On a sunny Friday morning, the Buccaneers took to the practice field at One Buc Place. On-field temperatures hovered around the upper-80’s for most of practice and was well-attended by Buccaneers fans.
As usual, the team opened up practice with special teams work led by special teams coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Players were asked to work on their technique in punt blocking situations. Head coach Schiano preached to his players to keep their hands low when going in to block punts, in order to keep the ball from taking a big bounce. The special teamers were then taught the proper technique that is needed to scoop a spinning ball up off of the ground. Schiano praised linebacker Dekoda Watson for his excellent technique during this session.
Tampa Bay used receivers Eric Page, Mike Williams, Chris Owusu, and cornerbacks Branden Smith as their punt returners at Friday’s practice.
During a punting session, long snapper Andrew Economos snapped a ball over the head of punter Michael Koenen.
The team split up into their position groups to work on individual drills suited for their roles on the team. Tight ends began to work on run-blocking technique while the receivers and quarterbacks work on short and intermediate passes in the redzone.
Wide receiver Chris Owusu made a sensational leaping catch in the back of the endzone on a pass thrown from Josh Freeman. The route called for Owusu to make a fake cut towards the side line and then head upfield down the seam. The former Stanford receiver jumped up and brought the ball down from way over his head, drawing a roar from the fans in attendance. Owusu has had an excellent training camp and has put himself in the conversation for the third wide receiver position with Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood.
The offensive and defensive lineman headed over to the far practice field to take part in one-on-one battles. The matchup that has caught everyone’s eye during this drill has been when defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was matched up against right tackle Demar Dotson.
Bowers beat Dotson on two straight reps near the beginning of the drill. On the first rep, Bowers used an edge rush to get under and around the 6-foot-9 offensive tackle in order to get to the quarterback. Bowers used his power and strength on the second rep, as he got a nice first punch on Dotson and continued to drive him all the way into the simulated quarterback. The former Clemson Tiger had a very nice practice on Friday, showing a nice array of pass-rushing moves, quickness, and strength.
Guard Ted Larsen had two wins against nose tackle Akeem Spence during one-on-ones. Spence has shown nice quickness off of the ball, but he needs to use his hands more and develop his pass-rushing technique. Once Larsen got his hands on the rookie, Spence struggled to get much push into the backfield.
Gerald McCoy got to go against offensive tackle Donald Penn on a few reps during one-on-ones. The most notable rep was when pro bowler easily beat Penn on a swim move.
On the following rep, Penn threw his helmet in frustration after being shoved to the ground and beaten by defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim on a rep. Penn took a knee off to the side of the action and was consoled by Gerald McCoy.
Te’o-Nesheim later flipped to left defensive end and beat Demar Dotson on swim move, earning praise from assistant coaches. Demar Dotson looked like he had the rep one after get his hands on the pass-rusher first, but Te’o-Nesheim did a good job of disengaging in order to get to the simulated quarterback.
One of the most disappointing sessions for fans during Friday’s practice was the 11-on-11 redzone offense drill. Getting the ball in the endzone was very difficult for the Buccaneers during this session, as several players dropped passes including stars Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and Doug Martin.
Cornerback Leonard Johnson swatted away a Josh Freeman pass intended for Vincent Jackson, who was running a drag route across the middle of the field.
Safety Sean Baker nearly recorded an interception on Glennon, who threw a poorly judged pass to receiver Derek Hagan. Hagan ran a stop route on the left hashmark and Baker made a nice play to step up and deflect the ball away.
The team managed to score just one touchdown during this session, when a beautiful grab was made by receiver David Douglas on a back-shoulder throw from rookie Mike Glennon.
The Buccaneers transitioned into an 11-on-11 session that focused on working on their hurry up offense and tempo.
Demar Dotson shoved Gerald McCoy to the ground on a stretch running play to Doug Martin to the right side of the formation.
Second year cornerback Leonard Johnson forced an incompletion when he came unblocked on a blitz and forced Josh Freeman to throw a pass to Vincent Jackson, who was not ready for the ball to be thrown.
Rookie Mike Glennon threw a deep ball to the left sideline but it was severely overthrown. Glennon has a rocket for an arm, but he needs to improve his touch on passes over 20 yards. The third-round pick has consistently overthrown deep passes throughout training camp.
The next transition was made when Tampa Bay went into a walk-through session that outlined plans for their dime defense. The first-team secondary for this unit consisted of Dashon Goldson and Ahmad Black at safety, Mark Barron in the box, Rashaan Melvin and Anthony Gaitor on the outside, and Leonard Johnson covering the slot. Gaitor got to see some extra action on Friday because of a hamstring injury that kept rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks out of practice.
An emphasis was made on 11-on-11 game situations on Friday, as the team prepares for their first preseason battle against the Baltimore Ravens. The Buccaneers began another 11-on-11 session after walkthroughs.
Donald Penn was flagged for a holding call on a play that would have resulted in a sack by defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.
David Douglas and Chris Owusu were mixed into the teams three and four wide receiver formations during this session. On a rep with the second-team offense, Douglas got nice separation on a deep route, but the ball was overthrown once again by Mike Glennon.
Former Toledo Rocket Eric Page made an impressive sliding catch over the middle on a slightly underthrown pass from quarterback Dan Orlovsky. The play resulted in a 15-yard gain for the third-team offense.
A great catch was made by veteran receiver Derek Hagan on an excellent back shoulder throw from Mike Glennon. The play was well defended but Hagan made a great adjustment to get his hands on the football before falling out of bounds.
After working on some ball protection drills in their individual groups, the team transitioned into their final session of the day. This drill was the two-minute game situation drill, which featured extremely loud simulated crowd noise from a golf cart with a speaker system that was located on the sidelines.
The first-team defensive line during this session consisted of Steven Means and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim opposite of each other at defensive end and Gerald McCoy next to Da’Quan Bowers at defensive tackle.
McCoy got into the backfield for a would-be sack on Josh Freeman on the first play of the drive. Freeman was forced to throw a jump ball to Vincent Jackson but the former first-round draft pick threw it over his head.
After turning the ball over on downs, the second-teamers got their chance to show off their skills in the two-minute drill.
The Buccaneers sent receivers David Douglas, Derek Hagan, Eric Page, and tight end Tim Wright on the field along with running back Mike James onto the field for the team’s second drive. It is safe say James took the majority of the carries as the second-team running back on Friday. He got in plenty of work with Mike Glennon and the rest of the projected backups.
Mike Glennon looked really sharp during this session, showing excellent pocket presence and fitting the ball into tight windows. The rookie made two wonderful throws back-to-back, each gaining about 20 yards. The first throw on a post route run by Tim Wright was threaded between two defenders, and was after Glennon avoided pressure in the pocket. Derek Hagan caught the second pass and got out of bounds after a wonderful back shoulder throw by the rookie.
Daniel Te’o-Nesheim would have recorded a sack in a game situation on Glennon, after he beat backup left tackle Mike Remmers on an edge rush. Te’o-Nesheim turned in a really good practice on Friday in the absence of starting defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
With just three seconds left on the clock, the Buccaneers had just one more chance to score a touchdown from the ten yard-line. Glennon floated a pass to the right side of the endzone but the pass was deflected away by rookie cornerback Deveron Carr.
Quarterback Adam Weber got the call to lead the Buccaneers third-team offense instead of the usual Dan Orlovsky on Friday.
Eric Page ran a post route and made a sensational diving catch for a 20-yard gain. The pass was beautifully thrown by the second-year quarterback from Minnesota.
Tight end Danny Noble was very close to making a great diving grab on a poorly thrown ball by Weber, but the football was barely out of reach.
Practice concluded with an interception by Anthony Gaitor, after the Adam Weber pass was tipped by Sean Baker and into the hands of the former Florida International cornerback.
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.