The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held two practices at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Monday.
Even though the Buccaneers were impressive in several areas en route to defeating the New York Jets in their preseason opener, 16-3, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden suggested his team has plenty of room for improvement.
“It’s just one week into the preseason, and we still have a long way to go,” Gruden stressed. “Guys are working hard, and I’m pleased with the effort, and the consistency in the effort. I have a lot of respect for how far we have to go yet.”
The Bucs surprisingly were in full pads for the first time in a week on Monday morning. In the past, Gruden normally has the players stop wearing pads after their first preseason game, but he’s attempting to get his players ready for a tough grind in 2006.
“You better get used to it,” Gruden said of the practice regimen. “We’re going to play three games in 10 days, so for all of the people worried about player safety I’d like to have them answer that question. We have to deal with a very difficult schedule. Monday night at Carolina, Sunday against Washington and Thursday at Dallas. You better get used to it. It’s not a game for the guys that can’t handle it. We have to respond to this.”
Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle), tackle Torrin Tucker (knee), linebacker Shelton Quarles (rest) and running backs Michael Pittman (turf toe) and Derek Watson (ankle) missed Monday’s practices. Wide receiver Joey Galloway (rest), tackle Kenyatta Walker (knee) and linebackers Derrick Brooks (rest) and Marquis Cooper (unknown) were held out of the afternoon practice.
Defensive tackle Chris Hovan was not out on the practice field Monday. According to Gruden, Hovan’s absence is due to illness, not injury.
“He’s got an infection of some kind that we’re looking at, but we hope to have him back in a couple of days,” Gruden said of Hovan.
Tampa Bay is scheduled to hold two-a-day practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bucs will hold a practice on Thursday morning before they break camp and head back to Tampa to move into their brand new, state-of-the-art training facility.
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