FROM AROUND THE BAYES: All ears were listening for news on P Mark Royals' leg sprain while all eyes were on back-up P Andrew Bayes.
Bayes demonstrated some great punting ability when he booted a 55 and 60-yard punt, but was a bit inconsistent throughout the morning practice. Bayes could not put a string of good punts together and had a lot of trouble punting toward the north side of Pepin-Rood Stadium, where he was facing a stiff 2 mile per hour wind.
As far as Royals condition is concerned, we have received word that he suffered a sprained MCL injury and both he and the Bucs are confident he will return as the Bucs' punter on opening day against Dallas.
ATTENDANCE: Wide receiver Reidel Anthony did not dress for the second day in a row, but we observed him running some generic patterns out on the field while injured QB Brad Johnson thew balls to him. Johnson looks like he is itching to participate in Tampa Bay's training camp.
Rookie G Russ Hochstein had his right hand casted from the broken bone he suffered in Monday's morning practice and did not participate in practice. He observed from the sidelines.
Rookie WR Frank Rice sat out from the morning practice as well. Rice, who did not participate in Monday's afternoon practice, appears to still be suffering from heat related problems. Rice had received praise from his showings at mini-camp, but with stiff competition among the rest of the Bucs' rookie receivers, everyday Rice misses hurts his chances of making Tampa Bay's final 53-man roster.
Running back Rabih Abdullah did not attend practice, but all of his absences have been excused by head coach Tony Dungy while Abdullah tends to family related issues.
Linebacker Derrick Brooks is still a hold out from training camp. It is not yet clear what progress has been made in contract negotiations between Brooks' agent and the Buccaneers.
A-TRAIN GETS TEMPORARILY DERAILED: Pro Bowl FB Mike Alstott was injured in 11-on-11 drills this morning. Alstott carried the ball through the offensive and defensive line and while doing so, he appeared to take a shot in the groin area. Alstott was hunched over for a few moments while coaches tended to him on the field, but returned to his feet and participated in the rest of the morning practice.
MISC. NOTES: After not returning punts in yesterday's practices, WR Frank Murphy was fielding punts on Tuesday morning. Wide receiver Frank Rice's heat related problems might be part of the reason Murphy is returning punts.
11-ON-11 DRILLS: Quarterback Shaun King played with the first team again today. He was a bit inconsistent, but looked sharp at times too. King was intercepted by CB Donnie Abraham on a pass intended for WR Alex Willis. King had a couple of nice strikes to WR Keyshawn Johnson and Willis throughout the practice.
Running back Aaron Stecker appears to be taking advantage of RB Rabih Abdullah's absence. Stecker had a strong showing this morning in both 11-on-11 drills and punt returns. Stecker definitely looks like he has fresh legs thus far compared to last year, when he only had one month to rest between his NFL Europe campaign and Bucs' training camp.
Rookie CB Dwight Smith showed explosive speed and coverage skills in these drills. Smith made a nice move in knocking the ball out of a Bucs' receivers hands. Smith came from behind the receiver's body and punched the ball forward and force an incompletion. Later, RB Warrick Dunn caught a pass, but Smith came close to cleaning Dunn's clock. If this would have been a game situation, Dunn would have been hurt. Smith closed very quickly on Dunn. If he continues to play like this, he could really challenge CB Brian Kelly for the nickel spot on defense.
Speaking of Kelly, he intercepted QB Ryan Leaf on a poorly thrown ball.
Cornerback Anthony Midget displayed some nice coverage skills by breaking up a few passes on the sidelines.
Subscribe to Buccaneer Magazine by calling 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).