Tampa Bay running back Jeff Demps enters the Buccaneers’ 2014 training camp trying to win a roster spot by using his world-class speed to make an impact on offense and special teams. Demps, an Olympic sprinter who is known as the fast man in the NFL, is in the mix for playing time at running back, which might feature the toughest competition of all the positions in Tampa Bay, and he is vying to be the team’s kick returner in 2014.
The former Florida Gators star gives PewterReport.com an exclusive look into his training camp battle with other talented Buccaneers in Jeff Demps’ Training Camp Diary as told to Scott Reynolds.
SHAKING THE RUST OFF IN JACKSONVILLEIt was a rough game on offense in the 16-10loss to Jacksonville on Friday, but it was our first preseason game. Some of that is to be expected.
I had an okay performance on kick returns (two for 20 yards). One of them had a penalty. I could have hit a few of the holes quicker than I did, but this was my first game in a while and I was able to get some of the rust off.
The last time I played was against Philadelphia last October, so it’s been awhile. Hopefully I can come out in the next preseason game and have a better performance and showcase my speed.
My performance on offense as a running back was just okay. I had an 8-yard catch and (two carries for four yards, including a 3-yard carry) and I was able to get the rust off offensively, and get used to that game speed. I could have done a lot better – a lot of us could have. But it was good getting back out there on the football field in a game environment.
After the game, the coaches told us to just keep working. We have a long way to go, but each day we come out we have to keep working on getting better. There wasn’t any disappointment from the coaches. We know what we have to do at the end of the day.
We started out shaky, but there is plenty of room to grow at the end of the day. Everybody’s heads are still held high and we’re going to put in the work we need to.
We wanted to come out and do well, but it’s a new system with new coaches and new players. A lot of guys had to shake the rust off. It was good to get back to practice today to improve.
I think we had a pretty good practice today coming off Friday night’s game. We were able to come out, bounce back and get that game out of our system. The line did better today and Josh [McCown] was sharp. We were able to pick up from where we left of from last week’s practice before the game.
Speaking of picks, Leonard Johnson, our nickel cornerback, stepped in front of me and picked off Mike Glennon today and took it back for a score. I think it was pass interference because he basically tackled me before the ball came out. It was a good play by Leonard and he’s having a really great camp.
Our weakside linebacker, Lavonte David, had a pick today, too, and he’s looking great. The whole defense flies around the field and they’re looking good. You saw that Friday night in Jacksonville.
Tommy Streeter, one of our wide receivers, is working really hard in camp and you can see it pay off for him. He had a nice touchdown catch in the second half of the preseason game Friday night. He’s made a lot of big plays in practice.
Another receiver who has looked good is Robert Herron. He’s a rookie and I like him a lot. He’s a young guy that comes in every day and gets better. He learns a lot from the veterans. He had a couple of drops last week, but he had a nice catch in the game and had a couple of [touchdown catches] today. He’s fast and he’s putting in the work to get where he needs to be.
We all will be working hard this week and looking forward to our next preseason game in front of our fans.
Follow Jeff Demps’ Training Camp Diary exclusively on PewterReport.com and follow Demps on Twitter at @jeffdemps7
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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