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The Headline From Camp Today: Finally – Full Pads

Saturday was the first day of training camp where the Bucs wore full pads, and it definitely brought up the intensity. One day after Bruce Arians called Friday’s practice a “horse sh*t” practice, he was much more pleased following Saturday’s training camp. The physicality was apparent on both the offense and the defense. Players looked more determined to correct any lingering mistakes from the day prior. As Arians put it, they practiced to win.

“Much better today,” Arians said. “Looking more like football practice instead of soccer. When football players show up, then the noise level shows up. A lot of guys look great in shorts, but they disappear when the noise level shows up. I was really happy to see it, I can’t wait to watch the tape. Good ebb and flow of practice, I thought everybody practiced to win rather than practice to practice. It makes a big damn difference.”

Each side had their moments during the day. The running game went particularly well on the first day of pads as the Bucs’ offense was able to break a few for long gains. Passes were going deep down the field for splash plays, and Tampa Bay’s defense held their own as well, recording four interceptions on three different quarterbacks.

The Bucs will look to continue that momentum on Sunday.

Bucs Players Out Of Practice

Linebacker Lavonte David was out of practice for the second straight day. Arians said it’s just a veteran  maintenance day. While David could be seen on the sidelines with teammates on Friday, he wasn’t out there at all on Saturday. Outside linebacker Cam Gill was out again.

Bucs S Jordan Whitehead

Bucs S Jordan Whitehead – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The big return for the Bucs was safety Jordan Whitehead, who practice with the whole team. He ran individually on the third field the day before, but was back in full for the first day in pads and immediately started with the first team defense. Whitehead made a nice pass breakup in the end zone during a red zone drill.

Bucs Practice Notes

The Bucs were airing the ball out and it led to some highlight plays for the defense. Both starters and backups were getting into the mix, stepping up to create turnovers. It began with Mike Edwards, who practiced entirely after being shaken up at the end of practice the day before. Edwards picked off a pass from Blaine Gabbert during the first half of practice in 11-on-11 drills. It looked like their was a miscommunication as Gabbert threw it much deeper than where the intended receiver was going. That’s two days in a row where Edwards had an interception.

Turnovers were coming quite literally in bunches for the Bucs’ defense as Devin White picked off Tom Brady in seven-on-sevens. Much like Edwards, this was also White’s second consecutive day where he recorded an interception. Brady was looking to go over the head of White on the pass, and even though he threw it high, it was still low enough where White could jump up to make the catch and go the other way. Brady yelled out a loud expletive in frustration over the errant throw.

It wasn’t just the turnovers that the defense was excelling at, they were getting after the quarterback as well. The defensive line did a solid job of getting a push up front as Pat O’Connor and Quinton Bell both teamed up for a sack. Anthony Nelson had been having a bit of a quiet camp so far, but he showed up big with a sack and some good pressure during the day.

One of the more entertaining moments of practice came during individual drills when the offensive and defensive line went against each other in pass rushing drills. We saw Tristan Wirfs match-up against Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett on consecutive reps. It was too close to call to see who won it, as each player gave great effort. Offensive lineman Donell Stanley had a very good pass blocking rep against Pierre-Paul, and Joe Tryon flashed as well with an excellent pass rush on the outside, making a quick move to get by his opponent.

Bucs DT Khalil Davis

Bucs DT Khalil Davis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

While the Bucs’ starting offense had a good day running the ball, the backup defensive line did a great job of stopping it. Benning Potoa’e, Khalil Davis and Sam Renner were all in the middle of the line of scrimmage making things very difficult for the backs to find a hole. They recorded multiple stops for little gain as they controlled the flow of the play.

That continued in the latter half of practice as Jeremiah Ledbetter helped contribute to the next turnover for the Bucs. Back to focusing on pass rushing, Ledbetter was able to get in front of Gabbert, who had to throw the ball quicker than he wanted to, leading to an interception for cornerback Antonio Hamilton. There’s been a lot of plays around Hamilton this camp – both and good and bad moments, but this practice left his stock trending upwards.

The last interception for the Bucs came at the expense of Kyle Trask. After making some nice throws over the middle, Trask attempted a pass deep to the outside that was taken away by Nate Brooks. The defense came up big in front of full crowd, who were equally as excited about all the plays.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bucs were certainly challenged today by the defense. The coaching staff added extra wrinkles to disguise looks to try and confuse the defense. Using pre-snap motion, bunch looks and play-action on multiple plays. Some of the personnel groupings were intriguing to see as well and caused mismatches the defense had trouble competing with.

Tom Brady had some uncharacteristically inconsistent throws, especially when looking Antonio Brown’s way. One play in particular, there was miscommunication between the route being ran where Brady didn’t even throw the ball. Brown, upset with himself, yelled out “you can’t waste a rep out there.” The duo made up for it later in practice when they connected down the left sideline on a deep pass for a score.

Mike Evans remains one of the most consistent players in camp, catching almost everything thrown his way. The battle between him and corner Carlton Davis has been one of the highlights of camp. Evans made a great contested catch against David early in practice, adding a grab across the middle later with three defenders around him.

Bucs RB Giovani Bernard

Bucs RB Giovani Bernard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Speaking of catching everything, Tanner Hudson continues to impress in the competition for the fourth tight end spot.  The offense scored five straight times during red zone work while in 7-on-7 drills. Hudson reeling in three of them. Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller also made some great adjustments on the ball to bring in highlight reel receptions.

It was a pretty good day for the running backs as well. Giovani Bernard had two nice long runs two go with a long reception on the day. Ronald Jones, who has essentially split snaps with Leonard Fournette, broke one run off for a long gain, accelerating through the hole. Fournette added one of his own while showing off good hands on another play. Second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn also looked good with a big gain of his own. After practice head coach Bruce Arians said Vaughn has looked, “spot on.”

Bucs WR-PR Jaelon Darden

Bucs WR-PR Jaelon Darden – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

There were a lot of teaching moments for the rookies and second year offensive players as a well. On one play in red zone drills, Jaleon Darden ran the wrong route and received a coaching moment from wide receivers coach Kevin Garver. On his next opportunity, Darden ran the right route but was slightly overthrown, but showed hustle diving for the ball. Darden also made a nice catch on corner Jamel Dean later in practice.

Lineman Robert Hainsey took all the reps at center with the second unit, facing the top unit multiple times as well. He held his own out there but was bull-rushed by Ledbetter on one play. He recovered nicely on the rep steering him out of the direction of  Gabbert, allowing him to complete the pass. While second-year guard Nick Leverett started at right guard next to Hainsey with the second unit. Later in practice he lined up at right tackle with the third unit and held his own at the position. Leverett also practiced at center this offseason, that kind of versatility could earn him a spot on the roster.

Another up and down performance by rookie quarterback Kyle Trask. He made some nice throws to find backs Bernard and C.J. Prosise for gains, as well as a diving catch by wide receiver Josh Pearson. After a nice throw and completion to T.J. Simmons, he threw another interception this one to corner Nate Brooks. That’s his fifth pick in as many days. After practice Trask elected to get some extra work in with Ryan Griffin. Throwing to receivers Darden, Simmons, Pearson, Cyril Grayson Jr., Jaydon Mickens, and tight end De’Quan Hampton. Putting in the extra work will be critical for Trask’s development.

While it was mostly back and forth all day, practice ended on a high note for the defense. Carlton Davis made a huge pass deflection intended for Scotty Miller in the end zone during red zone drills to force a field goal. The attempt by undrafted kicker Jose Borregales was good. Borregales has gotten a lot of work in camp so far as Succop missed another day of practice. The kicker is likely destined to be on the practice squad if he can pass through waivers unclaimed. Staying on the field once practice concluded, O.J. Howard, Brown, Bernard, Grayson and Pearson worked on catching the ball with the jugs machine. The Bucs are back at it tomorrow and will look to build off the intensity of today’s practice.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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1 month ago

“…I thought everybody practiced to win rather than practice to practice.” I like that.

1 month ago

How come we got a Groza Award kicker this year as a FA and we had to waste a second round pick to get one a few years ago. That still smarts, just like wasting a second round pick on a noodle armed QB this year.

Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

drdneast, don’t know and it doesn’t matter as we go forward.

Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

Matt Gay was a Groza Award kicker, as was Cairo Santos and Roberto Aguayo. How did they work out for us?

1 month ago

Good to hear it was a positive practice. Finally, we are seeing the competition with the
back ups spots. Go Bucs!

1 month ago

It was so nice to be able to watch practice since we were prevented from attending last year. Crowd was tremendous. Bucs do a great job making everyone feel welcome and appreciated. . Sure a lot better than peeking over the fence at the old One Buc Place. We should all really appreciate the work the Pewter Report staff does to keep us informed. It’s not easy trying to see everything at once. I typically just watch, try not to focus on any one thing, and after a while, things start to take shape and become more obvious as to… Read more »

Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

Enjoy your observations. Agree with you on oinkstob.

1 month ago

I really hope all of us fans can fully support this team this year and next and onward. No more arguing whether it’s Brady or our homegrown talent that is winning games for us. Every player on our team is a Buccaneer and a Championship squad lead by the greatest AB of all time won’t be here forever. Anybody who tries to continue to argue about Brady and who is winning games is blowing the chance to root for the best all around Bucs team in our history and will surely regret it when this run is over. I hope… Read more »

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