Much has been made early on about the improvements to the Bucs early on in the Bruce Arians era. From Devin White making an impact on plays since day one, to the addition of Ndamukong Suh, and Jameis Winston’s ability to grasp this new offense quickly, there’s been plenty for this team to look forward to for training camp.
What comes along with making plays in practice is the team becoming vocal with one another. It’s been happening before and after plays, celebrating with one another on success and picking each other up after a mishap.
It’s something that Bruce Arians has picked up on this offseason, and has encouraged more of it to happen.
“I love the excitement out there,” Arians said on Thursday after mandatory mini-camp wrapped up. “They were pretty quiet in the first month, now they’re feeling a little good about themselves, especially on the field because things are happening. When good things happen you better cheer about it because there’s going to be enough bad things. I love the excitement.”
The Bucs have made strides both physically and mentally through OTAs and mini-camp. They’re grasping the playbook on one end while building camaraderie on the other. Arians likes where this team is headed, but in the beginning of June with another three months until the season starts, they are not close to a finished product.
“I was really pleased with the beginning to now,” Arians said. “We’ve made the progress that I’d hope we make. Are we there? No, but I like where we’re at right now. The work ethic on this group is amazing, everybody shows up, everybody works, everybody’s bought in, that’s all you can ask as a coach. Hopefully we stay in shape and have everybody working upwards when we get back.”
Next on the docket for the Bucs is six weeks away from the field until training camp begins in late July. Arians had a simple message to his players for how to handle themselves during that time off.
“Be in shape when you come back,” Arians said. “Don’t start over. Don’t be the guy.”
Training camp will be a little different for the Bucs this time around with Arians at the helm. Since the Bucs have two home games at four o’clock in September along with a Thursday night game at eight o’clock, Arians will have some practices near that time to break up normal routine and get the team as close to playing at game time as he can.
“We’ll have practices between eight in the morning to four in the afternoon to six-thirty,” Arians said.” “Four because that’s when we kick off two games at home in September, six-thirty as close as we can get to seven-thirty, eight o’clock kickoff, Thursday Night Football. We’ll mix it up, you don’t want to get into that dead routine and not be able to match up when your game times are, so as much four o’clock practices so we can get ready for the first two home games.”
Another change coming to training camp practice is the emphasis on live hitting once the pads are on. In years past the Bucs coaching staff has generally stayed away from tackling to preserve their players for the regular season, but Arians believes that tackling in practice is the only way to get better at it while getting into game shape.
Players can build up that callous on their body that many get in season, so they can come right out of the gate in game shape as opposed.
“Oh yeah,” Arians said with a wide grin when asked if there will be a lot of tackling done. “You can’t learn how to tackle unless you tackle. It’s just being smart on who you’re tackling.”