BUENNING RETURNS TO PRACTICE
Tampa Bay appears to be a little healthier heading into its second game of the 2006 regular season.
Although Bucs starting right guard Davin Joseph is out with a knee injury, left guard Dan Buenning, who missed last Sunday’s regular season opener with a sprained ankle, practiced Wednesday and is listed as questionable on the team’s official injury report.
Linebacker Shelton Quarles, who missed last Sunday’s game and remains questionable on the injury report, practiced on Wednesday.
Bucs tight end/long snapper Dave Moore is sidelined with a rib injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report. Moore did not practice Wednesday.
BUCS SIGN LS ECONOMOS, TE HEINRICH TO PRACTICE SQUAD
With Bucs tight end/long snapper Dave Moore questionable for Sunday’s game in Atlanta, Tampa Bay made several roster moves Wednesday, signing long snapper Andrew Economos and tight end Keith Heinrich to its practice squad and releasing fullback Rick Razzano.
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Economos originally entered the NFL in 2005 as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“We signed Economos on the practice squad,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. “We’re hopeful and optimistic that Dave will play, but he is questionable. [Tight end] Doug Jolley is a guy who we think can snap but we’ll update you as the week unfolds.”
Heinrich (6-5, 250) is in his fifth season. He originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick with the Carolina Panthers in 2002. Heinrich has started in three of the 18 games he’s played in during his career. He has caught nine passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
BUCS WORK OUT QUARTERBACK, OTHERS
The Bucs auditioned several players at One Buc Place on Tuesday, including quarterback Stefan LeFors, who played collegiately at Louisville. The 6-foot-t, 201-pound LeFors, who was a 2005 fourth-round pick, spent his rookie season with the Carolina Panthers.
Although Tampa Bay starting quarterback Chris Simms struggled in the team’s regular season opener, throwing three interceptions, head coach Jon Gruden said people shouldn’t start a quarterback controversy just yet.
“We brought in about nine guys yesterday,” Gruden said when asked about LeFors. “I don’t have the recall right now to bring up all nine players. But we did bring in Stefan LeFors, a guy who played at Louisville, because we’re interested in him. Some of our scouts liked him coming out. But I wouldn’t look too far between the lines. Our quarterback wears number two. We didn’t have a very good debut but hopefully as the season unfolds he can showcase what he’s all about.”
BUCS HOPE TO REBOUND VS. FALCONS
Tampa Bay took the practice field Wednesday for the first time since suffering a 27-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.
The Bucs have reviewed the film of that embarrassing loss and are focused on correcting their mistakes, and more importantly, coming up with a win against the 1-0 Falcons, who downed the Panthers in Carolina last week.
On one hand, the team felt its mistakes were unacceptable since many of their mishaps were things they worked to perfect since the beginning of the offseason.
“I just didn’t play good. Plain and simple,” said Bucs quarterback Chris Simms, who threw three interceptions last Sunday. “I feel like my mistakes hurt the team in a lot of ways. It probably would have been a different game if I don’t throw the ball to [cornerback Chris] McAlister, who returns it 60 yards for a touchdown. We didn’t play well as a team. But speaking for myself, I definitely didn’t play well.”
But the Bucs are encouraged by the fact that many of their mistakes are correctible. They’re also motivated by the possibility of starting the season 0-2 with a loss to the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday.
“Even if it wasn’t a divisional game, even if it was just a regular game, we’ve still got to bounce back and get focused,” said Bucs running back Michael Pittman. “Like I said, we don’t want to start 0-2. That’s just a bad feeling in your mouth, just a bad taste. You don’t want to have that feeling. After the game, the day after the game and even on Tuesday, guys still felt upset about the game. You saw all the emotions in the locker room, but we had to just get it behind us, wipe the slate clean and just go out there and try to dominate Atlanta. We know it’s going to be tough, of course – they’ve got a great team – but I think we can play a lot better than we did last week.”
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is confident that his team will bounce back from the loss, just as it did in Week 16 of the 2005 regular season when the Bucs defeated the Atlanta Falcons 27-24 in overtime just one week after being shut out by the New England Patriots, 28-0.
“It’s a long season,” Gruden said. “We lost a game last year by 28 points. It’s not about what you did last week, it’s about what you’re doing now and what you’re going to do in this game. We realize that we got beat pretty soundly but I don’t want to talk about that anymore. We’ve got a very strong nucleus of men that I think is eager to put that week behind us and move on.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on how injured guard Dan Buenning looked in practice Wednesday
“Questionable. Questionable guys pretty much are questionable looking, kind of like some of my old girlfriends.”