Wednesday roundup: Garcia gets reps in Tampa

If you believe in signs, the ones in Tampa Bay are pointing toward QB Jeff Garcia starting for the Bucs on Sunday against the Panthers over injured starter Brian Griese. Bucs coach Jon Gruden said Wednesday that Garcia took the majority of reps in practice, followed by Luke McCown.

Gruden said he was listing Griese, who suffered an elbow injury last week, as questionable.

“You know what? If you can’t throw, you have a hard time playing,” Gruden said. “Again, I don’t want to make any concrete statements until we get a chance to meet and see how Brian is and how Jeff feels and the whole crew of quarterbacks.”

Gruden said Garcia practiced well on Wednesday after subbing for the injured Griese last week, when he completed 13 of 17 passes for 93 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“Jeff is returning to health and that’s a very good thing for us because Jeff is a very good quarterback,” said Gruden. “I think that he put forth a pretty good effort last week while he was in there. You’ve got to have a thick skin and hopefully you have thicker skin than that to play in this league.”

Garcia also spoke to the media on Wednesday.

  • Several interesting pieces of news came out of Sean Payton’s press conference Wednesday. Both WR Marques Colston and TE Jeremy Shockey took part in a limited portion of practice. Colston has had the cast removed that protected the torn ligament in his left thumb he suffered in Week 1 and caught passes from QB Drew Brees for the first time. Shockey had missed two games with a sports hernia. Payton thinks there’s a chance both will play.
    “I’m more optimistic. I was pleased with what I saw today and I saw more than I expected to see. Both of them actually took reps and moved around well. We’ll see tomorrow how they feel, especially when it comes to Jeremy. But Marques looked good.
  • The Panthers practiced without starting OL Jordan Gross (concussion), Jeff Otah (ankle) and Ryan Kalil (ankle) on Wednesday. WR D.J. Hackett also missed practice and is not expected to play Sunday, meaning Dwayne Jarrett would be the likely No. 3 receiver. Here is Wednesday’s official NFL injury report.
  • The Rams released WR Eddie Kennison on Wednesday, only to re-sign him when the team received an unfavorable medical report on WR Dane Looker, who is scheduled for additional medical tests after suffering a concussion in Week 4 against Buffalo. Kennison practice with the team on Wednesday.
  • Ravens QB Troy Smith returned to practice at full speed for the first time this season since his onging battle with a tonsil infection. Coach John Harbaugh said Smith, who was cleared to resume light workouts in September after losing 20 pounds, would begin as the Ravens’ No. 3 quarterback. In making the announcement, Harbaugh essentially named rookie Joe Flacco the starter for the rest of the season.
  • Eagles WR Kevin Curtis fully participated in practice on Wednesday as he continues his comeback from a groin injury that has sidlined him since training camp. Eagles coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Curtis would get more work in practice than he did last week. Curtis wants to play, but said the decision is out of his hands.
  • The Chargers have been quiet about the injury to WR Chris Chambers, but coach Norv Turner confirmed during his news conference on Wednesday that Chambers has a sprained ankle. Here’s the transcript.
  • Vikings coach Brad Childress had this to say about the health of 37-year-old starting QB Gus Frerotte on the day after Minnesota’s 30-27 win on Monday Night: “He’s moving fine. He’s ambulatory. He can get from point A to point B. We’ll see how he practices out here this afternoon.”
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