The Buccaneers signed offensive guard Yusuf Scott on Sunday. The former Arizona Cardinal will give Tampa Bay a healthy backup at the guard position. Bucs starting right guard Cosey Coleman is expected to be out three or four more weeks with a knee injury.
Scott, a four-year veteran, played in 24 games with the Cardinals without a start. Scott was placed on the expansion draft list in February, but was not selected by the Houston Texans, which allowed to become a free agent.
The Bucs released guards Kendell Mack and Marcus Jenkins on Sunday. Neither had been practicing due to injuries. Mack suffered a torn MCL in his left knee in Tampa Bay's preseason opener on against the Miami Dolphins. Jenkins had missed most of the first three weeks of training camp practices with a foot sprain.
The Buccaneers' list of walking wounded grew in number after Tampa Bay's 20-0 win over Jacksonville on Friday night. Bucs backup defensive tackle Buck Gurley suffered a left ankle sprain, which was the worst injury to report. He is expected to be sidelined a few weeks and might miss the season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 8.
"Buck Gurley sprained his left ankle and it appears that he'll be out a couple of weeks," Gruden said. "We remain optimistic that we'll have him for the opening game against New Orleans, but he did aggravate that ankle and we are obviously concerned. [G] Cosey Coleman is making progress. I think his sprits are pretty good and we are going to be optimistic about him for the opener as well."
Bucs running back Michael Pittman re-aggravated his right ankle sprain on his first carry of the game against the Jaguars. He returned to action on Friday night, but he is expected to miss a few days of practice this week. Gruden expects Pittman to play against Washington on Saturday.
"Michael Pittman sprained his right ankle and there is a good chance he will be out for the next couple of days, but we think there is a good chance he will be ready for the Redskins," Gruden said.
Tampa Bay Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks bruised his left shoulder during the game against Jacksonville, which will force him to see limited action in practice this week as well.
"Derrick Brooks has a left shoulder bruise, he'll be limited on the practice field the next couple of days," said Gruden. We think he'll also be ready for the game on Saturday."
Tampa Bay starting tight end Ken Dilger suffered a right abdominal strain against the Jags. But Gruden doesn't expect Dilger's injury to keep him out of the game against Washington.
"Ken Dilger has a right abdominal strain," Gruden said. "He will be day to day on the practice field but should be ready for the game on Saturday."
Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott suffered a concussion early in the Bucs' game against the Jaguars. He didn't have any carries or receptions in the game, but he's not expected to miss the game on Saturday. In fact, the "A-Train" returned to practice on Sunday.
"Mike Alstott is feeling much better from a concussion he suffered earlier in the game," Gruden said."
Bucs offensive guard Shane Grice, cornerback Dwight Smith (hamstring) and defensive tackle Warren Sapp (knee) didn't dress for the game on Friday night. They're still nursing injuries they have been dealing with throughout training camp. But the Bucs received good news Sunday when both Sapp and Smith returned practice.
"Shane Grice did not play or dress last night, we think he will be ready in the middle of this week," said Gruden. "We hope to have him for the Redskins. Warren Sapp looks like he is getting better. The swelling is going down a bit and we expect him to return to practice and be ready to go on Saturday and the same thing can be said for Dwight Smith, our cornerback who is nursing a hamstring."
Tampa Bay rookie wide receiver Marquise Walker missed some practice time last week due to a minor ankle sprain. He didn't enter the game against Jacksonville until late in the fourth quarter, but he didn't take long to make an impact. Walker hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Shaun King, which put the Bucs up 20-0.
"Marquise Walker is improving, he played late in the game and we think he will be ready to go on Sunday," said Gruden.
GRUDEN IMPRESSED WITH TIGHT ENDS:
Tampa Bay's tight ends have been overshadowed by the addition of the additon of the big-name wide receivers this offseason. But they had a big impact in the receiving game on Friday night. The Bucs' tight ends caught six passes for 79 yards against the Jags' defense. Bucs starting tight end Ken Dilger hauled in a 25-yard pass in the first quarter. Marco Battaglia caught two passes for 36 yards. Backups Mike Roberg got in the action with two receptions for 10 yards and rookie Tracey Wistrom caught one pass for eight yards. Gruden said the tight ends' role as receivers will be vary this season.
"I think they'll be a big part of it (the offense)," Gruden said. "They did catch six or seven balls last night, and a couple of them for big gains. We ran a couple two-tight end sets last night to assist with pass protection. Some of our play action passes are set up around those guys. Formationally, there are some things athletically that Ken and Marco can do. They're going to be a big part of every week's game plan. Sometimes they'll show up more as receivers than others. Friday night was a good indication of that."
GRUDEN CONCERNED WITH BUCS' RUNNING GAME?:
After rushing for 182 yards (6.1 average) against the Miami Dolphins in its first preseason game of the year, Tampa Bay's rushing attack was nearly non-existent against Jacksonville's defense. The Bucs rushed for just 36 yards and averaged 1.7 yards per carry. While Gruden felt the team could've done a better job in the running game, he also said the extra emphasis on the passing game along with Jacksonville's defensive fronts were also to blame.
"We got a lot of eight man fronts," Gruden said. "They [Jacksonville] blitzed us frequently last night and honestly we didn't block some of the plays extremely well either. We've got to do a much better job in the running game. From right tackle to left tackle, from split end to flanker we've got to do a better job in terms of finishing blocks and getting to people physically and moving the line of scrimmage. We lost Mike Alstott and Mike Pittman early in the game and we were in a throw it mode in the first half in particular and that had a lot to do with the number of times we tried to run it. But all in all, we weren't satisfied at all with our first down run ratio and in terms of what we gained."
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