The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field for a two-hour practice in full pads on Monday morning. It was the second practice the team has held in full pads in consecutive days.
Weather conditions were warm but comfortable during the first half of practice, but temperatures heated up during the second half of the practice.
Tampa Bay defensive lineman Charles Bennett, who left Sunday afternoon’s workout early, missed Monday’s practice with a hamstring injury. He will be sidelined for a significant amount of time.
The Bucs held wide receiver Joey Galloway and linebackers Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles out of the morning practice in an effort to keep those players fresh and healthy.
After calisthenics, the players broke off into positions to work with their respective coaches on individual drills.
Bucs offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Muir worked with the lineman on the blocking sled, which really got the crowd pumped as they lifted the sled off the ground a few times.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and his brother Jay worked with the wide receivers for the first part of practice. The Gruden brothers got to take their training camp frustration out on the receivers by hitting the players with blocking pads as they ran by Jon and Jay.
With Galloway out, veteran WR David Boston once again had a chance to shine in his place. He made a great one-handed catch after tipping the ball to himself in warm-ups, and he also made a great grab catch and did a nice job of keeping his feet in bounds on the sideline. Boston also caught several passes and got to show off his speed on slant patterns.
Bucs WR Michael Clayton continued to impress by hauling in a pass over cornerback Torrie Cox for a big gain this morning in 7-on-7 drills. During an 11-on-11 drill, Clayton worked his way past linebacker Marquis Cooper to get open on a crossing pattern. He turned the catch into a big gain.
Although the play in the pass-catching department was much better, there still were a few drops on Monday morning. Receivers Terrence Stubbs, Maurice Stovall. Mark Jones and Boston were a few of the players guilty of dropping passes.
Running back Derek Watson had an outstanding day in terms of running the football on Monday morning. Watson was hitting the holes hard and making players miss. He was also better catching passes, which he’ll have to do to make the team this year.
Bucs RB Cadillac Williams also had a nice day running and catching the ball. In fact, he broke off a big run for a touchdown after tight end Anthony Becht blew open a hole for him during 11-on-11 drills.
Rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is improving with every practice. He took reps with the second-team offense on Monday morning. He’s throwing tight spirals and is hitting receivers both in the short-to-intermediate part of the field as well as deep downfield.
Gradkowski could be pushing Tim Rattay for the backup quarterback job, although Rattay might have had his best practice in camp on Monday morning by dropping some passes to his receivers in zone coverage. Rattay also threw a touchdown to TE Alex Smith on a play-action rollout during a full team red zone drill.
On the defensive side of the ball, rookie CB Alan Zemaitis had another impressive outing. He came up with his second interception in as many practices during an 11-on-11 session when he leaped in the air to snap one of Gradkowski’s passes out of the air.
Bucs CB Juran Bolden came up with a pick of his own later in practice when he jumped Rattay’s pass intended for WR Chas Gessner and returned it to the end zone for a touchdown. Bolden made a great read and got a great jump on the ball thrown into the flat.
Linebackers Ryan Nece and Antoine Cash had nice pass breakups during an 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drill, respectively.
One player that really struggled on Monday morning was rookie TE Tim Massaquoi, who struggled to catch the ball and blew a couple of assignments during the morning session. Gruden was really riding Massaquoi during this workout.
Bucs safety Blue Adams, who is making the transition from cornerback, struggled during the morning session as well. He was involved in a play near the sideline that allowed WR Ike Hilliard to haul in a pass from Rattay. Adams had good coverage, but Hilliard still managed to bring in the pass. One play later, Rattay threw a perfect strike to WR Mark Jones in-between Adams and CB James Patrick near the sideline. To his credit, Adams later made a great pass breakup on a deep ball thrown to Boston.
Patrick also was in coverage on Rattay’s deep pass down the right sideline to WR Chas Gessner, who hauled in the pass for a big gain during a 7-on-7 drill.
In the special teams part of practice, Bucs kicker Matt Bryant missed his first field goal attempt after long snapper Dave Moore got off a high snap to holder/punter Josh Bidwell. However, Bryant rebounded by making three straight field goals.
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