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Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on his team’s overtime win over the Titans: “It was a great win no matter how you slice it. Our team showed resiliency. I was pleased with the offense coming out and scoring a touchdown and then coming out of the locker room in the third quarter and scoring another touchdown. Obviously, we started overtime with the clinching field goal drive. That was good. We started out fast. We didn’t have a lot of penalties. We have a lot of areas to improve upon, but a lot of guys got to play tonight.”
Gruden on how the offensive line performed: “We lost (guard) Jeb Terry tonight to a left MCL sprain. He’ll be out 2-3 weeks. (Tackle) Derrick Deese wasn’t here. Neither was (Matt) Stinchcomb. We’re missing five or six key guys, and we answered the bell. We ran the ball close to 40 times for 170 yards, and our backs ran really hard for us. It’s a start for us.”
Gruden on running back Earnest Graham’s performance: “He does a lot of things for us. Not too many people probably noticed that he played fullback for us. We had one fullback after Jameel Cook with Mike Alstott out and (Rick) Razzano out. We leaned on Earnest tonight in that second half. He did a lot of hidden things and made some big plays outside the critical fumble early in the game.”
Gruden on quarterback Chris Simms’ outing vs. the Titans: “Obviously we didn’t throw the ball a whole lot. We didn’t put him in real difficult situations. The interception – sometimes that happens. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and (Keith) Bulluck made the interception and return for the touchdown. He did some good things and he showed some poise. He moved our team and put some points on the board. I was really impressed with his charisma and his understanding of our offense. He had some mistakes that he’s got to get over, but it was a good start Chris.”
Gruden on how the defense fared on Friday night: “Obviously we didn’t like the long, sustained drive that Tennessee put together in the first half. But Steve McNair is a good quarterback. He made a couple of plays on the move. When they’re down in red zone you have to turn them away, and that’s what Jermaine (Phillips) did. That was a big play in that game. We did some good things. I was disappointed in our two-minute defense in the third and fourth quarter. Some of our second- and third-stringers have to understand that the game isn’t over until it’s over.”
Gruden on his field goal kickers’ performance: “With the overtime kick, had it been the regular season, we might have done things a little differently, maybe run a few more plays and centered the ball on a particular hash-mark. There was a lot of pressure on Matt Bryant to make that kick. Had he missed that he would have had a tough flight with these guys. They wanted to get the hell out of here.”
B>Gruden on RB Derek Watson’s performance: “Derek Watson did some good things. He ran hard, impressively hard, and if you were on the sideline, by God he ran hard. He did some things that caught my attention, I know that. We’ll look at the tape. We didn’t see much of the Cadillac (Williams) tonight. Without Michael Pittman, Mike Alstott and Cadillac Williams, and to still run the ball for 170 yards on the road, that means you have a pretty good backfield.”
Bucs safety Jermaine Phillips on his interception in the end zone during the first half: “It was a team thing, really. Everybody knew what they were doing and I was just reading the quarterback, and I saw that he was trying to come back to the tight end, so I just made the play.”
Phillips on how the first-team defense performed against Tennessee: “I was definitely pleased. It’s still early, and we still have a ways to go. But from the first game tonight I think we’re taking a step in the right direction.”
Bucs wide receiver Michael Clayton on the offense’s performance: “We came in really focused on trying to get our running game going. We really want to get our running game established. A lot of younger and first-year guys were able to play tonight. These guys are busting their butts in camp and you can see they want to win tonight.”
Bucs quarterback Chris Simms on his performance: “I thought I played really well. I made a lot of good reads. As far as the interception is concerned, my arm got hit as I was throwing the ball. I just lost control of the ball and Keith Bulluck made a great play. All in all, I thought the offense was pretty sharp. We ran the ball pretty well to start off the third quarter.”
Simms on leading the offense down the field for a touchdown to start the third quarter: “It was important to get some points on the board. We had two turnovers on the night. The first fumble – we could have at least got a field goal out of that drive. We bounced back. Derek Watson made some great runs. It was good to see.”
Quotes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preseason Broadcasts.
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