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White moves where he is needed


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 18, 2001

Veteran defensive end Steve White has been practicing on both ends of the line since the start of training camp.

Smart decision.

With starting left end Marcus Jones sidelined for about two weeks with a right hamstring strain, White will start against the Browns tonight in Cleveland.

"It was hard to see Marcus go down like that, he is my friend," White said. "Yet, I have to look at it as a chance to go out there and play against first-team offenses and show what I can do.

"I have been working hard all offseason and letting my play speak for itself. I'm in a position now where I can show my wares and I plan on doing so."

Starting is not new to White. The 6-foot-2, 271-pounder in his sixth season (all with the Bucs) started 13 games in the 1999 season at right defensive end.

Coach Tony Dungy said being able to turn to White makes the line impressive.

"We've got a lot of confidence in Steve, as we do in a lot of our backup guys," Dungy said. "They become crucial at some point during the season."

QUARTERBACK SHUFFLE: If all goes as scripted, the Bucs plan to play Brad Johnson about the first 20 to 25 plays, at least through the first quarter.

Dungy said the ideal plan is then to play Shaun King for about 20-22 plays, some of those with some of the first-teamers.

Backups Ryan Leaf and Joe Hamilton will follow in that order, likely in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

"It's going to be by ear," Dungy said about how he plans to divide the snaps between Leaf and Hamilton. "You would like to see an 80-play game where each of them get about 20 plays, but it doesn't always work that way."

FRANKLY SPEAKING: With Jacquez Green recovered from his hamstring strain and back in the starting lineup, second-year receiver Frank Murphy goes back to the bench. Murphy got his first dose of game action when he started against the Dolphins.

"He got his first action as a receiver Monday night and the bullets were flying and it was fast and furious for him," receivers coach Charlie Williams said. "So, he made some understandable mistakes in terms of his alignment. But, the main thing is he needs to correct those mistakes and continue to move forward."

A converted running back who spent the bulk of last season on the practice squad, Murphy has had a productive offseason and has played himself into contention for a spot in the rotation. The preseason performances, Williams said, will be critical for Murphy.

"He's still working hard," Williams said. "(Today) he'll play his regular quarter and we'll take it from there. He'll get his roll at the table and it should be a good roll because he'll have a chance to make plays."

CALL IN A DOCTOR: The rash of hamstring injuries has left its victims puzzled.

Fullback Rabih Abdullah said his only other hamstring injury came in his sophomore year in college. Middle linebacker Jamie Duncan, who said his legs always have been his strongest asset, had never had a hamstring injury until this year's training camp.

"I don't understand what happened," Duncan said. "I wasn't doing anything unusual and it just happened."

Green, who has had hamstring problems, said he used to recover within a day or two, but it has taken a week this training camp.

Added safety Dexter Jackson: "It seems every year it seems to be one thing or the other. This year, it's hamstrings. I don't know, maybe it's a virus going around."

CHANEY REPORT: Running back Jeff Chaney, a former standout at Florida State, signed a free-agent contract in the offseason but has practiced twice and did not play Monday.

"He's been in the meetings, he knows the terminology, and knows the assignments, but actually doing it is two different things," Dungy said about Chaney's likely debut tonight. "He was a very tough, versatile player at Florida State and a guy we're very anxious to see."

Chaney blew out his right knee against Wake Forest in November and had reconstructive surgery.

"We didn't know if he was going to be ready this year," Dungy said. "But his rehab has come along, he's ahead of schedule and we're going to take a look at him."

THEY UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER: First-year Browns coach Butch Davis is someone Dungy can relate to.

"I do know Butch," Dungy said. "I think he's going to do a great job there. He's probably going to be that boring, defensive coach that everybody hates. But I wouldn't be surprised if they win a lot."

The Browns defeated Green Bay 10-3 in their preseason opener, but Dungy said it's too early to determine how good they will be:

"You really haven't seen enough. The one thing that you saw, they played with a very high energy level against Green Bay. They outplayed them, they outhustled them and outhit them and won the game, which seemed very important to them."

RELEASED: The Bucs reached injury settlements and released defensive end John McLaughlin (fractured hip) and cornerback Terrance Parrish (knee).

INJURY REPORT: Jones (right hamstring), fullback Mike Alstott (left hamstring), punter Mark Royals (right knee sprain) and defensive end Joe Tafoya (lower leg strain) will not play. Receiver Reidel Anthony (left ankle), cornerback Donnie Abraham (right hamstring) and defensive end Warren Sapp (ankle sprain) will play.

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