Day 8 of training camp kicked off with quarterbacks and running backs working on handoffs and screen passes, while receivers and tight ends ran uncovered intermediate routes with coaches in place for a QB.
Coaches were also simulating linebackers and defensive backs, as offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was over with the tight ends holding a paddle to simulate a linebacker getting a hand up. At the same time, while receivers were running uncovered fades, coaches were also using the paddle as a cornerback. This is for concentration practice, focusing on the ball instead of the hand.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
As position drills continued, QBs took to the 20-yard line to throw post patterns to tight ends running in between cones. With a few 6-foot-5 targets, expect the Bucs to use size to their advantage in the red zone.
Saturday’s practice featured an extra dose of special teams, covering everything from kickoffs to punts to field goals and even fake field goals.
The first portion of special teams took place on Field 1. For a solid 30 minutes, the Bucs were in kickoff with no ball. They were simply working on blocking schemes before finally putting a ball in motion for punts.
Rookie Kaelin Clay fielded the vast majority of punts, as it’s becoming more and more likely the sixth-round pick will start as a return specialist Saturday in Minnesota. Head coach Lovie Smith was watching the third-phase action carefully Saturday.
During special teams, the offensive line was practicing over on the far field. The O-Line was working with each other on 1-on-1 engaging drills, while also spending some 1-on-1 time with coaches. George Warhop, who’s always engaged, could be seen talking with Ali Marpet a few times. The rookie started once again on first-team offense Saturday during scrimmage.
Before 11-on-11’s, the offense and defense worked on different fields walking through their installs.
Jameis Winston was commanding the huddle and leading the offense with little interaction from coaches. While they weren’t using a ball, receivers were jogging their routes as Winston would go through progressions and fake throw to his eventual target. After each play, the offense would continue to move up the field, seemingly getting a feel for the up-tempo flow.
Eventually the defense joined in on Field 1 and gave the crowd what they enjoy most during open sessions by beginning scrimmage play.
There were a few shakeups to the first-team during 11-on-11’s, some having to do with veteran days off (like Logan Mankins on Friday) and others because of different packages. Center Evan Smith got the day off, leaving Garrett Gilkey to assume the role of first-team center. Gilkey’s had some impressive moments at camp this year, but Saturday brought back some old memories. The former Brown rolled a couple snaps during 11-on-11’s and was clearly getting frustrated with himself, at one point screaming an expletive that could be heard across One Buc Place.
A few other lineup changes included Kadeem Edwards at left guard along side tackle Donovan Smith. Marpet and Mankins rotated at right guard while Demar Dotson and Reid Fragel did the same at right tackle. On second-team offensive line it was Kevin Pamphile at left tackle, Antoine Everett at left guard, Jeremiah Warren at center, Matt Masifilo at right guard and Patrick Omameh at right tackle.
Defensively, it was Gerald McCoy’s off day. Perhaps the Bucs were a bit scared after his minor elbow ding yesterday, but this was likely just a veteran day off. McCoy could be seen taking mental reps on the sidelines, getting off the line as the play would start. Leading by example, McCoy even takes advantage of off day practices.
11-on-11 play began with a fumbled end-around to Robert Herron. Despite this play, Herron had another good effort on Sunday, but Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Kenny Bell led the way for wide receivers throughout the afternoon.
Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Completion percentages for Winston and Glennon could have been a little higher Sunday if not for a number of dropped balls. Smith was asked about it during his post-practice press conference.
“I would saay that every day you are going to have some drops,” Smith said. “One is too many. I don’t think it’s any more than what you would normally have. You have to look at who is dropping, too. Right now we are not Tennessee ready. We’re not Minnesota Vikings ready yet. As it goes along I still see improvement that they are making daily.”
As for different defensive packages, the defense was showing blitz often. This meant Sterling Moore and Mike Jenkins, as the former was lining up in the B gap or on the edge before blitzing the QB. The offense ran mostly runs and screens. This brought position drills into effect, as the screens to Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey were prevalent during this period.
Winston and Mike Glennon were doing pretty well at getting the ball out early with a cornerback or linebacker in their face, but they also knew it was coming.
Other than wideouts, standouts during the first 11-on-11 period were Sterling Moore, who was blitzing effectively and had a great breakup on a pass from Glennon, and Will Gholston who had some success getting inside. Gholston has appeared to struggle through most of camp, but the Michigan State product had a decent practice Sunday. Offensive linemen that stood out were Demar Dotson, who was able to seal the edge while blocking Jacquies Smith, and Matt Masifilo, the former defensive tackle, making a couple great blocks on screen plays.
Smith addressed Masifilo’s switch from defense to offense Sunday.
“I’m going to say [it was] a staff decision,” he said. “As we’re looking at it, we had some guys we liked on the defensive side and maybe Matt wasn’t quite what you were looking for at that position, but all the other things you loved. Nobody works harder – he’s strong, tough, smart.
“He’s not the first defensive lineman to make that adjustment, so it’s not surprising what he’s being able to do. In the offseason, you’re not doing anything, so really he’s only had about a week to show us. Yesterday, of course, was his best day, against good players, [we] are very pleased with what he’s done. You just continue to give the guys reps and they kind of show you what you need to know.”
The play of the day was perhaps the biggest hit seen during camp thus far, courtesy of new safety D.J. Swearinger. Running back Mike James caught a screen, side-stepped and collided with Swearinger. The former Texan is known for his hard-nosed play and is still trying to impress coaches with his coverage ability.
Following 11-on-11’s the offensive and defensive lines joined on Field 2 for 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 isolation battles. During 1-on-1’s, Gilkey and Clinton McDonald went head-to-head, with each winning a few. When McDonald got a good jump, Gilkey was forced to hold at times but did a nice job on other plays engaging high and standing the tackle up. Fragel was able to wheel a few defensive ends outside the pocket, representing a great win for the tackle. Edwards was able to do the same on a few plays, working against Lawrence Sidbury and Ryan Delaire.
Defensive end and defensive tackle wins included Larry English driving Edawn Coughman into the pocket, while Sidbury also had a few nice reps.
As for 2-on-2’s Marpet and Dotson won the majority of their battles, as did Fragel and Masifilo, and Mankins and Edwards. Overall, Saturday’s isolation round went to the offensive linemen.
The team ended Sunday with a pair of 2-minute drills.
Winston had the first-team cruising down the field and well into field goal position after completing all six of his attempts – four to Kenny Bell and one each to Robert Herron and Doug Martin. The drive ended abruptly, though, when second-year running back Charles Sims fumbled at the end of a running play that was recovered by LB Bruce Carter.
Glennon and the second-team offense managed to keep control of the football but stalled out and had to settle for a field goal attempt.
The Bucs will take Monday off and return to the field Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Pewter Report.com’s Eric Horchy contributed to this practice report.
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.
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