One of the most compelling aspects of Bucs training camp each is that the team brings 90 players to One Buccaneer Place and only 53 end up making the final roster. Nearly half of the players that report to Tampa Bay in August will be gone by early September when the final roster cuts come.
Rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell was a fifth-round draft pick this year but is not guaranteed a roster spot, despite a solid career at the University of Nebraska. The player with the best hair in the NFL since Tiquan Underwood, knows he will have to impress the Bucs coaching staff, not just to earn playing time, but to make the 53-man roster.
Bell, who totaled 2,698 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns as a receiver, also excelled on special teams (25.0 yard avg. on kickoff returns) for the Cornhuskers, something making him attractive to the Buccaneers. The always upbeat and smiling Bell is one of the nicest guys in the Bucs camp and will endear himself to all Bucs fans who have the chance to meet him.
With multiple entries over the next four weeks, Bell will be sharing his training camp story exclusively with PewterReport.com readers in his Training Camp Diary. Follow along as Bell lives life on the bubble and works to earn a roster spot and remain a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in 2015.
ELIMINATING MENTAL ERRORS AND ROOMING WITH WINSTON
By Kenny Bell as told to Mark Cook
It was a really exciting day. We got to put the pads on a finally play football, which really officially started for us yesterday (Monday). That feeling is just an exciting feeling, getting back to what we all love. Everybody out here loves this game. Plus coming out this first week, I mean there’s a lot of … coming into it. We’re flying around; we’re cracking. The defense is playing great, making great hits and offense is running fast and scoring.
We started slow as an offense yesterday (Monday), and did again today (Tuesday). So that’s something we need to improve on as an offense, not just individually at certain positions. That’s as a whole. Our first period against the defense, they’ve been getting after us so we have to find a way to change that, coming out slow like that. We have to start fast and finish strong.
Yesterday was a great day for the wide receiving corps as a whole, not just myself but everyone. Rob Herron made some great plays. V-Jax always makes big plays. Russell Shepard made plays. I mean you could go right down the line with our wide receiver group and guys are making plays.
We have our MEs (mental errors), like if you don’t do your correct job on a play. We’ve struggled a bit with that as a group, but it’s training camp so everybody struggles with that. When we can get the (mental errors) down, we can be an explosive group. I mean yesterday and today, you see big plays not just from our wide receivers, but all of our skill positions, especially under center with the way they’re slinging the rock. And yesterday we had a ton of explosive runs out of our backfield so those are all good signs.
Things we have to improve on are protecting the rock, which is something we talk about every day. Protect the football; don’t give it away that much. And then just starting fast, coming out in that first team period and really start getting after it with the right mindset. That’s what I really took away from the first two days. Once we can do that than we’ll really start making progress. Those are what I took from the first two days – start fast and protect the rock.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
As far as if receivers can share in the blame for interceptions sometimes, a lot of times it’s that. There’s so much that goes into it. Sacks and turnovers are not just the quarterback’s fault, by any means. Sacks can be a missed protection, a wide receiver taking to long to run his route… And a sack could be the quarterback taking too long.
Turnovers are the same thing; it just has to do more with route running. Routes adjust based on coverage, so sometimes you adjust on the run and you and your quarterback have to be on the same page.
And that’s what is helping me so much with Jameis being his roommate. When I get our of my wide receiver meetings and go to the hotel room, I get to hear how he thinks. It’s like sitting in a quarterback room. I’m hearing how I’m being coached by my wide receivers coach, but at the same time I’m hearing Jameis’ thinking. That allows me to execute faster and better and be what we call quarterback-friendly.
You have to be quarterback-friendly. And when I day that I mean you have to see what the quarterback sees and time it with him. That’s what passing the ball is.
Completions are going to be timing and spacing. You run the right route at the right time at the right spacing… Quarterbacks are unbelievably intelligent. You wouldn’t believe how intelligent they are. If you run the right route against the right coverage, there’s no question in my mind that the quarterback’s going to find me.
Bucs fans can follow Kenny Bell on Twitter @AFRO_THUNDER80
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Great read Kenny, you haven’t even played a down for the Bucs yet I am already a big fan. Can’t wait to see you making big time catches and delivering those crushing blocks on Sundays. Keep up the great work/attitude and good luck this year, go Bucs!
Seems like a sharp kid. He looks scrawny even for a WR though hope he can hold up especially if he’s going to rerun kickoffs and or punts. Some big hits doing that. He needs to hit the weight room.
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