Bucsblitz.com Insider: Aug. 13 insider report

Training camp is nearing its conclusion in Orlando, but the news still flows. Get analysis on players like Jeff Garcia, Carnell Williams, Joey Galloway, Jovan Haye, Jimmy Wilkerson and Michael Bennett, along with the continuing quarterback situation. Get the insider scoop right here.

Jeff Garcia: It's hard to be too worried about Garcia at this point, now that Brett Favre is not coming to town. The Bucs will continue to allow him to recover from his strained calf, and his absence has a nice by-product — playing time for others. Brian Griese got higher marks from the coaching staff after Saturday's win over Miami, but did so against second-stringers. Luke McCown started and was less impressive. Chris Simms also saw playing time, and his play spawned rumors that the Dallas Cowboys were interested in the lefty. It wouldn't surprise anyone to see the Bucs start Griese on Sunday against New England to give him some first-string reps, with McCown and Simms to follow. Josh Johnson isn't getting much playing time, and don't expect him to until the preseason finale. He threw just one pass. Gruden likes both Griese and McCown, but he likes veterans more. Griese's play on Sunday bears watching, as he's listed at No. 3 right now on the depth chart.

Of note is Simms. If Dallas backup Brad Johnson has another lackluster game this weekend, we could see trade talks heat up.

Carnell Williams: Gruden said something interesting on Wednesday, and I couldn't tell if he was kidding. He said he's played defense against Williams during recent drills and chased him down, forcing him to work and cut. If Gruden is chasing Williams down, a defensive tackle isn't going to have much trouble (no offense to Gruden). Williams is making progress, but I still fully expect him to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, giving him six more weeks to rehab his knee. The Bucs are smart to be cautious. The Browns just cut CB Gary Baxter after he suffered two patellar tendon tears and couldn't come all the way back after nearly two years of rehab.

Joey Galloway: He finally made an appearance on Tuesday, catching passes from Garcia. Galloway has been largely absent this training camp with a groin injury, the severity of which has never been disclosed. One Web site I subscribe to said the Bucs were just resting Galloway for the regular season. That may be the case, but you know it's bothering Gruden to no end that his top receiver isn't practicing, even a little bit.

Jovan Haye: Haye remains out of practice with a groin pull and is in Tampa for treatment. Groin injuries are tricky (just ask Galloway). The Bucs need Haye healthy for the season so they'll go slow with him. The nice byproduct is playing time for guys like Ryan Sims and Greg Peterson, who are fighting for jobs right now.

Jimmy Wilkerson: Consider the journeyman DE a contender for serious playing time at LDE after his sack and two tackles on Saturday. The position was already crowded with Kevin Carter and Greg White. Now, Carter can play inside and help the Bucs. But White is a pure outside rusher. To me, that puts White and Wilkerson in a heated competition for playing time. I believe both will make the team, but Wilkerson is now a dark horse candidate to start.

Michael Bennett: Call Bennett the new Mr. August after his 90 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown last week. Now, he's still not going to see many reps in the regular season, but seeing his ability to provide solid work in both aspects of the offense is encouraging. The Bucs really want to use him as a home run threat because of his speed. Expect his playing time to decrease a little this weekend. I don't see Gruden not playing Earnest Graham or Warrick Dunn for a second week.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of bucsblitz.com


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