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This week’s SR’s Fab 5 is sponsored by Celebration Town Tavern

Here a couple of things that caught my attention this week:

FAB 1. The good news for Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton is that he is completely healthy, in tremendous shape – having dropped 15 pounds this offseason – and has a newfound confidence.

By Pewter Report’s account – and we only got to watch one full OTA or mini-camp practice per week (which sometimes included an obstructed view due to the configuration of the Bucs’ practice fields at One Buccaneer Place) to draw our conclusions – Clayton was one of the best performers this offseason.

Offseason performances can mean a lot or very little when it comes to training camp. Last year, defensive end Patrick Chukwurah was dynamite running around in shorts, a helmet and a jersey from April to July. He would be a non-factor in training camp and in 2007, and was released about two weeks ago. But unheralded practice squad offensive tackle Donald Penn, who was identified as a “Pewter Report training camp sleeper” last summer, stood out in the offseason workouts and continued that momentum into the regular season, earning a roster spot.

One would think that with Clayton looking slimmer, faster and playing with more confidence this summer with a physique that more resembles his rookie form in 2004, in which he hauled in 80 catches for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns, would greatly help his game. But that may not be enough for him to make the team this year.

That’s right, Clayton, who finally appears to be on the verge of getting back to where he was physically, may not make the team this year. And that’s the bad news.

Clayton, who seemed to get his groove back as a receiver while catching 16 passes for 192 yards (12 avg.) over the final four games of the 2007 season while starters Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard were ailing, may not make the team this year.

Clayton, who has spent the past four years learning the ins and outs of Jon Gruden’s offense, may not make the team this year.

Clayton, whose downfield blocks have sprung numerous touchdowns for both running backs and wide receivers in his Tampa Bay career, may not make the team this year.

Clayton, who has not groused or complained publicly about his diminished role on this team (to which injuries and costly dropped passes have played a role), may not make the team this year.

According to some Pewter Report sources, Clayton’s former first-round draft pick status and his performance in the OTAs and mini-camp will not guarantee him a spot on the 53-man roster as it has in years past. He goes to camp in the same boat as everybody not named Joey Galloway (and probably not named Ike Hilliard). It appears that Clayton is on equal footing with the likes of Paris Warren, Antonio Bryant, Cortez Hankton and perhaps even Taye Biddle – albeit the former LSU product has a greater understanding of Jon Gruden’s offense, which should come in handy as he battles for a roster spot.

Even if he performs well in the preseason, that performance may only prompt the Buccaneers to try to trade him rather than keep him. The reason is because there are some concerns at One Buccaneer Place that Clayton has conveniently gotten himself healthy and in shape during a contract year. Should Clayton have a year that rivals 2004 in which he eclipses 1,000 yards and finds the end zone at least half a dozen times, there are some concerns at One Buccaneer Place that he will command a contract in the Donte` Stallworth range.

Stallworth, an average receiver who signed with his fourth team in four years, received a seven-year contract from Cleveland this offseason worth $35 million, including $10 million in guaranteed money. That’s an amazing contract considering Stallworth has never had a 1,000-yard season and posted just 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns last year in New England.

Should Clayton eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in 2008 he would have two 1,000-yard seasons in his NFL career and could justify wanting a Stallworth-type deal.

Is Clayton worth that much? The Bucs are already thinking that they may not be able to get an accurate read on exactly who Clayton is – even after five years.

Is he a player that has bookended a troubled, three-year stretch with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons? Is his career finally back on track with a 1,000-yard season in 2008?

Or is he a player whose only real consistency is that horrible, three-year stretch plagued by injuries and dropped passes in which he did not record even a 400-yard season and scored only one touchdown? Once he gets paid, will his concentration lapse once again and will he slump back to his inconsistent ways from 2005-07?

We’ve seen what happens when the Buccaneers front office can’t get an accurate read on a player’s abilities and that leads to a sense of cluelessness on what to pay them. Remember running back Thomas Jones in 2003? He showed his abilities in only eight games that year, which was enough to tantalize the Chicago Bears in free agency, but enough to dumbfound the cautious Bucs’ front office in 2004.

Jones was in a contract year in 2003. Clayton is in a contract year in 2008. The simple truth is that if Clayton performs well this season, the 25-year old receiver will be sought after on the free agent market and deserve a big payday from somebody in the league. If he doesn’t have a big year, he could be had quite cheaply, but would the Bucs even want a player that has had four years of sub-par seasons given his former first-round draft pick status?

The Bucs front office is already thinking about these questions and scenarios, which is why they may be considering trading him away in the preseason and getting something for him now instead of losing Clayton on the free agent market next year with no compensation. The reason why Tampa Bay is exploring these options is because the team is quite pleased with the group of receivers it has assembled this offseason. Galloway, Hilliard, Warren and Maurice Stovall are healthy again, and newcomers like Bryant, Hankton, Biddle and rookie Dexter Jackson, this year’s second-round draft pick, have intrigued the front office, too.

In looking at the Clayton situation, it is important to understand the dynamic that exists between the front office, which includes team scouts and personnel men, and the coaching staff in most NFL teams. Typically, the front office has a “grass is always greener” approach. The new players the front office has signed could be (and in some cases, are) better than the existing players on the team.

Naturally, coaches that have put in time with existing players aren’t as anxious to see them get cut in favor of new guys. New guys don’t know the system and in some cases, haven’t earned their trust.

A great example of this was the front office wanting to cut veteran defensive end Greg Spires last year, or at least see him as a reserve player in 2007 instead of starting ahead of rookie Gaines Adams, who had the best pass rushing tools on the team despite his rawness and needed to get as much playing experience as possible. The coaching staff trusted Spires and put that level of trust ahead of Spires’ declining skills. The coaches didn’t know the rookie and were reluctant to sit Spires down just because of Adams’ draft pick status – even though his physical tools were better than Spires’. The front office, who had just drafted Adams, was in favor of him getting as much playing time as possible.

This year, the front office is fresh off signing Hankton, re-signing Biddle, who is a former practice squad player that has had a promising spring, drafting Jackson and bringing in yet another reclamation project in Bryant – and we know how much general manager Bruce Allen and even head coach Jon Gruden love the thought of successfully resurrecting a veteran’s career. These players are new, and in some cases, their ceiling in the development of their abilities is yet unknown.

Is it higher or lower than Clayton’s? Is it time to move on, or stick with a former first-round pick that just got out of Gruden’s doghouse at the end of last year?

That’s what they are thinking at One Buccaneer Place this summer, and that’s why Clayton’s roster spot is far from guaranteed heading into training camp. And even if he has a good camp, there is still the chance that the Bucs may move Clayton in a trade instead of entertaining the notion of re-signing him in 2009.

In my opinion, I think that would be a mistake. If Clayton indeed proves to be faster, catches the ball better and has a great preseason that puts him in contention to start at the flanker position opposite Galloway at split end, he deserves to make the team and start – the fact that he is in a contract year be damned. This loyal receiver would have done all the team could have asked for in August and would deserve the opportunity to make the team.

I’m sure much newer players such as Hankton, Biddle and Bryant pique the team’s interest. Let them battle against the likes of Warren then. This is a team that is starved for talented youth at the receiver position. The 25-year old Clayton is still in his prime. If he makes the team and has a great season, the Bucs should look at this situation as an optimistic sign that he is on the rise and not approach it with the skepticism that it could be a fluke.

After all, isn’t it Gruden himself who often says, “We need to live in our hopes and not our fears?” Isn’t it Allen who crows about desperately wanting to open up the checkbook and reward current Buccaneers for performing well on Sundays?

Now, if Clayton cannot regain his old form, continues to drop passes and doesn’t use the preseason as his stage to make a statement to Tampa Bay and the rest of the NFL that indeed Michael Clayton is back, then the Bucs deserve the right see what he is worth on the trading block and move on to try a new receiver or two.

But regardless of whether Clayton has a great camp or not, he may not make the team this year. That puzzles me. Does it puzzle you?

FAB 2. So former Detroit running back Kevin Jones wants to be a Buccaneer. He is on the verge of possibly signing with Tampa Bay, according to some media reports.

Well, that’s news at One Buc Place, especially since the Bucs were not one of a handful of teams that attended Jones’ workout for NFL clubs on June 29 where he was trying to prove that he is back from an ACL injury he suffered near the end of the 2007 season.

Not to mention the fact that Tampa Bay doesn’t necessarily need another running back as it has viable starters on its roster including Warrick Dunn, Michael Bennett and Earnest Graham, the latter of whom was recently signed to a multi-year contract. And don’t forget about Cadillac Williams, who is nearing the completion of a grueling and aggressive rehab from a knee injury, either.

Jones’ interest in the Bucs is news to them because they have yet to work him out and administer a physical – let alone offer him a contract.

Would there be room on the Buccaneers for another young running back that is recovering from a knee injury, though? The thought does intrigue some at One Buccaneer Place. Looking at what Jones and Williams have done in the NFL, they both are remarkably similar, although it’s hard not to argue that Jones may indeed be a slightly better back.

Jones entered the NFL in 2004 as a junior while Williams stayed until his senior year and was drafted in 2005. Both were first-round draft picks.

When Jones’ birthday arrives in August, both running backs will be 26 years old.

Both players have yet to start all 16 contests in any year due to injuries.

Both running backs enjoyed 1,000-yard seasons that featured a run over 70 yards during their rookie campaigns and have experienced the inability to recapture that level of production since.

Both running backs have lost the same amount of fumbles, although Jones has lost seven in four years and Williams has lost seven in three years.

Where Jones has been slightly better from a production standpoint is the fact that he has averaged 4.0 yards per carry during his career, while Williams has averaged 3.8 yards per carry. Jones has scored 27 total touchdowns, including three on receptions, while Williams has yet to post a receiving touchdown. In fact, Williams has only 10 touchdowns in his brief NFL career.

And perhaps it’s through the air where Jones has the real advantage. He has caught 142 passes for 1,008 yards (7.1 avg.), including three touchdowns. Williams is not known for his receiving ability, has dropped too many catchable passes, and has 53 catches for only 294 yards (5.5 avg.) and no scores.

Although both running backs are 5-foot-11, Jones is 11 pounds bigger at 228 pounds while Williams is listed at 217 pounds.

Given these factors and the fact that Williams is coming off the more serious knee injury, why wouldn’t the Bucs be interested in Jones? Aside from an already crowded backfield and the 80-man roster limitation in training camp, what’s keeping Tampa Bay from getting get too hot for Jones is the fact that the Bucs are drunk on the Kool-Aid that Williams will not only return to the football field this year, but that he will also return to his rookie form as well.

That remains to be seen on both accounts, and given the traumatic nature of a torn patellar tendon, one cannot be blamed for being skeptical – if not pessimistic – about Williams’ supposed return. Keep in mind that Williams was not just a first-round pick, but a top 5 pick.

There are a lot of reputations at stake in the Bucs’ front office – not to mention a lot of money – over Williams returning to reclaim his feature back title. That alone may prevent the Bucs from seriously considering Jones.

Expect Tampa Bay to eventually bring him in for a physical and a workout. That may even happen during training camp. The Bucs are quite good about doing their due diligence.

But given the fact that none of the NFL teams that witnessed Jones’ workout signed him is an indication that he is not fully healed and ready to contribute on the football field at this time, so there is time for the Bucs to investigate Jones before he signs with another team. So why would Jones say that he was preparing to sign with Tampa Bay? The guess here is that it was simply a ploy by his agent to drum up some interest in his client and get him on a team before training camp starts. That likely won’t be the Buccaneers.

FAB 3. With Warrick Dunn, Michael Bennett, Earnest Graham and eventually Cadillac Williams running behind a solid and ever-improving offensive line, Tampa Bay’s running game should definitely be a team strength in 2008. But it’s not just the talent that will be driving the success of this unit. It will be new running backs coach Rich Bisaccia.

After coaching special teams since his arrival in Tampa Bay in 2002, Bisaccia has the distinction of having the most titles at One Buccaneer Place. His business card now reads associate head coach, special teams coordinator and running backs coach. You wonder if there is even room for the address, phone number and e-mail address on his card.

Bisaccia is filling the role vacated by the departure of former running backs coach Art Valero, whose well-publicized exodus included several public barbs shot in the direction of head coach Jon Gruden. From the Bucs’ standpoint, Valero had worn out his welcome, so his decision to leave to go to St. Louis turned out to be well timed. He wouldn’t have been back in 2008 if he had lined up the St. Louis job or not.

In talking to the holdover running backs and fullbacks from the 2007 season, they all loved playing for the likeable Valero, whose easy-going style made him a players’ coach. But by the same token, they also love the challenge of playing for a more demanding and well-respected coach like Bisaccia, who is not afraid to get on any player that does not demand excellence in his own performance.

Bisaccia has a background of coaching some great college running backs, including Clemson’s all-time leading rusher, Raymond Priester (1994-97) and the all-time leading rusher at Ole Miss, Deuce McAllister (1997-2000). He also coached Gamecocks standout running back Brandon Bennett in 1992-93 during his stint with South Carolina.

When looking for Valero’s replacement this offseason, Gruden turned to the man who proved in college that he could handle the duties of coaching both special teams and running backs.

“I want to put my best coaches in position to coach,” Gruden said. “He’s been a backfield coach, he’s been a special teams coach at the Division I level. To be honest with you, we need him on offense. We need his energy and his expertise. He’s coached really good backs in college and he has a certain demeanor that we need at that position.”

The demeanor that Gruden talks about is the gruff and tough attitude that the New York native brings to the gridiron. Bisaccia, who is not fond of talking to reporters, has a take-no-prisoners approach to coaching football that mirrors Gruden’s, which is probably a reason why Bisaccia just re-signed for his third tour of duty in Tampa Bay since joining Gruden’s staff in 2002.

“I try to reward guys that I feel have earned those responsibilities,” Gruden said regarding Bisaccia’s promotion to running backs coach and associate head coach. “Number one, he’s loyal. Number two, he’s a great coach and he’s very versatile. I think he could coach any position on the football team. His work ethic on a daily basis is different from most guys I’ve met, and it’s a credit to him.”

Thanks to the help of assistant running backs coach Tim Berbenich, who is in his third year in Tampa Bay’s offense, and assistant special teams coach Dwayne Stukes, who is also in his third year with the Buccaneers, Bisaccia shouldn’t have any trouble handling the multiple roles at the NFL level. He has capable assistants helping him in both capacities.

“I’m excited about the opportunity I’ve been given from Coach Gruden,” Bisaccia said. “Offensively, there have been a lot of guys who have made a sacrifice and a commitment, starting with Coach [Bill] Muir and Coach Casullo. I’m fortunate to be around Tim Berbinich and Coach [Richard] Mann in the passing game, and now having Coach [Greg] Olson. They are going to take a great sacrifice and a commitment to allow me to be a part of this. They are all going to be getting some extra work because of it, but I am really fortunate about the opportunity from Coach Gruden and I’m excited about it.”

Bisaccia has the luxury of having worked with almost all of the running backs in his room before on special teams, so he is certainly familiar with them. Graham was the Bucs’ leading tackler in 2006 before being pressed into running back duty in 2007 due to injuries to Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman. Bennett is expected to take on a much greater role on special teams in his second year in Tampa Bay. Fullbacks B.J. Askew and Byron Storer were staples on special teams last year and Storer really excelled as a tackler late in the season.

“We’ve been fortunate in our time that all of the running backs that have played special teams going back to Aaron Stecker – and when Michael Pittman wasn’t ‘the guy’ on offense – he always played on teams returning kicks, playing on the punt team and doing all of those things,” Bisaccia said. “It’s always been expected that those guys in that room are a part of teams. I’m fortunate with the group of men in the running back room that they played on offense and have a little bit of an advantage on me. They know the tricks of the trade and some of Coach Gruden’s calls – the ins and outs of them.”

Aside from rookies Clifton Smith and Cory Boyd, the one player in the running backs room that Bisaccia did not get to coach in Tampa Bay last year is veteran Warrick Dunn, a 10,000-yard rusher in the NFL, who left for Atlanta in 2002 when the Gruden regime arrived at One Buccaneer Place.

“The addition of Warrick Dunn has been really good,” Bisaccia said. “He’s extremely bright and he’s one heck of a football player. I’ve admired him from afar for a long time in the NFL. In college, I coached against him when he was at Florida State and I was at Clemson. I’m excited about him being in the room.”

Despite his impeccable reputation at One Buccaneer Place among players, coaches and front office personnel, Bisaccia has come under fire from some fans and some in the media for a perceived lack of production on special teams, regardless of the fact that kicker Matt Bryant and punter Josh Bidwell have emerged as top performers at their respective positions, Tampa Bay’s coverage units have typically been solid and the Bucs finally returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the first time in franchise history last year.

Long-time readers of Pewter Report know that he was PR’s Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006 and I have a healthy respect for Bisaccia’s coaching ability. It will be interesting to see how the running game responds under Bisaccia’s watch. Last year, the Buccaneers rushed for 1,872 yards, a 4.2-yard average and 15 touchdowns – all were the highest marks in the Gruden era in Tampa Bay.

The guess here is that given such a talented stable of backs and a potentially dominant offensive line, Bisaccia will have the ground game besting the numbers the team put up a year ago.

FAB 4. Here’s a short little story about how Greg Olson became Tampa Bay’s new quarterbacks coach. As it turns out, when Bucs head coach Jon Gruden attended Jeff Garcia’s wedding last spring as a show of support for his brand new quarterback, he was assigned to sit at a table next to Olson, Garica’s former quarterbacks coach in San Francisco and Detroit. Olson, who was then St. Louis’ offensive coordinator, and Gruden had never met before Garcia’s wedding day.

The two hit it off immediately at the reception and began cracking jokes, talking some football and enjoying each other’s company. Less than a year later, with Paul Hackett wanting to get out of coaching, Gruden thought that Olson would be a perfect fit in Tampa Bay, especially with Garcia as the team’s starting quarterback.

“It’s been really good so far,” Gruden said of working with Olson. “He’s got some system background with Steve Mariucci in Detroit and San Francisco. He’s coached Jeff Garcia and a lot of the things we believe in and do here he believes in and does also. So we believe it’s a good fit.”

Because Gruden is not only the team’s playcaller, but also works closely with Tampa Bay’s signal callers, being the Bucs’ quarterbacks coach can be dangerous territory for assistant coaches, considering that Gruden has run off the likes of Stan Parrish (2002-03) and John Shoop (2004) before Hackett, a Gruden loyalist, assumed the reigns from 2005-07 before stepping away from football.

But the easy-going and knowledgeable Olson has embraced working with Gruden and doing things his way, in addition to the joy of working with Garcia again.

“Having Jeff Garcia around here – someone I’ve worked with in the past – has made it a lot easier,” Olson said. “I’ve had a lot of respect and admiration for guys like Brian Griese and Luke McCown. There are all real hard workers and true professionals. It’s been a very good situation.

“For Jeff to continue to play in the West Coast offense with every situation he’s been in – and certainly there has been some tweaks with Jon’s version of the West Coast offense – he’s going to continue to get better. We’ll have to keep an eye on him because of his age and we’ll have to keep him healthy. That’s key for us as a team to get better – Jeff has got to remain healthy. We have to make sure that he gets enough reps to continue to get better and that he has a better season than he had this past season.”

That’s what Gruden expects out of both Garcia and Olson in 2008.

FAB 5. Here are a couple of things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5 – after a word from our sponsor.

SR’s FAB 5 SPONSOR: CELEBRATION TOWN TAVERN
Please allow me to introduce you to a new section in each SR’s Fab 5, which recognizes one of Pewter Report’s sponsors. I ask you to read this paragraph in each edition as it is these companies that support our efforts and make it possible for you to enjoy Pewter Report’s coverage of the Buccaneers. Pewter Report is having its annual Training Camp Get2gether this year at Celebration Town Tavern on Saturday, August 2 at 11:30 a.m. following the morning practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports (there is no afternoon practice). We’ve had our annual Training Camp Get2gether at the Celebration Town Tavern two years ago (and we should have had it there last year) and had a great time. It’s always fun to meet subscribers and PewterReport.com message board members and the entire Pewter Report staff will be on hand on August 2 (we’re working on getting PR president Hugh MacArthur there, too). If you haven’t made plans to attend yet, please do so by RSVP’ing on this thread. The food is great at the Celebration Town Tavern, which is located across the street from Celebration Hotel where the Buccaneers stay. A lot of the Bucs players eat there during August, so make sure to stop by Celebration Town Tavern on August 2 or any time you are up at training camp. For directions and a look at their menu, visit the Celebration Town Tavern Web site.

• Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Johnson doesn’t have the strongest arm on the team in terms of being able to throw the deep ball. Not counting Chris Simms, Luke McCown owns the distinction for being the best deep ball passer in Tampa Bay. But when talking about having the strongest arm, Johnson may indeed have that when it comes to velocity. Having quizzed some of Pewter Report’s sources this summer, the Bucs believe that Johnson may have the strongest arm on the roster in terms of velocity on short and intermediate throws – throwing a harder spiral than even McCown. But when it comes to throwing passes beyond 25 yards, McCown has the edge when it comes to arm strength as Johnson loses some of the velocity on his throws that go deeper than the intermediate range. That may be due to Johnson’s release. I’ll have more on that in the next SR’s Fab 5. The good news for the Buccaneers is that McCown only turns 27 on July 12 and Johnson just turned 22. Through weightlifting and quarterback-specific exercises, Tampa Bay’s young signal callers can still increase their arm strength in terms of throwing balls deeper and with more velocity.

• Insiders at One Buccaneer Place weren’t surprised that soon-to-be former Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms didn’t show up at the mandatory mini-camp in late June, despite threats to the media that he would show up and create a media circus. The reason? Simms didn’t want to face head coach Jon Gruden, who he personally attacked in the media in mid-June. The likeable and easy-going Simms is not a very confrontational guy by nature, and he didn’t like coming to the sidelines to face an angry Gruden after an interception or an incompletion on third down. He certainly doesn’t want to face Gruden after taking shots at him in the media. Don’t be surprised if Simms stays away from training camp, too – if he is still on the team by then. Gruden doesn’t want him to report to Celebration Hotel just outside of Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and he will likely make it known in a very confrontational way if the fair-haired lefty decides to report to camp. I would imagine that particular episode of “Chucky” would be more gruesome than any Simms encountered on the sidelines on a given Sunday. Simms probably knows this and that’s why he didn’t make good on his threat to report to the mandatory mini-camp.

• As Pewter Report’s Charlie Campbell pointed out earlier this summer, reserve nose tackle Ryan Sims has one distinction over his teammates from a year ago. The big, 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, who only saw limited action in the final eight games of the 2007 season, actually led the team in tackles for loss with four. I asked if Sims if he realized that he accomplished that feat last year (as some Bucs players don’t keep track of their stats). “Hell yeah!” Sims said. “I let all my teammates know that, too! In eight games with only about one-third of the playing time, I led the team in tackles for loss. My message to the guys on the sideline is whenever you get into the game, be a factor. That’s the only thing you can control. If you get eight snaps, try to make eight plays.” I’ll have more on Sims in the next SR’s Fab 5. Stay tuned.

• And finally, I’m not exactly sure what to make of ProFootballTalk.com’s report of the alleged fight between Tampa Bay’s first and final draft picks in 2008, cornerback Aqib Talib and running back Cory Boyd, respectively. If the altercation was verbal in nature, that’s one thing. But if it involved any physical contact, such as shoving or punching, the Bucs need to step in and take some action. As a benefit of his draft status, Talib will receive the least amount of punishment from the team, but should also have a couple of extra clauses in his yet-to-be-signed rookie contract that include some penalties as it pertains to fighting or getting into trouble. Due to his lowly draft status, the Bucs have a chance to make an example out of Boyd if it is discovered that he started the fight. As a seventh-rounder, Boyd has virtually no chance of making the roster, especially since he has missed the entire offseason with a knee injury. At best, he’s likely battling Clifton Smith and Kenneth Darby for a role on the practice squad this year, and early indications are that Smith is winning that battle. Cutting Boyd could send a message to Bucs veterans and rookies that this type of embarrassing behavior will not be tolerated. The one thing that troubles me about this incident is that this happened at the NFL Rookie Symposium. This didn’t happen on the field in the heat of a competitive training camp practice. If true, this incident happened between teammates in a climate that was encouraged to have the rookies start their lives as NFL players on the right foot. Not only is that pretty sad, for a team that has suffered a public relations beating this spring and summer with the sagas swirling around Antonio Bryant, Jerramy Stevens, Jeff Garica’s contract situation and Chris Simms’ disdain for Jon Gruden, an alleged fight between rookie teammates involving the team’s first-round pick is just one more p.r. hit the Buccaneers didn’t need to take.


Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 training camp? Want to find out who is starring in training camp and who is underperforming, and who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft next year? Find out by subscribing to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.

WATCH Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds and Jim Flynn on select Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on Sports Zone with Al Keck and Tom Korun on ABC Action News in Tampa Bay for Bucs game highlights and the latest Bucs news. And for the best local coverage of Tampa Bay sports and Tampa Bay news, check out ABCActionNews.com.

LISTEN to Pewter Report's Jim Flynn each Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. during football season on the Pewter Pulse with Dan Sileo on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal, and catch Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds each Wednesday afternoon during football season at 5:00 p.m. on the PewterReport.com Buccaneer Blitz with Steve Duemig on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal.

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: sr@pewterreport.com
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