You may not call a heat index of over 100 degrees and 20 pounds of pads 'comfortable', but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at least felt at home in their surroundings on Wednesday. After breaking training camp on Tuesday, the Bucs came back to team headquarters on Wednesday. Since the third preseason game happens to be on Sunday, the team also fell back into a normal in-season routine.
"This is really a normal preparation day for us," said Head Coach Tony Dungy. "The players got the scouting report today and our coaches spent last night getting ready. We're treating it like a regular season game, so today was our first preparation day."
That meant scout-team players wearing different jersey colors and the offense and defense alternating during team session. It also meant a more tangible goal for the week.
"It really is nice in a lot of ways," said Dungy of returning to One Buc Place and ditching two-a-days for a single daily workout. "Hopefully it will reflect in our play, if we can concentrate this week and get ourselves ready to play a good game."
There was some good news on the injury front Wednesday afternoon. Most notably, TE Patrick Hape (foot) participated in practice for the first time since just before the team's preseason opener against Washington on August 4. Hape mostly participated in individual drills but, said Dungy, "He got through it well and that's what we wanted to see him do. If he comes back tomorrow and doesn't have a setback, he's got a good chance to play on Sunday."
S David Gibson (thigh), T George Hegamin (knee) and DT James Cannida (shoulder) also rejoined the team and showed no ill effects from their short injury-induced inactivity. CB Floyd Young, who sprained an ankle in practice Monday night, was not in the mix on Wednesday, but he was walking better than expected and is considered a 50/50 shot to play against the Patriots.
S Damien Robinson, on the other hand, is not likely to play this Sunday. He was still not a participant in practice, but Dungy indicates that the plan is to bring Robinson back 'full speed' next week.
T Jason Odom wasn't on the field on Wednesday, either, but he scored a minor victory in the training room. Odom reportedly went through a series of rehab work very well and felt improvement afterward.
"It's really no different," said Dungy when asked to update Odom's status. "Again, we've done a lot of tests, gotten a lot of opinions. We don't know that there's anything structurally wrong, but he still has some pain. We're hoping to get him out there as soon as possible, but when that is, we don't know."
The team has not ruled out Odom's availability for the September 3 regular season opener at New England.
Dungy also said after practice on Wednesday that he hopes to keep the Bucs' starting units in Sunday's game until roughly midway through the third quarter. That plan was devised in order to get the starters used to making adjustments at halftime.