Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden hinted Thursday morning that both defensive tackle Warren Sapp (knee) and cornerback Dwight Smith (hamstring) may not play against the Jaguars on Friday night.
"Warren Sapp is very questionable for this game," said Gruden. "He has a little swelling on the knee. We don't think there is anything at all structurally wrong, but we want to take a good look at getting him right. Whether or not he'll play will be announced later. [CB] Dwight Smith is also very questionable for this game with a slight hamstring pull."
GRUDEN CANCELS AFTERNOON PRACTICE:
Gruden decided to cancel Thursday afternoon practice due to the short week. The Bucs' head coach was pleased with the amount of reps and effort the team put in on Wednesday and Thursday morning.
"Well, we have a game tomorrow," Gruden said when asked why he cancelled the afternoon practice. "We had some good work this morning. We previewed the Jaguars a little bit to give our team an idea as to what to expect. With the game and a long trip tomorrow to Jacksonville, we feel like it's best to keep these guys in the house, have some extensive meeting time and get them ready to go."
STARTERS MIGHT PLAY A LITTLE LONGER AGAINST JAGS:
Gruden suggested Thursday that some of Tampa Bay's starters might play longer on Friday night than they did in the team's first preseason game against the Dolphins.
"Nothing ever stays the same," Gruden said about playing time. "It will change at certain positions. At the quarterback position, we'd like to get Brad [Johnson] a few more snaps than we did last week. Look for him to play a little bit into the second quarter. Rob [Johnson] will finish the first half and start the third quarter and let Shaun [King] finish the game.
"He (Michael Pittman) is a guy that we are excited about.. We said that repeatedly. He'll play probably a little bit more than he did against the Dolphins but not dramatically more."
BUCS OPT TO DRIVE TO JACKSONVILLE:
The Buccaneers will travel to Jacksonville on buses instead of flying. While some may be concerned with the team's decision to drive to Jacksonville, Gruden isn't worried about it.
"I don't think so," Gruden said when asked if the drive to Jacksonville would hurt his team. "We can look at negatively and we can write a bunch of excuses down. It's a short week, it's a long bus ride and the hamburgers were cold and the sodas were wrong. But it will be a good test for us. I think this is a league of not only very talented athletes, but it's a game for the mentally tough. And this is an opportunity for us to show our maxi and play our best football in some different situations. I'm looking forward to watching the resilience of our football team."
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