The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their third and final organized team activity of the week at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday.
The Bucs have four OTAs remaining in the offseason, and they are scheduled to conduct them June 19-21 in a three-day mandatory mini-camp at One Buc Place.
“They are going to be much different,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of the mandatory mini-camp compared to voluntary workouts. “These guys work hard. It’s a situational format. Every day there is a different segment of football emphasized. So it won’t be a lot different. We will have two practices on the first day, one the following two days and try to put an exclamation point on what’s been a really good offseason.”
To this point, Tampa Bay’s OTAs have been voluntary. Attendance has been good, but not perfect.
A few of the players that haven’t been at One Buccaneer Place for all of the OTAs, cornerback Brian Kelly and defensive end Simeon Rice, are expected to participate next week although Rice may not play due to the fact that he’s still rehabbing a shoulder injury.
“I think Brian Kelly will participate and Simeon will be announced when he gets here we will take a look at him,” said Gruden. “He’s made great progress and we will make that decision when we see him.”
Once Tampa Bay's three-day mandatory mini-camp concludes next Thursday, the Bucs won't take the field as a team again until their first training camp practice, which is scheduled for the morning of July 27.
In other news, quarterback Jeff Garcia took the majority of reps during Tampa Bay’s OTA on Thursday.
One of the reasons Garcia, 37, is considered to be the frontrunner by Gruden at the quarterback position is because of the fact that he’s digested the head coach’s playbook rather quickly.
“He’s a quick study and this is the fifth offense he’s had to learn in the last five seasons,” Gruden said of Garcia. “He executed in Canada at a high-level, had 12 players and a lot more variables. The field was longer. The guy has played a lot of different football and when I get my brother here for the mandatory mini-camp, he will learn a little bit about Arena football.”
Garcia suggested his hard work since becoming a Buccaneer in March is paying off. And if he does wind up being Tampa Bay's starting signal caller, Garcia is determined to make Gruden look like he made the right decision.
“I appreciate [Coach Gruden’s] support of me as a player and what I can bring to this team, both from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint, but it’s my job to go out there and prove that he’s right in what he says and what he feels and thinks,” said Garcia. “That’s upon my shoulders to make sure I prepare every day, not just here, but at night when I’m home to study the game plan, studying what I need to study to make the right decisions out here on the field.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I can’t make every single throw he asks me to make. It’s a matter of making the right decisions, being good with the football, being accurate and not turning the ball over. Those are the things that I feel I’ve always been good at doing during game time. It’s just a matter of allowing that to happen on the field at practice.”
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