Quotes from the locker room

Jon Gruden
(On the game) “We’re really happy to have won this game. I have to tip my hat to Carolina. They’re a very physical team.”

(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. We’re looking forward to the next six games.”

(On turnovers and the wind factor) “It was not only turnovers, but wind was indeed a factor, especially going toward our pirate ship. I could tell throwing the football at times that the side wind had an effect on throwing the ball.”

Brad Johnson
(On what worked and didn’t work) “In the NFL, it is tough to get a first down, it’s tough to score, and it’s tough to get a win. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to win. I give a lot of credit to the offensive line; we dominated up front.”

(On going for it on fourth down and getting the Keyshawn touchdown) “I think we needed the points at that time. Because a lot of teams haven’t even gotten that far down in the red zone against Carolina, we felt we needed to come away with some points. If we were a yard and a half or two yards out, we may not have gone for it. But, we were inside a yard and a half so we went for it, and it was a great call.”

Keyshawn Johnson
(On being 8-2) “We started slow (today), but finished strong, and now it feels good to be 8-2. (We have) a tough game next week, so we have to change our focus to Green Bay and get ready to play them.”

Brian Kelly
(On practicing against Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell) “It’s pretty good because you get a good mix in size with Keyshawn (Johnson) and savvy in Keenan (McCardell), and it carries over when you get on the field on Sunday.”

(On his interception) “It was a play they ran earlier, and I knew they would do it again. I felt pretty good. I was right there and made the play.”

John Lynch
(On being 8-2) “People have been here 27 years and have never seen 8-2. That makes it sweet. I’ve been here 10 years and have never sniffed it. I’ve been 5-2, but never 8-2. This is sweet, but we have a lot of unfinished business. We put ourselves in a good position tonight.”

(On Bucs’ Defense) “Coach Gruden pointed out that we have never played our best ball defensively at home. The New Orleans game they scored on the first drive and then again today they (Carolina) came out and scored on the first drive, so we were certainly frustrated. This unit has so much pride that when we let our team down we want to make up for it. In the end we did, our offense did great. They grinded out some long drives, and Martin (Gramatica) made some tough kicks in windy weather.

(On interception) “Rodney (Pete) had to pull the ball down a couple of times we went with an underneath zone, and I was underneath. He looked at his first read and pulled it down. He looked at his second read, and I saw the rush closing in and I just went after the back because I knew that was his last option and just wrestled the ball away. When you have good corners and underneath guys that can make the quarterback pull the ball down, our guys up front told us, ‘Just make him pull it down once or twice, and they’ll get there.’ And sure enough they always do.”

Keenan McCardell
(On the game) “This is a big game for our team to go 8-2 and get first place in our division. New Orleans lost, and Green Bay lost, so that helps us out. We needed this one; this sets up a big game next week. You have to give Carolina credit. They came and played well, but we made more plays. And, that’s the name of the game.”

(On the rest of the schedule) “With this stretch in our schedule, it’s good to get the first win. It’s good to get good momentum and keep it going. One good thing about it is we have a lot of home games. When our crowd is into it, it’s lovely. Besides the New Orleans game, the rest of our games are at home. So, it’ll be nice. We need to take teams one at a time and not overlook anyone, and we’ll be fine.”

Simeon Rice
(On the team’s current play) “I think we are playing classic right now. Things are just happening well right now, and our offense is putting up points. We are all playing together as a cohesive unit. We have a lot of guys that can really play this game at a high level. And, it is really showing itself, and, hopefully, we will keep feeding on it.”

Warren Sapp
(On focusing for today’s game) “You’ve got to take care of what’s on your plate. We had to put our focus on this one and not what was going on in the rest of the league.”

(On being in first place) “Atlanta gets us a win and we take over the division lead. We just have to keep pushing right now because we are in a position to win the division.”

(On key games coming up) “This was a key game here, and we swept them (Carolina) this season. We’ve got to get it down, and next week we have Green Bay.”

(On league competition) “We are in a division with three teams heading into the playoffs. This is the toughest division in the NFC.”

Dwight Smith
(On playing at home and getting the win) “It feels good to come back and have a strong showing and now get ready for Brett Favre and Green Bay. I never have been 8-2 in my whole life so it feels good.”