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Tampa Bay Buccaneers to start Jeff Garcia at quarterback Sunday against San Diego Chargers

TAMPA — QB Jeff Garcia made it through a week of practice. Now he gets a chance to survive the Chargers on Sunday.

"I believe he'll be the starter," coach Jon Gruden said Friday of Garcia, who was unable to play at Atlanta last weekend because of a right calf injury. "Now, what his playing strength and stamina is, I can't be a true judge of that today. I know he'll give us everything he has."

Gruden also confirmed that Luke McCown will be the backup. Gruden made an 11th-hour decision to start Brian Griese at Atlanta last Sunday.

"We've had reps for the backup, and Luke has taken most of those," Gruden said. "If need be, he'll be ready to go."

The injury news is good for the Bucs on other fronts, too. LB Derrick Brooks, who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a rib injury, was back at work and expected to start. DE Gaines Adams (ankle) and Greg White (shoulder) had limited practices but were expected to play.

WEST COAST STORY: West Coast teams are 1-15 this season when traveling across three time zones. With their game against the Bucs starting at 10 a.m. Pacific time, the Chargers arrived in Tampa on Friday to give themselves an extra day to acclimate to the time difference.

"It's easy to say it doesn't affect you, but I think it can certainly have an effect," QB Philip Rivers said. "The stats don't lie. The records show that West Coast teams haven't fared well (in the East). That's just another obstacle we've got to overcome. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you for having to do it, and we've handled it very well this year."

The Chargers are 0-3 in East Coast games this season, losing at Miami, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. East Coast teams are 9-11 when traveling to the Pacific time zone.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers to start Jeff Garcia at quarterback Sunday against San Diego Chargers 12/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 11:42am]
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