Gruden Speaks on Petitgout

In this edition of Gruden Speaks, he reveals the nature of one offensive tackle's injury, which has forced him to miss four days of workouts, and the encouraging signs from a backup quarterback with a sore elbow. And of course, our link to the rest of Gruden's Friday press conference is included.

Jon Gruden said left tackle Luke Petitgout would be back at practice on Saturday as the veteran missed workouts for the fourth straight day, though he was on the field.

But he spent most of his time working with trainer Todd Torsicelli, running sprints.

The media did make progress in pinpointing Petitgout's problem, however, piecing together from Gruden's answers after Friday's workout that Petitgout has a strained back.

"He'll be back tomorrow," Gruden said. "He'll be back tomorrow. It's just a strain. It's taken a couple of days to get well. He'll be back on the field tomorrow. All I know is we've treated his back. It's nothing serious. He's missed three or four days. He'll be back on the field tomorrow in pads."

Gruden had called it "body soreness" before Friday.

Petitgout is coming off a broken leg, and Gruden never referenced the injury in speaking about the lineman this week.

He also didn't seem concerned that Petitgout may be falling behind the rest of the starters.

"I don't want to believe in all that stuff," Gruden said. "I think anytime you miss practice, you miss practice. And you lose out on an opportunity to get better. Luke has played a long time, and I'm not going to elaborate on it any further. We're not concerned. He'll be back on the field tomorrow. It's unfortunate that he's missed three or four days because he's a leader on our offensive football team. He'll be back tomorrow in pads, ready to go."

Quarterback Chris Simms threw some encouraging passes on Friday, hitting wide receiver Joey Galloway on a deep pass. It was his first extensive work since last weekend, as he's been resting a sore elbow since Sunday afternoon.

Simms even took some extra throws after practice, and Gruden wasn't sure how many balls Simms threw in practice on Friday.

"He's still down there throwing, so obviously it's nothing that serious," Gruden said. "I don't know the exact terms that have been thrown around here, but he's a guy who needs to regain his rhythm. Forget about how he's throwing it. We need accurate passes, timely decision making and playmaking from that position. That's the objective. It doesn't matter who we're talking about. [Luke] McCown has gotten better with his absence, and [Jeff] Garcia clearly has taken control at the quarterback position. But we like Chris. He's a great kid, hard worker and look for a little bit more of him this afternoon, hopefully."

Also, defensive end Gaines Adams practiced on Friday for the first time in three days. He was limited, Gruden said, and his strained triceps was taped up. He appeared in the first four periods of drills, and then took limited reps in the team periods. Gruden hopes to expand Adams' work in the team drills on Saturday.

Want to read the entire Jon Gruden transcript from Friday's press conference? Click here.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors.

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