The Buccaneers escaped Sunday's game with a win and with the majority of its players fairly healthy. Bucs strong safety John Lynch (knee sprain) and free safety Dexter Jackson (turf toe) will both be listed as probable for the team's game against Philadelphia, which means there's a 75 percent chance that they'll play.
"John Lynch was able to play, although he did have some pain in his right knee," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "We're going to list John as probable for the game against Philadelphia. I was very impressed with what he did yesterday. Dexter Jackson is the only guy we'll add to our injury list. He has a right turf toe (injury). We're going to list him as probable for the Philadelphia game. He'll probably be limited on Wednesday for practice."
NOT SO SPECIAL:
Tampa Bay's field goal unit had a horrible outing against Cleveland on Sunday. After making his first field goal attempt of 33 yards, Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica had his next attempt blocked when Cleveland CB Anthony Henry shot around tight end Rickey Dudley to get the block. Gramatica drew a penalty by kicking the ball to avoid Cleveland recovering the ball and scoring. Then, Gramatica missed his next field goal attempt and then didn't get a chance to kick on his final attempt as holder Tom Tupa was tackled after a bad snap by Morris Unutoa. Needless to say, Gruden was not pleased with that unit's performance. Tampa Bay's head coach suggested there could be some personnel moves made on the special teams unit, including the long snapper position. Unutoa has been shaky as Tampa Bay's long snapper ever since he signed with the team two weeks ago after LS Mike Solwold was placed on the injured reserve with a severe foot sprain.
"It was not a problem, it was a catastrophe," Gruden said of Tampa Bay's three botched field goal attempts. "It was inexcusable play, honestly. When you have Martin Gramatica, and you can make an argument, but I will say he's the best kicker in the universe. You better give him a snap and put it on the tee and protect him because he's capable of hitting three-run homers every time he steps up to the plate. I was not pleased with that at all and it's a scenario we're going to look at carefully for the next couple of days.
We're going to look at that overall team. We'll look at that here as a staff shortly and we'll evaluate everything from the snap to the right wing to the left wing. Yes, the long snapper is included."
BUCS PREPARE FOR EAGLES QB MCNABB:
Tampa Bay is 5-1 and will now begin preparing for the 3-2 Philadelphia Eagles. Veterans Stadium hasn't been a kind place for the Bucs to play in. In fact, Tampa Bay has lost three consecutive games to Philadelphia, two of which were played in Veterans Stadium in the first round of the playoffs. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has thrown 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season. He's also leading the team in rushing yards and has averaged 7.7 yards per carry. Philadelphia's offense lives or dies with the play of McNabb. Gruden said containing Philadelphia's elusive quarterback won't be an easy task.
"That's a real challenge," Gruden said of stopping McNabb. "This guy is built like a halfback. He's 240 pounds and he's real elusive. He's a real strong-armed guy. He has a real good supporting cast in Philadelphia. It will be a real challenge for us."
Tampa Bay was outscored in those two playoff games by a total of 51-12. The Bucs offense failed to score a touchdown in those two contests and its defense fell apart in both games. Gruden and Co. will look at previous game film to see what the Bucs did wrong and right and will attempt to use those observations to help remedy Tampa Bay's woes against Philadelphia, which is a team that has scored an average of 33 points per game and has only allowed 18 points per game this season.
"We'll look at (the playoff game film)," said Gruden. "We'll see how Philadelphia defended the Buccaneer offense and we'll see how we matched up and played against their offense. It will be another tool for us. But we'll look at this year's tapes also."
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