Transcription of Gruden's news conference
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN
(On injured players)
Patrick Chukwurah has a shoulder injury. Alex Smith has an ankle injury. They both had X-rays, and the X-rays appear negative. Their status for the upcoming game will be questionable at this point. We'll just update you during the week.
(On if Alex Smith's ankle injury is similar to the one suffered by Michael Pittman)
We don't believe it's as serious as Mike Pittman's. He has a chance to play this week, as we said. All we can do is update you here in the coming days.
(On the running game)
We've had some good days running the ball and we've had some days that weren't so good, especially the last couple outings. But situationally we haven't given our runners the opportunities that we did earlier in the season. We were way behind in Indianapolis and we were in a throw-it mentality. You've got to recall we only had 40 snaps of offense. When you're down by two or three scores, you're throwing it, trying to catch up. Yesterday, we didn't have much success running the ball. We didn't have it a lot, and we felt the best way to win the game was throw. We knew we could have success throwing the football and we tried to put Jeff Garcia in position to make some plays.
(On if the Bucs are trying to trade for a player)
I'll let you know we are certainly investigating the possibility of a trade. Again, it takes two to tango. The trade deadline, they tell me, is approaching us, so we should know something soon.
(On the pass protection)
It wasn't stellar. It wasn't our best game pass-protecting. I'm disappointed in some of our sets and some of our stunt pick-up. There were some good downs. We've got to do a lot better. In my opinion, Jeff took some hits he shouldn't take, but when we had to protect in the end, we did a pretty good job of protecting.
(On his thoughts on the final drive)
There was a lot of clutch play-making there by a lot of guys, some really good pick-ups, as I said. Jeff's pocket presence, creating opportunities to find back-side complementary receivers; Ike Hilliard's instinctiveness, awareness -- it was a clutch drive in a situation where our back was against the wall and we needed it.
(On K Matt Bryant)
Oh yeah, it is a lot better, it is a lot better. I don't really have to worry. They had 12 guys on the field when we did kick the winning field goal. I was a little worried that someone might miss that, but I have a lot of confidence in Matt. His 62 yarder to beat Philadelphia [and] big kick yesterday; he has made some clutch kicks when we needed him. People tend to forget the kickoff that he made the last play of the game. Basically, it was well-placed and really didn't give them an opportunity for one of those Tennessee nightmare returns like they had a few years ago. We are real confident in Matt, and we consider him a strength of our team.
(On if you can win without a running game)
We won a Super Bowl here, we won a championship with one of the 26th, 27th, or 28th ranked rushing games. We would like to certainly have better success then we have had the last two weeks. We walked out of Carolina feeling pretty good about pounding it in there for a couple hundred yards. Sometimes the best way to win a game is methodically running it, defeating the clock. Sometimes throwing the football and getting some other guys involved is the thing that gives you the best chance to win, and that is what we did yesterday.
(On if the offense scaled back in the second half)
I don't think so. We have a 10-3 lead, we have the ball first down, backed up on our 12 yard-line. We threw the ball to Jerramy Stevens who was wide open. We had a pass protection break down really; we had a guy get beat. I don't know what you mean vanilla, but that is your opinion, no we didn't try to stay vanilla. We didn't have the ball outside of that series much until the final 1:17 of that game.
(On the Detroit Lions)
They are 3-2. They are a hard team to play in that dome; I have been there many times. They have a great home field advantage there; they play well in the dome. They have added a lot of defensive players. We all know that they will be well coached. Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, Joe Barry [are] tremendous coaches. [They have an explosive offense, they have fire power, and they are committed to throwing it, it appears to me. Defensively with the emergence of [Ernie] Sims, their young linebacker and the additions they have made in their front four, it will be a tough task for us.
(On the secondary)
I can't say enough about how hard we have been playing on defense. Phillip Buchanon has been a real good addition here. You saw Ronde Barber show up and make some big plays for us. Jermaine Phillips has really been solid back there in the safety position. Clearly, Tanard Jackson is on the rise, he's going to be a really good pro. We hope to get Brian Kelly back soon and in the time being I thought Sammy Davis and Torrie Cox filled in and did a nice job. That's a credit to Raheem Morris and that group of guys.
(On being four and two and having won different ways)
I'm really proud of our team. Not to compare this team to last year, I'm not going to do that, it's not fair to these guys; we have a whole new football team honestly. We have a long way to go. We have some key injuries right now that are troublesome that we have to overcome, but we do have enough grit, enough stuff inside our building here to rise up and I know we'll be there Sunday and we'll compete. We just got to find a way to get some players healthy and in the absence of some of these guys were talking about, some guys have to step up.
(On how big of a Bulls fan he is right now)
Man I'm big and number two in the nation. That is unbelievable; I say it every week, just unbelievable. Coach [Jim] Leavitt and their organization, their athletic department, their coaching staff, support staff. I had the band right in front of me playing the National Anthem, the trombones players, even they're great, so they got it going on. I'm really fired up and I can't wait till the next game.