The first four days are in the books for Bucs training camp. As the team gets a much-deserved day off from the AdventHealth Training Center, let’s look at some of the top observations through the first week.
Who’s In, Who’s Out?
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Tight end O.J. Howard has yet to suit up for training camp. Seen warming up and catching passes to the side, he continues to work his way back from a torn Achilles. His non-placement on the teams PUP list would assume he is close to a return however. Safety Raven Greene, who was excused for personal reasons, has not yet reported to camp.
Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Meanwhile, Antoine Winfield missed the second day of practice due to a false/positive COVID test result. After practicing the first three days outside linebacker Cam Gill did not practice on Wednesday. Also missing practice was wide receiver Chris Godwin, who now has missed three days since participating Sunday. We will continue to monitor these players on the injury front.
Veteran Days Off Early
Quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, center Ryan Jensen, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul all received days off early into Bucs camp. Coach Bruce Arians has stressed that he will not repeat the same mistakes he made while in Arizona with overworking his players. Calling it “load management,” expect to see more of it throughout camp with the veterans over the age of 30.
Feeling the Heat
The heat has been a storyline so far in camp. With sweltering temperatures both Arians and the players have acknowledged the effect it has had early on. During Tuesday’s practice, Arians simulated a halftime situation – one in which he had the players leave the heat and go into the air-conditioned AdventHealth Indoor Facility. This allowed the team to cool down for a bit before turning in a better second half of practice.
Cockrell At Safety?
With the safety group thinned out due to Greene’s absence and Jordan Whitehead’s placement on the COVID/Reserve list, cornerback Ross Cockrell is being cross-trained at free safety. So far, the experiment has been paying off. Cockrell came up with a pick off of rookie quarterback Kyle Trask on Wednesday. If Cockrell can show he can fill both cornerback and safety spots, it will potentially allow the Bucs to carry only three true safeties on game day – Winfield, Whitehead and Mike Edwards.
Antonio Brown made his return to team drills on Wednesday. In the days prior, Brown was not practicing with the team and only took part in position drills on Tuesday as he recovers from knee surgery in May. In 11-on-11 work, Brown made the first reception of the day. On another play, he battled Winfield on a route to the end zone but saw the ball overthrown. Brown has been praised for his work ethic and it shows. The receiver’s skills have not diminished a bit.
Trask Is Up and Down
Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Trask had a pair of nice touchdown passes Wednesday to wide receiver Josh Pearson and tight end Jerrel Adams, but also had another pick. That makes three interceptions through camp so far. While he has made some great plays, it is also apparent the Bucs’ second-round pick needs more time to develop. It will be interesting to see if Trask receives any time with the top group before preseason games start.
Hainsey Starts At Center
Going back to rookie mini-camp, rookie Robert Hainsey, the team’s third-round pick, has worked exclusively at center. Running with the second unit, Hainsey’s progression has been an encouraging. Getting the starting nod on Wednesday with Jensen out due to a day of rest, Hainsey held his own. The lone exception being the first snap of the day. He turned in some great reps pass blocking, including one particular play against veteran defensive lineman Will Gholston.
Tryon As Good As Advertised
Tryon’s ability as a pass rusher has already shown through. In Tuesday’s practice, Tryon would’ve had a sack on one play. On another a strong rush on Brady forced him to make an errant throw. Wednesday with JPP out, he got the opportunity to suit up with the starting unit providing valuable reps. Lining up on both the right and left sides, one thing is for certain his speed off the corner has been noticeable.
Darden Exceeding Expectations
Rookie receiver Jaelon Darden has continuously shown off his speed and quickness through camp. Getting reps with the starters Darden, the team’s fourth-round pick, hasn’t looked out of place at all. Although he has had a few drops he’s showing the quick get off the team gushed about after drafting him. He is also firmly in the returner competition and has looked very comfortable fielding the ball.
Practice Squad Kicker Part 2
Last season the Bucs kept a protected kicker on the practice squad throughout the entire season. Kicker Jose Borregales has made his case to be the guy this year. Borregales who was the Lou Groza winner in college for the 2020 season, has looked sharp in camp. With Ryan Succop out Tuesday for a day of rest, Borregales took every kick with the team in field goal unit. He went 7-of-8 with his lone miss coming from 40 yards out.
J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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