LAKE BUENA VISTA - With or without holdout receiver Keenan McCardell, veteran Joey Galloway will have to play a meaningful role in the offense and needs all the time in training camp to get familiar with coach JonGruden's system.
Galloway said he is progressing well but still has some learning to do.
"I'm not comfortable (yet)," Galloway said. "Each day is something new to me. I'm still kind of getting used to the quarterbacks, and they are getting used to me."
Learning curve or not, Gruden said he likes what he has seen. "I wish we had three Galloways," Gruden said. "We're trying to utilize all the things he's done extremely well, and we're trying to work on a few new clubs for him to hit. And he's hitting those shots right now pretty good."
The Bucs had hoped Galloway's downfield potential would work well with the ability of McCardell and Joe Jurevicius to go across the middle. But with neither in camp, the Bucs must lean on Galloway a bit more.
"He's not the biggest, tallest specimen, but he's a powerful man," Gruden said. "He's very strong, and he's been known to make big plays after the catch. So there are a lot of qualities that we're excited about."
ANOTHER BANNER DAY: For the second straight day, the defense was impressive, this time during the red zone drill.
"When you're throwing the ball and they know it's a pass," Gruden said, "they're going to be wicked." Last year, the pass defense was third in the league, and already during camp, there have been several passes batted down or intercepted. Backup linebacker Keith Burns had an interception during the morning session.
LATEST SALVO: The representatives for McCardell expressed further disappointment with comments made Wednesday by general manager Bruce Allen.
Allen said he spoke with McCardell's representatives Monday and suggested an "olive branch" of communication had been extended. Steve Caric, spokesman for McCardell's agent, Gary Uberstine, said those remarks were "misleading half-truths, innuendoes and personal snipes. We will continue to attempt to take the high road and will not get lulled into making personal attacks at the expense of ignoring the real issue at hand."
McCardell, 34, has two years left on his contract. Due to make $2.5-million this season, he wants closer to the average salary of the No. 1 receivers in the league, about $4.3-million. GOING DOWNFIELD: One of the most memorable plays Thursday came from second-year defensive end Dewayne White.
In the afternoon session, White lined up on receiver Edell Shepherd, who promptly took him downfield.
The pass by Chris Simms seemed headed right for Shepherd's hands had White not stuck to him about 30 yards downfield and batted the ball away with perfect technique.
There was a resounding uproar from the other defenders.
"I don't know how that happened," White said. "I thought he was going out onto the flat. But they ran two verticals, and I had to go with him. I can cover the out to the flat but very rarely do they run the verticals. (After) about 15 yards, I thought, "Dang, I better kick it in.' I saw him look back for it, and as soon as he did, I (put up my hands)."
INJURY UPDATE: Starting defensive tackle Anthony McFarland (ankle sprain) returned after leaving the field Wednesday. Left tackle Derrick Deese's foot sprain is improving, but he still is day to day. Guard Sean Mahan (left ankle sprain) returned for limited reps.
Cornerback Ronyell Whitaker sat out both practices because of dehydration, and Gruden said he could miss today's sessions as well. Receivers Danny Farmer and Charles Lee continue to be hindered by sore hamstrings, and defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks was taken off the field with a lower back strain. Defensive Reinard Wilson (undisclosed) missed practice.
A BAD SIGN? Linebacker Michael Brown blocked a field goal by Martin Gramatica, who made only 16 of 26 last season. Cornerback Corey Ivy recovered the kick.