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 expected to start Bryant at receiver

TAMPA — WR Antonio Bryant was the last player off the practice field Thursday. Who could blame him? Bryant, who is expected to start opposite Joey Galloway in Sunday's opener at New Orleans, is savoring every aspect of his return to the NFL.

"It's all about opportunity, man, and I appreciate it since Day 1, them dudes giving me an opportunity to get back into the game," said Bryant, who did not play in 2007, in part because he went unsigned after the league suspended him. "I come out here, this is my team now, I'm a part of this and I'm here to do whatever I can do to the best of my ability and that's just get better and help the team get better."

Bryant missed the last two preseason games with some swelling on his knee. But coach Jon Gruden said Bryant has looked good in practice the past two days and is expected to play.

"It feels good to be out there," Bryant said. "I just want to get into a rhythm and a zone completely for the season. I feel like I've been able to keep myself in that type of zone in preseason. I just want it to carry over into the season and go to the next session, which is hopefully a playoff situation and so on and so forth."

Missed tackle: The Bucs continue to search for an offensive tackle.

Their latest effort went for naught when Bengals Pro Bowl RT Willie Anderson canceled a trip to Tampa on Thursday to accept a three-year, $10.5-million deal with the Ravens.

The Bucs have not replaced T Luke Petitgout, who was suspended four games for violating the NFL's steroid policy one day after being released by Tampa Bay.

Anthony Davis is the only true backup offensive tackle on the roster. The Bucs also have pursued former Bears T Fred Miller.

ENDURANCE PROBLEM: One of the team's concerns is the lack of endurance among the starters, most of whom have not had many snaps in the preseason. Players such as Galloway, RB Earnest Graham and LB Derrick Brooks will be asked to go four quarters for the first time since January.

"I think it is (a concern), I think it really is," Gruden said. "You're used to having 80 guys dress for a game and no matter what team you're talking about, a lot of the guys that do play played eight or 10 or 12 plays. At the end of camp, some guys played 47 plays and some guys played 14 plays. It's not a big difference, but the sustained drives, the long pursuit plays where you've got to chase a guy that has the ball on a screen play and then you've got to come back and rush the passer — it will take a toll on you. But our team is in good shape. We've just got to go prove that."

NEED A SPARE? With TE Jerramy Stevens on the reserve/suspended list for two games, the Bucs might utilize DE Kevin Carter in short-yardage and goal-line situations. "He's looked good," Gruden said. "He's getting a workout. He has worked in our goal-line and short-yardage packages. There's a chance he could be in the field in those situations."

Bucs expected to start Bryant at receiver 09/04/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say that the Rays are out of it, but they did score six runs Tuesday in a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off major right knee surgery, understandably often takes it easy running the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single.

  3. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  4. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman laughs after Houston Astros' Carlos Beltran reached first on an infield single during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
  5. 'Hard Knocks' star Riley Bullough still not a lock for Bucs


    TAMPA — Bucs undrafted rookie LB Riley Bullough is perhaps the surprise star of HBO's Hard Knocks and has been productive in two preseason games, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday that he's caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster.

    Riley Bullough has made a good impression on Hard Knocks and on coach Dirk Koetter, but he isn’t guaranteed a job.