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COACHES QUOTEBOOK

Bucs coach Jon Gruden

On why the Bucs struggled with protection:

"They (Dallas) are good players, okay? We had some good protection snaps. DeMarcus Ware is great. He's one of the premier players in the world today. As far as I'm concerned, (Greg) Ellis is a Pro Bowl player as well. And when they're both coming ... they're going to create some rush and make the quarterback get rid of the ball."

On whether he's frustrated by losing another close game:

"I'm not that frustrated. Okay? I'm proud of our team. What we're overcoming and what we did today and what we did the first half of the season excites me. I'm excited about our team. Disappointed as hell that we lost. Very disappointed. At the same time, we've had eight solid outings, and that gives me the reason to believe we could have eight solid outings to finish the season."

On rookie KR Clifton Smith:

"Other than the fumble to start the second half, I thought he played pretty well."

On whether he noticed any difference with coach Wade Phillips calling the Dallas defensive plays:

"We didn't get much man-to-man. We had seen a lot of man-to-man coverage. We saw a little bit, but not too much. It's a credit to them. They call a good game. Their guys play hard for them. They're a talented team."

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips

On whether he's tired of criticism:

"I think our players definitely stepped it up. They work hard, and were ready to play. I think they were frustrated that we haven't won in the last two weeks, and that was part of it. They're a good group. They have leadership. I think that showed that the team came together."

On whether the win saved Dallas' season:

"Well, it was an important game for us, we know that. Somebody asked me if it was a 'must' game. I think all of them are 'must' games at this point. We have to get some in the bank early. I think everyone knows after the bye (week) we will be a lot stronger. We just got to get to the bye (in Week 10) and win some games and try to win some games here, and that's what we did this week, and we're going to try and do the same thing next week."

On whether he changed anything defensively:

"We have the same game plan every week. We change things, but it has to be within our system. We have an aggressive defense anyway, and again, we wanted to stop the running game. (The Bucs) had been powering by people pretty good."

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