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NFL.com: 5 questions on Skins-Bucs for Gruden

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Old 01-05-2006, 09:19 PM   #1
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NFL.com: 5 questions on Skins-Bucs for Gruden

In Week 10, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden went for two in the final minute, and it gave the Buccaneers a 36-35 victory against the Washington Redskins. In a conference call with Washington-area writers, Gruden discussed what has happened in the eight weeks since that game.

1. On thoughts from the teams' first match-up earlier this season: "It's been a long time, but it was a great game. There were a lot of twists and turns in that one, and I think both teams fought hard. It was a well-played game and we were fortunate to win it."
2. On differences in the Redskins since the first game: "They were pretty darn good when they were here. I just think they're a good football team; they lost a couple tight games during the midseason, but they are very talented. They have explosive playmakers that we know well. Portis, Moss, Brunell is playing very well. They can run it and throw it, they're extremely dangerous on offense -- they use very creative formations, change personnel on offense. Cooley is a guy that you really have to account for. Defensively, they never stay the same. The masters of the perimeter blitz, they can play maximum zone or maximum blitz within the same sentence, so it's a lot to prepare for. They are well schooled in the kicking game -- Danny Smith is one of the best coaches in the league."
3. On changes in the Buccaneers since the first game, especially in QB Chris Simms: "We had two rough games prior to the Redskins. He's a young quarterback, and it does take some of these guys time to get acclimated to the speed of the game and get into some kind of rhythm, but he has played very well. He's a talented guy, he's a charismatic guy, our team has rallied around him, and we've got some people -- Joey Galloway has really come on strong for us, Carnell Williams has gotten healthy and really made a difference for us in the last six or seven weeks."
4. On the frequency of players suggesting strategy and whether he heeds their advice: "It happens all the time. Some of these guys, unfortunately, give their input on what we should be calling every single play. Absolutely, feel the pulse of your team. Sometimes, guys' demeanor has an influence on you. Our football team wanted to go for the win in that situation (the first Redskins-Buccaneers game), it was almost a united front, and we felt at the 1-yard line, that was our best chance to win at that time."
5. On changes in the Buccaneers defense since their Super Bowl season: "Yeah, we're pretty good there. The Redskins have made some changes on defense since they won their last Super Bowl, too. We like to keep these guys as long as we can. Fortunately, we do have some guys that we can build our team around. Chris Hovan has come in here and given us some great play. I think Anthony McFarland and Ellis Wyms, two defensive tackles that have been hurt the past couple of seasons, have really paid huge dividends. What can I say? Juran Bolden has come in here from Jacksonville and given us a third corner that we really like."
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