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.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field Tuesday morning at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista to conduct a two-hour workout in shells (shoulder pads, helmets, jerseys and shorts).
Weather conditions were hot and humid, with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s.
Bucs tackle Kenyatta Walker (knee), defensive end Charles Bennett (hamstring), tackle Torrin Tucker (knee), guard Toniu Fonoti (ankle) and wide receiver David Boston (rest) were held out of Tuesday morning’s practice.
Safety Will Allen (thumb) and WR J.R. Russell (toe) returned to practice. Receiver Joey Galloway practiced in the morning session.
For the second straight morning practice, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden spent a significant amount of time watching and working with the offensive linemen. Bucs offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Muir had the players working on blocking technique with blocking pads, and he lot his patience with the players’ intensity, or lack thereof, a few times during the session.
Gruden and Muir were putting extra emphasis on blocking on the perimeter. At one point, Gruden called out the offensive tackles and tight ends.
“Let’s get some wood on these defensive ends today,” Gruden said. “Don’t be (expletive) blocking now. (Shoot!)”
Rookie tackle Jeremy Trueblood and guard Davin Joseph responded to the challenge by turning in outstanding practices. Both players saw action with the first-team offense.
However, Trueblood caught the wrath of Gruden on a third-and-7 play during an 11-on-11 drill when he false started.
“Dammit, Trueblood,” Gruden shouted. “You rookie. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you can’t concentrate.”
Tampa Bay’s offensive line struggled a bit in pass protection during 11-on-11 drills. Defensive tackle Anthony Bryant broke through the offensive line to sack QB Tim Rattay on one play.
However, no Bucs defensive lineman played as well as defensive end Simeon Rice, who had a field day with backup left tackle Scott Jackson. Jackson, who has had some impressive moments and is extremely versatile, struggled mightily vs. Rice, who sacked rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski twice during the full-team session.
With Tampa Bay preparing to play its first preseason game of the year on Friday night, Gruden put extra emphasis on getting plays off in a hurry on Tuesday morning.
“Come on now – 29 seconds,” Gruden yelled. “Come on guys. I did my job. Hurry up.”
Tampa Bay WR Chas Gessner, who has impressed in camp, got himself open on a slant pattern but dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Gradkowski. However, he made up for this drop later in the practice. During an 11-on-11 drill, Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly broke up a pass intended for Gessner. The ball, which was batted up in the air, was nearly intercepted by CB Ronde Barber, but Gessner came along and snatched the ball out of the air for a great catch.
The catch of the practice came during an 11-on-11 drill when Gradkowski threw a great pass down the left sideline for WR Michael Clayton, who laid out for the pass and came up with a great diving catch with cornerback James Patrick and safety Kalvin Pearson covering him.
Speaking of Barber, the three-time Pro Bowler got into an altercation with Bucs rookie WR Maurice Stovall on the far field this morning. The scuffle didn’t last long as their teammates intervened.
Bucs QB Chris Simms had a great practice. He threw nice passes to WR Joey Galloway and tight end Alex Smith. The team brought out a moving dummy with a Falcons Rod Coleman jersey on it during a 7-on-7 session. This was done in an effort to help Simms, who had too many balls batted down at the line of scrimmage last season, throw through lanes with more success. Simms did a good job of getting the ball off cleanly in this drill.
Bucs nose tackle Chris Hovan had an inspired practice this morning. He got the defense off to a tremendous start during 11-on-11 drills when he penetrated the backfield and blew up running back Earnest Graham, who was crushed by Hovan and fumbled the football as a result of the devastating hit.
Tampa Bay’s offense implemented a lot of running plays during what turned out to be a very physical 11-on-11 drill.
Bucs strongside linebacker Ryan Nece has quietly turned in a solid camp. He’s got a great nose for the football and has shown great instincts and playmaking ability, especially in the passing game. His main competitor, Marquis Cooper, has been disturbingly quiet in camp despite receiving a significant amount of reps. Cooper needs to make more plays if he wants to unseat Nece for the starting job.
Not everty thing went the defense’s way on Tuesday morning. Bucs defensive end Dewayne White was late coming over into the flat on a pass thrown to WR Edell Shepherd during a team drill.
Despite having great coverage on one play, Bucs rookie cornerback Alan Zemaitis couldn’t break up a pass intended for WR Mark Jones, who made a great catch on the play.
Tampa Bay appears to have made a good move in releasing Reuben Houston and signing S Dwight Ellick. Ellick has been a ballhawk since re-signing with the team on Saturday. He intercepted Gradkowski on an underthrown pass to Galloway on Tuesday morning.
The Bucs are scheduled to hold another two-hour workout on Tuesday afternoon at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
This story is intended to be read by PewterInsider 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. Be sure to read the latest issue of Pewter Report on-line in PDF format on PewterReport.com. Visit BucGear.com today to view and choose from the largest selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers merchandise in the world.