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.
“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.
Bucs had only one running back at voluntary OTA workouts (Bernard) today with Vaughn, Jones, Fournette not there. Arians said C.J. Prosise was off for the birth of a child, and I’m not sure why Troymaine Pope isn’t there.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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