|QB Josh Freeman and the Bucs' passing offense showed signs of coming together in last week's win over the Chiefs. (US Presswire)|
Long, lonely days of rehabilitation have been a way of life for Buccaneers DE Da'Quan Bowers since tearing his right Achilles tendon this past offseason.
The waiting is finally over -- almost, as Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune writes Bowers was back at practice on Wednesday and is eyeing an imminent return to the field in game action.
Bowers told reporters there is "a great chance" he could play Sunday against the Saints. According to Cummings, that might not necessarily be true, but his return will come relatively soon.
"I don't think there's any major chance of anything going wrong,'' Bowers said. "I visited the doctor (Tuesday) and was cleared to go, so now it's just up to Coach (Greg) Schiano and myself. And if we (think) at the end of the week that I could possibly help the team, we'll talk about it.
"But, right now, I don't want to put myself out there, not with those guys playing as well as they are. I don't want to be that one downfall that's not ready to go. So, we'll just have to see how it goes the rest of the week. With this kind of injury you never feel anything until the next day, so we'll see how (today) goes.''
WR Williams again producing at a high level: Perhaps no one has benefited more from the Bucs' offseason acquisition of WR Vincent Jackson than the player who lines up on the opposite side of the field -- fellow WR Mike Williams.
Williams leads the NFL at 22.1 yards per reception thus far this season. He was outstanding in last Sunday's win over the Chiefs, finishing with 113 yards and a touchdown. It's a far cry from his struggles in 2011, when defenses locked down on him as the Bucs' leading option, writes Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune.
Jackson, for his part, had two touchdowns in the win over Kansas City as well. Fennelly writes this could be the best receiving tandem in Tampa Bay's franchise history, surpassing the duo of Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell from the Bucs' Super Bowl championship season in 2002.
"We know our potential and how high we can go," Williams said.
Nicks staying mum on Saints' secrets: One of Tampa Bay's top free agent signings this past offseason, OG Carl Nicks had played the previous four seasons in New Orleans as a Saint. Thus, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes, he knows plenty about the Bucs' opponent this week.
But rather than share some of the inside tricks of the trade, like hand signals and blocking schemes and audibles, he has opted to stay mum.
"I'm a firm believer in playing fair and being honest and the code," Nicks said. "It's cheating, and I'm not about that. I know they're not about that. I want to be able to sit there and say, 'We beat you guys fair and square.' "
Adderall a growing problem in sports: Bucs CB Aqib Talib was suspended for four games last week for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs. He later said in a statement he had taken Adderall, a drug intended for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, without a prescription before training camp in August.
A report from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times indicates Talib is hardly the only NFL player to use the stimulant as a performance enhancer, and it may be a growing problem in the league.
"Especially when you look at (the) No. 1 cause of death in an athlete being a heart problem, taking a stimulant is going to increase your risk of that across the board," said Dr. Eric Coris, a professor of family and sports medicine at the University of South Florida in Tampa. "In people that don't have ADHD, it probably makes them more restless, more jittery, so it can be a significant negative."
Catching those who take the drug is easier said than done, according to Don Catlin, founder of the group Anti Doping Research. It doesn't stay in the system for very long, making it difficult to detect.
"Athletes would like it because they can take it today, and might have a negative urine test tomorrow," he said.
For more from Tampa Bay Bucs blogger Patrick Southern, follow @CBSBucs on Twitter.