Gruden: We must 'find a way to win'
Jon Gruden continued to stress the impact injuries have had on the Bucs' recent struggles in the team's now precarious push for the playoffs. In a news conference addressing the media at One Buc Place today, Gruden addressed the team's current slide. "We've lost three games in a row and it hurts," Gruden said. "It stinks."
Gruden said the team was feeling pretty good before their current three-game losing streak. "We haven't had as much production as we'd like," Gruden said. Injuries "have hurt us."
On the heels of Sunday's loss -- a defeat in which the Bucs gave up the most points in a game in nine years -- Gruden stressed that the defense has "got to get back to Buccaneer football." "We have got to do a better job rushing the passer," Gruden said. "We need these men to step up."
Gruden also took some blame for the team's recent struggles, and for the dissatisfaction of many Bucs fans. "I've got a lot of responsibility in the reasons why we got booed (on Sunday)."
Dropped passes were another factor in Sunday's loss, according to Gruden. The receivers "mishandled three or four passes," Gruden said, including two early drops by Antonio Bryant.
But Gruden offered more praise for wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who will be a free agent after this season. "You can't deny this guy has done things in Tampa that have never been done before," Gruden said. "We're hoping to keep him around here."
Asked about the health of starting quarterback Jeff Garcia, Gruden offered no updates. "He's a tough guy, hopefully he'll be ready to go against Oakland," Gruden said.
With the Bucs playoff hopes resting on a win Sunday against Oakland -- coupled with an Eagles win over the Cowboys -- Gruden summed up the Bucs' mindset: "We have got to come out ready to play and find a way to win."