Bucs fullback Deon Dyer (undisclosed), defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks (lower back), defensive end Reinard Wilson (hamstring), defensive lineman Ellis Wyms (ankle), tackle Todd Steussie (knee), T Kenyatta Walker (knee), guard Matt Stinchcomb (calf), cornerback Ronyell Whitaker (dehydration and wide receivers Charles Lee (hamstring) and Joey Galloway (knee) were held out of Monday’s practices.
With two starting offensive linemen — Steussie and Stinchcomb — temporarily sidelined, and G Matt O’Dwyer possibly sidelined for the season, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden expressed some concern but suggested the team’s other O-linemen must step up.
“It’s a challenge,” Gruden said of the injuries to his offensive line. “If you watch what happens around the league in training camp you can’t say we’re the lone rangers. Just about everybody is enduring a lot of injuries. There’s a lot of men practicing. There’s a lot of pounding and banging going on. These guys get sore and it’s frustrating. We lost Derrick Deese for a few days and we lost Steussie here for a few days. Kenyatta came late with an illness. It’s been disruptive, but at the same time we need to learn more about where Jason Whittle, what Austin King has for us, Sean Mahan is a young player, Cosey Coleman had an offseason surgery and we want to see some of these young tackles like Anthony Davis. From that regard, it’s not been all bad. But we’d certainly like to get our horses out here.”
Quarterback Brad Johnson returned to practice after receiving the day off on Saturday. Wide receiver Michael Clayton (sternum) was limited for the second straight day. Running back Charlie Garner hurt his foot in morning practice but was said to be okay. Middle linebacker Shelton Quarles (wrist) was held out of contact drills.
LIGHTNING COACH TORTORELLA ATTENDS BUCS PRACTICE:
Immediately after Tampa Bay’s morning practiced ended, the players and coaches formed a circle and welcomed in Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Tortorella, who addressed the Buccaneers.
The pep talk, which lasted about 10 minutes, came from a good source of motivation seeing as Tortorella coached the Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup title last June.
“He just talked to us — it was a private conversation,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “I think it was great to have him here. Here’s a guy that I look up to. I’ve become friends with him over the last couple of years. He just shed some light onto our football team that we needed, I think.”
Two years ago, it was Tortorella who learned a lot from Gruden’s Bucs as they worked they way to and through Super Bowl XXXVII. According to Tortorella, this year’s Bucs are doing all the right things to rebound from a 7-9 season.
“I go back two years ago,” said Tortorella. “I learned a lot from Jon Gruden, his staff and that Super Bowl team and how they went about their business. The straight-ahead focus of them winning that Super Bowl was impressive because everybody thought they were going to lose in Philly, but I remember Jon saying that the Bucs would play them on the Walt Whitman Bridge. That was the type of attitude I think Jon transcended into that locker room. That’s what has to happen before you step onto the field. What’s your mindset in that locker room when you enter the playoffs? We learned a ton from him two years ago from him and his team and we’ve always talked about that with the Lightning in terms of how we go about our business. It’s a constant learning experience. I watched him, his coaches and his players today and the discipline of his camp. That’s what it’s all about. I think Jon has got a renewed vigor. You can sense that, if you can get more vigor than Jon has, from maybe a little bit of a setback last year. Setbacks are sometimes good things for an organization. It brings you back and it keeps you in a focused atmosphere. I look for really special things from this team.”
AFTERNOON PRACTICE CANCELLED:
Tampa Bay’s Sunday afternoon practice was cancelled due to inclimate weather.
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