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Due to the fact that Tampa Bay won Friday night’s exhibition season opener against the New York Jets, 16-3, the Buccaneers didn’t practice on Sunday morning, but they did have an afternoon session. The Bucs took the field wearing helmets, shorts and jerseys and no pads.

The Bucs’ afternoon practice was delayed and nearly cancelled due to severe weather in the area, but it ended up being delayed by about 15 minutes.

Offensive tackles Kenyatta Walker and Torrin Tucker returned to practice after missing a week’s worth of practices. Rookie defensive end Charles Bennett also returned to practice after missing nearly two weeks with a hamstring injury. Cornerback Brian Kelly was also at practice after missing Thursday’s practice and Friday’s game due to an illness in the family.

Nose tackle Chris Hovan (rest), middle linebacker Shelton Quarles (rest), running back Derek Watson (ankle) and cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle) sat out the practice today. Safety Will Allen practiced without a cast this afternoon.

The wide receivers were working on running short routes, such as slants, and intermediate routes, such as digs. Receivers coach Richard Mann was stressing to his players to get into the middle of the field on the dig routes, which are similar to curl routes.

“Get that inside release,” Mann said.

Rookie Maurice Stovall does such a good job of using his hands to get a release off the line of scrimmage. Stovall is physical and has huge hands. He likes to slap opponents away and he also incorporates a nice swim move off the line, too.

Receiver Derek McCoy dropped a catchable pass on a dig route and punished himself by doing pushups on his knuckles.

Chas Gessner seemed to be practicing with a purpose today after not catching any passes in the preseason opener. He was running precise routes and catching the ball cleanly in the afternoon practice.

Receiver David Boston caught a nice, 30-yard deep out from Chris Simms that got the crowd cheering.

Because the practice was not in pads, there was very little contact and several of the drills were run at half speed. The offensive line worked with blocking shields and concentrated on blitz pickup assignments.

Although the players weren’t wearing pads and were not going full speed, the play of starting under tackle Booger McFarland seemed lackadaisical. After an underwhelming year in 2005, you just get the sense that he’s never going to be a dominant player because he never dominates in practice. Warren Sapp used to dominate in practice on a regular basis. It just seems like McFarland will never come close to Sapp’s level of play – and that’s not just analysis from today’s practice. That’s analysis from watching a couple of weeks worth of camp.

Strong safety Jermaine Phillips was running 53-yard gassers on his own in between reps. Phillips is a tireless worker in the Simeon Rice mold, and now weighs 213 pounds – down from the 230 pounds he weighed last year. Phillips, who is physically ripped, was fast last year, but seems faster this year – likely due to the weight loss.

In 11-on-11 drills, cornerback Juran Bolden had a nice pass breakup on a ball intended for Paris Warren. Fellow corner James Patrick, who has struggled to make plays in camp, had a good pass breakup on Gessner.

Receiver Mark Jones, who didn’t have any catches in the preseason opener, made a nice catch on a pass thrown behind him in 11-on-11 drills.

Running back Cadillac Williams continues his evolution as a receiver. He caught a couple of passes in 11-on-11’s today and was even motioned out wide a la Michael Pittman. Williams received a lot of work today, and he even ran with the scout team offense on Sunday afternoon.

Bennett showed no ill effects from his severe hamstring strain and had some good outside pass rushes against left tackle Sam Lightbody.

Veteran linebacker Marquis Cooper drew the ire of the Tampa Bay coaches by committing a rookie mistake by lining up improperly.

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin yelled, “Get lined up right, Coop!”

Linebackers coach Joe Barry screamed, “Get your head out of your ass!”

The Buccaneers ended practice a little early as storms threatened the central Florida area.

This story is intended to be read by Pewter Insider subscribers only. Sharing of the PI content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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7 years ago

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