Bucs P.M. Night Practice Notes - 8/1

August 1 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their first night practice of training camp, and the players put on a show for a packed Pepin-Rood Stadium.

As the Buccaneers' players took the field at Pepin-Rood Stadium tonight, they certainly did not show any fatigue from the morning practice they had earlier in the day. But perhaps this was because fan favorites like DT Warren Sapp, SS John Lynch, FB Mike Alstott and WR Keyshawn Johnson received the motivation they needed from Mother Nature and an enormous crowd of 5,000 at the University of Tampa.

Too bad all training camp practices are not played at night. The weather was perfect, and it certainly showed in the Buccaneers' players performances.

Here are some quick hits from Wednesday night's practice from under the lights of Pepin-Rood Stadium.

SMOKING JOE: QB Joe Hamilton had an outstanding practice on Wednesday night. He was displaying a very strong arm, tight spirals and very accurate passes. Hamilton looked the best out of all of the quarterbacks.

DWIGHT TAKES FLIGHT: CB Dwight Smith has had one of the most impressive training camps thus far, and continued to build on that Wednesday night with an outstanding showing. Smith displays fantastic close time and coverage skills, and if he keeps playing like he has, he could seriously challenge CB Brian Kelly for the nickel spot this season.

OUCH: During an 11-on-11 drill, FS Dexter Jackson crushed WR Keyshawn Johnson in the air after Johnson hauled in a pass. Johnson immediately got up on his feet and continued to run with the ball, but it was a very scary moment to say the least. In Jackson's defense, it did appear that he tried to pull up before hammering Johnson.

YOU CAN"T HANDLE THE TRUTH: Well, at least FS Dexter Jackson couldn't. Wide receiver Karl Williams had Jackson's number tonight. In individual drills, Jackson could not keep up with or figure out Williams. Jackson was playing the guessing game while covering Williams and he clearly lost.

AUTOMATICA GRAMATICA: Kicker Martin Gramatica's appears to be as strong as ever. Out of 13 kicks, Gramatica drilled 12 of them. The majority of his kicks were from about 44-48 yards out, but they could have easily been good from 60-65 yards away.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL: The Bucs practiced the two-minute drill for the first time this year. They had some success, but also struggled at times in this drill. Tampa Bay's offense did move the ball into scoring position three times in these drills.

WHAT A RUSH: The Buccaneers' defensive line put on a impressive show tonight. The line put tremendous pressure on Tampa Bay's three quarterbacks. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, DE Simeon Rice and DE John McLaughlin stood out.

BOUNCING BACK: After being drilled on a kick return block this morning, no one expected WR Frank Murphy to participate in tonight's practice. But after having an MRI done on his shoulder in the afternoon, Murphy shocked everyone by playing and turning in a solid performance.

EX-BUC SIGHTING: Ex-Bucs' DT Brad Culpepper attended Tampa Bay's night practice. Both players and coaches were happy to see him in Tampa. Culpepper is out of the NFL now and is a lawyer-to-be.

"I think it was great to see Brad," said Dungy. "It stings any time you are released or traded. I think Brad knows we are trying to do what is best for the organization. I know our guys were happy to see him and I think livened up our practice a little bit."

COMING FROM THE COACH: So, what did head coach Tony Dungy think of tonight's practice?

"It went well," said Dungy. "We had a real spirited practice and I thought our guys were as sharp as we have been. It was good to see us have a good practice in front of a nice crowd."

JOHNSON SET TO RETURN ON FRIDAY: Bucs QB Brad Johnson will assume the No. 1 position on the depth chart on Friday as he has been cleared to return to practice. Johnson will play with 15 stitches in his leg after suffering an injury moving furniture at his house last week.


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