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Bucs/Panthers Quotebooks

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 18, 2002

BUCS QUOTEBOOK

Coach Jon Gruden on being 8-2:

"It feels good. But, at the same time, we've got a lot of work to do. I'm very proud of our team. We've hung in there and won some games. Granted, some of them aren't the most beautiful things, but there are a lot of ways to win in the NFL."

* * *

Receiver Keyshawn Johnson on having receivers Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius back in the lineup:

"In the past, my guys didn't quite give us that. We couldn't call a certain play because of that. But now, we can call certain plays because you know these guys are going to have the capabilities of winning, and if something happens to me they can come right in and contribute."

* * *

Nickel back Dwight Smith on how he anticipated the backside slant pass he intercepted in the third quarter:

"Usually film doesn't lie to you. Teams go back to your strengths and if you watch film and get a team's tendencies, you tend to make more plays."

* * *

Safety John Lynch on the improvement of Brian Kelly at cornerback:

"We knew coming into the season, with the departure of Donnie Abraham, he had been such a solid player around here, that someone's got to make up for that. More than that, Brian's come in here and established himself. He gets challenged a lot because people stay away from Ronde (Barber), and I think pretty soon they're going to think twice about challenging him now."

* * *

Running back Michael Pittman on his ongoing quest for his first 100-yard game in Tampa Bay:

"I know it's going to come soon. I've just got to keep my head up and keep playing hard. I was out there busting my butt today. I played hard today, and I give my hat off to the Panther defense."

* * *

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp on criticism of Tampa Bay's schedule:

"We don't make the schedule. You can say it's easy, we don't play anybody, but all I know is we're in a division with three teams right now that are on their way to the playoffs, and that's the toughest division in football. If that's playing a weak schedule, then you put us in a weak schedule. I can't help anything about that."

PANTHERS QUOTEBOOK

Running back Lamar Smith on the Bucs defense:

"They were stunting up front, and they do it well. We couldn't convert. We have to avoid those three-and-outs. My hat's off to them. They're a good defense, but we still have to convert."

* * *

Smith on Carolina's four turnovers:

"At this level, you can't turn the ball over. I don't care who you're playing against. Their offense played well. Brad Johnson did a (heck) of a job finding the right receiver. They played well today."

* * *

Receiver Steve Smith on the impact of the loss:

"They came out and executed well at certain phases of the game. The ball just didn't fall our way. We just have to keep battling and focus. This isn't the end of the world. We still have to come out and practice and make sure we do everything we can to win next week."


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