Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris was candid when asked why third-round draft choice Mason Foster is listed at the top of the depth chart at middle linebacker ahead of Tyrone McKenzie, who played three games with Tampa Bay last season.
"He (Foster) is having a better camp up to this point,'' Morris said, "but he hasn't hit anybody besides us.''
When Foster opens Friday night's preseason game at Kansas City, it will be his starting job to lose against McKenzie and rookie Derrell Smith.
"You've got to see these guys hit different colors, you've got to see them move around on the field under the lights,'' Morris said. "All those things have to be tested, but he's certainly having a better camp thus far. I wouldn't count anybody out. D-Smith is coming on fast and T-Mac's not going to lay down.''
MCCOY PICKING IT UP
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy doesn't consider himself a quick learner, just a good one.
Tampa Bay's first-round pick in 2010 said he's comfortable with his learning curve after a rookie season marred by a biceps injury that sidelined him for the final three games, just as he was hitting his stride.
"Going through an NFL season definitely helps,'' McCoy said. "I think our two new guys (rookie defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers) are guys that can pick it up right away. I've never been able to do that. It takes me time to pick things up, but once I've got it, I got it.''
McCoy, who sat out Tuesday's practice with a strained right rotator cuff, said the game is slowing down for him.
"I'm learning how to play my position,'' he said. "Now, I've got to perfect it. Warren Sapp did the same thing. He had to learn how to play his position and once he did, he perfected it. I'm working to perfect things at under tackle. I look around this field and I'm very excited about this defense.''
SLINGIN' IN THE RAIN
The Bucs were determined to get their practice time in Tuesday afternoon, even as a persistent rain pelted the Bay area and made footing treacherous.
Morris wasn't about to sacrifice a chance to see his players compete again in pads, especially with more than 100 hardy fans in attendance.
"We tried to make the most out of the weather today,'' Morris said. "With a limited amount of pad ops, you've got to try and get out there when you can. It was a little slippery out there and I got them off the field a little early, but we got a little bit of work in.''
The offense looked ragged in 11-on-11 drills as receivers had problems making sharp cuts on a soggy field.
Preston Parker was one of the few Bucs who displayed no difficulty holding onto a wet ball.
"We understand why the coaches made us come out here on a day like today,'' Parker said. "All of the receivers are trying to get better and move up the depth chart. We're all young and we're all pushing each other.''
Morris indicated TE Luke Stocker (hip) and WR Raymond Webber (hamstring) won't play against the Chiefs, with McCoy listed as day-to-day. …Bucs QB Josh Freeman injured his right thumb in last year's preseason matchup against Kansas City. …The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing offense in 2010, averaging 164.2 yards per game on the ground en route to a 10-6 mark and an AFC West title.