The Bucs Training Camp Diaries are an annual feature on PewterReport.com and we have two gems this year in veteran nose tackle Beau Allen, who will give PewterReport.com readers insight into the Bucs defense during training camp and the preseason, and rookie running back Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, who will offer his perspective on the offensive side of the ball.
Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht needed to revamp the defensive line this offseason and the first free agent addition was signing Allen, fresh off winning the Super Bowl with the world champion Philadelphia Eagles. Allen, who was a run-stuffing role player in Philly, enters Bucs training camp as the starting nose tackle next to six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. At 6-foot-3, 327 pounds, Allen has the size and power to not only be a force against the run, but also collapse the pocket. Playing primarily on first and second downs, Allen notched 87 tackles and two sacks in his four years with Philadelphia, and had 20 tackles and a sack last year as the Eagles won their first Super Bowl.
Playing in the pass-happy NFC South, Allen looks to get to the quarterback more often as a Buccaneer, as the likes of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton often pass the ball on first and second downs. While Allen’s roster spot is assured due to his three-year, $15 million contract that features $7.25 million in guaranteed money, he is fighting for playing time in Tampa Bay’s defensive line rotation. Follow Allen’s first training camp in Tampa Bay in his Training Camp Diary exclusively on PewterReport.com, as he and the team’s ultra-talented defensive line look to come together, rush the passer and get the Bucs into the playoffs in 2018.
JOINT PRACTICES ARE VERY INTENSE
As told to Scott Reynolds
We had a little scuffle at the end of practice on Monday. It’s training camp. That’s how it goes. We have a lot of guys out here that love to compete. Not much to say about that. Instead, let’s talk about our win in Miami.
Coach (Brentson) Buckner said there is a lot to improve on. That’s what the preseason is for. That’s what training camp is for. That’s why we practice – so we can get better. The message after that game was, “A win is a win, but we have a lot to improve on.” That’s what we are focusing on. As a defensive line we have to do better. We’ll leave it at that. We have very high expectations of ourselves – as we should. But really, the attitude is that no matter how you play you want to play better.
Bucs DT Beau Allen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Two sacks aren’t enough, but I think it’s important to live in reality when you are watching tape. We have to keep taking those baby steps and get better every day. Instead of focusing on stats, we need to focus on our techniques and what we need to improve to and the stats will follow. We just need to focus on getting better – no matter if you are a six-time Pro Bowler, if you are coming off a Super Bowl win or if you are an undrafted rookie trying to make the team. I think that’s the mentality of our defensive line, our defense as a whole and our team right now.
With two of our defensive tackles, Mitch Unrein and Vita Vea, out with injuries, two of our ends, Will Gholston and Pat O’Connor, had to play into the second half at defensive tackle. That’s how it goes in training camp and the preseason. It’s a battle of attrition. You see that all across the league. Those guys are fighters.
We had our guys on both sides of the line grinding it out and playing hard on Thursday. That’s what you like to see as a vet. You get … I don’t know the right word. Maybe you get a little jaded in training camp and the preseason, but when you see young guys like Pat fighting it out and grinding and seeing some guys have their first NFL game experience, it energizes you. Sometimes due to injury it’s the first preseason game and, “Surprise mother(expletive), you’re playing 50 plays in a row! Enjoy it!” It’s good to see as a vet.
On the other side of the ball it was great to see our quarterbacks play so well, especially Ryan Griffin with the two-minute drill at the end. That was really impressive. I was excited about that win, man. That was awesome execution by the offense and Griff. Hats off to those guys. That was fun to watch.
Joint practices are good and we’re going to Tennessee to face the Titans. I’m excited about it. It’s good to get uncomfortable and get out of the Groundhog Day routine of camp. It’s fun to go get your blood hot and practice with another team. Although it is kind of a weird situation since you practice with them before you play so you can kind of get accustomed to what they’re doing, and it’s like a little scouting before the game. But it’s fun. Like I said, we’re all NFL people. We’re all competitive, and we want to win. I think those joint practices are very intense – they’re really competitive. It’s a definitely competitive atmosphere and that’s what I expect to see up in Tennessee.
I’ve been in joint practices before. The Dolphins came up, I think, last year. A couple years before that we went up to Foxborough with the Patriots. I think every season I’ve had joint practice. It’s a pretty common thing. You see it a lot these days. I think it’s a good thing. It’s good to get different looks.
I’ve never been to Nashville, but I hear it’s fun. I’ve played the Titans before but I think when we played them it was at home. I’ve never been to Nashville. I won’t be able to get out too much and see the town this time, so I’ll have to come back.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and DT Beau Allen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Our G.M. Jason Licht and I have a good relationship. He’s really down to earth, and as a former offensive lineman, he does have a unique appreciation for interior line play that you don’t see too often from general managers. He was very honest and straightforward in his approach in free agency when I signed with Tampa Bay, and that’s refreshing as a player. It’s also refreshing to have someone that is easy to talk to in the front office that you feel comfortable around – it is definitely a blessing. I feel very at home here in Tampa.
I’ve seen some people say (in article comments or on Twitter), “Beau Allen is someone they would like to go have a beer with.” I do like beer, but I don’t drink during the season. Maybe I like beer a little too much to drink it in season? (Laughs) I think I’m a normal guy. Maybe in the offseason we’ll have a get-together and drink some beer with the fans. We’ll see.
Follow Bucs veteran nose tackle Beau Allen on Twitter at @Beau_Allen
The next Allen Bucs Training Camp Diary will be posted in a few days as well as regular RoJo Bucs Training Camp Diaries. Be sure to visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.