Under sunny skies the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit the field for their first of three mandatory mini-camp practices that are available to the media for viewing this week. The temperatures were approaching 90 degrees when the horn sounded at 1:30 p.m. signaling the start of practice. Former Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber was at One Buc Place and watched practice on Tuesday.
Carl Nicks was on the field and watched the offensive line go through practice, as he continues to recover from a foot injury. Nicks was not present for any of the voluntary OTAs but talked to the media after practice about his recovery and plans before training camp
A few players nursing injuries did not participate in practice on Tuesday, including safety Dashon Goldson, cornerback Leonard Johnson, wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Cornerback Johnthan Banks also didn’t practice on Tuesday for reasons unknown.
Rookie wide receiver Mike Evans and safety Mark Barron participated on a limited basis and only worked during the individual and walkthrough sessions.
After stretching and warming up, the team split into their position groups for individual work with their respective position coaches.
Mark Cook went to the far side of the fields and watched the defensive linemen work on their drills. The pace and intensity was ramped up a notch from the previous OTAs and the group appeared to be very focused on getting their work in. Of course defensive line coach Joe Cullen doesn't accept anything less than 110 percent effort and the players respond well to the gravely-voiced Massachusetts native. The players got in lines of two and lined up in their stance and simulated firing off the ball. They next moved to the outside of the fence, near where the vendors are set up during training camp and went against the blocking sled. Cullen was very specific where he wanted the hand placement and made a few players redo the drill.
After the sleds the players sprinted back to the field area and went through the standup bag gauntlet drill where they navigate through a series of bags using explosive slaps and rips before launching towards the bag simulating a QB. The players dive and attempt to chop the ball away. Assistant line coach reminded a couple of players to not reach but explode to the ball that is on top of the bag.
UDFA Euclid Cummings continues to excel in this drill and hits the bags with a ton of aggression. Steven Means, Will Gholston, Matthew Masifilo
Gerald McCoy and Chaz Sutton all earned praised from the coaching staff that included defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and head coach Lovie Smith. McCoy continues to show invaluable leadership cheering his teammates on and also giving them pointers in between reps.
New defensive end Michael Johnson looked solid in the drills but is clearly more of a finesse and speed rusher. He is extremely tall and his quickness is evident, but will need to be as he doesn't appear to have the upper body strength and base to bull rush. Seeing Johnson go one-on-one during training camp is something that we look forward to seeing.
Another impressive player on Tuesday was Adrian Clayborn. The former first-rounder also took in some one-on-one coaching during a break and looks to be in incredible shape. While some may have written him off as a future Buccaneer, his high motor and will to succeed will undoubtedly impressive the defensive coaching staff. Look for Clayborn to match or even surpass his 5.5 sack total from last year.
We get tired of beating up Da'Quan Bowers nearly every practice but Tuesday was another rather unimpressive day. Bowers was often seen taking a knee unlike his teammates, and looked to have little pep in his step.The former All-American out of Clemson appears to be running out of time to make an impression on the coaching staff that has to, at times, coax him into taking reps. Bowers has the raw talent to succeed but needs to show greater effort soon.
The receivers spent a good deal of time practicing and refining their technique relating to beating zone coverage, specifically on out routes.
Third-year wide receiver Chris Owusu bobbled and dropped a pass during the individual session that fired up wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker.
“That’s on you,” yelled Hayes-Stoker, who was throwing the passes to the receivers.
Receivers Solomon Patton and Skye Dawson also let a passes hit the grass during the individual session.
After a period of walkthroughs the units divided into their position groups for a session of one-on-ones. Quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon threw to the receivers while Mike Kafka and Alex Tanney threw to the tight ends and running backs.
Tight end Tim Wright continued to dominate against linebackers and safeties and is clearly the Buccaneers most talented receiving tight end. The Rutgers product roasted safety Bradley McDougald on a post corner route and caught the pass for a touchdown.
Competing with Tim Wright at the tight end position, fourth-year pro Luke Stocker made a few nice plays during the one-on-one session, including a nice contested catch with middle linebacker Mason Foster draped all over him. On his next rep after making a nice snag over the middle on his second rep, Stocker was flagged for offensive pass interference, which indeed helped him get open on an out route.
Rookie linebacker Steve Jenkins was flagged for holding on a rep against speedy running back Jeff Demps, who was running a deep pattern. The former track star is simply too quick and speedy for linebackers and safeties to keep up with in one-on-one situations.
Safety Kelcie McCray picked off viral video sensation Alex Tanney, who tried to hit Charles Sims on a deep route in the endzone. McCray did a nice job of sticking with Sims and snatched the ball away from the rookie in a jump ball situation.
Following the one-on-one session, the Buccaneers joined forces for 7-on-7s while the offensive and defensive lineman continued to work individually.
Quarterback Josh McCown had a lights out session of 7-on-7’s, including multiple throws into tight windows in risky situations.
On the first play of the session, McCown delivered a strike to Vincent Jackson, who ran an explosive out route. Jackson’s hamstring injury that had held him out of OTAs didn’t seem to be an issue on Tuesday.
Later on, the veteran signal caller jammed a pass in between the safety and cornerback on the left sideline for a 20 yard gain to receiver Skye Dawson.
McCown, who is entering 12th NFL season, completed 10 of his 11 attempted passes during the period.
On the flip side, second year quarterback Mike Glennon did not have a great period of 7-on-7s and was visibly frustrated with himself after a trio of incompletions.
The N.C. State product hesitated on a throw to wide receiver Russell Shepard on the left sideline, which gave the safety the extra second he needed to break up the pass. Later on, safety Major Wright tipped a Mike Glennon pass that was headed down the seam and Danny Gorrer came up with the interception. Glennon finished the session with six completions and five incompletions.
After a special teams session including field goal kicking and punt returns, the team headed to the east field for the final period of the day, the 11-on-11 session.
The best performer at Tuesday’s practice was cornerback Danny Gorrer, who made multiple big plays during the 11-on-11 session. The fifth-year pro almost recorded an interception while playing at the left cornerback position. Playing the flat zone in the Cover 2, Gorrer exploded and nearly intercepted the pass headed towards the running back. Later on Gorrer recorded an impressive pass breakup on a pass headed toward rookie wide receiver Quintin Payton, who was running an crossing pattern over the middle. Gorrer, who lines up on the outside and at the nickel spot, has strung together multiple good practices and is making a great impression on the coaching staff.
The offensive line, led by coach George Warhop, featured some changes at both of the guard positions on the first-team offensive line on Tuesday. Rookie Kadeem Edwards was the team’s starting left guard and second-year pro Patrick Omameh took hold of the right guard position.
Wide receiver Louis Murphy, who has quietly put together a string of terrific practices, continued to impress on Tuesday. The former Florida Gator torched cornerback Deveron Carr on a go route down the left sideline for a touchdown. The pass was beautifully thrown by Josh McCown, who hit Murphy perfectly in stride for the 50 yard completion. Murphy looks to be in the lead as the primary backup to both Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans on the outside.
McCown went 6-for-7 during the 11-on-11 period, and his one incompletion was a dropped pass. Mike Glennon wrapped up the session with three completed passes out of five.
Wide receiver Eric Page and running backs Jeff Demps and Bobby Rainey spent extra time working on punt returns after practice.
Mandatory mini-camp continues at One Buc Place tomorrow with practice beginning at 1:30 p.m. –Mark Cook contributed to this report
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.