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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted a two-hour practice in shorts, jerseys and helmets at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena, Vista, Fla. on Monday afternoon.

Weather conditions were hot and humid, but some cool cloud cover rolled in approximately 30 minutes into practice.

Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle), wide receiver Joey Galloway (rest), linebackers Derrick Brooks (rest), Shelton Quarles (rest) and Marquis Cooper (unknown), tackles Torrin Tucker (knee) and Kenyatta Walker (knee) and running backs Michael Pittman (toe) and Derek Watson (ankle) were held out of the afternoon practice.

Defensive tackle Chris Hovan was not at either one of Tampa Bay’s practices on Monday due to an infection he’s being treated for.

The Bucs started the afternoon workout by having the wide receivers and tight ends running around cones and finishing the drill by getting hit with a blocking pad. The players did a nice job of showing quick feet and ball security skills during this session.

There were a few dropped passes at the beginning of practice. Receiver J.R. Russell dropped a pass, and fullback Rick Razzano, who has dropped a plethora of passes in camp, had another one slip off his hands.

“Come on, Rick,” Gruden screamed. “Get after the damn ball.”

Pewter Report has no medical expertise whatsoever, but watching Walker limp off the field with a bag of ice wrapped around his knee this afternoon didn’t look good, and the fact that he’s missed several practices in training camp while rookie T Jeremy Trueblood has shown improvement with every practice doesn’t bode well for No. 67. It should be very interesting to see if Walker suits up for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. He needs to if he plans to keep his starting job.

During 11-on-11 sessions, Trueblood and first-round pick, guard Davin Joseph, started at the right tackle and right guard spots, respectively. For the second straight practice, the Bucs called for several running plays to the right side of the field, and they had some success.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden continues to emphasize the importance of getting plays called in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage in a timely manner. After one play call, Gruden yelled, “I’m late (with the play call) – 14 seconds!”

Wide receiver Derek McCoy made one of the most impressive catches of training camp during an 11-on-11 drill when he batted a pass up in the air while running down the right seam. McCoy lost his balance and started to fall to the ground, and while falling to the ground he actually managed to haul in the pass for a completion and 20-yard gain. Phillips and CB Brian Kelly were in on coverage, but there really was nothing they could do about the incredible play made by McCoy.

A few plays later, WR Chas Gessner made a great play of his own by making a one-handed catch while running a deep out pattern.

The Bucs had a few penalties called on them during the afternoon workout. Running back Jacque Lewis was called for a false start, and defensive lineman Keith Wright was called for being offiside. Both penalties occurred during 11-on-11 drills.

Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice had an impressive practice. He had a wicked pass rush. In fact, on one play, Rice raced around the left tackle just to hit a wall, but instead of giving up, he ran back around the line of scrimmage and sacked quarterback Jared Allen on the opposite side of the field during a scout team drill.

Bucs strong safety Jermaine Phillips has been having a good camp, but he’s got to find a way to create more turnovers. During an 11-on-11 session, Phillips, who has one pick in his four-year career, had a poorly thrown pass from Allen fall right into his arms, but he dropped it.

Cornerback James Patrick a good pass breakup near the sideline on a pass thrown by Allen during the scout team drill.

The Bucs dedicated approximately 15-20 minutes of the afternoon practice to special teams work. With Pittman, who is the leading candidate to win the kickoff return job, out with turf toe, punt returner Mark Jones fielded some kickoffs this afternoon. Unfortunately for Jones, he fumbled a kickoff and had the ball bounce of his hands and along the ground on its way to being recovered by linebacker Wesly Mallard.

Bucs special teams coach Richard Bisaccia didn’t seem pleased with the kickoff return team as a whole at the beginning of the special teams session. The Bucs have never returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a regular season game during their 30-year history, and Bisaccia reminded his players of that stat.

“Anyone wonder why you can’t score?” Bisaccia yelled. “Watch the tape.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the practice came in the goal line drill. That was because the experiment that had been talked about nearly two weeks ago actually came to fruition when rookie WR Maurice Stovall lined up as a tight end for the Bucs offense. Stovall lined up on the left side of the line of scrimmage and was motioned over to the right side of the line to make a block when the ball was snapped. Don’t be surprised if Stovall gets a rep or two at tight end in Saturday’s preseason game.

Disaster nearly struck for Tampa Bay’s offense in goal line drills when Bucs QB Chris Simms dropped back to throw and fired off a shovel pass, but before the ball could reach the running back, defensive end Dewayne White got a hand on the ball and tipped it back to Simms for a completion. Simms attempted to run up the middle for a touchdown, but would have been tackled short of the goal line had it been a real game.

But the offense finished on a great note when Gruden called a bootleg for Simms, who rolled out to his left and had what appeared to be a valley in front of him. Needless to say, Simms practically walked into the end zone for the touchdown.

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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