Wide receiver Reidel Anthony catches a pass just below his line of sight during Thursday's practice
A sharp, up-tempo practice on Thursday was only slightly disrupted by the August Florida heat. Several players had difficulty with cramps for the first time in awhile, including wide receiver Jacquez Green and CB Floyd Young. Both were taken off the field early, causing some concern for onlookers, but neither was added to the team's injury report. After practice, several other players went to the team's training room to receive treatment for cramps, including LB Jamie Duncan and T DeMarcus Curry.
After practice, Dungy expressed no concern over any of the players. "(Head Trainer) Todd (Toriscelli) usually comes to tell me right away if there's something major," he said, noting that he hadn't spoken to Toriscelli. The training room reported at 6:00 p.m. that there were no changes to the injury report.
Dungy also noted that the practice remained sharp despite the cramping problems. The coaching staff repeatedly stressed tempo on Thursday and were rewarded with a crisp effort from the players.
Rookie S David Gibson was added to the injury report earlier in the day with a neck strain, but he is considered probable and wasn't hampered in practice today. In fact, Head Coach Tony Dungy indicated that Gibson would be given some playing time at free safety in order to spell starter Damien Robinson, who has played little more than one quarter of football since pulling a hamstring in late July.
Gibson is the choice to rotate in for Robinson even though the team has re-signed a familiar face in safety Eric Vance. That's no knock on Vance, who Dungy feels has retained much of his knowledge of the team's defensive system.
"Quite a bit, actually," said Dungy. "Eric's a very smart guy, and we haven't changed a whole lot from when he was here. He's doing well. He could play with no problem."
On the more positive injury front, QB Eric Zeier returned to practice today as he predicted on Wednesday he would. Zeier woke up early Wednesday morning with a foot strain, a bout of tendonitis that he has actually encountered two or three other times in his career.
From experience, Zeier knew it would be back in playing shape in roughly 24 hours, and he was proven right today when he took the field for the team's two-hour afternoon session.