's so tough, he's so physical. Because he'll absolutely stand in there and throw that football. He's going to deliver it while he's getting hit. You're concerned, but at the same time that's his game. That's the Doug Williams-like game. That's all of those types of guys. Now we have to protect him a little bit better. We have to keep him from some of those hits. He'll help himself out a little bit. In the second half, now that's just a man trying to win a football game, trying to do everything it takes. He could have thrown some of those balls away, but he stood in there and tried to throw some tough balls to Michael Clayton. I'm really proud of some of those guys on offense. I sure hope those questions about Mike Clayton signing back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were answered today. To see that guy catch that ball up the middle with a safety bearing down on him, stay up, spin around, not even come out of the game and get up off the field and walk off like that. That's the type of toughness we're going to be about around here. Some of those guys get some real kudos from me when it comes to their play."
Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber on the loss. "Obviously we can't give them up. The one that broke our back kills you but we have to play smart. We have to be a smart defense. We have to slow it down, let plays come to us and don't try to make them. We have to be ourselves really. I'll give [the Cowboys] all the credit in the world. They are a very talented offensive football team but we have ways to take a system away and we had our opportunity but didn't."
Barber on the early points in the game. "I thought we started fast. We got them in certain situations to start the game. We held them to field goals, our offense went down, scored and even the touchdown right before the half, it shouldn't have happened but we still felt good about it. We had our chances. The final score is definitely not indicative of how we played."
Barber on if the blame should be on the safeties. "At the end of the day, we are the last line of defense. We know it's a good running football team. I told our guys this before the game. Obviously it is a new scheme, I think we can play it well; we just can't give up big plays and do stupid stuff. Once we realize that plays come to you and you don't make plays, we are going to be a better team."
Bucs WR Michael Clayton on the loss. "I'll tell you that this is the only loss of my career that I have a smile on my face. You know I love what we have, there are just a couple of things we have to nail down. We have everything we need right now. I'm happy with the play calls. We went out and made some plays, we left something out there on the field, but offensively we have everything that we want. So, we have a stepping stone now. Now it's up to us to build on it and this team definitely has the character to do that and I'm excited about the next 15 games."
Clayton on the offensive plays. "In the offseason, we put forth a tremendous effort, getting better everyday and jelling together and we put it up to us to not let anything distract us on offense. We had to grow up real fast. We got some new faces out there. Cadillac Williams came in and ran the ball tremendously and like I said, it's the only loss of my career with a smile on my face because I know what we have now and the only thing is to go to Buffalo and get a win."
Clayton on the hit across the middle. "It's going to happen. It's no fear. Those who know me know how I play the game. It's what we do, you know this is our mentality being a physical football team and defenses that come against this offense know that they're going to have a heck of a fight when they come in and play us and that's what it's all about."
Bucs QB Byron Leftwich on the game. "You've got to just understand that was only one game. We understand that we did a lot of good things. The difference in that football game was four or five plays. You look at the football game and if you really watched, the difference in us being up and them being up was about four or five plays. We've got to get back to the drawing board and correct the things we are going to correct, build on the things that we did well and be better next Sunday. That's what we'll do."
Leftwich on the offense with WR Michael Clayton and WR Antonio Bryant playing. "The potential is there. We've still got to work on some things. I haven't played longer than a quarter with those guys when you think about the preseason. None of those guys really played longer than a quarter together, so that was really our first time playing together. I won't use that as an excuse, but we are capable of doing anything on that football field with the players that we have, we know that, we understand that and we'll get better."
Leftwich on if he was frustrated with some of the dropped balls. "That's football. That's the nature of it. I'll miss more than those guys will drop. Dropped passes are the last thing that I am worried about."
Leftwich on the luxury of having so many running backs. "That's why I can sit here after a loss and feel bad about the loss, but at the same time I know where we can go. I know where we can go as a team. I know what we are capable of doing. We showed spurts of good things here and there, but at the same time we have to do that for four quarters. All those things are very fixable and I think everyone understands that. You didn't see anyone in the locker room holding their head down. We lost to a good football team today. Give those guys credit, they beat us and they made more plays than us. We have to come in here tomorrow and get ready for Buffalo."
Leftwich on if the game plan changed after Dallas scored a couple of touchdowns. "I don't know. We have those running backs, but we have AB [Antonio Bryant] and Michael Clayton also. We have Jerramy Stevens and K2 [Kellen Winslow], so we are going to attack people any way we can. Whatever is working at the time, we are going to do that. We go play. We have a gameplan, yes, but at the same time winning football comes down to guys making plays. We just didn't do enough of that today. They did that, give those guys the credit. We lost to a good football team. We'll watch the film, get better from it and get ready to go."
Leftwich on the attacking mentality at the end of the first half. "I loved the one with seven seconds left. We were about to kick the field goal and Raheem [Morris] and I had a conversation. He trusted that I would do the right thing with the football. As a quarterback, you always want those opportunities. That thing was closer than it seemed. I knew I couldn't put it in the air, because I didn't want the time to run out. I knew it had to be a ball that was thrown pretty hard, that way if we get it we score and if we don't, we've still got enough time to kick the field goal. The last thing I wanted to do was to drop back and throw the ball in the air and we don't have those two seconds at the end. It didn't work, but we still had the field goal attempt accomplished. We added a play and still gave ourselves a chance to score a touchdown and as a quarterback you love when your head coach does those things for you."
Bucs CB Elbert Mack on the miscues in the secondary. "We just had some miscommunication. It was just a couple of plays that we had to make and unfortunately we didn't make them and they capitalized on them."
Mack on having the right personnel on the field at the time. "We had the right personnel, everything was crisp. Like I said, there was bad communication between the corners and the safety. There is stuff that we have to get worked out. We'll work out the wrinkles. We'll be alright."
Mack on if the mistakes are correctable. "They are very correctable. It's just out there playing fast. You just have to take the plays as they come. We're taking one game at a time."
Bucs safety Jermaine Phillips on what he believes went wrong. "It was just communication. On one of the touchdowns, I missed a tackle, a tackle I should make. We have to stand up and take responsibility. We had a couple of busts and some communication issues."
Phillips on if they are easy fundamental issues to fix. "It's all about communication. We'll get back to the drawing board next week and I think we'll be fine when we get to Buffalo."
Bucs S Sabby Piscitelli on what happened in the secondary. "We have to go look at film and clean it up. As a whole, there are some things that we have to adjust to. We have to learn from our mistakes and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Piscitelli on the confusion in the secondary. "Like I said, we just have to clean it up, every aspect of the game. We have to get the communication right, we have to each know our assignments and we have to communicate. If you're not communicating then you get lost out on the field. Our secondary will bounce back and clean it up."
Piscitelli on if the same mistakes from the preseason carried over. "Absolutely. Like I said, we have to watch the film and everyone has to stand up to their responsibility, including myself on a couple of plays. We can't give up plays like that, we know that as a secondary. We will bounce back hard and learn from our mistakes."
Piscitelli on if there was confusion on assignments. "I don't think it was knowing who had who. Like I said, there were situations that they did a great job at. They put us in situations that we were unfamiliar with and we didn't communicate correctly. I put that on myself in not communicating correctly in some of the plays. We'll improve on that."
Bucs LB Barrett Ruud on the game. "It's frustrating because I think it's about us, especially defensively. It was more about breakdown on our end then it was to getting out manned. We played well most of the game but you can't give up four or five explosive plays like that and expect to be Dallas."
Ruud on the big play at the end of first half where Dallas WR Miles Austin got free. "It was a man defense. We just have to make sure of our tackles. We covered okay but he made the catch. You have to make the tackle. He was able to evade the tackle and made his way to the end zone. It's just little things. We'll clean those up. The encouraging thing is that all of this is very correctable."
Ruud on getting better at putting pressure on the quarterback. "The quarterbacks are too good in this league to let them make a couple reads, especially when you have a match type coverage. It definitely has to be a priority but everything has to be a priority right now. It's just detail. We have to get back to it's about us. If we take care of our responsibilities, we'll play well."
Bucs RB Derrick Ward on being able to establish the run. "That's what the game plan is. Everybody knows we're going to run the ball. We have four capable running backs to lead the team in rushing. That's what we have to do. It's a marathon. It would be nice to start 16-0 but that's not how the NFL goes. We have to keep working hard on making adjustments."
Ward on the running back rotation. "Cadillac [Williams] started it off for us. He got some good positive yards for us. He showed some bursts of speed and toughness. That's what set the tone for us to run the ball. Hopefully we continue to do that throughout the year and put up some big yards on the field."
Ward on wearing Dallas' defense down as game went on. "We feel that we can do that the whole year. To be able to have four running backs to rotate throughout the game is going to pay dividends for us because we're going to be fresh throughout the whole game."
Bucs DL Jimmy Wilkerson on the mistakes. "It was the little things like being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is something that we are going to continue to work on. We still have 15 games left. We just can't let this loss get us down."
Wilkerson on the Buccaneers pressure on Dallas QB Tony Romo. "We were just trying to figure out what they were going to do and try to capitalize on that. It could have been that we were overly anxious just because it was the start of the season but we are going to go in and watch some film tomorrow, correct it and move on."
Bucs RB Cadillac Williams on his first game back from injury. "The loss just spoiled everything. I didn't come to stand out as an individual and lose ballgames. I'm a winner and this team is a winner. Unfortunately, we lost but the team is going to get better. I came a long way and put in a lot of hard work."
Williams on if he felt good. "No doubt, I feel great."
Wiliams on running hard. "The offensive line did a great job early and late. Unfortunately, a few plays didn't go our way. We're going to be okay as a team."
Williams on the long play to set up his touchdown. "The offensive line got body on body, receivers did a great job blocking and I made a guy miss here and there and it's off to the races."
Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow on the offense. "We were moving the ball, we just didn't put it in the end zone when we needed to. A field goal got blocked, and we missed one. Those things matter."
Winslow on how he felt in the game. "We were a little gassed, but everyone was gassed. It was just who executed and who didn't. They did more than us. We've just got to come back, rally up and get ready for the Bills."
More from Winslow regarding the offense. "We were okay, we just didn't put it in the end zone. I'm excited to be here. We played real hard and all we can do is come back for the Bills and prepare for Sunday."
Winslow on his drop in the fourth quarter. "I didn't look it in. That's a ball I usually catch, like you said. It could have changed the whole game. That's what I'll be thinking about until next Sunday. It hurts, but all you can do is come back and make the next play."
Bucs DE Gaines Adams on Dallas preventing sacks "I'm not going to say that they were doing anything in particular to hold me back," said Adams. "I just got to find a way to be able to just get there. I had some good rushes but none of them came home." Bucs DT Chris Hovan on the big plays by Dallas on offense. "That's what happened the big play," said Hovan. "I'm not going to say names, but since I got here in 2005, the first meeting, I don't care what defense you play in this league, we don't give up the big play. End of story, 21 points, we don't do that around here. And this [expletive] is going to get fixed tomorrow. That is all I have to say."
Some post-game quotes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations department.