The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their first day of OTAs (organized team activities) on Tuesday, being forced into the team’s indoor practice facility due to inclement weather, with the practice open to the media.
Following the opening segment of practice where it was largely positionally-focused drills, the team moved to two separate practice sessions that both included 11-on-11 drills. One side of the field largely involved the first- and second-teams, while most of the rookies (minus recently-drafted cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean and outside linebacker Anthony Nelson), back-ups and former practice squad players ran their own session on the other side.
These sessions allowed the media to get a first look at where players were initially slotted prior to training camp, especially along the heavily criticized offensive line where the Bucs failed to make meaningful additions through the draft or free agency, with the exception of veteran guard Earl Watford.
The left side of the line looked largely untouched, with Ryan Jensen sitting at center, Ali Marpet manning the left guard position and newly re-signed Donovan Smith at left tackle. The right side of the line, however, raised some eyebrows.
Many expected OTAs and training camp to be an open battle between Watford and second-year Alex Cappa at right guard, with Demar Dotson remaining safely in position to start at right tackle. But it was Cappa who took almost all of the first-team snaps at right guard while last year’s starter at the position, Caleb Benenoch, slid over to right tackle for a heavy dose of the first-team reps as Dotson, who is entering his 11th year in Tampa Bay, only took a few reps.
It’s early, and head coach Bruce Arians likely needs a lot more film to effectively judge what he’s got in Cappa and Benenoch than he does veteran players like Watford and Dotson. Arian also believes that you can get your best out of players through competition.
Arians declined to comment on what he saw from the offensive linemen in practice on Tuesday.
“Nothing,” Arians said when asked about about Cappa and Benenoch. “They don’t have pads on. We’ll go in and watch the film, but for those guys, it’s hard for them. I don’t judge anything on them at this time of the year.”
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 14, 2019
The Buccaneers are still a long way from Week 1, so Pewter Report will keep a close eye on the positional battles that develop through OTAs along the Bucs’ offensive line.