The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held one morning practice Saturday. The Bucs sported pads for just half of the two-hour workout because of the fact that the practice was physical and several players are banged up.

“We had a real physical 9-on-7 session,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “We had a good two-minute drill. We worked on our pass protection and our inside running game. We have some players nicked up. We had one practice today and we got our banging done early, so I pulled off a little bit in the later part of the practice to rejuvenate some of these guys.”

Cornerback Ronde Barber (soreness), defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks (lower back), wide receiver Charles Lee (hamstring), tackles Todd Steussie (knee) and Kenyatta Walker (knee), cornerback Ronyell Whitaker (dehydration), defensive end Reinard Wilson (hamstring) and defensive lineman Ellis Wyms (ankle) were held out of Saturday morning’s practice.

Wide receiver Michael Clayton (sternum) and Joey Galloway (knee), and quarterback Brad Johnson (soreness) and guard Matt Stinchcomb (calf) saw limited action.

With Johnson limited, Simms and Griese received almost all of the reps.

“Those are both good players,” Gruden said of Griese and Simms. “I was particularly impressed with Chris today. I thought Brian did some good things also. We’re splitting the reps three ways to give these guys as much opportunity as we can.

“I thought Griese, in some tough situations, did an excellent job, particularly in the two-minute drill.”

One week of training camp practices is officially in the books. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden seemed pleased when asked how the first week of camp went.

“I’ve been very pleased with the effort,” said Gruden. “I can’t say I’ve been with a lot of teams that have worked this hard on the practice field. It’s very important to these guys. They’re working hard. We’ve seen some rapid gains in some players. (Wide receiver) Bill Schroeder is in the left lane going by people right now. (Defensive end) Dewayne White has had a great start to camp. He’s flashing. (Safety) Jermaine Phillips has really exerted himself as a safety man, as a communicator and as a force. Guys are working hard.”

Tampa Bay will play its first preseason game of the 2004 season just one week from today.

The Buccaneers will host the Cincinnati Bengals in Raymond James Stadium at 7:00 p..m. next Saturday. Needless to say, some of the players are having trouble containing their excitement over playing their first game of the season.

“I can’t even tell you how excited I am,” said Bucs quarterback Chris Simms. “It’s finally here. I’m going to get out there and play. I haven’t been hit since last preseason. That’s a real good thing except the day after you get hit again.”

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden gave his players Saturday afternoon off to rest and spend time with their families.

“This is a family day today,” said Gruden. “We’re getting these guys a break so they can see the people they care about and love. Hopefully they do become rejuvenated because we’re going right back to work tomorrow morning.”

The Bucs will take the field again for practice at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.

At the end of the morning practice, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden made things interesting for his players and for the fans and media on hand watching the workout by lining Martin Gramatica up for a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Riding on Gramatica’s kick was an extra hour of curfew for he and his teammates. As Gramatica lined up for the attempt, his the players gathered around him and starting cheering him on.

Despite the noise and the pressure to successfully kick the field goal through the uprights, Gramatica drilled the 47-yarder.

“That was a 47-yarder for an extra hour of curfew,” said Gruden. “With all of the money and all of the fame these guys have, it’s amazing how the little things can at times mean a great deal to these guys.”

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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:
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