Inside Bucs' Training Camp: Tuesday

August 6 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a training camp practice in pads on Monday morning. Which Bucs players looked sharp? Which players didn't? Pewter Report has the highlights, in-depth observations and inside scoop from Tampa Bay's training camp in this detailed report.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's offense unveiled some new trickery during Monday morning's padded practice.

During 11-on-11 full-contact drills, Bucs backup QB Rob Johnson handed the ball off to RB Aaron Stecker, who pitched the ball back to Johnson, who then threw an incomplete pass near the right sideline.

Although it might not be considered trickery, the play out of the backfield where Bucs QB Brad Johnson pitched the football to FB Mike Alstott, who rumbled up the weakside of the football field for a 14-yard gain, was a new wrinkle.

During field goal practice, the Bucs practiced fake field goals. Although they didn't execute the plays very well, the concepts were good ones. Bucs punters/holders Tom Tupa and Dave Leaverton both threw passes during the fake field goal session, but neither completed their passes. The other fake field goal plays featured direct snaps to the running backs and fullbacks.

Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica was excellent in terms of kicking field goals. Backup K Rob Hart will not challenge Gramatica a spot, as he was not impressive on field goal attempts.

Gruden played his second and third-team players more on Tuesday morning. Bucs offensive tackles Brian Gruber and Pete Pierson received a good amount of playing time, but didn't really perform well.

With WR Keenan McCardell out of action, Bucs wide receivers Milton Wynn and Karl Williams took advantage of his absence by turning in impressive performances on Monday morning. Wynn made an impressive catch on a fade pattern in the end zone for a touchdown. Bucs CB Brian Kelly had good coverage on the play, but Wynn used his 6-foot-2 frame to haul in the pass for the score. Wynn has had an excellent training camp thus far and is starting to separate himself from the younger receivers. Williams caught a handful of tough touchdown passes during 7-on-7 red zone drills, but he also dropped a few easy catches throughout the morning practice.

Tampa Bay tight ends Ken Dilger and Marco Battaglia had plenty of passes thrown their way during the offseason mini-camps, but they haven't seen many passes thrown their way during training camp. Dilger and Battaglia have, however, been on the field, but they've taken on more of a role in blocking on the offensive line. Speaking of tight ends, the Bucs ran a screen play to TE Todd Yoder during 11-on-11 drills. The play worked perfectly as Yoder showed some speed while heading 15-yards up the sideline.

The quarterbacks looked good on Monday morning. Shaun King and Rob Johnson took most of the reps. Both Rob Johnson and King had impressive moments.

King hit rookie WR Marquise Walker on a comeback route for a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills. Karl Williams has developed into one of Rob Johnson's favorite targets. Rob Johnson used his legs to beat the defense during 11-on-11 drills when he escaped pressure in the pocket and sprinted toward the weakside of the field for a 40-yard gain.

With running backs Michael Pittman and Travis Stephens held out of contact drills, Aaron Stecker and Mike Alstott received the majority of touches on Monday morning. Both players took advantage of the extra carries and shined throughout practice.

Many people compare Stecker to former Bucs RB Warrick Dunn, but Stecker's tackle-breaking ability is much better. Stecker broke several big runs thanks to the holes opened up by his offensive line on Monday morning. Toward the end of the morning practice, Stecker pulled up limping, and he didn't participate in the special teams practice later in the afternoon. He is believed to have strained a hamstring. Stecker also has better hands in the passing game than rookie RB Travis Stephens, which is why he's probably not in danger of not making the 53-man roster this season.

Bucs RB Zain Gilmore is the fastest running back on the team, but he hasn't received many carries during training camp. Gilmore has, however, served as a lead blocker quite often.

Tampa Bay's defense threw several blitz packages at the offense today, which caused the quarterbacks to struggle a bit. The Bucs' offensive line had a hard time picking the blitzes up, which led to several sacks. Bucs DT Warren Sapp returned to practice on Monday morning after nursing a sore knee for one day. He had a phenomenal practice and broke into the offensive backfield several times. Bucs DE Greg Spires has an impressive practice at left defensive end while playing in place of injured DE Marcus Jones. Right defensive end Simeon Rice also had a good practice.

Bucs SS John Lynch had a good outing in 7-on-7 drills and pulled in an interception in the back of the end zone on one play. Bucs nickel CB Dwight Smith continued to play well, but he had an interception fall in and out of his hands during 11-on-11 drills.


Click here to discuss this topic and more with other Bucs fans on the Red Message Boards.

All PewterReport.com photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless noted otherwise. Click here to visit Welch's web site.


Become an insider today with a subscription to Pewter Report or by becoming a Club Insider. You can also become a subscriber to Pewter Report by calling 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).

Looking for the largest selection of Bucs merchandise on the internet? Check out BucGear.com.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories