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Bucs WRs don't sweat numbers after preseason opener

LAKE BUENA VISTA — If you were looking for signs of a revitalized Bucs wide receiving corps Saturday, the results were inconclusive.

The quarterbacks looked strong, with four passers hitting 28 of 40 attempts, but only 15 of the completions were to wideouts. Is there cause for concern?

Not according to several receivers, who maintained that the 17-6 preseason win over Miami represented a strong first step.

"From watching the films of the game … we did a lot of great things, did a great job of catching the ball and making plays," said Maurice Stovall, who had two catches for 22 yards. "Everyone did well executing their assignment. We're going to start game-planning (today) against New England and just take it day to day."

As for the large number of completed passes going to running backs and tight ends, Stovall offered this explanation: "Initially when you call a play, you might plan for it to go one way but have to audible based on the defense."

"We did a great job," Michael Clayton said. "A lot of guys were blocking well. We caught the ball well. Had a few drops, and we still have the opportunity to get better. But for the most part, it was a great effort, and we did exactly what we wanted to do."

The unit was co-led by new addition Antonio Bryant — who missed the 2007 season in part due to a league suspension — and Chad Lucas with three catches. The Bucs, of course, did not have veteran speedster Joey Galloway (groin) against Miami.

"We need Galloway out here," coach Jon Gruden said after practice Monday, but he had no updates.

No penalty zone: One of the most impressive stats for the Bucs on Saturday was 0 — as in no penalties committed.

"That was awesome," defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. "That's the name of the game."

Added quarterback Brian Griese: "It doesn't happen very often. It's a good starting point, and hopefully we can continue that and make it an emphasis."

A true debut: Rookie quarterback Josh Johnson, a fifth-round pick out of San Diego, made his debut Saturday with 7:11 to play and completed his only pass for 15 yards. But it wasn't only Johnson's first time playing in the NFL.

"It was actually the first NFL game I'd ever been to," said Johnson, who passed Oakland Tech High to the Oakland Athletic League Championship as a senior before becoming a prolific NCAA quarterback.

He was thrilled with his initial opportunity.

"Situation-wise, I got in during a key point of the game," he said. "You have to lead the team and know how to manage the clock. There's a lot of things you don't see when you look at that from a TV perspective. From a game perspective, I have to make sure I manage the clock, make sure we don't go out of bounds, make sure we don't have turnovers. When you do out here in practice, it isn't the same. You can practice it, but with the lights on, it's always a little different feeling."

Bucs WRs don't sweat numbers after preseason opener 08/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 2:42pm]
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