Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris provided an injury update on DT Brian Price, WR Arrelious Benn and DE Da'Quan Bowers - all of whom are participating in training camp, but are currently limited with their reps and not yet at full speed.
Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris gave an update on some of the players that are recovering from injuries and how they are progressing. Nose tackle Brian Price, who is recovering from pelvic and hamstring surgery, is out of shape in training camp, but Morris is encouraged by what he sees.
“Brian Price is doing well,” Morris said. “Let's not kid ourselves. You take a guy and rip his hamstrings off the back of his legs then re-heal them over the summer. Then you can’t work out. It’s going to take time. To see what injury does to a player, it reveals and builds your character. To see him get ready to come into camp and put on pads and actually get ready to play. He deserves a lot of credit for that.”
When Price is completely healthy and ready to challenge for playing time, he will be expected to compete with starter Roy Miller at nose tackle in addition to fighting for the three technique spot in nickel defense when the team is in obvious pass-rushing situations. Price was placed on injured reserve last year following Week 5 after recording just six tackles in a backup role.
“[We want him] to be a quick, initially off the ball, disruptive human being,” Morris said. “That’s what he did really well for us last year. I need him to do some more of that for us this year. I’m going to play [a player] as much as I can, based on how well you are playing. If you are playing well I will just make up stuff for you to do. Brian Price, once he eases himself back into shape, and eases himself back into being healthy, he will have more of significant role for us. Right now he is doing a great job fighting through it and really getting himself back. I don’t think we have seen him peak yet.”
Wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who suffered a knee injury late last season against the Atlanta Falcons, has made an amazing recovery from a torn ACL. Benn has surprised many, including his head coach with how fast his recovery process has gone.
“I see a freak to be honest with you,” Morris said. “He is supposed to be at this certain point [in his recovery]. He is in competitive mode. You have to pull him out of there because we don’t want anything [to happen]. But he is just one of those guys who wants to get back into action. But we are going to keep him on his timeline.”
Benn came on late last season and finished his rookie year with 25 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns before going on injured reserve after Week 16 last year. He has been able to return to action after just seven months worth of rehab and is healthy enough to fully participate in training camp practice, but is being held back my Morris.
“I haven’t talked to [Bucs trainer] Todd Toriscelli about the playing plan,” Morris said. “But we are trying to ease him into a one-a-day practice. He is way ahead of schedule but you still don’t want to push it. He is really looking like a freak of nature with how he had bounced back and came off the injury.”
Another player being watched heavily in training camp is 2011 second-round draft pick Da’ Quan Bowers, a defensive end from Clemson. The former Tiger was projected to be a first-round pick last April, and possibly the first overall pick, but saw his draft stock slip after a slow recovery from offseason knee surgery. Bowers fell to the second round where Tampa Bay selected him with the 51st overall pick.
While he has been a regular participator in training camp with the exception of some 1-on-1 and 11-on-11 drills, Morris stated the Buccaneers have a plan to keep Bowers healthy throughout August.
“He gets about half his reps right now, off what he would normally get if he was going out there as a starter,” Morris said. “So he is getting half. He gets one 1-on-1 rep rather than two in a row. We are just doing little smart things with him. We don’t want to take him out of the physical part of the game. We take him off his feet a little bit in some of those walkthroughs. We are just trying to do things the right way. Having a plan and now we finally are getting a chance to be around him and see where he really is and get a feel for him and how strong he can be. I really like how he is developing as well.”– Mark Cook contributed to this report
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