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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field for their afternoon training camp practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex just hours after conducting their first camp workout of the year on Friday.
Just as they did in the morning, the Bucs held their afternoon practice in shorts, jerseys and helmets.
Although the conditions were extremely humid, Tampa Bay’s afternoon practice was held under plenty of cloud cover.
The Bucs began practice with stretching and warm-up drills. Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks, fullback Mike Alstott, cornerback Ronde Barber, guard Davin Joseph and linebackers Barrett Ruud and Ryan Nece led the team in calisthenics.
Bucs wide receiver Joey Galloway was held out of the afternoon practice as part of his regular training camp regimen of one-a-day workouts.
Tampa Bay left tackle Luke Petitgout, who injured his knee last season while playing for the New York Giants, was limited during the afternoon practice. It is not yet clear whether this was by design or if Petitgout suffered some type of injury during the morning or afternoon workout. PewterReport.com is looking into this and should have answers for you on Saturday morning.
Another player working his way back from a knee injury is Dan Buenning, who was moved from guard to center during the offseason. Buenning saw a limited amount of action during OTAs, and although he’s no longer limited, Buenning was hobbling quite a bit during the afternoon practice.
Buenning took a lot of reps at center with the third-team offense this morning, but he actually received some reps with the first-team offense this afternoon. The center/quarterback exchanges were much better this time around for Buenning.
Second-year T Donald Penn received a significant amount of reps with the first-team offense in place of Petitgout during the afternoon practice.
The Bucs focused on the running game during the morning practice. However, the afternoon workout was more pass-oriented in nature. Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks tested the defense’s secondary this afternoon by throwing some deep passes to receivers.
Tampa Bay starting QB Jeff Garcia had mixed results this afternoon, especially on deep throws. During a 7-on-7 drill, Garcia threw a deep pass down the left sideline for WR David Boston, but cornerback Sammy Davis did a nice job of defending the pass to cause the incompletion.
Garcia’s worst throw of the practice came during the same 7-on-7 drill when he threw a pass to WR Maurice Stovall, who was running a slant pattern but didn’t realize linebacker Jamie Winborn was reading his eyes the whole way.
Winborn attempted to break on the ball, but he slipped and fell to the ground, which prevented the pick and allowed Stovall to haul in the pass.
During an 11-on-11 session, Garcia’s pass toward the sideline intended for WR Michael Clayton was nearly intercepted by cornerback Brian Kelly after Kelly jammed Clayton at the line of scrimmage.
Garcia had a strong finish to the practice, showing impressive accuracy during a 7-on-7 drill and pocket presence in an 11-on-11 drill.
Bucs quarterback Chris Simms saw more action in the afternoon practice than he did in the morning, but the extra reps didn’t benefit the signal caller.
Simms started off the practice strong by hitting wide receiver Chad Lucas on a deep ball thrown down the left sideline. However, things didn’t go as well for Simms throughout the rest of practice.
As unlucky as he was when he ruptured his spleen last September, Simms had luck on his side during a 7-on-7 drill when his errant pass across the middle of the field was tipped about 5-7 yards back towards the line of scrimmage by Davis and CB Phillip Buchanon.
But instead of falling incomplete, the ball was hauled in by fullback B.J. Askew, who sprinted 50 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, reminding many of the observers on hand at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex of the Immaculate Reception.
But Simms’ luck didn’t last long. He’s still having trouble throwing into the flat, with his passes soaring over and under the intended receivers too often.
During an 11-on-11 drill, Simms was nearly intercepted by middle linebacker Antoine Cash. In the same drill, Simms overthrew tight end Keith Heinrich down the middle of the field, which allowed strong safety Sabby Piscitelli to show off his ballhawking skills by picking off the pass.
Bruce Gradkowski threw a deep ball down the middle to wide receiver David Boston, but Piscitelli beat him to it and made a great play on the ball while nearly intercepting it.
Piscitelli and middle linebacker Barrett Ruud had tremendous practices in terms of pass coverage on Friday afternoon.
Gradkowski has been fairly accurate on throws to the sidelines, but he’s still having trouble delivering the deep ball.
With Galloway held out of the afternoon practice, Boston received a significant amount of reps. He took full advantage by making some nice plays, including a over-the-shoulder catch down the left sideline vs. cornerback Carlos Hendricks.
Gruden kept a close eye on Boston, who appears to be in the best condition he’s been in since sustained two major knee injuries in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
With Boston healthy, Gruden is pushing Boston a little harder.
“Come on. It’s been three years since we ran a comeback (route), Dave,” Gruden yelled.
Speaking of yelling, Gruden lost his patience a bit during an 11-on-11 session this afternoon.
“Huddle up,” Gruden yelled after one of the players apparently didn’t line up properly. “Come on. Huddle up. Keep your eyes on the quarterback.”
Gruden wasn’t thrilled with the amount of time it was taking the quarterbacks to call the play, break the huddle and get to the line of scrimmage.
“Can we please get out of the [expletive] huddle?” Gruden screamed at one point.
The Bucs used some of the afternoon practice to work on special teams, specifically punt returns and punt return coverage. Bucs running back Cadillac Williams and wide receiver Ike Hilliard fielded punts during this session.
Approximately two hours into the afternoon practice, Gruden had the players take their helmets off and conduct a walk thru-type of practice.
The Bucs are scheduled to hold two training camp practices at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday.
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