Tampa Bay Head Coach Jon Gruden
Saturday, October 16, 2004

(Opening statement)
“Really quickly I would like to introduce the injury report. Joey Galloway is out with a groin, Chris Simms the quarterback is doubtful with a shoulder injury, Shelton Quarles is probable with a quad strain, We’ll list Matt Stinchcomb with a chest injury as probable and we added Ellis Wyms to the list as probable with a lower back strain.”

(On being disappointed with QB Chris Simms’s injury)
“I’m very disappointed obviously. But they’re excited that the injury is what it is. There is no structural damage, and no surgery is required. He’s a young quarterback that has paid a great price, and we’re seeing the dividends, and we would have liked to continue that. It’s a good thing he’s not hurt for a prolonged period.”

(On QB Brian Griese)
“We like Griese. I have coached against him a number of times. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done in this league. He’s led the AFC in passing, he was a guy that was hand picked to succeed John Elway by one of the coaches in football that I have great respect for. He’s still a young guy, he’s 29-years old, he has a great grasp of what we’re doing, and I think he has a good amount of talent. I’m excited about it, and hopefully he’s at his best Monday night.”

(On the club changing identities after losing so many players)
“We don’t lead the league in continuity here. I know when I got the job we had 30 new players, I think we had close to 30 the next year, and we’re probably close to that number this year. We have to put together some back-to-back-to-back drafts. We have to try and rejuvenate our team by conquering the salary cap problem that is a reality for us. At the same time I’m very proud of these guys. We’ve been in a position to win a lot of games this season. We’ve played some really good football at times, and we’re going to have to do that again Monday night to win because the Rams are dangerous.”

(On the challenges of the Rams’ offense)
“They lead the league in presenting challenges. Obviously Mike Martz is a great creative coach. The surface in which they play I think really helps the Rams with their speed. Marshall Faulk has a running mate now, Steven Jackson, who looks outstanding. What can you say about Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, they’re two of the best in football. They have every key component necessary to be a great team, with Orlando Pace, a solid quarterback, and all the gifted skilled players and a creative attack.”

(On the Rams younger receivers getting involved in the game plan)
“Obviously the more weapons you have, the more ferocious you become. I know a couple of years ago when they lost Az-Zahir Hakim, he was a key playmaker for them, but they’ve drafted young players and they are doing a heck of a job to elaborate in St. Louis to keep this offensive machine what it is.”

LB Derrick Brooks
Saturday, October 16, 2004

(On the disappointing start of the season)
“It’s kind of hard for me to go back and look backwards. We’re just trying to build each week, and play better than we did the week before. Obviously we didn’t get off to the start that we wanted to get off to. Quiete frankly, we just didn’t play well enough as a team to win those games.”

(On the expectations of the team after winning the Super Bowl)
“The expectations are higher, the teams are better. In the early days we just wanted to establish an attitude of how to do things and get a sense of direction. Once that was established and we had some stability, we were able to develop a foundation of winning.”

(On the win last week)
“It just got us 1-0 in the second quarter (of the season), 1-4 overall. We looked at the tape, evaluated it, and put it in the past. Now all it is, is focusing on coming up to St. Louis and finding a way to win. We need to get our second win of the season, and our second win of this quarter.”

(On the Rams’ offense)
“They get big plays down field. I think now with the addition of (Steven) Jackson in the backfield, you have another fierce threat at running back besides Marshall Faulk. I think that’s another element that has been added since we’ve played them. The passing game is still coming down to big plays, and Marc (Bulger) is doing a good job of finding the open receiver.”

(On if he enjoys the rivalry)
“Obviously. Good football teams, matching head-to-head is always fun. They are going to test you, we’re going to test them. At the end of the game it’s a hard competition. Hopefully we’ll get a win.”

(On the keys of their pass defense)
“Finishing plays, and making it physical. They’re going to catch balls on you in the NFL, and when they catch them, tackle them. Don’t let a five-yard pass turn into an 80-yard touchdown. Play solid football, and know what to do. Obviously if you know what could hurt you, you defend that. Do a good job at running to the football. At the end of the day, a lot of plays are made by hustling to the football.”

(On if the defense feels that it needs to make plays to keep Tampa going)
“We feel we have to get turnovers, because that is a formula to win in this league, the turnover ratio. We have to continue to win the turnover battle each and every week. Hopefully some of these turnovers will turn into opportunities to score touchdowns defensively.”

(On his leadership role now that some key players have left)
“My leadership is the same, period. I’m a big time-doer, not a talker. I let my actions do most of my leadership, and when I speak, it’s very selective, and very direct. I didn’t have to change any leadership skills of leadership styles just because of Warren (Sapp) and John (Lynch) not being here.”