With defensive end Da'Quan Bowers coming off surgery for a ruptured Achilles' tendon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no plans to overload the former second-round pick with too much too soon.
Bowers, the 51st overall pick in 2011, was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list prior to Thursday's game in Minnesota and found the field for about a dozen plays, all in third-down situations.
"I think it was a really good start for him,'' Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano said." I thought it was the best way to start to get him acclimated back into the game.''
After seeing how Bowers performed after a lengthy recovery process, the Bucs plan to ease him into a heavier workload. That process began during Monday's practice, in preparation for Sunday's game at Oakland.
"Now (Monday) he did a little more,'' Schiano said. "He got in there on first and second down a little bit, because that's all we did today was first and second down. He went for some three-play sequences, which is good.
"Now, we are taking the next step (and) that's playing back-to-back-to-back plays. See how he goes today and then if everything is good on Wednesday then we go to four plays. Just try to get him back into this thing slowly. He does have a positive pop to him that is good to have back.''
Winning cures many ailments. Winning in front of a national television audience adds some flavor to the medicine.
That's how second-year LB Mason Foster felt after Tampa Bay knocked off Minnesota 36-17 during Thursday's primetime game on the NFL Network.
"You play on national TV and come out the way we played, good all around, I think it opened some people's eyes,'' Foster said. "People never really saw our offense or our defense play, except for little clips and highlights, but to see a whole game and see the way the Buccaneers play, people probably know a little more about us now.''
Short Week, Long Trip
Tampa Bay had a short work week last week, playing Minnesota on a Thursday after a Sunday home game against New Orleans. This week, the Buccaneers head 3,000 miles west to take on Oakland.
There was some concern about the physical effects of that short week, but Schiano said the team is in relatively good shape.
"I was proud of the way the guys responded,'' Schiano said. "One of the things you concern yourself with as a coach is draining them, because that game against New Orleans was emotional. Can you reload it in four days and go back and play the way you need to, and that was a good job.''
DE Michael Bennett, who appeared to suffer a leg injury on the final play of Thursday's game, did not practice Monday, but did ride a stationary bike. Bennett walked around the locker room with no limp. …CB Anthony Gaitor, who is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, also rode a stationary bike on the sideline. On Oct. 9, Tampa Bay put Gaitor on the injured reserve/designated for return list, which is new to the NFL this season. The rule allows one player per team to return to practice after six weeks and play in a game after eight weeks.