By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 9, 2002
Coach Jon Gruden on quarterback Brad Johnson, who completed 16-of-25 for 143 yards in the fourth quarter:
"I thought he was super. I thought he hung in there in some difficult situations. He made some brilliant plays today that put us in a position to win."
* * *
Safety John Lynch, who finished with six tackles, giving the loss perspective over the season:
"We've got to look at the season and realize it's a marathon, and we've got a long way to go. In the beginning, we let the run game go and we had a lot of sloppy tackling. They made more plays than us and they came out with the win. We didn't play our best game and now we have to make our corrections and come back."
* * *
Receiver Keenan McCardell, who caught a team-high six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in his debut:
"We had a lot of mental errors. We had a lot of chances at the end of the game. We had some very good opportunities, but we have to play better. It was one of those games. It just happens. Everybody realizes we can play better. We gave them the game with too many mistakes."
* * *
Receiver Joe Jurevicius, who caught four passes for 37 yards and an 11-yard touchdown in his first game since signing as a free agent:
"I want to be known as an X-factor with Keyshawn (Johnson) and Keenan. I want them to look at me and know that when they call my number I can come in and make some plays. I want to do what I can to help this team win and be successful."
* * *
Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who had one of the Bucs' two sacks and finished with three tackles:
"We had to give ourselves a chance to win. We fought our way back and had a golden opportunity, but we just didn't do it. We will learn from this."
* * *
Fullback Mike Alstott, who didn't touch the ball in the first half but finished with four receptions for 48 yards:
"You have to give (New Orleans) a lot of credit, but we've got to play a lot better. It's a long road. We've got to go back to the drawing board and fix our problems. There are a lot of new guys on the (offensive) line. As you know, the offense takes a while to jell."
Coach Jim Haslett on the last play, when special-teams standout Fred McAfee broke into Tampa Bay's punt backfield:
"We were going to hold them up and try and get the field position and kick the field goal. I don't know what happened, but Freddie came clean through. We tell them, if the guy holding you up disappears, keep going."
* * *
McAfee, backup running back and special-teams ace, on the Bucs' blocker in front of him:
"He was slow off the ball, that's what happened. In punt team anything can happen if you're not watching the ball, watching everything that's going on, any little mistake can be exploited."
* * *
Darren Howard, defensive end and Boca Ciega product, on the toughness of Bucs QB Brad Johnson:
"Every time I looked around he was on the ground, so he did a great job."
* * *
Howard on blocking Martin Gramatica's 47-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half:
"Their stance was too low. I knew they were going to fire out and coach (Al Everest) did a great job seeing that and calling a swim. We just came wide open. Norman (Hand) got a good push and I just came through. I don't think the (left) guard touched me."
* * *
Haslett on whether the six-year, $36-million contract extension and $10.7-million signing bonus quarterback Aaron Brooks got on Friday affected his performance:
"I don't think that's a deciding factor in why he went out there and played like he did. He's a heck of a football player, he's shown nothing but that in the preseason. Contract or no contract, he'll play well all the time."
-- Compiled by Greg Auman and Jamal Thalji.
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