After holding a two-hour practice in pads on Monday morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted a special teams workout in the afternoon.
The special teams practice, which was Tampa Bay’s first since training camp started last Friday, lasted about one hour and 10 minutes and was held under clear skies and in hot and humid temperatures.
Bucs kicker Matt Bryant was given the afternoon off. He’s kicked four field goals in each team practice. With Bryant out, K Xavier Beitia, a Tampa native, handled kickoffs. He did not attempt any field goals.
Beitia, who out-kicked New York Jets second-round pick, Mike Nugent, last year in training camp, displayed a strong leg on kickoffs, putting the ball deep in the end zone several times.
Josh Bidwell and Brian Simnjanovski handled punts during the afternoon practice, although Simnjanovski took most of the reps. Simnjanovski has a strong leg and punted well on Monday afternoon, but Bidwell is coming off a Pro Bowl and will be Tampa Bay’s punter in 2006, which is scheduled to be the final year of his contract.
Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips and rookie cornerback Alan Zemaitis are competing for the personal protector job.
Tight end Dave Moore appears to have the long snapper job under his belt as he handled most of the long snaps during the special teams practice. Bucs TE Mark Anelli and guard Jeb Terry also are in the mix at the long snapper competition.
Only two Bucs – wide receiver Mark Jones and rookie Justin Phinisee – were fielding punts during the practice. Both players fielded the punts cleanly and showed good burst.
Several players, including cornerbacks James Patrick and Phinisee and running backs Derek Watson and Earnest Graham, were fielding kickoffs. Noticeably absent from the special teams practice were RB Michael Pittman, who is thought to be the leading candidate to win that job this year, and WR Ike Hilliard, who has fielded punts in each of the team’s practices up until Monday afternoon.
The first-team kickoff coverage unit included linebackers Barrett Ruud, Marquis Cooper and Wesly Mallard, safeties Kalvin Pearson, Jermaine Phillips and Donte Nicholson, fullback Rick Razzano, Graham and Cox.
Phillips and cornerbacks Juran Bolden, Cox and Patrick were a few of the players playing flyer, and rookie WR Maurice Stovall, Nicholson and Cooper were a few of the players playing gunner.
The Bucs are scheduled to return to full-team practice in pads at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista.
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