After a day of rest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returned to the practice fields at One Buc Place for a 4:30 practice in front of a good crowd of Buccaneers fans. Above the practice fields on Sunday were partly cloudy skies and the temperature was a sizzling 91 degrees. A number of players didn’t participate in Sunday’s workout, including cornerback Alterraun Verner, linebacker Jeremy Grable, wide receiver David Gettis, cornerback Mike Jenkins and center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
The team kicked of practice with the usual individual drills. During the session of warm-ups, wide receiver Robert Herron made an outstanding leaping catch on a ball that was thrown very high by quarterback Mike Glennon. Herron flashes of brilliance are encouraging, but drops have been a problem for the rookie wide receiver.
Shortly after individual worked, special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea led the team in punt return installations. Back to return the punts for Tampa Bay on Sunday were receivers Solomon Patton, Eric Page, Robert Herron and Skye Dawson.
Much to the dismay of Buccaneers fans in attendance, Herron muffed a punt on one of his reps as a return. The Wyoming rookie has had serious issues fielding punts.
Kick returns were next on the agenda and the players returning kicks on Sunday were Eric Page, Jeff Demps and Chris Owusu.
Following the conclusion of the special teams period, the team got together for a session of 11-on-11s.
Oneil Cousins got the first-team offense call at left guard while second-year pro Patrick Omameh held down the right guard spot. Center Jason Foster filled in for Evan Dietrich-Smith on the first-team. The second-team featured Jace Daniels at left guard and Kadeem Edwards at right guard.
The standout play of the session was made by safety Bradley McDougald, who made a tremendous play in run defense. The second-year pro out from Kansas popped running back Bobby Rainey behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. It was the first of many impressive plays by McDougald on Sunday afternoon.
After the brief 11-on-11 session, the Buccaneers conducted a walkthrough period before moving into one-on-ones featuring the offensive and defensive linemen.
After a slow start to training camp the offensive line has played much better, particularly during the one-on-ones. One Sunday, guard Patrick Omameh was a standout performer, winning most of his reps including stonewalling Gerald McCoy. Omameh also had his way with Adrian Clayborn and Euclid Cummings. Omameh’s stellar work earned him some first teams reps when the team went to 11-on-11’s later in the day.
Backup center Jason Foster also had a solid day on Sunday winning reps against Clinton McDonald twice on the afternoon. Demar Dotson continues to be the most consistent of all the offensive linemen, and while he doesn’t get the same number of reps as some of the younger players, the veteran right tackle has yet to be dominated by a defensive linemen in these drills.
Late in the period the offensive linemen worked on combo blocks, taking on two defensive linemen. The combination of Dotson and Omameh shut out Clayborn and McCoy and Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards beat Mathew Masifilo and Da-Quan Bowers before the period-ending horn sounded.
While the offensive and defensive linemen battled on the east practice field, the rest of the team participated in a 7-on-7 period.
The first big play of the session was made by rookie wide receiver Mike Evans. Josh McCown threw a deep post over the middle of the field in front of safety Mark Barron to the Texas A&M product, who reeled in the high pass for the reception. The play gave the fans in attendance a glimpse of what the 6-foot-5 receiver is capable of.
Linebacker Lavonte David made an excellent pass breakup on a poor throw from Josh McCown. The pass was underthrown and David had a chance to pick the pass off, but it clanked off his hands for the incompletion.
Later on in the period, McCown overthrew two back-to-back deep passes to Mike Evans and Lavelle Hawkins. Evans was visibly frustrated by the missed opportunity to make a play, forcefully unbuckling his chinstrap on the sidelines just after the play.
McCown regrouped after the string of poor throws and hit Bobby Rainey on a wheel route down the left sideline for a huge gain.
Tight end Tim Wright dropped a pass thrown by Mike Glennon over the middle of the field. Safety Major Wright had a chance to intercept the tipped ball but the pass fell to the ground.
McDougald continued his physical play on a rep late in the period of 7-on-7s, knocking running back Mike James to the ground after he caught a pass near the right sideline.
Next on the Buccaneers’ agenda was a period of field goals featuring kickers Connor Barth and Patrick Murray. Barth and Murray have both performed exceptionally well this offseason.
After a lengthy water break, the Buccaneers moved into a second session of 11-on-11s.
Cornerback Deveron Carr and safety Major Wright broke up a pass headed towards receiver Skye Dawson. The two defensive backs collided in mid-air to make the play but neither was injured as result of the defended pass.
Later on in the session of 11-on-11s, another huge hit was delivered by McDougald. The second-year pro smacked diminutive running back Jeff Demps behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yards. McDougald’s performance on Sunday was simply excellent.
A great interception was made by linebacker Dane Fletcher on a passed headed towards Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the seam. The Mike Glennon pass was darted down the seam but came up short, allowing Fletcher to make the interception.
The last session of the day was a live goal-line period, which featured stellar play by the Tampa Bay defense.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got tremendous penetration into the backfield and brought down Doug Martin for a loss. As a unit, the offensive line struggled to get good push during the goal-line session. The Buccaneers offense scored just two rushing touchdowns on about 10 attempts.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a touchdown pass from Josh McCown near the left side of the endzone. The rookie struggled to release from linebacker Jonathan Casillas at the line of scrimmage, but eventually broke free hauled in the pass for the score.
Later on in the session, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo absolutely destroyed center Josh Allen off the snap, knocking the rookie on his backside. The play resulted in an incompletion by the Buccaneers offense.
Mark Barron crushed Bobby Rainey, who tried a cutback run to the weakside of the play. The former Alabama safety rocked Rainey and stopped him from getting into the endzone. The Buccaneers defensive coaching staff went nuts after the excellent play by Barron.
Mike James scored on the last play of practice on an inside handoff between the tackles. Linebacker Dane Fletcher delivered a bone-crunching hit to the former Miami running back, but James managed to keep his balance and dive across the goal-line for the touchdown. James scored the only two rushing touchdowns for the Buccaneers on Sunday.
NEXT UP: The Buccaneers return to the practice fields at One Buc Place tomorrow for a 4:30 P.M. workout. The practice is open to the general public.
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