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Tuesday’s OTA (organized team activity) at One Buc Place featured only one running back – and head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t pleased.

Newcomer Giovani Bernard appeared to be the only running back to take part in Tampa Bay’s voluntary workouts at the start of the second week of OTAs. And Bernard has been doing double duty – attending the Bucs official OTAs and working out with quarterback Tom Brady and some of the team’s veterans to try to absorb as much of Arians’ playbook as possible.

The absence of veterans Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette was expected as neither participated in last week’s OTAs either. But Arians appeared a bit miffed that second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn wasn’t at One Buc Place on Tuesday. Also absent was C.K. Prosise.

Bucs RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn

Bucs RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Well, C.J.’s wife had their baby, so he’s not here,” Arians said. “And Ke’Shawn decided to work out with those guys. That’s their choice, but hopefully he’ll make a better decision tomorrow.”

Vaughn had a lackluster rookie season in Tampa Bay in 2020. A third-round pick last year, had modest production as a rookie. He rushed for 109 yards on 26 carries (4.2 avg.) and caught five passes for 34 yards and a touchdown, which proved to be the game-winner in a 17-point comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4.

Two early season turnovers buried Vaughn on a depth chart that included veterans Fournette and Jones. Add in another veteran offseason signing in Bernard and it will once again be a challenge for Vaughn to get touches in games – or even dress on Sundays.

Last week when Vaughn was in attendance at the OTAs he talked about working on his hands and becoming a more complete back in 2021.

“When I’m out here at practice it’s showing them that I’m capable of doing everything – catch the ball, run the ball, block – whatever needs to be done. That will gain their trust. Once I gain that trust everything else will fall in place.”

According to The Athletic’s Greg Auman, undrafted free agent Troymaine Pope didn’t appear to be in attendance in Tuesday’s OTA, either.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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7 months ago

Hopefully Vaughn saw this and gets his ass to OTA’s. When your already buried on the depth chart and need to make an impression, skipping workouts like this doesn’t help your chances.

7 months ago

“And Ke’Shawn decided to work out with those guys”
Who are “those guys”? 
If he’s working out with Brady and the receivers, it shouldn’t be a problem. If he’s just doing something else, that wouldn’t be a good look. 

Reply to  M4X
7 months ago

Gio also worked with ‘those guys” but also at OTA. Bad sign when your competitor out works you

Reply to  M4X
7 months ago

Agree. Who are “those guys.” If he means Brady and his crew I though they were practicing at the Buc facility. If not, they are freaking crazy due to any injuries they might sustain. Does PR know who “those guys” are and if not, why wasn’t a follow up question asked.

7 months ago

Vaughn has been underwhelming so far… and not working out with your team may be a fatal mistake. It’s not like he has anything to hang his hat on so far.

7 months ago

Brady isn’t going to save Keyshawn job.

7 months ago

Ke’Shawn is busy working on his Hall of Fame speech.

7 months ago

Vaughn stunk last year. He’s not at OTA’s after that first season. Not good sign at all imo.
Bernard is going to make this offense so much better!

7 months ago

Vaughn is not in the position to skip the OTAs. As RB4 you are faster released than you think and a free agent is happy to get a chance

7 months ago

Every off-season we focus on the player(s) who are absent……..even if only one day, and any players standing on the sidelines, more than the players who are participating. Once identified, we then crucify them without knowing their personal circumstances or recognizing the meaning of the word “voluntary”. I’m pretty sure Ke’Shawn Vaughn and others, who choose not to participate every day, are well aware of the competition. I’m also pretty sure that a marginal player getting a check-mark by his name during every roll-call will have little impact on his making the final roster. Here in Bucville, we are so… Read more »

Reply to  scubog
7 months ago

I’ve never “crucified” any player not making OTA’s before but when you have guy on the bubble that’s underperformed last year and now coach is saying get your ass to practice it’s not good any way you slice it. Does that alone make him get cut? No, but they didn’t go out and get Bernard because they have faith in Vaughn to catch the ball better/perform better overall this year. He better fix his butter fingers too. The fumbles were too many for limited time on field.

Last edited 7 months ago by fredster
Reply to  fredster
7 months ago

Completely agree Fredster. This isn’t a one size fits all opinion. If the player in question, was Rojo or Fournette, I’d say there’s nothing to see here. But when it’s your 4th string RB(who immediately became a cut candidate the second we signed Gio), the last thing he should do, is not outwork his competition, and piss off the man responsible for him making the team/and or not seeing the field

Chris Elrod
Chris Elrod(@chris-elrod)
7 months ago

You gotta love the work ethic of Giovani Bernard. Pulling for him to see some playing time this season and having a great year.

Last edited 7 months ago by Chris Elrod
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