Buccaneers morning camp report

How did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fare on Saturday morning at training camp? Find out here. Learn how QB Chris Simms looked during practice, what players took first and second-team reps, which wide receiver had a great workout and which defensive back made his presence felt. It's an exclusive from Bucsblitz.com.

Quarterbacks: Luke McCown probably looked the sharpest of the four passers today. Most of his passes were crisp and on the money. He managed a couple of deep bombs, but both times the receivers had to come back to get the pass. It appeared that he and Brian Griese were splitting most of the first-team reps in Jeff Garcia's place. He is not in camp after an excused absence. But McCown usually took his turn first. McCown had one pass picked off, as the pass ricocheted off a receiver and into CB Philip Buchanon's hands.

Griese looked fine and threw the pass of the day, a 50-yard bomb that hit WR Maurice Stovall stride for stride down the sideline. At times, though, Griese did float passes, especially in the flat (a trait he has had most of his career). One of those floaters missed WR Dexter Jackson badly.

Chris Simms shook some of the rust off on Saturday, though head coach Jon Gruden cautioned that he has a long way to go. Still, Simms' passes were encouraging, including a 20-yard post to WR Brian Clark that hit the receiver in the numbers. He did throw a screen pass at RB Warrick Dunn's shoe tops, so there's room to improve.

Josh Johnson took few reps in 9-on-9 and 11-on-11 drills. He threw mostly with no defensive backs and, at times, threw the ball too high.

Great workout: Everyone acknowledged that WR Michael Clayton had a great morning workout. He didn't drop a pass, ran crisp routes and basically played like his job is on the line (which, to a degree, it is). Gruden didn't resist needling him though early in the workout. "C'mon, training camp, day one, fifth year!" Gruden said. He could have followed that with a "get it together" and no one would have argued. Clayton's play was encouraging.

Bracing for it: C Jeff Faine — he of the $36 million contract — practiced on Saturday with braces on both knees. It's not a cause for distress, I've heard. More and more, offensive linemen are using braces even when they're healthy for more support. A look at the first-team offensive line yielded a group where just about every player wore at least one brace.

Where's Joey?: Everyone swears that WR Joey Galloway came out of the locker room at the start of Saturday's workout, but he didn't catch a pass and was nowhere to be found during the workout. Gruden said later that Galloway had a "groin" issue. Better hope it's not serious.

Boyd's here: Recently waived RB Cory Boyd spent the workout riding an exercise bike and doing work on the side. The Bucs are hoping that he'll clear waivers so they can place him on injured reserve.

Fashion statement: WR Maurice Stovall wore tights for Saturday's workout. Perhaps he had a ballet afterward?

Dunn sees plenty of reps: While I didn't count the reps, you could say that RB Earnest Graham and RB Warrick Dunn practically had the same amount on Saturday morning. Dunn darted through traffic like a 25-year-old. He's going to push Graham for reps from the get-go it appears. That could work out well for all concerned.

White appears: DE Greg White signed his one-year tender and reported to camp Saturday morning. He backed up DE Kevin Carter at left end and played with a lot of energy. He no doubt has something to prove to the Bucs, who were reticent to give him more than a "standard of living" raise by NFL standards.

Drop zone: It's always a tight competition at wide receiver. So WRs Chad Lucas and Micheal Spurlock did not help themselves by dropping rather easy passes during Saturday's workout. Spurlock has some versatility on his side as a returner, but he must still prove he can contribute as a receiver. Lucas, however, has little room for error. WR Cortez Hankton drew Gruden's ire as well on Saturday morning with a blown route.

Depth chart: Ah, yes, the moment you've waited for. The first team offense didn't see many changes. McCown ran the first team in 11-on-11 drills, with Graham and FB B.J. Askew in the backfield. TEs Alex Smith and Jerramy Stevens shared reps, while the line was unchanged from last year, with the exception of Faine — RT Jeremy Trueblood, RG Davin Joseph, LG Arron Sears and LT Donald Penn.

Defensively Carter worked at left end, while Gaines Adams worked the right side. Otherwise, there were no changes defensively from what fans saw at the end of last year.

The second-team offense was LT Anthony Davis, LG Jeremy Zuttah, C Dan Buenning, RG Chris Denman (listed as a tackle) and RT Dennis Roland. Griese ran the signals, with RB Michael Bennett and FB Byron Storer. WRs Clayton, Paris Warren, Antonio Bryant and Maurice Stovall alternated first and second-team reps.

Defensively White handled left end duties while Jimmy Wilkerson was on the right end. DT Ryan Sims and DT Marques Douglas worked inside, with Douglas at under tackle. LB Adam Hayward was weak side, LB Antoine Cash was in the middle and LB Quincy Black was on the strong side. The corners were first-round pick Aqib Talib and Eugene Wilson, while Sabby Piscitelli and Will Allen were the safeties.

Wilson had the best defensive play of the day, breaking up a pass intended for Hankton on the sideline. The Bucs expect to use him at corner, so that's an encouraging play this early in camp.

This afternoon: Practice should start on time. The hope is to spend some time watching the offensive and defensive lines more closely during drills.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of bucsblitz.com.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories