Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris addressed the minor injuries of his players that are starting to add up. A number of players sat out of Thursday's practice including center Jeff Faine (groin), wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee), running back Derrick Ward (foot), and defensive end Kyle Moore (shoulder). Wide receiver Kelly Campbell (quad) left practice early with his injury. Morris discussed the injuries and indicated none of them are serious long-term injuries.
"Antonio Bryant is day-to-day. He actually ran some routes yesterday in practice, and he should be ready to go tomorrow," said Morris. "We'll let him get a good night's sleep and see how he feels. Kyle Moore had a minor shoulder, he is day-to-day, and nothing to really talk about. [Derrick] Ward had a foot sprain. He is definitely day-to-day. He is walking around in a precautionary boot, so he is definitely day-to-day. You don't have to worry about writing a major story on the Bucs hiding injuries. We have a boot on him for stabilization.
"The only significant one is Clayton, and it is a lot better than we thought. It is not severe at all. He is probably next week, but he'll get several days, and it may be a blessing in disguise because of hard he was practicing as you guys can see. He has a little bit of a hamstring that is deeper than the other ones. He is week-to-week I should say rather than day-to-day. We'll get him several days."
After observing practice Clayton talked to the media about his hamstring injury. The Bucs veteran receiver missed several games due to injuries in the 2005-2007 seasons with a variety of injuries. Clayton echoed Morris, but also indicated a potential shorter timetable for getting back to practice.
"I've never had any hamstring problems. I took the MRI and everything is fine," said Clayton. "It'll be a couple of days. It is nothing to be worried about, or anything like that. I'll be okay."
Morris discussed the rest of the team's injuries
"We got Faine he is a groin, he should return next week which is good," said Morris. "Today in practice Kelly Campbell pulled his quad and he is day-to-day."
Morris canceled Friday's afternoon practice for a team activity. He felt the players earned the afternoon off, and did not want to enter the next week of practice with more players dealing with tweaked injuries.
MORRIS CALLS OUT WINSLOW
After practice on Thursday Morris called out tight end Kellen Winslow for controlling his emotions. The Buccaneers traded a second and fifth round pick to the Clevelnd Browns for Winslow in the offseason, and gave him a contract extension during the offseason. Morris has talked about Winslow stepping up and being a leader throughout the offseason.
"Today's talking points with the team. It was a good practice because you got to go out there and see our mentality," said Morris. "Today you can see a little bit of weakness as far as the mentality. We rode the emotional roller coaster a little bit and I'll give you an example. Kellen Winslow, and I talked about this to the team so there is no talking behind the team's back, but Kellen Winslow catches a pass. He is hyped up and gets the crowd going. He throws it down behind his back, spin it, flip it, and gets the crowd relied up. Then he drops one, puts his head down, and walks back to the huddle. That is part of riding the emotional roller coaster that we don't want to do. You have to be the same no matter what. We need somebody to pick him up. No teammate should let him drop his head, and he shouldn't think of dropping his head. That's part of being a team, and that's apart of going to the next play and moving on. One play, becomes a bad practice. You need those good plays to keep it a ride and for people to take onto it."
Morris talked about how the offense rode a roller coaster of effectiveness in practice, and the emotions of the players needed to be steady in order for the team to produce consistently. Winslow had butted heads with members of the Browns organization over the years, and Morris referred to some past problems while calling out Winslow for his emotions after practice on Thursday.
"Oh, he's definitely talented, but I'm also starting to get an idea of the problems he's had," said Morris. "But I think it's the first time anyone has ever addressed him, talked to him about it. He understands, he looks me in the eye, I look him in the eye and that's it-my bad. If he does something good, I'll tell him my bad. Sometimes his emotional energy is going to give us a lift and other times it hurts. He's got to know when it's the right time."
"I don't know if it is a problem. This is a high-intense, angry man driven game. He needs to figure it out, and he will. I know he will. That's why he's a Buc."
MORRIS UPDATES QUARTERBACK BATTLE
Morris discussed the play of his veteran quarterbacks after practice on Thursday. He said both Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown have remained competitive to be the starter. The competition will extend further into training camp and the preseason games.
"The two older guys are playing really well," said Morris. "They're having days back and forth [Luke and Byron]. One day Byron looks hot, the other day Luke looks hot. The leadership skills are coming out, the tempo got a lot better. The younger guys they need some opportunities. You'll see the younger guys get an opportunity to perform tomorrow because the older guys came out and executed well [today]. Just because every play doesn't take, doesn't mean it's the quarterback's fault-it could be some one not running motors or it could be protection. That's the nature of the beast though, that's the position. We still have to get to that first game to really get separation because that's when they've really have a chance to get hit."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Morris talked about his wide receivers and their play.
"We do (have some tough decisions). We know [Clayton]. We know [Bryant]. Other than that you are looking for a slot, and you have [Brian Clark] competing at a high level. [Maurice Stovall] is starting to come back. He is starting to step out of the box. Dexter Jackson is showing up a little bit better and better every day. He is up and down still. He'll drop a slant, and then make a big play. He'll run a reverse and you'll see the speed. He should of gotten in (the end zone). He shouldn't have, whatever, the arguments are there. You see Kelly Campbell flash down the field and then he pulls a quad. Those are always tough decisions. Cortez Hankton, how did he sneak into the bout? Who let him into the ring? Who told him he was invited. He's forcing his will. Sammie Stroughter a seventh-round pick was supposed to be my practice squad wideout why are you competing so hard? These guys don't have that mentality. They want to play and they want to shine."
QUOTE OF THE DAY II
Morris' comment on the defensive backs making enough plays on the football.
"Elbert Mack did. Ronde Barber touched a couple. We need Aqib Talib to touch the ball. We need him to be the catalyst. We need him to be the lead dog. We need Tanard Jackson and Sabby Piscitelli to touch the ball. Tanard got his hands on a couple the other day and he got his hands on one today, got a nice PI. He would have gotten his hands on one today but it was a great job by [Clark], you can't just grab your teammates in practice. That's what I told him when I walked up to him But we are not going to give away picks. But we have to stop big plays. We gave up way too many big plays from a [defensive backs] standpoint, and we need to get our hands on more balls. We are going to be defined by how many times we touch the football, and that's always going to be the same thing in the [devensive backs] room, period."