Tampa Bay right guard Cosey Coleman, who has been sidelined since Aug. 12 with a knee injury, is expected to play against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Todd Washington had been starting in Coleman's place. Coleman is listed as probable for Sunday's game.
"Barring any unforeseen events, I'd expect that (Coleman will play)," said Bucs offensive line coach Bill Muir.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden liked what he saw from Coleman during Wednesday's practice, which was Coleman's first full practice since his injury.
"We expect him (Coleman) to start, but we'll see how he feels in the morning," said Gruden. "We've missed him. I don't think I've called a play yet with him on the field. He went down in pre-game warm-ups of the Dolphin game. It was exciting to get to know him a little bit today. It really was exciting. I'm actually feeling pretty good about that."
In other injury news, Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell is listed as questionable for Sunday's game with a left quad strain. But McCardell was optimistic he'd be ready to play by Sunday.
"I'm feeling a lot better," said McCardell. "I think it's going to be a day-to-day process. I feel better. If I can continue to get better at the rate I'm going, I think I'll be fine."
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Buck Gurley is also listed as questionable with an ankle sprain.
Bucs long snapper Mike Solwold (leg contusion) is listed as probable for Sunday's game.
BUCS RESPECT RAVENS' DEFENSE:
Tampa Bay will face Baltimore's solid defense, which is currently ranked seventh in the National Football League. The Ravens surrendered just 265 yards of total offense to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Despite their solid effort on defense, the Panthers snapped a 15-game losing streak by defeating the Ravens last Sunday, 10-7. Carolina was just 1-15 in 2001, but the Bucs refuse to focus on what the Ravens and Panthers did last year.
"You can't really look at what teams did last year," said Bucs QB Johnson. "I think there were a lot of upsets across the board last week. But Baltimore has been dominant on defense in preseason and in the first game against Carolina."
The Ravens' defense led Baltimore to a championship when they won Super Bowl XXXV a few years ago, but the Ravens have changed a bit since then. The team lost several veterans via free agency, including DT Tony Siragusa, (retirement), FS Rod Woodson and LB Jamie Sharper. The Ravens have 19 rookies on its 53-man roster. They lost defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to the Washington Redskins during the offseason, which caused the team to switch from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4.
"The 3-4 defense presents some different challenges for you," said Brad Johnson. "It's nothing we haven't practiced for. We saw it in the preseason. We'll see it later in the year against Atlanta and Pittsburgh, so it will be a good opportunity for us to see the 3-4 defense."
Bucs WR Keenan McCardell said the biggest difference between a 4-3 and 3-4 defense is the pass rush, which is something Tampa Bay should be all too familiar with. When the Bucs faced the Pittsburgh Steelers' 3-4 defensive scheme last season, they allowed Brad Johnson to get sacked 10 times and hurried several other times.
"The only difference is the fronts," said McCardell. "They try to make sure they get a five-man rush on our line and offense. That's the thing we have to realize is that they're always going to try to get a five-man rush on us."
Baltimore cornerback Chris McAllister is the only starter from '01 to return to the Ravens' secondary this season. But McCardell said the younger defensive backs played well against Carolina.
"They have some guys that can play," said McCardell. "I played against (Chris) McAllister for the last four or five years, so I know what he can do. That have a couple of young guys back there that are playing pretty well."
WILL TAMPA BAY'S OFFENSE HURRY UP?
Tampa Bay's offense scored 10 points in the fourth quarter against the Saints on Sunday, which allowed the team to send the game into overtime. The Bucs were able to move the ball downfield effectively in the final minutes of that game because they were running the hurry-up offense. If Tampa Bay's offense continues to struggle, will they turn to the hurry-up more often?
"There's things you always look at," said Brad Johnson. "I'm sure at some point in the season we'll go into a hurry-up offense. Whenever it comes up we'll call that. I thought we were pretty good in our two-minute offense the other night. We scored on two out of three possessions and the one we didn't score on we had a field goal blocked."
BUCS' OFFENSE SAYS THEY MUST LIMIT PENALTIES, MISTAKES AGAINST RAVENS:
The Buccaneers committed several costly penalties against the Saints on Sunday, which made it difficult for the offense to move the ball with consistency. Tampa Bay said people would be hard pressed to find an offense that would be successful if placed in the situations the Bucs' offense found itself in last Sunday against the Saints.
"When you have three, four or five big pass plays called back and long down and distances, I'm not a very good quarterback and you're not going to be a very good offensive coordinator," said Brad Johnson. "There's not too many plays for third-and-20."
The consensus amongst the players in the locker room was that the Buccaneers could have defeated the Saints if they had just avoided some mistakes and made plays when they had the chances.
"We just have to make plays," said Bucs WR Keenan McCardell. "When the plays are there and the opportunities are there, you have to make the plays. This game is about play-making. If you make your plays when you have to, we may not lose that game against New Orleans. We may not even get to overtime."
BUCS HUNGRY FOR FIRST WIN:
Tampa Bay plays five road games in its first eight games of the regular season. That said, the Bucs realize how important it is for them to escape Baltimore with a win on Sunday.
"We were hungry (for a win) in the first game," said McCardell. "People may not think we were, but we were hungry. We're more hungry now because we want to get that win under our belt to get us going. We have a good opportunity this week if we go out there and execute. It's not going to be easy. We're on the road. It's tough to win on the road in the NFL. But you've got to do it if you want to be a playoff team. If we're going to consider ourselves a playoff team, we've got to win on the road."
The Bucs were focused and preparing for Baltimore on Wednesday. Several Bucs stressed that players must have a short memory in order to survive in the NFL.
"We're still positive," said Bucs RB Michael Pittman. "We know we came out flat last week, but we're past that now. We can sit there and dwell on it because if we did we wouldn't be able to get ready for Baltimore."
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bucs DE Simeon Rice on the team's loss to the Saints last Sunday:
"Hopefully it was a wakeup call," said Rice. "The smelling salt is under our nose."
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.