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Garcia isn't sweating preseason performance
Garcia hopes for a better outing this time around.
By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
Published August 16, 2007
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Jon Gruden, left, talks to one of his quarterbacks, Jeff Garcia during the morning workout at football training camp.
LAKE BUENA VISTA - Don't read too much into the preseason, Jeff Garcia says. Like the scoreboard. Or statistics.
Of course, the Bucs quarterback is hoping for a better outing in Saturday's preseason game at Jacksonville.
Garcia went 1-of-4 for 4 yards and failed to produce a first down in his only two series during the 13-10 win over New England in Friday.
He would like a faster beginning Saturday, but it's not the end all.
"It would be nice, but it's not everything. It's preseason," Garcia said. "It's a different sort of feeling. It's a different vibe. We want to go out there, we want to do positive things. We want to eliminate mistakes and make good decisions. And if those translate into scoring drives, then that's great. So be it. It's more about preparing for the first regular-season game."
Garcia will start and be followed by Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown, possibly in that order. McCown went 7-of-7 for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Coach Jon Gruden said Garcia has rarely played much during the preseason.
"The way I play and the way I feel in the regular season doesn't even translate to the way I feel in the preseason," Garcia said. "So it's one of those things where you need to go out there - and yeah, I was excited about the first game at home. I wouldn't say overly excited because I don't think I even got close to the excitement and energy I will have in a regular-season game.
"It's one of those things where the more you learn about your teammates, the more you get comfortable with the players around you, the more you get relaxed, the more comfortable you are with the system, the better the decisions are, the more accurate you are with the football."
PETITGOUT TO PLAY: Left tackle Luke Petitgout, who missed most of the first two weeks with a back strain, is expected to start against the Jaguars.
"We're excited about it," Gruden said. "We did tell you he was going to play and come back, and he did. It's just sometimes you've got to wait a little bit longer than you'd like to. But Luke is feeling good and has looked good here in the last three days."
GRUDEN TIRED OF SIMMS TALK: Chris Simms will not be placed on injured reserve, Gruden said. He reiterated the struggling quarterback has been cleared to play and will break the lineup when he performs better.
"I'm tired of talking about it. Every day," Gruden said. "You see it, he's out here practicing. He's healthy. Why the hell would he go on IR? I don't understand why he's practicing. I'm not trying to mislead anyone although I have to be honest at times and say we've cleared him to practice. If he was injured, he wouldn't be practicing and throwing 125 balls a day. It's the performance that needs to improve. I'm confident in time it will. He has been inactive for a long period of time. That's all I'm going to say. It's a work in progress. Right now he's behind, and he knows that. We'll adjust accordingly.
"We're moving on with the preseason and when Chris is ready to go, you'll see him, hopefully, a little bit Saturday night in Jacksonville. But right now, as I said, it's a work in progress. He's clearly behind, but he could catch up."
THROTTLE BACK: One day after about 18 players needed intravenous fluids, the team practiced indoors at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports on Wednesday morning.
Rain cooled temperatures for the final afternoon workout. The Bucs end camp with a short walkthrough practice this morning.
"We've had two practices the last two days, and the heat index has been well over 100 degrees all four practices," Gruden said. "I think it's the right thing to do. We got a lot of plays done, a lot of situations looked at and some good film study. That was the plan today."