Under partly cloudy skies on a hot Thursday morning, the Buccaneers took to the practice field to continue to prepare for their upcoming preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, which is just seven days away.
Several Buccaneers were not able to practice on Thursday including, tight end Luke Stocker, fullback Erik Lorig, wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, and defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
The Buccaneers rolled out their first-team offense which included Tom Crabtree at tight end and Brian Leonard at fullback. Chris Owusu took Tiquan Underwood’s spot on the second team offense at the receiver position. Owusu was lined up across from former Dallas Cowboys’ receiver Kevin Ogletree. Lastly, Tampa Bay slotted Derek Hagan, Eric Page, and David Douglas on the third team offense with Michael Smith taking the duties in the backfield.
The team then went into a special teams period which worked on kickoff coverage and field goals.
Lawrence Tynes, who was signed in place of injured kicker Connor Barth, started off practice with making all four field goals attempted, including a 54-yarder. Tynes has struggled since the start of training camp, but looked very strong to start off Thursday’s practice.
Tampa Bay then went into working on onside kicks, which they hadn’t worked on until today. The defense won each play fairly easily, as the kicks were too strong and didn’t give the kicking team much of a chance to recover.
While the rest of the team was working on special teams, wide receiver Vincent Jackson worked with wide receivers coach John Garrett one-on-one. Garrett wanted the veteran receiver to work on his concentration and look at the ball all the way into his hands.
“Get your chin up, I know you’ve done this 100,000 times,” Garrett said to the veteran receiver.
Following the conclusion of the special teams session, the team broke up to warm up with their position groups. The receivers proceeded to work on their route-running and short patterns, where Mike Williams dropped a pass on a curl route. Chris Owusu continued his excellent training camp with a great showing on Thursday. The former Stanford Cardinal showcased excellent body control on a sideline grab early on in practice.
Kevin Ogletree was slow getting in and out of his cuts, and caught a few balls with his body instead of his hands. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and receiver Kevin Ogletree had a lengthy discussion after an incompletion on a pass over the middle.
Another player that stood out during warm-up sessions was running back Doug Martin, not because of his electric running, but his hands in the passing game. Martin has been very good at catching the ball out of the backfield so far in training camp. The Boise State product has spent a lot of practice time catching the football from all of the quarterbacks on the roster and it looks like he will be an improved receiver heading into 2013.
The safeties and tight ends separated from the receivers and cornerbacks to work on some drills. Quarterback Dan Orlovsky was throwing to the tight ends while Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon worked with the receivers.
Pro bowl free safety Dashon Goldson made one of the best plays of the day, stepping in front of tight end Nate Byham on a slant route to intercept Orlovsky. Strong safety Mark Barron continued make plays on Thursday, breaking up a pass on the ensuing play.
While the rest of the team ran 7-on-7 drills, the lineman made their way to the second practice field to work on one-on-one pass-rushing drills.
Right tackle Demar Dotson continued his excellent training camp at Thursday’s practice. The former basketball player locked up every pass rusher he faced, including Da’Quan Bowers and rookie William Gholston. Once Dotson gets his hands on the pass-rusher it is rare that they are able to disengage because of his extremely long arms. The fifth-year tackle has come a long way since joining the Buccaneers, and is enjoying a wonderful start to training camp.
Undrafted rookie guard Cody Wallace had an up-and-down practice on Thursday. He was rocked by Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy on his first rep, but came back to beat nose tackle hopeful Gary Gibson on the next go-around.
Da’Quan Bowers destroyed backup tackle Mike Remmers on a swim move to get into the backfield. The former Clemson Tiger’s initial punch nearly knocked the poor offensive lineman over and easily put his arm over the tackle.
Fifth-round draft pick William Gholston tossed aside backup right tackle Gabe Carimi on a rep later on in the drill. Carimi seemed to have some balance issues on Thursday, but the former Chicago Bear has played well so far in training camp. Defensive end Markus White looked like he had the upper hand on Carimi in a later rep, after the pass-rusher shoved him back about two yards on initial contact, but Carimi recovered well and won the rep.
Following the conclusion of 7-on-7’s and one-on-ones, Tampa Bay moved into a full 11-on-11 live session. Gerald McCoy got some great penetration on a play-action rollout by rookie Mike Glennon, who proceeded to make an excellent throw across the field to Chris Owusu.
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who was covered by Johnthan Banks, had a rare drop on a nice pass from Freeman.
On the defensive side, Gerald McCoy continued having a monster training camp, when he immediately broke through the offensive line on two consecutive plays. If he were allowed to tackle, both plays would have resulted in sacks.
The red zone drill, which was inserted into practice on Monday, was next on the agenda.
Josh Freeman made the play of the day where he made a spectacular throw between two defenders to Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone. It looked very similar to the throw he made to Jackson in the Carolina game last season.
After the touchdown, Freeman remained on the field to try and score again. He threw a nice pass to Mike Williams on a fade route, but rookie Rashaan Melvin made a great play on football, resulting in an incomplete pass. Mike Glennon then came on the field for his chance and threw a nice pass to a diving Williams that resulted in a touchdown.
Dan Orlovsky came onto the field and threw a pass that fell through the hands of tight end Zach Miller and into the waiting arms of Keith Tandy, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
After a water break, the team came back on the field for walk-through period, followed by an 11-on-11 drill.
Cornerback Rashaan Melvin started at right cornerback, ahead of Leonard Johnson, and across from Johnthan Banks. Gerald McCoy continued his impressive practice with two more back-to-back sacks on Freeman, who had no time to throw the ball. On the third play, it looked like they told McCoy to hold back so the offense had a chance to get going.
Freeman threw a great pass to Mike Williams on a crossing route, but the ball was dropped yet again. On the ensuing play, Williams redeemed himself by making a nice catch-and-run on a pass thrown by Glennon. The rookie quarterback then threw a nice pass to Chris Owusu, who seemed to be open the entire drill.
After another walk-through period and some small individual drills, the players went back to the 11-on-11 yet again. Freeman continued to look impressive, completing a 30-plus yard pass to Nate Byham, along with a back shoulder pass to hybrid tight end/wide receiver Tim Wright who made a great catch. Mike Glennon came in and wasn’t quite as impressive, as he was sacked by linebacker Adam Hayward after holding onto the ball for too long.
Later on in the drill, center Jeremy Zuttah executed a terrible snap to Freeman, who had to run back and dive on the ball.
The final period of the day was the two-minute drill, which had the speakers blasting with simulated crowd noise. This was Freeman’s best drill of the day, and one of his best of camp. There was under two minutes left in the game, down by three points, so the Buccaneers needed a touchdown to win or a field goal to tie. Freeman started off with an incompletion, but then threw a dart to Jackson for a first down. He then went back to Jackson for another first down that got them into field goal range. There was little time on the clock, so the Freeman had to get a touchdown or settle for a field goal. He threw a beautiful over the shoulder pass 40 yards down field to Jackson, who was unable to hold on. Lawrence Tynes came out to kick the 47-yard field goal to tie the game, but missed it.
Mike Glennon took to the field for his shot in the two-minute offense. Down by four points with just a minute and thirteen seconds remaining on the clock, the Bucs needed a touchdown for a win. Glennon completed a pass to Chris Owusu for a first down to get things going. On the next play, Glennon made a poor throw that should have been intercepted by the defensive back, but it slipped through his fingers into Owusu’s hand, who recorded the first down and fell out of bounds to stop the clock. Glennon completed yet another pass to Owusu for a first down, followed by a play to get them within the five-yard line with three seconds left.
The Buccaneers staff called in a questionable play-call on the last play of the game, which was a draw play to Peyton Hillis that did not result in a touchdown, ending the game with a Buccaneer loss.– Eric Dellaratta, Haley Cornish and Mark Cook contributed to this report
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