Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 80s, the Buccaneers hit the practice field for their final OTA. Tampa Bay will conduct a mandatory mini-camp next week and then will take a lengthy break before training camp begins in late July. Former head coach Tony Dungy was a special guest in attendance at One Buc Place on Tuesday.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner watched practice from the sideline and didn’t participate on Tuesday. The same goes for receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, who sat out again because of hamstring injuries. Other players who did not participate at Tuesday’s practice include running back Brendan Bigelow, and cornerbacks D.J. Moore and Leonard Johnson.
After a series of warm-ups and walkthroughs, the Buccaneers joined forces for a 7-on-7 session.
When stacked up with their previous OTA performances, the Buccaneers quarterbacks didn’t have a great day on Tuesday. Lots of passes were thrown into traffic and as a result many passes were broken up and even a few interceptions were thrown.
Benefiting from the below average quarterback play was cornerback Quinton Pointer, who was signed by the Buccaneers last week after cutting defensive back Marc Anthony. Pointer managed to come up with two interceptions and nearly picked off another pass. The 5-foot-9, 186 pound cornerback spent practice at the nickel cornerback position and rotated often with fifth-year cornerback Danny Gorrer.
The nickel cornerback is a position of great importance in today’s NFL, and with Leonard Johnson and D.J. Moore both sitting out practice cornerback Danny Gorrer spent a lot of time working with the first and second teams at the nickel spot.
Stud linebacker Lavonte David made a nice play in pass coverage when he broke up a pass headed for Jeff Demps in the endzone. David quickly flipped his head around, located the pass, and easily swatted the pass away from the diminutive running back.
Wide receiver Chris Owusu put together a nice practice on Tuesday, making multiple tough catches over the middle. Josh McCown made an excellent throw down the seam and Owusu adjusted to make a great catch for a touchdown.
Tight end Luke Stocker dropped a very catchable pass after getting open on a hitch route in the middle of the field. It was another uneventful practice for the former fourth-round pick.
Mike Glennon made a poor decision and threw the ball into a crowd of Tampa Bay defenders, which didn’t please offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.
“Come on, Mike,” Tedford yelled to the second-year quarterback.
The air horn sounded and the team then headed to the west field for a special teams session, which focused heavily on punt coverage.
Receivers Skye Dawson, Solomon Patton and Eric Page worked as the team’s punt returners on Tuesday and caught balls kicked by punter Michael Koenen, who is the only punter on the Buccaneers roster. Two of the returners had some trouble catching the ball on Tuesday, including Page and Dawson, who both mishandled and fumbled punts during the session. More sloppy play ensued when rookie wide receiver Aaron Burks jumped offsides, which did not make special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea very happy.
Kickers Connor Barth and Patrick Murray continued their battle for the kicking job on Tuesday and went head-to-head in a field goal session. Barth made four of his six attempted kicks and Murray made four of his five attempts. Both kickers missed on their longest attempts, which was approximately 57 yards.
After the special teams session, the Buccaneers wrapped up practice with an 11-on-11 period.
The Buccaneers first team offense consisted of quarterback Josh McCown, running back Doug Martin, tight end Tim Wright, and wide receivers Chris Owusu, Lavelle Hawkins, and Robert Herron. The offensive line was made up of Anthony Collins at left tackle, Oneil Cousins at left guard, Evan Dietrich-Smith at center, Jamon Meredith at right guard, and Demar Dotson at right tackle.
Coming out with the second team offense was Mike Glennon at quarterback, Jeff Demps at running back, Skye Dawson and Solomon Patton at receiver, and Tim Wright and Luke Stocker at tight end. The offensive linemen working with the second-team included Kevin Pamphile at left tackle, Kadeem Edwards at left guard, Jason Fosters at center, Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Emmett Cleary at right tackle.
With Alterraun Verner sitting out of practice, Mike Jenkins got a chance to work with the first-team defense across from Johnthan Banks. The first team defensive line featured Steven Means at right end instead of Michael Johnson, who continues to only participate during individual drills. He lined across from Adrian Clayborn and next to Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence.
Rookie wide receiver Solomon Patton made a nice leaping catch after running an out route. The ball was thrown a little bit too high by third-string quarterback Mike Kafka, but the 5-foot-9 receiver did a great job of climbing the ladder to haul in the pass. The former Florida Gator had a solid practice on Tuesday and is continuing to battle at the slot receiver.
Running back Charles Sims wasn’t touched on a toss play in the redzone and outran all of the defensive players to the pylon for a touchdown. Sims showed tremendous burst and kept a low pad level throughout the run.
If you go back and watch Sims’ tape from his days at West Virginia, he struggled with pad level at times and played too high, but the rookie running back has shown massive improvement in that department so far.
Competing with Sims for playing time is Mike James, who also scored a touchdown on a draw play between the tackles without being touched. All of the Buccaneers running backs were rotated in to the first-team offense throughout practice. Wide receiver Louis Murphy made a tremendous leaping touchdown catch on one of the last plays of practice. Josh McCown scrambled to his right and threw the ball to the back pylon just before stepping out of bounds. Murphy went up very high to make the catch and somehow managed to keep his feet in bounds for the score.
The next practice open to the media is next Tuesday, as the Buccaneers kick of their first of three days of mandatory mini-camp.
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