Bucs WR Keenan McCardell's left knee sprain during one-on-one red zone drills was the most significant note that came out of both practices on Monday. McCardell is expected to miss a few days of practice, but he could miss up to a week, depending on how quickly the sprain heals.
Since they were unable to practice, the following players ride stationary bikes during the morning practice: rookie defensive ends John Stamper and Marcus Jones, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and offensive guard Marcus Jenkins. In former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy's camp, if a player was hurt, they simply sat on the sideline and watched. In Gruden's camp, if a player is hurt, the trainers make sure the injured player still gets their cardio in and makes them use whatever part of their body is functioning. Even Stamper, who has a sore right hamstring, rode the stationary bike, but only used his left leg to peddle.
While Tampa Bay running backs Michael Pittman and Travis Stephens dressed and warmed up with their teammates, both players didn't participate in team drills on Monday morning. Both Pittman and Stephens did, however, see more action during the afternoon practice, when the team sported shorts. Their absences from the morning session allowed Bucs running backs Byron Hanspard and Aaron Stecker to get more touches.
Stecker showed some power during the team's first 11-on-11 padded practice, where he bulled through Bucs CB Corey Chamblin and sprinted up the right sideline for a touchdown. Stecker dropped several passes during the morning practice, which is a bit unusual. Hanspard showed some nifty moves and speed, but defenders continue to make him pay for running so high with the ball.
Maybe I'm reading into this the wrong way, but Bucs FB Mike Alstott received just as many, if not more reps than any running back during Monday morning's practice until he fumbled during the team's 11-on-11 red zone drill, which had the offense starting drives from their own one-yard line. The "A-Train" fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, and Tampa Bay's defense recovered. Was it a coincidence that Alstott's carries were limited after he fumbled? Maybe. Maybe not. One thing is certain -- Gruden doesn't have patience for turnovers.
The quarterbacks didn't have their most impressive outing of training camp on Monday. Brad Johnson, Rob Johnson and Shaun King were all inconsistent. Brad Johnson's throws seemed to have more power behind them than they did last week. Rob Johnson's scrambling ability allowed him to avoid several sacks. Rob Johnson held onto the football a bit too long during 11-on-11 drills. In his defense, Rob Johnson had a hard time finding open receivers. Shaun King had the most impressive throw and play of the day when he threw and landed a bomb to WR Darryl Daniel, who was wide open after he juked CB Corey Ivy on a stop-and-go pattern, for a touchdown.
Bucs punter Tom Tupa warmed up with the quarterbacks, but he has yet to actually get live reps during 11-on-11 drills. Gruden suggested last week that Tupa would get those reps sooner rather than later.
Kenyatta Walker played with the first-team offense exclusively at right tackle during Monday morning's practice, which is leading some to think Gruden is doing more than experimenting with Walker at right tackle. Jerry Wunsch played right tackle with the second-team. Roman Oben started at left tackle. Bucs second-year guard Russ Hochstein saw significant playing time during the morning practice. Hochstein played well against the run and reminds some of former Bucs right guard Frank Middleton in terms of his blocking ability upfield.
With McCardell injured early on Monday, Tampa Bay's younger receivers received more reps, which only helped players like rookie Marquise Walker, who had struggled during mini-camp and training camp, but played well on Monday. Bucs WR Milton Wynn has also stepped up his play in the last several practices. Wynn has displayed solid hands as well as the ability to position himself against defenders in the end zone. Bucs WR Karl Williams also received more reps, but he didn't do much to standout. Bucs rookie WR Aaron Lockett is going to have a hard time making the 53-man roster. Unless he gets wide open, Lockett has been an ineffective receiver. He's arguably the fastest player on the team, but he hasn't shown blazing speed on the football field thus far. Lockett hasn't outjumped, out-positioned or outmaneuvered cornerbacks. Unless he blows away coaches as a return specialist, Lockett's career in Tampa Bay might not last long.
Tampa Bay's defense played well as a unit on Monday. Bucs CB Terrell Buckley made a nice interception during 7-on-7 drills. He laid out on the field and took advantage of a bad pass by QB Rob Johnson. Cornerback Dwight Smith played extremely well as the team's nickel back. Tampa Bay CB Corey Chamblin was also impressive in coverage.
During one-on-one sessions (WR vs. CB), Bucs starting free safety Dexter Jackson saw playing time. While he is listed as a safety, Jackson is capable of playing cornerback, too. Jackson came up with an interception during 7-on-7 drills on Monday afternoon.
Tampa Bay conducted a few special teams drills on Monday. Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica was accurate on field goal attempts. Tupa was flawless in terms of holding kicks for Gramatica. Tupa also was impressive during punt drills, where he consistently punted the football past mid-field from his own end zone.
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