BACKUP QB ROLE TO BE ANNOUNCED SUNDAY:
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden reiterated Tuesday that he will not make a decision on whether Brian Griese or Chris Simms will backup starting quarterback Brad Johnson until Sunday.
“We’ll announce that on game day and then we’ll work with both quarterbacks, as we will throughout the season,” Gruden said. We like both of those guys.
“We’re going to talk about the starting quarterback, and we’ll announce who the backup quarterback is, like a lot of teams do, on game day.”
Griese and Simms each had two opportunities to serve as Johnson’s backup during the preseason. Griese completed 26 of 42 passes (61.9 percent) for 258 yards and tossed one touchdown. Simms completed 42 of 61 attempts (68.9 percent) for 432 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception.
GALLOWAY TO HANDLE PUNTS:
Rookie Mark Jones fielded nearly every punt for the Bucs during preseason, but with his release on Sunday, the team will go with its original plan to have wide receiver Joey Galloway field punts during the regular season.
Galloway has fielded 116 punts for 1,190 yards (10.3 avg.) and has scored four touchdowns during his career. However, Gruden suggested that some other veteran players could be thrown into the mix if Galloway was rendered unavailable for some reason.
“There’s a good chance Joey will handle some punts, and Tim Brown will handle some,” said Gruden. “Bill Schroeder can catch them. And Derrick Brooks can catch them. So we’ve got a number of guys who can catch them. We just want to get some points. We want somebody to do something with it.”
BUCS WEATHER THE STORM:
Hurricane Frances pounded the state of Florida over the weekend. In addition to causing millions of dollars worth of damage and flooding a plethora of streets, the severe storm caused the Bucs to cancel a practice they originally had scheduled for Monday.
Last month, the Bucs were also forced to end training camp a few days early and move their preseason opener against the Bengals from Saturday to Monday because of Hurricane Charley. Despite the inconvenience of both storms, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday that the nasty weather conditions haven’t served as distractions to his team.
“No, more than that your concerns have to be with your friends and people that live in other parts of Florida,” Gruden said when asked if the storms were becoming distractions. “We all have friends who live down in areas that have been hit hard by this. You’re not human if you’re not sensitive about that. I’ll just do the best I can to show as much support as I can for the people who have been hit the hardest by this hurricane. They tell me there’s another one coming and we just have to roll our fist up and keep pounding the rock and fight through this. It’s not an easy time in the state of Florida.”
Having been through both storms, Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said hurricanes really put things in perspective.
“You just personally respect what the natural weather is,” said Brooks. “Respect it and don’t take it lightly was the message that I got. At the same time, I was encouraged because you saw people helping each other, trying to pull back their neighborhoods. We had some things that went on here in Tampa, but we realize that it could have been a lot worse.”
As for the rescheduled practice that took place on Tuesday, Gruden said it was a little uncomfortable, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“It’s a cram session every day early in the week when you’re getting ready for a new opponent,” Gruden said. “Certainly, the Redskins pose a lot of mysterious questions to us on offense and defense. Hopefully, we pose some to them, also. When you’re getting used to a new opponent, new systems on both sides of the ball, it is cause for some discomfort early in the week, but that’s part of football.”
BUCS BEGIN PREPARING FOR REDSKINS:
Tampa Bay spent Tuesday preparing for the Washington Redskins.
It’s been quite a while since anyone has had to view tape on Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, who put together a 124-60 regular season record and a 16-5 post-season record, including three Super Bowl wins, during his first coaching stint in Washington, which ended in 1992. That said, Tampa Bay will use tape from Washington’s five preseason contests, and even some old game footage, to study up on the Redskins.
“You watch the preseason to get familiarized with their personnel and the structure of their offense and defense and kicking game,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. “But you also respect the element of surprise. I’m sure they respect the same from us. They’ve not shown what they’re going to show on Sunday; nor have we, for the most part. But you’ve got to do your research. Go back and watch the Tennessee Titans defense, go back and watch the Buffalo Bills defense, go back and watch the old Hogs play with the Washington Redskins. Fortunately, we saved a lot of those tapes, not that that will become an assistance, but hopefully it does.”
Tampa Bay is even leaning on tight ends coach Ron Middleton and personnel executive Doug Williams, both of whom played — and won a Super Bowl — in Washington with Gibbs as their head coach.
“He tells us the offense works,” Gruden said of Williams. “It’s a hell of an offense, very, very effective. Doug is obviously helping us every way he can. He’s got great respect for Joe Gibbs, as does Ron Middleton. Both of those guys played together on Super Bowl teams in Washington. We’re leaning on them the best way we can, but we also respect the creativity and the adjustments that a great coach makes.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on how the team weathered the storm while working at One Buccaneer Place:
“I’ll tell you, it’s a credit to The Woodshed here. It’s got great stamina, I’ll say that. It’s not the prettiest place but it’s got great stamina.”
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