Bucs Training Camp Notebook: Thursday A.M.

August 1 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held Thursday morning's training camp practice in pads. Both the players and spectators received some relief from the heat and humidity as Thursday morning's weather conditions were overcast. Pewter Report has compiled a notebook with news and notes from Thursday morning's practice.


Tampa Bay quarterback Rob Johnson, who is listed as the team's second-string quarterback on the depth chart, took the majority of reps during the final 11-on-11 practice session on Thursday morning. After seeing this, one could have come to the conclusion that Rob Johnson had replaced Brad Johnson as the starting quarterback, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden ended that speculation quickly.

"I have a plan in terms of what I'm doing," said Gruden. "I have said from the very beginning that Brad Johnson is the starting quarterback here. There's certain periods where I want to bring in Rob (Johnson) and see where he is at. We only have three quarterbacks in camp now. I have to be careful I don't ware him (Brad) on the fourth day of training camp."

Tampa Bay has a new offense, but fullback Mike Alstott doesn't expect his role in it to be much more different than the one he had in the past.

"I really don't think it's going to change that much from the past," said Alstott. "I'll be used in the I-formation with Jameel (Cook), and in other situations with me solo. Then, I'll be fullback."

The "A-Train" thinks he could have a bigger role in Tampa Bay's passing game, as he did during his rookie season (1996) when he hauled in 65 receptions.

"I'm going to catch the ball more," said Alstott. "He puts us backs in good situations to catch the ball. They're not big routes or routes downfield, but they're routes that you can turn into big plays."

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden will also limit Alstott's playing time some during the second practice of the two-a-day training camp practices due to his history of hamstring pulls, which have sidelined him for several preseason games in the past three seasons.

"I have a history of pulling some hamstrings," said Alstott. "My body just doesn't take two-a-days well. He (Gruden) has a plan for me -- practice hard in the morning and take a little easier in the afternoon. I want to stay fresh and be here so I can play through all of training camp and in all the preseason games and give my coaches an impression of what I can on the field."

MORE ALSTOTT NEWS The "A-Train" participated, but was held out of a good portion of the morning practice due to cramping. Rookie RB Travis Stephens saw extensive action at the team's tailback during the morning session. Running backs Byron Hanspard and Aaron Stecker filled in for Alstott and Bucs RB Michael Pittman, who is sidelined with a ankle sprain.

You've heard all about the extremely hot temperatures and humidity in Orlando for days now, but on Thursday morning, both the Buccaneers and spectators were treated to overcast conditions, which kept temperatures fairly cool.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden's younger brother, Jay, will join the Buccaneers as an assistant offensive coach after his season with the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators concludes.

"That's something he (Jay Gruden) said he was going to do down the road," said Gruden. "As soon as their (Orlando) season ends, he's going to be part of our staff. I think he has a real bright future as a coach."

Jay Gruden has coached the Predators for five years and currently plays quarterback for the team. Jay Gruden played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm, leading the team to a 68-13 overall record as the team's starting quarterback and four Arena Bowl championships. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 17,468 yards, 318 touchdowns and 88 interceptions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking ace Martin Gramatica watched his brother, Bill, who kicks for the Arizona Cardinals, tear his ACL last season after jumping up and down in celebration as the Gramatica brothers -- Martin, Bill and Santiago (University of South Florida) have always done. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden already has spoken to Martin about his soccer-style celebrations and doesn't anticipate losing his Pro Bowl kicker in such a strange manner.

"I've tried to talk to Martin (a) and I think that's been addressed," said Gruden. "I think what happened to his brother in Arizona last season has been well-documented. I think both guys, and all kickers and coaches that tend to jump up and down and get a little bit excited learned from that incident. But I don't ever want to temper down a guy's excitement. You just have to be smart.

"I've seen some crazy things happen this league, but that has to rank in the top 10."

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