TAMPA — The Bucs figured rookie MLB Mason Foster already had so much on his mind, he didn't need another voice in his head.
That's why strong-side LB Quincy Black will continue to wear the helmet transmitter to receive defensive plays from linebackers coach Joe Baker.
Another plus is that unlike Foster, who plays only in the base defense, Black never comes off the field.
Black called the plays in the huddle during Friday's 25-0 preseason win at Kansas City. But while Black was the only player to speak in the defensive huddle, he said Foster was responsible for adjusting the formations and checking to another defense.
"It was interesting. It was fun," Black said. "I've never had anybody talk in my head before during the game. But at the same time, it cuts off when (the play clock) gets down to 15 seconds and you're playing football at that point. They were just relaying the calls to me. We can do it with hand signals, really. But it's one of those deals where you take advantage of the technology because it's there."
Bucs coach Raheem Morris said the decision to have Black wear the helmet communicator helped both players. It was one less thing for Foster to worry about, and Black didn't have to look to the sideline on third down for defensive signals.
"It actually worked out better for (Black), not having to worry about getting the call from the sideline and just going out there and playing fast and physical," Morris said. "It was less of taking something off (Foster's) plate and more about who is the smarter guy to use to call the signals because he's out there every single down."
Black said he likes being one of the linebackers counted on to play every down.
"I can do a lot of different things," he said. "I never pigeonholed myself to be this one particular guy. I'm never going to do that. I'm a linebacker."
STOCKER ON THE MEND: One of the most disappointing aspects of this training camp for the coaching staff has been the inability to see much of rookie TE Luke Stocker.
The Bucs traded up 12 spots in the fourth round of the draft for Stocker, so the former Tennessee star entered camp with high expectations. But he has been sidelined since the first practice with a hip injury. Stocker participated in portions of practice Sunday for the first time, the team easing him back into the fold.
His return to full action can't come soon enough. He caught 39 passes for 417 yards in 2010.
"It's been extremely frustrating," Stocker said. "I got here and, with the lockout, I never really had an opportunity to meet the coaches or be with my teammates. I didn't get a chance to show what I can do. Then, in the first practice I get hurt and I have to sit out.
"But everything's going a lot faster than planned. I'm on a really good track and I'm really close to getting back."
Morris said he did not expect Stocker to play Thursday against the Patriots and called his status week to week.
High marks in K.C.: The Bucs weren't exactly challenged by the Chiefs on Friday.
"I don't want to knock anybody else's program, I don't know what the situation was, I don't know what their effort was," Morris said. "I was just grading our team and what we can do."
According to Morris, the Bucs graded pretty high.
"I liked the fact that we played really hard," Morris said. "We played fast. The guys did play consistent throughout the game, whoever went in there. Twos, threes, it didn't matter …those things were awesome. The things we've got to improve are some of our timing and precision things that you knew we'd be missing a little bit."
Morris said he believed QB Josh Freeman, who went 9-for-13 for 73 yards and scored a rushing touchdown, could've hit more throws. And the defense had a breakdown with the wrong personnel in the game. But that might be nit-picking.
"Some of those issues showed up on game day, but for the most part man, really happy, really pleased with what we did and how we played and how fast they were, how physical we were," Morris said.
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.