Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs even thinner at receiver

Bucs wide receiver Ike Hilliard takes a hard hit from Leroy Hill in the second quarter. Hilliard was knocked out on the play and spent the night in the hospital for observation.


Bucs wide receiver Ike Hilliard takes a hard hit from Leroy Hill in the second quarter. Hilliard was knocked out on the play and spent the night in the hospital for observation.

TAMPA — The casualties are mounting at a position where the Bucs had little depth anyway.

The receiving unit has been besieged by injuries, with veteran Ike Hilliard's concussion that required hospitalization the latest blow.

Hilliard was released from the hospital early Monday and, coach Jon Gruden said, was to be cleared of any serious ramifications after a helmet-to-helmet blow from Seahawks LB Leroy Hill. Whether Hilliard plays next week at Dallas is another matter.

"He was obviously checked out thoroughly (Sunday) night and all indications were good, but we'll see how he feels here in the coming days," Gruden said Monday. "Right now, I would say (he is) in question."

Already, the Bucs are missing Joey Galloway (foot) and Maurice Stovall (hamstring), and Gruden made no guarantees either will play against the Cowboys. Tampa Bay promoted journeyman Brian Clark, a Tampa native, from the practice squad Saturday. He was immediately pressed into service against the Seahawks, catching one pass for 12 yards.

Frustration is mounting as Galloway's absence lingers. Though signs pointed to Galloway returning against the Seahawks, Gruden indicated he and his staff elected not to play him because they remain unconvinced he is ready. Galloway was injured Sept. 14.

"You've got to be able to play," Gruden said. "You've got to be able to run all the routes. You've got to have the stamina to play. We've got to see that, hear that and watch that on the practice field Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If that (is) the case, you will see him against Dallas."

When Galloway returns, there's no guarantee he'll step right into a prominent role. Gruden is encouraged by Antonio Bryant's performance at Galloway's split end position and vowed not to move Bryant for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Stovall seemed hopeful he will return this week.

"This is a business where you can't be down for long," he said. "Someone is always there to get the job done. I want to get back for myself, one, and for my team."

Ready for Romo: The Bucs don't know whether they'll face injured Cowboys QB Tony Romo, but they intend to be ready. While the defense will prepare for backup and former Buc Brad Johnson as well, Romo will get the bulk of the attention.

"We'll assume (Romo) will play," Gruden said. "We'll also take a look at obviously Brad Johnson. It will be great to see Brad again. … They've got a loaded roster and a great, talented staff, and we'll do the best we can."

Not about numbers: The Bucs' total of 11 sacks (21st in the league) isn't that impressive. But Gruden cautioned against looking solely at stats. As evidenced Sunday night, a good pass rush doesn't always culminate with a sack.

"The pass rush can be defined in terms of sacks or pressure and hits on the quarterback also," Gruden said. "If you can make the quarterback veer right or left, if you can disrupt his timing, his vision and his rhythm, that's a good pass rush."

The Bucs had no sacks on Seattle's Seneca Wallace. But Wallace never could relax in the pocket because of Tampa Bay's relentless pressure, particularly from DE Gaines Adams. Wallace finished 12-of-23 for 73 yards and committed two turnovers (one fumble, one interception).

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]

Bucs even thinner at receiver 10/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 23, 2008 6:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury


    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.