Tampa Bay safety Chris Conte is one of the most misunderstood Buccaneers on the roster. Unfairly compared to former Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli because of the physical resemblance, Conte hasn’t exactly been a fan favorite in Tampa Bay because of a reputation that followed him from his days in Chicago. But his pick-six against the Bears last year was the catalyst for a defensive turnaround that fueled the Bucs to a 6-2 finish and a 9-7 record. Tampa Bay fans began to really appreciate Conte’s play when his end zone interception at Kansas City in the fourth quarter led to Tampa Bay’s comeback win at Arrowhead.
Conte was re-signed to a two-year deal in the offseason as the Bucs chose him over Bradley McDougald, who signed with Seattle in free agency. While newcomers J.J. Wilcox and Justin Evans, the team’s second-round pick, will provide competition, Conte enters training camp as the starting free safety next to strong safety Keith Tandy, who was tied for the lead in interceptions with four. Now it’s up to Conte to keep the rookie and the former Dallas Cowboy at bay.
It’s been a busy this offseason as Conte and his girlfriend, former Buccaneers Cheerleader Stephanie Everett, are expecting a child and he bought a house in Tampa where they plan to call home after his football career is over. But with the offseason in the books and training camp is here, follow Conte on his journey to improve as a player, keep his starting job and help get the Bucs into the playoffs in his Training Camp Diary on PewterReport.com.
DAMN, LET’S PLAY A GAME ALREADY
By Chris Conte as told to Mark Cook
We had a little bit of a sloppy start this week to practices. The installs start adding up. It’s not like a game plan, so coaches are trying to put in the whole defense and your mind is all over the place. Things start to run together. You just get tired mentally and physically. You come out in the heat and you really have to find the energy deep down to get out there and bring tempo to practice. It gets mundane. It gets monotonous. At this point it’s like, damn, let’s play a game already. Hopefully we can rest up a little bit and go into Cincinnati and make a good first impression in the first showing of the preseason.
Going to play the Bengals. It’s great for getting out there and getting that first hit. You don’t really tackle at all in camp. It’s practice for the season so you really want to get out there and work on your tackling. You get a chance to make reads and be at game speed. It’s really a dress rehearsal. You get ready to put yourself in the mindset for game day.
Safety Chris Conte – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
It is situations. It’s hard to control. There is so much going on. You want to win the game, but if you can go out and execute, I think that is the most important thing. We haven’t installed a game plan. It is hard to go out and execute a game plan when you don’t have a full one in. Really it is about getting used to situations and working on the things you want to work on as a defense, not showing too much, but at the same time getting some work in.
When you go out in preseason you aren’t going to show your whole entire defense. You don’t game plan the way you would in the season. It is a little difficult to judge because if we played Cincinnati during the year, we would have prepared completely different for that. We would have played the match ups and things to put us in a better position against them. Really it is about going out there and playing the game straight up while working on the things you want to work on as a defense.
The Dolphin made some news this week. Jay (Cutler) is a great quarterback. I think he makes their team a good team. I know he works well with (head coach and former Bears OC) Adam Gase, the coach there. I think it is a good situation for him. It is an opportunity for him to go out the right way, whereas things in Chicago didn’t end great for him, or maybe not the way he wanted to retire. It definitely gives him the opportunity to go out on his terms and maybe even turn this into a few more year of football. Whatever he wants to do. I wish him the best. I hope he does a good job there.
But when I decide to retire, I’ll be done, I’m done. But, 10 million dollars? I’ll probably not be done (laughing). I haven’t seen a 10 million dollar contract, so if I do see one, I’m staying. Besides that, When I’m done, I’m done.
After the Bengals we head to Jacksonville to spend the week there before the game. It just raises the energy level. It mixes it up from the everyday routine. You get to do something a little bit different, like practice against different guys or see a different look. It becomes a little more competitive. It can get a little bit edgier, but it is good work for both teams. It is something we can get a lot out of.
Follow veteran Buccaneers free safety Chris Conte on Twitter at @WhiteUnicorn23.
Be sure to visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.
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8-6 Conte’s Bucs Training Camp Diary: Home Field Advantage
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
Thanks for doing a TC diary. Thanks for all you do for the Buccaneers. You made some amazing plays last year. Hoping for a great season for you. Go Bucs!
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