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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted a two-hour practice in shells (shorts, jerseys, shoulder pads and helmets) at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena, Vista, Fla. on Tuesday morning.

The practice was held under fairly clear skies and in hot and humid to temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s.

Bucs running back Derek Watson (ankle), defensive tackle Chris Hovan (infection) and linebackers Derrick Brooks (rest) and Shelton Quarles (rest) were held out of Tuesday morning’s workout.

Several players, including cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle), LB Marquis Cooper (shoulder), tackles Torrin Tucker (knee) and Kenyatta Walker (knee) and RB Michael Pittman (turf toe) returned to practice this morning after missing practice time on Monday.

The Bucs also made several roster moves Tuesday, signing fullback Robert Douglas and releasing tight end Leonard Stephens. The team also signed rookie tight end T.J. Williams, who sustained a season-ending Achilles’ tendon tear in June, and placed him on injured reserve.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who normally spends the first part of the morning practice working with the receivers, decided to work with the offensive linemen on Tuesday morning.

The offensive linemen, running backs and fullbacks worked on blitz pickup, and Gruden did his best impression of a blitzing linebacker or safety in the drill by rushing the line of scrimmage seconds before the ball was snapped.

Although he didn’t have any pads on, Gruden got in a couple of nice licks on the offensive players, including fullback Rick Razzano and guard Dan Buenning.

However, the offensive players got their fair share of licks in, too. In fact, Davin Joseph might have got one in for the entire team when Gruden rushed the line of scrimmage on one particular play. When the ball was snapped, the rookie guard held Gruden off with a stiff arm of sorts and pushed Gruden’s face and neck back and knocked off his visor.

After collecting his visor from the ground and catching his breath, Gruden decided it might be safer to work with the receivers.

With less than a week of camp remaining, Gruden isn’t showing much patience for mental errors, especially from the receivers. Gruden jumped all over receivers Chas Gessner and J.R. Russell during skeleton drills. During the same session, Gruden criticized rookie WR Maurice Stovall for not running a route hard enough.

“Run that route harder,” Gruden screamed. “That’s the way I’d run that route.”

Bucs quarterback Chris Simms was sharp on Tuesday morning, especially on deep passes. Unfortunately, the receivers didn’t always deliver on their end. During warm-ups, Bucs WR David Boston dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball from Simms. The Bucs once again brought out the moving dummy to help Simms find passing lanes and get his passes off cleanly at the line of scrimmage. Today’s dummy sported Saints defensive end Will Smith’s jersey. During the 7-on-7 session, Simms threw a beautiful pass down the left seam to WR Edell Shepherd, who had beaten CB Torrie Cox to get himself open and make the reception.

One of Simms’ only mistakes came in the final 11-on-11 drill when his deep pass into the end zone that was intended for WR Joey Galloway got intercepted by safety Blue Adams, who turned in a great practice on Tuesday morning.

Rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski wasn’t quite as accurate during the morning session. During an 11-on-11 drill, Gradkowski had a pass thrown across the middle intercepted by weakside linebacker Jamie Winborn, who was playing in place of Brooks. Gradkowski was picked off again in a 7-on-7 drill by Adams, who had good coverage on WR Michael Clayton on the play.

Adams’ two interceptions and overall practice on Tuesday morning could increase his chances of earning a 53-man roster spot. Backup S Kalvin Pearson’s dropped interception opportunity during an 11-on-11 drill could also help Adams out.

Tight end Alex Smith has had a somewhat quiet training camp, but he made a big splash during the 7-on-7 period when he hauled in a ball thrown over his head and managed to hold onto it for the catch despite the fact that two defenders were hanging all over him. As Smith picked himself off the ground, tight ends coach Ron Middleton praised him for making the great play.

“Yeah. Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about,” Middleton said to Smith.

Tampa Bay dedicated several minutes of the morning workout to special teams. Bucs kicker Xavier Beitia appears to be suffering from a hangover from his missed extra point attempt in Friday night’s preseason game. On Tuesday morning, Beitia made just 1 of 4 field goal tries.

The morning practice ended with Gruden asking the players and coaches to form a circle at mid-field and cheer on the defensive linemen, who were called out into the ring to run through dummy drills. Even Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin got into the action by running through two dummy pads.

Tampa Bay is scheduled to hold a two-hour practice from 2:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.


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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