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Bucs training camp schedule

Bucs enter training camp facing lots of drama

The manicured lawns and two-story, columned homes with white picket fences in Celebration provide the perfect setting for the two-a-daytime drama known as Bucs training camp.

All that's missing is the cliff-hanging organ music. Welcome to another episode of All My Quarterbacks.

When we last checked in, Jeff Garcia had missed the first two days of workouts attending the 35-year reunion of a junior college national championship team his dad coached in Gilroy, Calif.

While he was away, the Bucs flirted shamelessly with the idea of leaving Garcia for another 38-year-old quarterback who has been married to the Green Bay Packers for 16 years.

Two former starters — Brian Griese and Luke McCown — openly longed for what Garcia already had. Rookie Josh Johnson was trying to get noticed. Meanwhile, Chris Simms was held hostage by the general manager but plotting his escape.

You get the idea.

The Packers reportedly have contacted more than 20 teams to gauge interest in trading for the iconic Brett Favre. But first Favre, who announced his retirement March 6, has to send the NFL and the team a letter asking for reinstatement, which could come today.

Garcia is scheduled to return to practice Monday. By then, maybe the Favre subplot will be resolved.

The last Bucs quarterback to enjoy back-to-back seasons as a starter was Brad Johnson in 2002-03. Garcia could break that streak, but he's in the final year of his contract and bent over the lack of progress for an extension.

Believe it or not, there are positions the team has to be concerned with besides quarterback.

It needs to find a No. 2 receiver opposite Joey Galloway. There's no clear-cut starter at running back among Warrick Dunn, Earnest Graham and Michael Bennett. Defensive ends Gaines Adams and Greg White need to avoid the sophomore slump. The young, talented offensive line needs to keep growing.

General manager Bruce Allen was asked why he thinks the Bucs will be better in 2008.

"As we've learned from even the 2006 year, the amount of playing time that the young players — specifically Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood — got that year, helped them perform better in '07," he said. "The more the young players get to develop and work with our coaches, the better they can get. So you hope for continual development of the young players, and we like some of the players we've brought in. The key to our football team will always be how our coaches manage amazingly to adapt to the various talent level that we provide for them. Only at the end of the season can you determine if you're better."

The Bucs have to get healthy. Tackle Luke Petitgout (knee), safety Sabby Piscitelli (foot), linebacker Cato June (foot), Galloway (shoulder) and others are coming off injuries.

"A lot of these guys have been away for the last couple weeks during the break, and we won't put anybody on the field until we think they're ready to do a full practice," Allen said.

Three rookies remained unsigned Thursday: cornerback Aqib Talib, the club's first-round pick, receiver Dexter Jackson (second round) and Johnson (fifth).

Allen has never had a player miss the first training camp workout because of a contract dispute.

The challenge for the Bucs is to avoid another dropoff after winning the division for the third time in six years. Coach Jon Gruden's regular-season record is 48-48.

"Our division doesn't get enough credit for being what I consider what is the most competitive division in the NFL," Allen said. ''If you look at the NFC South, more times it's been represented in the conference championship game than any other division in the NFL. When you look at it, there's four different teams that have been represented in the conference championship.

''Every day, we're watching our competition. New Orleans improved, Atlanta improved, and Carolina improved. In order to stay with them, we need to improve."

Bucs training camp updates

Stay on top of the latest developments with our daily midday audio slide shows featuring photos from camp and insights from Times staff writers Rick Stroud, Stephen F. Holder and Tom Jones. Later today, find out which players did and didn't report by the 4 p.m. deadline at bucs. tampabay.com.

Date times

Saturday 8:30-11; 2:45-4:55

Sunday 8:30-11:05; 2:45-4*

Monday8:30-11:10; 2:45-4*

Tuesday8:30-11:10; 2:45-3:55 (ST)

Wed.8:30-11:05; 2:45-4*

Thursday8:30-11; 2:45-4:25 (WT)**

Aug. 1 8:30-11; 2:45-3:55 (ST)

Aug. 2 None

Aug. 3 8:30-11:10; 2:45-4*

Aug. 4 8:30-11; 2:45-4:40 (WT)**

Aug. 5 8:30-11:10; 2:45-4:30

Date times

Aug. 6 8:30-11:10; 2:45-4:30

Aug. 7 9:45-10:55 (ST);

7:30-9:10

Aug. 8 9:15-10:15 (WT)

Aug. 9 Preseason game

at Miami, 7:30

Aug. 10 None

Aug. 11 2:45-4:45

Aug. 12 8:30-11:10; 2:45-4:30

Aug. 13 8:30-11:10; 2:45-4:30

Aug. 14 8:30-9:55 (camp ends)

ST: special teams only. WT: walk-through * Practice moves inside from 4-5, closed to public; ** Possibility entire afternoon practice moves inside, closed to public.

Bucs enter training camp facing lots of drama 07/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 5:39pm]
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