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Five Bucs stood out during camp's first week

LAKE BUENA VISTA — It has been very comfortable for the Bucs this year at Camp Cool Down.

Much of the conditioning is taking place in air-conditioning. It's almost Disney on Ice.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Each season the Bucs have become more creative to avoid some of the dehydration that comes with working outdoors when the heat index is over 100 degrees.

Players who made the hot list last week:

BRIAN GRIESE: This is the perfect offense for Griese, 33. He doesn't seem to have forgotten much of the Bucs' terminology despite spending the past two seasons with the Bears. Griese's 69.3 completion percentage in 2004 is the best in club history. His anticipation and accuracy have been on display.

"I think Griese can really take off in this system," coach Jon Gruden said. "He has a knack for making plays here."

If the Bucs need to replace starter Jeff Garcia in the short term, it might be Griese. In the long term, it might be Luke McCown.

MICHAEL CLAYTON: This could be a breakout year for the 2004 first-round pick. No, really. Best since his rookie year. Honest. That's because Clayton is trimmed down to 208 pounds, looks quick off the ball and is catching nearly everything thrown his way.

Clayton, who has one touchdown since 2004, is battling Maurice Stovall and Ike Hilliard for the No. 2 wideout spot. With Joey Galloway out, he also has gotten some looks at flanker. And he's looking pretty good.

JEREMY ZUTTAH: April's third-round pick from Rutgers is impressing coaches with his poise and preparation. He has practiced at center and guard, and has done well calling protections. The guy is smart and physical, two great traits for an offensive lineman.

If the Bucs lost a starting tackle, it would not be surprising to see them start Zuttah inside and move Arron Sears or Davin Joseph to tackle to get the best five linemen on the field. That's not likely to happen, but he has been that impressive.

AQIB TALIB: No doubt the rookie has some growing up to do, but he can't be much bigger physically. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is a beast who can tackle and cover. He rarely is out of position and has terrific change of direction.

"Aqib is doing really well, a lot of life and energy in his legs," Gruden said. "He's a playmaker."

This is the Bucs' deepest secondary in terms of athleticism.

MICHEaL SPURLOCK: After last season becoming the first Tampa Bay player to return a kickoff for a touchdown, Spurlock is a sentimental fan favorite who should never pay for a meal as long as he's with the Bucs.

But he's more than a one-hit wonder. This season Spurlock is trying to make his mark as a receiver. A tremendous athlete, he could give the Bucs flexibility on game day.

Five Bucs stood out during camp's first week 08/02/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2008 3:55pm]
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