The Bucs have worked hard this week in order to keep their training camp goals in reach
If you're a Floridian with a job that keeps you outdoors, you know what 88 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going through on Tuesday. Okay, maybe the four-plus hours the Bucs spent on the practice field were only half a working day, roughly, but the team's coaches made sure they were toiling very hard in the brutal summer heat.
There's a lot to be done.
Training camp may be winding down – players break from the University of Tampa in one week – but team responsibilities continue to grow. In addition to completing the inner-team goals of training camp, the Bucs are working this week to prepare for Thursday's game in Miami against the Dolphins. That's why the two-hour morning practice was followed by another two-hour session in the afternoon. Actually, the Bucs went 135 minutes in the a.m. and 125 in the p.m., but who's counting?
And, as long as we're splitting hairs, there wasn't a full contingent of 88 players on the field for most of the day. Rookie LB Nate Webster didn't attend the afternoon practice after falling ill during the morning workout. Webster apparently has the same virus that previously struck Pete Pierson, Keyshawn Johnson and a few others. Fortunately, the other affected Buccaneers have all recovered within 24 hours.
"We've had a lot of the flu symptoms going around," said Dungy. (Webster) just felt weak. Most of the guys, it's been one day and they've been able to come back off of it. So hopefully he'll be ready tomorrow."
T Jason Odom didn't attend much of the outdoor work on Tuesday either, though he remains involved in all team meetings. Injured players generally attend practices in their entirety in order to at least gain a mental workout. However, Odom may skip some sessions in order to rest his pained back, and that was the case on Tuesday. He had no additional news to report on his condition.
"Nothing to this point," he said. "It's anticlimactic, I guess, in that every day I go in and they ask how am I doing and I say, 'About the same.' Only time will tell.
However, WR Keyshawn Johnson was a full participant in both practices, a welcome sign after he skipped the Sunday and Monday sessions. Though he was held out for those two days, Johnson insisted all along that the knee injury he suffered against Washington last Friday was very minor. He even predicted on Sunday that he would be back on the field on Tuesday, and he proved correct. The team was happy to have him back in the mix.
"Yeah, it was good," said Dungy. "Todd (Toriscelli) said after the game that it was no major problem and just a day or two off would be fine. But I think everyone felt good having him out there and really not having him experience any problems."
The Bucs started the workout with a special teams session, working on punt coverage, then went on to individual work on fundamentals and non-competitive drills such as receivers and quarterbacks together. One-on-ones and team review followed before the team went into its main focus for the day: short-yardage, goal-line and red zone. They finished with a string of two-minute drills.
The Bucs have one more practice Wednesday morning before heading off to Miami on Thursday.