Whoever inside the Bucs organization prayed to the rain Gods on Sunday deserves a raise. Early in the day the Tampa Bay area saw more tropical downpours and things weren’t looking good as far as getting the second day of practice in. But around 2 p.m. the skies let up and the Buccaneers made it through their 2.5 hour practice without any significant raindrops. While part of the fields were soggy, overall the turf was in solid shape and the fans responded, turning up in large numbers to get their first look at rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and the 2015 Buccaneers.
Former Bucs great Ronde Barber was in attendance on Sunday, along with the NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington and ESPN’s Adam Caplan, to see Winston’s first public debut. Those guys joined a large crowd on Sunday, estimated at around 3,000 fans. Team officials said it was the largest opening day training camp crowd since the team moved their practices back to One Buc in 2008.
Practice starts out with individual drills for each position. While the quarterbacks were warming up their arms, the wide receivers began route-running drills. The receivers all performed well in this drill, showing quick feet and change of direction, with very few drops. The quarterbacks then joined the recievers to work on passing routes without defenders. Both Jameis Winston and Mike Glennon were off to a hot start in this drill.
While everyone knows that Winston and Glennon are the top two quarterbacks for the Bucs, Seth Lobato may have the liveliest arm of the group. Lobato throws a tight spiral, and is accurate and fairly mobile. While his chance of sticking is slim – barring injury of one of the two, or a Glennon trade – Lobato could certainly be a practice squad candidate.
The team then moves into special teams drills. Adam Humphries, Kaelin Clay, Rannell Hall, and Donteea Dye were the four players fielding punts and each struggled to settle under and catch cleanly a number of kicks in Sunday’s steady wind. After about 15 minutes working on this, the offense moves into a walkthrough drill before starting one-on-ones.
Super fan Buc Krazie was in midseason form.
The defensive backs join the receivers and quarterbacks to do a one-on-one passing drill. Winston took the first several snaps while Glennon and Seth Lobato watched close by. Winston started off hot, throwing a strike to Dye on a slant route. Winston then threws a perfect over the shoulder pass to Hall, who easily scored a touchdown. Winston cooled off a little bit, with a couple slightly overthrown balls down the sideline. Winston finished off the drill with a couple quick throws to Vincent Jackson and Robert Herron, who showed tremendous footwork on a cutback. Glennon then took the helm and performed very well. He hit Tavarres King on a deep route, who beat Leonard Johnson on the play. Glennon then hit Jackson with a perfect throw on a deep slant route, beating Mike Jenkins.
From here, the team moved into a 7-on-7 activity. Winston continued to draw cheers from the crowd as he completed each pass with efficiency. Winston had possibly his best throw of the practice in this drill, threading the needle between three defenders, completing the pass to Brandon Myers over the middle. He followed that up with another great throw, just over the fingertips of a defensive back, into the hands of Mike Evans.
Jenkins, looking for a healthy year at cornerback as he enters his eighth season, made one of the better plays in the secondary late in 7-on-7’s by jumping one of Glennon’s passes. Later on in 11-on-11 drills, however, Jenkins was seen on the sideline getting his right hamstring worked on.
Jenkins returned to action, but a fellow defensive back never saw action Sunday. Veteran safety Chris Conte, a former Bear who played under current Bucs head coach Lovie Smith in Chicago, did not participate because of what was described as a minor hamstring issue.
The team then moved into an 11-on-11 drill, where Winston continues to perform well. He hit Jackson and Evans with two great throws on slant routes in the middle of traffic that drew loud reactions from the large pro-Winston crowd. Even on passes that weren’t on the money, fans still yelled to the receivers that they needed to make the catch.
Not making it easy on Winston and receivers was tight coverage from Bucs DBs and linebackers. Players were in helmets and shorts, but there was a fair amount of contact as receivers and coverage men jockeyed for position with balls in the air and after. Safety Bradley McDougald displayed that aggressiveness by slapping a ball away from tight end Luke Stocker after a catch that was scooped up by cornerback Johnthan Banks and taken to the house.
Banks, cornerback Brandon Dixon and linebacker Danny Lansanah also jumped passes from both Winston and Glennon during the 11-on-11 period, though few were actually intercepted. Rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander got his hands on a Glennon pass in the left flat to running back Charles Sims but tipped it up and Sims kept his concentration, made the catch and took off down the sideline.
There isn’t much linemen on either side of the ball can show without full pads, but a starter on the offensive front changed slightly from yesterday. Rookie Donovan Smith jumped in at left tackle with the 1’s after Kevin Pamphile took those snaps Saturday. Garrett Gilkey remained in at right guard, but offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said after practice that rookie Ali Marpet and Kadeem Edwards are in the running.
Defensively, the Bucs look set on their starting front four with George Johnson and Jacquies Smith on the ends and Clinton McDonald and Gerald McCoy on the inside. There were periodic rotations, but Lavonte David, Bruce Carter and Danny Lansanah ran most plays together at linebacker with the first-team defense.
Between 7-on-7’s and 11-on-11’s, kickers Patrick Murray and Brandon Bogotay took turns booting attempts from varying distances. The newcomer Bogotay, presumably invited to camp to push Murray but probably not overtake him, turned in the more consistent performance Sunday. Murray struggled with the right-to-left wind and bounced consecutive attempts off the left upright from 33 yards out while Bogotay nailed his kick. Both kickers missed wide left from 47 yards, with Murray’s kick never having a chance from the time it left his foot.
– Mark Cook, Haley Cornish and Eric Horchy contributed on this report
Twin Towers! Proud to be a Buc fan!
Very comprehensive Mark! Good job. Winston is playing up to expectations. That threaded pass to the TE was classic Winston and beyond Glennon’s skill. Really glad to hear about Laboto’s skills. Wish we get a high draft pick for Glennon, because Lobato can handle backup duties and wouldn’t be leaving us next year in free agency trying to become a starting QB. Glennon didn’t show the quick release that Winston did today.
macabee and owlykat, it sounds like you guys are out there at camp. Thanks for the input and anything you can add is appreciated (I’m talking about from a fans perspective).
Got a chance to meet Pinkstob, who demonstrated his loyalty by driving all the way from the east coast. Had a great time talking Bucs football. Very impressive crowd. Lots of young Bucs fans. The Winston to Evans slant is unstoppable. Although the running plays are hard to evaluate in shell drills and there weren’t many running plays on Day, Doug Martin and Charles Sims looked much more determined and quick. A little disappointing to see Clay have difficulty fielding kicks until he settled down. As mentioned in the article, the new WR’s Dye, Bell, Hall and Humphries all looked like they belong. Offensive line seemed to hold up well in pass protection. Tight coverage by the DB’s made it difficult for the WR’s in spite of the fact that the offense has a real advantage with the QB not being pressured. Pink seems to be coming around on Winston. Although he did mistakenly refer to him as “Freeman” once.
It was great meeting you again and talking Buc ball with you as well Scubog! Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking about with the Freeman thing (physique from a distance maybe?), but I thought Winston had a good practice overall as he had more good throws than bad. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m coming around yet, but I said I would be fair without going into too much depth analysis-wise before the home opener. He was certainly much more decisive with his passes than Glennon, whether Winston were accurate or not. As for the new O-linemen, I didn’t notice Marpet much since he didn’t really run with the 1’s, but Smith was okay overall. He’s not particularly fast in his drop back out of his stance but if he gets his hands on the rusher he always controlled him. I only saw him get beat a few times during 11-on-11’s. Gilkey had a false start and wasn’t opening up holes well on the right side in the run game. I was pretty pissed with all the return guys dropping all those punts, especially Clay since that’s why we drafted him. On one of them he wasn’t even close to catching the ball. As for the CB’s, Dixon has good recovery ability and agility. I never noticed Verner all day which I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but Banks is still not impressing me much. I still don’t like his instincts. There were a few times he was in position to make a play on the ball and just didn’t, whether he didn’t judge it well while it was hanging in the air or waiting to long to break on a pass when he was facing the QB, thus turning a potential INT into a deflected pass. I hope he improves but I still don’t see a shutdown CB. My final observation was the DE’s were quiet all day. If Smith and Johnson ever got pressure it was on one play, two at the most. In their defense though, the offense called a lot of quick throws from an empty backfield.
This team will win this year go bucs.
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