The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost two more players to injury during the Monday morning practice as starting left tackle Anthony Davis and reserve middle linebacker Jermaine Taylor went down with leg ailments.
"Jermaine Taylor, a linebacker, sprained his ankle towards the end of practice," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "He's going to be listed as day-to-day and we'll know a little bit further after lunch. Anthony Davis left practice with a thigh bruise; we're going to list him as day-to-day. Doug Buckle, an offensive guard, had an appendix removed yesterday, so he's out for a week to two weeks. Matt Stinchcomb and Dan Buenning returned to practice today. We're fighting through it."
Bucs running back Derek Watson also returned to practice on Monday from a stomach ailment, and rookie fullback Rick Razzano also returned after missing more than a week with a torn hamstring.
When asked if the Bucs, who finished practice with just nine offensive linemen, were going to sign a player or two to help the team's depth at the position, Gruden said they are looking into that possibility.
"We're going to consider that, obviously," Gruden said. "We do expect to have [Sean] Mahan back tomorrow, and hopefully we'll have Anthony Davis back sometime soon."
Until Davis returns, Todd Steussie is the Bucs' starting left tackle. Steussie performed well in the preseason opener at Tennessee, and has looked much better at left tackle this year in camp, than he did at right tackle last year.
"He looks good," Gruden said. "Unfortunately, with the depletion of numbers, we are giving him way too many reps. So we've got to be smart about that. It's hard to block Simeon Rice as it is, and when you have 15, 16 plays in a row, it's doubly hard. Yes, he'll be the starting left tackle and he's done a good job since he's been here."
The Buccaneers signed offensive lineman Bryan Anderson, the Chicago Bears' seventh-round pick in 2005, who played collegiately at Pittsburgh, on Monday. Anderson was waived during the summer by the Bears and landed briefly in New England before being waived by the Patriots.
In order to make room for Anderson, the Bucs released T Jeff Hatch.
PADS COME OFF EARLY
Because of the significant amount of injuries along the offensive line, Gruden allowed the players to remove their shoulder pads halfway through practice to prevent further injury.
"We've got eight linemen out," Gruden said. "What do you want me to do? Criminy, we've got to do something. We've got to get practice done. We need to get certain phases of our football looked at, but when you only have six or seven healthy linemen, you can't go in pads for two-and-a-half hours. You just can't do it and expect to get much out of these guys later today."
"BEAR" BRYANT IMPROVING
One of the young players who Gruden said has been improving is rookie nose tackle Anthony Bryant. Bryant, the team's sixth-round draft pick, has struggled with conditioning due to the 350 pounds he weighs, but has made strides in the area of conditioning and registered a sack in the Bucs' 20-17 win over Tennessee in the preseason opener.
"He's having a very good camp," Gruden said. "His stamina's so much better. When he first got here, he had a hard time [playing] four of five plays in succession. His stamina was an issue, much like a lot of young players coming in here in this tempo. But he has responded. He's been able to start and finish practice, his motor is running fast and he made some physical plays. He's a physical presence in there."
He's a got that obviously has to get his weight down. We've got to stay on top of that. He understands that. He's just a big, huge man and he's been that way since - they say - he was born. He came out big. We've got to continue to help him. In credit to him, he's watched his diet, he's done extra conditioning, he's taken a lot of pride in that, and that's rare in some young guys who have that mass."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Gruden on his "Junction City Boys" nickname for the Buccaneers' battered offensive line:
"Did you ever see that movie? Those guys out there, there are about 13 guys on the Texas A&M Aggies. That's all they had. They went both ways. We do give them a little more water than Coach Bryant did. It's a tribute to those guys, if you've ever read that book and know the true story of the Junction City Boys. Those guys were one tough crowd, and it turned around Aggie football forever. That's kind of how I look at it right now."
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