HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on starting Donald Penn at LT) * *
"Yes, we'll have Donald Penn over there playing left tackle. He'll have his hands full, that's for sure."
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on what he will tell Penn going against DE-Dwight Freeney) Wednesday, October 3, 2007
"I think everybody that plays against Dwight Freeney or (Robert) Mathis, you obviously have to take into consideration that they're tremendous. You have to be careful, there's no question about it. But you have to show up and play and you have to play hard, and that's what we're going to focus on doing."
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on turning it around after last season)
"We have a lot of new players. Usually, you can say what you want to say, but usually the players decide the outcomes of these games, and we didn't do a particularly good job of coaching I'm sure. Two years ago we won 11 games, won the (NFC) South division, and last year we had an assortment of injuries starting at quarterback. When you play a rookie quarterback, sometimes, not to make excuses or point fingers, it can be a tough year. We lost Simeon Rice. We traded Anthony McFarland. We lost a number of players defensively, offensively. We were able to compete and get some key guys in free agency, we had a full complement of drafts the last couple of years, and some of these guys have grown in to pretty good players. So, we're putting better players on the field, I believe, and our guys are playing extremely hard."
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on Tampa being a defensive team over the years)
"I think a lot of it you have to research it yourself, because when you say certain things, sometimes they're perceived as excuses or whatever. I'll just say this: we've been very fortunate, been blessed here to have had Hall of Fame caliber players play a long period of time on defense, guys like John Lynch and Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. Ronde Barber has been stellar for a long time. We drafted the Anthony McFarlands and certainly brought in guys like Simeon Rice. We have spent a lot of high draft picks and a lot of money defensively, and to be honest with you, a lot of the guys that we did draft early in the first round or second round here offensively just didn't come through like we had hoped. You have to take responsibility for that as a coach. A lot of it has to do with drafting well and guys enjoying long great careers, much like you're seeing with Peyton Manning and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne) and certainly the two defensive ends (Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) and now Bob Sanders. So, it's a credit to Bill Polian and certainly Coach Dungy."
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on if the defense is back and playing as well as it appears)
"You measure your defense's success against teams like the Indianapolis Colts. I'll just put it at that. No disrespect to anybody we've played, but we saw a guy (David Carr) playing his first game with the (Carolina) Panthers last week. We had an early lead. Our defense is playing hard, playing well. I give them a lot of credit for that. The Rams are struggling right now up front with numerous injuries. We'll be tested, there's no question about it, by an offensive machine at their place. I just don't like to make a lot of statements about being back, because we've been very good here on defense, we're trying to regain our form, and to do that, we have to put 16, 17, 18 outings in a row together."
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (on what he sees from