Bucs rookie running back Cadillac Williams on Tampa Bay’s 24-13 win against Minnesota: “This is a great win for the team. It’s a great win, especially since it came on the road. I just want to thank my offensive line for doing the job they did today. The defense played great today. It was a team effort today, and we came out on top.”
Williams on his 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter: “To be honest with you, it was just great blocking up front. I didn’t do anything, like make anybody miss or anything like that. There was just green grass there. I kind of stumbled a little bit. Thanks to Mike (Clayton) for the block. That kind of helped me out.”
Williams on playing in his first NFL regular season game: “I was just so excited, man. I was just really eager to get it going. It was a very hostile environment. I was just ready to play.”
Williams on silencing the hostile Minnesota crowd: “It was that and more. The Minnesota Viking fans are unbelievable. They have great team. Those guys can do some good things, but we pulled out a win today.”
Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks on the team’s big win against the Vikings: “We’re going to enjoy this for a few hours. So far, it’s a culmination of hard work. We’re still building at this point. We just added another piece on the house. It was a great effort by everybody. The turnover ratio, and our offense getting those tough yards. Cadillac (Williams) getting that long run at the end kind of reminded me of Warrick Dunn did here (back in 1997). For me personally, this win feels really big.”
Brooks on Tampa Bay’s defensive success vs. a potent Minnesota offense: “We just did our job, man. They made some plays against us, obviously. We weren’t at our best. I’m quite sure we’re going to look at that tape and make a lot of corrections. We came in wanting to play fast and play hard, and we knew they’d make some plays. They’re a good offensive football team. As long as we didn’t give up the big play or let anything get behind us, we did our part. We didn’t give up an offensive touchdown. Once our offense gave up one score, they came back and answered with two. Our offensive line showed poise, and Brian (Griese) did a good job of leading them.”
Brooks on if Sunday’s win in Minnesota was a statement: “We’re not going to get too excited about this win. We won in Philadelphia after we won the Super Bowl and came back and lost three straight. As coach (Jon Gruden) said, we didn’t win the Super Bowl today, all we did is go 1-0. There are 15 other teams that are going to go 1-0. We’re not going to put much more weight into this win than that. At this point, we’re going to enjoy the flight home and we’re going to get back to work and prepare to play the best team in the NFL as far as we’re concerned.”
Bucs defensive tackle Chris Hovan on his team’s 24-13 win against the Vikings: “All three phases came out ready to play, and came to play four quarters. The great teams play four quarters, and that’s what we did today.
Hovan on Tampa Bay’s success in stopping Minnesota’s ground attack: “It’s something we had to point out as something we had to do in this game. Everybody has been criticizing our ability to stop the run. That was one of the major emphasis this week.”
Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly on his two interceptions, particularly the one he had late in the fourth quarter: “We need to close games out in the fourth quarter. The emphasis was made all offseason to make turnovers and close the close games out because a lot of them are going to be that way. Fortunately, we were able to do that today.”
Kelly on Tampa Bay’s defense holding Minnesota’s offense without an offensive touchdown: “We had a good package put together. We had a lot of disguises out there, fronts and blitzes. We played a little more man coverage than they probably thought we would. We mixed it up, and we had to. Daunte Culpepper is a great quarterback. If you just let him sit back there, the Vikings can score a lot of points. We had to mix it up.”
Kelly on starting the season off 1-0: “All offseason we’ve been saying that we need to get off to a fast start. As a team, we needed to get off to a fast start and get some confidence. We needed to know that we can win close games on the road. Now, we’ve got to turn around next week and come home and defend our home turf.”
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay’s 24-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings: “We’re obviously pleased with the win. We expected to win here. It’s a tribute to a lot of guys, our young players and our veterans. They hung in there together and I think all three phases made plays.”
Gruden on Tampa Bay’s offensive responding after the interception return for a touchdown by Minnesota: “I’m glad they did because I lost my (poise) temporarily. That was a big play and the crowd really got in the game. I really credit Brian Griese and Joey Galloway. They made three or four big plays, and we got Michael Clayton for another one. Our defense was awesome, particularly in the first half.”
Gruden on rookie TE Alex Smith’s second touchdown of the game: “Alex was the primary receiver – he got knocked down and didn’t get off. But he hung in there and kept it alive, and Brian Griese made a super play. That was a big play in the game.”
Gruden on Tampa Bay’s defense creating five turnovers: “They ripped ’em today. They were clearly the better team on the field. Minnesota is an offense that everyone measures their offense against, and I thought we looked very good defensively. We made the big turnover. The pass rush was consistent. I thought there were some excellent game plays, pursuit plays, effort plays, to win this game today.”
Gruden on Cadillac Williams’ 71-yard touchdown run: “I told Cadillac and our team that 1997 was the last time we beat the Vikings here, and in that game Warrick Dunn broke off a big run as a rookie to basically win the game. Well, wouldn’t you know, it’s Déjà vu for us. We have a great young back. If you look at how we distributed the ball today – 27 carries for him, and I don’t know if anybody else touched it. He’ll get the ball even more against a very good team next week.”
Gruden on whether Sunday’s win in Minnesota was a statement: I don’t know. I think the media that predicts football games is wrong as much as they are right. A lot of people have anointed us a doormat and a lot of people anointed Minnesota a Super Bowl team. We have a long way to go. I have a lot of respect for the men we’re working with here. I have a lot of respect or Buffalo, who is coming in here next week after a great victory against Houston. I look forward to playing better at home for our fans.”
Some quotes courtesy of the Bucs game day radio broadcast:
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