What happened during Monday's OTA practice at One Buc Place? Who lined up at SAM linebacker? Which new coaches made an early impression? Find out the answers in this OTA practice report from PewterReport.com.
Under bright blue skies and warm summer-like conditions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gathered together on Monday at One Buc Place for the first of a three-week long, three-day series of OTAs.
As the media was allowed into the gate surrounding the practice fields, the players were in a special teams period with kickers working on the far west field, kick returners fielding punts on the middle field and new special teams coach Dave Wannstedt running the punt return and block teams on the far east field.
Wannstedt may be the new P.J. Fleck in terms of intensity – and sheer volume – as the former Bears and Dolphins coach was very specific in what angles he wanted both sides of the ball to take.
After the initial period the loud air horn blew and the players all gathered on the middle field to begin their team stretch and warm-up period.
Following the 10-minute stretching period the team broke off into individual groups. Very much like last year, the intensity and tempo was very quick and players were quick to move from station to station. But unlike last year, it was some of the players being vocal and shouting encouragement to one another. It was clear that the returning players knew exactly what to expect as opposed to last season when most spent the first few days of OTAs in a constant state of bewilderment.
Schiano and his staff utilize the entire grassy areas at One Buc including some tucked around corners and metal buildings, making it difficult to see all that goes on.
Close to the media viewing area the defensive linemen worked on quick-firing off of the ball and timing the snap count. A familiar face was back on the field for the first time since Week 3 last year and looked to be close to 100 percent. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was lined up with the starting line during individual drills but was held out of team drills. The Bucs are counting on Clayborn to team up with Da’Quan Bowers to help the Bucs get to the QB a lot more pressure on opposing QBs than they did in 2012 (just 27 sacks).
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who Ronde Barber recently said he has passed the leadership torch to, was seen a few times taking the younger defensive linemen to the side to go over how a drill was to be run or the technique the coaches were looking for.
Another thing that was quite obvious to PewterReport.com was the coaching of new defensive backs coach Tony Oden. We aren't trying to bash former defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, but right off the bat you can see that Oden is a more hands-on teacher. In one drill he had the cornerbacks divided into two groups with one simulating being a receiver while the other group were cornerbacks in coverage. The coverage guys would drop back into coverage staying low in their backpedal, then as the simulated receiver stopped, the corners had to quickly break on the ball, quickly changing direction. Oden yelled to each cornerback, “Eyes on the ball. Drive, drive, drive!” Again, it appears the defensive backs will be much better coached in 2013.
While the individual drills were going on cornerback Darelle Revis walked across the fields with a trainer and proceeded to the far west practice fields and spent at least 30 minutes running, stretching and doing some shuttle runs. Revis still had a very minor limp early but after the period of rehab he jogged over to his cornerback teammates to watch what was going on.
A lot of the drills the Buccaneers did on Monday were similar to what they do during the first hour of a typical training camp practice. Stations are set up and each group spends a period working on fundamentals, from tackling, taking proper pursuit angles, to even practicing how to jump on a loose ball and wrapping up. While Schiano may have backed off somewhat from the military-style practices, the tempo or the stressing of the basic fundamentals have not changed.
Later in the practice the Buccaneers went to an inside run period then went into full team passing drills with the offensive No. 1’s taking on the defensive No. 1’s and then the backup groups each facing each other.
While it is way too early to try and figure out a depth chart, defensively the Buccaneers has Da’Quan Bowers, Gerald McCoy, Gary Gibson and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim on the defensive line. The starting linebackers consisted of Dekoda Watson at strongside, with Mason Foster and Lavonte David. In their base 4-3 secondary Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron were at safety and Leonard Johnson and Eric Wright were the cornerbacks. In nickel formations Watson came off the field and second-round draft pick Johnthan Banks came on the field as an extra cornerback.
The Buccaneers OTAs continue Tuesday and Wednesday but the media only gets one day of availability during the three days. Tampa Bay has another two rounds of OTAs scheduled before a mandatory mini-camp that will take place the second week of June. After the mini-camp the players will be off until training camp begins in late July.
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.