After a slight tweak of his right hamstring last week, Mike Evans was back on the practice field for the Buccaneers on Wednesday, per Scott Smith of the team’s website.
The rookie sensation was slow to get up after a crossing pattern thrown by Mike Glennon during the second session of OTAs last Thursday. Following the practice head coach Lovie Smith wasn’t overly concerned about Evans, though, reminding the media of similar injury he had last offseason before going on to have one of the best rookie campaigns in franchise history.
“In the offseason there are tweaks,” Smith said. “My hamstring is even a little sore right now. You said he tweaked it last year right? How did he do this past year? Pretty well, so it’s not something we are concerned about at all. He tweaked it a little bit. He’ll eventually be fine.”
While they’ll likely monitor the situation throughout OTAs, it appears Smith was right not to worry about Evan’s minor tweak.
Thursday’s session is open to the media, where we’ll report on all the latest during the Buccaneer’s practice.
Six down, one to go.
On Monday the Buccaneers announced the signing of second-round draft pick (34 overall), Donovan Smith, leaving Ali Marpet, the other second-round pick (61 overall), as the only member of the seven-man draft class yet to reach an agreement.
Smith started 31-of-32 career games at Penn State, anchoring a unit that blocked for 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, quarterback Christian Hackenburg. That season, Smith earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors, turning himself into one of the top offensive lineman prospects in April’s draft.
The 6-foot-6, 338-pound lineman is expected to start immediately for Tampa Bay at the left tackle position, where he’ll be tasked with the responsibility of protecting another prominent quarterback, this time in fellow rookie, Jameis Winston.
Smith joins Kevin Pamphile, Reid Fragel, Edawn Coughman and the presumed starter at right tackle Demar Dotson, as one of the team’s five tackles currently on the roster. The Bucs have 15 offensive lineman in total, as of now.
ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio was in California to cover the NFLPA rookie premiere event that was attended by Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.
Paolantonio told the Mike And Mike Morning Show he came away very impressed with Winston, saying “he has a natural leadership charisma” and was a “man among his peers.”
Will that translate into wins on Sunday next fall for the Bucs? No one knows for sure, but this is just another example of what prompted the Bucs to draft Winston with the first overall pick back on May 30.
To listen to the full interview which also covered other NFL topics, click here.
PN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio covers the NFLPA rookie pr
After an injury-riddled 2014 season in which he rushed for 494 yards on 134 carries (3.7 avg.), the Buccaneers opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on Doug Martin’s rookie contract.
Yet despite the team’s lack of commitment, the former first-round pick doesn’t feel like he has anything extra to prove, saying that he understands the business while sounding confident in his ability to return to rookie form.
“It didn’t surprise me and it’s – I don’t want to say it’s ‘whatever,’ but it’s something that comes along with the business,” Martin said… “If I take care of everything in my control and stay healthy, I know everything will come into place for me.
“Right now, I feel awesome, feel great, body feels good, mind is right where it needs to be and I’m ready for the season.”
From trade speculation to the fact that he enters a contract year, there’s plenty of question surrounding Martin’s future with the Bucs. And while the former rookie sensation would surely be given another opportunity elsewhere, he expressed his desire to stay in Tampa.
“I believe it’s like every other year, I’m playing for the team,” Martin said. “I love this team, I love the players around here and I love playing for the city of Tampa… I already have my own house here and I’m just doing the backyard right now and it’s almost finished, so I would love to be back here.”
Perhaps he’s already started to make a case for an extension during organized team activities (OTAs). Martin looked smooth during Thursday’s session, making sharp cuts and catching out of the backfield during one-on-one drills against linebackers. The Boise State product was practicing with first-team offense and, according to Lovie Smith, he’ll stay with that group.
“He’s on the first team like he has always been,” Smith said. “He’s one of our guys, he’s our running back. He’s showing up and he is getting good work. I think it is just as simple as that.”
Simply put, there isn’t much worth remembering from last year’s 2-14 campaign. Outside of a few notable, individual accomplishments, requests for Bucs 2014 Season In Review videos probably aren’t inundating phone lines at One Buc Place this summer.
But now that the organization is months removed from the misery that “earned” it this spring’s No. 1 overall draft selection, there is some good that can come from the prolonged dejection.
“Every single person on this team has got to get better – 2-14’s not going to cut it,” said veteran cornerback Alterraun Verner, returning for his second season in Tampa Bay. “And that’s why it’s a motivation to know that we can do a lot better.”
The drive doesn’t just come from those within the walls of the facility working to redeem themselves, Verner added, but from outsiders still viewing Tampa Bay mores as Yucks than Bucs.
“People are still doubting us and I love it,” he said. “I love playing the underdog role, I love when people are sleeping on you. I use it as motivation. It’s definitely in the back of my mind but I’m also not letting that override or overrule how I’m going to play.”
While Verner managed to stay out of the crosshairs of angry fans and critical media members with his play in 2014, he was still part of the league’s fifth-most abused secondary. Tampa Bay surrendered 255.2 yards passing per game and 28 touchdowns. As a unit, Bucs cornerbacks and safeties accounted for 10 of the team’s 14 interceptions, with Verner grabbing two.
Helping Verner create a consistently effective pass defense at corner this season will be a healthy Mike Jenkins and ever-improving Johnthan Banks.
“He’s definitely an X-factor and he brings a lot of intensity and passion for the game,” Verner said of Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending injury during Week 1’s home loss against Carolina. “He’s somebody who’s been playing for eight years and you know he’s going to bring that to you. So it’s been good to have him back and competing.
“And then Johnthan has just grown as a player as you saw last year, so I like the depth. We’re all just pushing each other because at the end of the day [defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier] will put the best people out there and nobody’s job is secure or safe. So I love it. I love us all being out there competing.”
Mike Glennon met with the media on Thursday for the first time since the Bucs drafted Jameis Winston, who they hope is the team’s future. Despite being virtually demoted for the second straight year (Tampa Bay handed the starting job to free agent Josh McCown before camp last season), Glennon is approaching this season as if he is the starter.
“I think that is all there is to do,” Glennon said. “As a quarterback, you want to be the guy, work like you are going to be the guy and be the the best player you can be. Take it one day at a time and that’s all you can really do.”
But Glennon sees the attributes that attracted the Bucs to Winston.
“He is a sharp kid, he is intelligent, he throws the ball well and he is young,” Glennon said. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”
PewterReport.com asked Glennon on Thursday if he and Winston can benefit each other.
“I think you can always from the group – everyone brings something different to the table – some people are better at different areas that the others so you can watch each other’s game and learn from that. Every rep I am out there he can take from me and every rep he is out there I can learn from him. It is about getting those mental reps and every play just do that, and I think we can help each other.”
Despite the Buccaneers drafting what most likely is his replacement, Glennon told the media he has no desire to ask for a trade.
“I love it here in Tampa and this has been my home the last two years and I am happy to be here,” Glennon said. “I am happy to have Dirk (Koetter) around and I feel like I am going to learn a lot from him and continue to grow as a player and I have always wanted to be here in Tampa.”
It’s not uncommon for NFL teams to blare music during practice, especially during the offseason when the pace and intensity isn’t at an ultra-high level like it is when teams like Tampa Bay are preparing for a weekly opponent. But what was uncommon was the playlist for Thursday’s OTA at One Buc Place.
Rumor has it Tampa Bay veteran guard Logan Mankins got to select the music and his playlist didn’t feature any rap or hip-hop that is frequently played at NFL practices. Instead, it featured a mix of rock and hair metal classics from the 1980s and ‘90s (that yours truly thoroughly enjoyed). Here’s the playlist in its entirety for the two-hour practice at One Buc Place:
Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Cum On Feel The Noise – Quiet Riot
Love Bites – Def Leppard
I Remember You – Skid Row
Who Made Who? – AC/DC
Nothin’ But A Good Time – Poison
Wanted Dead Or Alive – Bon Jovi
Take On Me – A-ha
Separate Ways – Journey
Hysteria – Def Leppard
Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC
I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Photograph – Def Leppard
Why Can’t This Be Love? – Van Halen
Back In Black – AC/DC
I’d Die For You – Bon Jovi
Open Arms – Journey (which made it halfway through the track before it was skipped)
No One Like You – Scorpions
Rag Doll – Aerosmith
Boys Of Summer – Don Henley
Don’t Go Away Mad – Motley Crue
Juke Box Hero – Foreigner
Another Thing Coming – Judas Priest
Round And Round – Ratt
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Waiting For A Girl Like You – Foreigner
Hot For Teacher – Van Halen
Def Leppard and AC/DC tied for the most songs in Mankins’ rotation with three apiece, followed by Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Van Halen, Journey and Guns N’ Roses with two songs each.
Songs like Crazy Train, Back In Black, Round And Round, Another Thing Coming, Welcome To The Jungle and Photograph seemed to fit the vibe of a football practice just fine. Was that Bucs general manager Jason Licht head-banging just a little bit to Who Made Who?
While most of the music selections had anyone who was in the 40s or 50s at practice waxing nostalgic about their days at their high school prom or college years, some of the power ballads like Love Bites and Hysteria – although fantastic songs – seemed out of place. The most questionable selections were Take On Me, Waiting For A Girl Like You and Open Arms, which didn’t make it all the way through before that track was skipped.
Tampa Bay second-year wide receiver Mike Evans suffered a tweaked hamstring halfway through Thursday’s practice during the team’s final OTA (organized team activity) of the week. Evans stayed on the field to watch the rest of practice, and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said neither his injury nor rookie guard Ali Marpet’s is major.
“I can’t go into any of that right now, but in the offseason there are tweaks,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said. “You know, my hammies even a little sore right now. But you get through it.
“You said [Evans] tweaked it last year, right? How’d he do this past year? Pretty well. So it’s not something we’re concerned about at all. He tweaked it a little bit and he’ll eventually be fine.
Evans injured his hamstring going across the middle and reaching out for a pass from quarterback Mike Glennon, who was starting in place of rookie Jameis Winston, who was at the annual football card photo shoot that most of the high-profile rookies attend each year in California.
Marpet’s injury isn’t serious, either, and he was held out of practice on Thursday. Second-year guard Kadeem Edwards started in place of Marpet on Thursday.
“He tweaked his hamstring a little bit also,” Smith said. “In the offseason, every day I’m going to talk a little bit about a little tweak and that’s all it is.”
Despite not being in the building or on the practice field Thursday at One Buc Place, new quarterback Jameis Winston was still the main topic of conversation following Thursday’s OTA practice.
Head coach Lovie Smith was asked about what he saw from Winston – who is attending a rookie premiere event in California – the two days of practice before the former FSU star left for the NFL commitment.
“We have seen marked improvement, like it should be, from the rookie mini-camp to now,” Smith said. “He is feeling more and more confident, in the pocket picking (things) up. There is lot you ask a rookie to do. Jameis is picking it all up just like we thought he would. Right on schedule.”
Smith was also asked if there have been any surprises with Winston early on.
“You don’t want to be surprised as much as anything,” Smith said. “You think you have something and you get something else. No, he has been everything – he is a football junkie. We knew that before hand, we have to kind of tell him when to leave. We expected to have to do (that). He takes coaching well. Yesterday was his best day. For him there has been a lot of individual work but having a chance this week for the first time to go against our best defense and things like that. But again, we have a long way to go but we like where we are at right now.”
The Buccaneers made a couple of roster moves on Thursday, signing kicker Brandon Bogotay and waiving center Ben Gottschalk.
Bogotay, 26, originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 2013. He played collegiately at Georgia from 2009-2011, backing up current Viking’s kicker Blair Walsh. As a senior in 2012, Bogotay made one of two field goal attempts, primarily handling kickoff duties as eight of his 29 career kickoffs went for touchbacks. Bogotay lost out to Phil Dawson in the battle to become the Browns kicker in 2013 and was released prior to the regular season. He joins Patrick Murray as the Bucs’ second kicker on the roster.
To make room for Bogotay, Tampa Bay released center Ben Gottschalk whom they signed in early April. Ali Marpet, the Bucs second-round draft pick, has experience at center, likely allowing for the team to make this move.