FB Mike Alstott and the Bucs' offense ran with precision on Wednesday
The Buccaneers continued in their preparation for Friday's preseason finale with a two-hour practice Wednesday afternoon heavy on offense. The Bucs' attack looked sharp at the goal-line, during run work and, particularly, in the two-minute drill that ended the workout.
"Actually, I was pleased with how well we did throughout in this heat," said Head Coach Dungy. "We started out sharp and were still playing well at the end. That was good to see."
Dungy was referring to an oppressive and very humid swelter that fell over the team's practice fields on Wednesday after a Tuesday session cooled down by heavy clouds. Despite two hours in those conditions, the Bucs' first-team offense moved efficiently down the field during their turn in the two-minute drill, scoring a touchdown in the allotted time with a final pass to WR Keyshawn Johnson. Johnson, in fact, caught four passes in the drive. The Bucs' second-team offense stalled near the 30 and had to settle for a long field-goal attempt, which hit the left upright.
S Lemar Marshall, just claimed off waivers on Tuesday night, saw extensive action in his first practice back with the team. Last year as a rookie free agent, Marshall made it through to the final cut with the Buccaneers, playing in all four preseason games. He will get a chance to play in another preseason finale on Friday.
Dungy plans to limit starter Damien Robinson, who will be playing in his first preseason game this year after recovering from a hamstring injury, to 15-20 plays. With backups Dexter Jackson (ankle) and Shevin Smith (toe) out for the near future, Marshall should see plenty of action against the Kansas City Chiefs after Robinson's day is through. On Wednesday, Marshall was the free safety for the first scout-team defense.
T Jason Odom did not practice on Wednesday and will not play in Friday's game. Odom was cleared for a return to practice on Tuesday and hopes were high that he could string together two straight workouts. However, he experienced a worsening of the pain in his back as the afternoon progressed and left practice early.
"He wasn't able to go today after working yesterday," said Dungy. "We're kind of back to square one now. We'll have to see where it goes from here."
Second-year kicker Martin Gramatica pushed several of his field goal tries wide left on Wednesday afternoon, and Dungy admitted that the team was mildly concerned. That is, they think Gramatica is in a bit of a slump, but they are not really too worried about his long-term prospects.
"He's not kicking as well in team situations as he has before," said Dungy. "But we think he'll be fine. If that's the biggest problem we have this year, I think we'll be in very good shape."