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June 22, 2010 @ 1:25 pm
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Morris, Bucs Ready To Unite And Conquer Training Camp

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The Bucs wrapped up their 2010 offseason program and mini-camp on Tuesday and Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris discussed the progress his team has made. Morris also said he wants to see holdout LT Donald Penn in training camp, praised WR Reggie Brown and talked about wanting a violent training camp.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers concluded their 2010 offseason program at One Buccaneer Place on Tuesday. The Bucs had two days worth of two-a-day practices on Monday and Tuesday as part of the team’s mandatory mini-camp. The players and coaches will take part in a team-building exercise on Wednesday and will not have any more on-field work as a team until training camp.

After Tuesday’s practice Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris addressed the media and summarized the offseason program.

“I’m really fired up about the offseason from the OTA days to the offseason workouts to mandatory mini-camp,” Morris said. “[I’m fired up about] the attendance, the attitude, the chemistry and the competition. It’s been a different offseason for us. There has been some progression rather than taking steps back. We’ve done a lot of good things on the field and we’ve done a lot of good things off the field in terms of the community work. We’ve done a lot of great things in terms of getting to know our fan base and really establishing who we want to be as far as unite and conquer. That’s what our billboard says and that’s what we’re sticking to these last couple of days and the last couple of months. I’m really fired up about that.”

Tampa Bay reports for training camp at One Buc Place on Friday, July 30. The first practice will take place on Saturday, July 31. Once again, training camp is free and open to the public.

Morris had a specific message for his players as they break for five weeks prior to the start of camp.

“Right now I’m telling these guys that physical conditioning [surpasses] everything on the way to training camp,” Morris said. “Along with going out and being in your best shape possible and coming back being ready to run, also enjoy your family and get away and be with the people you love. Get a little rest and relaxation and get ready to go. Get ready to run. Get ready to be the most physically fit team so that we can work on our physical attitude when we get back to training camp.”

Morris said the attendance was in the 90 percentile for the offseason program, which pleased him.

“We had more key performers here than we had last year,” Morris said. “Our starting quarterback has been here every day. He’s been our starting quarterback right from the beginning. That’s a big difference in the offseason altogether.”

Part of Morris’ plan for increased offseason attendance was shifting around the OTA schedule.

“I wanted to move everything back as far as the OTA schedule,” Morris said. “I wanted to move the offseason program back as far as we can so we could have our rookies for as long as we can. When they were able to get here after the draft we could get them for every OTA day, every mini-camp – the ones that were able to according to collegiate rules – we were able to get all those guys and get them acclimated to our system. It’s all about the install. In the meantime, the vets that were here – the quarterback being the main vet – having him here and go to quarterback school/orientation and get on the same page as his coordinator [was good]. Barrett and myself – we had a couple of dinners together. We went to Donatello’s, Iverone’s and Grill One Sixteen. We talked about what we wanted to be and how we wanted to do it. That’s my quarterback. Having those two quarterbacks in the building and now having them translate to their guys once they got here and also the young guys, it’s been a real pleasant, easy transition.”

The Buccaneers have four of their nine 2010 draft picks unsigned, including defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, wide receiver Arrelious Benn and safety Cody Grimm, but they also have one veteran unsigned – left tackle Donald Penn, who is a restricted free agent. Penn, who has not signed his one-year tender, attended FanFest on Saturday, but held out of the offseason program, the OTAs and the mandatory mini-camp in protest over the fact that he has not gotten a long-term contract.

Penn, 26, has started the last 44 games and is considered one of the top left tackles in the league. Morris has noted the progress of second-year player Demar Dotson this offseason, but reiterated that he wanted Penn to end his hold out and report to training camp.

“I am a big Donald Penn fan and I look forward to his arrival,” said Morris. “When he comes in I will be ready to coach him. It was great to see him at FanFest. It was great to see him with the fans and embrace our fans. That tells me a lot right there for the man to come back and be around his fans and care about his fans. He loves Tampa enough to want to play here, and I have a feeling he will come around to play and I can’t wait until he does.”

When asked if he believes if Penn will be there on July 30 when the team reports for training camp, Morris was non-committal.

“I can’t answer that question,” said Morris. “I’m not his agent. I’m not Donald and I’m not anybody that is going to help make his decision. I’m looking, waiting, and anticipating that he will be.”

Lost in all the discussion of receivers Sammie Stroughter, Maurice Stovall and the team’s 2010 rookies – Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams – has been the solid offseason newcomer Reggie Brown has put together. Brown, who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on March 8, has hauled in 177 catches for 2,574 yards and 17 touchdowns during his five-year NFL career, and is looking for a fresh start in Tampa Bay.

After being a second-round pick in the Eagles organization, Brown’s career was beset with injuries and he sunk on Philadelphia’s depth chart. With the departure of Antonio Bryant in the offseason and the ineffectiveness of Michael Clayton, Tampa Bay’s receiving corps could use a veteran presence with playmaking ability. That’s what Morris believes he has in Brown.

“What Reggie brought here was some initial quickness,” Morris said. “A guy that runs really good routes and has shown really good hands. The knock on him when he came out [of Georgia] was that he would make the dynamic catches and drop the easy ones. But since he’s been here, he’s made the dynamic ones but has also been catching the easy ones. He’s been very productive after the catch. He’s been a guy that has been quiet and humble and has been going about his business every day. I really look forward to seeing what he’s going to do once he put the pads on. I really look forward to seeing what he can do once the game lights come on.”

Brown has been running with the second-team receivers this offseason, but he will have the chance to climb up the depth chart once training camp comes.

“We want to see where he’s going to help us, what exactly his role is going to be and how defined it’s going to be,” Morris said. “I love when a guy comes in and absolutely has to earn it. That’s what he’s trying to do.”

Now that the Buccaneers’ offseason program has concluded, Morris discussed his intentions for training camp and the mentality of Tampa Bay’s training camp.

“Training camp, for me, is going to be about being physical,” said Morris. “It’s going to be about violence. It’s going be about playing hard and putting your face on people. Training camp is a little bit different. For me, that’s when you establish the men. You take off your underwear and you put on your big boy pads and you put your face on people. Then, once you get towards the game, you start preparing like it was today. That’s how you develop and why you show up in the offseason.”

Wolf Heard contributed to this report.

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