Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay’s 20-10 win over Carolina
“Let me just say, we’re very happy to have won. I’m proud of our team. We beat a great team today on the road and I’ll answer any questions that I can. We thank Anthony McFarland, he strained his hamstring and we are concerned about that but I can update you later.”

Gruden on Tampa Bay snapping its five-game losing streak to Carolina
“I’ve been trying to acknowledge that. I really don’t have a feeling about the game we missed an extra point on three years ago. That didn’t come up this week. We struggle kicking field goals against Carolina. We lost some slug fests. We lost five in a row, but now they’ve got a one game losing streak and you can ask them about the streak.”

Gruden on Matt Bryant kicking in the game with an injured hamstring
“We made that decision in pre-game. He kicked the ball good. We didn’t ask him to strain himself on the kickoffs. We realize with the wind he would be OK kicking with it, we were gonna strategic kick when we had to go against it, but we needed his trajectory, his get-off times, we needed him to come through today and he did that.”

Gruden on having good field position throughout most of the game
“Yeah, we had good field position. We took advantage of it a couple times and a couple times we weren’t so good, but it was an effort I’m proud of and ready to go on to the next road game.”

Gruden on CB Ronde Barber
“Well, he’s a legend now. He’s the only guy in the history of this league to do what he’s done. I just hope he gets the national credit, the notoriety that a player of this magnitude deserves. I mean, twenty sacks and twenty picks – never been done in the history of football [by a cornerback]. That ought to qualify for some positive ink.”

Gruden on Barber’s interception in the fourth quarter
“He makes a great instinctive play and certainly the break on the ball is just Ronde Barber at his best. He plays the ball. He’s not there to tip it down and knock it away, he’s there to play it and tip it to himself and intercept it. I just wish he would have scored. We had a couple of jail breaks on Mark Jones’ return where the punter got him. I thought Ronde had a chance to create his own offense himself.”

Bucs CB Brian Kelly on Barber’s interception
“That was huge, that was huge. They were in a driving position late in the game, trying to get points on the board, and he stepped up and made a huge play. You could tell it took a lot of breath out of them.”

Kelly on if Sunday’s win in Carolina is bigger than others
“Right now, at this point in time, they’re all big. These are December games and they’re going to put you in a position where you want to be late in the year. But to come here and win this game against Carolina…we didn’t look they beat us five times and we haven’t beaten them, it was just a big game. We had to come in here and get a win, and we did.”

Bucs QB Chris Simms on defeating the Panthers
“It was great. We were in the same circumstances they were in last week against Atlanta. It was a big win for us today. They’re a great team; we’re not taking anything away from them. I know a lot of guys on this team felt a little disrespected. Everybody was picking the Panthers and really kind of overlooking us, so we came out here with something to prove today.”

Simms on the Bucs gaining confidence
“We just played a steady game. We didn’t make any mistakes. The offensive line was unbelievable today, pass-protecting and of course running the ball. When you have 24 back there, running the way he is right now, it makes us tough to beat.”

Simms on how Tampa Bay approached this game vs. Carolina differently than the first game
“We did a lot of two-tight end, two-back in that game, but the kind of game it became when we got down early, of course we’re going to start spreading out and passing the ball a little bit more. But we’ve been doing a heavy dose of that all year long. It’s no surprise. We’ve kind of just been lining up in some formations and saying, ‘Here we come, just stop us.’ That’s a credit to our offensive line again, just the way they’ve been playing.”

Simms on Tampa Bay’s position in the NFC playoff race
“We realize we’ve got a lot of work to do. We have a big one coming up next week with New England. Destiny’s in our hands, though, and we realize that. We’re just going to continue to play. We’ve got two big ones at the end of the year against conference teams and we’re just going to keep plugging away, keep doing what we’re doing and not let too many outside influences creep into our brain.”

Bucs DT Chris Hovan on Tampa Bay’s defense shutting Carolina’s offense down
“We had key players make key plays today. The hit by Will Allen on the receiver, and then of course Ronde Barber, a Hall of Famer, was making plays again today. When afforded opportunities, we made those plays.”

Hovan on being in a good position in the playoff race
“I just think that if we keep winning games we don’t have to look back. We get to go play the champs at home; what would you rather ask for? We get to go to New England next week. We’ll get in another good week of work and get ready for the champs.”

Bucs RB Cadillac Williams on his successful outing vs. the Panthers
“It was very important to run the ball because of the kind of defense they have. They have two great defensive ends and we knew if we just came in and dropped back and passed it would put a lot of heat on our offensive line. So we wanted to come out early and establish the run, and the offensive line did a great job.”

Williams on what Tampa Bay’s win on Sunday shows the rest of the league
“I think it kind of showed everybody that we are for real. We are a close-knit team, and we’re just looking for a chance. Today’s win kind of helped us, but we know we have three more tough games to go. But this put us in a good situation.”

Bucs CB Ronde Barber on his fourth quarter interception
“I think it was a Z-Option. The tight end crossed in front of me and Ricky Proehl had an option to go in or out. He kind of set down. To tell you the truth, I’m kind of surprised that Jake threw that ball. I was right on his hip. I found a way to get my hand on it, it stayed up in there and I caught it. It ended up being a game-changing play for us because Chris and Cadillac went down and made it 20-3 on that drive and ate up a bunch of the clock. Those are the things that good teams do to win games at the end of football games.”

Barber on getting his 20th career sack
“Yeah, it’s nice. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been talking to some of you guys about it for a couple years now. I kind of had a feeling that it would come in a two-minute situation. For the offensive linemen, it’s a little hectic to find their blocking schemes, so you just beat one guy and you’ve got a free shot to the quarterback.”

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