THAT’S A WRAP:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their final training camp practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Wednesday morning.
The players sported jerseys, helmets and shorts for the morning workout, which head coach Jon Gruden decided to cut short by about one hour. The Bucs will resume practice on Thursday at One Buccaneer Place.
“We have a long way to go, but we did get a lot of work done” said Gruden. “We saw some young guys develop. The offseason program really paid off. We have a lot of nagging injuries on the offensive line. That stunted us the last four or five days, but the effort was great and the camaraderie is good.”
This time next year, the plan is for the Bucs to end training camp in Orlando and go back to Tampa to move into their new training facility, which is currently being constructed.
After watching his players battle through some dehydration issues over the past two seasons and during training camp in Orlando, one thing Gruden said he wants the new facility to have an in-door practice field.
“I do know that that’s part of the plan with the new facility,” Gruden said of having an in-door practice field. “I just think that’s a winning edge. When you talk about this kind of heat and practice in it on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the regular season and you’re asking your players to perform at their highest level on Sunday, it doesn’t sound like a logical way to get the body physically ready to play.”
Tampa Bay will hold one-a-day practices from here on out, and with the Bucs still three weeks away from playing their regular season opener in Minnesota, the team will put in plenty of work between now and Sept. 11.
“There’s a whole lot of work to do,” said Gruden. “It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to. We’re looking forward to getting back to work and seeing who to keep on our team, first and foremost. With that said, bring it on. Let’s go.”
Tampa Bay’s offensive line is leaving training camp in better shape than it was a few days ago. Gruden said guards Sean Mahan, Matt Stinchcomb and Dan Buenning, all of whom were limited in practice this week, should be able to play on Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bucs are also hoping left tackle Anthony Davis, who has been sidelined since Monday with a thigh bruise, will play vs. the Jags.
“I think so,” Gruden said when asked if Davis would be able to play on Saturday night. “He’s a little sore. He might be the toughest guy I’ve seen in some time. He had a bad ankle injury and never missed a practice in the offseason because it’s important to him. We’re trying to keep him off his feet and we’ll work on getting him some reps tomorrow. Hopefully he’s ready to go. We are optimistic.”
The news isn’t as encouraging for T Derrick Deese, who spent Tuesday in California seeking a second opinion on his injured ankle. It doesn’t look as though Deese will be able play against Jacksonville.
In the meantime, Davis has replaced Deese as the starter and Todd Steussie has pleased the coaching staff with the job he’s done at left tackle.
“He’s had four or five opinions here, and we’re going to get him as many opinions as we can get until we find the reality of this problem,” Gruden said of Deese. “Hopefully he comes back and the soreness has subsided so he can get back out here and compete. He’s got to come out here and do that. We’ve got a real competition forming at left tackle.”
In other injury news, tight end Will Heller was on crutches for the second straight day due to a hip injury. According to Gruden, Heller might be able to suit up for the Bucs’ second preseason game of the year.
“We think he’s going to be able to play,” said Gruden. “We’re just trying to keep him off his hip. He took a nasty spill yesterday during 9-on-7 drills. We’ll jog him around tomorrow and see how he feels.”
Tight end/long snapper Dave Moore’s status for the Bucs-Jaguars game is unknown. He has been limited in practice due to a broken finger and plantarfacitis.
Gruden was pleased with the progress wide receiver Michael Clayton, who was sidelined for most of the offseason after undergoing minor knee surgery, made toward the latter part of camp.
“I was really happy with the last three days of it,” Gruden said of Clayton’s camp. “The first 10 or 12 days, he was sluggish. He missed the whole offseason coming off of surgery. In the last two or three days I saw the life in his legs and the stamina improve. That’s a good sign to walk out of here with a healthy Michael Clayton. He’s a great player when he’s right physically.”
BUCS TRADE FOR T WILDER, RELEASE G/C ANDERSON:
Tampa Bay made two roster moves Wednesday, trading an undisclosed draft pick to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for tackle Sam Wilder and releasing guard/center Bryan Anderson.
The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Wilder originally entered the NFL in April as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado. He played in 48 (36 starts) collegiate games.
Anderson originally signed with the Bucs on Aug. 15.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COACH GRUDEN:
Gruden celebrated his 42nd birthday on Wednesday, the same day Tampa Bay wrapped up its 2005 training camp.
With the moving trucks transporting all of the equipment back to One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Gruden was optimistic that he’d actually get a little time to sneak away from work and celebrate his birthday.
“Fortunately this year it’s a little bit different,” said Gruden. “We’re breaking training camp and One Buccaneer Place needs to be set up, so there’s no projectors to use and nothing to do, so I might have a good day today.”
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