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Night time is right time for Griese

RICK STROUD
Published October 15, 2004

TAMPA - Brian Griese is Mr. Monday Night.

The Bucs quarterback made his starting debut as a member of the Broncos and Dolphins on Monday Night Football, enjoying success in both games.

In his first NFL start, Griese completed 24 of 40 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Miami. Last season, his first start with the Dolphins resulted in a 20-of-29 effort for 192 yards and three touchdowns in a win over San Diego.

Griese is scheduled to make his first start with the Bucs Monday night at St. Louis and is hoping the trend continues.

"I love it. I think you talk with guys around the league, it's a special night because your peers are watching you," Griese said of playing on Monday night. "I've had some great times on Monday Night Football. I'm looking forward to another one."

JACKSON REACTION: Safety Dexter Jackson, the Super Bowl XXXVII MVP, was released by the Cardinals. Bucs coach Jon Gruden doesn't believe Jackson's career is over.

"I'm sure he'll pick it up again," Gruden said. "Kurt Warner was a two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion. That's just the way this league is. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl and was gone the next year.

"Dexter Jackson is a good guy, good player. Good things happen to guys like that. Again, I just don't want to speculate right now. I'm sure everybody in the league will look into his situation. Obviously, we would have an interest in a former player who's played well and played hard for us."

PRESSURE POINTS: The Bucs have just six sacks this season, an unusually low mark for what is traditionally a top-five defense. Considering the ability of the Rams' speedy receivers with Issac Bruce and Torry Holt, the Bucs will have to get pressure with their front four against quarterback Marc Bulger to disrupt the passing routes.

"Given the history that we've had in getting to the opposition, yes (I'm surprised)," Gruden said. "But there's a lot of football left to be played and hopefully Monday night we can heat up that pass rush a little bit."

INJURIES: QB Chris Simms did not practice and is listed as doubtful with a left shoulder bruise. He spent the day with his injured arm in a sling, but his conditioning is improving and Gruden said there is a possibility Simms could dress for Monday's game. "Yeah, there is a chance, as an emergency quarterback, if he improves," Gruden said. "But it's hard to play if you can't throw." Recently signed Jason Garrett is expected to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Griese and Brad Johnson.

Defensive end Simeon Rice (migraine headache) and linebacker Derrick Brooks returned to practice. Brooks was excused Wednesday for personal reasons. ... Receiver Joey Galloway (groin) is not expected to play. ... Linebacker Shelton Quarles (quads strain) returned to practice and is probable.

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