Several Bucs players were held out of Monday morning's practice with minor injuries. Tampa Bay starting middle linebacker Shelton Quarles didn't participate in the padded practice. He was sidelined with a bruised/sprained calf muscle.
"He (Shelton Quarles) has a sprained calf," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "He's a little bit sore and has some swelling in there. We don't think it's anything serious, but we might hold him a day or two until that pain resolves itself."
Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman (ankle) returned to practice on Monday morning. He saw limited action, but the fact that he participated in some workouts was encouraging to Gruden.
"He's (Pittman) doing fine," said Gruden. "He practiced a little bit in the individual things, but we held him out of the team activities. We hope to have him on Saturday night. He's getting better, but he still has a little soreness, so we're being careful right now."
Bucs offensive guard Shane Grice, defensive tackle Buck Gurley (ankle) and defensive ends Greg Spires (hamstring) and John Stamper (hamstring) were all held of practice on Monday. They did, however, ride stationary bikes at the beginning of practice.
WALKER LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAINST FORMER COLLEGE COACH:
Tampa Bay right tackle Kenyatta Walker played under Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier for three seasons when Spurrier coached Walker at the University of Florida. But on Saturday, Walker will play against his college coach. Spurrier's system worked in college, but some still are wondering whether or not it will succeed in the pros.
"I think Coach Spurrier is a good coach," said Walker. "He one of those guys that you have to know who you're dealing with. He does things his own way and you have to deal with it. But other than that, he's a good coach. He wants to win, and that's all you can ask for.
"I think he'll be successful (in the pros). As soon as he gets in there, he'll have his ups and downs, but I think he'll be fine."
While he's looking forward to the challenge of facing his college coach, Walker is more focused on playing better at right tackle.
"Right tackle is definitely my natural position," said Walker. "I played it all my life. Now, it's getting better. I'm just trying to not get Brad Johnson hit so much this year. Brad's a tough guy. He took a lot of hits last year and we definitely don't want to repeat that. I know I don't."
Gruden is pleased with Walker's play thus far, but he said the second-year tackle has plenty of room to improve.
"We see a guy that we think has range to be a very good right tackle in this league," Gruden said of Walker. "We have to play more consistent on the offensive line. Not only at right tackle, but at every position. We had a couple of breakdowns last weekend that were inexcusable. Lack of detail is going to kill us. He's a new player over there. He's played two games. At times you see the ability, the flash and range and talent he has. But there's some instinctive things he has to work through right now. Hopefully within the next 10 days or so, he'll be ready for the opener. "
GRUDEN IMPRESSED WITH BUCS LB SINGLETON
Most of the hype on defense has been floating around Quarles, but Bucs strongside linebacker Al Singleton has played well in both preseason games. Gruden said Singleton caught his eye throughout the offseason workouts.
"I can't say enough about the work some of these guys have done and certainly Al is at the top of that list," said Gruden. "The work he and (Shelton) Quarles have put into this thing since we started in April has been relentless and never ending. It's going to pay off for them. I have a feeling it's going to be a real interesting season for Al SIngleton."
Singleton is a first-year starter, but Gruden doesn't think he's played like one. He's not the most outspoken player, but he's made some noise on the field with his play during training camp.
"Al can play on any down," said Gruden. "He can play in any situation and he's a valuable player on this team. He's very physical and he's very fast. He's very instinctive and very much into this game. It's important to him and he's emerged as a leader on this team. He's made a lot of plays. We like the athleticism we have at that position."
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Gruden when asked what he'd like to see his players do this week with training camp coming to an end:
"We want to go wire to wire," said Gruden. "The great horses and the great racers we've seen go wire to wire. A lot of these guys have put in unbelievable efforts in terms of their attention to detail and the effort. We just want to make sure we finish the race."
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