The Bucs injury problems during camp continued over the weekend and this morning. Jon Gruden informed the media that Luke Petitgout would not be available for the Bucs first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Friday, and neither would Chris Simms. Petigout did not practice again Monday and has only really practiced one day since training camp started. With Petigout out, the Bucs moved Anthony Davis back out to the left tackle spot, and have rookie Aaron Sears starting at left guard. The Bucs had been playing Dan Buenning exclusively at center, but they have also moved him over to left guard at times recently due to the loss of Petitgout. For Simms it is about not getting the amount of reps needed in camp, and not injury concerns. Simms is still progressing, and just has not gotten the amount of reps that Gruden wanted him to get before playing in Fridays game. He has looked better each day and hopefully he will be ready by the second preseason game and can show everyone what he has.
Sabby Piscitelli and Barrett Ruud were also held out of Mondays practice. Piscitelli has not practiced since Friday and is suffering from what Gruden calls "sore lowers." Gruden has said that he has been doing a lot of running and that's why he is sore, but can we really trust what comes out of his mouth? Three days is a lot to miss for being sore due to running, especially from a guy who had been a three year starter in college. Ruud was held out of practice for the second day in a row with a bruised knee and although Gruden claims he will be practicing tomorrow his status for Friday's game is up in the air. Ruud needs to be out there as much as possible getting acclimated to starting in the middle. Although Ruud got to play in a couple games last year, he needs all the time he can out there because the middle linebacker spot is very important in the Tampa 2 defense. With Ruud out the Bucs have moved former starter Ryan Nece to the middle to replace him. Nece has always been a hard worker and has looked pretty good in the middle linebacker spot with Ruud out. Rudd has the talent to play middle for the Bucs, but if he is not out there Nece may take his spot from him.
Bucs first round pick Gaines Adams is still struggling and I have overheard some calling him a bust, which I think is ridiculous. It is way too early to label him a bust, but I can tell you he has not looked good. Adams has been thrown around in camp by tight ends and ended up on his back a couple times this morning. It looks more and more like Patrick Chukwurah or Kevin Carter will be the starter when the season starts. This year will be a learning experience for Adams and no one watching the Bucs should expect a huge season from him.
The battle for the number two wide out has been the most exciting battle of camp and both Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall have looked impressive. Stovall has one of the best work ethics I have seen in a while. He always seems to be the last wide out off the field and stays longer than most to catch extra passes and run more routes. It does seem that it is either rubbing off on Clayton, or he is feeling the pressure, because Clayton has started to stay after to catch more balls as well. Clayton was held out of practice over the weekend with a sore back, but he has looked good when in there. I still believe that Stovall will earn that job by the end of camp, but Clayton will be right there with him. Hopefully the Bucs can get more three and four wide receiver sets in the offense and they can both be on the field.