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)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Injured Dunn 'probably' shouldn't have played vs. Cowboys, Gruden says

Cowboys linebacker Bradie James slams into Warrick Dunn, who has a pinched back nerve, in the first quarter Sunday.


Cowboys linebacker Bradie James slams into Warrick Dunn, who has a pinched back nerve, in the first quarter Sunday.

TAMPA — The offseason decision to bring RB Warrick Dunn back to his NFL roots in Tampa Bay has proven to be one of the Bucs' savvier ones.

But opting to use Dunn against the Cowboys on Sunday despite a pinched nerve in his upper back probably won't qualify as a bright move, something even coach Jon Gruden admits.

"We probably shouldn't have allowed him to play," Gruden said Wednesday. "We choose not to use him much. But he is such a warrior. He has played this game for so long. But I agree. He wasn't himself on Sunday in Dallas. That's a big part of our offense."

The question now facing the team is whether Dunn will play Sunday at Kansas City. He was unable to practice Wednesday and appears to still be having problems. On Sunday, he said they included sharp pain shooting down his back and legs, which limited him to one rush and two receptions against Dallas for a total of 8 yards.

With Earnest Graham still taking a few snaps at fullback, where B.J. Askew remains sidelined with a hamstring tear, Dunn's health left the offense limited, to an extent.

"He's a big part of (the offense), especially with our fullback situation," Gruden said of Dunn.

If Dunn is sidelined against Kansas City, look for Michael Bennett to finally have a role. Gruden said Bennett's inactive status at Dallas was the result of the team having three running backs active: Dunn, Graham and return man Clifton Smith.

ROAD WOES: The Bucs are 4-0 at Raymond James Stadium but 1-3 on the road, losing three close games. Asked the difference between performances at home and away, Gruden said, "about 11 points," a reference to the combined margin of defeat in the three contests.

"They've been close games. It's not like we haven't played good football," Gruden said. "We've had chances to win all three of the games."

TEST DRIVE: Gruden expects today is when the team will test RB Cadillac Williams with limited contact in practice to see where he is physically.

Williams, who is on the physically unable to perform list because of the right knee he injured last season, began practicing last week. He is one week into a three-week evaluation period, after which the Bucs must activate him or place him on injured reserve.

"We'll try to turn him loose," Gruden said. "We'll try to get a little bit more amps out of him and see how he feels, see how he performs."

TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Chiefs second-year QB Tyler Thigpen starts against Tampa Bay on Sunday, and who better to prepare him for the defense he will face than a former Tampa Bay assistant? Kansas City coach Herman Edwards was assistant head coach and defensive backs coach under then-coach Tony Dungy from 1996-2000, and he can't overstate the challenge Thigpen faces.

"He played well up there in New York," Edwards said of Thigpen, who was 25-of-36 for 280 yards and two TDs in a loss to the Jets on Sunday.

"The thing he's got to understand is the speed he's getting ready to play against with the Bucs defense and how fast they get to the ball. I think our whole team is going to have to understand how fast these guys play on defense."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Injured Dunn 'probably' shouldn't have played vs. Cowboys, Gruden says 10/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  2. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]