Times links
Devil Rays
Arena football
High school
2006 schedule
home of the infamous Armchair QB board.
Get Bucs, Rays or Lightning news from the Times sent daily via e-mail.
How well do you think you know your favorite team?
Fan info
Print storySubscribe to the Times

Garner: Gruden can work it out

Published March 14, 2004

TAMPA - Like the signing of Michael Pittman two years ago, the Bucs didn't bring in veteran running back Charlie Garner to sit on the bench.

If the versatile Garner is fully recovered from his left knee surgery, he is going to get his touches, if not as a running back then as a receiver out of the backfield.

So if Pittman resolves his legal problems and Mike Alstott recovers from neck surgery, it's going to be running back by committee.

Garner said coach Jon Gruden can make it work: "It's kind of trying at times, but I think your head coach is liable for that. He can make that as smooth or as rough as you can. ... He'll find a way to get people the ball and keep them happy. That's what he does, and that's why I can come work for him again.

"When I went to the Raiders, Tyrone Wheatley had just had 1,000 yards and I still signed. So it's not about me. I know how Jon's going to handle the situation. He's going to handle it the best way he sees fit."

O LINE IN FLUX: The primary area of concern this offseason has been the offensive line. The Bucs have added three linemen (Derrick Deese, Matt O'Dwyer and Matt Stinchcomb) and appear intent on bringing in a fourth (Todd Steussie) or fifth.

The newest Bucs come with a reputation for being, how shall we say, mean!

"I believe there's a certain code that offensive lines live by in pro football, and toughness is one of them," Gruden said. "We feel like we have a group of tough guys here, we really do."

The Bucs have targeted linemen who are prepared to scuffle in training camp. O'Dwyer has been described as the type who will engage Anthony McFarland in a shoving match on the first day of minicamp.

The Bucs also applied the fullcourt press on right tackle Orlando Brown, considered the most intimidating tackle in the game, before he re-signed with the Ravens.

"We're going to continue to look at the offensive line and do everything we can to bolster that group," Gruden said.

AHEM, EXCUSE ME!: The Bucs' feeding frenzy on offensive players, general manager Bruce Allen said, has not gone unnoticed by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Toward the end of the first week, however, the Bucs added linebackers Jeff Gooch and Keith Burns, visited with defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield and pursued safety Rogers Beckett.

But even with the loss of safety John Lynch and the uncertain future of defensive tackle Warren Sapp, the Bucs appear to feel pretty good about the defense.

"We've lost a lot of players, but we feel like our opening-day roster, from a defensive standpoint, we've got some continuity there," Gruden said.

"We've lost some key players, don't get me wrong, but we're not done. We're at the beginning stages of free agency and hopefully we can get Monte a couple of guys, because he is getting a little crazy."

LONGER DEAL: Contrary to a reported two-year, $5-million contract, Stinchcomb's contract is five years and $9.5-million, according to the NFLPA. While the signing bonus is unknown, Stinchcomb will earn $535,000 this season, then $1-million, $2-million, $2.6-million and $3.2-million.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The team announced the signing of punter Josh Bidwell on Saturday, four days after losing free agent Tom Tupa to the Redskins. Bidwell, a fourth-round pick by Green Bay in 1999, averaged 41.1 yards in five seasons.

Bidwell, a testicular cancer survivor, missed his rookie season after being diagnosed.

PENDING ANNOUNCEMENT: The Bucs are close to unveiling plans for a new training facility next to Raymond James Stadium. It likely will be double the size of One Buc Place, considered the most outdated and laughable practice facility in the NFL.

LYNCH'S LAST WORD: "In closing, I would like to say to the people in Tampa that I will always be a Buccaneer. I'll be playing someplace else next year and I look forward to that, but I would always be a Buccaneer in my heart. These years have been special to me and my family. I thank everyone for them."

[Last modified March 14, 2004, 01:05:29]

Today's lineup

  • Garner: Gruden can work it out

  • Spring Training 2004 Rays
  • A lot on plate in front of him

  • Spring Training 2004 Rays
  • Hey, Abbott nearing No.5 spot

  • Lightning
  • Letdown comes hard
  • Dings emphasize need for depth

  • Other sports

    Arena League
  • A change in his game plan

  • Boxing
  • Wright defeats Mosley in decisive upset
  • Santos lives his dream of boxing through Wright
  • Mesi just does get by Jirov

  • College basketball
  • UF in final for 4th time
  • Working while they whistle
  • 'Hey ref, you're blind!'
  • Cardinal beats nemesis for Pac-10 title
  • Cincinnati delivers the final blow
  • Texas beats Kansas to make final
  • Wisconsin makes first title game
  • Duke has no trouble exacting revenge
  • Record 2nd half lifts Terrapins
  • UK (yawn) rolls into SEC final
  • Can't call FAMU loser anymore
  • Dude, where's my team?

  • College football
  • Spring college football glance

  • Colleges
  • Gators extend win streak to 13

  • Golf
  • Hamilton atop wild, windy Honda

  • Horse racing
  • A winding life again leads back to Tampa
  • Friends Lake sprints into the Derby picture

  • Iditarod
  • Leader not taking spot for granted in last miles

  • In brief
  • More die as result of Syrian soccer rioting

  • Motorsports
  • Five drivers to watch
  • NASCAR fills up on scrappy teams
  • Reutimann continues rapid rise in trucks

  • NBA
  • Concentration is McGrady's foe
  • Seattle's 3-point barrage decimates lowly Orlando

  • NFL
  • CB Law wants to sever ties with Patriots

  • NHL
  • Esche, Flyers get over hump against Devils
  • Slapshots

  • Opinion
  • Rant: Shaq's attack on par with that of Bertuzzi

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • State might add teeth to gill netting penalties

  • Preps
  • Confident Blue Jackets nab first title
  • Coyle's run a high point for Knights
  • Jacksonville Raines rallies, then repeats
  • Orlando Edgewater ends title drought
  • Palm Harbor U. takes 5th place in Invitational
  • Riverview snaps skid vs. error-prone Newsome
  • Suber gets moving for East Bay
  • Third-inning play boosts the Cougars
  • Wait is finally over for Coach Wells

  • Running
  • Largo man surprises himself and wins 5K

  • Spring Training 2004
  • If no trade, week excuse
  • Thome braces for the impact
  • Clemens can't beat Marlins as Astro either

  • Your turn
  • Letters to the Editor: Lynch a victim of Gruden
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111


    On The Wire
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week