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.
WE HAVE SOME PLAYMAKERS ON THE OFFENSIVE SIDE OF THE BALL By Chris Conte as told to Mark Cook
It was good to be back. Everybody splits up (after the season), goes homes, trains, does their own thing and then we come back and kind of get back in the groove of playing football again. Competing and going through all the mental stuff you have to do and getting back into it mentally. And that daily grind of getting your body recovered and getting ready to go the next day.
Until the second preseason game I think, we are in the team hotel so we spend a good amount of time over there. It is a good way to make sure everyone is comfortable and getting a good night’s sleep. They keep an eye on us and that everybody is taking care of their business and getting ready for the season.
Safety Chris Conte – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
I don’t have a roommate, I guess because I have been in the league long enough I don’t have to share a room. It is great. Not that I mind a teammate, but having your own bathroom and not having to listen to someone snore or whatever habits people have is a nice thing. Getting back to that room and having quiet time where you can look over your plays and review the day and get a good sleep is very beneficial.
We don’t really have meetings. I mean we are here from like 6:00 a.m. in the morning to around 9:00 or 9:30 at night. So we put in a lot of time over here (One Buc Place) so by the time you get back to the hotel you are pretty much done for the night and you just get ready for bed.
As far as having Hard Knocks here, I haven’t really noticed it. I know there are certain storylines they want to follow and those guys carry the burden of being mic’d up and put on a bit of a show for the cameras, but so far it has been normal camp for me. It hasn’t been a distraction yet, but once those episodes start playing there will be a little bit more of a distraction.
Offensively, like I said last time, Jameis [Winston] is really on top of his game. He knows where to go with the ball, he’s throwing the ball really well. He looks accurate and looks prepared. And then you match that to the talent we have at wide receiver, we have a bunch of guys that can get open, catch the ball and make big plays for us. That is the biggest thing you will see at camp I think. Even O.J. Howard and Cam Brate – that 1-2 punch [at tight end]. We have some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
Safety Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Yesterday (Saturday) I had a pass breakup on Mike Evans. I was just playing the middle of the field and reading the quarterback. That’s something I personally want to be great at is being able to cover plays on the sideline. Those are fun plays and plays where you get to show off your speed. It’s fun when the quarterback lays it up there and you get to track it down and make a play. It was a good play. I hope to get better in that area and cover a lot of ground.
We had a good day, but they made their plays, too. It was back and forth, but there was a period where the DBs were pretty hot breaking up some passes, which was cool. But they made their plays, too. We’ve got to realize that they’ll make their plays, but we’ve got to continue to make ours, too. It’s fun and you can tell there is some good competition in camp, too.
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.
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, the beach and family time.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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