Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Conference Calls

Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on the injury report) "We have two men, Warren Sapp and Ken Dilger, who probably will not practice this week. Their status is questionable. Warren has got a foot strain and Ken Dilger has a strained hamstring. Those guys will be very limited on the practice field and questionable for the game."

(on the offense with all the different personnel) "It has been a great challenge, obviously. We've made some changes on the offensive line starting at center. John Wade came in here from Jacksonville. He has done a good job. Obviously, Keyshawn Johnson's situation has thrust Charles Lee, a young guy and a bit of an obscure player coming into the season, into the starting lineup. To be honest with you, he has played very well. He has caught 16 passes and has shown us explosive playmaking and running after the catch. Some things we are excited about. Thomas Jones, another guy we acquired in a trade prior to training camp, has really come on and given us a pretty good one-two punch with Michael Pittman. Rickey Dudley and Ken Dilger have missed a lot of time this year and we're anxious to play Roland Williams at tight end that we signed about a month ago, who is coming off a season ending injury last season in Oakland. He is a guy who we think can play the position and we're looking forward to seeing. We have played just about every eligible player that is on our roster and if we haven't had enough of those we've gone out and found more. It has been that way for us and it has been very similar for Houston in terms of the injury bug. You got to do what you got to do."

(on injuries contributing to the record) "You can't underestimate what injuries do to you. When you lose three or four starters that defect in free agency, you've got to overcome that. Like last week in New Orleans when you're standing on the sidelines with Warren Sapp and John Lynch and Mike Alstott. It's very un-Buc like. Those are three men that have a lot to do with the success of this organization in the last seven, eight years. We've compounded a lot of our problems with Brian Kelly, who led the NFC in interceptions, and his backup Tim Wansley. Two of our top three corners haven't played much this season. We've had to overcome a lot. Our kicker has struggled this year. Martin Gramatica, who has been one of the game's best kickers, has struggled and in tight football games that's an area that can come back to haunt you. Certainly, it has (hurt) us at times"

(on preparing for the Texans)"I'm prepared for (David) Carr and we expect to see him. He's a tough guy. We have enough game film of (Dave) Ragone to obviously prepare for the big lefty. You have to prepare for (Andre) Johnson and (Jabar) Gaffney and (Corey) Bradford and Domanick Davis. They've got some young explosive playmakers that you better keep your eye on. This tight end, this (Billy) Miller kid has really caught my eye. He's a real crafty route runner. He's got sure hands. So we have to prepare not just for the quarterback, but for a diverse scheme and some skill people."

(on the playoff race) "We realize that the field has distanced itself from us a little bit. We're going to need some help and we have no say on who helps us and how much. We have to concentrate on winning two games in a row and getting back to .500 and finishing this season with as much authority as we can. That's our goal."

(on the Keyshawn Johnson situation being a distraction) "It really isn't as distracting as some might think. I can't speak for everyone. I think if you were here on a daily basis you would sense that that has been a situation that has not distracted us at all. As a coaching staff and me personally, we are very discouraged and disappointed that it worked out the way it did. In the best interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this was the best way for us to go. Certainly, we will address this situation later and what we can do to help him and help us."

(on the departure of Keyshawn Johnson giving others an opportunity) "It sure has. Already Charles Lee has taken advantage of the opportunity. He has started three games, we've won two, and he has played a major role in the two victories. Joe Jurevicius is another big receiver that made critical plays last year who has been on the shelf with injuries. It has given us a chance to look at some other players, which we will continue to do throughout the remainder of this season."

(on any feel if Warren Sapp will stay with the Buccaneers) "I certainly feel that situation every day. This is a Hall of Fame caliber player that has started his career and has had an illustrious one with the Buccaneers. We're going to do everything we can to maintain our relationship and keep him in our colors as he finishes his career."

DT Warren Sapp

(on whether his foot sprain will keep him out of Sunday's contest) "I don't know. It's day-to-day, but I feel a little bit better today than I felt yesterday."

(on what he sees as the Texans' strengths on offense) "Their skilled people are excellent. Their running back runs hard and Andre (Johnson) from the University of Miami is one of the premier young receivers in the game. He is getting better every week that he plays the game."

(on where he is at in his contract situation) "I'm not in it. Drew Rosenhaus gets two percent to handle that part of it. I handle what's on the field."

(on how difficult it has been to defend the Super Bowl title) "It has been a little harder because of the injuries that we've had. It's just not good when you don't have the weapons that you used to have going to work for you week in and week out. At one point in the season, we were missing our free safety, our middle linebacker and our left cornerback at the same time. We've fought hard and we've gotten ourselves in a position to where we can get ourselves up to .500 and we're looking forward to that challenge this Sunday with the Texans coming."

(on the possibility of winning their three remaining games and earning a playoff spot) "Until that computer kicks you out, you're still in and you still have a shot. Whenever you are mathematically still alive, you've got to go out and play the game. We are looking to get ourselves to .500 and then righting our ship to where we don't have a possible losing season."

(on facing his ex-teammate Todd Washington) "It should be fun because we've had a lot of good battles in practice and some not-so-good battles in practice. We're not on the same team, but we get those plusses and minuses after the game, so it will be one of those nice little deals."

(on his relationship with Washington) "We don't have one. He is a pretty cool dude. He is a Big East guy from Virginia Tech. We met once a year. But other than that, no."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content