Thursdays are the days we figure out which reports are consistent and which ones got our hopes up, only to fall. That’s why days like today are so important with plenty of guys coming back from injury and players needing to get back into a groove.

We heard from both players and coaches today, at the podium and in the locker room, and these are the five things we learned from Thursday’s activities in Tampa.

Injury Update

The big news from yesterday was that linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David were back on the practice field for the first time as a duo since before the team’s first game.

Today, that status remained the same and them, along with T.J. Ward and Keith Tandy, were all participating in some fashion. Consistency of participation is key for playing on Sunday.

Martin Says He Has It

Not only was the time off something to considered with Doug Martin, but even with his return, there were questions about how quickly he could get back into game shape and get acclimated to taking hits again.

Today, during the locker room portion of availability, Martin told us he was surprised how quickly he got his pop back, and that he felt great once things started to get going. That’s a very encouraging sign going forward.

Ward Previews the Cardinals

Over the course of this week you’re going to listen to plenty of podcasts and read a plethora of articles that will preview the Buccaneers’ match up against the Arizona Cardinals. But, enough about what we think, what do the players think?

Safety T.J. Ward, who said his hips feel good and that he could see himself playing this week, talked about what the defense will be keying on against the Cardinals. He noted that the Bucs linebackers versus how the Cardinals use their running backs out of the backfield will be one to watch.

The Rotation at Left Guard

During the first game of the season, some noticed that the Buccaneers were switching their left guard between Kevin Pamphile and Evan Smith. Initially we didn’t know if there was an injury with Pamphile (who was the starter), but as the switches kept happening in the following games, it became obvious that this was planned.

The question then became: why? We figured that Pamphile, especially in a contract year, would be getting all of the reps as long as he was worth it and healthy. Bucs offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, sort of clarified why they were doing that. He said that when you have good offensive linemen who are similar in talent, it’s always good to keep them  involved.

I’m sure he’d rather have one separate himself as the clear starter, though.

Koetter on Winston’s Heroic Nature

Following the game last Thursday, there was plenty of controversy among Bucs fans regarding how Winston plays during the early part of games and how he plays when it’s crunch time.

At the end of the podium segments today, head coach Dirk Koetter praised the way Winston plays down the stretch, but made sure to note that the game isn’t just on the line in the fourth quarter, and that going out and winning the game starts on the first drive.

You love Winston for how natural and calm he looks when all the pressure is on, but there’s four quarters in a football game. That’s his next step. It’s a luxury to have a play caller who can be a hero, but ultimately you want him to be a reason he doesn’t have to be a hero more often than not.

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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The situation with Smith and Pamp is really weird. One of them has to be better than the other. I think they’ve both played fine over the first four games. But it was a hands to the face penalty by Smith that took away Winston’s TD scramble. Crushing penalty. As long as they both continue to play fine I guess it’s not a big deal. Just odd.

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Buc 1976

I thought continuity was important on OL so this makes no sense!!

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