Gruden Speaks: OT practices

In this edition of "Gruden Speaks," the Bucs head coach hints that an injured offensive tackle may play on Saturday against Jacksonville. Plus, a link to his entire Monday press conference.

Luke Petitgout had his first major workout in more than a week on Monday, but head coach Jon Gruden stopped short of saying Petitgout would play in Saturday's preseason game against Jacksonville.

Petitgout assumed his left tackle spot during 11-on-11 drills on Monday, and Gruden was pleased that the veteran tackle was back on the field after more than nine days to rehab his ailing back.

It's good to have him back out (there)," Gruden said. "I think his spirits are high and he's upbeat. I think he knows his body better than we all do, and I think he feels good. He's planning on getting ready to go."

Gruden did not, however, name Petitgout a starter for Saturday night.

"I'd like to play him, yes," Gruden said. "We would like to do that."

Getting Petitgout on the field is a key element to the Buccaneers' retooled offensive line. The Bucs signed Petitgout in the offseason, as well as drafting Tennessee guard Arron Sears, who started on Friday night and received solid marks from Gruden.

"He had a couple of plays that you'd like to clean up," Gruden said. "But his presence, his look in his eyes, his performance was solid. He's going to be a real good player. I don't think there's any question about that."

Sears was back on the field on Monday, a day after taking the Sunday workout off to lift weights and give his knee a break. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in the offseason.

Gruden is already working on tinkering his rotation for Saturday's game. He put, by his own admission, "six or seven players" in a limited role, despite being in uniform. That number included tight end Anthony Becht, Ike Hilliard and Cato June.

Several other players were nursing minor injuries, including linebacker Barrett Ruud (knee), rookie safety Sabby Piscitelli (leg) and Michael Clayton (hamstring). All three practiced on Monday, and Gruden declared them all ready for this Saturday's game.

He was much less open about backup quarterback Chris Simms' status.

"I don't know," Gruden said. "We'll wait and see on that."

Also, defensive tackle Ellis Wyms left practice early on Monday, reported the Tampa Tribune. No specifics about his status were known as of 4 p.m.

Also suffering a minor ailment is RDE Patrick Chukwurah (strained right hand).

Want to read Jon Gruden's entire Monday press conference? Click here for this premium feature.

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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