Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bearing Down (September 7)

The Bucs dodged the rain and remained focus on Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears

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FB Mike Alstott barrels in for a TD during goal-line drills

A 70% chance of rain failed to deliver any precipitation Thursday afternoon at One Buccaneer Place, but otherwise, all predictions were correct. S John Lynch did return to practice, the Bucs did continue to work on defending a scrambling quarterback and Tampa Bay *did put added emphasis on special teams.

"We're very focused in on it, obviously," said Head Coach Tony Dungy of the Bucs' special teams, which were uncharacteristically shaky in the season opener at New England. "Glyn Milburn…we had him in the Pro Bowl, and he's a tremendous returner. So we'll have our work cut out for us."

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Tampa Bay is confident that it can contain scrambling Bears QB Cade McNown more successfully than Minnesota did last Sunday. That doesn't mean they aren't spending a little extra time working on it this week. The Bucs' effective work in that area, and their effort overall, led to a pleasing practice for Dungy.

"It was pretty good," he said. "I think we're concentrating pretty well. They do some different things on offense, so we had to get that look and simulate some things, the quarterback scrambling and moving around. Joe Hamilton and Ted White have given us a good look at that."

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WR Karl Williams was removed from the Bucs' injury report Thursday, as were Frank Middleton, Warrick Dunn and Marcus Jones. Williams' improved health will likely keep him back for both punts and kickoffs, holding onto the return job he began the season with last Sunday. Still, Dungy might activate RB Aaron Stecker to run back kickoffs, and not for the reason you'd think. Dungy has his own angle, you see.

"Karl looks like he's doing okay," said Dungy. "My sense is that it would be him. Since we've got so much with the return of Brad Culpepper, we might have to have the return of Aaron Stecker with the Bears."

Stecker, who returned kickoffs with outstanding results in the preseason, first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Bears last year. He later ended up on the Bucs' practice squad and is now on Tampa Bay's active roster. *

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