A blow-by-blow blog of the morning practice on Tuesday at Buccaneers mini-camp:
DE Simeon Rice showed up to stretch, and that was about it. He left without making much of a fuss before position workouts even began. He turned down interview requests. He wasn't expected to work out, but we were hoping he would talk.
New long snapper Andrew Economos' strength drill comprises of tossing a medicine ball, granny-style, as high in the air as possible. He later tossed the ball to one of the conditioning coaches 10 yards away. I talked to him after practice and he seems genuinely excited about replacing the retired Dave Moore.
One player — who shall remain nameless — was a bit tardy for practice. As he walked through the doors onto the practice field, he told me, "You didn't see me come through that door."
The first passing drill was interesting. Bruce Gradkowski and Chris Simms shared reps, and Gradkowski looked sharper. Simms missed badly on a couple of 10-yard slants, and missed Galloway on a 20-yard fly, though Galloway might have run the route too fast. Meanwhile, Jeff Garcia took reps with the running backs, and then joined Simms and Gradkowski. Garcia definitely looks the sharpest of the three. No incompletions and he appeared to be in command of his fundamentals. He also showed great touch on the rollout passes.
The extend of guard Dan Buenning's work this week seems to be getting reps at center in the passing drills. He's wearing a brace on his left knee and isn't participating in any of the 11-on-11 work. Gruden said afterward that he'll be ready for training camp and will get work at both center and guard.
About 30 minutes into practice I noticed that second-round pick Arron Sears was nowhere to be found. Gruden later said he'll miss Tuesday and Wednesday due to some "minor issues," but didn't specify. He said it wouldn't keep Sears out of training camp.
Several of the defensive vets sat out the first 11-on-11 drills, including LB Derrick Brooks, CB Ronde Barber, CB Brian Kelly, S Jermaine Phillips and LB Ryan Nece. OT Luke Petitgout, the new starting left tackle, also sat out that drill. They sat out most of the 11-on-11 work in the morning.
The QB rep order for the first 11-on-11, if you're interested — Garcia, Gradkowski, Luke McCown and Simms. Don't read anything into that. McCown didn't take a single rep in the first set of passing drills. QBs are pretty much interchangeable this time of year.
Spotted at practice? General manager Bruce Allen and ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio. SalPal begged the TV reporters to go out to watch practice with him around 11:15 a.m.. Most of the TV guys — who spent the first half hour taping B roll (or highlights) turned him down. It was pretty humid Tuesday morning, humid enough to make me believe it might rain this afternoon and wash out that workout.
Simms threw an interception to Phillip Buchanon in 7-on-7 work, as Buchanon jumped a crossing route. Gruden praised Buchanon after practice for getting a better grasp of the playbook, saying he looked more an more like the first-round pick that he was early in his career.
Also fresh from Sal Pal, his book is coming out in August, called The Paolantonio Report. Of interest to Bucs fans will be his chapters on Monte Kiffin (Top 5 underrated coaches of all time) and the Bucs' Super Bowl championship team (one of the most underrated Super Bowl champions of all time). There's also a piece on former Bucs and Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who briefly put in an appearance at practice.
Some of the players working at gunner today on special teams included Efren Hill, seventh-round pick Kenneth Darby and S Calvin Pearson.
Minus Petitgout, the second 11-on-11 drill focused on what might be the starting offensive line (from right tackle to left tackle) — Jeremy Trueblood, Davin Joseph, John Wade, Anthony Davis and Donald Penn (subbing for Petitgout).
Injury update: DE Charles Bennett left the field before the end of practice with ice on his left knee. Gruden said he's still being evaluated. G Jeb Terry left the field minutes before the end of the workout. Gruden did not know what was wrong, but it appeared Terry was suffering from possible dehydration due to an especially humid day.
Quotable: "If Sears doesn't come through for us, we're going to re-name him Wal-Mart." — Gruden.
There's more coming this afternoon, so keep checking back.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Included among his more than two dozen writing and editing awards are national awards from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, and state awards from the Florida Press Club and the Florida Sports Writers Association, for his coverage of the Buccaneers since 2004.