After canceling their morning practice, which was listed as “To Be Announced,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field for a workout at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Sunday afternoon.
However, the afternoon practice was in danger of being cancelled after lightning struck near the practice fields as the players were taking the field. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden ordered his players and coaching staff to go indoors while the severe weather in the area passed.
Approximately 15 minutes later, the Bucs players and coaching staff took the field again to conduct their afternoon workout.
Gruden was fairly pleased with his team’s performance during the Bucs’ 16-3 win over the New York Jets in their preseason opener on Friday night, and that might have made his decision to cancel the morning practice a little easier.
“They are entitled to a day off and we gave them the day off,” Gruden said. “We had a late-night game Friday night, they had all day Saturday off and we brought our players in [Sunday]. Every one of them showed up on time Sunday morning for breakfast and we had a good two-and-a-half to three-hour meeting and we really isolated the film. We emphasized some things that we did well and we emphasized things we didn’t do so well. We had a lengthy meeting and it was beneficial. We had a good lunch then came out here and made some corrections on the practice field just like we normally would.”
Tampa Bay is entering the final week of training camp. The Bucs have a total of seven practices remaining before they break camp on Thursday morning. The Bucs plan to make the most of the practice time they have left near Orlando.
“Obviously, the last few days of training camp, you’ve got to just really emphasize concentration and mental toughness,” Gruden said. “You’ve got to get your work done, man, you’ve got to get your work done. There are going to be some distractions later this week – breaking camp obviously, moving back to Tampa. There’s a rumor that we have a new facility that’s unbelievable, so guys are getting a little excited. But we’ve got to concentrate on Miami. These guys are a very good team. They’re going to blitz from all over the place. Offensively, they’ve got a great back and they’ve added a couple quarterbacks who can fling it around. So we’ve got to get our work done here and concentrate and finish what we started.”
The Bucs certainly got off to a good start this week by having several players return to practice.
Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly, who missed several practices last week while dealing with a family illness, returned to practice.
Safety Will Allen, who missed Friday night’s preseason game with a broken thumb, practiced without a cast on his left arm on Sunday afternoon.
Defensive end Charles Bennett (hamstring) and tackles Kenyatta Walker (knee) and Torrin Tucker (knee) also returned to practice after being sidelined last week with their respective injuries.
“Yeah, [Kenyatta] and [Torrin] Tucker returned today, which we expected,” said Gruden. “We do expect them to pick up the pace here in the next couple days. Hopefully, they’ll be available in this game. They need to play.”
Defensive tackle Chris Hovan (rest), middle linebacker Shelton Quarles (rest), running back Derek Watson (ankle) and cornerback Torrie Cox (ankle) were held out of Sunday afternoon’s practice.
The Bucs will hold two-a-day practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They will conduct a workout on Thursday morning before breaking camp and heading back to Tampa to move into their new training facility.
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