Tampa Bay right tackle Jeremy Trueblood was replaced early in the first quarter of the Bucs’ 31-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night with what is being classified as a lower foot injury. Trueblood has been held out of practice the past couple of days and will not play in the last preseason game against the Houston Texans on Thursday.

Head coach Jon Gruden did not disclose the nature of Trueblood’s injury after practice on Tuesday, but is optimistic that he will be ready for the regular season opener at Seattle.

“Jeremy doesn’t look like he’ll play in this game [against Houston], but we expect him to be ready for the season opener,” Gruden said. “Lower foot injury and that’s all I need to say at this point in time and we believe he will be ready to go for the regular season.”

Tackle Donald Penn filled in for Trueblood in the game against Miami and should get the call on Thursday against the Texans. With rookie left guard Arron Sears sidelined with an ankle injury and tackle Anthony Davis filling in for him, Penn has had to switch from the left to the right side.

Gruden was happy with the play of Penn against the Dolphins, but wants to see more from the two-year lineman out of Utah State.

“You just go back and watch the game. That reverse play to [David] Boston, he makes one of the great plays we’ve had here, athletic finish plays,” Gruden said on Monday. “He did some great things; he did some things that weren’t very good, that he’s going to learn from. But to play 65 snaps or whatever it was at left and right tackle against those caliber of players was a great opportunity for him, and he held his own in there. I was proud of him. I was pleased with what he did.”

Tight end Alex Smith will also sit out the Texans game with a sprained ankle, but should be in the starting lineup against the Seahawks. The third-year tight end out of Stanford was injured in the second quarter against the Dolphins and never returned to the game.

Gruden showed a comical side when asked where Smith and Trueblood were regarding their injuries.

“Oh, they’re inside,” Gruden said. “They’re in there doing their rehab. We have this beautiful facility, and we’re putting it to good use.”

NO WORD ON TROTTER, SINGLETON
After working out free agent linebackers Al Singleton and Jeremiah Trotter last Thursday, Gruden had no status on if any of those two players were close to signing a contract. Trotter was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last week and the Bucs showed interest after the season-ending injuries to Antoine Cash and Sam Olajubutu.

Trotter had 112 tackles and one interception last season for the Eagles and has recorded 619 tackles and 12.5 sacks during his nine-year career.

“We are still looking into his situation and obviously he’s looking for an opportunity and I don’t believe he’s in an immediate rush to solve his next destination at this point and time,” Gruden said. “We are staying on top of his situation as we are with other players.”

Singleton played six seasons with the Bucs from 1997-2002 and was a part of the Super Bowl championship team. Singleton played in 87 games, including 15 starts at linebacker.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Gruden on his feelings about the team one month into the season.

“I feel good and I’m really excited about what our quarterbacks have done. It was a problem position for us last year to say the least, I think we had seven interceptions in the first three games and we struggled throughout the season. The right guard and the right tackle [Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood] are a lot better. Arron Sears and Luke Petitgout have upgraded us on the left side. Defensively we have added some players, Cato June shows you his flash play-making potential. We have some size and have some speed. I think we have a chance to be a pretty good team if the coaching doesn’t get in the way.”

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