Injury update, 4:18 p.m.
Here is the injury report for Thursday — Bucs: Did not participate in practice — FB B.J. Askew (ankle), QB Jeff Garcia (back); Limited participation in practice — DE Kevin Carter (groin), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf). Full participation in practice — LB Barrett Ruud (knee). Saints: Did not participate in practice — DT McKinley Boykin (knee), RB Pierre Thomas (kidney).
The good news is that Pittman practiced in some fashion today. The bad news is that Garcia didn't either. Bring on a backup on Sunday.
Gruden's special guest, 4:12 p.m.
No, it wasn't Jake Plummer. It was country star Charlie Daniels. Jon Gruden actually received as many questions about CDB's front man than his quarterback situation.
He's actually a friend of some of our players," Gruden said. "I can't take credit for anything but I'm certainly happy to meet him. I'll tune in to ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia' while I'm doing my scripts for tomorrow. We've had a chance, obviously, to meet some neat people, but Charlie Daniels ranks close to the top, if not at the very top. He's a heck of a guy."
Why do I get the feeling Gruden WON'T be listening to Charlie Daniels tomorrow? Just a hunch.
Oh, and he had little to say about the quarterback situation other than what he said yesterday. That's to be expected. But it's looking more and more like Luke McCown sill start.
Read Gruden's entire press conference transcript by clicking here.
Strategy session, 10 a.m.
We did all we could to unlock the secrets of the quarterback situation on Wednesday. Through my own interviews and the interviews of others we've managed to ascertain that Luke McCown say more practice reps than Bruce Gradkowski on Wedndesay. The St. Pete Times reported that McCown saw the vast majority, but I never heard that.
Gruden did all he could to keep the information to himself.
"We might not want everybody to know what we're doing, you know what I mean," Gruden said.
But signs are pointing to McCown as the starter if Jeff Garcia can't play. Along with the report on the reps, quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett said Gradkowski missed about "half-a-dozen" plays that, at this point in his career he would expect the second-year pro to make.
That's a statement few coaches like to make about a quarterback that could be their starter. And Hackett isn't one to mince words.
Of course, all this speculation could have an added benefit. By not naming a starter and playing the "Garcia will play if he's ready," game, they can keep the Saints off-balance in their defensive preparations.
Hackett is one of the few players or coaches that would acknowledge that.
"I think there is something about unknown because what do they prepare (for)?" Hackett said. "Is it going to be a Jeff Garcia game plan? Well, if Garcia plays, then it will be. If he doesn't what do you prepare for? Keeping it a little unsure can be a good thing strategically from our standpoint."
So expect a lot of speculation, but not a lot of confirmation, before Sunday's game. And that's as much about trying to leave the door open for Garcia as it is about trying to keep the Saints off-balance.
Kiffin update, 9:55 a.m.
Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin isn't saying much about the job opening at his alma mater, Nebraska, but it appears that he's not a finalist, if an ESPN.com report is any indication. Check out the story at TBO.com.
Taylor fallout, 9:50 a.m.
It's a QB kind of day, 9:45 a.m.
Instead of doing separate blog entries for every QB-related story out there, I thought one blog entry would be sufficient. Here are links to QB related stories from Tampabay.com, which is the site for the St. Petersburg Times; TBO.com, which is the site for the Tampa Tribune; orlandosentinel.com, which is the site for the Orlando Sentinel; and bucsblitz.com, which is the site I work for.
I mean, really, from a pure football standpoint, is there any other story in Tampa Bay this week?