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Jolley acquisition adds tight end depth
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER
Published September 1, 2006
HOUSTON - The Bucs on Thursday made their latest move to shore up the tight end corps by acquiring the Jets' Doug Jolley for an undisclosed draft pick.
Jolley, in his fifth season out of BYU, was obtained by the Jets last season for a first-round pick. He produced just 29 catches for 324 yards and a touchdown, and his plummet into new coach Eric Mangini's doghouse of late expedited his departure.
But in Tampa Bay, Jolley will have more modest expectations. The Bucs are seeking depth for the position even after selecting two tight ends in the April draft, T.J. Williams (sixth round, North Carolina State) and Tim Massaquoi (seventh, Michigan). Williams (Achilles' tendon) is on injured reserve for the season and Massaquoi is far from a sure bet to make the final roster, particularly after Jolly's acquisition.
Jolley, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound second-round pick of the Raiders in 2002, will compete for playing time in a unit that includes Alex Smith and Anthony Becht, as well as Dave Moore, who doubles as a longsnapper. The Bucs also have journeymen Mark Anelli and Matt Kranchick.
Jolley, 27, was in uniform Thursday but did not play.
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?: How's this for irony? Thursday's starting defense did not include a single starter.
The starting lineup was defensive ends Julian Jenkins and Andrew Williams, tackles Anthony Bryant and Jon Bradley, linebackers Wesly Mallard, Barrett Ruud and Jamie Winborn, cornerbacks James Patrick and Alan Zemaitis and safeties Blue Adams and Kalvin Pearson.
Many of those defenders played most of the game as the starters watched from the sideline, minus shoulder pads in some cases.
On offense, the Bucs used a mixed starting lineup, with only rookie guard Davin Joseph playing extensively, deep into the second half. Right tackle Jeremy Trueblood started and played most of the game, too, but he was taking the place of usual starter Kenyatta Walker.
BUENNING HURT: Left guard Dan Buenning left on the offense's first series with a left ankle injury. He was replaced by Jeb Terry, who has positioned himself to be the first guard off the bench.
It was interesting to note that guard Toniu Fonoti, a free agent acquired during the offseason, did not make an appearance until late in the third quarter, except for earlier action on the field-goal unit.
That could be an indication he is a possible cut.
Terry is capable of playing both guard positions and Sean Mahan, who looks like the likely backup at center, can play guard, reducing the need for Fonoti.
PUNT-RETURN QUANDARY: Receiver Paris Warren muffed a punt in his second straight game, which probably makes him a candidate for the chopping block.
The play didn't count because of an illegal touching penalty, but it would have set up the Texans with a first down inside the red zone.
But before the Bucs can waive Warren, they must determine the likelihood of Mark Jones playing in the opener. Jones, the usual punt returner, has a sprained ankle and was unable to play Thursday. He didn't expect the injury to keep him out of the Sept. 10 opener, but it hasn't healed, either.
Warren turned heads in the third quarter with a 39-yard return that positioned the ball at the Bucs 49.
GET DOWN: Rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has gotten the lecture from coach Jon Gruden and veterans time and again, yet there he was taking on tacklers in the secondary after taking off on several long runs after the pocket collapsed.
Gradkowski was a capable rusher at Toledo, where the dual-threat passer ran for 1,018 career yards with 14 touchdowns. His career average was 4.1 yards, excellent for a quarterback.
DEAR WATSON: Running back Derek Watson saw his most extensive action of the preseason after returning last week from a sprained ankle.
Watson rushed seven times for 14 yards but still faces long odds to make the team after another solid preseason by Earnest Graham, who made the final roster last season and is a key contributor on special teams.