Partly cloudy skies were above Tuesday’s Buccaneers training camp practice, where temperatures hovered around the upper-80’s. This was Tampa Bay’s last practice before the team suits up against the Baltimore Ravens in their first preseason game, which is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Fullback Erik Lorig, linebacker Jacob Cutrera, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, cornerback Myron Lewis, and defensive tackles Derek Landri and Gary Gibson are all nursing injuries and started off practice on stationary bikes.
As usual, the team started off practice with field goal attempts, under the supervision of special teams coordinator Dave Wannstedt.
Derek Dimke all three of his field goal attempts to start the practice. Usually, kickers take four reps and back up a little further each time, but Dimke wasn’t able to attempt a kick after a bad snap and hold.
"Come on twos make a damn play," yelled Wannstedt, referring to the second-team kickoff unit.
Punters are not usually eye-catching players during training camp, but Michael Koenen and Chas Henry both had very poor practices kicking the football. Koenen shanked two straight punts, both landing out of bounds and way off target. Henry booted a ball that was kicked so far to the right that it landed on top of a tent that shaded the fans in attendance.
The team then split up into their position groups to work on things directly associated with their positions. The offensive and defensive line started their drills on one side of the field, while the receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks worked on the other side.
Davin Joseph participated in the individual drills on Tuesday, and made a good impression because of his hard-nosed practice style and his leadership. The veteran offensive guard was by far the fastest player to get through a punching drill, where coaches asked the lineman to punch each bag individually as fast as possible. Joseph was later seen giving offensive tackle Demar Dotson some pointers on hand placement and other techniques.
The linemen then went into a drill that covered run-blocking, focusing on double teams. Tackle Gabe Carimi struggled in this drill, falling down multiple times, which did not make offensive line coach Bob Bostad very happy.
“Come on Gabe” screamed Bostad.
During warm-up pass drills, tight end Tom Crabtree was showing some quick feet off the snap and good hands, after having to extend on a poor pass from Adam Weber. Luke Stocker, who was activated off of the PUP list on Monday, also performed well during the drill.
The airhorn blew again, signaling the offensive and defensive lineman to go to the far field to run one-on-one drills, while the rest of the team stayed on the near field for their one-on-one battles.
Right tackle Demar Dotson has owned Daniel Te’o-Nesheim during most of the 1-on-1 drills during training camp, and Tuesday was no exception. He did a good job of wheeling Te’o-Nesheim around the quarterback with great arm extension and a wide base.
Right guard Cody Wallace beat Gerald McCoy, who slipped after taking his first step, by catching the defensive tackle off balance. McCoy had a rather quiet practice on Tuesday.
Center Jeremy Zuttah continues to shine in one-on-one pass protection drills. Zuttah drove rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence to the ground after a few steps, and negated Spence’s bull rush.
Left guard Ted Larsen did a great job with his punch and his wide base of staying in front of Da’Quan Bowers, who was rushing from a three-technique position, and neutralizing his bull rush.
Donald Penn played the left tackle position masterfully and easily pushed rookie end Steven Means inside and away from the quarterback in his one-one-one rep.
Right tackle Gabe Carimi did a great job of stymieing rookie Will Gholston’s attempt to push-pull him and won the individual matchup with great technique and leverage.
Defensive tackle Pep Levingston won his rep against rookie right guard Adam Smith with a bull rush-swim move combination.
Rookie center Jace Daniels, who is learning the position for the first time this week, struggled against defensive tackle Andre Neblett.
“Leaning – that’s all you did!” yelled offensive line coach Bob Bostad in Daniels’ direction.
Left guard Mike Remmers did a nice job of moving laterally and mirroring defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo to win the battle.
Left tackle Jamon Meredith did a nice job of handling a spin move from defensive end Markus White to win the rep.
Newcomer Howard Barbieri played right tackle and was beaten by defensive end Ernest Owusu who dipped his shoulder and ran around the offensive lineman for the sack.
Right guard Roger Allen stonewalled Neblett, who was chastised by defensive line coach Randy Melvin. “You need to be a two-handed rusher!” yelled Melvin, noting that Neblett just used one hand to get into Allen’s pads.
Masofilo got an extra rep against Wallce and won with a nice rip move. Daniels redeemed himself on the final rep, beating White’s failed attempt at a push-pull rush.
While the lineman went at each other on the far field, there were a few notable plays that came from the battles between the wide receivers and defensive backs on the near field.
Slot receiver Eric Page beat veteran cornerback Mike Adams on a nice double move down the sideline, but the pass from Josh Freeman was a little bit too long and was out of reach.
Newcomer Chris Denton, who was signed by the Buccaneers on Monday, beat cornerback Deveron Carr on a double move, and this time the throw from Freeman was on the mark.
The running backs, tight ends, and linebackers were busy with pass-protection one-on-ones of their own on the opposite side of the field from the receivers and defensive backs.
Running back Michael Smith made a great block on linebacker Najee Goode, which earned praise from an assistant coach.
Nate Byham executed a pancake block on linebacker Dom Decicco, but in the process ran into the leg of running back Peyton Hillis, who was just a spectator during the rep. Hillis was down for a minute or two before walking away under his own power. He returned to practice fully after sitting out just a few reps.
The highlight of the pass-protection drills was when starting running back Doug Martin was tossed aside by linebacker Dekoda Watson. The former Florida State linebacker’s long arms were able to keep Martin from grabbing him, allowing Watson to throw the running back to the side. Martin is a very solid pass-protector, but his size sometimes limits him from sustaining blocks on bigger linebackers.
The next session on the agenda was the full squad 11-on-11’s, which turned out to be quite a sloppy period for the Buccaneers offense.
Much to head coach Greg Schiano’s chagrin, the Buccaneers offense recorded two false starters during this session, and near the end of the session quarterback Josh Freeman threw a sloppy interception directly to cornerback Leonard Johnson.
Freeman later made a terrible thrown behind receiver Chris Owusu, who wasn’t covered particularly tightly on the play. These are the type of throws that Freeman must begin to complete more consistently.
Lavonte David and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim ganged up for an impressive tackle for loss on running back Brian Leonard, who had absolutely no chance to turn the play into a positive gain for the offense.
Da’Quan Bowers got into the backfield on a running play to the right side and met Doug Martin, which would have been a tackle for loss in a game situation.
A player that was recently added to the running back stable who got more carries than usual today was newcomer Peyton Hillis. After being limited to just a few reps each practice to start training camp, Hillis got a significantly larger workload today with Mike Glennon and the second-team offense during 11-on-11 drills.
After some walkthroughs and a water break, the team transitioned into an 11-on-11 period, where the offense lined up inside of the 20-yard line.
Center Jeremy Zuttah absolutely flattened rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence on a running play to the left side. Spence turned in an underwhelming practice on Tuesday, but the young rookie is still adjusting to the NFL game.
The sloppy offensive play continued in the redzone drills, where Mike Williams, who was running a crossing route over the middle, dropped a pass thrown from Josh Freeman.
Later on, rookie running back Mike James fumbled a ball after about a four yard carry to the left side of the field. He was immediately replaced by Peyton Hillis on the following play.
Shortly after the fumble, a false start penalty was charged to tight end Zach Miller who started running his route before the snap was made, he was immediately lifted for Danny Noble.
Adam Hayward made a wonderful play to break up a pass thrown from Mike Glennon intended for Tim Wright in the back of the endzone. The ball was bobbled by the hybrid tight end and Hayward knocked the ball away when he noticed that the ball was loose.
There seemed to be a miscommunication between Chris Owusu and Tim Wright on a play during this session, as they were flagged for an illegal formation.
The final session of the day was the two-minute drills, which called for loud simulated crowd noise from a golf cart loaded with speakers.
Da’Quan Bowers made a nice play to swat down a pass at the line of scrimmage early on in the drill. The former Clemson product was kicked inside to defensive tackle in the team’s nickel and dime defenses.
Tweener tight end/receiver Tim Wright saw some reps in the slot with the first-team offense during their first drive in the two-minute offense.
Josh Freeman completed 4-of-9 passes during his two drives in the two-minute drills on Tuesday. His best completions came under pressure on third downs.
Lazarius Levingston recorded a sack on Mike Glennon, drawing a thumbs up from teammate Gerald McCoy on the sideline.
Practice concluded with a rushed 40-yard field goal attempt from kicker Derek Dimke. With the clock running and just seven seconds left, the special teams unite scrambled onto the field in an effort to get a last second field goal attempt off. With one second left on the clock, Dimke nailed the field goal and the Buccaneers won the simulated game. – Eric Dellaratta, Scott Reynolds and Gil Arica contributed to this report
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