The Buccaneers walked out onto the practice fields under bright blue skies and barely a hint of a breeze Monday morning for what will be one of the last training camp practices. The team normally goes to their season practice schedule following the second preseason game, which will take place Friday night in Foxboro against the New England Patriots.
The closed to the public practice began as all 13 have previously, with individual small groups before stretch period. Next came the special teams period with punt return, kickoff, punt team and field goal.
Eric Page was primary punt returner on Monday, with Michael Smith handling kickoffs. Head coach Greg Schiano talked about the muddied kick return duties and how things are looking presently.
“I'm not sure it is cleared up yet,” Schiano said. “Eric page is probably the leader right now but we’ll see. Smith did some good things and we know Owusu put it on the ground but that doesn't mean it's the end of the road either. We've all had our missteps so we'll just keep working through it, see where it ends. Now, that's the punt. The kick, really, I have a lot of guys out there that can do the kick job. And I don't mean to minimize the job but it comes down end over end. The other one, it's a spiral sometimes, it’s a knuckleball sometimes, it flip sand flops over, so. The kick returner, we’ll figure that out. It's the punt returner that gets my antennae up.”
Derek Dimke once again handled all the kicking duties as Lawrence Tynes continues to recover from a toe injury. Dimke has kicked well as of late, after a shaky start early in camp, and is poised to save the Buccaneers $800,000 by winning the job, unless Tynes can recover and get back on the field soon.
While warming up with the receivers, Mike Williams dropped a pass on an out route to the right sideline. Williams had several drops on Monday, but as always still came up with some acrobatic catches despite struggling with the easy throws somewhat.
While special teams were taking place, receivers Williams and Vincent Jackson along with receivers coach John Garrett worked in the northwest end zone. The group spent nearly every training camp practice getting in extra work during special teams time.
Garrett and an assistant would throw balls to the two receivers standing about 12 feet away some high, low, and off target. Garret would shout instructions and encouragement along way and at one point today, after a drop by Williams, Garrett reminded Williams, “It’s the last six inches! Concentrate!
During the early offense vs. defensive period, offensive guard Adam Smith was flagged for a false start early on in the session. On the very next play, the Buccaneers offense was flagged again for an illegal formation.
Star cornerback Darrelle Revis finally got some legitimate action when he took to the field for a redzone 7-on-7 session. It was obvious that Revis wasn’t going his hardest, but it was the fastest speed that he has run so far this training camp. Revis was beat for a touchdown by Vincent Jackson on a post route on a rep early on in the session. Jackson hauled in the very high Josh Freeman throw with ease and with little contention from Revis. Outside of that play, Revis didn’t have any other notable plays on Monday. Nonetheless, seeing Revis progressing should be an encouraging sign for Bucs fans and the organization.
Schiano talked about Revis and the work he was able to get in on Monday.
"That’s good for him, you know, we plan on doing that just to get a little taste of it because he feels he can do it,” Schiano said. “We did it done there in the red area so it’s no 60-yard sprints or anything. So we’re just going to keep building, we’re not going to do anything against New England; he’ll work on the side like we’ve been doing, and then we’ll just keep going.”
While the rest of the team ran 7-on-7 sessions, the offensive and defensive lineman went to the far field to work on their stunts and assignments under the supervision of coaches Bob Bostad, Randy Melvin, and Bryan Cox.
Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers seemed to have a really hard time understanding and executing his assignments.
“We have to go upfield,” yelled a coach.
Bowers struggled to understand a concept being taught during this drill, frustrating teammate Adrian Clayborn.
“Come on man,” said Clayborn.
The former Clemson defensive end still couldn’t execute what the coaches were asking of him and a coach made another remark.
“Still too slow,” said the coach.
The first team unit spent a substantial amount of time working on their stunts and assignments, and it seemed like the player holding them back was Bowers. The coaching staff had something to say to him after nearly every rep.
Clayborn jumped offsides on a later rep, earning himself a gasser from one sideline to the other and back. Bowers also had to run later on in the session.
Defensive end Steven Means showed some nice quickness and acceleration on a rep and was praised by an assistant coach.
“That’s the take off I’m looking for,” exclaimed Bryan Cox.
PewterReport.com noticed that Bowers was primarily working with the second team unit on Monday, replaced in the starting lineup by Daniel T’eo-Nesheim at left defensive end.
The team got together for a brief 11-on-11 session with the first and second team going against each other. Cornerback Johnthan Banks broke up a pass intended for Jackson, who was running an in route on the play. The Josh Freeman pass hit Jackson right on the hands, but Banks made a nice play to knock the ball out.
Freeman threw a touchdown strike to Jackson on a post route from about 15 yards away from the endzone. The ball was perfectly placed by Freeman and left no availability for the defender to make a play.
Cornerback Deveron Carr was flagged for a pass interference call on a play targeting David Douglas on a deep route.
Adrian Clayborn had to ease up on Freeman during an early play during the two-minute drill. The third-year defensive end would have recorded a huge sack after getting into the backfield unblocked on a stunt.
Josh Freeman had some issues with overthrowing balls during this session. One of the passes looked like he was trying to get rid of the ball, but the other was a poor pass over the head of his receiver on the sideline. He went 4-for-7 on the drive.
A big catch was made by Jackson over the middle on a throw from Freeman with time expiring. The team ran up to spike the ball and got it off with just three seconds left.
Dimke came onto the field to attempt the game-winning field goal from about 40 yards away and drilled the kick on the skinny field goal posts.
On the first play for the second-team during the two-minute drills, linebacker Jonathan Casillas made a wonderful interception on quarterback Mike Glennon, who never saw the linebacker drop into zone coverage. Glennon was also sacked on the last play of Monday’s practice.
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