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May 3, 2009 @ 8:45 am
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Bucs Wrap Up Rookie Mini-Camp

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Pewter
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The Bucs’ three-day rookie mini-camp is officially over. Pewter Report has news and notes from the last practice, as well as the draft pick the team received from the Patriots in exchange for tight end Alex Smith.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their third and final rookie mini-camp practice at One Buccaneer Place on Sunday morning.

Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said he was fairly pleased with how the players (33 try-outs, six draft picks, eight unsigned free agents, two first-year players) performed.

“I’m real satisfied with the way camp ended and the way it went,” said Morris. “I got a chance to see our draft picks and free agents, and some bodies come in and try to play. That was fun to do. You saw Tampa, Florida getting to them a little bit with the sun and heat. I got a chance to see them workout and run around, and tell them what to do when they go home to prepare for when they get back here. I am feeling really good about the camp.”

One of the things Morris stressed to the players was the importance of conditioning, especially since the heat and humidity will only increase between now and the start of training camp in August.

To drive that point home, Morris had the players run gassers at the end of Sunday’s practice.

“It really wasn’t a lot,” Morris said. “It was a sign of what you need to do when you go home. You always have to have in their mind that coach might make us run gassers today. Overall they looked pretty good. I didn’t have anybody drop out. When nobody drops out that is a good sign it means these guys came ready to play. Like I said I’ve been at this camp a few years in this is one of the better groups I’ve seen, conditioning-wise, play-wise, and talent. It was a very successful camp. We brought in a lot of guys and there are guys we are going to sign. The amount of guys that we like, the amount of guys we are coming out of this thing feeling good about, and ready to go to OTA days.”

There is a chance the Bucs will sign several try-out players to their offseason roster. That reward for the few that are fortunate enough to receive it will simply give the handful of players a chance to compete during organized team activities, which begin May 12.

According to Morris, those decisions will be made this week.

“You try and get four or five out of this,” Morris said. “We’re going to meet about it right now. Myself, [general manager] Mark Dominik, and the staff. We’ll sit down and put some thought into it, and get some of these guys. Some of these guys have earned a spot. Some of these guys deserve a chance. I plan on giving it to them.”

Bucs Received Fifth-Round Pick For TE Smith
Many of Pewter Report’s readers have asked about the "undisclosed draft pick" the Buccaneers received from the Patriots in the trade for tight end Alex Smith.

PewterReport.com is reporting the Bucs received a 2010 fifth-round pick from New England in the Smith deal.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise since Bucs general manager Mark Dominik wanted to recover the fifth-round selection that he gave up to acquire TE Kellen Winslow in a trade with Cleveland earlier this offseason.

Bucs Pleased With Freeman’s Debut
Bucs first-round draft pick, quarterback Josh Freeman, got his first taste of the National Football League this weekend.

How did the 17th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft fare during Tampa Bay’s three-day rookie mini-camp?

“Big Five started off good. His arm was nice and live. He was throwing it great,” Morris said of Freeman. “The second day he came back he was a little tired. Today he came back with a live arm. The progression in terms of learning happened well for him. Then he went back and started pressing a little. You see all those things from a quarterback, but we’re very excited. To see some of the throws he made this weekend it can’t help but light you up.”

Freeman knows he has plenty of room for improvement, but he was pleased with how he fared in his Bucs debut.

“I think I did well,” said Freeman. “This camp was all about getting a basic grasp of the offense as far as just verbiage, stepping in the huddle and saying a play with confidence and understanding the concepts. A lot of the protection stuff we didn’t really get into, but we got a basic understanding of how it works. I think it was a good start.”

The next time Freeman participates in practice at One Buccaneer Place won’t be until after May 16, which is when Kansas State will hold graduation for its seniors. By league rule, players, even if they are early-entry juniors like Freeman, cannot participate in a team’s organized team activities until after their respective schools have held their graduation ceremonies.

That means Freeman likely will miss 1-2 of Tampa Bay’s OTAs at One Buc Place. And the next time he takes the field at One Buc Place it will be with veterans and rookies.

“The veterans always like when we get a little fresh meat to work with,” said Morris.

Although he won’t be in Tampa for the next two weeks, Freeman plans to work hard away from One Buc Place. He has a lot to prove to skeptics and his new teammates.

“Being the first pick, a lot of people have their questions about me,” said Freeman. “I’m going to go back home – I can’t be here, but I’m definitely going to stay in touch with [quarterbacks coach Greg Olson] and study my playbook so that I’m up to speed when we’re with the veterans. Working hard is the bottom line. If I can work hard in the weight room and the film room that will prove a lot to a lot of people.”

Tampa Bay Gives QB Landers A Look On Defense
Once Sunday’s practice ended Bucs head coach Raheem Morris spent about 10-15 minutes on the practice field working with try-out quarterback Rodney Landers.

But Morris wasn’t asking Landers to throw the football. Instead, he wanted to see him defend it.

Landers’ athleticism caught Morris’ eye during the team’s three-day rookie mini-camp, which prompted the head coach to give the former James Madison standout an audition at defensive back, a position Morris, a former DBs coach, is obviously familiar with.

“We had to get another arm in here to play quarterback, but we happened to run into an athlete,” said Morris. “He had some impressive special teams periods. He’s a 6-foot, 220 pounds. I’m a project guy, so I want to see if maybe we can get a project guy here to work with. You never know, maybe he’s the Wild Cat quarterback. I don’t know. Maybe he can play defensive back for us. I don’t know where it’s going to go from here. I just wanted to get a look at him and see him move around in space so I could get an evaluation on him.”
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