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The second practice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2008 training camp was held on Saturday afternoon. The practice was held under cloudy skies and cooler temperatures in the low 80's. The media was allowed to watch only half of the practice as the team moved the last half into their tented practice facility.
The Bucs will also attempt to keep all of their players fresh by practicing indoors at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex for at least half of the afternoon practices.
The indoor practice facility is air-conditioned and is 132 feet x 132 feet and 40-feet high at the crest. The facility, which is approximately 40 yards long, has an indoor temperature that is 20 degrees cooler outside. The facility also has six air-conditioning units inside that eliminate humidity.
The practice session started with the special teams having a walkthrough of their coverage units. While they practiced the lineman and quarterback were leisurely warming up. The team came together for stretching and then split into their position groups for drills.
There were a few Buccaneers players that were observing this afternoon's practice in an effort to keep them fresh. Those players included wide receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard, linebacker Derrick Brooks, and cornerback Ronde Barber. Wide receiver Maurice Stovall left practice for a while as he went into the locker room to get an IV to rehydrate.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden plans to use rookie wide receiver Dexter Jackson mainly as a return specialist this year, but the speedy wide out could be worked into the offense as well. Early indications suggest the Bucs will use Jackson on wide receiver screens, slant passes, and even reverses. However, Jackson won't get on the field if makes the type of mistake he made this afternoon. On one particular play, Jackson fumbled the exchange on a reverse.
Bucs WR Michael Clayton continued to be physical on the football field. He probably would have had a solid showing this afternoon had it not been some poorly thrown passes that were behind Clayton.
Tampa Bay backup middle linebacker Matt McCoy built off of his impressive outing from this morning, showing good play recognition and closing speed. McCoy had a diving pass breakup as wide receiver Paris Warren was grabbing a Luke McCown pass.
Bucs second-year safety Sabby Piscitelli had a blown coverage in this morning's practice that resulted in a big play for the offense, but he rebounded by making an impressive play in coverage, breaking up a pass thrown by quarterback Brian Griese for Warren.
Speaking of Griese, he had an errant pass intercepted by cornerback Elbert Mack this afternoon. Not only did he pick off the pass, but Mack had plenty of running room in front of him. Griese was part of another possible turnover when he and center Jeff Faine botched a snap and put the ball on the ground.
But Griese rebounded when he found a wide-open Stovall down the right sideline, just as he did during the morning practice. This time, Stovall had beaten safety Jermaine Phillips and cornerback Phillip Buchanon for a touchdown. However, had the pads been on, Griese might not have gotten the pass off as defensive end Gaines Adams appeared to have sacked him.
Griese threw a screen pass to Earnest Graham that would have gone for a loss because linebacker Adam Hayward was on top Graham immediately after he caught the pass. Graham had a strong second practice running up the middle and off tackle.
Griese threw a pass into the flat for fullback B.J. Askew, but the normally sure-handed veteran dropped the ball. Askew was being guarded closely by defensive end Greg Peterson.
Throughout the two practices the Buccaneers have been running a lot of plays were their lineman were dropping into coverage. On one play, Gaines Adams was running with Clayton. It will be interesting to see if the Bucs keep those plays throughout the preseason and into the regular season.
Adams had a big pass rush throughout the first day, and was lightning fast off of the snap. He hurried Griese into a pass attempt to Chad Lucas that was broken up by Buchanon. Adams also hurried a pass from McCown to wide receiver Micheal Spurlock that was almost broken up by cornerback Eugene Wilson.
Adams wasn't the only Bucs defensive lineman to provide a good pass rush. Jimmy Wilkerson rushed a few throws. Defensive tackle Ryan Sims flashed at times as well.
Defensive end Greg White also had some pressures. On one play he would have had a sack of quarterback Chris Simms as he came from Simms' blind side. The lefty quarterback wound up threading a pass deep downfield to Stovall.
Simms made a nice completion while getting rushed by Quincy Black. With the linebacker bearing down on him, Simms completed a quick out to a sliding Spurlock. Black got a fingertip on the ball, but it wasn't enough to break up the attempt. Simms had a rollout pass completed to tight end Alex Smith for a good gain. Simms was the third quarterback to get reps after Griese and McCown. Rookie quarterback Josh Johnson got a few reps occasionally after Simms turn.
For the second practice in a row, McCown was the first quarterback to get reps. McCown did not look as sharp today as he did during the organized team activities or the team's mini-camp in June.
McCown threw a bullet to wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who was about 12 yards past the line of scrimmage and in the middle of the field. McCown was under pressure during the practice, and on one play he was hurried and had a wide-open Clayton running a slant in the middle of the field, but McCown's pass was too far behind the receiver for him to be able to haul it in.
Just as he did in the morning practice, the Bucs quarterbacks, including McCown, threw a lot of passes to receivers in the flat and out of the backfield. McCown hooked up for four to five yard gains with Askew and running back Clifton Smith. Smith's reception would most likely have not been for any gain after the catch as McCoy and Ryan Nece were there to make the play.
Running back Michael Bennett had a run for a big gain on a pitch off tackle. Bennett ran downfield, but was forced out of bounds by rookie linebacker Geno Hayes.
"Way to run Geno," yelled linebacker coach Gus Bradley.
As lightning started to strike in the distance the team moved their practice into the tent. They worked on punt coverage prior to the remainder of the practice being closed to the media.
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