Tampa Bay re-signed center Jason Scukanec to its five-man practice squad on Wednesday. Scukanec filled a spot on the practice squad that had opened last week when defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks was promoted to the team's 53-man active roster.
NEW LOOK FOR PEWTER PIRATES:
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden outfitted his team with new red and white practice jerseys during training camp, but on Wednesday, the team unveiled its newest jerseys, which are pewter colored.
The offense sported the new jerseys Wednesday, but the defense will have its opportunity to wear the dark gray jerseys in practice throughout the season. Gruden liked his team's new look and even hinted that the color could carry over into a regular season game in the future.
"Now that's something I'm excited about," Gruden said of seeing his team in the pewter jerseys. "I had never really gotten to know the color before I was able to come down here. I feel good about it. I love it. So we're looking at all pewter jerseys. I don't know if the Glazers are looking in today, but if they are, who knows? There are not a lot of teams in football that have those kinds of uniforms, I know that."
In 1997, Tampa Bay attempted to have a third jersey added to the its home (red) and away (white) wardrobe of jerseys. But according to Bucs officials, the National Football League denied Tampa Bay's request to sport pewter-colored jerseys, citing that pewter was a "neutral" color.
BUCS CONFIDENT "BEERMAN" WON'T DELIVER SUNDAY:
How will the Buccaneers' special teams unit go about stopping Saints return man Michael Lewis? Lewis, who is also known as the "Beerman", has emerged this season as one of the team's finest return men. Lewis is averaging 25.5 yards per kickoff return and 12.4 yards per punt return this season. He has returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns this season.
Lewis didn't have much success against Tampa Bay in Week 1. He averaged 16 yards per punt return on three attempts and he averaged 17.3 yards per kickoff return on three attempts.
Lewis is known for his impressive speed and quickness, but Tampa Bay's special teams unit isn't slow by any stretch of the imagination and they're confident they'll be able to contain Lewis on Sunday night.
"He didn't do anything against us the first game," Bucs cornerback Dwight Smith said. "So, then what are we talking about?"
Smith attributed most of Lewis' success to other teams' mistakes.
"We see a lot of things on film, but we also see a lot of messed up assignments on film," said Smith. "It's not like he's breaking a million tackles or making a million guys miss. He's running untouched, so it's a lot of how the teams he's playing are doing and not what he's doing."
With a win against New Orleans Sunday night, Tampa Bay would have a three-game lead over the Saints with just five games remaining in the regular season. While the Saints are actually in third place in the NFC South Division behind the 7-3-1 Atlanta Falcons, who the Pewter Pirates will host on Dec. 8, Bucs strong safety John Lynch said his team likes the fact that they control their own destiny.
"Sure, you think about that," Lynch said of the possibility of the Super Bowl running through Tampa. "We talk a lot about the good eye and bad eye and we want to have that bad eye on this point in the season, which is just what's right ahead. It's all right there -- the big picture. But really the way we've been doing so well is keeping things in perspective and just looking at the next game. This one is an easy one to get up for. People have talked about a possible emotional letdown after last week's game, but there's no way that will happen. This is a team that came into our house and beat us and we want to do something about that."
Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell echoed Lynch's sentiments.
"Well, you look at it and you realize that's what this game means," said McCardell. "A win would kind of push (the Saints) away and maybe push Atlanta away, depending what happens that week. Since the Minnesota game, in this last stretch, we control our own destiny. We play the teams we need to play to get where we want to be. To get home-field advantage, we play the Green Bays, we play the New Orleans, we play the Atlantas."
Tampa Bay won't let the holiday get in the way of its efforts to prepare for 7-4 New Orleans. But the Bucs will run its practice schedule a bit differently on Thursday in order to give the players and even some of its staff some more time to spend with their families on Thanksgiving.
"We're going to bring the team in very early tomorrow – 6:00 a.m. treatment and 7:00 a.m. we start the quarterback meeting and special teams meeting," said Gruden. "We'll try to get them out of here right after practice and let them enjoy the day with their families. The coaches would like to get out of here fairly early also, but some of us will stick around here until a little bit later. But we'll enjoy some time to be thankful with our families. We've got a lot to be thankful for, all of us."
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on whether or not he enjoys Thanksgiving:
"Not really. What can I say? I can't say I lay around the fire very long and sing Christmas tunes. I enjoy being with my family. It will be the first time we've sat down and eaten a meal as a family in quite some time."
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