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Dilfer gets off to a more comfortable start

Trent Dilfer's first trip from the friendly confines of Tampa last preseason at a workout in Miami made him look like so much road kill. But that deer-in-the-headlights pose was nowhere to be found Friday in Jacksonville.

"Last year when we went to Miami, I'd only practiced against our defenses and you tend to panic when you see something new," Dilfer said. "Today I saw three or four different coverages and I saw 100 percent of what they were trying to do. I thought I threw the ball where I was supposed to. But this is just practice. I'm sure a couple times, the defensive linemen could've gotten their hands on me or their defensive backs could've gotten big hits on our receivers."

Backup Casey Weldon also performed well Friday, drawing praise from coach Tony Dungy.

"Casey has especially been throwing the ball well the last few days," Dungy said.

If there was a downer, it was the two interceptions Jacksonville returned for TDs in the two-minute drill.

"That was the most disappointing thing that happened the whole day," Dungy said. "We threw a couple of interceptions and they did a good job and scored on them a couple of times."

RHETT ALERT: Despite reports he might drop by Jacksonville Friday, Bucs tailback Errict Rhett was a no-show.

Rhett's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had no talks with the Bucs on Friday. Rosenhaus has said he plans to meet with Bucs general manager Rich McKay when the team travels to Miami Thursday for workouts against the Dolphins.

Rhett is under contract and is being fined $5,000 per day. His fines will total $35,000 today.

"We love Errict and hope he gets in," Dungy said.

When asked what he thought about players under contract holding out, he said, "To get better and be good, you've got to be here. Whether it's injuries, contracts or holdouts, there's no excuse. The train has got to go whether you're on it or not."

ROOKIE WATCH: Third-round pick Donnie Abraham is working his way into the Bucs plans. The rookie from East Tennessee State delivered big hits and played smothering man-to-man defense Friday against the Jags veteran receivers such as Andre Rison.

"We like the way he stands in there and he shows a lot of maturity," defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. "Some rookies have the skills, but they have to learn to have poise when you throw them up against Andre Rison one-on-one. We wanted that matchup. Is he ready yet? No. He's got a long ways to go."

INJURIES: LB Derrick Brooks (rib contusion), WR Larry Ryans (ankle), WR Terence Davis (hip flexor), WR Carl Williams (shoulder), DE Chidi Ahanotu (groin), WR Charles Wilson (hamstring strain), WR Marvin Marshall (foot strain) and LB Jesse Sanders (ankle) are day-to-day. FB Fred Lester (hamstring), DT Marcus Jones (groin), DE Keith Poe (ankle sprain) and OT Steve Ingram (knee) did not practice.

_ RICK STROUD

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