Friday's practice started off a little bit differently than both of Thursday's workouts. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden simulated rainy conditions for quarterbacks Brad Johnson, Rob Johnson and Shaun King by having them run wet ball drills. As anticipated, some balls slipped out of the quarterbacks' hands and the receivers dropped some balls, but overall, the team adjusted well to the unexpected challenge.
"We started off good in the beginning but we got some wobbling balls in there toward the end," said Bucs QB Brad Johnson. "But you never know what you're going to get throughout the course of a season. We're just practicing with the wet ball here in June and you never know -- hopefully we don't have to play in wet weather."
This drill wasn't as unusual as one might think. Tampa Bay's quarterbacks practiced similar drills in the two previous mini-camps, but having the quarterbacks sport a wet glove on their throwing hand was a first. The glove is supposed to help the quarterbacks get a better grip on a wet football, but Brad Johnson prefers to throw barehanded.
"I usually have a hard time throwing with a glove," said Brad Johnson. "But this glove is a little bit better for me. Hopefully I don't have to use it. I'm a fingertip control-type of guy."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to adjust to scorching temperatures in Tampa. Several players that were added to the team's roster via free agency or the draft are not used to the hot and humid conditions, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden says it's something they just have to adapt to.
"We're going try to be on the cutting edge in terms of relief for our players," said Gruden. "But at the same time, this is where we play. And if you're going to play in a sauna, you better practice in one. I think it's really important for our guys to get acclimated to the type of heat down here. (Michael) Pittman, (Joe) Jurevicius, (Ken) Dilger -- the news guys particularly that have not been out in this weather for that long of a time."
The Bucs have been a hard team to beat at home in the beginning of each season due to the hot weather conditions. By the time Tampa Bay gets through training camp, they're used to the heat. However, most visiting teams are not well prepared for the heat. As uncomfortable as the hot Florida temperatures can be , Gruden knows he can use it to his team's advantage.
"If you manage the football team right, I think it can be an advantage," said Gruden. "You can ask the Dolphins about that. Just look at their one-loss record at home, particularly in the month of September, over the last seven or eight years.
"I can speak firsthand -- it's a different feel playing in that kind of weather. We have a great home crowd and a tremendous stadium. We should be a good football team at home and we want to dominate in Raymond James Stadium."
REGGIE WHITE A BUC? PART II
Pewter Report reported Thursday evening that Bucs head coach Jon Gruden had attempted to lure future Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White out of retirement earlier in the offseason. White turned down the opportunity to play for Gruden in Tampa Bay, citing he was out of football shape and needed at least a year to get back into form.
Gruden and White worked together between 1993-94 with the Green Bay Packers. Gruden was a wide receivers coach during White's first two seasons as a Packer.
White retired after the 1998 season, but in 2000, he came out of retirement to play with the Carolina Panthers for just one season before hanging up his helmet and cleats for good, again.
So, does Gruden have a legitimate interest in obtaining White's services?
"I was trying to get him (Reggie White) to be the head coach down here," Gruden said sarcastically when asked about his interest in White. "I love Reggie White. It was amazing how all of us became a lot smarter and better as coaches when Reggie came to Green Bay. You have to look under every rock in America to find any person like him. He's one of the greatest human beings I have ever met and one of the greatest clutch performers of all time. If he does decide he wants to play again, we'd love to have him in Tampa.
But Gruden stopped short of confirming the report.
"But that's just speculation, though," Gruden said smiling.
The Buccaneers had some special visitors at One Buccaneer Place to watch both of their practices on Friday. During the morning session, former Bucs and Redskins quarterback Doug Williams was on hand to observe the team's practice.
During the afternoon practice, former Bengals wide receiver and current Fox Sports commentator Chris Collinsworth flew into town with his crew to do a story on the Buccaneers.
Bucs defensive end Marcus Jones (shoulder), WR Keith Poole (hamstring), kicker Martin Gramatica (groin), defensive tackle Mike Mackenzie (shoulder) and fullback Mike Cerimele (hamstring) were all held out of Friday's practices.
Bucs DT Anthony McFarland and linebacker Derrick Brooks were held out of Friday's second practice for precautionary reasons.
After sitting out of Thursday afternoon's practice with a minor toe injury, WR Joe Jurevicius returned to workouts on Friday
QUOTE OF THE DAY
When Pewter Report asked Bucs head coach Jon Gruden about the roles wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell will play in Tampa Bay's offense, he replied:
"I call them (Johnson and McCardell) the keys to our offense. They are the keys to the Gulf Shore Attack."
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