Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay’s 29-18 loss to Jacksonville “It was a real physical game. I was pleased. I liked having the lead at halftime. I thought we came out very strong as a football team. Defensively, we played great in the first half, not good but played great. We did some great things on defense. Offensively we started well, disappointed we missed a field goal, some things we did in the protection obviously hurt us and another good drive we had back to back sacks. I don’t have any injuries to report.”
Gruden on rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski’s play “Well obviously we turned the ball over three times in the second half. I have tremendous respect for Jacksonville’s defense. I think they are right in there with the best in the league. They are the complete package. They are physical. They’ve been together for a while and they have good continuity. Bruce (Gradkowski) had a shot to Ernest Graham on the first possession of the second half and just missed him for a big play. It’s unfortunate. I did think we forced the issue a little bit down the play down the middle there for the interception. It was good in some ways, to see him snap back into the reality of this league.”
Gruden on Tampa Bay’s starting defense “We were flying. We came out ready to play as a football team. I was very enthused; we get a turnover on the first possession. Couple big plays, touchdown, we faked the extra point so we jump up 8-0, which is hard to do against this team on the road. Defensively we kept the pressure on; it was a pretty good all around performance defensively in the first half.”
Gruden on whether quarterback Chris Simms is holding onto the football too long “Well I could sit here and point fingers. Couple of these possessions, there was no business of us getting hit from the blind side. There’s no business. I’m not blaming the line, I’m not blaming Chris (Simms), it’s my responsibility. We have to find a way to get the ball out of our hands and throw it away certainly. Jacksonville is as good as there is at sacking the quarterback and applying pressure. They just got the best of us a couple of times and it’s too bad because we really could have had quite a first half.”
Bucs QB Chris Simms on Jacksonville’s defense “They’re one of the elite defenses in the NFL. They don’t have to blitz a lot because they have a great front four, and have size and speed. I was encouraged and thought we did some good things against them. Inconsistency again is the word of the day. We left some points out there to be had.”
Simms on whether the Bucs are ready for Week 1 “We’re really close. Carnell (Williams) ran the ball well and caught some passes out of the backfield. Joey (Galloway) got his hands on the ball. Mike Clayton played big and Alex Smith got his hands on the ball. We’re continuing to build and hopefully we’ll hit it full stride when the Ravens come to town.”
Bucs wide receiver Michael Clayton on the team’s starters “We came out aggressive, but I think we accomplished what we wanted with a great first half. It’s obvious that Jacksonville scored on our backups and we don’t want to let that happen. We’ll go in and clear up a lot of things on film but as for as the starters go, we really felt confident in the things that we were doing.”
Bucs running back Cadillac Williams on returning to action “It felt good to get a few snaps and get a little contact and hitting a different opponent besides my teammates. I was able to get some game speed conditioning, and I feel I may be ready to go now.”
Quotes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations department.
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