MAKING A FIRST IMPRESSION: The Buccaneers completed the first day of a three-day mini-camp under new head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden said he was generally pleased with the first day, which was very intense and energetic. The practices moved at a frenetic pace.
"Tempo is so important," Gruden said. "I think the players at this level deserve organization. They expect a brisk tempo and not a lot of wasted time, and that's what we're trying to accomplish."
ALL ABOARD: The Bucs had 100 percent participation at the first day of the team's first mini-camp. Tampa Bay had 59 players in attendance at One Buccaneer Place for a morning and afternoon practice.
"We're off to a good start," Gruden said. "I'm really pleased with the turnout. This is a voluntary camp and we've got 100 percent turnout on our football team. We've had 100 percent turnout since the beginning of our offseason program. I'm pleased about that, but we've got a long way to go."
The Bucs' roster includes 28 new faces who were not on the team's 53-man roster last year.
In all, the Bucs have 66 players on their roster, but eight of them are playing in NFL Europe. The Bucs have only five players over the age of 30 on their team.
INJURIES: A couple of notable names did not participate in Friday's workouts. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who shaved his head in the offseason, was not included in the drills because he is still rehabbing his shoulder. Chartric Darby replaced Sapp at the under tackle position.
He is also likely to miss the post-draft mini-camp scheduled for April 27-29. Sapp looks to be in incredible shape, especially his lower body. It seems like
Linebacker Derrick Brooks did not participate in the workouts either. He was resting his injured foot and joined Sapp on the sidelines. Brooks suffered through a nasty foot sprain in the home opener against Green Bay and the injury lingered all season. New linebacker Chris Jones was among the players who replaced Brooks on the weakside.
Defensive end Marcus Jones also sat out of the workouts due to a shoulder injury.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Shelton Quarles lined up as the starting middle linebacker during Friday's workout. Quarles has been the Bucs' starting strongside linebacker since the 1999 season, but made the switch because of the departure of last year's starter, Jamie Duncan, in free agency. Linebacker Al Singleton moved into the starting spot on the strongside.
Third-year linebacker Nate Webster will compete with Quarles for the starting spot. Webster practiced on Friday despite having offseason surgery on both shoulders.
NUMBERS GAME: There were a couple of number changes pertaining to player's jerseys. Rabih Abdullah's departure allowed running back Aaron Stecker to grab jersey number 27. Strong saftey David Gibson grabbed Stecker's old 22 jersey because 22 was Gibson's number in high school and college.
Also, left guard Kerry Jenkins is now number 70. He used to be number 77, but that number is now worn by defensive tackle Mike Mackenzie.
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