Copyright 2008

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Tampa Bay took the field for an afternoon practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Tuesday.

The Bucs practiced in shorts, jerseys and helmets.

Unlike previous afternoon workouts, the Bucs did not spend part of the practice inside their air-conditioned tent. Instead, the team practiced eight periods outdoors in hot and humid conditions with the thermostat near the fields reading 105 degrees.

In addition to quarterback Jeff Garcia (calf), wide receiver Joey Galloway (groin), fullback B.J. Askew (ankle), defensive tackle Jovan Haye (groin), cornerback Sammy Davis (hip) and wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) being held out of practice with their respective injuries, the team also rested several veterans, including QB Brian Griese, center Jeff Faine, defensive end Kevin Carter, linebacker Derrick Brooks, WR Ike Hilliard and LB Cato June.

The Bucs dedicated most of their afternoon practice to scout team work since they are scheduled to play their first preseason game of the year in Miami on Saturday.

Tampa Bay spent the majority of its first 11-on-11 session working on the running game, where Michael Bennett and Earnest Graham found some big running lanes with the offensive and defensive linemen moving at half speed.

"I like that," Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said to the offense during the running game period.

This afternoon's practice was pretty laid back in terms of tempo. A significant portion of the practice was run at half speed and focused on scout team, which allowed some of the veterans to catch their breath.

In fact, Bucs strong safety Jermaine Phillips was seen doing push-ups and crunches on the sideline as the team practiced. His teammate, S Sabby Piscitelli, followed Phillips' lead as the two players did push-ups together.

With Garcia and Griese held out of the afternoon practice, and Luke McCown present but not participating, most of the reps went to Chris Simms and rookie QB Josh Johnson.

It was the most amount of work either quarterback had received in camp up to this point.

Johnson made the most of it as he was fairly accurate and seemed to get more comfortable and into a rhythm with each rep he received.

Johnson threw a great slant pass to wide receiver Maurice Stovall. He followed that pass up with another accurate one to WR Brian Clark. Johnson hooked up with Clark again near the right sideline after safety Sergey Ivanov came over late in coverage.

In addition to showing a fairly accurate arm, Johnson also used his mobility to make some plays. He bootlegged and threw a nice pass to running back Clifton Smith near the flat for a decent gain.

He also showed the ability to put some decent zip on the ball when he squeezed a pass in-between two defenders and completed it to WR Micheal Spurlock.

Johnson also received some help during the full team drill when Lucas practically stole the ball from rookie CB Aqib Talib for a catch.

Johnson certainly wasn't perfect, though. He threw into double coverage and was nearly intercepted by CB Elbert Mack on a pass thrown to Jackson.

Simms had a mixed outing this afternoon. His pass attempt to Stovall across the middle of the field during an 11-on-11 period was nearly intercepted by cornerback Marcus Hamilton, but the second-year player dropped the pick.

Later during the full team drill, Simms overthrew Stovall down the right sideline with Mack in coverage.

However, Simms had his fair share of solid passes, and he's certainly been much better than this time last year when Simms threw multiple interceptions during scout team drills.

Simms hit rookie WR Dexter Jackson in stride on a crossing route. A few plays later, Simms hit WR Paris Warren on a crossing route, and although Warren needed to tip the ball four different times, he hauled it in for the catch against CB Eugene Wilson.

The Bucs finished this afternoon's practice with a two-minute drill. With 1:44 remaining on the scoreboard clock and the offense trailing 13-6, Simms led the Bucs offense from the 30-yard line.

The first play the Bucs ran was a draw to Smith, who gained 10 yards. On the next play, Simms completed a pass to Smith for a short gain. Simms followed that up with a completion to WR Cortez Hankton, who managed to cross midfield and get out of bounds.

From there, Simms completed a nice pass to Stovall to the 40-yard line with 25 seconds remaining on the clock. Simms managed to get the offense to the 30-yard line on the next play by completing a pass to RB Kenneth Darby with 18 seconds remaining on the clock.

Perhaps Simms' most impressive pass of the drive came on the next play when he hit TE Jerramy Stevens on a deep crossing route down to the 12-yard line with three seconds remaining. The Bucs called timeout after the catch.

But Tampa Bay failed to get in the end zone when Simms' sideline pass to Stevens bounced off the tight end's hands and out of bounds at the 3-yard line, which allowed time to expire.

The work Simms and Johnson received in practice this afternoon is a strong indication that both players will see significant playing time vs. the Dolphins on Saturday.

The Bucs also dedicated a decent amount of time this afternoon to special teams, where Jackson did a solid job of fielding punts.

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