HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN
(On today's win against the Redskins)
"I'm really proud of our players. Our kickers were outstanding today – [punter] Josh Bidwell [and kicker] Matt Bryant. Our defense made a lot of plays. I give them a lot of credit. Certainly the Washington Redskins, coming in here, down 19-3 [and fighting back] – they deserve a lot of credit. They're a good football team. This is a big win for us. Obviously we struggled offensively with the three or four possessions we had in the second half."
(On the injury to QB Jeff Garcia)
"Well I think it was the first play of the game. It's a lower back bruise, we're calling it. He's tough as hell. He wanted to go back in and play several times but he just didn't have the mobility. He just didn't look right on the sidelines. It's a credit to him. He kept loosening himself up. He felt he could go in and finish a football game. He's a tough customer. It was tough sledding today obviously, and we hope to have him next week against the Saints."
(On the decision to put QB Jeff Garcia back in the fourth quarter)
"Well Garcia gives us the best chance to win. Obviously talking to the doctors and trainers, [learning] there was no way he could further injure himself, and he performed a lot of things on the sidelines, [in order to] to prove to us that he could go in there. Unfortunately we tried to get him a completion or two to see where he was, and Washington wasn't in the mood for that. They played very good defense. But I think he'll be okay and we'll update you in the coming days."
(On the Bucs defense)
"Well there's a lot to that. [Defensive end] Kevin Carter had his 100th sack today. [Cornerback] Ronde Barber broke a record for interceptions here. [Cornerback] Brian Kelly's back on schedule with us – his first pick in a long time. We mixed coverages. We had a legitimate rush early in the football game. They came in here a bit one-dimensional – throwing the ball with [fullback Mike] Sellers not here." We got some big plays, defensively. We capitalized on one with a touchdown and we knocked three field goals in with the other three, which isn't very acceptable, but it's a credit to our entire defensive team. We went deep into the roster once again today with [defensive tackle] Ryan Sims and [defensive end] Patrick Chukwurah. It was an impressive performance to say the least."
(On how tired the defense was)
"They were tired and I think they'll tell you. The opening drive of the second half, I think, took us off guard a little bit. They got [tight end] Chris Cooley on a third-and-long play for a touchdown. The Redskins offensive football in the second half too. They were pretty darn good. They used all their receivers and they ran the ball deep to keep us honest, and they made some plays on third-and-long to keep drives alive. They converted a fourth-and-one. We had a fourth-and-one stop. Our guys are tired and they should be."
(On the specifics of Garcia's injury)
"I really don't know. I don't know how Garcia feels or the severity of the bruise. And where it is on a quarterback is not where it is on a jockey who rides horses, or on a defensive back, or any other position – this guy's got to have freedom to throw the football and move quickly, and to do the things that have made him a good quarterback for us."
(On his thoughts during halftime on putting Garcia back in)
"Well they asked me about it and I was pretty sure after talking with the trainers [about not putting him back in], but the guy's doing these plyometrics and he's still trying to get it lose. He's working his butt off to get back into it. You know a lot of guys would just say 'it's not right' and they'd go throw up on the sideline, but this guy here is feverishly trying to get it lose. I don't know how it came to be, but he was in no danger to hurt himself any further, so – that was the number one thing. Number two, he did throw the ball functionally well enough to go in there and give our guys a jolt, and we certainly needed it."
(On if this injury was a problem previously)
"No, no. This was the first play of the game."
(On if Garcia's decision to go back in was because he knew a lot was riding on this game)
"Well he is what he is. He doesn't care what the score is or what the record is. He wants to play. I'm sure maybe there was some of that coming into his mind, but the guy's a tremendous competitor. I watched him when I was out in California with some teams that were 5-11 and 4-12 and 6-10 that were out of the race, and he competes his ass off. He doesn't care if it's the pre-season, post-season, or regular season – he's going to try to play."
(On if Garcia's decision to come in was because he felt the win slipping away)
"No I didn't say that for him. I just felt that there was an urgency in his eyes. We all understand what it's like in week 11 to put a guy in the game that hasn't played since August. Obviously Garcia's a guy that's a big reason, not the only reason, but a big reason why we're alive and he wanted to show some killer instinct and try to help us win another game. Things weren't going great, you know what I mean. Our defense, as well as they played, they gave up an 80 yard march to start the third quarter. [Quarterback] Bruce [Gradkowski] missed [wide receiver] Ike Hilliard for a wide open first down on our first possession. And after that, we're at the 3 yard line, okay, we're backed up, we're pretty careful right there in the situation, and we had two possessions in the third quarter. Washington played tremendous offensive football. When Jeff got in there for his two series, it wasn't all of the things we had wanted to do and hoped to do, but he protected the ball, we got out of here with a victory, and all we can do is update you as soon as we know more about his health."
QB JEFF GARCIA
(On his injury)
"I am sore right now. It was a painful day, but one that we can fortunately smile about with the outcome of the game. I just took a shot in the lower back, right between the rib cage and the hip bone, almost like a kidney shot and it was pretty deep. I feel like I just bruised muscles that weren't allowing me to loosen up or use those back muscles. It felt like when I tried to bend over, tried to utilize my back, it felt like it was giving out. It's just one of those things where I felt like if I continued to work it and fight through it and eventually just continue to tighten my ab muscles to take the strain off of my back, I could get to a point where I could maybe get back on the field. I just felt like at the time when I went in that the offense needed some sort of spark. That's not taking anything away from Bruce [Gradkowski] because he played his tail off and he did the best he could do out there on the field. We just needed something. As much as I didn't necessarily go in and create a first down or anything like that, I felt like I needed to be out there for the guys. I felt like I was strong enough to be able to do that. I didn't feel like I was going out and jeopardizing my team. If I were to put myself in that sort of position, I wouldn't have gone out there."
(On what a win like this says about the team)
"It was an ugly game from our standpoint, as far as offense is concerned, not being able to move the ball like that, not being able to help our defense. It was a tremendous job by our defense. They were out there the entire game, out there for a long time. They created turnovers and gave our team opportunities to put points on the board. We win this game because of how our defense played. They have done an outstanding job all year long. That's the type of defense you need to have in order to compete at the high level, but it's important that we get better as an offense. We can't afford to have games like that because without the turnovers, it's a different situation. We need to just be better as a offense, better as a team, but I can't say enough about how our defense played and how our special teams played at times. [Punter] Josh [Bidwell] did an excellent job punting the ball. [Wide receiver] Maurice Stovall and the guys covering kicks did outstanding, but defensively they just never backed off, never gave up, especially with how tired they were. I feel bad that we couldn't do better offensively to give them a break, give them a rest, especially at the crucial times in the game."
(On if the Buccaneers are starting to feel like a playoff team)
"It definitely feels like a playoff team. We believe and realize that we are capable of being a playoff team. It's one week at a time but we feel like that with what we have going with this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. As an offensive player, I want more out of this offense obviously. Today was a tough day and I know that we can have more out of this offense and I expect more and we are going to be better and we are going to help our team out, that is the important thing. We are taking steps in the right direction by winning football games. No matter which way you look at it, a win is a win, especially against a good NFC East opponent and a team that was reeling a bit, that needed a win. They came in hungry. They came in and got after us a bit, but we showed up defensively and that's what got us the win today and it's going to be important that the offense s much better next week."
LB DERRICK BROOKS
(On the Redskins' final drive)
"We look forward to being in that opportunity to shut the door. It all goes back to a few years ago when Coach Gruden asked us to bring in our closers. We didn't panic at all, we understand the situation, and they needed a score. We didn't have to take chances, when it got down to the red zone and the field got short for them, and Brian [Kelly] did a very good job of executing his coverage, and finished it off with a pick."
(On the veterans stepping up and making big plays)
"We are going to find our plays. Obviously, to me, at the end of the day, as long as the play is made [that is all that matters]. It just happened to be us in that particular position to do our job. I am going to be honest with you – it feels good for the old guys to be appreciated, to make a play every now and again. More importantly, that is us continuing the hot streak at home. We have only lost one game, and continue to build ourselves. We have ourselves a very big game next week up in New Orleans. We really need to go and get this win, and go up in our division three games. That is probably what a lot of guys think about more than the win today."
(On exceeding expectations and being 7-4)
"When you win the turnover battle, as I say every week, we are going to win ball games. It was the same thing today – we won the turnover battle. Our offense is mad at themselves. They tell us they want to turn them into touchdowns. We feel that if we continue to get these guys the ball, they are going to put up points. Today, they did a fantastic job of not turning the ball over."
CB RONDE BARBER
(On finally getting his 32nd career interception and breaking the Bucs all-time record help previously by Donnie Abraham)
"You could tell me better than I could about how many games it was (laughs) but it was far too long. I had my opportunities. It was nice to finally get it, on a personal note, just nice to get it. It came at a good time for us. Unfortunately [the offense] wasn't able to capitalize and get a first down and end this game then, but B.K.'s (cornerback Brian Kelly) pick later did it for us. Everyone's going to be pretty happy on Monday.
(On the interception itself)
"It was one of those things [where], they ran the play twice earlier. I tried to buzz up there and get it but I just wasn't fast enough. This time, I just played with my instincts and ran out there to run underneath it. It took forever to get out there, but you know what, you give credit away, and it's over with, and let's move on."
(On how hard it was waiting)
"I wasn't waiting for it (laughs). I was waiting to get it whenever. But it is nice that it happened here. I got a lot of support here. I always have and I think I always. I think it's great to do it and to make them happy."
(On QB Jeff Garcia getting hurt)
"You have got to step up. Bruce has to step up and play. It is a team that is playing Washington with our backs against the wall. We know that sense of urgency. The defense was prepared to play regardless. We knew it was going to be a tough game, and we knew it was going to come down to us eventually. Obviously, we would have liked to feel less tense at the end. You put us on the field and we will find a way to make a couple of plays."
(On forcing the Redskins into six turnovers)
"When you look at the stats at the end of the day, they had 300 some yards in the second half. This is something that we will look at and not be too happy about, but the way we ended it and the way we finished – we always talk about finishing football games and with two turnovers and two stalled drives for them – we will be proud of that."
S TANARD JACKSON
(On the play of the defense)
"Our main goal was to get the ball back and create opportunities for our offense. We did that. Unfortunately, Jeff Garcia went down and we had some troubles on offense, but it was a good team win and we definitely accomplished what we wanted to do."
(On the team's attitude on forcing turnovers)
"It is the same attitude that has been here – score and get the ball back. We, as a defense, pride ourselves on getting the ball back and scoring on defense. We didn't score but we definitely got the ball back. That has been the same thing here before I got here and it will stay the same."
(On if the defense felt more pressure since Jeff Garcia wasn't in the game)
"I wouldn't say more pressure, just what we expect. We like to be out there, we like to go out and make plays and create havoc. We didn't look at it as more pressure, we just had to step up and do our job."
S JERMAINE PHILLIPS
(On how he feels after the game)
"When they say leave it all out there, that's definitely what we did today. Everybody dug deep, but everybody got the job done. We came up with the win and that's all that matters for us."
(On the early fumbles)
"[You think that] when they turn the ball over hopefully the fumbles will keep coming, that, now it's time to really step up when they throw it and make them quit if you can. It's a credit to Washington. They kept fighting and they put up some numbers in the second half."
(On if the defense can practice recovering fumbles)
"There's always things you can do to practice, but when you're in a game-time situation, you're just reacting and going off on what you want to do. Being in the right place at the right time always helps, but sometimes you just have to fall on it, and sometimes you have the opportunity to pick it up and make a play."
CB BRIAN KELLY
(On making the interception to clinch the win)
"We knew that after Ronde's interception, they were able to stop us on offense, and we had to go out there and close it out. It was just one of those situations where [quarterback Jason Campbell] forced the ball in there, and we were able to capitalize and get off the field. He capitalized on some he forced in, so he felt comfortable doing it, but this time he wasn't."
(On battling back from injuries and being able to make a game-changing interception)
"When it happened, I knew that I would have plenty of opportunities to make plays, and there is still going to be opportunities to make plays. Regardless of however they play me, nickel or whatever, you need three good corners on the team and right now we have that. It is good to come out here and get a win."
(On the three Super Bowl guys – Barber, Brooks, and Kelly – stepping up to make plays)
"Ronde mentioned something coming off the field. He said, 'just like old times,' and it is. We have some young guys that are playing lights out ball right now, but we have some good defensive leadership and we are still here playing."
RB EARNEST GRAHAM
(On the first scoring drive)
"It felt good. We ran the ball pretty well on the first couple of drives and we were able to get a touchdown in the first half. We came out in the second half and stalled quite a bit. We need to work on that. It's the way you start a game and the way you start the second half that makes a big difference in the outcome."
(On Derrick Brook's play on the fourth-and-goal stop)
"Huge, man. It is typical of the guys we have. We have great players and every time a different guy steps up to make a play. That's one of the characteristics about defense. There's going to be a lot of great games to come."
(On the kicking game)
"Both our kickers played a heck of a game today. If it wasn't for some big punts and some big kicks, we wouldn't have come out with a win today. Our defense played their hearts out for the second week in a row. You have to take your hat off to them."
QB BRUCE GRADKOWSKI
(On the win)
"It was a huge win for us today. Our defense really stepped it up and you have to give them a ton of credit. We didn't help them out too much in the second half, but we protected the ball today and that's what you need to do to win football games."
(On the defense and the turnovers)
"You can't say enough about that defense. They've been playing their tails off these last couple of weeks and they're really coming around and doing a great job for us and that's the reason we're winning football games. They did a great job today, especially [Derrick] Brooks coming up to me [saying] 'hey man, don't worry about it. Just protect the football and we'll get it back.' They kept doing that today and we pulled out a close one."
(On the scoring drive to close the first half)
"That was definitely a big drive in the game – getting points before halftime and we went in with a little momentum. Our kickers did a great job today. Matt Bryant kicked the heck out of the football and so did Josh Bidwell, pinning them back deep. You have to give those guys a ton of credit. We hung in there, our guys played hard, [running back] Earnest Graham played hard again, our offensive line – you have to give those guys credit – and we came away with a tough one."
DE GREG WHITE
(On the fumbles)
"We're looking for our offense to capitalize off them and once that happens, then we can pin our ears back and start pass rushing. It more or less changes the game. It's going to change the game sooner or later when they need to catch up once our offense scores points."
(On the defense over the past two weeks)
"We're just letting it loose. We're just playing, we're going one game at a time. Once game at a time, one week at a time."
(On forcing six turnovers)
"It was good, but we needed more."
DB COACH RAHEEM MORRIS
(On his young players making plays in the first quarter, and his veterans sealing the deal in the end)
It's the reason you've got guys like that. They play the game above the neck. You count on them to make big time plays. It's only a matter of time before opportunity and technique meet and those guys win for you. That's exactly what happened today. Ronde did it earlier. B.K. (Brian Kelly) came back, turned around, and did it right away after that. That's just how they do it. It's all down to the leadership of the team – the Derrick Brookses, the Ronde Barbers, the Brian Kellys – it doesn't matter who's the starter, it doesn't matter who's the guy. We're out there to win the game, that's what they did today, and I was proud of them."
(On CB Ronde Barber's career interception and when it happened – in the fourth quarter when the team needed him to come up big)
"That's just how his career is going. He's always been there when it's counted the most and that's just how it's supposed to be. He cashed in today when it counted the most and that's why we love the guy."
(On Barber's uncanny knack for getting the ball)
"He likes football more than everybody else, so that's just part of it. He's probably second right behind Brian Kelly because I had this discussion this week (laughs). You can tell them at the paper that Brian Kelly got pissed at them this week (laughs). No, I'm just kidding. There's no doubt about it. He's one of the smartest guys, one of the better guys going in this league, above the neck. You can say what you want about his athleticism, about his inability to run very fast, I can't tell and it is what it is."
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