Bucs Training Camp Notebook: Monday

July 29 - Tampa Bay took the field at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on Monday morning and afternoon for its first two training camp practices. Bucs running back Michael Pittman didn't last long as he sprained sprained his right ankle. How bad is his ankle sprain? Why were the first two training camp practices unusual ones? How did the players fare in the hot and humid weather conditions? Pewter Report has compiled a notebook from Monday's practices.

PITTMAN SPRAINS ANKLE DURING MORNING PRACTICE
Bucs running back Michael Pittman had to leave the morning practice after spraining his right ankle. He did not return and is listed as day-to-day.

"We're a little concerned with Pittman's ankle," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden at the end of the morning practice. " He rolled his ankle during 7-on-7 drills in this morning's practice. He'll be listed as day-to-day.

By the afternoon practice, the Bucs were pleased to learn Pittman's ankle right ankle injury was not serious and he could return to practice as early as Tuesday or as late as next week.

"It's not really severe," said Pittman. "It's really sore, though. But it's not severe, so hopefully I'm back tomorrow or sometime this week practicing. It occurred when Shelton Quarles hit me out of bounds during 7-on-7 drills. I rolled it a little bit, but I should be OK."

ADDITIONAL INJURIES: Bucs rookie RB Travis Stephens was bothered by a foot blister, but his injury was considered minor. He returned to practice during Monday afternoon's practice, which pleased Gruden.

"Travis Stephens got some blisters on his foot," said Gruden. "I guess he tried a new pair of hot turf shoes or something that he bought. But he sucked it up and was out here this afternoon and we appreciated."

Bucs second-year safety John Howell missed practice for personal reasons. Howell is expected to return to practice on Tuesday afternoon.

NON-TRADITIONAL START TO TRAINING CAMP
The Buccaneers did not sport the traditional training camp gear -- pads, pants, jerseys and helmets -- on Monday. Instead, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden decided to surprise his team by allowing them to sport mini-camp gear -- helmets, jersey and shorts.

"There are several teams that come out in shorts on the first day or two," said Gruden. "It's just the history I have in this league. It's a training camp formula I learned in San Francisco and I've seen it win championships in San Francisco and Green Bay and it's worked for us in other placed I've coached. When your players have three-to-four weeks off, you let them get re-acclimated. They're playing at a new facility here. You emphasis fundamentals, techniques and things of that nature. We'll hit the ground running on Wednesday morning.

Needless to say, the Bucs' players didn't mind Gruden's choice in terms of player wardrobe.

"Shorts -- now that was a nice surprise," said Bucs OT Lomas Brown. "Normally, on the first day of training camp, you come out in pads. That was a pleasant surprise. Coach Gruden had told me to that not only was he going to take care of me, but he said he was going to take care of this team."

"He (Jon Gruden) didn't tell us about that (wearing mini-camp gear) until we came to camp," said Bucs Pro Bowl strong safety John Lynch. "I think the players like it."

The Bucs practiced in mini-camp gear again on Monday afternoon and are not expected to put pads on until Wednesday morning's practice.

NUMBERS GAME?
Bucs wide receiver Frank Murphy and WR Darryl Daniel changed jersey numbers before the start of training camp. Murphy, who sold his jersey No. 87 to WR Keenan McCardell -- took Daniel's jersey No. 82. Daniel is sporting jersey No. 16.

New Bucs offensive tackle Lomas Brown sported jersey No. 76. Bucs cornerback Dwayne Stokes sported No. 28 and kicker Rob Hart sported jersey No. 2.

NEW COACH, NEW CAMP LOCATION...NEW HAIRSTYLES?
Several Bucs players decided to arrive at training camp with new hairstyles. Bucs safety David Gibson took the field with a buzzcut. Tampa Bay WR Keenan McCardell no longer sports dredalocks -- he has the short, but tight-afro look. Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp and Pro Bowl fullback Mike Alstott took the field with freshly-shaven heads. While one might assume these players went with shorter hairstyles due to the extremely hot conditions in Orlando, McCardell offered a different, but interesting explanation.

"(I cut my hair) to stand out," said McCardell. "I have to keep all of you (the media) on your heels. You never stay the same."

THE HEAT IS ON
Hot temperatures are expected this time of the year, but temperatures during Monday's practices were scorching in the 90s with a high humidity level. Playing in the heat is something football players, especially Tampa Bay players, must get accustomed to since the Bucs play nearly half of its home games in similar weather conditions.

"You gotta be out in the sun," said Bucs WR Keenan McCardell. "Whether its cutting the yard, playing golf or playing basketball -- you have to be out in it to get used to it. Once you get in it (the heat), it helps you a whole lot."

Lomas Brown shared McCardell's sentiments in terms of the Florida heat.

"It's hot," said Bucs OT Lomas Brown. "I guess I got a little soft up there in Albany, New York. I just forgot how hot it gets down here (Florida)."

QUARTERBACK DEPTH CHART
There were no surprises on the first day of training camp in terms of the quarterback depth chart. Tampa Bay's starting quarterback still is Brad Johnson and the backups are quarterbacks Rob Johnson and Shaun King -- in that order. But Gruden still insists all three quarterbacks are competing for the starting job.

"We chart their completions, we grade their feet, we grade the decisions that they make and the location of their throws," said Gruden. "I think all three guys have shown a common aptitude for our offense and I was impressed with all three of them. Rob Johnson stepped up today and threw the ball extremely well and I thought Brad Johnson caught fire toward the end of practice today, too. So, I was pleased."

OFFENSIVE LINE TAKING SHAPE
Gruden required all of his offensive linemen to report to camp weighing 310 pounds. Gruden explained why he requested this of all his offensive linemen.

"We're looking for 6-foot-5, 360-pound guys with no body fat," said Gruden. "We want our guys in shape. This is Florida. It's very hot here. If you're going to practice full-speed and you're going to finish drives in the fourth quarter, you can't carry a lot of extra baggage -- not that our guys were overweight in the past. We're in a fight for our lives here -- pro football. We want our guys to be in shape. We were trying to get them at a optimum playing weight where they can play to the best of their abilities for four quarters with pads on in a hot place. I'm really proud of those guys for the effort."

And for the inquiring minds that want to know, yes, all of the Bucs offensive linemen reported to training camp at or under Gruden's designated weight.


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