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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took to the fields of One Buc Place for the second practice of the day on Tuesday afternoon. Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 90s, the Bucs practiced in shorts, jerseys, and helmets.
Returning to practice in the afternoon session was right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. The fourth-year pro was out for a few days with a back injury. Running back Derrick Ward practiced this morning and went again in the afternoon.
Cornerback Ronde Barber and tight end Kellen Winslow did not practice this afternoon. Neither has a disclosed injury and are probably resting. Others sitting out Tuesday afternoon's practice were: running back Clifton Smith (hamstring), center Sean Mahan (calf), center Jeff Faine (calf), wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee), kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), wide receiver Kelly Campbell (quad), defensive tackle Greg Peterson (knee), wide receiver Michael Clayton (hamstring), wide receiver Joel Filani (hamstring), linebacker Angelo Crowell (hamstring), and linebacker Geno Hayes (hamstring).
Bryant was standing on crutches with his teammates later in the practice. Wide receivers Joel Filani and Michael Clayton did some running with the training staff, and running back Clifton Smith was on the field observing as well.
After warming up, the Bucs focused on preparation for their upcoming preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. The first team offense got in some work against the scout team defense. Prior to the snap, a coach would hold up a notebook with a Titans play for the defense to run. The players ran the scout team session at about three quarters speed. It was odd seeing the defense play some zone defense after playing almost completely man-to-man during the team scrimmages.
Luke McCown will start against the Titans and he got the first team reps at quarterback. McCown was solid, and was hitting his receivers in stride while finding open targets. McCown had nice completions in particular to wide receiver Cortez Hankton and tight end Jerramy Stevens.
McCown looked like he would have been sacked by linebacker Barrett Ruud on one play, but completed a pass on a dig route to wide receiver Maurice Stovall. McCown worked the middle of the field, as the Bucs defense showcased some zone coverage. McCown hit wide receiver Brian Clark and tight end Ryan Purvis on seam routes downfield between the hashes. McCown worked with his tight ends a good amount. Jerramy Stevens caught a pass downfield on an out route in front of cornerback Elbert Mack. McCown fit in some nice passes to tight end John Gilmore who was covered closely by defensive backs Marshall McDuffie and DeAngelo Willingham.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich also hooked up with Hankton for a nice completion downfield. Leftwich did have one bad miscue. As he was rolling out of the pocket and looking downfield, Leftwich fumbled the ball and the play was blown dead. In his second series against the scout defense Leftwich completed some short passes to wide receiver Maurice Stovall and fullback B.J. Askew. He also went to running back Earnest Graham on a check down that would have gone for a loss due to linebacker Rod Wilson flying into the backfield. Leftwich also had a near interception on a pass intended for wide receiver Dexter Jackson. Mack was a half second late from stepping in front of the pass to Jackson along the sideline.
Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman took more reps in the afternoon practice than he typically gets. It didn't start too well as Freeman skipped a pass into wide receiver Sammie Stroughter. It must have been a miscommunication because Stroughter was only 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. Freeman got in work running the scout team offense. Wilson had Freeman sacked on one of the scout team reps. With Wilson standing in front of him, Freeman aired one out that wide receiver Pat Carter hauled in. Carter and cornerback Kyle Arrington were fighting downfield, and Carter did a good job of leaping to catch the pass at the highest point. The beauty of a pass that Freeman lofted in was around a 40-yard gain.
Freeman made a bad pass on his next attempt. He threw to a double covered Stovall, and his pass was underthrown. Cornerback E.J. Biggers jumped and snatched ball out of the air and raced the other way with it. In a game it may have gone for a touchdown for Biggers as he had open field ahead of him to the end zone. Freeman's next pass was batted down by defensive end Louis Holmes.
The Bucs first round pick showed some resiliency when he came back to connect on a bomb downfield to wide receiver Dexter Jackson. The second-year pro Jackson, laid out and hauled the pass in after getting separation from safety C.J. Byrd and McDuffie. Freeman put just a touch too much on the pass because Jackson couldn't get up and run into the end zone, but it was still an excellent completion that was another 50-yard gain.
Freeman hit wide receiver Mario Urrutia for a couple of nice completions. One was a slant that Urrutia broke downfield. He didn't quit until he reached the end zone, but the defense was not fully pursuing. Freeman also connected with Urrutia on a crossing route.
Second year quarterback Josh Johnson had two nice completions to Stovall. The first was on a cross in front of safety Donte Nicholson. The second was threaded to a double covered Stovall. Trailing Stovall was DeAngelo Willingham, and McDuffie was coming towards the receiver.
Johnson also made a nice completion down the middle seam to tight end Ryan Purvis. Linebacker Adam Hayward and McDuffie were there a moment after the completion. The gain went for about 20 yards.
Johnson also had a few mishaps. The first of which was a dropped snap. Because the players are not wearing pads, the fumbles were blown dead. The second mistake by Johnson was a mental mistake.
The scout team offense got off to a rough start. Johnson ran this unit, and Freeman took some reps. On the first play the unit could not get on the same page to huddle up, and look at the play they were supposed to run.
"Huddle ‘em Josh," yelled quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.
Head coach Raheem Morris saw enough and blew his whistle to stop the action.
"First team show ‘em how it is done," shouted Morris.
The first team offense came back onto the field to run a few Titans plays for the benefit of the Bucs defense. Otherwise Johnson had no mishaps in running the scout team offense.
The Buccaneers defense had Mack in for Barber, and Quincy Black was the starting Sam (strongside) linebacker. With Barber out safety Tanard Jackson got some work as a nickel cornerback, and safety Will Allen rotated in with the starting safeties.
The backup second team defense had a few Bucs rookies on it. On the defensive line was Stylez White at right defensive end, Roy Miller was next to him at defensive tackle, Dre Moore was the other defensive tackle, and rookie Kyle Moore was the left defensive end. At linebacker the Bucs had Matt McCoy at Will (weakside), Rod Wilson at Mike (middle), and Adam Hayward at Sam. The cornerbacks were Kyle Arrington and E.J. Biggers. The safeties were Donte Nicholson and Marshall McDuffie.
The Buccaneers defense seemed assignment sound, and had no broken plays against the scout team offense. Black did a great job of reading a reverse and getting in position to make a tackle for a loss.
PEWTER REPORT QB REPORT CARD
The veteran quarterbacks were not competing normally in the afternoon practice as they were preparing for the Titans. Thus, the report card remains unchanged from this morning's workout.
Leftwich 6, McCown 3