Knee injuries such as the one Patriots QB Tom Brady suffered Wednesday are always going to be a part of the game, but the Bucs believe there is a way to reduce the risk.
Regardless of whether they’ve had a knee injury in the past, Bucs quarterbacks are ordered to wear a protective knee brace on their plant leg in an effort to reduce the damage that can be done when the leg is hit in a stationary position.
Bucs QB Josh Freeman said the knee brace took a little getting used to at first, but he believes the combination of the brace and some general awareness can greatly reduce the likelihood of serious damage.
“Awareness is a big part of it, because the guys up front are really battling and you’ve got defenders coming around and they might just get off a block and be right at your feet,’’ Freeman said. “You just have to kind of understand, there are always going to be guys at your legs.’’
Even before Brady went down, the Bucs were having a better day Wednesday against him than they had on Tuesday.
Brady spent most of Tuesday’s workout picking the Bucs’ secondary apart, but Tampa Bay often got the better of him Wednesday.
One of those who stood out was CB Anthony Gaitor. He broke up several passes in team drills and his overall play is starting to impress Bucs coaches.
“I think he’s been playing pretty well,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “He’s playing productive football right now, getting his hands on people. But he’s also had a couple penalties, which you can’t have, so it’s give and take.’’
Play of the day
The Bucs’ offense didn’t play well enough Wednesday to earn recognition in this category and neither did their defense, though RDE Adrian Clayborn did take down two players (Brady and LT Nate Solder) with one great bull rush.
The winner here, then, comes from the Patriots’ side of the field, where WR Julian Edelman laid himself out in the back of the end zone to make a diving touchdown catch that drew everyone in attendance out of his or her seat.
Some credit on the play has to go to Patriots QB Tim Tebow as well. With Brady out, Tebow took on an increase in reps and the throw he made over Ahmad Black’s head to allow Edelman to make the grab was a thing of beauty.
The temperature at Gillette Stadium at the start of practice on Wednesday was 73 degrees, and a brisk breeze blew throughout the afternoon across a sun-splashed field.
You get the feeling, though, that given a choice, the Bucs wouldn’t trade those conditions for the heat and humidity they’re accustomed to working under in Tampa.
“I’m not sweating just warming up here and it’s lovely, but it’s an advantage for us with the heat and humidity because when teams come down there, they’re definitely not used to it,’’ RB Michael Smith said.
Quote of the day
“Is this an interview or an interrogation?’’
— Clayborn, after he was asked for the third time in a span of four questions to describe his role on the play in which Brady wound up getting hurt.
Aug. 8: Ravens 44, Bucs 16
Friday: at New England, 8 p.m. (Fox, Ch. 13)
Aug. 24: at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (Ch. 8)
Aug. 29: Washington, 7:30 p.m. (Ch. 8)