The Afternoon Blitz — July 29, 2.0

During Sunday afternoon's practice, one quarterback impressed once again, a fullback was chewed out by Jon Gruden and Cadillac Williams continues to take more receiving reps, in this updated afternoon practice edition of the Afternoon Blitz for July 29.

Want the scoop on Sunday's second practice? Click here to access the second part of the Afternoon Blitz.


With presumed starter Jeff Garcia taking the afternoon off, the other three quarterbacks — Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown — all got plenty of reps.

The winner? Without a doubt, it was McCown, considered the fourth quarterback right now, but he's quickly making a case to be considered a serious candidate for the final roster.

McCown had a crisp workout, missing few reads and receivers (the Bucs were in shorts and jerseys this afternoon). He produced a nice play fake on a designed rollout to the right, and then hit TE Alex Smith in the flat (who later dropped a pass he should have caught). McCown showed off that big arm again with a 45-yard pass to WR Maurice Stovall.

That isn't to say that McCown didn't make mistakes. He just made the fewest, and he was certainly the most consistent of the three quarterbacks.

Gradkowski actually had a better day than Simms, as the Texas product showed some residual effects of his faulty fundamentals for the first time in camp. He missed badly on two passes, including a drag route over the middle. He seems to still be having trouble with the long pass into the flat going across his body. He struggled to get one to TE Anthony Becht.

One practice doesn't change a whole lot. I still believe that Simms is the leader for the No. 2 spot, with Gradkowski and McCown a dead heat for No. 3.

All four will get plenty more reps on Monday.

A big afternoon off: Just about every veteran over the age of 30 who had job locked up didn't work out Sunday afternoon. What was actually more notable was that DT Chris Hovan was not one of them. He still worked out.

Derrick Brooks, Greg Spires, Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly, Michael Pittman, Mike Alstott, Dan Buenning, John Wade, Garcia and Kevin Carter all sat out. And, of course, WR Joey Galloway was in New Orleans watching his Columbus Destroyers lose to San Jose. He'll be back on Monday.

The absence of Wade and Buenning allowed Matt Lehr to work exclusively at center in every drill.

Passing fancy: Williams is definitely getting more passing reps this training camp than he did a year ago. The Bucs have stated all offseason they're committed to getting him more involved in the passing game. It's worth noting that Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook had more than 70 receptions last year, and that he really got going once Garcia became quarterback and head coach Andy Reid ceded control of the offense to coordinator Marty Morningweh, who likes to use the running back as a big passing weapon. So does Jon Gruden.

Trickery: The Bucs threw in two standard trick plays for the crowd. The first was a handoff to Williams, who ran right, and then threw back to Simms, who threw downfield. The second was an end around to WR Michael Clayton.

That'll show up on tape: There's no hiding when the ref catches you in the act. That's what TE Keith Heinrich will find out tonight after flinching at the line of scrimmage in an 11-on-11 drill, drawing a flag.

There's no hiding from Gruden, either: I really don't want to be fullback Byron Storer tonight, who missed an assignment on a play and drew Gruden's ire.

"Get your (expletive deleted) ass set," Gruden said.

Just think — he has a film session to look forward to tonight, too.

The more I watch him...: … the more I like Maurice Stovall.

He's really impressed me the last three days. Not only is he talented, he has a presence that you notice. He's a very good player, and more than that, he knows it and isn't afraid to show it.

He did so Sunday afternoon with another nice move. He caught a pass in the flat on a quick out, stopped, planted, spun around and left the defender in the dust.

If this guy gets the No. 2 receiving job, he might not give it back.

Have a question for Buccaneers expert Matthew Postins? E-mail him at bucsblitz@mac.com and he'll personally answer your e-mail, and possibly feature it in an upcoming feature.


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.


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