In Monday afternoon’s press conference, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris talked about the different battles being waged early in Tampa Bay's training camp. Morris commented on the defensive line and the things he is paying close attention to.
“Obviously, the whole defensive line has a lot to look at,” Morris said. “So I’ll be looking at that. Not necessarily so much at the competition like Gerald McCoy, but you want to see his development. There are so many things you want to look at when the pads come on.”
With Jeremy Trueblood and James Lee signed for the 2011 season, but still waiting until August 4 to practice, according to new collective bargaining agreement rules, Morris talked about the right tackle battle between the two.
“The right tackle battle is always intriguing,” Morris said. “Trueblood is the starter, he has been for the last couple of years. But James Lee came on last year and played great football for us and he got a chance to compete and start some games. We will let those two compete for sure. We will get those two on the field and that’s going to be a definite competition.”
While re-signing Cadillac Williams is still possible, it sounds as if the Buccaneers coaches and management want to see if one of the backs currently on the roster can step up and take Williams’ role.
“That second running back [battle] is really intriguing,” Morris said. “That guy that comes in to pass protect, whether it is Earnest Graham or [Kregg] Lumpkin, or one of the new guys. [Rookie Allen] Bradford is going to factor in that deal. Who is going to get those other carries? All of those other factors. That is going to be something intriguing to watch.”
Former Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker is on crutches and listed as week-to-week with a hip injury that will likely sideline him for the next 10 days. With the 2011 fourth-round draft pick unavailable, the other group of tight ends will have a chance for more snaps and watching that battle is something Morris said is worth watching in camp.
“For the most part, that second tight end position will be an intriguing deal,” Morris said. “Especially when Luke gets off his crutches. [We've] got [Nathan] Overbay starting to come on, [who has] been here for a year now. Getting [Ryan] Purvis in his second or third year, whatever the case may be. And with [seventh-round draft pick Daniel] Hardy it will be another intriguing battle on offense.”
The one position other than quarterback that appears to be most set with starters is the secondary. Even so Morris pointed out a few battles remain including one that may be the most competitive in camp.
“In the secondary we are pretty clear cut so to speak,” Morris said. “But we do have E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis they are battling [for the nickel corner job]. E.J. had a great season, but Myron Lewis really came on in the end ad played well during the stretch. [We] really tried to define his role, how much we played dime, how much we played nickel. Does he factor in? Who is he covering? Is he a guy who follows somebody? All those things are very intriguing.”
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