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Bucs Locker Room Quotes

Published: Jan 3, 2006


(On his message to the young guys this week) ''Well, we just go out and play. Keep doing what we're doing. There's no need to be uptight. No one guy feels that he has to win the game. It's going to be a total, complete team effort. Again, we just continue to improve today, then improve tomorrow and we'll get what we deserve on Saturday.''

(More on his best advice) ''Just keep pressing. Keep improving, getting a little bit better. I think when you start looking outside those realms, we start to be something that we're not. That's how we got to the point we are at today, by getting better each and every day and continuing to keep the focus on that because that's what we're used to.''

(On how big a turning point the win over Washington was) ''It's too hard to say right now. That's something, me personally, I look back at our whole season as a whole and the offseason and saw what game was critical, what guys were on a roll. Right now, at that point, it ended a funk we were in. Obviously, the younger guys, with Edell [shepherd] having a big game towards the end, the O-line helped protect him. Those things [are] something to build on. Defensively, it's probably one of our worst days against the run in tackling Clinton Portis. Twice that we've played him, he's hurt us for big runs. So, it's something [we're] going to address defensively in our room that we have to play Clinton Portis better.''

(On Clinton Portis) ''Well, when you can run the ball. His offensive line is doing a good job of creating some holes. When you do that, it's setting up the play action pass and the deep balls to Santana Moss. So, defensively we've got our work cut out for us in stopping Clinton Portis.''

(On having a kicking game) ''Matt [bryant's] a big part of it, but it's also the protection. Our field goal team has really stepped up to the plate and answered all criticisms that they had. And closing out games, whether it's kicking, offensive or defense, that's something that we have done well in the past two seasons. That's something we've done well in this year. Obviously, the difference in three or four wins, we went out and closed out ballgames. Whether it's kicking the field goal, punt return, getting in the position to kick a field goal, the protection team, everybody has contributed.''

(On if against the Redskins offense it's about doing the little things right) ''Well, sometimes you can do that and they still. Classic example Philadelphia, they played well and then they turned the ball over and Washington got on a roll. So, it's much more than that. I just think just play football. Defensively, we've just got to tackle and not let one man try to tackle Clinton Portis because that's not happened all year long and that's not going to happen Saturday. We've got to do a better job of game tackling.''


(On if the first Washington game was a breakthrough game for Chris Simms) ''Yeah, I think so, because they have a great defense. They were bringing the house and he was making the right audibles and the right check downs. He was standing in the pocket and just delivering the ball right on time, and on target as well.''

(On if the Bucs have good chemistry with a mix of young players and veterans) ''Yeah, just in our group alone, the O-Line, we've got a Kenyatta Walker and a John Wade, and we've got Todd Steussie in there as well. They tell us so much. As an offensive line, we go out to dinner, we have a lot of laughs. This whole team has a good time together, but when it's time to come down to business, we come down.''


(On the best advice he can give the young guys who've never experienced this before) ''I've barely experienced it myself. Let's just play. You know, we've got to go out execute just like we always do. It's for higher stakes now but the game plan's the same. We've just got to go out and execute.''

(On what he remembers from the first match up) ''We expect it to be another slug fest. They're hot right now. They've been playing well. Their defense is going to come at us, see a lot of blitzing, a lot of different things. We're excited about it. We know what kind of game it's going to be. The last one against them was extremely exciting, people still talk about it. We expect another one of those games.''

(On if the first match up was a turning point) ''I think it's kind of hard to look back and think about that win because we've had so many along the way. I just remember that Chris Simms stepped up and made a lot of plays. At that time, we considered him to be a young guy. At this point, we expect him to play as well as any veteran that's ever played the game. So, it was a big win for us. But, at the same time, we've had a lot of big wins. And [we're going to] go out and try to get another one.''

(On Washington's defensive backs) ''You know, they blitz because their corners are pretty good. Shawn Springs is one of the best corners I've gone against and I expect to see a lot of him on Saturday. It's a match up that we've gone through a few times in my career, you know, going against him. I know he'll come to play and I'll be ready to play. It'll be exciting.''

(On Chris Simms and the long ball) ''When he can set his speed and get one off and get a real good look at it, he's probably one of the best guys I've been around. He throws it well. He has a strong arm that everybody knows about. He's extremely talented and the more looks we get at him the better we'll be.''

(On how much his success can be attributed to being in the right system) ''It's been fun. It's been exciting for me. I've had a chance to go inside and have some success in there. That's something I've not done in my career. So, I'm excited about the system. I'm excited about my role in the system. I like going inside. Sometimes you get easier matchups inside than you do outside. We've been successful at times and that will open up things to the outside.''

(On if he wished he'd been here all along) ''Yes. It'd been nice to have been in this system earlier in my life.''


(On Clinton Portis) ''He's one of the top backs in the league. I think when we faced Washington, that was the first time we faced [a zone-blocking team] throughout the year. I think in playing Atlanta and some other zone teams in the league, we know where our assignments are and who fits where, so I think we'll be a lot better prepared this week going into this game.''

(On starting the game plan with run defense) ''You have to stop the run. Playoff teams run the ball efficiently throughout the season and now they're going to try to run it in the postseason. That's got to be the backbone of your team, if you can run the ball going into the playoffs.''

(On if it's confusing knowing which of Portis' alter-egos he has to tackle) ''No, there's just one man out there, wearing 26. That's the ego he's got to be on Sunday.''

(On if he has followed Portis' costume-wearing press conferences) ''No, it's a little beyond me. I really don't watch that much football. He's been funny I've heard, though.''

(On if the Bucs have to prepare for the Redskins coming in with more of an edge after their earlier loss in Tampa) ''We have to be prepared for the playoffs. We have to go out there and our backs are against the wall playing a tough Washington team. It was a close one last time.''

(On if the Redskins have a revenge factor or if it's just the playoffs) ''I think it's the playoffs. Especially veterans, don't play out of revenge because you're going to play really stupid. I think you have to go out there and play with your head on. You have to play very smart, but you have to play excited because this is the playoffs. This doesn't come around that often. We're expecting a very, very fired-up Washington team so we have to match their intensity with ours.''

(On lots of players being injured) ''Everybody's hurt, just some teams conceal it better than others. Everybody's banged up right now. That's what the playoffs are all about, a bunch of warriors going out there, and we're going to see who's going to last on Saturday. Hopefully it will be us, but we'll see. That's why we play the game.''

(On whether playoff experience is overrated) ''It may be, sort of. Experts have got to have something to say about everything. But it's good that we do have this type of leadership, this type of experience going into these types of games. Experience does really help, no matter what kind of experience you're faced with. It is always good to have guys who have won a championship around here and know what it feels like and know how to represent themselves when it's time to play.''

(On being the top-ranked defense) ''It's a great statistic, but the one we want is the one at the end, the win. Wins lead to great things for your team individually. We're going to have to play tough, we're going to have to play Buc ball like we have every week. Even now more so, to be honest with you.''


(On the Redskins' offense) ''The challenge is that they are simple. You know what they're going to do. You know they're going to run up in there. Their formations are simple but they know how to block everything, and that's because they're simple. They don't try to get complicated. They might give you different formations, but they're keeping the same personnel and that same personnel knows how to block most every front. If you're not disciplined with your resets and your details, then you're going to be off.''

(On how big a downfield threat Santana Moss is) ''What has he got, 17.7 yards per catch? He's second in the NFL in yards. With their play-action and their ability to create the deep threat, his speed is impressive. Even when he catches the ball on a quick screen, he's able to go the distance, as well.''

(On if the Redskins utilize Moss the way the Panthers use Steve Smith) ''Very similar. He's that type of weapon. Any time he gets the ball in his hands he has the ability to go the distance.''

(On how he ranks Clinton Portis) ''Real high. I think he has more carries than they have attempts throwing the ball in the last five games. That says a lot about the way they're playing. They've won the last five. They're winning and he's carrying the team right now. He's a special back.''


(On if the intensity level has picked up heading into the playoffs) ''I think everybody is going to be a little more attentive this week, as far as concentration. Everybody knows what is on the line. I think, for the most part, we are going to approach it just like any other game. We all know it's the playoffs, and I'm sure as it gets closer and closer we will get more and more excited. But we're ready to go.''

(On if the team will be leaning on the veterans with playoff experience) ''I think so. They can kind of show us the way. Of course, it's a shorter week, but again, we have a lot of guys that have playoff experience, so we'll be able to go to them for any advice. I think the most important thing, like I said, let's not make too big of a deal of it. Let's just play football. This is just Week 18 in our minds. We are just going to try and keep going and try to win each game.''

(On his development during the first game against Washington) ''It was probably two steps forward [in my development]. I think, first of all, it gave me some confidence that, in a tight ball game, I, personally, can get it done. I think most importantly it gave our team, and our offense, a lot of confidence. We were down by seven, with 1:35 left, and we came back and won the game. That proved to our offense, and hopefully proved to our defense as well, that even if [the defense] is having a little bit of an off day, we can come through for them.''

(On how his comfort level grows with playing each week) ''The first few weeks, week-by-week, it was better, and better, and better. But I would say, by the time I got to Chicago, I felt like I had been playing all year long. I've been playing well and, hopefully, I've been getting better. I didn't feel like there was a huge need for drastic improvement. I felt comfortable out there, regardless. You always go back and look at your film to find things you can improve on, but nonetheless, I felt good pretty much after that road win in Atlanta. I was pretty comfortable for there on out.''

(On having to learn by playing in the game) ''It's the biggest thing. You can practice all you want, but there are just certain things you aren't going to learn in practice. Like I've told you guys before, it's one thing to throw an interception in practice, but then you throw the interception out there, in front of 70,000 [people], it's a lot more embarrassing. That's the one you'll remember, I promise you, instead of some meaningless one in practice. It's the bumps and bruises that you take out there on the field that make a lasting impression.''

(On if he is surprised on how fast the offense was able to get on track) ''Not really. I think it goes back to the fact that we are extremely close. We are a group that talks football a lot, we hang out a lot. So, it sounds cliché, it sounds stupid, but I'm telling you, those little conversations you have just hanging around, eating dinner somewhere, sometimes go the longest way. Little things like that, and of course, we have been working extremely hard and we have guys that want to be great. I know we are young, but those young guys, as far as 'Cadillac' [Williams], [Michael] Clayton, [Dan] Buenning, Alex Smith, they are guys that really do their work in the weight room, but more importantly, in the classroom. That's where we have probably made the biggest strides.''

(On if chemistry breeds winning, or if winning breeds chemistry) ''I thought all along this year, the biggest difference was the generation gap was closed a lot. My rookie year, it was a lot of guys, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, all of those guys who have been around and had great NFL careers. And then there were no middle of the road guys, and it was just all young guys like myself, first or second year guys. This team, we have the veteran leadership of course, but we have a lot of guys that are fourth, fifth year, second, third year guys, too. I think everyone can just relate a little better than in years past. But as far as chemistry, it's like the chicken-and-the-egg theory. I would say that you need chemistry, then you play good. That would be my guess.''

(On if playing an opponent that they've played before helps during a short week) ''It definitely helps out. We've had a little taste of what they do on defense. Not everything we are seeing is brand-spanking new. Really though, when it comes down to it, this is a Wednesday for us, and we just didn't have an extra day off. It doesn't change a whole lot for us.''

(On the offense) ''You have to have the right chemistry to make it work. I think it is a credit to our coaches, for one, the way they prepare us week-by-week. That has been huge. Again, I think the biggest thing is having the guys that want to be good, that want to learn. If you have guys who just want to go out and play on Sunday, it might work some weeks, but it's not going to work most of the time.''

(On what he feels his role is on the sideline) ''I like to just make sure everybody is good, everybody is on the same page, just make sure everybody is at ease with the situation we're in. I know how guys get out there, even myself, you just want to make sure the offensive line is comfortable with everything they are seeing, same as the running backs and receivers. It's probably just more nervous energy. I don't like to sit still too much, so I just have to move around and do something.''

(On if he has been surprised at Coach Gruden's willingness to use two-and-three tight end sets in the both the passing and running games) ''Not really. We had kind of talked about that a lot early in the year. We had dabbles of it, early in the year, but I think a few of the opponents that we played, when I got in, made us go that route. He doesn't really scale things back. But as far as my job goes, it does make my life easier. When you're in those sets, most of the time, it's, 'Run left, Cadillac,' [or] 'Run right, Cadillac.' So, of course, that makes my job easier. I think it goes back to our offensive line, and how well they are playing right now. They are playing physical. We are just kind of lining up and saying, 'This is what we got, try to stop it,' and we've been coming out on top.''

(On what kind of game he foresees against Washington) ''I don't know. I try not to envision anything. You get out there, the first few series, and you just get a feel for what the game is going to be. You never know in this league. That's the one thing I've learned. We are just going to play our style of football. We are definitely prepared for a good defense. We realize they are very talented. We just want to win, anyway possible. We don't care if it's 6-3, 3-0, or 45-20, whatever it is, we'll be happy.''

(On the NFC playoff picture) ''I definitely feel, and I know guys I've talked to on other teams feel the same way. The NFC, for whatever reason, seems to be up for grabs. Seattle has been the most impressive team in our conference. Even my friends I went to Texas with, on the Bears, I know they feel real confident about their chances, and the same here. It's anybody's ball game at this point of the year. Everybody's record is 0-0.''

(On if RB Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams is more healthy this time against Washington, as compared to the first meeting) ''I think he is more healthy. The first time around, I think he was coming back from his second game from injury. I think there is no doubt in his mind, or in our mind, that he will be ready to go, and he'll be humming.''


(On the best advice he's been given heading into the playoffs) ''Basically just keep doing what we've been doing. Everybody says you don't want to change anything you've been doing this whole team. That's where I think a lot of guys get in trouble, when they try to overdo it because it's the playoffs. We've just got to do what got us here.''

(On if the veterans have made a point of giving him advice) ''No, not really. I don't think anybody feels like we need that right now. I think it's more a matter of continuing to do what we do. In practice, coaches are really leaning on the veterans to make sure everybody's staying focused, staying on top of what they need to do. There's nothing special we really need to hear.''

(On the locker room being relaxed) ''Right. You don't want to get too tight for these types of games. When you play tight it will affect your play. Guys just want to go out loose. We've been loose all season. We know what we're capable of and that's what we're going to do this week.''

(On if it's exciting to be in the playoffs in his first year) ''Yeah, it's crazy. It's one of those things you always dream about, being in a playoff atmosphere. There are 20 teams that are at home right now and we'll be on a national stage. You kind of live for these moments.''

(On if he thinks revenge is a factor for the Redskins) ''I'm sure they do. I feel like they think that was a game they should have won. That's how they're supposed to come in here, with a chip on their shoulder. It's a playoff atmosphere and a playoff game. We expect their best shot. I think we feel like there were some things that we could have done better last game, so I think both teams are well-prepared and ready to go.''

(On if the Redskins game was a turning point for the Bucs) ''I look to that game as one of the games where our offense really came together at the end. It was a big comeback for us in the fourth quarter and I think you saw a pattern of that after the game. We had maybe three or four games after that where we were able to come from behind and drive down the field. So I think that was big for our confidence. I think that was big for Chris [simms] and that's probably what I would point to.''

(On what was it about this group of young guys that helped the team so much) ''You know, I don't know. I think when the coaches saw the confidence in us, that gave us the confidence to know that we could go out there and play. I don't think Coach would put us out there if he didn't feel like we'd get the job done. So, I think, combined with the great veterans we have on this team, I think bringing that young edge kind of helped us out. I'm just glad we're able to contribute any way possible.''

(On if he's playing more like a veteran now) ''Yes. I'm starting to feel it a little bit, you know, after those first few games, you kind of get used to playing and it's all like back to square one. So, you stop thinking you're a rookie after awhile and you're just trying to go out and make plays.''

(On who he's gone to of the veterans for guidance) ''I have Dave Moore and Anthony Becht in my room, so that's 20 years of experience right there. So, I really don't need to look any further than that. But, you know, those guys have been great all season long and I think it will continue into the playoffs. Like I said before, we really don't want to change anything and just keep doing what we've been doing all season long.''

(On if anyone came to the rookies at the beginning of the season and said they needed them to step up) ''Really, when we came the first day at mini-camp you know they told us what was expected from us, what they saw, how they saw us fit into the offense. So, we knew going in, going into training camp that we needed to learn the offense as quickly as possible. Get established as quickly as possible because they were leaning on us. So, we knew far ahead of the season that the team needed us.''


(On going into the playoffs with the No. 1 defense) ''I mean it feels good having the No. 1 defense. That's something you strive for. I mean that's one of our goals, but the main goal is to win the Super Bowl and hopefully our defense can carry us there.''

(On if they have the same confidence they had in 2002) ''Oh, absolutely, I think so. We may not have as many sacks as we had that year, but we've done well in other areas to make up for that.''

(On how hard it is to maintain a top-rated defense for nine straight years) ''It's a lot about the scouting and the coaches and the people that they bring in. And they believe in the system. The coaches do a good job of just teaching the players and showing them what they want and then expecting good things out of them. That's what we've done. Everybody they've brought in, that we've kept on the 53-man roster, they're here for a reason.''

(On starting the playoffs at home) ''There's no other place I'd rather play than in Tampa at Raymond James. I'm happy for the fans that get to see us. After a disappointing year last year, they deserve it and we deserve it.''

(On Clinton Portis) ''Clinton Portis is one of the elite backs in the league today. With Joe Gibbs behind him, they're going to run the ball, run the ball. It's going to be up to us to stop them and put them in third-down situations. But if they can get a few runs off earlier, they're going to continue to run. I think it's going to end up with us, the defense, stopping the run and getting off the field on third down.''

(On the Redskins' offensive line) ''[Jon] Jansen and [Chris] Samuels are probably one of the best pairs of tackles in the game. The offensive line is pretty good. The one guy [Randy Thomas] went down but they've got the veteran guy [Ray Brown] stepping in so they should be okay. They were really good last week against the Eagles. We've got our work cut out for us. They work good together and you can just tell they do a lot of practice on running the ball.''

(On Mark Brunell) ''Brunell, he has a lot of experience. He's been there. A lot of people will say he's probably lost a step, but I don't think he has. The guy can still step up in the pocket and buy time to find receivers down the field. He looks pretty good.''


(On the best advice he can give to young guys who have not experienced the playoffs) ''Just go out and play as hard as you can and have fun with it. It's not different, but it's a game. It's still a game. It's a playoff game and you know, it obviously sudden death, but hey, let's go out and have fun like we've been doing all year.''

(On how significant it is to have the same five starters start each game) ''Well, I think it helps a lot with just being able to know the calls, being the calls kind of second nature. Just knowing what defenses do, not everything, but sometimes or not, what is the word I'm looking of, cohesion maybe. There's my big word for the day. It just makes it more cohesive there when five guys can start the whole season and you see the same looks.''

(On if he lets his mind wander) ''My mind's wandering right to the Washington Redskins and that's it, for this week. We handle our business this week and we can look to the next. That's the most important thing.''

(On LaVar Arrington and the Redskins defense) ''Obviously, he's one of their premier players and has to be accounted for, but he's not the only guy. I think their whole front seven and their secondary's very talented and I think their coordinator does a great job with their schemes. They're a good defense and we really have to execute and focus to do well against them.''


(On how he has stayed humble through his success) ''I think it's my upbringing, my mom and some of my family. Growing up, I was fortunate to see nice things in life. I learned from my mom to always treat people the way you want to be treated. I think it's just what she instilled in me, my attitude, that no matter what you do you always can be brought down. I think I owe that to her.''

(On if he's a different runner now than the last time the Bucs played Washington now that's healthier) ''Right. I was [just coming back], but you've got to tip your hat to them. They're a great defense. But it's playoff time. I was talking to some older guys and it's a different level. I'm just looking forward to the atmosphere.''

(On how he feels looking forward to his first NFL playoff game) ''I'm just ready to play. I'm excited. Just thinking about it – if we win three we go to the Super Bowl – has got me fired up. I'm looking forward to it.''

(On him not being as healthy in that last Washington game) ''Right, you could say that, but once again those guys came in and had a good game plan. We're going to take it for what it's worth and see if we can't establish a run against these guys.''

(On if winning Rookie of the Year would mean a lot to him) ''Personally, I think it would mean a lot. I think it would mean a lot for me and for the offensive linemen. They played a big role in what I did this year. Those guys have done a great job. If I was fortunate enough to win that award it would mean a lot.''

(On how fortunate he is to be in the playoffs in his first NFL season) ''Oh, man, I feel great. I know a couple of people in the league who I'm good friends with and they've been playing four or five years and haven't even gotten to the playoffs yet. This is my first year and I have an opportunity to make the playoffs so I'm going to seize the moment. I'm looking forward to it.''

(On if veterans have told him to make sure he doesn't take the opportunity for granted) ''Right, no doubt. A lot of veterans on this team have been through a lot. There have been some down times here. So they're telling the young players to take advantage of this opportunity. I think as a whole we're doing that. We're just fired up and ready to play.''

(On his last playoff game) ''High school. It was Oxford. Actually, we lost. First round, 5A. It was just one of those things where we just didn't get things done. But, the previous year, [we won] the state championship. So, hopefully, we can do a repeat.''

(On if it's a different level here) ''Oh yes, totally different level. This is the best among the best, you know the best in the world. So, I just can't explain how excited I am to go out and play on Saturday.''

(On if coming in here with a humble attitude endeared him to the other guys) ''Yes. I think so because some times when guys come with a big name or big money. A lot of young guys are very ****y but I'm a very humble person, respectful person. Coming in, I eventually see myself as a leader but I know first I have to follow some guys before I can lead.''

(On Derrick Brooks) ''Brooks, he pretty much stayed in my ear the whole time, not only through the good times but through the bad times, too. So, being the new guy, you've got to respect a person like that

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good...sounds like they respect us and especially clinton portis

i think they underestimate how good our defense is though and how well it's playing/how many turnovers we've been forcing lately and the inexperience of their quarterback.

I think most of their players sound like a lot of our leaders in the sense that they aren't focusing on too much from the past-it's the playoffs, they are focused on just the game and playing hard, and to respect the opponent and fear them.

honestly i really like the buccaneers, i think they have a lot of great veterans like alstott and brooks and i respect them for how they played in the first game. I was more upset about the refs. I think it will be a great game between two of the toughest most smash mouth teams in the NFC and I think both teams have a great "team" mentality and everything about football.

Great game coming up....GO SKINS!!!

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(On Clinton Portis) ''He's one of the top backs in the league. I think when we faced Washington, that was the first time we faced [a zone-blocking team] throughout the year. I think in playing Atlanta and some other zone teams in the league, we know where our assignments are and who fits where, so I think we'll be a lot better prepared this week going into this game.''

Interesting comment.

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Glad to see there isn't a whole lot of trash talking going on there

There better not be. We've never given them a reason to talk trash.

We are a respectable and classy team that doesn't talk trash or play dirty.

We just play tough football, nothing more, nothing less.

That's why they respect us and don't talk trash.

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Seems to be a mutual respect there. Probably comes from the 1st game being such a good one and so close that it makes me sick to think about. However, if they score 36 on us again, I will be shocked. Our D is going to play lights out, they've got their boy Gregg Williams coming back...he wants to stay here and coach them, so I'm sure that will motivate them to play even harder for him. Great timing on the extension. I bet its going to be a great week of practice. This game should be one of the closest, and best of the weekend.

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