© St. Petersburg Times, published September 30, 2002
Defensive tackle Warren Sapp on Cincinnati's quarterback:
"Akili Smith couldn't hit a bull in the butt with the side of a house."
Safety John Lynch on the Bengals: "I went over to congratulate Corey Dillon on setting a (team) record, and he was proud of it, but he didn't act like it was a big deal. I remembered that feeling. It's miserable."
Tight end Ken Dilger on his touchdown:
"Once I got past the first guy, the two little DBs in the secondary didn't want to touch me."
Quarterback Brad Johnson on the big plays:
"We've been calling a lot of plays downfield. People panic too much."
Sapp on the defense:
"We're trying to go back to where we belong. We belong at the top. Every guy is making the job that much tighter."
Sapp on the Bengals:
"It's all about us. If we come out and play our game, they can't play with us. Even if we give them seven, they still can't play with us."
Cornerback Jeff Burris, asked why the Bengals couldn't stop Keenan McCardell and the passing attack:
"If that's your perception, you have to understand the scheme of the game. I can't explain to you what went on. Are they a load to handle? No, that's not the case."
Quarterback Akili Smith, before the game, on his debut against Bucs:
"If I could have drawn a perfect script, I wouldn't have picked the Bucs. Those guys are good. It's going to be a challenge."
Smith on losing:
"We've been losing and losing badly for four years. You try to figure out what the heck is going on. It seems like we put together a good game plan every week, but then something happens."
Smith on being booed:
"I've been booed for four years now. That stuff doesn't bother me."
Receiver Chad Johnson on the trouble he and Smith had throughout:
"There were maybe four or five deep balls, we have dudes beat 5 or 6 yards. He might get hit, he might slip. It's like we're this close from a home run. I'm sure you all see it."
Johnson on whether he caught a ball in the end zone:
"Of course I had the ball. You watched it. Not only did I have it, I was pushed out of bounds and still got one and a half feet in. Man, that's a catch. I'm all the way out by the wall. The ground can't cause a fumble. I had possession, which I believe is three seconds. That was a stupid call."
Defensive tackle Oliver Gibson on whether the Bucs are considerably better than the Bengals:
"No, and that's the worst part of the whole thing. There's a thin line between the great teams and good teams."
Coach Dick LeBeau on his offense:
"We didn't have much today. Our total offense is not acceptable. I don't know for sure what I am going to do."
LeBeau on 2002 Smith versus Smith of the past three season:
"He's more mature. I am sure he's very much more at ease with the system. Being around here this last year, I saw him make tremendous strides in that area. That he went in against the Jets last year and moved the team was good. He took a look, and if he didn't like what he saw, he took off."
Tackle Willie Smith on the poor development of Smith by former coach Bruce Coslet and quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson:
"He should have been groomed better. You come in and say this team is going to go as far as you take us -- that's too much for a young guy. You can't tell a guy that. Donovan McNabb wasn't getting told that. Tim Couch wasn't getting told that. (Daunte) Culpepper definitely wasn't getting told that. Look at the difference in the way those guys went."