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COACH JON GRUDEN

On the first half by the Buccaneers:
“I like what we did offensively, other than stopping ourselves. We’re moving the ball very, very good.”

On the first half by Brian Griese:
“He’s a good player, but nobody’s comfortable. Griese was very sharp again and we’re very excited about that.”

On Hurricane Frances, which is approaching Florida:
“My heart goes out to everybody back in Florida. We’ve got to hang in there and deal with this hurricane. I’m thinking of you guys.”

On the Bucs offense’s performance against the Texans:
“We had some good things, but he got held [to a field goal] in a goal line situation and we mishandled a ball on fourth-and-1 we should catch, but I was really pleased with what we did offensively in such a short week against a 3-4 defense, which we hadn’t seen all preseason.”

On Tampa Bay’s running game, which rushed for the most yards (147) of the preseason against Houston:
“That’s a good day. Mike Pittman was extremely effective today as a rusher and a receiver. We’re going to miss him for the next three weeks, but I give this offensive line a lot of credit. It was the first time we have seen Derrick Deese. It was (Matt) Stinchcomb’s second game, and Cosey Coleman’s played well for us. We left Kenyatta (Walker) at home with a bad knee, but I’m really impressed and excited with the hard work these guys have put forth.”

On the play of rookie guard Jeb Terry against the Texans:
“I like his first name. I think he’s going to be a big offensive lineman for us in the future. Hopefully, the future is right around the corner because he’s got skills. He’s a tough guy and he’s the kind of offensive lineman we’re looking for around here.”

On Martin Gramatica missing a 48-yard field goal at Houston:
“It is tough. It’s a big momentum breaker when you go that far – 70 yards – and don’t get any points. It’s mystifying really. We’ve got to get it resolved. It’s not going to be easy. There are some obstacles and distractions he’s got to overcome – some negativity. But if there’s anybody who can do it, he can do it.”

On the play of the Bucs defense:
“I think it was a credit to the offense for possessing the ball as long as they did. I think the time of possession (34:25 to 25:35) is pretty wicked. This defense is very fast, and we do have some tough cuts. It’s going to be difficult.”

QB CHRIS SIMMS

On his performance tonight versus the Texans:
“We threw it around a little. I got my first touchdown pass of the preseason, so that was good. All in all, we got three (wins), and that’s what we wanted to come and get.”

On Tampa Bay’s strong running game against Houston:
“We had some great runs by (Michael) Pittman on the drive. I think we converted a few third downs. At that point, we were rolling a little bit. Coach called some great plays that kept me in rhythm again and we were pretty confident. Once we started running the ball, we’re pretty tough to beat.”

On the play of the Bucs offensive line tonight:
“It was great. Our offensive line has been great all preseason if you ask me – definitely in pass protection. The run game tonight was definitely brought up to the next level, so that was good to see.”

On his lone interception of the preseason, which came against Houston:
“We had a little flag route with Charles Lee. I thought he got held a little bit, honestly. But it was a bad ball. When it gets picked, it’s my fault, and that’s all there is to it.”

On the return of wide receiver Charles Lee tonight:
“He was such a key contributor for us last year. For him to get out there tonight and be ready for this first game was big for us.”

WR CHARLES LEE

On seeing his first action of the preseason and catching three passes for 55 yards:
“It was good to come back. It’s been a long preseason. I was able to get in there and have some fun with the guys tonight. I tore my hamstring and it was my first major injury. It was more mental than physical. I’m a pretty quick healer, but it was just something I had to get over. It’s still not completely 100 percent, but I was able to go tonight and have fun.”

On catching passes from Chris Simms:
“Chris has really developed in the offense. The strides that he’s made from last year to this point now, it felt good to get in there and catch a couple of balls from him. I kind of felt like an outsider all of training camp because I didn’t get the chance to play.”

On his 33-yard diving catch down the sidelines:
“We actually had a hitch route called, but if I get bump-and-route it turns into a fade route. I was able to make a move and I was able to catch it. I lost it in the light, but it hit my hands and I was able to come down with the catch.”

FS DWIGHT SMITH

On the Bucs going 3-1 in the preseason:
“That’s what you want to do. Come out with no injuries and to be 3-1 is a plus.”

On what the presence of Mario Edwards (one INT) means to the secondary:
“It means a lot. It’s flexibility. You saw that Brian Kelly didn’t play tonight and there was no more moving Dwight Smith back to corner. Guys stepped in and made plays when we needed to make plays. That’s what you ask from the guy, and when he does that you appreciate it.”

On Smith’s personal goals for 2004:
“The Pro Bowl. That’s the only thing left for Dwight Smith is to get to Hawaii. Hopefully by doing that I can help this team get back to where we need to be, because going to the Pro Bowl and being 5-11 is not going to feel good to me. But if we can get into the playoffs and make a run like we need to and I make it to the Pro Bowl, then the season will be full for Dwight Smith.”
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