Walker Remains Sidelined
Tampa Bay offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker remains sidelined with a knee injury. Bucs rookie Jeremey Trueblood likely will start in place of Walker when the Bucs play their first preseason game of the year against the New York Jets at Raymond James Stadium.
“I don’t know who is starting yet,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “We haven’t made that determination. Obviously Kenyatta is missing a lot of time. If he’s not ready to go, Trueblood will start at right tackle.”
According to Gruden, Trueblood and first-round pick, guard Davin Joseph, have reaped the benefits of extra reps in practice. Both players saw action with the first-team offense on Tuesday morning.
“If you’ve seen practice, [Davin Joseph] has made a strong case to become a starter. I’ve seen the films, you’ve watched practice. We’ll make those final determinations here in the next couple of days.
“I’m really pleased with our young guys. Let’s be honest – Trueblood is out here every day and has taken every rep. Davin Joseph is out here every day taking tons of reps and going against great players.”
Bucs defensive end Charles Bennett (hamstring), tackle Torrin Tucker (knee), guard Toniu Fonoti (ankle) and wide receiver David Boston (rest) were held out of Tuesday practices. Receiver Ike Hilliard and CB Juran Bolden were held out of the afternoon workout.
Safety Will Allen (thumb) and WR J.R. Russell (toe) returned to practice. Receiver Joey Galloway practiced in the morning session but sat out of the afternoon workout.
Hovan, Bucs Welcome Special Guest To Camp
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Chris Hovan and his teammates welcomed a special guest to practice on Tuesday morning.
Navaree Wheeler, a six-year old Lakeland native, is battling autoimmune hepatitis, which is a potentially life-threatening liver disease, and is part of the Dreams Come True organization.
Wheeler’s dream was to meet Hovan, who is his favorite player, and that dream was realized on Tuesday.
In addition to meeting Hovan, Wheeler got to spend the afternoon with him, attend a press conference with him and had the opportunity to meet several of the Hovan’s teammates, including linebacker Derrick Brooks, cornerback Juran Bolden and quarterback Chris Simms.
Wheeler left Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex with several keepsakes, including a Bucs jersey, a football, a glove from Brooks, and most importantly, a new friend in Hovan.
“Growing up you never think you’d have an impact on people’s lives,” said Hovan. “I’m having a good time hanging out with him right now. This is a great experience for me. I know I have one more fan out there, which is great, watching me on Sundays. He’ll always be in my prayers now.”
Tempers Flare In Practice
Emotions got the best of a few Bucs players during Tuesday morning’s practice when cornerback Ronde Barber and wide receiver Maurice Stovall were involved in an altercation.
The scuffle didn’t last long as several Bucs players helped to separate Barber and Stovall.
“I try not to make a big deal out of that,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “Those guys are both competitors. Barber is one of the game’s greatest competitors. Hopefully there’s nothing personal there.”
Football For Dummies
Tampa Bay had a special guest at practice on Tuesday morning, and it wasn’t one quarterback Chris Simms was happy to see.
The Bucs put a moving dummy out on the practice field for a 7-on-7 session in an effort to help Simms get his passes over the line of scrimmage.
“We had some balls batted down last year,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “It’s been an area that we’ve tried to creatively work on. We had some balls deflected at the launching point, so we’re trying to have Chris sense passing lanes just to make it a bit more realistic. Guys are going to sense that the ball is being delivered and will raise their hand. It does add a little bit of realism to 7-on-7, and hopefully it pays off for us.”
To make the drill even more interesting, the Bucs put an Atlanta Falcons Rod Coleman jersey on the dummy.
“We had to honor Rod Coleman of the Falcons today because he’s played so well against us, so we got a Falcons number 75 jersey,” said Gruden. “Tomorrow it will be [Carolina Panthers DE] Julius Peppers. We’ll try to get a well-known blue chip pass rusher out there every day to simulate congestion.”
Just For Kicks
Tampa Bay re-signed kicker Matt Bryant this offseason after he drilled 21-of-25 (84 percent) of his field goal attempts last year.
However, Bryant hasn’t been Tampa Bay’s most consistent kicker in training camp. Former Florida State K Xavier Beitia has been solid in camp, making all of his field goal attempts thus far.
While Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said Bryant is Tampa Bay’s kicker, Beitia is making things interesting and will see some action in preseason.
“I don’t know if Xavier is in this or not,” said Gruden. “We’ll have to find out in the games. Matt kicked the ball extremely well to start camp, but he hasn’t been up to the performance standards that he has here in the last couple of days. We’ll see what happens. Xavier is going to get a chance to kick in the games, and that’s what it’s all about. Matt is our kicker. I do want to make myself clear on that. We have confidence in him.”
Bucs Preseason Tickets Still Available
A limited number of tickets for Tampa Bay’s two preseason home games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are available.
The Bucs host the Jets on Friday, Aug. 11 and the Dolphins on Saturday, Aug. 19. Tickets for both games can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster or by visiting ticketmaster.com
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