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McCown No. 2 at QB on first depth chart

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Luke McCown will be the first quarterback off the bench. Ike Hilliard will start at flanker. Aqib Talib hasn't broken into the starting lineup.

That's according to the Bucs' first depth chart, released Monday per NFL rules.

The chart is almost guaranteed to change throughout the preseason and beyond. But it can be a starting point for judging position battles. With McCown listed ahead of Brian Griese and behind starter Jeff Garcia, it appears he will start in Saturday's preseason opener at Miami. Garcia doesn't seem likely to play because of his calf injury.

McCown had some miscues at Monday's practice, including a pair of mishandled snaps.

"That's the No. 1 fundamental in this game," coach Jon Gruden said. "At this point and time, it's ridiculous."

Hilliard is listed as the starting flanker, ahead of Michael Clayton. Maurice Stovall is listed just behind Joey Galloway at split end. At running back, Earnest Graham was listed No. 1, ahead of Warrick Dunn and Michael Bennett. All are expected to get reasonable playing time.

In the ongoing duel at left defensive end, Kevin Carter is listed as the starter, with Greg White, last year's team sack leader, the immediate backup. Phillip Buchanon is listed No. 1 at left cornerback, ahead of Talib, this year's first-round draft pick.

Micheal Spurlock is listed No. 1 at punt and kickoff returner, but rookie Dexter Jackson is expected to handle punt duties once a hamstring strain heals.

LISTEN UP: Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud is beginning to use the new helmet communication system when practices simulate game action. So far, so good, he said.

"I never liked the wrist bands that much," Ruud said of armbands that decipher signals from the sideline. "The first time I put it on, it was a little fuzzy. But now they've got it wired in there pretty good. The whole key is going to be the fact they stop it at 17 seconds (on the play clock). A lot of times, we're holding our calls waiting for the offense anyway. So we probably won't even be able to use it half the time."

INJURY UPDATE: Galloway (groin) did not return to practice as Gruden had predicted; he did conditioning drills. FB B.J. Askew (foot) sat out, and WR Antonio Bryant (knee) returned. OT Luke Petitgout said a time line has been established for his return but would not reveal specifics. He has been on the physically unable to perform list.

McCown No. 2 at QB on first depth chart 08/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 7:27am]
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