QB coach: Josh McCown was pressing

TAMPA, Fla. -- Although he’s been cleared to return to work on a full-time basis and is expected to call plays in Sunday’s game against St. Louis, offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford wasn’t with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.

Team officials said Tedford had an out-of-town medical examination on Wednesday. He originally was expected to be back at practice Thursday. But the entire examination wasn’t completed Wednesday, prompting Tedford to stay another day. Team officials emphasized that Tedford, who had an unspecified medical procedure more than two weeks ago, did not have a setback and is expected to be at Friday’s practice.

In Tedford’s absence, quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo met with the media Thursday. Arroyo gave some good, honest answers to several questions. Everyone within the Bucs has been careful to praise the rest of the offensive staff for picking up Tedford’s duties. But Arroyo was the first to actually admit that not having Tedford hurt the team.

“I think when you’re down a coach, you’re down a guy, a member of the team,’’ Arroyo said. “I think there’s a lot to that. It would be advantageous to all of us to have an extra brain, extra thought, an extra guy, let alone the offensive coordinator who’s been doing it since we got here. He’s definitely missed. But I think the staff’s done a great job of supporting him and what he needs.’’

Arroyo called the plays in Sunday’s season-opening loss to Carolina. The offense struggled mightily for the first three quarters and Arroyo said there were several reasons for that. The running game was ineffective, aside from a 54-yard run by fullback Jorvorskie Lane.

“That’s a really good front seven,’’ Arroyo said. “Our plan was to go in and run the football. Where that’s at is still a work in progress.’’

Arroyo said the lack of a running game might have contributed to quarterback Josh McCown trying to do too much early in the game. McCown struggled for three quarters, but threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

“I think he calmed down and played within the scheme,’’ Arroyo said. “I think early on maybe he tried to press a little bit, maybe tried to play outside the play. With that is running around trying to make a throw when you’re under duress. I think he played within the play and proved in those 7 minutes and 19-play stretch that we can move the ball and be reflective in that regard. I think he got better as the game went on and hopefully that will carry over to this week.’’

The Bucs went with a no-huddle offense in the fourth quarter and Arroyo suggested that might be a sign of things to come.

“I think we got a little more telltale of what we’re capable of doing on the perimeter, which was good,’’ Arroyo said. “Maybe the tempo was a little more closer to what we feel we can be or what we can do.’’