Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Puttin' On the Blitz (August 7)

Tampa Bay devotes much of a 90-minute workout Monday afternoon to succeeding on and against the blitz

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LB Shelton Quarles (53) closes in on the passcatcher during blitz period

Though he wasn't exactly giddy Friday night, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy was mostly positive in his assessment of the team's preseason opener. One noteworthy exception was the Bucs' difficulty in picking up the blitz when they were on offense.

On Monday, the Buccaneers practiced for approximately 90 minutes in the late afternoon, and much of that time was spent in what Dungy termed a 'blitz period.'

Coincidence? Well, not exactly. The issue here is in cause and effect. The Buccaneers didn't drill on picking up the blitz on Monday because of their Friday experience – the practice schedule was set some time ago. However, the team did struggle in that area in the opener in part because it had yet to spend much practice time on it.

Monday's practice was designed to change that, and Dungy was quite pleased with the results. In fact, he indicated afterward that the offense had come up with quite a few positive plays in the face of the defense's blitz. As any Tampa Bay fan can tell you, that's a very effective package of Buccaneer blitzes coming from the defensive side of the ball.

Earlier, as the offensive and defensive backfields ran through seven-on-seven drills, the linemen gathered for individual drills. One player who did not participate in that period was T Pete Pierson, who had practiced in the morning for the first time in a week. Pierson, who heads the depth chart at left tackle in Jason Odom's absence, was merely being brought along cautiously.

"It was just precautionary," said Dungy of Pierson's inactivity. "He did great in the morning. We just didn't want to push him to two practices his first day back. He's going to be fine and should be all set this week. If he's 100 percent ready to go, he will (be the starter). If he doesn't have a problem tomorrow, he should be fine."

The Buccaneers ended the crisp practice at approximately 5:05, and Dungy then gathered the team around him for the sendoff. Dungy informed his players that they would begin preparing for the Miami Dolphins that evening. Tampa Bay travels to Miami on Thursday for its second preseason contest.

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