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Piscitelli returns determined

Sabby Piscitelli, tackling Warrick Dunn on Sunday, is impressing coach Jon Gruden with his play.

JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | Times

Sabby Piscitelli, tackling Warrick Dunn on Sunday, is impressing coach Jon Gruden with his play.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — S Sabby Piscitelli's rookie season ended after three games when he broke his right foot in September. His football work was limited to mental reps and lots of film.

Now that the 2007 second-round draft pick from Oregon State is back on the field, he's making an impact. In Sunday's morning session, he broke up several passes, including one in the end zone.

"My determination has been one of my best aspects, but I think it's even greater this year," Piscitelli, 24, said.

"Coming out and getting hurt last year, I've got to prove myself, man. I haven't done anything at this level, and I'm excited to get out there and show my abilities."

Piscitelli, 6 feet 3 and 224 pounds, said that becoming more familiar with the defense has been key, even if his time on the field was limited.

"You've got to do it on grass, but my confidence is a little higher. (I'm) just kind of relaxing more and making plays," he said.

"People always say, if you think, it slows you down that much and you can't make plays. Coming in as a rookie, it's hard not to think because you don't know nothing."

Coach Jon Gruden has taken notice of Piscitelli's instincts, as well as his ability to cover and close the cushion between himself and a receiver.

"He's made some unbelievable grass play," the coach said. "He's got great range. … He's having a lot more natural playmaking out here."

NOT JOSHING YOU: Given that the Bucs brought five quarterbacks into camp, rookie Josh Johnson hasn't gotten many snaps

But with starter Jeff Garcia out with a right calf strain, the fifth-round pick from San Diego got some reps Sunday.

The plan is for the team to give Johnson a series of plays and packages to work on in preparation for Saturday's preseason opener in Miami.

"We'll gradually start to move toward getting him more reps," Gruden said.

"He's doing a great job in the classroom."

ODDS AND ENDS: WR Antonio Bryant missed Sunday's workouts with a swollen right knee. He is day to day.

•WR Joey Galloway (groin) ran routes on the back field in the morning.

•C Jeff Faine returned after missing a few days with a sore back.

•The afternoon session ended with 45 minutes of work in the indoor practice tent. Garcia attended that session.

•The on-field temperature reached 105 degrees for the afternoon session.

Piscitelli returns determined 08/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:06pm]
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