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S Tanard Jackson Rookie safety Tanard Jackson put all of his skills on display during a goal line stand by the Bucs second-team defense in the second quarter. On the first play, Jackson made a play to knock down a pass attempt from Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich to tight end Marcedes Lewis in the corner of the end zone. On second down, Jackson joined rookie safety Sabby Piscitelli in stopping Jags running back Greg Jones at the 2-yard line. On the third play, Jackson showed his speed coming around the corner to take out Jones’ feet and keeping him from getting into the end zone. Those stops forced the Jaguars to settle for a field goal. To open the second half, Jackson made a great special teams tackle on the opening kickoff before coming up and grabbing the back of his right leg. He reportedly had a cramp.
QB Jeff Garcia After a lackluster performance against the New England Patriots, Garcia made up for it with his performance on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Garcia led the only scoring drive for the Bucs offense in the first half and was perfect throwing the ball. Garcia went 6-for-6 for 43 yards and one touchdown. Garcia also showed one of the reasons head coach Jon Gruden wanted to bring him in to run his offense with his mobility. On his 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Boston, Garcia kept the play alive by rolling to his right and holding the ball as long as possible before finding Boston in the end zone. Garcia’s performance was a good sign for the Bucs offense and gave Tampa Bay fans something to smile about.
DE Kevin Carter Defensive end Kevin Carter got the start against the Jacksonville Jaguars and is making his case for a starting position at left defensive end. Carter finished the game with two tackles and one sack, but he caused much more havoc in the backfield. Carter did a good job of pursuing running plays from the backside and getting pressure on Leftwich in the pocket. Carter is in competition with veteran defensive end Greg Spires for a starting spot and he helped the Bucs defense hold the Jaguars to 20 yards total offense in the first quarter.
WR Chas Gessner Wide receiver Chas Gessner was impressive on an 8-play, 48-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter with two receptions from quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. Gessner had four receptions for 48 yards and became a main target of Gradkowski with the third team offense in the fourth quarter. Gessner, who received some complements from Gruden last preseason, is once again battling for a roster spot on the team. With a deep receiving corps, Gessner must impress on special teams as well as at receiver to make the team.
QB Bruce Gradkowski Battling for the backup quarterback position with Luke McCown, Gradkowski had an impressive showing in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gradkowski led two touchdown scoring drives and showed poise in the pocket running the offense. Gradkowski went 7-for-13 for 113 yards with one touchdown, a 53-yarder to Mark Jones, and did a good job of spreading the ball around. Gradkowski found four different receivers – Gessner, Chad Lucas, Chad Owens and Jones – during two possessions in the second half. Gradkowski looked comfortable in the pocket against the Jaguars and made good decisions with the football, which is what Gruden is looking for from his quarterbacks.
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