DT McFARLAND EXCUSED FOR PERSONAL REASONS: Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden excused defensive tackle Anthony McFarland from Tuesday’s practices for personal reasons. Gruden did not give a timetable for McFarland’s return.
“He’s got a personal matter to attend to,” Gruden said of McFarland. “We don’t have anything more to say about it. He’s okay, but he’s had a thing he needs to deal with and we’re supporting him 100 percent, and praying for him. But he’s going to be okay.”
Bucs tackles Anthony Davis (thigh) and Derrick Deese (ankle), and guard Jeb Terry (knee) were held out of the morning practice.
In fact, Deese, who has misssed a significant amount of practice time due to a lingering ankle injury, spent Tuesday in California, where his doctor is evaluating the ankle injury.
Cornerback Ronde Barber left practice early due to “soreness.” Tight end Will Heller left the morning practice early after suffering a bruised hip. Defensive end Simeon Rice also left the morning practice early with a back bruise.
BUCS SIGN OL BOGLE, RELEASE RB LEWIS: The Bucs made two roster moves Tuesday, signing offensive lineman Phil Bogle and releasing running back Jacque Lewis.
Bogle played collegiately at the University of New Haven and spent most of the 2005 offseason with the Cleveland Browns.
GRUDEN APPLIES PRESSURE TO KICKERS: There aren’t any planes flying over Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, and there aren’t enough people attending training camp practices to simulate crowd noise, either.
So in order to apply more pressure to kickers Todd France and Matt Bryant, Bucs head coach Gruden made a deal with his team. If the kickers went perfect, the team’s curfew would be extended by one hour.
“You just try to simulate pressure,” said Gruden. “You can’t kick field goals sometimes even in a preseason game. So you’d better find out as much as you can about your kicker on the practice field.”
Unfortunately for the Bucs, France missed the second of his two field goal tries, which cost the team an extra hour of curfew. But that was before Bryant made things interesting.
“Well, they missed one, so they lost the initial challenge from the coach,” said Gruden. “But Bryant wanted a double-or-nothing opportunity. There are no do-overs. You can ask this football team over the last couple of years. You’ve got to make your kicks when you get in a pressure situation, that’s just the way the league is set up.”
Luckily for the France and the Bucs, Bryant drilled his fourth and final field goal attempt – a 53-yarder, which earned the team the extra hour of curfew.
Gruden only wishes his team had a chance to re-try a few field goal attempts over the past two seasons, where they’ve ranked dead last in field goal accuracy.
“I wanted another chance a couple of times here the last couple of years,” said Gruden. “I know where the players were coming from today.”
BUCS HOLD AFTERNOON WORKOUT IN GYM: Due to extremely hot and humid temperatures in the Orlando area, the Buccaneers held their Tuesday afternoon practice in a local gym.
TRAINING CAMP ENDS WEDNESDAY: Tampa Bay will wrap up its 2005 training camp Wednesday after the team holds a morning practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
“It’s been good,” Gruden said of camp. “We’ve worked hard, we’ve run a lot of plays. We’ve had to compromise our schedule somewhat with the injuries to the line. But my conversations with other people in the league, that’s going around pro football. Some teams have it at wide receiver; some teams have it at linebacker; some in the D-line, we’ve had ours in the O-line. But we’re going to walk out of here a fairly healthy football team, and I have seen some real significant progress in areas that we needed.”
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