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Pewter Report was on hand to document the one-on-one battles between Tampa Bay’s wide receivers and defensive backs during Sunday morning’s practice. Keep in mind that the offense should have a decided advantage because the receivers know the play, and in 1-on-1 situations there is no safety or linebacker help for the cornerbacks.
Of the 28 reps that Pewter Report witnessed, the offense came away with 16 victories while the defense notched 12 wins. Here’s how the action went down:
• Chris Simms had his slant pass intended for Maurice Stovall broken up by safety Tanard Jackson.
• Josh Johnson had his slant pass intended for Dexter Jackson broken up by cornerback Eugene Wilson.
• Michael Clayton caught Simms’ curl pass and used a head fake to pick up additional yardage on cornerback Aqib Talib.
• Johnson hit Micheal Spurlock in stride on an out pass in front of cornerback Darrell Hunter.
• Simms found Antonio Bryant for a touchdown on a go route against cornerback Ronde Barber, who thought the route was going to be a slant.
• Brian Griese hit Ike Hilliard on a slant route against cornerback Phillip Buchanon.
• Johnson hit Chad Lucas on a comeback in front of free safety Will Allen.
• Griese nailed Brian Clark on a crossing route in front of cornerback Sammy Davis.
• Johnson threw a deep pass intended for rookie wide receiver Dexter Jackson, who stumbled when he was trying to do an out-and-up route. When Jackson just laid on the ground in disgust, Morris yelled to Tanard Jackson, who was in coverage: “Just retire! He quit, T-Jack! Leave the building!”
• Sims fired perfect out to Stovall, who dropped the pass with Allen in coverage.
• Johnson’s pass to Paris Warren was too high to catch, while he was being covered by cornerback Elbert Mack.
• Simms found Clayton with a nice slant pass. Clayton used his 6-foot-4 frame to shield the ball away from Wilson in coverage.
• Bryant hauled in a great post pass from Johnson after Talib slipped in coverage, allowing the receiver to be wide open.
• Hilliard dropped a catchable out pass from Simms while Barber was in coverage.
• Luke McCown hit Spurlock for a touchdown over Talib on a skinny post route.
• Simms threw a nice comeback pass that was caught by Lucas in front of Hunter.
• McCown hooked up with Warren on a slant route in front of Davis.
• Brian Clark made a great catch of a quick out throw by Johnson. Mack had jumped the route and he had the ball go through his hands and right into Clark’s arms. It should have been a pick-six for Mack, but he couldn’t bring it in.
• McCown threw a nice out route to Jackson, who beat Wilson to the ball before going out of bounds.
• Once again, Johnson put too much on a slant and it was too high for Stovall, who is 6-foot-5, to haul in. Stovall was covered by Buchanon.
• McCown threw a bomb to Spurlock, who outraced Barber to the ball for a touchdown on a go route.
• Johnson threw a deep sideline pass to Clayton, who used an out-and-up move to burn Talib, who jumped the out move. After the play, Morris tried to give some coaching points to Talib about double moves, but Talib seemed to turn away and tune Morris out, which was disappointing to see and may have been a show of Talib’s immaturity.
• McCown threw a slant pass to Lucas, who dropped the ball in front of Marcus Hamilton.
• Johnson threw an out to Hilliard, but the ball was punched out by Hunter.
• McCown threw a slant pass to Bryant, but the route was jumped perfectly by Davis, who proceeded to break up the pass.
And finally, the tough luck award of the day goes to Cortez Hankton, who had two balls stripped out of his hands on Saturday only to have the same thing happen to him again on Sunday morning. Hankton was making a daring sideline catch on a pass from Simms only to have Buchanon come over and swat the ball out of hands at the last second. Then Griese tried to hook up with him, only to have Mack jump up and swat the ball from his hands one yard inside the end zone on a go route.
But justice was served on the very last rep as Hankton was tracking a beautiful bomb from Johnson in the middle of the end zone at the end of a post pattern. Mack had once again jumped up to ripped the ball out of Hankton’s hands. The ball fluttered up in the air as both Mack and Hankton fell to the ground, but Hankton kept concentrating on the ball and was able to snatch it for a touchdown as he laid on his back in the end zone, which drew applause from his teammates and the fans in attendance and a smile from general manager Bruce Allen and pro personnel director Mark Dominik.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org