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Tampa Bay held an afternoon practice on Wednesday – it’s final workout before the team holds a walk-thru on Thursday morning and then departs for Tennessee to take on the Titans on Friday night.
Temperatures were in the low 90s and the humidity was as high as ever.
After stretching, the wide receivers practiced over-the-shoulder catches while receivers coach Richard Mann looked on. The players did a good job of executing here, but WR Terrance Metcalf dropped a pass after WR Michael Clayton intentionally tried to distract him.
From there, the Bucs practiced 11-on-11 in a red zone session.
Tampa Bay had its second-team offense go up against the first-team offense, and vice versa, in scout-team offense vs. defense.
Quarterback Chris Simms play-action passed to fullback Jameel Cook, who dropped the pass in the flat. Simms had a shaky start to the practice, almost getting intercepted by safety Jermaine Phillips on a pass intended for WR Ike Hilliard. He also fumbled a quarterback/center exchange. Needless to say, this irked head coach Jon Gruden. “This isn’t red zone turnover time,” Gruden yelled. In addition, Simms overthrew WR Michael Clayton in the end zone for what would have been a touchdown.
However, Simms caught fire after this play, hitting tight end Alex Smith in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. A few plays later, Simms connected with WR Edell Shepherd, who beat cornerback Blue Adams for the big completion. Simms went back to Shepherd a few plays later, this time for the score, and Adams was in on coverage again.
Adams avenged the earlier plays by coming in free on a blitz and sacking Simms.
Backup QB Jared Allen, who was re-signed on Wednesday morning, has some rust to shake off, evidenced by his fumble on a quarterback/center exchange.
Bucs QB Luke McCown was once again effective on the rollout, but he was intercepted by S Will Allen after CB Ronyell Whitaker deflected a pass intended for WR Kevin Youngblood. McCown was almost picked later in practice by Phillips, who just couldn’t seem to come up with a pick on Wednesday afternoon.
Tampa Bay’s offensive line had a new starter in the lineup – center Scott Jackson. Bucs C John Wade seemed to be limited in the afternoon, and Jackson did a decent job of filling in for the veteran. Kenyatta Walker was held out of the afternoon practice, and rookie Chris Colmer played in his place for most of the workout.
Tampa Bay had also held some special teams work, and once again, WR DeAndrew Rubin fielded most of the kickoffs. Shepherd and cornerback Torrie Cox also fielded some kickoffs.
Mann, QB Jared Allen and rookie WR Larry Brackins spent an extra 30 minutes after practice working together, with Brackins reaping the most benefits. After missing nearly a week of camp with a hamstring injury, Brackins could certainly use the extra help.
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