After a two-and-a-half hour rain weather delay the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit the practice field for their eighth workout of the 2015 training camp. Skies were overcast and cloudy and was a welcomed relief to the players and most of the fans in attendance on Saturday.
While Jameis Winston and the quarterbacks were over on Field 1 throwing slants and outs to wide receivers and tight ends, defensive units were on the far field working on recognition drills.
Linebackers began with form tackling drills, before moving in sync while the coach would simulate ball movement. The defensive line started with bag drills, hitting and moving in between two dummies that were posing as a tackle and guard. The line then practiced moving with the ball to avoid offside situations, something they’ve had trouble doing at times.
Friday’s position portion included a new drill, as running backs and tight ends worked against linebackers in blitz protection. Linebackers rotated rushing through a gap or around the edge, as running backs rotated in picking it up. While Doug Martin and Charles Sims have both looked good running the ball at camp, equally as important will be their blitz pick-up in shotgun situations. And the duo held up pretty well through this portion.
Friday’s 7-on-7 period once again began with the offense in Power O and the defense stacking the box. The Bucs were mixing up teams on both sides of the ball, as Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards were seen with first-team while Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet ran with the second team.
While it wasn’t quite Redskins v. Texans, there was a mini fight – each player getting a shove to the chest – between 6-foot-8 tackle Reid Fragel and defensive tackle Henry Melton.
On Thursday Lovie Smith talked about getting turnovers, not just through interceptions but also poking the ball out for a fumble. That was clearly a point of emphasis Friday, as defensive players were trying to knock the ball loose from Martin and Bobby Rainey up until the whistle.
The next period consisted of 11-on-11’s and the Buccaneers offense came out throwing during full-team scrimmage, and the defense held strong. Alterraun Verner made a great play working against Vincent Jackson on an inside slant. The Pro Bowl wide receiver hauled in a perfectly thrown ball from Winston, only to have it swated out last second by Verner. The following pass was another slant, this time deflected and intercepted by Sterling Moore who made an incredible diving catch.
As the second-team took the field (though, there was a lot of mixing Friday), Kwon Alexander had great recognition on a screen pass from Mike Glennon, as the rookie would’ve been right there to make a stop. Identifying the screen may have not been too impressive, considering it was Glennon’s fourth straight check down (QBs rotate after four reps).
Major Wright continues to look the part on first-team, matching up well in coverage while also playing some in the box. The sixth-year pro read Winston’s eyes on two throws to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, breaking up both passes.
Wide receivers Kenny Bell and Adam Humphries shined during this portion, too, as the former was Winston’s favorite target while the latter came up big multiple times for Glennon and third-teamer Seth Lobato. Even Winston found the undrafted rookie on a few plays.
The second portion of 7-on-7 involved an aerial attack from the offense, as cornerbacks and safeties joined the linebackers in place of a defensive line.
This portion, ran entirely from the end zone, saw some great catches by Evans and Seferian-Jenkins as Winston was looking his sharpest. Evans had great concentration on one play, staying with the ball and making the catch in the back of the end zone after Bruce Carter got a hand on it.
Position drills from earlier were in effect, particularly with the running backs who were picking up linebacker blitzes. With half speed contact and a ‘no-hit’ policy on the QB, it’s hard to measure physicality but Sims and Martin each had a few nice pickups.
From the defensive perspective, the story on Friday was dropped interceptions. From Bradley McDougald to D.J. Swearinger to Bruce Carter to Keith Tandy, there were a few balls that might’ve been a bit damp and hard to grasp. Although a few were reactionary or tipped, the defense predicated on turnovers needs to capitalize on INT opportunities during the regular season.
On a damp field, the Bucs offense fared pretty well at keeping their footing and holding on to the rock, however there was one fumbled exchange from Evan Smith to Winston.
Friday’s final 7-on-7 session also included a couple shovel passes, one to Sims and another to Mike James. The running backs also saw a fair share of screens, and it seems the offensive line is adjusting well to the game plan. On one screen to Sims, guard Kadeem Edwards was able to stay in front as lead blocker and made a great play to open a lane for Sims to score.
Practice closed with the offense backed up at their own one-yard line. The defense won the first few reps, as Gerald McCoy burst through on the first snap to close in for a safety. This clearly got to the O Line’s head, as Garrett Gilkey jumped offside the next down. McCoy grabbed his hand after his great play, and while it scared the crowd for a moment, the All Pro three-technique appeared OK.
The offense was able get a push in the latter part of the session, as multiple running backs were getting three to seven yard gains, giving the offense some breathing room. Javorski Lane looked particularly impressive on one play, as the 258-pound full back kept his legs churning with defenders piling up.
Following practice, Jameis Winston and Seth Lobato and tight ends got some extra work after practice, working on out routes before closing out the eighth day of training camp.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
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