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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a two-hour practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Wednesday morning.

The workout was held under clear skies and in hot and humid conditions, with temperatures in the low 90s.

With their second preseason game scheduled for Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs took the field without pads this morning. Instead, they sported shorts, jerseys and helmets.

Bucs tackle Torrin Tucker (knee), defensive tackle Kevin Lewis (leg) and running back Derek Watson (ankle) were held out of the morning workout. Defensive tackle Chris Hovan (infection) returned to action, but he was limited.

Wide receivers Joey Galloway and David Boston both participated in practice on Wednesday morning.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden spent the first part of the morning practice working with the offensive linemen, running backs and fullbacks on blitz pickup. After taking a bit of a beating in the same session on Tuesday morning, Gruden was a little less physical in this drill on Wednesday.

Gruden spent most of the session testing second-year running back Cadillac Williams, who had good awareness and leverage. Williams expressed an interest in becoming a full-time running back by improving his blitz pickup and pass-catching skills this offseason, and he showed the ability to pick up Gruden’s blitzes on Wednesday morning.

Tampa Bay had a much better practice session on Wednesday morning. In fact, not one player dropped a pass in warm-ups or skeleton drills, which was an impressive feat.

However, not everything went perfect for the offense. During the initial 7-on-7 drill, Bucs defensive end Dewayne White didn’t fall for a bootleg and sacked rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

But that mishap didn’t rattle Gradkowski. He bounced back by connecting with Galloway on a deep pass down the right sideline. Galloway had beaten rookie cornerback Alan Zemaitis on the play. A few plays later, Gradkowski fired a perfect strike across the middle of the field to WR Chas Gessner.

Gradkowski wasn’t as accurate in the latter part of practice. During the 7-on-7 red zone session, the rookie quarterback’s pass in the back of the end zone for Galloway was knocked away by CB Brian Kelly.

Bucs starting QB Chris Simms, who had not been consistent over the last few practices, rebounded on Wednesday morning by showing impressive accuracy, especially with the deep ball. Even with the moving dummy sporting a Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers jersey, Simms threw a great pass in the back of the end zone to WR Mark Jones, who beat Zemaitis on the play.

During the same 7-on-7 red zone drill, Simms found tight end Anthony Becht down the middle of the field for a touchdown. Becht had gotten open vs. linebackers Marquis Cooper and Barrett Ruud on the play. Simms also connected with WR Michael Clayton on a drag route. Clayton did a nice job of getting himself open against CB Ronde Barber on the play.

It wouldn’t be a normal Bucs practice without Gruden getting on one of his players, and this morning that player was rookie WR Maurice Stovall. During the 7-on-7 red zone session, Gruden apparently wasn’t pleased with how Stovall ran a particular route, and he let him know about it.

“Damn it, Stovall,” Gruden yelled. “Move it. We’re in the red zone. Damn. We don’t get down here every week.”

Things weren’t perfect for the defense, either. Bucs DE Simeon Rice was called for being offiside during a full team drill, and CB Dwight Ellick committed the same infraction a few drills later. During an 11-on-11 session, Bucs safety Will Allen was called for pass interference on Clayton in the corner of the end zone.

The penalties weren’t just called on the defensive players. Bucs running back Jacque Lewis was flagged for offensive pass interference during a 7-on-7 red zone drill.

However, the defense certainly produced its fair share of highlights. Bucs safety Kalvin Pearson had a strong outing this morning. He defended a pass intended for rookie WR Maurice Stovall during an 11-on-11 drill, and sacked QB Jared Allen on a blitz a few plays later. Bucs cornerback James Patrick and strong safety Jermaine Phillips also had a couple of nice pass breakups this morning.

Tampa Bay dedicated a portion of the morning workout to special teams. Bucs kicker Matt Bryant dominated this session, drilling 5-of-5 field goal attempts. Bryant is starting to run away with the kicking job as Xavier Beitia has struggled over the past several practices.

Receivers Mark Jones and Edell Shepherd, and CB Justin Phinissee fielded punts during the special teams session.

Tampa Bay is scheduled to hold a two-hour practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex 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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