The Buccaneers practiced without several injured players Wednesday, including defensive end Gaines Adams (groin), center Jeff Faine (triceps), defensive lineman Kyle Moore (knee), quarterback Byron Leftwich (hip) and running back Derrick Ward (knee).
The severity of the groin injury sustained by Adams, who still is looking for his first sack of the season, is unknown.
"It was bad enough for him not to practice," said Bucs head coach Raheem Morris. "I'm hoping he'll be back tomorrow and I hope to have him for the game."
Morris said he also hopes to have Ward play vs. the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
A few players were limited during Wednesday's workout, including wide receivers Antonio Bryant (knee) and Maurice Stovall (knee), cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle), running back Earnest Graham (hamstring) and Stovall (knee).
A couple Buccaneers receivers appear to be on the mend, and that’s good news for Tampa Bay considering that the team produced only five first downs and 86 yards of offense in last week’s 24-0 loss to the New York Giants. The Bucs receiving corps hardly played a role in the passing game against the Giants with Stovall sidelined with a knee injury and Bryant still hampered by a knee injury that kept him out of the Buffalo game.
In fact, Bryant was held to one catch for six yards, while Michael Clayton was held without a catch against New York and dropped a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay was led by rookie receiver Sammie Stroughter’s two catches for 23 yards on Sunday.
This Sunday at Washington, Stovall expects to be available after returning to practice on Wednesday, and Bryant said his knee is feeling better despite being limited in practice.
“I’m good. Like I said, there is no such things as being 100 percent in this league,” said Bryant. “It is a matter of I want to get to a point of where I can function and move around. It is going to be some things where I got to build a different type of routine and preparations for the game. I’m doing that, and just trying to get back on field and help my team.”
Stovall replaced Bryant in the starting lineup against Buffalo and had a career game, catching three passes for 80 yards, including an acrobatic, 39-yard reception over a defender. Unfortunately, Stovall injured his knee in Buffalo and couldn’t play in last week’s loss to New York.
“It happened during the Buffalo game late in the third quarter,” Stovall said. “I was trying to be mentally tough through it and finish the game. It’s very frustrating coming off a game like that where even though we didn’t win, I had a good game individually. You want to come back the next game stronger and show that I can do that consistently. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that. I just have to get healthy and keep playing.”
Stovall said that his knee is feeling better and he expects to join Bryant and Clayton on the field as the third receiver at Washington.
“It’s coming along well,” Stovall said. “We have a great training staff. I’m doing rehab as much as I can – even on the weekend. I’m taking it day-to-day and I’m getting ready for Sunday’s game. When you come off a big game it’s an opportunity to show the coaches, your teammates and the front office that you are able to play out there as a starter. It’s unfortunate that I was not able to come out the next week and do the same thing.”Running backs Cadillac Williams (knee) and Clifton Smith (quad), and defensive tackle Roy Miller had full participation today.
Bryant also said Wednesday that his knee is feeling much better and that he expects to play vs. Washington on Sunday.
The Redskins have their fair share of injuries. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (glute), running back Clinton Portis (calf), cornerback Carlos Rogers (ankle) and fullback Mike Sellers (thigh) were held out of practice Wednesday with their respective injuries.
Bucs Re-sign McCoy, Move WR Urrutia To Practice Squad
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a pair of roster moves Wednesday, re-signing linebacker Matt McCoy and inking wide receiver Mario Urrutia to their eight-man practice squad.
McCoy was released by the Bucs late last week due to injuries at the receiver position. Tampa Bay promoted Urrutia from its practice squad to the active roster for last Sunday's game vs. the New York Giants.
Hayward To See More Playing Time On Defense
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris suggested Wednesday that linebacker Adam Hayward could see more playing time on defense vs. the Washington Redskins.
Hayward played at both weakside and strongside linebacker while giving starters Geno Hayes and Quincy Black a breather vs. the Giants.
"It's not an indictment on anybody; it's more of a reward for Hayward," said Morris. "He went out there, we gave him some snaps and he played well at Will linebacker and Sam linebacker."
Nugent Waiting For Redemption
Mike Nugent’s debut in Tampa Bay as the Bucs’ new kicker didn’t go as planned in the team’s 34-21 loss to Dallas in the season opener. Nugent’s first field goal attempt was blocked, and his other attempt, a 46-yarder before halftime, was wide right.
The competitive Nugent is 0-2 on the year and eager to get a chance to atone for his failures against Dallas. Yet hasn’t had any field goal opportunities to attempt field goals over the last two weeks, which has been frustrating.
“It does get to me a little bit because I love the game and I love kicking and helping my team,” Nugent said. “Even though I many not be kicking a field goal or an extra point on that series, I am kicking into the net on the sidelines and going through my routine so I am prepared.”
Due to Tampa Bay’s inept offensive showing against New York on Sunday, the Bucs didn’t cross midfield until their final drive of the fourth quarter, getting into Nugent’s range just once.
“On that last drive in the fourth quarter I was just standing there waiting to go in just in case they wanted to get some points on the board,” Nugent said. “I try to focus on getting better each day and I’m excited to go out and practice. It’s really tough with kicking because I have so much fun doing it, but I can’t go out and kick 1,000 balls per day. It’s not like going to the driving range, even though golfers can get tired of swinging the clubs, too. With kicking you want to make sure you are ready to go on Sunday and not have a dead leg.”
Nugent’s day consisted of just one kickoff, which came at the start of the game. Little did he know that would be his only chance to step on to the field on Sunday against the Giants. That’s something that Nugent is not accustomed to.
“It’s happened only once to me where I’ve only had one play – during my rookie year against Denver,” Nugent said. “I just had the opening kickoff in the second half and that was it for me.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Tampa Bay held its first practice of the week Wednesday in preparation for Washington, which it will face at FedEx Field on Sunday.
Although Tampa Bay suffered a disappointing 24-0 loss to New York on Sunday, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris was encouraged by what he saw from his team during Wednesday's workout, which was shorter than usual, but was held in shells, and faster and more physical than previous practices.
In fact, Morris said it was Tampa Bay's best Wednesday practice of the season.
"It was the tempo and how we prepared," Morris explained. "I felt like one of those training camp practices where you come off the field feeling really good about each other. We were feeling really good about ourselves and how fast we practiced; the demeanor of how they were in the team meeting today; how they approached their individual meetings and how they approached their on-the-field play. And it's all about a young team. The hardest part about a young team is getting them to maintain that, so we've got to come out tomorrow and do it or it means nothing."
Quote Of The Day
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris on his 0-3 team's mentality.
"I don't know if you noticed or not, but I have nothing in my demeanor that tells you that I'm planning to go into any game and lose. It's just not going to happen. It's just not what we think. It's just not what we believe. We are going out trying to win every football game. There isn't anyone on this football team waiting for next year's draft. There is nobody on this football team waiting for next year's offseason. We are trying to win. We have 13 games left. There is no rule that says we aren't going to win all 13 if we put our mind to it. Now, we have to win one at a time and the only game that matters to me right now is Washington. That's our mentality. That's it."