S Steve Cargile, who had one of the Bucs' two sacks on Friday, will certainly enjoy an extra morning off with the rest of his teammates
Good work, fellas. Take the morning off.
Since the start of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp two weeks, the team's published practice schedule has featured one slot left open for later consideration. The morning practice on Sunday, August 13, that would make up the first half of a usual camp two-a-day has been marked as TBA: to be announced.
On Saturday, Head Coach Jon Gruden made that announcement: No practice Sunday morning, the day players were expected to resume their camp work after Friday night's preseason opener at Raymond James Stadium.
It's fair to interpret the morning off as a reward for a job well done, as the Bucs handled themselves well in a 16-3 win over the New York Jets. At the very least, it is an acknowledgement of the consistent effort and hard work the players have put in over the past two weeks at training camp.
It won't be a complete day of rest for Buccaneer players. The team still intends to hold a full practice in the afternoon, from 2:30 to 4:45 p.m. ET. That will kick off the final week of training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. A trio of two-a-days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be capped off by one final camp practice on Thursday morning. When the team resumes work back in Tampa on Friday, it will be at its brand new, state-of-the-art facility near the stadium.
A Good Start
Fourth-year defensive end Dewayne White, a popular prediction as the Bucs' breakout defensive player this year, admits that the conditions Friday night made it difficult to maintain his high-energy style of play.
White came into the game in the first quarter, as the Jets began their second drive with 4:23 left in the first quarter. At the time, about 8:00 p.m. ET in Tampa, it was still close to 90 degrees, with 57% humidity. The Jets converted two third downs on the drive and held onto the ball for six-and-a-half minutes through a series of short passes.
In the end, the Bucs thwarted that drive inside their own 10 with a blitz that allowed safety Kalvin Pearson to sack Pennington and force a fumble, which linebacker Barrett Ruud recovered. Like his teammates, White was pleased that the Bucs got off the field without allowing any points.
"I felt good," he said. "The one long drive got me a little bit but that's part of it and that's where you suck it up and keep fighting."
White had nearly trumped Pearson six plays earlier, just before the end of the first quarter. The speedy end got the corner on right tackle Adrian Jones and, despite the presence of Jones arm across his neck, was able to reach out and swat the ball out of Pennington's throwing hand as he went by. Pennington recovered the loose ball and got off an incomplete pass. As such, it was ruled a forced fumble for White, but nothing else. Had the Bucs recovered, White would have been credited with a sack in addition to the forced fumble.
"We had a couple of missed opportunities [for] turnovers so we have to work on that but for the most part I feel we did pretty good," said White. "You know it's the preseason, you don't really get the time to study a teams' tendencies, so you can't really come in with a game plan."
Friday Night Notes
Additional odds and ends from the Bucs' preseason-opening win over the Jets:
- NFL officials for Friday's game took the field sporting a new look – modernized uniforms featuring broader white stripes in a more complex pattern.. * Despite it being only a preseason game, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington threw caution to the wind early, bootlegging right for a gain of five on the team's fourth play of its opening drive. It appeared to be a broken play, but Pennington's lack of fear has to be a good sign for Jets officials, who are hoping their one-time QB of the future can reestablish himself after a second serious shoulder injury in 2005. * Defensive end Simeon Rice made his presence known early, batting down a pass on the Jets' initial drive. After the game, Rice insisted that the first-team defense was getting very good pressure on Pennington, even though he was mostly throwing out of quick, three-step drops. * The Bucs' defense showed its discipline and smarts when the Jets tried unsuccessfully to draw the unit offsides with a hard count on a fourth down in the first quarter. The Jets were forced to punt after the Buc defenders refused to take the bait. Later in the second quarter, the Jets again tried to draw the Bucs offsides and again failed. * Though it surrendered no points during the first quarter, the Bucs' defense did experience some third-down woes, allowing the Jets to convert five out of six third downs, for an 83 percent success rate. * The buzz this training camp may be centered on the team's running game, but on the Bucs' first offensive play of the game, the team lined up with four wide receivers: David Boston, Ike Hilliard, Edell Shepherd and Michael Clayton. Chris Simms then completed a short pass to running back Michael Pittman over the middle of the field for three yards. * Rookie guard Davin Joseph had a bit of a dubious start on Friday when he committed a personal-foul facemask penalty on the team's first drive. However, Joseph had a very big redeeming moment in the second quarter when he recovered a Michael Pittman fumble to keep the game's first scoring drive alive. * Mike Alstott rumbled for eight yards on his one carry of the game, much to the delight of a roaring Bucs crowd in the first quarter. * Friday night's game provided Bucs players, coaches and fans their first chance to experience the new reviewable down-by-contact rule. After it appeared Pittman fumbled but was ruled down by contact, the Jets challenged the call. However, their challenge was denied because although the review showed Pittman fumbling, officials could not immediately and obviously determine who recovered the loose ball first. Prior to this season, any play ruled down by contact was not reviewable. Now, if the play is clearly a fumble and it is obviously recovered immediately by a player on the other team, possession can go over to the recovering team, though there can be no advancement of the ball.