Training Camp Thermometer

Every couple of days, BucsBlitz.com will take the temperature at training camp. No, not on the field (although it's been plenty hot), but of the Buccaneers. Who's driving up the mercury and who's watching their temperature cool down? Find out in our new camp feature, Training Camp Thermometer.

Mercury rising

WR David Boston: One of the real pleasant surprises of training camp so far. Boston has missed the last three seasons, practically, with just four receptions in five games in Miami in 2005. Injuries had robbed him of the Pro Bowl form he flashed in Arizona in the 2001 season. He's certainly not at that level, but he looks the best he's looked in years. I haven't seen him drop a pass, he's made catches in tight situations and put his body on the ground to make the catch. He also has enough speed to go long, as evidenced by his 65-yard bomb from Luke McCown on Saturday. He's not a lock yet, but a couple of good preseason performances and he will be.

DT Jovan Haye: Call him the defense's pleasant surprise. He hadn't played the three technique until late last year, but he's really taken to the role and has worked himself into the first group of the defensive line in most drills. Defensive line coach Larry Coyer loves his quickness and run stopping ability. All he needs now is to improve his pass rush, and he'll cement himself as a starter. Oh, and after speaking to the media on Sunday morning, he shook hands — with everybody. No one else has shaken my hand all week.

QBs Jeff Garcia and Chris Simms: I don't need an official depth chart to see Garcia is not only the starter but the leader of this offense. He's taken to the role quickly, and his teammates have taken to him quickly. Simms is just about back to his 2005 form. His fundamentals are back in line and he's got plenty of zip on the ball. He'll make the run for No. 2 a good one.

New defensive coaches: The Bucs turned all three position coaches over from 2006 — line coach Coyer, linebackers coach Gus Bradley and secondary coach Raheem Morris. All three have quickly earned respect from their players, and there's a tempo to the defensive workouts that was missing last year at camp. Those three coaches have a lot to do with it, and they've given coordinator Monte Kiffin a jolt of enthusiasm.

DT Justin Frick: He's done little in camp, but he benefited directly from Simeon Rice's release. The Bucs signed him Saturday to take up the final roster spot vacated by Rice.

Think about it — summer in Yankton, S.D., or summer in Orlando? And all the better if you can get a paycheck out of it.

Mercury falling

Afternoon practice: Jon Gruden has to be hating this. Saturday's afternoon workout was moved to the Omni Hotel in ChampionsGate due to inclement weather. That practice resembled a midseason walkthrough. Sunday's afternoon workout was preceded by plenty of rain and dark clouds before they finally got on the field, resulting in the most humid practice of camp so far.

Doesn't Mother Nature realize he has a football team to put together? Jiminy Christmas!

Paris Warren: If Boston makes the roster, that means someone from last year's crop of wide receivers has to go. Warren is my early candidate. He's dropped a few too many passes this early in camp. The mantra for a player in his position has to be "Catch Everything." Warren is a third-year pro, but he has little track record in the NFL. That may weigh heavy when the final cuts some.

Bruce Gradkowski: He's hasn't looked bad, but Simms has looked better. Gradkowski made a few mistakes on Sunday, including a fumbled snap late in the morning workout. There's still plenty of time for him to cement himself a roster spot, but he'd better realize that not only is Simms back, but fourth-stringer Luke McCown is a threat after standing idle for a year due to injury.

Bruce Eugene: The first-year quarterback from Grambling is on the roster, but Lord knows I haven't seen him during camp. Not once. How do you take up a roster spot and become non-existent? It's like the guy disappeared.

Shelton Quarles: The former middle linebacker was at practice on Sunday — as a guest. But don't you wish he was still playing?

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.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories