With the first preseason game just eight days away, the Buccaneers dialed up the contact at training camp Friday.
Position drills included linebackers, offensive linemen and defensive linemen hitting to start practice. Linebackers were going head-to-head, one holding a dummy while the other wrapped up and drove down to the mat. The purpose of the drill was form tackling with a strong finish. Offensive and defensive linemen were engaging in some contact, though nothing too attention-grabbing. That didn’t happen until the two groups re-joined on Field 2 for 2-on-2 battles: a guard and tackle versus a tackle and end.
Wide receivers and cornerbacks worked on drills in press coverage, while quarterbacks started practice with running backs and tight ends. Running back Dominique Brown had a nice one-handed catch toward the sidelines, similar to one that he had during minicamp. The Louisville product has good hands, but appeared slow to the line of scrimmage when taking handoffs. Like many of the undrafted wide receivers standing out at camp, he too will likely have an uphill battle to make the roster.
The first cheer from the crowd came off Jameis Winston’s deep ball to the corner of the end zone to Donteea Dye. Of course there was no coverage, but it was a nice throw and catch by the two rookies.
Initial 7-on-7’s started up tempo from the inside the red zone. Mike Glennon started with the first-team as Winston was still working privately with QBs coach Mike Bajakian. The offense ran out of the Power O throughout the first session, coming out with two tight end/running back sets and only running off guard. They were even using an H back at times, as Brandon Myers, Cameron Brate and Evan Rodriguez were often in motion before the snap to bring an extra man at the defensive tackle.
Some notable moments during Power O 7-on-7’s (no secondary or wide receivers) was Garrett Gilkey dominating Will Gholston on a couple plays in the trenches, T.J. Fatinikun getting a great jump off the edge with second-team defense and Bobby Rainey bursting up the middle as third-team running back.
Winston and third-stringer Seth Lobato were on the middle field during this time throwing to a single receiver running various routes while being covered man-to-man. It was not Winston’s sharpest portion of the day, as the rookie completed just two of his eight attempts. He did drop an out-route into the hands of WR Tavarres King that wasn’t hauled in, but most of his other incompletions were off the mark. One player whose intensity has been on display day in and day out during camp is cornerback Mike Jenkins. It showed up again during this drill when the eight-year vet knocked receiver Rannell Hall to the turf as the rookie went up to go for a high Winston delivery.
Following 7-on-7’s, Jameis Winston, the wide receivers and the cornerbacks joined the action on Field 1 and began 11-on-11 scrimmage.
First-team offense was Winston at QB, Evan Smith at center, Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson at the tackle positions, Logan Mankins and Ali Marpet at the guard positions, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Kenny Bell at wideout, Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end and Doug Martin at running back.
On defense it was Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald at tackle, Jacquies Smith and George Johnson on the ends, Lavonte David and Bruce Carter at linebacker and Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks, Leonard Johnson, Bradley McDougald and Major Wright in the secondary. Wright remains with the first-team as safety Chris Conte continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury. The defense started out of the nickel formation, with Johnson at nickel corner in for Danny Lansanah at Sam linebacker.
Winston got off to a shaky start, to say the least. The rookie’s first pass, a deep ball to Evans, was intercepted by Banks, who then got up and sprinted the other way. The next two passes were broken up: one by Johnson who made a great play on Seferian-Jenkins over the middle and the other by Verner. Winston’s performance evened out as practice wore on and he continues to build a solid on-field connection with Seferian-Jenkins, hitting the big tight end on short and intermediate routes over the middle of the field.
Defensive end George Johnson was seen dropping back into coverage at times during this session, particularly against the slot receiver. This shows the Bucs’ confidence in Johnson’s athletic ability, as seven-techniques in 3-4 systems are typically the only drop back linebackers/defensive ends.
Charles Sims took the first carry of 11-on-11’s, charging off-guard for a big gain and a loud cheer. The second-year pro has been featured as a receiver out of the backfield throughout camp, however Friday’s practice saw him take more handoffs.
Glennon, who was running with the 2’s, held the ball a little too long to start and took a few would-be sacks in the beginning. The third-year pro cleaned it up a bit later on, looking sharp throwing the ball.
As 11-on-11 play continued, some of the defensive and offensive linemen left for Field 2 for 2-on-2 battles.
Donovan Smith was often lining up beside Logan Mankins against defensive linemen Henry Melton and T.J. Fatinikun. In that matchup, Smith and Mankins won the majority of reps as the former was adjusting well to Fatinikun’s initial move while the latter was engaging any tackle in front of him. Mankins had his best battles with Clinton McDonald, who jumped offside a few times. McDonald lined up mainly with defensive end Lawrence Sidbury. While Sidbury has mainly been with the 2’s, he and McDonald seemed to have good chemistry, often using the crossing move to fool Patrick Omameh and Kadeem Edwards. Garrett Gilkey continues to look like a new player, both in scrimmage and isolated battles.The young O-Linemen struggled at points during 2-on-2’s, as Ali Marpet got a dose of McCoy on one snap and Edwards was forced to hold a couple times.
Pewter Report.com’s Eric Horchy contributed to this practice report.