Quotes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations staff
(Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on the overall game) “I would just like to say that was a tough one. It’s hard to swallow that one. Defensively, I thought we did a very good job for the most part. Offensively, we started good. The turnover to start the second half and a couple missed opportunities, I believe, in the passing game hurt us. We’re just not playing very good offensive football right now; running the ball, pass protecting and throwing.”
(Gruden on the decision to change quarterbacks and what it means for the future of the position) “We will address that in the next couple days. I just think there were a couple situations where it just looked tentative to me. [Bruce Gradkowski] looked a little bit unsure, out of rhythm and there were a couple plays there that he’s good enough to make, he’s got to make, to beat the Atlanta Falcons. I just think a change of quarterback could possibly give us a spark. I thought Tim [Rattay] came in and did a couple good things. But we were very disappointed in our running game today. We tried many different ways to get it going and it was not good enough today, and that puts a lot more pressure on a quarterback.”
(Gruden on Carnell Williams’ fumble) “It’s something you can’t do as a back. In that situation, particularly, it is a big play in a football game. It’s a decisive play, a decisive blow in this game. I don’t consider the man a fumbler, but here in the last couple weeks, we’ve had a couple of critical losses that hurt us and it’s something we have to continue to address and that I know we will.”
(Gruden on not throwing the ball down the field a lot) “We threw a couple down the field and we missed them. It was a little windy down there. We thought we had two good opening possessions to get some points. Third possession was a good possession. We had a penalty in that drive, missed a field goal. We came out, threw the ball deep to start the second half, had a great look to [Joey] Galloway. You pick your spots certainly to throw the ball deep. We did that today and unfortunately once again we didn’t convert on them.”
(Gruden on Justin Griffith’s run) “Sometimes, in a one-gap defense, a man gets out of his gap and there can be a hole created. That was the case, obviously, in that situation. I credit the Falcons for blocking the backside and allowing him to cut back. Obviously, we’re doing a good job containing [Michael] Vick and are unable to close as radically and as quickly as you can against most guys. That’s a product, some, of their system, and I am sure we had a breakdown on that particular play.”
(Gruden on whether he contemplated a quarterback switch earlier) “We’ve made a lot of quarterback switches here in the last four or five years, trying to find a guy that can be our starter. It looks a lot easier maybe than it is and I am sure you all have your opinions, but we’re dealing with a young guy who is playing the best there is in football. All I can say is we are going to continue to work with the men that we have and hopefully find a guy that can help us get back to a championship team and it’s not going to be easy. It is a hard process and we will continue to work at it.”
(Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber on RB Justin Griffith’s touchdown run) “I don’t remember much about it. I did see Will [Allen] miss a tackle in the middle of the field. But it’s somewhere up front, he busted through and got to the secondary. You hated that play, with the third running back, was the one that breaks your back, but it was. The one let down, the one drive that they had was going to be enough to beat us today.”
(Barber on containing QB Michael Vick) “I don’t think it was in their game plan as much to get out of the pocket like last time we played these guys. We had some adjustments for it, anyway. We got after it up front a little bit. It obviously helps [the Bucs] when Warrick [Dunn] and [Jerious] Norwood go out. I think we stuck to our game plan. We played a lot of man, kept eight men in the box, and limited their opportunities to do that.”
(Barber on this being a frustrating season) “This is about as bad of a feeling as I think you can have right now. It’s not the end of the year, obviously. We have three games to play for something and we’ll get back to it.”
(Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks on the team’s frustration) “Well, I hate to use the word frustrating. Obviously, it’s very disappointing. I felt this was a game that we should’ve won, but you tip your hat to the Falcons. They made the big play there with the fumble recovery. I think that was the play that really changed the ball game. We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”
(Brooks on the character of the team going down the stretch) “Well, the character is being tested every week. We’re building something. The Lord is taking us through this for something. I don’t know what it is but something we’re not going to take for granted is our effort. We’re not going to quit on each other; we’re going to go out there and fight. And in the end, we’re going to get what we deserve. But right now this team is learning how to fight.”
(Brooks on the need to create the big play) “I’d like to see more of that. But this wasn’t a game where, I mean some games we’ve had opportunities and didn’t take advantage. This wasn’t that. We had opportunities and we did. So like I said, I’d like to see way more turnovers, but in the end, just too many plays all around the board that weren’t made.”
(Brooks on if he was surprised QB Michael Vick didn’t try to run as much) “Yes, I think we defensed him well, and when he did, we had three or four guys around him. I think we set a good tone with some hits and he didn’t want to get hit that much. He did a good job of protecting the ball because in the past he’d try to stick a throw in there and we’d get it. This time he threw the ball away or he’d lay down and take the sack which didn’t allow us to get any hits on him. So that is a maturation in terms of how he plays us because we didn’t really get a lot of hits on him today. But in the past we did. I give him credit for that.”
(Bucs rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski on sitting in the fourth quarter) “You know coach made a decision out there and after I fumbled that one, we really weren’t moving the ball. That’s his decision and I have to go with it. We weren’t making plays, so something had to change and that’s what he decided.”
(Gradkowski on the difference between the offense moving the ball between the first half and the second half) “The first half we did, we had some really good drives, we made some plays. We just have to finish drives, we have to finish with touchdowns and that’s tough. Matt Bryant did a good job getting us a couple of field goals but you know you have to finish with seven points, especially against a team like that. In the second half we came out, we had some plays go our way to keep us moving but I held the ball in the pocket too long on that one. I have to know that it’s time to go, I can’t sit back there and hold the ball especially against a good rusher like that. That was kind of the turning point right there, that really hurt us and I have to be more aware and protect the ball better.”
(Gradkowski on the play selection on the second drive near the end zone) “We were thinking we would get a little zone there and they played man-to-man. There were a couple of plays in that, either didn’t look too good but we went with it and tried to make a play. But we kind of fell short so we just have to do a better job.”
(Gradkowski on what Coach Gruden said to him when being pulled) “He just said ‘hey I’m just going to try and get a spark here, see if [Tim] Rattay can come in and do something.’ I have to go with his decision, I respect him, I’ve learned so much so far and I just have to keep learning and keep pushing through these times. It’s only a rough spot right now, I’m sure there are a lot of good things ahead and that’s what I have to focus on. Focus on what I can control and that’s getting better each and every day.”
(Bucs QB Tim Rattay on playing in the fourth quarter) “I was actually excited. I love to play. I love as many snaps as they’ll give me, one snap or 100. I want them. Everyone they’ll give me. I was fired up. I was looking forward to the opportunity.”
(Rattay on RB Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams’ fumble) “Those things happen. We got the ball back, down 11 and we still had a chance. I saw in the Lakeland game [a team] comeback from 21 with two minutes to go just the other day.”
(Rattay on his fumble on the last drive) “I think I just pulled out too soon. We changed the call a couple of times because we had guys on different sides and in the two-minute [drill] you just go on first sound. That was me; I just pulled out too soon.”
(Rattay on the season as a whole) “It’s tough. It’s a tough situation because we all put so much into the offseason and the whole year getting ready. It’s a year-round preparation deal. So it is disappointing but we have three games left and we’re going to keep preparing and fighting just like you saw today. We’re going to play every game with passion. Just from me observing for my two years I’ve been here, that’s what I’ve seen with all these guys in the locker room, they just keep fighting. So it doesn’t matter record-wise, we’re going to keep fighting.”
(Bucs center John Wade on what the Atlanta Falcons were able to do and what the Buccaneers were not doing) "It comes down to execution; plays were called and we were not executing them enough. Atlanta is a good team; I'm not taking anything away from them, but there were some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of as an offense."
(Wade on the field goal in the first quarter) "When you get in a rhythm you have to get six points on the board. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had. We have to look at the film and correct what we can correct, [and] get ready to fight next week. We can't change this game. Obviously, we're disappointed how we performed, offensively."
(Wade on playing hard for the last three games) "There's no question, I don't anticipate that being a problem in this locker room. There's a lot of men with great character in here. I don't expect anything less than everybody's best effort next week."
(Bucs RB Cadillac Williams on the game) "Right now, I'm kind of disgusted. Overall, it's another loss and another big fumble for me. So right now, just feel frustrated."
(Williams on what the coaches tell him) "They tell me to keep my head up."
(Williams on the offensive game plan) "We came in and saw that they could be gashed with the run. So we came in and tried to hurry up the offense and attack them that way. But Atlanta came to play today."
(Williams on the rest of the season) "It's tough, but we are professionals and we do get paid to do a job. So you put this one aside and just come to work."
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