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On Monday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their first practice since playing in their first preseason game at Miami on Saturday night. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and with a slight breeze at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, the Bucs started practice with some special teams work. The focus was on kickoff coverage and kickoff return.
Two important Buccaneers returned to practice on Monday. Starting quarterback Jeff Garcia and fullback B.J. Askew came back after missing over a week with a calf and ankle injury, respectively. Still sitting out practice was wide receiver Joey Galloway (groin), defensive tackle Jovan Haye (groin), safety Donte Nicholson (soreness), cornerback Sammy Davis (hip), and tight end Ben Troupe (undisclosed).
In the next session, the players warmed up in their position groups. The team then lined up for stretching and were led by their captains: Garcia, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, Chris Hovan, and Davin Joseph. After stretching the offense worked on some passing game installation.
Garcia looked accurate and threw mainly in the short to intermediate part of the field. He did complete a pass deep downfield to wide receiver Michael Clayton. The pass was well thrown and hit Clayton in stride. Garcia left practice early as he headed into the building with trainer Todd Toriscelli. After some time inside, Garcia joined his teammates in the tent, where he took a significant amount of reps during the walk-thru.
Following Garcia in the order of repetitions was Saturday night's starter Luke McCown. Following McCown was backup quarterback Brian Griese. At the conclusion of the brief installation period, the team went into some scout team work.
During scout team session, the scout team defense will simulate plays and looks that the offense will see from their next opponent, in this case being the New England Patriots. The same goes from the scout team offense, the plays that are run and where the ball is thrown is all to prepare the defense for the offense that they will be playing in their next contest.
Against the scout team defense, Griese was the first quarterback to get work. He handled three or four plays where he threw check downs. Following Griese was quarterback Chris Simms for a few snaps. Simms completed a pass across the middle of the field 10 yards deep to tight end Daniel Fells. Simms' next pass was bobbled, but hauled in by receiver Brian Clark.
McCown came next for three snaps. He started off by throwing a screen to running back Clifton Smith, who jetted up field for a nice gain. On the next snap McCown was lined up in shotgun and caught a snap ankle high from center Jeff Faine. McCown quickly reset and completed a short pass to tight end John Gilmore. The pair connected again on the next snap as McCown rolled out a little bit before throwing an out to Gilmore.
Griese came back in for one more snap and completed an intermediate level pass to wide receiver Maurice Stovall. Simms returned for one more rep.
"Quick footing, don't get caught in a hole," yelled head coach Jon Gruden.
Simms' pass was down the seem and was caught by tight end Jerramy Stevens in between two defenders, safety Will Allen and cornerback Elbert Mack.
The scout team offense came out to give the Bucs starting defense some preparation. Even though the scout team offense was only working to prepare the defense, rookie quarterback Josh Johnson looked sharp and accurate.
Johnson completed a pass in the deep middle of the field to wide receiver Maurice Stovall, but safety Sabby Piscitelli flew up and was right there. In a game, Piscitelli would have at least had a big hit and probably could have broken up the reception.
Johnson threw a little behind receiver Dexter Jackson who adjusted and made a nice catch on the move. Even at half-speed, the defense seemed to be ready for what the offense was preparing them for, as they appeared to have had a number of potential sacks. Ends Greg White and Gaines Adams looked especially active.
Johnson completed a high percentage of his throws and connected deep down the left sideline on a pass to wide receiver Brian Clark, who was being pursued by cornerback Marcus Hamilton.
After that play the horn sounded, and the Buccaneers went into their tent for the remainder of practice. This concluded the segment of practice that was open to the public and the media. In all, the Bucs practiced for a little less than two hours with half of it outside.
After Saturday night's preseason contest, Pewter Report published the Five Most Impressive players and Five Most Disappointing players. In the Five Most Disappointing players, safety Will Allen was stated to have allowed a conversion in a third and long situation. The conversion was actually not Allen's fault.
On the play, a linebacker did not stay back in coverage. The route ran by the receiver was a dig route, and if a safety makes a play on a dig route in Cover 2 than it is a great play. The safety is the deep half defender in this coverage and is responsible for keeping everything in front of them, which is exactly what Allen did on this play. Thus, Pewter Report wanted to correct the record on this play and credit Allen for fulfilling his proper assignment.
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